Monday, April 11, 2011

Belgian Cavalry Victory

The Belgian Cavalry Division was successful in winning the one total Belgian victory of the first stages of the Great War without any Allied help. General Leon de Witte commanded the Belgian horsemen against the larger German cavalry corps of General Georg von der Marwitz. The Belgians confronted the Germans at the battle of Haelen on 12 August 1914. His goal was to push back the German cavalry racing to cut off the line of retreat of the Belgian Field Army to Antwerp. The Germans wanted to cut off the Belgian army before they could reach the fortresses of Antwerp and could be easily destroyed in the open. General Leon de Witte had to prevent this with his outnumbered force of Belgian cavalry including regiments of guides, lancers, cyclists and the chasseurs a cheval. They defeated the German cavalry, inflicting heavier losses on the Germans and preventing them from stopping the Belgian army reaching Antwerp (and the Belgian army in Antwerp would be crucial to the Allied victory at the Marne though many ignore this contribution). The battle became known as the "Battle of the Silver Helmets" because of all the shining German cavalry helmets that littered the field of battle after it was over. You can read about this exciting battle of a victory by the Belgian cavalry at First World War and read the view of an American visiting the battlefield.


  1. Amazing! Keep it coming!! I love to hear more of our Belgian History.
    (Please tell me you are going for a degree in History...)

  2. Thanks. I really don't know what I am going to do. I have recently thought of trying for history degree but I don't know what I could really do with that.

  3. Undecided? It will come to you but a minor in History would appear to be a good start! Depending on where you decide to land one day, writing, even teaching, particularly about the past, comes to mind...Belgium has an incredible history too often ignored or blended with other nations...
    Bonne chance!