Saturday 6 September 2014

The End of The Retreat, The Beginning of the Advance

Sunday 6th September 1914: Our contact with the 1st Bedfords states: “The end of the retreat and the commencement of the advance”. The battalion marched back through Tournan-en-Brie then north-east, close to the path of the former retreat, to the town of Mortcerf. The adjutant tells us that the German VI Corps is “retiring in disorder north and north-east” and our contact that “we hear that the German Army is surrounded and that great things are up and that we shall be on them”.

The reason for this sudden German retreat seems to be that the Germans, instead of making straight for Paris have swung to the south-east in an attempt to envelop the retreating French, surround them and destroy them. However, this has exposed their right flank to the French 6th Army under General Maunoury. French General Joffre, commanding the allied armies decided to attack the exposed flank but the notorious von Kluck, commanding the German 1st Army got wind of this yesterday and began to wheel his army to face the expected attack. This, in turn has opened a gap on von Kluck’s right flank which our men are to exploit. Let us hope that all goes well with this, our first offensive action in this war.

Our source with the Bedfords tells us: “We heard that we were on the heels of the Germans, in fact, only two hours behind them. We have come across houses that have been looted by them and the places smell of them. On a hill on our left we heard a loud explosion and were told that it was some captured German guns which were being blown up. The pieces are supposed to have fallen amongst and killed a man or two in our Brigade Transport”.

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