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The First Seven Divisions

The First Seven Divisions

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Published by: Druid_ian on Sep 07, 2011
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01/29/2012

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formulae have always been the watchwords of

the soldier-unit, whether that unit be a man,

a platoon, a company or a regiment. Now, with

the limitless increase in the size of armaments,

a unit may well be an Army Corps, or even a

combination of Army Corps, and the highest

aim of the general officer commanding such

a unit must be—as of old—fulfilment of duty,

obedience to orders.

To the Briton, then, dwelling in mind on

the battle of Mons, the reflection will always

come with a certain pleasant flavour that the

British Army was a unit which "

did its job,"

and did it in a way worthy of the highest

British traditions. More than this it is not

open to man—whether military or civilian

to do.

The British Army continued its retreat from

the Maubeuge road in the early morning of

the 25th. The original intention of the C.

in C. had been to make a stand along this road.

That, however, was when the numbers opposed

to him were supposed to be very much less than

they ultimately turned out to be. Now it

was known that there were three Army Corps

on his heels, to say nothing of an additional

flanking corps that was said to be working up

The Retreat from Moris

37

from the direction of Tournai. This last was

quite an ugly factor in the case, as it opened the

possibility of the little British Force being

hemmed in against Maubeuge and surrounded.

The road system to the rear, too, was sketchy,

and by no means well adapted to a hurried

retreat—especially east of Bavai ;

nor was the

country itself suitable for defence, the standing

crops greatly limiting the field of fire. All

things considered, it was decided not to fight

here, but to get back to the Cambrai to

Le Cateau road, and make that the next line

of resistance.

Accordingly, about four o'clock on the morn-

ing of the 25th, the whole army turned its

face southward once more. The 5th Division,

which during the process of retirement had

geographically changed places with the 3rd

Division, travelled by the mathematically straight

Roman road which runs to Le Cateau, along the

western edge of the Foret de Mormal, while

the 3rd Division took the still more western

route by Le Quesnoy and Solesme, their retreat

being effectively covered by the 1st and 3rd

C.B. At Le Quesnoy the cavalry, thinking

that the enemy's attentions were becoming

too pressing, dismounted and lined the railway

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