Military Review English Edition November-December 2015 - Page 40

units attached to the cavalry—slowed the Allied advance enough that the Germans were able to respond. Having become aware of the gap that had opened in his lines, on 8 September Moltke sent his intelligence officer, General Staff Lt. Col. Richard Hentsch, as an emissary to assess and advise his subordinate army commanders. Cautious and conservative by nature, and with an imperfect picture of the overall situation, Hentsch reacted by persuading the equally cautious Bülow to begin a retreat the next day, an action which would then force Kluck to do so as well. With conflicting and late orders among German forces as well as battlefield setbacks for both sides, 9 September dawned; it was destined to be an odd day. The British had reached and were crossing the Marne alongside the French Sixth Army, fighting German cavalry rear guards as well as the right flank of Bülow’s Second Army. The Germans were also trying to keep the initiative by attacking. Kluck was attempting to outflank the French Sixth Army, while Bülow, although pulling back his right flank, was still attacking and almost destroying the new French Ninth Army on his left flank. This chaotic dichotomy ended during the afternoon of 9 September when the Germans began a general retreat. Subsequently, over the next three days the Germans withdrew thirty miles to the northeast to the line of the Aisne River, where ridges north of the river provided ideal defensive terrain. The Germans Ge rm an German First Army Aisne Sec ond Arm y iss Briti Exped sh itiona ry Force French Fifth Army Ou rcq So French Sixth Army on s Reims rne Ma rne Ma To Paris Gran Peti t 1 3 5 Miles 10 d Mo rin Mor St. Gond Marshes in Fre nc hN int hA rm y Figure 4. Final Disposition of Forces 34 November-December 2015  MILITARY REVIEW