Although the German Fourth and Sixth Armies had thus far failed to penetrate the allied line, the German Supreme Command believed that a fresh push would bring victory. Gathering together units released from other fronts, Falkenhayn created Army Group Fabeck, commanded by veteran of the Franco-Prussian War General Max von Fabeck and comprised of six infantry divisions, whose mission was to attack along the British line from Ploegsteert Wood to Geluveld. Continued pressure along the front from the two German armies would prohibit allied transfer of reserve troops. The attack came as a surprise to the British. Before a preliminary attack against Geluveld commenced on 29 October, Sir John French reported to Secretary of State for War Lord Kitchener that the Germans were incapable of launching any further attacks despite the interception of Group Fabeck’s plans. British aerial reconnaissance on 28 October, however, reported a large movement of German troops astride theMenin Road.
Battle of Geluveld: 29 to 31 October 1914
Province: West Flanders
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Summary: A preliminary move on 29 October, the 54th Reserve Division, strengthened by a brigade of Bavarian reservists, struck west of Becelaere. The thin lines of the Coldstream Guards and the Black Watch were nearly overrun because the enemy suddenly appeared out of the dense fog. Both sides committed reserves as the fighting spread south of the Menin Road and against the British 20th Brigade. The intense struggle continued all day, with high losses on both sides until darkness and a heavy rain chilled the engagement.
The next day Fabeck unleashed his battalions with deadly consequences as German divisions south of the Menin Road attacked reinforced positions with deadly accurate fire that covered the landscape with grey-clad bodies. Fabeck’s men were even more successful farther south, where they drove Allenby’s 2nd and 3rd Cavalry Divisions back three kilometers.