The Battle of Le Cateau was a WWI military engagement that took place in Northern France, during the German offensive of the first month of the war, on August 26, 1914. It was fought between the German First Army’s IX Corps, under Alexander von Kluck, and the British Expeditionary Force, commanded by Sir Horace Smith-Dorien. The German offensive, established in the Schlieffen Plan, would be stopped by September 12, 1914, at the First Battle of the Marne.
Having routed the British at Mons and Charleroi on August 21-24, the German First and Second Armies continued to push westward, making their way into France. On August 26, at dawn, the IX and VII Corps, First Army, supported by elements of the Second, ferociously attacked the British defensive positions at the French town of Le Cateau-Cambresis. This German assault on the Allied positions had been preceded by indirect fire barrage from heavy-caliber German howitzers. After several hours of intense and vicious fighting, the British troops were forced to abandon their positions as the German managed to capture the French town. A French cavalry unit covered the British retreat. The Allied forces suffered approximately 8,000 casualties, while 5,000 Germans were killed and wounded.