Page 32 - The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-I

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CHAPTER
III
THE MARNE AND THE AISNE
(Map
2)
2nd Battalion
FEW battles in history have given rise to such furious controversy
or to so many legends as the events commonly called the Battle of the
Marne. Fortunately, this chronicle is not concerned with the
matters of strategy involved.
It
will suffice to say that von Kluck's
First German Army had in the early days of September, I9I4,
abandoned the original plan of encircling Paris round the west in
order to drive the British and French armies into a vast repetition of
Sedan against the Vosges and the Swiss frontier, and had marched
to the south-east across the eastern face of the defences of the
capital, behind which General
J
ofire had begun to form a new Sixth
Army under General Maunoury for a counter-stroke; that General
J
ofire or General Gallieni, the Military Governor of Paris, had seen
the chance thus given by the enemy in exposing his flank; that
General Maunoury's Anny, part of it rushed forward in the now
famous taxi-cabs of Paris (driven as furiously and wildly as they
always are), had been hurled against von Kluck's right flank,
compelling his speedy retirement to avoid being himself encircled as
he had hoped to encircle the Allied left; that the neighbouring
Gennan Armies on his left were thereby forced to confonn and to
withdraw in their turn ; and that the British and the French left
ceased on 5th September to march to the south and south-west away
from the enemy, and on the 6th turned north and north-east to
follow him-but alas! as the event proved, not quickly or vigorously
enough to keep him moving.
It
is of interest to recall in passing that the discovery of von
Kluck's change of direction was very largely due to British aerial
reconnaissances, of which a full share was performed by Captain
(afterwards
Air
Commodore)
L.
E. O. Charlton, who had been
seconded from the Regiment to the Royal Flying Corps in 1912.
The entry in the 2nd Battalion's War Diary for 5th September
2ND EN
ends with the words "End of retirement" ; and it was with a proud
feeling of relief that the troops turned back on their tracks on the 6th.
But the marches of the next week were to be as long as those of the
Retreat and would have been as trying but for the longer rests and
the "tails up" spirit which now helped the troops. The weather
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