A Popular History of The Great War/Volume 1/Page 251

The home of the Lonsdale Battalion 1914-1918
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Not Proofread. The contents of this page needs to be proofread. Currently, there are multiple typos / OCR errors that require attention.

manded by Major General T. D'Oyly Snow, and had arrived in FranceontheeveningofAugust22-23. Itwasincompleteinits details, having no divisional cavalry, heavy battery, signals, ammunition column or field ambulance. With these immense disadvantages it was called upon to take up a position on Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien's left in boggy country, which soon exhausted men and horses. When the corps corhmander's message reached General Snow he agreed to stand, and his troops were soon actively engaged with the enemy. The disposition of the 2nd corps at dawn on August 26 was as follows: From right to left the main body of cavalry was between Le Gateau and the Sambre (later moved to the left flank to join forces with the French cavalry unddt General Sordet), the 5th division were holding a front from the southern outskirts ofLeGateautoTroisvilleswiththe19thbrigadeinsupport. In the centre was the 3rd division extending as far as Gaudry, and ontheleftthe4thdivisionwithitsleftflankonEsnes. Thegap to Gambrai was filled by the 4th cavalry brigade, and later by GeneralSordeFscavalrycorps. TheGermanforceadvancingin pursuit was t^eneral von Kluck's ist army, with which the 2nd corps had already joined issue at Mons. August 26 was the anniversary of Gr^cy, and though it was not- to witness any notable British victory, it was to be memorable for many fine deeds of British arms associated with the battle of Le Gateau. This town lies in the valley of the Selle in open cultivated country not unsuited to defensive warfare, and stood at the right corner of the battlefield over which the 2nd corps fought witli varying fortunes during the whole of the day. At 6 a.m. the first German scouts made their appearance in Le Gateau, and shortly afterwards the German batteries opened fireupontroopsimmediatelytothewest. Thesituationatonce became serious, for the Germans appeared on the flank of the 2nd corps with a distinct chance of pouring through the gap whichexistedbetweentheistand2ndcorps. Theydid,indeed, advance up the valley of the Selle, where they were caught by a counter-attack on their western flank, which arrested their progress and foiled the first turning movement on the eastern flank of the British forces. About 10 a.m. the battejries and battalions of the 5th division to the west of Le Gateau found themselves under heavy enfilading fire which destroyed guns and inflicted many casualties, but

← 250   ·   251   ·   252 →
(page index)