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The Affair at Nery (Paperback)

1 September 1914

Military > Battlefield Guidebooks WWI > Artillery WWI > By Year > 1914

By Patrick Takle
Imprint: Pen & Sword Battleground
Series: Battleground: WWI
ISBN: 9781844154029
Published: 15th June 2006
Last Released: 1st August 2007



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Early on 1 September 1914, the Germans surprised 1st Cavalry Brigade harbouring in the little town of Néry. Their initial bombardment caused chaos and destruction and the British took time to organize themselves. The actions of two batteries of the Royal Horse Artillery were eventually so successful that even today there is a battery known as Néry Battery RHA. The Queen's Bay's a cavalry regiment, charged in classic style and the Germans, who mistakenly thought they were out numbered, withdrew with heavy casualties. Of the three VCs, two were posthumous. While a small engagement by later Great War standards, Néry is a classic case study of an artillery duel and cavalry action.

Titles in this superb series of excellent value for money books are in fact concise histories and guide books combined. They are of course well known and popular with a wide range of readers who share an interest in either the Great War or Second World Wars. In common with other titles in the Battleground series, this particular volume commences with a general but fairly comprehensive introduction which is then followed by more detailed information on the events and actions that actually took place in the area at the time. As usual, there is an excellent selection of high quality and possibly unique photographs and a host of maps too. The volume once again includes suggested itineraries for a battlefield touring which in itself is invaluable in planning a visit to the battlefield. .

Nery is a reasonably remote, small and ancient town in the Oise Department of France. It was here, on the 31t August 1914 that the 1st Cavalry Brigade settled for the evening during their retreat from Mons. By dawn the following morning they were discovered by the German 4th Cavalry Division and soon came under attack. The initial bombardment caused chaos and destruction and took our forces totally by surprise, amazingly however the British troops managed to rally round and the they fought an excellent defensive action which included a classic cavalry style charge by the Queen’s Bays, which in fact fooled the enemy into thinking they were outnumbered and as a result despite the Germans actually being the larger force, the enemy withdrew.

In the overall scheme of the Great War, the events here were small, Eight of the enemy guns were captured however and the gallant actions by the men of L Battery of the Royal Horse Artillery were such, that three members of that unit were awarded the Victoria Cross. In recognition of those events at Nery” a battery of the Royal Horse Artillery has been officially titled L (Nery) Battery ever since!

In summary, this another publication from Pen and Sword that will, I am sure interest both military historians and researchers alike and thanks to those useful itineraries, enhance the overall touring experience for anyone visiting the battlefield too.

Roll of Honour, Michael D. Booker
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