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History War

First World War : 11th of August 1914

Following the defeat near Mulhouse and the force retreat the French high commandment created an ” Army of Alsace ” with at its head, General Paul Pau. He will join his army on the 13th of August.

The same day, France declares war to Austria-Hungary, answering to their declaration of the 10th and cuts all diplomatic relations with the Empire.

While the hope of a quick victory in Alsace and Lorraine is gone,  the French army offered the Germans a heavy resistance in the Meuse ( Lorraine region ). The small village of Pillon is taken but the German army is confronted by hundreds of French poilus in the neighboring village of Mangiennes. The two villages are only separated by woods.

Parts of the III and IV French armies are stationed in Mangiennes, alerted at the presence of German hussars nearby. After the French cavalry sighted the German forces, Colonel de Hautecloque ( in charge of France’s 14th hussars regiment ) ordered machine guns to be deployed. The two enemy armies are barely a couple of kilometers away from each other. Artillery fire is exchanged and for a while, both sides camped on their positions. On the German general is asked to take Mangiennes, despite indicated that the terrain was not favorable for an assault. However the German command, realizing that their flank was weak and a easy target decided to reinforce the presence of German soldiers in Pillon. The French officers are persuaded that the artillery destroyed the German machine guns or forced them to retreat and General Cordonnier charged their flanks, however it was unsuccessful and the cost in men hight. Some soldiers, despite the orders, pursued the Germans in the nearby village of Loison.

The fighting of the 11th of August between Mangiennes and Pillon made 120 Frenchmen died and 240 Germans lost their lives.

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History War

First World War : 9th of August and the battle of the frontiers.

On the 9th August, at Mulhouse and its surroundings, yesterday’s victory felt short for the soldiers. The officers knew that a great amount of German forces were very close but disagreement in the leading ranks lead to the soldiers keeping their positions. The French artillery unsuccessfully fired at a German train during the entire morning. A train that was transporting more and more enemies to the nearby forest. At the end of the afternoon, an attack launched by a corps ( the VII ) plus another division, forced the French troops to retreat after resisting several hours. The retreat was success, despite being the target of German artillery.

The French regiments organized themselves only several kilometers from Mulhouse, who was only defended by General Bonneau and his men who would retreat on the morrow, the 10th of August. The German victory at Mulhouse cost 3,000 men and France suffered 4,000 casualties. With the retreat of Bonneau, the French commandment began to send troops to the Vosges. Bonneau lost his position because of his “ lack of aggressiveness “ and hence was replaced. The retreating troops headed to Belfort, a fortified place.

The battle of Mulhouse is part of the bigger Battle of the Frontiers, fought by France, Belgium and the United Kingdom against the German Empire, a battle that will last until the 23rd of August.

At the same time, Belgium was loosing its incredible system of fortifications and fortresses. The German machine was advancing and was unstoppable.

The same day, in Africa, a joint operation between France and the United Kingdom launched an invasion of Togoland,  a German colony.

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History War

First World War: 8th of August

After the successful operations of the 7th of August, the French Ie Army continued its offensive in Alsace and quickly captured Mulhouse on the 8th of August. The industrial city was easily taken and Paris celebrated General Bonneau‘s victory. The French forces were then able to establish their front-line between Thann and Mulhouse.

However, if not a single German soldier could be sighted in the city, they did not left their positions without gathering a lot of intelligence of the French Ie Army. In the evening of the same day, General Curé received word that a massive German force was in movement in the nearby cities and forests. The General understood that the French soldiers were inferior in numbers, the city had to be evacuated, less than 24 hours after being taken. A strategic retreat in the surroundings was organized, ready to face the German forces on the 9th.

 

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History War

First World War : 7th of August 1914

While the fighting was raging in Belgium, the German army was not planning to lunch an offensive against France on the Alsace borders. Since the beginning of the war, a plan made by French head quarters was about to be executed. 19,000 men were gathered under the command of General Louis Bonneau, an Alsatian with 46 years of military service behind him.

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History War

First World War : 6th of August 1914

More and more soldiers were converging North, ready to meet the enemy at the borders. If during war times news are often grim, the press spread quickly the word of Belgian resistance, one which the German army was not expecting.  Germany’s plans even had to be changed, to the point of crossing  Netherlands borders. Almost every newspapers praised Belgian heroism in their streets, sometimes with very doubtful sources concerning the numbers of killed etc…