WWII Account of the Battle of Narvik. Written by unknown Serviceman on board H.M.S Hero.

The Splendid Story of the Battle of Ypres. 3 in on them four deep. Bank after rank tlie British mowed them [down until the riflemen and maeliine-gun men retreated from very weariness of armand horror cf more killing: There came after four days' a little respite during which the English for strategic reasons continued their retreat fighting only rearguard actions. There came too a change in the spirit of Tommy Atkins. This was a professional army and a veteran army— the only one on the line else the history of September 1914 might have to be written in other terms. (Though splendidly equipped, trained to the minute educated to the last frill in military science, the others —except for a few divisions of the French— knew only the theoretical warfare of blank cartridges. The greater part of 1 the English had faced ball cartridges iti India or South Africa. They had the spirit of veterans. And like veterans they re­sented a runaway fight. They began to murmur— not over the dead left for the Germans to bury nor the wounded which choked th hospitals of Paris nor their own prospect of annihila­tion but against this kind of warfare v\liich never let them stand and fight. Here it was that Field-Marshal Sir John French went among his troops, refusing to let them rise and salute as they rested by the roadside he sat down with them told them that if they would keep it up just a little longer he would promise thc::i a fight. The muttering died down the Army went on— backward. Again the Ger­mans pressed them again there was the ruthless, mechanical slaughter of charging tight-locked lines, the ghastly mowing of machine-guns the tragedies of bursting shells. THE MIDNIGHT COUNCIL. J twas the night of September G now the British. Army in its south­ward retreat had passed in­side of Paris it halted to the south-east of the French capital and made another stand. The blackness of despair lay that overnight the leaders of the British Army. Some of the Staff officers have admitted since .that they saw noway out they hoped only to find a good position for a last stand and to make the massacre c-ost the Germans as dearly as possible. Sir John French and his corps commanders clean fagged out, turned in for a little sleep. At midnight a courier from the line wakened them. He was pale and shaken. The German force to the 10 1th had ingot touch with anew German force which had appeared from the east. They were cutoff from the French Army the jig was Sirup. John French and his two corps com­manders in summery attire just as they were roused from their beds held a council by the light of a smoking country lamp. French invented away to meet the new movement dis-ordered positicus accordingly and went back to bed. That council of war on the eve of September 71914 one of the great clays in the history of the world will furnish no theme for the battle painter of the future who loves to trick out his historic figures in gilt and gold lace! And in the morning French who it is said has an uncanny sense for the mind of his enemy felt a slackening of the attack on his front. Before the sun was high his aeroplanes had re­ported that von Kluck at his front had faced east and was moving away from Paris. French struck with all his force. The French Army of Paris made their famous taxicab movement and struck also. By night the German movement was not a shift abut full retreat. VO N KLUCKS MISTAKE. We know now the German plan of campaign and have abetter ui.derstanding of this whole action at the Marne. That great Western army of von Kluck which had swept through Belgium, broken across the unfortified French frontier and thrust forward its cavalry outposts until the Parisian fire department buried Uhlans within the city limits —it was ‘never intended that this army should take Paris. That honour was for the Crown Prinpe who was coming through Mieims from the north-east. Yon Kluck was to dispose thoroughly of the French and English at his front to shift to the left and join the Princes army at a point between Bheims and Paris. Then down the excel­lent Eheims-Paris roads they would march together to the investment of the French capital. Somewhere along the line von Kluck made his mistake. Either he followed too closely the machine-made plan of the General Staff— this is said to bethe common German weakness in this war— or he underrated his enemy. The British Army I under­stand. leans to the latter theory and indeed he would have been insane to make such a move as this even in pursuance of a plan had he believed that he was leaving a really strong army 011 his flank. Sir John French struck the Army of Paris struck more im­portantly the whole French line from Switzerland to Paris pivoted on the Vosges moved up its reserve line and initiated a general attack. The new attack took the Crown Prince on his front and his left flank. Yon Kluck fell back faster and faster it was all but annihilation for him. The Crown Prince and his supporting armies to right and left fell back. The withdrawal became a retreat. That was the great day for France— that September 7. England's greatest day was yet to come. That day from the Yosges to Paris Northern France was a heaven of glory and a hell of slaughter. That day regiments and battalions did the heroically impossible in such numbers that no special mentions no war reports no decorations can ever recognise or name them. That day a whole population of Frances fairest provinces cowered and ran or stood MR. WILL IRWIN.
Add Names

Disclaimer

We have sought to ensure that the content of this website complies with UK copyright law. Please note however, that we may have been unable to ascertain the rights holders of some items. Where we have digitised items, we have done so with items that to the best of our knowledge, following due investigations, are in the public domain. While the original works are in the public domain we reserve all rights to the usage of the digital works.

Small Medium Large Landscape Portrait