26 August 1914


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Western Front

General Gallieni is appointed Military Governor of Paris. This is a garrison post, so doesn't come under Joffre's control until 2 September.

Battle of Le Cateau

Controversial battle during the British retreat from Mons. The Germans are very close to the British I and II Corps. II Corps, under General Smith-Dorrien, stands and fights at Le Cateau in an attempt to slow the German pursuit. After a day of fighting II Corps is nearly outflanked but the French Cavalry Corps arrives just in time to prevent this. The British suffer 8,077 casualties in the battle, more than at any battle since Waterloo. These heavy losses demoralise Field-Marshal Sir John French, and cause arguments within the British high command.

Eastern Front

Battle of Gnila-Lipa

Start of the first major Russian offensive against the Austrians. The Austrians expect to be attacked from Russian Poland, and so move troops north-west to face this threat. The Russians actually attack from the east, heading for the fortress of Lemberg. The Austrians in that area are thus outnumbered heavily.

First contact comes on 26 August when three Austrian corps moving towards the Zlota Lipa river run into the advancing Russians. By the end of the day the Austrians are in full retreat.

Battle of Komarow

At the western end of the Austro-Russian front the Russian Fourth Army clashed with the Austrian First Army in the three-day long battle of Krasnik. The Russians didn't realise that the main Austrian offensive was coming in the west and assumed that the First Army was an isolated force. They decided to use the Russian Fifth Army (Plehve) to attack the right flank of the advancing Austrians. This meant that the Russians were advancing into the gap between the Austrian First and Fifth Armies, creating a very real chance that the Russian Fifth Army would be surrounded.

Battle of Tannenberg

Battle that sees the destruction of the Russian Second Army (Samsonov). The Russians are using unencoded radio transmissions, so the Germans know exactly where their main units are and are able to plan an encirclement battle.

How to cite this article: Rickard, J (28 December 2007), 26 August 1914, http://www.historyofwar.org/firstworldwar/daybyday/1914_08_26.html

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