A Popular History of The Great War/Volume 1/Page 244

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MONS AND CHARLOEROI


the Sambre and penetrated into Charleroi, where they burnt xnany of the houses and killed many inhabitants. Heavy loss was inflicted on the Guards by a counter-attack of the 38th Algerian division south of ChMelet, but French authorities state that their own casualties were “terrible. By nightfall the French had been driven back to a line which ran from near Thuin to Mettet, and the Germans were clear of the difficult industrial district. This retirement exposed the flank of the British at Mons, and was one of the reasons why Sir J. French vras forced to give the British forces under his command the order to retreat. On the evening of August 22 Lanrezac issued orders for an attack on Billow's army; but during that same night Hausen placed 340 guns in position on the east bank of the Meuse, from Yvoir to Blamont, to cover a crossing and take Lanrezac in flank and rear. To meet this attack, on August 23 the 1st French corps had to be withdrawn from the front north- wards, where it was on the x>oint of administering the coup de grdee to the Guards but it succeeded in stopping the 3rd

German army. In the morning German airmen reported that the roads behind Lanrezac's front were crowded with disorderly columns retiring south-west and west. About the same time German troops penetrated into Namur, moving between the forts, and the Belgian field troops and three French battalions decamped with all speed, losing heavily in their retreat. But at the critical moment the French on the Meuse, notwath- standing the enormous artillery ascendancy of Hausen’s army, inflicted such heavy loss that by nightfall no strong German force had crossed the river. At 4.30 p.m. German airmen reported the general retreat of the French, though, according to French authorities, Lanrezac did not order this till 9 p.m. It was the news of this retreat that led Sir John French to break ofl the battle of Mons. By morning of the 24th the 5th army held a front from Beaumont to Ros^e, and the danger of envelopmentfromHausen'sarmyhadpracticallyvanished. It fell back, despite heavy loss, in fairly good order to another line between Avesnes and Regniowez. The losses on both the German and French sides were con- siderable. Billow claims that he only lost 11,000 tnen, and that the French losses were at least double; he says that he took 4,000 prisoners and 36 guns, but he gives no figures for Hausen's

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