A Popular History of The Great War/Volume 1/Page 274

Not Proofread. The contents of this page needs to be proofread. Currently, there are multiple typos / OCR errors that require attention.
THE FRENCH IN RETREAT


Sir John French paid tribute to the help that this action affordedhim. Hewrote: On the 29th a very brilliant and successful attack by the French 5t}i army at Guise heavily defeated Uiree German corps and threw them back with severe loss. This had a great effect ^ in assisting the retreat^ for it not only enabled the 5th arm^’ to hold its own for some time on the Oise between Guise and La F^re, but it considerably relieved hostile p>ressurc on the British and on the French troops on our left. Unfortunately for General Lanrezac neither this appreciation of his action, nor the fact that his retreat was ordered by General Joffre, could save him from his personal fate, and very shortly afterwards he was relieved of his command. He was succeeded by General Franchet d’Esperey. After the defeat of the French 4th and 3rd French Armies in the great battles of Viiton-Ardennes, August 20—24, and of the French 5th army at Charleroi, the French 4th army (Langle di‘ Cary) was ordei'ed to establish itself on the left bank of the Meuse*, and to hold there while maintaining contact with the 5th army, then in rapid retreat. The front of its five corps ‘ran from MezierestoSassey,southofStenay. AtSasseyitwasincontact with the 3rd army, but west of Mezi^ros a gap of 30 miles opened between it and the 5th army, into which the Germans of the 2nd and3rdarmieswerepouring. ThedefenceoftheMeusewasnot energetic, and was unsuccessful. On August 25, troops of the German 4th army (Duke of Wiiit- temberg) bridged the river at Remilly, and during the following nightforcedapassageatDonchery,belowSedan. OnAugust2f) there was violent fighting at these points, and the German artil- lery drove the French back from the outskirts of Torcy, south- west of Sedan, where the bridge over the Meuse had been left intact through want of explosives. The centre of the French position had been piercM ; but after crossing the river the Germans were checked, though they had secured a good bridge- head south of Sedan. A fresh front was formed by the French from Sassey and Luzy, on the Meuse, along the high ground south of the river near Sedan, with their left in the air west of MtSzieres, near Signy I'Abbaye ; and Langle de Cary resolved to fight on this line. On August 26 the Germans bridged the river at several points betweenCesseandLuzy,andthreatenedhisright. Otherbridges

← 273   ·   274   ·   275 →
(page index)