The BEF(British Expeditionary Forces)arrived in France on Aug. 14, 1914.  The British commander Sir John French deployed the British infantry corps, under the leadership of General Horace Smith-Dorrien.  General Edmund Allenby and the cavalry division were kept in reserve.

     To stop the Germans orders were given to a group of Royal Fuseliers to destroy the bridges over the Mons-Conde canal.  The men came under German fire and during the operation five men won the Victoria Cross.  Three of those men were: Private Sidney Godley, Capt. Theodore Wright and Corporal Charles Jarvis.

     On the morning of Aug. 23 General Alexander Von Kluck and his 150,000 men attacked the British.  French favored a withdrawal to the coast but the British war minister, Lord Kitchener, ordered the BEF to retreat to the River Marne.


1st Battle of the Marne.




At the end of Aug. 1914 the three armies of the German’s northern wing were sweeping south towards Paris.  The French 5th and 6th armies and the BEF (British Expeditionary Force) were retreating.  Commander of the 1st German army, General Alexander von Kluck, was ordered to encircle Paris from the east.  The French government departed for Bordeaux because of Germany’s capture of Paris.  About 500,000 French civilians also left by Sept. third.

Joseph Joffre, the commander-in-chief of the French forces, ordered a retreat to a line along the River Seine, southeast of Paris.  Joffre planned to attack the 1st German army on Sept. 6th and decided to replace the commander of the 5th army, General Charles Lanrezac, with a more aggressive General, Franchet D’Esperey.  The commander of the BEF, Sir John French, agreed to join the attack on the German forces.

General Michel Maunoury and the French 6th army attacked the 1st German army on the morning of Sept. 6.  General von Kluck and his entire force met the attack, opening a gap between his forces and the 2nd German army led by General Karl von Bulow.  The British forces and the 5th French army were able to advance into the gap that had been made by splitting the two French armies.

By Sept.10 the battle of Marne was over.  During the battle, the French had about 250,000 casualties.  Even though Germany never published the numbers, it was believed that the losses were similar to the French.  The BEF lost 12,733 men during the battle.





     On the outbreak of WW1, General Alexander Samsonov as commander of the Russian 2nd army for the invasion of East Prussia.  Slowly he advanced into the southwestern corner with the intention of linking up with General Paul von Rennenkampf.

     The commander of the 8th German army, General Maximilian Prittwitz, was dismissed for ordering a retreat when faced with the 2nd Russian army.  General Paul von Hindenburg and General Erich Ludendorff were sent forward to meet Samsonov’s troops.  By Aug. 29, Sassoon’s 2nd army was surrounded.

     General Alexander Samsonov attempted to retreat but because he was in a German cordon, most of his troops were captured or slaughtered.  Shocked by the disastrous out come of the battle, Samsonov committed suicide.  All news of the defeat of the Russians at Tannenberg was kept from the public.