Page 3440

3440 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE MODERN WORLD,

in preparation to our own inefficient militia. Nevertheless, a force had been

hurried to the threatened frontier, and

this force took up a position on the western

bank of the broad river Meuse, with the

Dutch frontier on their left and the forts

of Liege covering their right. German

attempts to throw pontoon bridges across

the river were frequently foiled, but at

last a crossing was forced, and the Belgians

had to retire. On the 6th, the victors

joined the forces that had already laid

siege to Liege. These forces had crossed

the Belgian border further south, and had

made their first attack upon the night of

the 4th of August. The garrison of Liege,

amounting to perhaps 40,000 men of all

arms, were outnumbered, but they had

managed to dig trenches and build wire

entanglements, and met the attack with

remarkable determination. While German

artillery bombarded the works with high

explosive shells, great masses of infantry

moved forward through the darkness and

tried to carry the works by assault. They

were met by a well directed fire that cut

them down by thousands, and the assault

failed. News of this temporary victory

was at once spread broadcast over the

world, and roused great enthusiasm in

the Allied countries and among pro-Ally

sympathizers in other countries.

The check proved, however, only momentary. All next. day the battle raged,

and meanwhile the Germans were bringing up the heavy howitzers that were to

prove one of the surprises of the war.

It would seem that at Liege, at least in

the earlier stages, the Germans did not

use their famous 42-centimeter guns,

the "Brummers", but relied upon 21- and

28-centimeter Krupp and 30.2-centimeter