Battle of the Ardennes, 1914

BATTLE OF THE ARDENNES – WWI

21–23 August 1914

SUMMARY

The Battle of the Ardennes was one of the battles that comprised the Battle of the Frontiers during the first month of WWI.  The battle was by accident as the French 3rd and 4th Armies unexpectantly met the German 4th and 5th Armies in the Ardennes Forrest in the frontiers of France, Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg.

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BACKGROUND

With the Schlieffen Plan, the German Army planned an invasion of France and Belgium while the French Plan XVII called for the invasion of Germany and Belgium.  These opposing plans led to the inevitable clash of both sides in the opening of WWI as French forces unexpectantly met German forces in the forests of the Ardennes.

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LOCATION

       Ardennes region, Belgian–French frontier

https://commons.wikimedia.org

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FRENCH ARMY

IIIE ARMÉE

IVE ARMÉE

Led by

General Pierre Ruffey

Ruffey, http://museedesetoiles.fr-Public Domain

General Fernand de Langle de Cary

de Cary, https://commons.wikimedia.org-Public Domain

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IMPERIAL GERMAN ARMY

ARMEEOBERKOMMANDO 4

ARMEEOBERKOMMANDO 5

Led by

Crown Prinz Wilhelm

Crown Prinz Willhelm, 1914, The Wartenburg Trust-Public Domain

Albrecht, Duke of Württemberg

Albrecht, 1905, https://commons.wikimedia.org-Public Domain

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RESULT

A German victory

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CONSEQUENCE

French forces suffered 42,557 casualties while German losses were 14,940.  The French Army still fought with Napoleonic tactics and wore brightly colored uniforms that provided no camouflage.  This made then easy targets for the Germans.  August 22 resulted in 27,000 French soldiers killed in action and remains the bloodiest single day in French Army history.

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