Battles - The Capture and Punishment of Dinant, 1914

Convalescent Moroccan and Indochinese soldiers at hospital, Dinant Sited on the Meuse River and some 50km south of the German siege of Namur, the town of Dinant in Belgium fell to the German Third Army (under von Hausen) on 23 August 1914.  It was the latest step in the German strategy of overrunning Belgium during the month of August 1914.

Although the town fell to von Hausen's troops on 23 August the occupation was not initially peaceful.  German soldiers who were repairing the town bridge were allegedly fired upon by local inhabitants.  In retaliation therefore the German authorities rounded up 612 men, women and children and shot them together; the youngest victim was a three-week-old baby.

The town was subsequently pillaged and many of its buildings destroyed by the rampant German force.  Although the massacre shocked public opinion around the world - particularly in neutral countries such as the U.S. - it merely formed part of the German army's strategy of intimidating occupied Belgian territories as a means of securing maximum civilian co-operation.

Although a notorious incident in itself the massacre of Dinant was eclipsed by a similar, wider-scale action at Louvain two days later.  Both were exploited to the full by Allied propaganda.

Click here to view of map charting the progress of the German invasion of Belgium in August 1914.

Photograph courtesy of Photos of the Great War website

A "British warm" was a heavy issue greatcoat for officers.

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