Books Should Be Free is now
Loyal Books
Free Public Domain Audiobooks & eBook Downloads
Search by: Title, Author or Keyword

Tourcoing   By: (1870-1953)

Book cover

First Page:

TOURCOING

[Illustration]

TOURCOING

BY HILAIRE BELLOC

MCMXII STEPHEN SWIFT AND CO., LTD. 16 KING STREET, COVENT GARDEN LONDON

CONTENTS

PART PAGE

I. THE POLITICAL CIRCUMSTANCE 9

II. THE GENERAL MILITARY SITUATION 17

III. THE PLAN OF THE ALLIES 28

IV. THE PRELIMINARIES OF THE BATTLE 49

V. THE TERRAIN 57

VI. THE ACTION 67

TOURCOING

PART I

THE POLITICAL CIRCUMSTANCE

The Battle of Tourcoing is one of those actions upon which European history in general is somewhat confused, and English history, in particular, ignorant.

That British troops formed part of those who suffered defeat, and that a British commander, the Duke of York, was the chief figure in the reverse, affords no explanation; for the almost exactly parallel case of Fontenoy in which another royal duke, also the son of the reigning King of England, also very young, also an excellent general officer, and also in command was defeated is among the most familiar of actions in this country. In both battles the posture of the British troops earned them as great and as deserved a fame as they had acquired in victory; in both was work done by the Guards in particular, which called forth the admiration of the enemy. Yet Tourcoing remains unknown to the English general reader of history, while Fontenoy is one of the few stock names of battles which he can at once recall.

The reason that British historians neglect this action is not, then, as foreign and rival historians are too inclined to pretend, due to the fact that among the forces that suffered disaster were present certain British contingents.

Again, as will be seen in the sequel, the overwhelming of the Duke of York's forces at Tourcoing, by numbers so enormously superior to his own, was not due to any tactical fault of his, though it is possible that the faulty plan of the whole action may in some measure be ascribed to him.

Now Tourcoing is a battle which Englishmen should know, both for its importance in the military history of Europe, and for the not unworthy demeanour which the British troops, though defeated, maintained upon its field.

The true reason that Tourcoing is so little known in this country is to be discovered in that other historical fact attaching to the battle, which I have mentioned. It occupied but a confused and an uncertain place in the general history of Europe; though perhaps, were its military significance fully understood, it would stand out in sharper relief. For though the Battle of Tourcoing was not the beginning of any great military series, nor the end of one; though no very striking immediate political consequence followed upon it, yet it was Tourcoing which made Fleurus possible, and it was Fleurus that opened the victorious advancing march of the French which, looked at as a whole, proceeded triumphantly thenceforward for nearly eighteen years and achieved the transformation of European society.

What, then, was the political circumstance under which this action was fought?

The French Revolution, by the novelty of its doctrines, by the fierceness and rapidity of its action, and by that military character in it which was instinctively divined upon the part of its opponents, challenged, shortly after its inception, the armed interference of those ancient traditional governments, external to and neighbouring upon French territory, which felt themselves threatened by the rapid advance of democracy.

With the steps that led from the first peril of conflict to its actual outbreak, we are not concerned. That outbreak took place in April 1792, almost exactly three years after the meeting of the first Revolutionary Parliament in Versailles... Continue reading book >>




eBook Downloads
ePUB eBook
• iBooks for iPhone and iPad
• Nook
• Sony Reader
Kindle eBook
• Mobi file format for Kindle
Read eBook
• Load eBook in browser
Text File eBook
• Computers
• Windows
• Mac

Review this book



Popular Genres
More Genres
Languages
Paid Books