Épisode de la bataille de Charleroi…
Episode during the battle of Charleroi. Death of Prince Aldebert…
Lithograph with hand colouring through stencils. Publisher: Tolmer & Co. August 1914
Given by Sophie Gurney 1994 No. 6 from the series La Grande Guerre
The Battle of Charleroi (21-23 August 1914), one of the major Battles of the Frontiers, was one of the key battles on the Western Front in 1914. The bulk of the French army was positioned further south in the Ardennes region. German forces advanced further north through Belgium, taking Brussels on 20 August and attacking Namur, 40km west of Charleroi, with the use of howitzers (cannons that fire shells upwards in an arc trajectory). French soldiers at Charleroi, waiting for British reinforcements from the British Expeditionary Force (BEF), suffered heavy losses before the order to retreat came. During the fighting on 22 August France suffered greater losses on any single day than any other nation for the entire duration of the war. The print concentrates on the glorifying depiction of Senegalese infantrymen, Algerian and Tunisian troops of the French army ( nos turcs , ‘our Turks’). The press reported that the men complained ‘of nothing except the obligation to wear shoes’, fighting barefoot and returning wearing enemy shoes to avoid being punished for loss of equipment. The title repeats inaccurate news about the death of Kaiser Wilhelm’s uncle. Emperor Wilhelm II had a son called Adalbert, and he did not die in battle.
The French inscription with English translation:
ÉPISODE DE LA BATAILLE DE CHARLEROI. MORT DU PRINCE ALDEBERT, ONCLE DE L’EMPEREUR GUILLAUME II.
Au cours d’un furieux combat pendant la bataille de Charleroi, nos tirailleurs sénégalais et nos turcs s’élancerent à la baîonette contre les troupes d’élite que nous opposait l’ennemi, et qui n’étaient autres que les batalions de la garde prussienne commandé par le prince Aldebert. Nos vaillants Africains, dans une lutte acharnée de corps a corps, décimèrent plusieurs batailions c’est dans ce combat sans merci que le prince Aldebert trouva la mort.
Episode during the Battle of Charleroi. Death of Prince Aldebert, the uncle of Emperor William II
In furious combat during the Battle of Charleroi our Senegalese riflemen and the Turkish contingent charged with bayonets towards the best of the enemy’s troops, none other than Prince Adalbert’s Battalions of the Russian Guard. In close combat our brave Africans decimated several battalions. It was in this merciless battle that Prince Adalbert was killed..