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Siege of Maubeuge
Part of the Great Retreat on the Western Front (World War I)
Bundesarchiv Bild 115-2087, Frankreich, Maubeuge, deutsche Besatzung
German soldiers outside Maubeuge, September 1914.
Date August 24–September 7, 1914
Location Maubeuge, France
Result German victory
Belligerents
Flag of France.svg France Flag of the German Empire.svg German Empire
Commanders and leaders
France Joseph Anthelme Fournier
France Joseph Joffre
German Empire Hans von Zwehl
German Empire Karl von Bülow
German Empire Alexander von Kluck
Strength
45,000 men
435 guns
50,000 men
Casualties and losses
5,000 dead/wounded
40,000 POW, 377 guns captured
Unknown


The Siege of Maubeuge took place between August 24 and September 7, 1914 when the French garrison of the Maubeuge Fortress finally surrendered to the Germans at the start of World War I on the Western Front.

  • August 7: General Fournier, commander of the Maubeuge Fortress, accurately warned that a massive German offensive over the Meuse River was likely. General Joseph Joffre promptly sacked him for defeatism.
  • August 12: At a British War Council [15:00–18:00], Field Marshal Lord Kitchener predicted a major German drive through Belgium, but was compelled to agree to send the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) to Maubeuge as planned instead of further back to Amiens. Kitchener ordered General John French not to consider himself under the command of the French Army.
  • August 20: The BEF was fully assembled around Maubeuge.
  • August 21: General Karl von Bülow ordered Alexander von Kluck’s 1st Army to veer from moving west to south towards Maubeuge. Kluck angrily objected as this prevented the German 1st Army from outflanking the Allied left. The BEF began marching north from Maubeuge towards Mons - reconnaissance reported that strong German forces were heading straight for it, but the reports are discounted by the confident Sir Henry Wilson.
  • August 24: Early in the morning John French briefly threatened to retreat away from the Charles Lanrezac's Fifth Army towards Amiens, until he’s dissuaded by Joffre - John French also considered withdrawing the BEF into the fortress of Maubeuge. later the same day German Second Army opened its attack on the French fortress of Maubeuge.
  • August 25: The advancing German Second Army left behind a corps to cover the French fortress of Maubeuge - the fortress commander was ordered to hold on.
  • August 26: German forces had completely invested the bypassed fortress.
  • August 29 to September 5: The surrounded French fortress was subjected to bombardment by German heavy artillery.
Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1970-009-17, Maubeuge, Festung, zerstörte Kasematten

Part of the ruined fort after capture by Germans

  • September 5 to September 6: After a prolonged bombardment, German forces stormed four of the bypassed forts.
  • September 7: During the evening, far behind the front line, the fortress complex at Maubeuge fell to the Germans, with 40,000 French soldiers taken prisoner.
  • November 9, 1918: Maubeuge was re-taken by the British Guards Division and 62nd (West Riding) Division.

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