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Germany Conquers Neutral Belgium

August, 1914 - Belgian troops marching to oppose Germany's invasion of their neutral country. Although overwhelmed, they slowed the German advance.
Text:
Marching to Meet the Enemy.
© by the International News Service, NY
Reverse:
Marching to Meet the Enemy.
Belgian troops moving towards the enemy. To English eyes they look slovenly and unkempt, but they have brilliantly proved their fighting quality.
W. C. A. 145

August, 1914 - Belgian troops marching to oppose Germany's invasion of their neutral country. Although overwhelmed, they slowed the German advance.

Image text

Marching to Meet the Enemy.

© by the International News Service, NY

Reverse:

Marching to Meet the Enemy.

Belgian troops moving towards the enemy. To English eyes they look slovenly and unkempt, but they have brilliantly proved their fighting quality.

W. C. A. 145

Other views: Larger, Back

When Belgium rejected Germany's threatening request for free passage through the country to strike at France, Germany invaded, with cavalry patrols the night of August 3, in force the next day. Great Britain, like France and Germany a guarantor of Belgian neutrality, declared war on Germany.

Belgium's primary defense was its forts along the Meuse River, the greatest of which was the fortress city of Liège surrounded by twelve forts in the narrow passage between the Netherlands and Luxemburg.

As Germany mobilized, special forces trained to seize Liège suffered heavy casualties in frontal assaults on August 5 and 6. On August 6, Belgian forces in the city of Liège surrendered to German forces that had bypassed the forts. On August 8, German artillery began attempting to reduce each of the forts using 21 and 28 cm. siege artillery. The first fort surrendered the same day.

On August 12, the attackers had in position heavier siege artillery firing shells weighing 1,600 pounds. Within the forts the air became deadly, and men were asphyxiated. Enemy shells struck the magazines of three forts, killing hundreds. On August 16, the last of the Liège forts fell.

Under the command of King Albert, the Belgian Army had been unable to hold its initial defensive line between the Meuse forts, and had retreated west behind the Gette. The King moved his headquarters to Louvain followed by the government.

Having taken Liège, the German First Army drove the Belgians from their position on August 18. The Belgians retreated to the fortress city of Antwerp, reaching it on August 20, the same day German forces triumphantly entered the Belgian capital of Brussels.

The city and nine forts of Namur fell on August 25.

The Belgians slowed the German advance, and drew strength from the assault on France.

1914-08-04

1914-11-24

More about Germany Conquers Neutral Belgium:

Germany Conquers Belgium

Events within Germany Conquers Neutral Belgium (2)

Click to View Start Date End Date
German forces enter neutral Belgium 1914-08-03 1914-08-04
Siege of Antwerp 1914-09-28 1914-10-09