Karl von Einem
Karl Wilhelm Georg August von Einem genannt von Rothmaler was the commander of the German 3rd Army during the First World War and served as the Prussian Minister of War responsible for much of the German military buildup prior to the outbreak of the war. Born in Herzberg am Harz, Einem served in the Prussian army for much of his life when he was appointed Minister of War in 1903. During his six years of service, Einem oversaw the reorganization of the German army building much of the military's heavy armament in preparation for modern warfare the introduction of the machine gun and modern heavy artillery. In 1909, Einem was appointed commander of VII Corps serving under the command of Gen. Karl von Bülow's 2nd Army taking part in the First Battle of the Marne soon after Germany entry into World War I in August 1914. Assigned to France, Einem succeeded Gen. Max von Hausen as commander of the Third Army in September 1914. Repulsing the French Champagne-Marne offensive from February–March and September–November 1915 Einem would take part in all three Battles of the Aisne and would hold Gen. Anthoine's 4th Army during the Second Battle of the Aisne as part of the Nivelle Offensive from April 16-May 15, 1917.
Einem's right wing units would participate in Gen. Erich Ludendorff's Champagne-Marne offensive on July 15–17, 1918 supporting the east flank of the German 1st Army. After suffering severe casualties in battle with Gen. John J. Pershing's Allied Expeditionary Force from September 26-November 11 in the Meuse-Argonne offensive, he was forced to retreat northward shortly before the war's end. On November 10, 1918, only one day before the declaration of the Armistice, command of Prince Wilhelm's Army Group German Crown Prince fell to Einem who would oversee Germany's demobilization. Retiring from the army in 1919, Einem lived in retirement until his death in Mülheim on April 7, 1934. Order of the Black Eagle with Chain Order of the Red Eagle, 2nd class with Oak Leaves and Crown Order of the Crown, 2nd class with Star Star of the Commanders of the Royal House Order of Hohenzollern with Swords Knight of Justice of the Order of Saint John Iron Cross, 2nd class on black ribbon Iron Cross, 1st class Pour le Mérite, Oak Leaves added on 17 October 1916 Commander First Class of the Military Order of St. Henry Buchan, John.
History of the Great War, 5 vols. Boston, 1922. Karl Einem at FirstWorldWar.com WWI Biographical Dictionary: Karl von Einem Newspaper clippings about Karl von Einem in the 20th Century Press Archives of the German National Library of Economics
Battle of Mons
The Battle of Mons was the first major action of the British Expeditionary Force in the First World War. It was a subsidiary action of the Battle of the Frontiers, in which the Allies clashed with Germany on the French borders. At Mons, the British Army attempted to hold the line of the Mons–Condé Canal against the advancing German 1st Army. Although the British fought well and inflicted disproportionate casualties on the numerically superior Germans, they were forced to retreat due both to the greater strength of the Germans and the sudden retreat of the French Fifth Army, which exposed the British right flank. Though planned as a simple tactical withdrawal and executed in good order, the British retreat from Mons lasted for two weeks and took the BEF to the outskirts of Paris before it counter-attacked in concert with the French, at the Battle of the Marne. Britain declared war on Germany on 4 August 1914 and on 9 August, the BEF began embarking for France. Unlike Continental European armies, the BEF in 1914 was exceedingly small.
At the beginning of the war, the German and French armies numbered well over a million men each, divided into eight and five field armies respectively. The BEF was the best trained and most experienced of the European armies of 1914. British training emphasised rapid-fire marksmanship and the average British soldier was able to hit a man-sized target fifteen times a minute, at a range of 300 yards with his Lee–Enfield rifle; this ability to generate a high volume of accurate rifle-fire played an important role in the BEF's battles of 1914. The Battle of Mons took place as part of the Battle of the Frontiers, in which the advancing German armies clashed with the advancing Allied armies along the Franco-Belgian and Franco-German borders; the BEF was stationed on the left of the Allied line, which stretched from Alsace-Lorraine in the east to Mons and Charleroi in southern Belgium. The British position on the French flank meant that it stood in the path of the German 1st Army, the outermost wing of the massive "right hook" intended by the Schlieffen Plan, to pursue the Allied armies after defeating them on the frontier and force them to abandon northern France and Belgium or risk destruction.
The British reached Mons on 22 August. On that day, the French Fifth Army, located on the right of the BEF, was engaged with the German 2nd and 3rd armies at the Battle of Charleroi. At the request of the Fifth Army commander, General Charles Lanrezac, the BEF commander, Field Marshal Sir John French, agreed to hold the line of the Condé–Mons–Charleroi Canal for twenty-four hours, to prevent the advancing German 1st Army from threatening the French left flank; the British thus spent the day digging in along the canal. At the Battle of Mons the BEF had some 80,000 men, comprising the Cavalry Division, an independent cavalry brigade and two corps, each with two infantry divisions. I Corps was composed of the 1st and 2nd Divisions. II Corps was consisted of the 3rd and 5th Divisions; each division had 5,592 horses, in three brigades of four battalions. Each division had twenty-four Vickers machine guns – two per battalion – and three field artillery brigades with fifty-four 18-pounder guns, one field howitzer brigade of eighteen 4.5-inch howitzers and a heavy artillery battery of four 60-pounder guns.
The II Corps, on the left of the British line, occupied defensive positions along the Mons–Condé Canal, while I Corps was positioned at a right angle away from the canal, along the Mons–Beaumont road. I Corps was deployed in this manner to protect the right flank of the BEF, in case the French were forced to retreat from their position at Charleroi. I Corps did not line the canal, which meant that it was little involved the battle and the German attack was faced by II Corps; the dominant geographical feature of the battlefield, was a loop in the canal, jutting outwards from Mons towards the village of Nimy. This loop formed a small salient, difficult to defend and formed the focus of the battle; the first contact between the two armies occurred on 21 August, when a British bicycle reconnaissance team encountered a German unit near Obourg. The first substantial action occurred on the morning of 22 August. At 6:30 a.m. the 4th Royal Irish Dragoons laid an ambush for a patrol of German lancers outside the village of Casteau, to the north-east of Mons.
When the Germans spotted the trap and fell back, a troop of the dragoons, led by Captain Hornby gave chase, followed by the rest of his squadron, all with drawn sabres. The retreating Germans led the British to a larger force of lancers, whom they promptly charged and Captain Hornby became the first British soldier to kill an enemy in the Great War, fighting on horseback with sword against lance. After a further pursuit of a few miles, the Germans turned and fired upon the Irish cavalry, at which point the dragoons dismounted and opened fire. Drummer E. Edward Thomas is reputed to have fired the first shot of the war for the British Army, hitting a German trooper. Advancing towards the British was the German 1st Army, commanded by Alexander von Kluck; the 1st Army was composed of four active corps and three reserve corps, although only the active corps took part in the fighting at Mons. German corps had two divisions each, with attendant artillery; the 1st Army had the greatest offensive power of
Battle of the Frontiers
The Battle of the Frontiers was a series of battles fought along the eastern frontier of France and in southern Belgium, shortly after the outbreak of the First World War. The battles resolved the military strategies of the French Chief of Staff General Joseph Joffre with Plan XVII and an offensive interpretation of the German Aufmarsch II deployment plan by Helmuth von Moltke the Younger; the German concentration on the right flank, to wheel through Belgium and attack the French in the rear, was delayed by the movement of French Fifth Army towards the north-west to intercept them and the presence of the British Expeditionary Force on his left flank. The Franco-British were driven back by the Germans. French and British rearguard actions delayed the German advance, allowing the French time to transfer forces on the eastern frontier to the west to defend Paris, resulting in the First Battle of the Marne. Belgian military planning assumed that other powers would assist the Belgian Army to eject an invader and a formal alliance between France and Britain was not solidified by a potential German invasion, despite the Anglo-French Entente.
The Belgians judged that the British attitude towards their country had changed and that Belgium had come to be seen as a British protectorate. A General Staff was formed in 1910 but the Chef d'État-Major Général de l'Armée, Lieutenant-Général Harry Jungbluth was retired on 30 June 1912 and not replaced by Lieutenant-General Chevalier de Selliers de Moranville until May 1914. Moranville began planning for the concentration of the army and met Belgian railway officials on 29 July; the Belgian army was to be massed in central Belgium, in front of the National redoubt of Belgium, ready to face any border, while the Fortified Position of Liège and Fortified Position of Namur were left to secure the frontiers. On mobilisation, the King chose where the army was to concentrate. Amid the disruption of the new rearmament plan and poorly trained Belgian soldiers would benefit from a central position to delay contact with an invader but it would need fortifications for defence, which were on the frontier.
A school of thought wanted a return to a frontier deployment, in line with French theories of the offensive. Belgian plans became a compromise, in which the field army concentrated behind the Gete river, with two divisions further forward at Liège and Namur. Alfred von Schlieffen, Chief of the Imperial German General Staff from 1891–1906, devised plans for a decisive battle against the French army in Germany, Belgium or France. Aufmarsch I West was a contingency plan for a Franco-German war, in which France would be on the defensive and Germany would attack by invading Belgium between Antwerp and Namur to advance south and breach the Verdun–Marne–Paris defensive area; the German armies would pause until railways could be repaired and supplies accumulated for a second offensive operation. Helmuth von Moltke the Younger succeeded Schlieffen in 1906 and became convinced that an isolated Franco-German war was impossible and that Italian and Austro-Hungarian forces would not be available to defend the Franco-German border as had been planned.
Aufmarsch I was abolished but in 1914 Moltke tried to apply the offensive strategy of Aufmarsch I to the deployment plan Aufmarsch II for a two-front war, From his assessment of French defensive capability Schlieffen concluded that the German army would need at least 48.5 corps to succeed with an attack on France by way of Belgium, but Moltke planned to attack through Belgium with just 34 corps at his disposal in the west. The Schlieffen plan amounts to a critique of German strategy in 1914 since it predicted the failure of Moltke’s underpowered invasion of France. Moltke followed the trajectory of the Schlieffen plan, but only up to the point where it was painfully obvious that he would have needed the army of the Schlieffen plan to proceed any further along these lines; the main German force tried to follow Aufmarsch I to envelop the French armies on the left and press them back over the Meuse, Somme, Oise and Seine rivers, unable to withdraw into central France. Moltke hoped that the French would either be annihilated or the manoeuvre from the north would create conditions for victory in the centre or in Lorraine, on the common border.
Under Plan XVII, the French peacetime army was to form five field armies of c. 2,000,000 men, with groups of Reserve divisions attached to each army and with a group of reserve divisions on the southern and northern flanks. The armies were to concentrate opposite the German frontier around Épinal and Verdun–Mezières, with an army in reserve around Ste Menehould and Commercy. Since 1871, railway building had given the French General Staff sixteen lines to the German frontier against thirteen available to the German army; the French deployment was intended to be ready for a German offensive in Lorraine or through Belgium. It was anticipated that the Germans would use reserve troops but that a large German army would be mobilised on the border with Russia, leaving the western army with sufficient troops only to advance through Belgium south of the Meuse and the Sambre rivers. French intelligence had obtained a map exercise of the German general staff of 1905, in which German troops had gone no further north than Namur and assumed that plans to besiege Belgian forts were a defensive measure against the Belgian army.
A German attack from south-eastern Belgium towards Mézières and a possible offensive from Lorraine towar
Henri Gouraud (general)
Henri Joseph Eugène Gouraud was a French general, best known for his leadership of the French Fourth Army at the end of the First World War. Henri Gouraud was born on Rue de Grenelle in Paris on 17 November 1867 to Doctor Xavier Gouraud and Mary Portal, the first of six children; the Gouraud family came from Vendée, but had left during the French Revolution for Angers Paris. Gouraud was educated at the Collège Stanislas de Paris, his decision for a military career was, like many Frenchmen of his generation, motivated by the French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War. Gouraud entered the Saint Cyr Military Academy in 1888 as part of the "Grand Triomphe" promotion, a well chosen name as it included sixty future generals, he joined the Troupes de marine. He expected to be posted overseas as the Troupes de marine served in the French colonial empire, but his father objected because he feared that the marines would be a bad influence on his son. Gouraud respected his father's wish and was instead posted to the 21st Foot Chasseur Regiment at Montbéliard.
Henri Gouraud was assigned in 1894 to French Sudan. He developed a reputation as an effective if lucky commander. In 1898, he was ordered to head one of a number of units fighting Samori, the resistance leader, fighting the French for more than a decade. Driven into the highlands south of Niger River valley by a series of previous defeats, Samori's forces were defeated within the year. On 29 September 1898, Gouraud's unit captured him. More it marked the end of the last large state opposing French colonialism in the West; the capture of Samori made Henri Gouraud a celebrated figure in France, at the same time as nationalists were recovering from the setback against the British at Fashoda. The young captain was feted in the highest political circles of Paris, where he was introduced to powerful businessmen and politicians with interests in the colonial project. Among them were Auguste d'Arenberg and Eugène Étienne, future founders of what was called the "parti colonial". Thanks to the patronage of the "parti colonial", Henri Gouraud pursued a career across French Africa for the next fifteen years, with postings in Niger and Mauritania.
In 1907, he was promoted to colonel and commissaire du Gouvernement général of Mauritania, where he led a campaign against Bedouin tribes who threatened transport between the colonies of Morocco and French West Africa. In 1911, after attending the centre des Hautes études militaires in France, colonel Gouraud was stationed in Morocco, where he was promoted to général de brigade, serving under Lyautey, he was placed in command of the Fez military region, from 1914 to 1915 in command of all French colonial troops in western Morocco. In mid-1915 he served as commander of the French Expeditionary Corps, committed to the Dardanelles Campaign, he was wounded on 30 June, subsequently lost his right arm. From December 1915 to December 1916 and from June 1917 until the end of the war he commanded the Fourth Army on the Western Front, where he gained distinction for his use of elastic defense during the Second Battle of the Marne. On 22 November 1918, he entered the city of Strasbourg, overthrowing the Soviet government, proclaimed there on 11 November 1918.
After the war, Gouraud served from 1919 to 1923 as representative of the French Government in the Middle East and commander of the French Army of the Levant. As commander of French forces during Franco-Turkish war, he presided over the creation of the French Mandates in Syria and Lebanon. Following the implementation of the 1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement, which divided the occupied remnants of the Ottoman Empire between France and Britain, Gouraud was commander of forces sent to enforce the French division of the Levant. Between 20 January and 10 February 1920 Gouraud's troops were moved north to support forces in the Franco-Turkish War. Gouraud directed the suppression of a rising of Turkish National Forces at the Battle of Marash which led to the withdrawal of French troops back to Syria. There, Gouraud's ongoing attempt to control King Faisal came to a head. Gouraud led French forces which crushed King Faisal's short-lived monarchy at the Battle of Maysalun on 23 July 1920, occupied Damascus, defeated the forces of the Syrian Revolution and established the French Mandate of Syria.
These territories were reorganised a number of times by Gouraud's decrees, the most famous being the creation of the State of Greater Lebanon on 1 September 1920. Gouraud became the French High Commissioner in Syria and Lebanon, effective head of the colonial government there, he is remembered in the Levant for this role, for an attributed anecdote which portrays him as the epitome of Western triumphalism in the Middle East. Following the Battle of Maysalun, Gouraud went to the tomb of Saladin, kicked it, said: "Awake, Saladin. We have returned. My presence here consecrates the victory of the Cross over the Crescent."Gouraud's administration in Syria borrowed much from his time as a young man working under Lyautey in Morocco, where colonial policy focused on control of the country through manipulation of tribes and the rural Berber populations. In Syria, this took the form of separate administrations for Druze and Alawite communities, with the aim of dividing their interests from those of urban nationalists.
Unpopular following the French taking of Damascus, the folk hero Adham Khanjar of Southern Lebanon staged a failed attempt on Gouraud's life on 23 June 1921. In 1923, he returned to France, where he was the Military Governor of Paris from 1923 to 1937, he served on the Supreme Allied War Council from 1927 until his retirement in 1937. General
Battle of Liège
The Battle of Liège was the opening engagement of the German invasion of Belgium and the first battle of the First World War. The attack on Liège, a town protected by the Fortified position of Liège, a ring fortress built from the late 1880s to the early 1890s, began on 5 August 1914 and lasted until 16 August, when the last fort surrendered; the siege of Liège may have delayed the German invasion of France by 4–5 days. Railways in the Meuse river valley needed by the German armies in eastern Belgium were closed for the duration of the siege and German troops did not appear in strength before the Fortified Position of Namur at the confluence of the Sambre and Meuse rivers until 20 August. Belgian military planning was based on an assumption; the likelihood of a German invasion did not lead to France and Britain being seen as allies or for the Belgian government to intend to do more than protect its independence. The Anglo-French Entente had led the Belgians to perceive that the British attitude to Belgium had changed and that it was seen as a British protectorate.
A General Staff was formed in 1910 but the Chef d'État-Major Général de l'Armée, Lieutenant-Général Harry Jungbluth was retired on 30 June 1912 and not replaced until May 1914 by Lieutenant-General Chevalier de Selliers de Moranville who began planning for the concentration of the army and met railway officials on 29 July. Belgian troops were to be massed in central Belgium, in front of the National redoubt of Belgium ready to face any border, while the Liège fortress ring and Namur fortress ring were left to secure the frontiers. On mobilisation, the King chose where the army was to concentrate. Amid the disruption of the new rearmament plan, the disorganised and poorly trained Belgian soldiers would benefit from a central position, to delay contact with an invader but it would need fortifications for defence, which were on the frontier. A school of thought wanted a return to a frontier deployment in line with French theories of the offensive. Belgian plans became a compromise in which the field army concentrated behind the Gete river with two divisions forward at Liège and Namur.
German strategy had given priority to offensive operations against France and a defensive posture against Russia since 1891. German planning was determined by numerical inferiority, the speed of mobilisation and concentration and the effect of the vast increase of the power of modern weapons. Frontal attacks were expected to be costly and protracted, leading to limited success after the French and Russians modernised their fortifications on the frontiers with Germany. Alfred von Schlieffen, Chief of the Imperial German General Staff from 1891–1906, devised a plan to evade the French frontier fortifications with an offensive on the northern flank, which would have a local numerical superiority and obtain a decisive victory. By 1898–1899, such a manoeuvre was intended to pass swiftly through Belgium, between Antwerp and Namur and threaten Paris from the north. Helmuth von Moltke the Younger succeeded Schlieffen in 1906 and was less certain that the French would conform to German assumptions. Moltke adapted the deployment and concentration plan, to accommodate an attack in the centre or an enveloping attack from both flanks as variants, by adding divisions to the left flank opposite the French frontier, from the c. 1,700,000 men which were expected to be mobilised in the Westheer.
The main German force would still advance through Belgium to attack southwards into France, the French armies would be enveloped on their left and pressed back over the Meuse, Somme, Oise and Seine rivers, unable to withdraw into central France. The French would either be annihilated by the manoeuvre from the north or it would create conditions for victory in the centre or in Lorraine on the common border. At midnight on 31 July – 1 August, the German government sent an ultimatum to Russia and announced a state of "Kriegsgefahr" during the day. On 1 August the British government ordered the mobilisation of the navy, the German government ordered general mobilisation and declared war on Russia. Hostilities commenced on the Polish frontier, the French government ordered general mobilisation and next day the German government sent an ultimatum to Belgium, demanding passage through Belgian territory, as German troops crossed the frontier of Luxembourg. Military operations began on the French frontier, Libau was bombarded by a German light cruiser SMS Augsburg and the British government guaranteed naval protection for French coasts.
On 3 August the Belgian Government refused German demands and the British Government guaranteed military support to Belgium, should Germany invade. Germany declared war on France, the British government ordered general mobilisation and Italy declared neutrality. On 4 August the British government sent an ultimatum to Germany and declared war on Germany at midnight on 4/5 August, Central European Time. Belgium severed diplomatic relations with Germany declared war on Belgium. German troops attacked Liège. Liège is situated at the confluence of the Meuse, which at the city flows through a deep ravine and the Ourthe, between the Ardennes to the south and Maastricht and Flanders to the north and west; the city lies on the main rail lines from Germany to Brussels and Paris, which Schlieffen and Moltke planned to use in an invasion of France. Much industrial development had taken place in Liège and the vicinity, which presented an obstacle to an invading force; the main defences were a ring of twelv
Johannes von Eben
Johannes Karl Louis Richard Eben, from 1906 named von Eben was a Prussian officer who served as General of Infantry in World War I. Johanness Karl Louis Richard Eben was the son of the manor owner Ferdinand Wilhelm Eben, considered the actual founder of the estate which he acquired in 1855 with is wife Agnes, née Nomod de Forideville. Johannes von Eben began his military career as a cadet with the Potsdam Cadet Corps and the Prussian Hauptkadettenanstalt. Upon completion he joined the 2nd Hanseatische Infantry Regiment Nr. 76 located within the Hanseatic Free cities of Hamburg and Lübeck on 19 April 1873, with the position of Portepee-Fähnrich. He received his commission of Second Lieutenant, his first assignment was to the Füsilier-Battalion in Lübeck. Six months he was transferred to the Hamburg Musketeers. On 1 October 1878 he was assigned to the Military Exercise Institute in Berlin for a six-month course. Upon his return he became adjutant at II Battalion from 1 June 1879 to 30 September 1882.
On 14 October 1882 to October 1883, he served with the 17th Regiment. Johannes von Eben was promoted to First Lieutenant on 14 April 1885, his abilities were recognized by his superiors and he was sent to the "Kriegsakademie" in Berlin from 1 October 1886 to 24 July 1889. Upon completion, he returned to the 17th Regiment. Eben was promoted to Captain on 24 March 1890 and appointed Company Commander of the 9th Company in Lübeck, 14 May 1890. From 7 July through 22 July 1891 he participated in the IX Army Corps General Staff exercise tour. Johannes von Eben was transferred to the General Staff of the 12th Division in Neisse on 17 November 1892, he was appointed to the General Staff of the Army on 15 December 1894. Upon his promotion to Major on 12 September 1895 he was assigned to the Kriegsakademie in Berlin as a tactics teacher for five years beginning 1 October 1895, he participated at this time from 27 April to 9 May 1899 in an information course at the Infantry-Artillery School at Spandau. Johannes was transferred on 20 November 1900 to the Spandau 5th Guards Infantry, where he was given command of the First Battalion.
Two years on 22 March 1902, he returned to the General Staff of the Army and transferred to the XVII Army Corps in Danzig, as its General Staff Officer. His promotion to Lieutenant Colonel came on 22 April 1902. In 1905, he was given the post of Army Chief of Department in the Ministry of War in Berlin. For his achievements, Kaiser Wilhelm II elevated him into Prussian hereditary peerage on 29 August 1906 with the official title of "von" added to his name. Two years he became Commander of the Grenadier Guards Regiment No. 5 in Spandau. On 24 March 1909, he was promoted to Major General and given command of the 5th Guards Infantry Brigade. On Kaiser Wilhelm II's birthday, he was given the command of the 30th Division on 27 January 1912. Shortly afterwards, Johannes von Eben was promoted to Lieutenant-General on 22 April 1912. With the outbreak of World War I in August 1914, von Eben's 30th Division, under the XV Army Corps, participated in battles in Lorraine, his leadership earned him promotion to General of the Infantry on 2 September 1914.
He was transferred to command the X Reserve Corps after General Günther von Kirchbach had been wounded. The Corps fought in the Battle of the Marne, was part of the right wing of the Second Army. On 11 June 1915, von Eben took over the I Army Corps in East Prussia under the 12th Army. In July he occupied Bialystok. In September 1915, attached to the 10th Army and occupied the city of Vilnius, in October, Daugavpils with Army Group Scholz. During the Russian Brusilov Offensive of June 1916, General von Eben and his command was subordinated to the 2nd Austrian Army in the Carpathians, they were successful in averting a Russian break through to Hungary during the defensive battles in September. On 7 October 1916, General von Eben was awarded the Pour le Mérite during a visit to the front by Kaiser Wilhelm II; the award had been proposed by General Erich Ludendorff. Von Eben received command of the 9th Army in Romania, succeeding Robert Kosch on 10 June 1917. Field Marshal August von Mackensen proposed von Eben for the Oak Leaves to the Pour le Mérite, conferred on 22 September 1917.
After the separate Peace of Bucharest, which Romania concluded with the Central Powers in December 1917, the 9th Army moved to France on the Western Front. Von Eben took over command of Army Detachment A in Alsace. From 18 June 1918 he took command of the 9th Army, until the ill Fritz von Below was able to take this position. After the Armistice in November 1918, von Eben took the troops under his command back over the Rhine River to Württemberg. After the War, von Eben, staying in the military, was given the duties of Commanding General of the First Army Corps in Königsberg on 14 December 1918. On 14 February 1919 Johannes von Eben submitted his resignation, accepted, ending his military career. Johannes von Eben retired to his native estate Bauditten in East Prussia and died on 30 June 1924 at the age of 69. Pour le Mérite with Oak Leaves The Order of the Red Eagle IV. Class with oak Order of the Crown Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus Order of the Württemberg Crown Hasso von Benda: General of Infantry Johannes von Eben.
In: German soldiers Yearbook 1980. Shield Munich 1980. ISBN 3-88014-073-1. Karl-Friedrich Hildebrand, Christian Zweng: The Knight of the Order Pour le Mérite the First World War. Volume 1:. AG Biblio, Osnabrück 1999, ISBN 3-7648-2505-7, pp 332–33
German invasion of Belgium
The German invasion of Belgium was a military campaign which began on 4 August 1914. Earlier, on 24 July, the Belgian government had announced that if war came it would uphold its historic neutrality; the Belgian government mobilised its armed forces on 31 July and a state of heightened alert was proclaimed in Germany. On 2 August, the German government sent an ultimatum to Belgium, demanding passage through the country and German forces invaded Luxembourg. Two days the Belgian Government refused the demands and the British Government guaranteed military support to Belgium; the German government declared war on Belgium on 4 August, troops crossed the border and began the Battle of Liège. German military operations in Belgium were intended to bring the 1st, 2nd and 3rd armies into positions in Belgium from which they could invade France, which after the fall of Liège on 7 August, led to sieges of Belgian fortresses along the Meuse river at Namur and the surrender of the last forts; the government abandoned the capital, Brussels, on 17 August and after fighting on the Gete river, the Belgian field army withdrew westwards to the National Redoubt at Antwerp on 19 August.
Brussels was occupied the following day and the Siege of Namur began on 21 August. After the Battle of Mons and the Battle of Charleroi, the bulk of the German armies marched south into France, leaving small forces to garrison Brussels and the Belgian railways; the III Reserve Corps advanced to the fortified zone around Antwerp and a division of the IV Reserve Corps took over in Brussels. The Belgian field army made several sorties from Antwerp in late August and September to harass German communications and to assist the French and the British Expeditionary Force, by keeping German troops in Belgium. German troop withdrawals to reinforce the main armies in France were postponed to repulse a Belgian sortie from 9 to 13 September and a German corps in transit was retained in Belgium for several days. Belgian resistance and German fear of francs-tireurs, led the Germans to implement a policy of terror against Belgian civilians soon after the invasion, in which massacres, hostage taking and the burning of towns and villages took place and became known as the Rape of Belgium.
While the French armies and the BEF began the Great Retreat into France, the Belgian army and small detachments of French and British troops fought in Belgium against German cavalry and Jäger. On 27 August, a squadron of the Royal Naval Air Service flew to Ostend, to conduct air reconnaissance between Bruges and Ypres. British marines landed in France on 19/20 September and began scouting unoccupied Belgium in motor cars. On 2 October, the Marine Brigade of the Royal Naval Division was moved to Antwerp, followed by the rest of the division on 6 October. From 6 to 7 October, the 7th Division and the 3rd Cavalry Division landed at Zeebrugge and naval forces collected at Dover were formed into the Dover Patrol, to operate in the Channel and off the French–Belgian coast. Despite minor British reinforcement, the Siege of Antwerp ended when its defensive ring of forts was destroyed by German super-heavy artillery; the city was abandoned on 9 October and Allied forces withdrew to West Flanders. At the end of the Great Retreat, the Race to the Sea began, a period of reciprocal attempts by the Germans and Franco-British to outflank their opponents, extending the front line northwards from the Aisne, into Picardy and Flanders.
Military operations in Belgium moved westwards as the Belgian army withdrew from Antwerp to the area close to the border with France. The Belgian army fought the defensive Battle of the Yser from Nieuwpoort south to Diksmuide, as the German 4th Army attacked westwards and French and some Belgian troops fought the First Battle of Ypres against the 4th and 6th armies. By November 1914, most of Belgium was under Allied naval blockade. A German military administration was established on 26 August 1914, to rule through the pre-war Belgian administrative system, overseen by a small group of German officers and officials. Belgium was divided into administrative zones, the General Government of Brussels and its hinterland; the German occupation lasted until late 1918. The 1839 Treaty of London recognised Belgium as an neutral state; until 1911, Belgian strategic analysis anticipated that if war came, the Germans would attack France across the Franco-German border and trap the French armies against the Belgian frontier, as they had done in 1870.
British and French guarantees of Belgian independence were made before 1914 but the possibility of landings in Antwerp was floated by the British military attaché in 1906 and 1911, which led the Belgians to suspect that the British had come to see Belgian neutrality as a matter of British diplomatic and military advantage, rather than as an end in itself. The Agadir Crisis left the Belgian government in little doubt as to the risk of a European war and an invasion of Belgium by Germany. In September 1911, a government meeting concluded that Belgium must be prepared to resist a German invasion, to avoid accusations of collusion by the British and French governments. Britain and the Netherlands were to continue to be treated as potential enemies. In 1913 and 1914, the Germans made inquires to the Belgian military attaché in Berlin, about the passage of German military forces through Belgium. If invaded, Belgium would need foreign