American Rifleman - February 2015 - 76

BELGIAN MAUSERS
Soldiers of
the 12th Line
Regiment (r.)
pose with their
Model 1889 rifles
and bayonets
before the war.
This rare
1914 combat
photograph
(below) shows
two Belgian
rifleman firing
their Model 1889
rifles at the
enemy.

76

unseen while firing. Combat spilled into the city's
streets and suburbs, including into Herstal where
FN's facilities are located. Belgian soldiers were
fighting within sight of the plant where their rifles
were manufactured.
The superior marksmanship of the Belgian
soldiers was a result of pre-war competitions. Tireurs
d'Elite (sharpshooters) were not a select few, but
could be any soldier who succeeded in competition.
Pre-war competitions extended to various marksmanship challenges including hitting the target
at 500 meters. The Belgian army did not have any
dedicated snipers, nor did it utilize telescopic sights.
The Germans eventually realized that the
Liège forts could not be captured by infantry, so
heavy artillery was brought in to destroy them.
Many of the fortress soldiers endured bombardments, and some even fought the Germans in the
tunnels of the forts with their Model 89 carbines.
The Germans had planned to take Liège in three
days, but it required 11! The Belgian 3rd Division
retreated, and combat spread throughout the
countryside. Belgian operations were a blend of
traditional military strategy and guerrilla tactics.
Riflemen performed hit-and-run operations, a
necessity as Belgian soldiers were frequently outnumbered five-to-one by their German counterparts.
The delays and constant harassment caused
frustration within the German command. Reprisals
were brutal, towns and villages were burned, and
civilians were executed. The brutality inflicted on
quiet little towns such as Visé, Tamines, Aarschot
and Dinant became world news. The reprisals had
the opposite effect from what the Germans had
hoped. The atrocities became a battle cry for the
Belgians, and an international scandal. While the
army fought and retreated, young men were signing
up everywhere. News reports made the world aware
of the brutality of the new war. Charities worldwide
worked relentlessly to supply Belgium with food,
arms and ammunition. Herbert Hoover, who would
become our 31st president, was the most successful organizer of relief aid and effectively kept the

FEBRUARY 2015

Belgian population from starving throughout the war.
After Liège, the Germans shelled the forts of
Mons. Low on supplies, the Belgian field army
retreated toward the city of Antwerp, a huge
arms depot with ammunition, Mauser rifles and
spare parts. Antwerp and its fortifications gave
the Belgian field army the opportunity to re-arm.
The fighting retreat continued westward toward
the coast where the Belgians would defend a
patch of land for the remainder of the war.
Although the Schlieffen plan greatly underestimated Belgian resolve, it was accurate in assessing Allied response-the French and British were
slow to deploy troops toward the front. Belgian
delays made it possible for the Allies to amass
just enough troops to win the critical battle of
the Marne. The correlation between the Belgian
rifleman and the salvation of Paris is now long forgotten. In the day, though, the French recognized
that the delays saved their capital from invasion.
The defense of Liège was frequently praised, and
France awarded medals and recognition to the city
of Liège and its defenders.

AMERICAN RIFLEMAN

continued on p. 103



American Rifleman - February 2015

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Rifleman - February 2015

Contents
American Rifleman - February 2015 - Cover1
American Rifleman - February 2015 - Cover2
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 1
American Rifleman - February 2015 - Contents
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 3
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 4
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 5
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 6
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 7
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 8
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 9
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 10
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 11
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 12
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 13
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 14
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 15
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 16
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 17
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 18
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 19
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 20
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 21
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 22
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 23
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 24
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 25
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 26
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 27
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 28
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 29
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 30
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 31
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 32
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 33
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 34
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 35
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 36
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 37
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 38
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 39
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 40
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 41
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 42
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 43
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 44
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 45
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 46
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 47
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 48
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 49
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 50
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 51
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 52
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 53
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 54
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 55
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 56
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 57
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 58
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 59
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 60
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 61
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 62
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 63
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 64
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 65
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 66
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 67
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 68
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 69
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 70
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 71
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 72
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 73
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 74
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 75
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 76
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 77
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 78
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 79
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 80
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 81
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 82
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 83
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 84
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 85
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 86
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 87
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 88
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 89
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 90
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 91
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 90b
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 91b
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 90c
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 91c
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 90d
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 91d
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 90e
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 91e
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 90f
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 91f
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 92
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 93
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 94
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 95
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 96
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 97
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 98
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 99
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 100
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 101
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 102
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 103
American Rifleman - February 2015 - 104
American Rifleman - February 2015 - Cover4
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