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Mons 1914: Britain's Tactical Triumph (Praeger Illustrated Military History) Hardcover – 9 Feb 2004


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Amazon.com: HASH(0x9a50d7ec) out of 5 stars 1 review
HASH(0x9a34c9f0) out of 5 stars The Professional British Army sucessfully cuts "its teeth" despite heavy odds: 2 May 2010
By John Silence is Golden - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is an good overview of the not only the Battle of Mons but also the Battles of Le Cateau and Villers-Cotterets and the desperate but sucessful retreat of the BEF in which they avoided annilihation by Von Kluck's army. The maps ,color plates and pictures are all very good quality. Sir Horace Smith - Dorrien the commander of the BEF's 11 Corps emerges as an outstanding commander that most sucessfully navigated the " fog of war " in the defense postioning and fighting his Corps at Mons and Le Cateau against the far superior numbers of the German 1st Army. The German 1st and 2cd Armies had their chances to destroy the 11 Corps but the inexperience of their commanders Von Kluck and Von Bulow, faulty attack tactics by their infantry, exhaustion due to hard marching and stout defensive stands by a well trained British infantry firing up to 30 aimed shots per minute allowed the 11 Corps and BEF to survive and ultimately play a critical role in winning the battle of the Marne less than a month later. It is a pity that Smith - Dorrien was hated by the incompetent BEF Commander in Chief, Sir John French because his command insight and audacity was vital in the preventing German victories AND YET it was Smith - Dorrien who was ultimately was relieved of command due to French's anger and jellously. The British made some costly mistakes - inefficent communications left battalions and companies to be surrounded by overwhelming numbers and fighting their field artillery in the open resulted in 24 field guns being lost at Le Cateau {and 36 pieces overall} due to more effective German indirect artillery fire. The German army displayed reckless courage and took heavy casualties but also showed that they could and did} adjust their tactics to use their superior #s to envelope british defensive positions. Still, the long service / professional BEF acquitted itself with a military competence that was sorely lacking in the Kitchener " new army " that fought at the Somme in 1916. The narrative is an " easy read " and even the minor actions are mentioned even if briefly . This is a lucid, informative if brief telling of a legendary battle. I give this book 4 stars and recommend it to both the casual reader and World War 1 enthusiast.
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