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Battle of Le Grand Fayt
Part of the Great Retreat on the Western Front (First World War)
Date26 August 1914
LocationGrand-Fayt, France
50°06′51″N 03°48′09″E / 50.11417°N 3.8025°E / 50.11417; 3.8025Coordinates: 50°06′51″N 03°48′09″E / 50.11417°N 3.8025°E / 50.11417; 3.8025
Result Ambush of Allied troops, Allies retreated
 United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland  German Empire
Commanders and leaders
United Kingdom Lt. Col. A.W. Abercrombie German Empire Alexander von Kluck
German Empire Karl von Bülow
A Battalion
Casualties and losses
6 officers and 280 men reported missing Unknown

The Battle of Le Grand Fayt was a rearguard action fought at Grand-Fayt by the British Expeditionary Force during the Great Retreat on the Western Front in 1914. The German 2nd Army commander General Karl von Bülow had ordered a rapid pursuit after the battles of 21–24 August against the French Fifth Army and the British Expeditionary Force ("BEF"). The 1st and 2nd armies were sent to the south-west to gain the left flank of the Allied line. The X Reserve Corps encountered "especially obstinate" resistance at Marbaix and Le Grand-Fayt.[1]

On the morning of the 26th of August, 1914, the 2nd Connaught Rangers under Lieutenant-Colonel A.W. Abercrombie covering the retreat of the British 5th Infantry Brigade from Petit Landrecies. Unknown to Abercrombie, however, by late morning the retreat had already taken place and orders had been issued, but not received, for the Connaught Rangers to retreat.[2]

Hearing the sound of rifle fire coming from near-by Marbaix, Abercrombie set off with two platoons of infantry in the direction Marbaix only to come under heavy artillery and machine-gun fire. Abercrombie then ordered his force to retire on Le Grand Fayt, which locals had told him was clear of Germans, only to discover that Le Grand Fayt had been abandoned. Abercrombie and his men then came under heavy fire from Germans concealed in the village, and the order was given to retreat through the surrounding fields. Despite the heavy German fire, and the difficulty of communication in the close terrain, the retreat was carried out in an orderly fashion, although 6 officers and 280 men were reported as still missing on the 29th, including Abercrombie.[3] By the evening the X Reserve Corps was still near Marbaix and Avesnes. The pursuit by the 2nd Army was ordered to continue on 27 August through Landrecies and Trélon, with the X Reserve Corps advacing towards Wassigny.[4]



  • Humphries, M. O.; Maker, J. (2013). Der Weltkrieg: 1914 The Battle of the Frontiers and Pursuit to the Marne. Germany's Western Front: Translations from the German Official History of the Great War. I, part 1. Waterloo, Canada: Wilfrid Laurier University Press. ISBN 978-1-55458-373-7. 
  • Terraine, J. (1960). Mons: The Retreat to Victory (Wordsworth Military Library, 2002 ed.). London: Batsford. OCLC 640881916. 

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