Guns at Le Cateau: Two Accounts of the B. E. F. in the First World War-The Royal Regiment of Artillery at Le Cateau, 26 August, 1914

By A.F. Becke

Published by LEONAUR (2013)

The stand of the Field Artillery, 1914

Although Europe was at peace for the first half of 1914, plans for the invasion of France by tens of thousands of German soldiers, supported by a huge resource of material and artillery, were well in place. By contrast the small standing army of Great Britain languished in its garrisons. When war broke out the B. E. F was hastened to the continent in little more than a week. That the British were not annihilated in the first days of conflict demonstrates the quality of every aspect of the British Army, which many at that time believed to be the best army-man for man-in the world. However, no force of its size could stop the inexorable advance of the enemy, German superiority in numbers began to tell and the retreat from Mons was ordered. By the 25th of August the First German Army was so hard on the heels of the British II Corps that, despite orders to the contrary, Smith-Dorrien, the corps commander, realising that he could not rely on support while his corps retreated, defied Sir John French and ordered his men to stand and fight at Le Cateau, east of Cambrai. There the British fired shrapnel shells into the advancing Germans, inflicting and sustaining terrible casualties, but ensuring that the B. E. F would exist to fight another day. Angry at the time, Sir John French later freely acknowledged that Smith-Dorrien's action had saved the army from destruction. Published to coincide with the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, this unique Leonaur book contains two accounts of the fighting at Le Cateau, an iconic example of the British Army performing at its very best.
Leonaur editions are newly typeset and are not facsimiles; each title is available in softcover and hardback with dustjacket; our hardbacks are cloth bound and feature gold foil lettering on their spines and fabric head and tail bands.

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