Primary Documents - The Battle of Ourcq River - General Joffre's Proclamation, 10 September 1914

General Michel-Joseph Maunoury Reproduced below is the proclamation issued by French Army Commander-in-Chief Joseph Joffre following the 5-9 September 1914 Battle of Ourcq River.  Addressed to French General Michel-Joseph Maunoury's Sixth Army, Joseph applauded their conduct in tackling German General Alexander von Kluck's First Amy in the flank (a plan devised by the Military Governor of Paris, General Joseph Gallieni) as an immediate precursor to the successful First Battle of the Marne.

The Sixth Army's success at the Ourcq was instrumental in enabling Joffre to launch the Allied counter-attack at the Marne, and was key in saving Paris from falling to the German Army.

Click here to read a memoir of the decision to attack at the Ourcq by General Gallieni's Chief of Staff, General Clergerie.  Click here to read German Army Chief of Staff General von Moltke's reaction.

General Joffre's Proclamation to the Sixth Army

10 September 1914

The 6th army has just sustained, during five entire days, without interruption or rest, an engagement against a numerous enemy whose previous successes had raised their morale to a high pitch.

The struggle has been a severe one, and the losses from fire, as well as from fatigue due to want of sleep, and occasionally of provisions, have surpassed any that have been hitherto imagined; you have supported all this with a valour, a firmness, and an endurance to which no words can possibly give adequate expression.

Comrades!  Your General asked you, for the sake of your country, to do more than your plain duty; your answer has exceeded his most sanguine expectations.  Thanks to you, victory has crowned our colours.  Now that you have realized the glorious satisfaction of victory, you will in future never let it fall from your grasp.

As for myself, if I have been able to help I have been fully compensated by the greatest honour of my long career, namely, to have commanded troops such as you are.  For all you have done I thank you with sincerest emotion, because to you I owe that to which all my efforts and energy for the last forty-four years have been directed - Revenge for 1870!

My thanks to you; honour to all the combatants of the 6th army.


Source: Source Records of the Great War, Vol. II, ed. Charles F. Horne, National Alumni 1923

'Kitchener's Army' comprised Men recruited into the British Army a result of Lord Kitchener's appeal for volunteers.

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