The French Army of Belgium consisted, to begin with, of two territorial divisions, four divisions of cavalry, and a naval brigade. Directly after its constitution it was strengthened by elements from other points on the front whose arrival extended from Oct. 27 to Nov. 11. These reinforcements were equivalent altogether in value to five army corps, a division of cavalry, a territorial division, and sixteen regiments of cavalry, plus sixty pieces of heavy artillery.
Thus was completed the strategic manoeuvre defined by the instructions of the General in Chief on Sept. 11 and developed during the five following weeks with the ampleness we have just seen. The movements of troops carried out during this period were methodically combined with the pursuit of operations, both defensive and offensive, from the Oise to the North Sea.
On Oct. 22 our left, bounded six weeks earlier by the Noyon district, rested on Nieuport, thanks to the successive deployment of five fresh armies—three French armies, the British Army, and the Belgian Army.
Thus the co-ordination decided upon by the General in Chief attained its end. The barrier was established. It remained to maintain it against the enemy’s offensive. That was the object and the result of the battle of Flanders, Oct. 22 to Nov. 15.
The fourth installment of the French review takes up the operations in Flanders, as follows:
The German attack in Flanders was conducted strategically and tactically with remarkable energy. The complete and indisputable defeat in which it resulted is therefore significant.
The forces of which the enemy disposed for this operation between the sea and the Lys comprised:
(1) The entire Fourth Army commanded by the Duke of Wuerttemberg, consisting of one naval division, one division of Ersatz Reserve, (men who had received no training before the war,) which was liberated by the fall of Antwerp; the Twenty-second, Twenty-third, Twenty-sixth and Twenty-seventh Reserve Corps, and the Forty-eighth Division belonging to the Twenty-fourth Reserve Corps.
(2) A portion of another army under General von Fabeck, consisting of the Fifteenth Corps, two Bavarian corps and three (unspecified) divisions.
(3) Part of the Sixth Army under the command of the Crown Prince of Bavaria. This army, more than a third of which took part in the battle of Flanders, comprised the Nineteenth Army Corps, portions of the Thirteenth Corps and the Eighteenth Reserve Corps, the Seventh and Fourteenth Corps, the First Bavarian Reserve Corps, the Guards, and the Fourth Army Corps.
(4) Four highly mobile cavalry corps prepared and supported the action of the troops enumerated above. Everything possible had been done to fortify the “morale” of the troops. At the beginning of October the Crown Prince of Bavaria in a proclamation had exhorted his soldiers “to make the decisive effort against the French left wing,” and “to settle thus the fate of the great battle which has lasted for weeks.”