Book Review: Gentlemen, We Will Stand and Fight: Le Cateau 1914


by Antony Bird

Ramsburg, Wilts: Crowood Press/Minneapolis, MBI Zenith, 2008. Pp. 206. Illus., maps, append., notes, biblio., index. $34.95. ISBN: 1847970621

Following the Battle of Mons (Aug 23-24, 1914), the BEF found itself in retreat, closely pressed by the advancing Germans.   At Le Cateau on August 26th British II Corps commander Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien halted his exhausted troops and offered accept battle rather than continue retreating. 

Gentlemen, We Will Stand and Fight is an account of the Battle of Le Cateau, at which the heavily outnumbered, tired British troops inflicted a severe reverse on the enemy, giving the BEF a ten day breather. British scholar Bird not only provides a very detailed account of one of the few open field battles of the war, but fits it into its niche in the unfolding campaign, and its role in helping to set the stage for the Battle of the Marne . But he also looks at what happened to Smith-Dorrien; despite the general?s success, personal animosities and service politics led to his being sacked in disgrace, a matter that is well covered. 

This is a valuable read for anyone interested in World War I. 

Reviewer: A. A. Nofi   

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