The Battle of Ardennes 22 August 1914.
By Simon J House.
On 22 August 1914 - on a battlefield 100 kilometres wide stretching from Luxembourg to the River Meuse - two French and two German armies clashed in a series of encounters known collectively as the Battle of the Ardennes. On that day, 27,000 young French soldiers died - the bloodiest day in the military history of France (most of them in the Ardennes) and yet it is almost unknown to English-speaking readers. There has never been an operational study of the Battle of the Ardennes in any language: at best, a single chapter in a history of greater scope; at least a monograph of an individual tactical encounter within the overall battle.
This book fills a glaring gap in the study of the opening phase of the First World War - the Battles of the Frontiers - and provides fresh insight into both French and German plans for the prosecution of what was supposed to be a short war. At the centre of this book lies a mystery: in a key encounter battle, one French Army corps led by a future Minister of War - General Pierre Roques - outnumbered its immediate opposition by nearly six to one and yet dismally failed to capitalize on that superiority. The question is how, and why.