Spartacus Review

Volume 42: 26th February, 2010

First World War

Title: Mons: The Retreat to Victory

Author: John Terraine


Publisher: Pen & Sword

Price: £12.99

Bookshop: Amazon

Spartacus Website: Mons


The Battle of Mons takes its place in the history of the British army beside Corunna and Dunkirk. Initially, all three were defeats, saved from disaster by the courage of the soldiers and the skill of some of the commanders, and paving the way to great feats of arms and final success. In the context of the whole of the WW1, Mons was a small scale affair; comparatively short in duration, and resulting in casualties that were light indeed by the standard of later battles. But, from the British viewpoint, its importance was crucial, partly because it was the first time for close on a hundred years that a British Army had been engaged in warfare on the continent of Europe, and partly because that army passed straight from the dejection of defeat to the exhilaration of the Battle of the Marne – one of the decisive battles of the War.