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3455 THE TWENTIETH CENTURY-THE GREAT WAR.

his immense army and accepting the defensive.

Three French armies were already on

the Belgian and Luxemburg borders. One

under General Lanrezac extended from

about Maubeuge to the Meuse, a second,

under General Langle de Cary, was posted

across the Ardennes-Luxemburg border,

and a third, under General Ruffey, held

the region west of Verdun. Some of these

forces had attempted to push forward

into Belgium, but, after a considerable

success won at Dinant, August 15th, by

Lanrezac, the French were checked and

then thrown back:

Great hopes were placed by the Allies

upon the resistance which they expected

would be made by Namur, just north of

the Belgian border. This place, with its

five large and four smaller forts, was

deemed at least as strong a place as Liege,

and it had had much longer time for preparation. It commanded the confluence

of the Meuse and the Sambre and also

important roads leading into France. It

was garrisoned by about 26,000 men, but

many of them were raw troops and most

had become discouraged by defeat and

by the stories of the vast numbers and

terrific power of the enemy. On the 20th

of August, a German army of about 150,000

men began an active attack upon the fortress. A continuous stream of 21, 28 and 42-centimeter shells was soon pouring

in upon the forts, which, with their much

lighter guns, were unable to make any

effective return. Under this storm of

fire and iron the defenders soon became

demoralized and fled from the trenches.

One fort held out until the 25th, but

by the 23d the Germans were able to

secure the passages of the Meuse and

Sambre and pass on with their main

forces into France. Part of the garrison of Namur succeeded in escaping into

France, and about 12,000 were subsequently transferred from Havre to northern Belgium by sea. With the fall of

Namur the preliminary stage of the campaign may be said to have ended, and the

real campaign to have begun.

For the great onslaught the Germans

had in motion a horde of about a million

and a half men, divided into several armies.

Much the greater number of this vast

force was moving southward out of Belgium and Luxemburg, and the cavalry

attached to this wing alone about equaled

all the men who fought on both sides at

Gettysburg. Pushing in through the

Longwy gap there was also another great

army under the German Crown Prince.

The German plan was to dash southward

at tremendous speed, crush all opposition,

destroy the French armies, capture Paris,

and force France to sign a peace.

To meet the invasion the French, at

this time, had about 1,300,000 men mobilized, but only about half were near the

frontier, and, of this half, too large a proportion seemed concentrated in the east.

To meet the great avalanche from the

north there were only the armies of Generals Lanrezac, Langle de Cary, and Ruffey

and the little British army. This last

force consisted of two army corps and a

considerable number of cavalry, in all about