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A re-examination of one of the most controversial episodes in the BEF's retreat from Mons to the Marne and in the career of Sir Douglas Haig. The book looks at Haig's decision to speed his I Corps' retirement while Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien's II Corps fought the Battle of Le Cateau.
On 23 August 1914 it was only the two divisions of General Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien's II Corps that were directly engaged with the German First Army along the line of the Mons-Conde Canal in the first British battle of the Great War. As the British Expeditionary Force withdrew from Mons and bivouacked around Bavay on 25 August, the C. in C. Sir John French and his GHQ advisors – unsure of the condition of the routes through the Forest of Mormal - ordered the BEF to continue their retirement the next day avoiding the 35 square miles of forest roads. Consequently II Corps used the roads to the west of the Forêt de Mormal and Sir Douglas Haig's I Corps those to the east – with the intention that the four divisions should meet again at Le Cateau. It was an ambition that was ambushed by circumstance as I Corps encountered units of the German 7th Division at Landrecies on 25/26 August. Unsure of the weight of the German attack at Landrecies, Haig hurriedly left for Grand Fayt, ordering his two divisions to immediately begin their retirement along a route that would take them west of Le Cateau. It was this decision that kept the five divisions of the BEF apart until 1 September and is the subject of this book. I Corps now came under attack from the German Second Army and the resulting rearguard actions involving Haig's men are covered in this instructive and interesting volume: Landrecies 4 Guards Brigade Grand Fayt 2 Connaught Rangers Maroilles 1 Royal Berkshires Etreux 2 Royal Munster Fusiliers Cerizy 5 Cavalry Brigade Villers-Cotterêts 4 Guards Brigade The account concludes on the Marne.


Product Code: 25437
Author: Jerry Murland
ISBN: 9781783463732
Format: Softback, 139 pages Published Price £12.99
Shipping Time: This item is usually dispatched Next Day
Retail Price: £12.99
Our Price: £3.99 save 69% 


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