23 August 1914


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Battle of the Frontiers of France

Fourth day of the Battle of the Frontiers of France. By now the Germans are advancing along most of the front.

Battle of the Frontiers of France: Battle of the Sambre

German Cavalry cross the Meuse, 1914
German Cavalry
cross the Meuse,

General Lanrezac attempts to launch a counterattack against the Germans who have crossed the Sambre, but without success. The Germans cross the Meuse near its junction with the Sambra. This threatens Lanrezac's right wing and at 11pm he orders a retreat. The French retreat on the Sambre also forces the British to retreat after their defensive battle at Mons.

Battle of Mons

The battle of Mons was the BEF's first major battle during the First World War. Having advanced into Belgium the BEF found itself in the path of the German First Army (von Kluck). The British fought a costly defensive battle all day at Mons, and at the end of the day still intended to stand and fight on the following day. When it became clear the the French were retreating elsewhere the BEF began a two-week long retreat.

Eastern Front

Hindenburg and Ludendorff arrive in East Prussia to take command.

Battles of Lemberg

At the start of the fighting between the Austrians and Russians both sides misjudge their opponents. The first fighting took place in Galicia, the Austrian province north of the Carpathians. Galicia was bordered to the north and east by Russia. The Austrians assumed that the Russians would attack from the north, and decided to attack north to disrupt the Russians. The Russians actually planned to attack from the east. The fighting started on 23 August at Krasnik, and the Austrians had the best of the fighting in the north. Further east events soon went against them and by the end of the battles of Lemberg they were in full retreat back to the Carpathians.

Battle of Krasnik

Encounter battle at the western end of the front between Austrian and Russia. Both sides misjudged their opponents plans - the Russians intended to attack in the east, the Austrians in the west, and both believed that their opponents were planning to do the same. The Russian Fourth Army (General Salza) was at the west of the Russian line and was ordered to move slowly south. The Russians weren't expecting to run into serious opposition but instead they ran into General von Dankl's powerful Austrian First Army, part of the main Austiran offensive.

On 23 August the two armies ran into each other south of Krasnik. The Russian right fought the Austrian left and the Russians were forced back.

War in the Air

Second (of two built) RAF R.E.1 moves to France with No.2 Squadron.

War at Sea

HMS Canopus, a pre-dreadnought battleship, is sent from the Channel Fleet to act as a guard ship off Cape St. Vincent. In October she is moved futher south to join the South American squadron but she was too slow to accompany Admiral Cradock in his way to Coronel.

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (28 December 2007), 23 August 1914, http://www.historyofwar.org/firstworldwar/daybyday/1914_08_23.html

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