Who's Who - Fernand de Langle de Cary

Fernand de Langle de Cary Fernand Louis Armand Marie de Langle de Cary (1849-1931) led the French Fourth Army in the opening offensive of the First World War, in which his forces suffered a stinging defeat during the Battle of the Ardennes.

De Langle de Cary joined the French Army - the Chasseurs d'Afrique - in 1869, in time to serve during the following year's Franco-Prussian War (where he was wounded).  Subsequently receiving staff training he served as a Professor at the French military academy and was in 1900 made General of an Algerian cavalry brigade.  He was subsequently appointed a member of the Counseil Superior de Guerre.

With the opening of the First World War in August 1914 de Langle de Cary was handed command of the French Fourth Army which fought (disastrously) on the Meuse against German Fourth Army commander Duke Albrecht and (more creditably) in the First Battle of the Marne.

De Langle de Cary headed French forces at the following year's unsuccessful (and costly) Champagne offensive but was nevertheless given command of the 'Army of the Centre' responsible for the defence of Verdun.

His state of unpreparedness for the German offensive at Verdun in February 1916 led to his rapid removal from command by Commander-in-Chief Joseph Joffre - who was himself also at fault.  De Langle de Cary was ostensibly removed on maximum age grounds and was formally retired the following year.

He died in 1931.

'White Star' was a German mixture of chlorine and phosgene gas, so-named on account of the identification marking painted on the delivery shell casing.

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