Having temporarily checked the Germans at Mons, the BEF had no alternative but to withdraw as they were outnumbered by the enemy and Lanrezac’s Fifth French Army on their flank was falling back. The Germans, however, were soon in hot pursuit, sensing the BEF were at their mercy. Disobeying his commander Sir John French’s orders, General Horace Smith-Dorrien knew that he had to turn and fight on the open chalk hills around the small town of Le Cateau to avoid the retreat becoming a rout. His II Corps stood as the German pressure mounted and a desperate battle resulted as more and more German troops came into action; men fell, guns were lost and saved but again the BEF were able to escape.
The retreat now began in earnest, and repeated torturous marches followed, with little food and rest, testing even the sternest of constitutions; blisters burst and blood oozed from boots. The Germans found the march equally challenging and at Nery once again the British stood their ground and checked them. The retreat continued ever closer to Paris. Little did the Allies know that the German Schlieffen Plan was unravelling …
This DVD takes viewers to the heart of the action to examine weapons, tactics and raw heroism as they tell the story. Illustrated with maps and location scenes, they make this most complicated of British battles easily understandable.
LE CATEAU 1914 – DVD
After their first encounter with the hugely numerically superior German First Army at Mons, the British II Corps under Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien stood once again around the town of Le Cateau to stop their retreat becoming a rout. This DVD tells the heroic story of the battle, and the retreat that followed it, as the BEF battled their way back towards Paris with the enemy always hot on their blistered heels