Sunday, 5 June 2011

Battle of Charleville

On Sunday, August 23, 1914, the Fourth Army, operating from the Meuse, was heavily outnumbered by the Saxon army around the river town of Dinant. They fell back, after furious fighting for the possession of the bridges, which the French engineers blew up as the army withdrew southward to the frontier. Soon after, at Givet, the Germans succeeded in wedging their way across the Meuse.
Recent flooding has made Charleville even more depressing than normal.Why the Krauts wanted it is beyongd me. I spent some time here and the only thing that happened was rain.More exciting talking with Blake!!!!!
 Some advanced on Rocroi and Rethel, and other corps marched along the left bank of the Meuse, through wooded country, against a steadily increasing resistance which culminated at Charleville, a town on the western bank of the river. There a determined stand was made.
On August 24, 1914, the town of Charleville was evacuated, the civilians were sent away to join multitudes of other homeless refugees, and then the French also retired, leaving behind them several machine guns hidden in houses, placed so that they commanded the town and the three bridges that connected it with MezieresMézières au printemps
The German advance guards reached the two towns next day, August 25, 1914, which, as we know, witnessed the British retirement toward Le Cateau. Unmolested, they rode across the three bridges into the quiet, empty streets. Suddenly, when all had crossed, the bridges were blown up behind them by contact mines, and the German cavalrymen were raked by the deadly fire of the machine guns. Nevertheless, finding their foes were not numerous, they made a courageous stand, waiting for their main columns to draw nearer. Every French machine gunner was silenced by the Guards with their Maxims; but when the main invading army swept into view along the river valley, the French artillery from the hills around Charleville mowed down the heads of columns with shrapnel. Still the Teutons advanced with reckless courage. While their artillery was engaged in a duel with the French, German sappers threw pontoon bridges across the river, and finally the French had to retire. Between Charleville and Rethel there was another battle, resulting in the abandonment of Mezieres by the French.

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