Briey (2) The Scandal Of The Phantom Army

This article details an action that could have changed the entire course of the First World War but which was not taken.

First World War Hidden History

French iron ore mines in the Briey basinOn the outbreak of war no attempt was made by the French army to strike at the crucial Thionville area of Lorraine, a target so close to the border that it was almost part of an extended Briey, even although it produced the iron and steel that provided the bulk of Germany’s armaments. In addition, no attempt was made to defend Briey or destroy it before it fell into enemy hands. Such an incomprehensible decision should have merited a flurry of high level court martials, yet no-one accepted the blame.  At the post-war commission investigating the ‘catastrophe’ of Briey. [1] Joffre insisted that the Briey basin constituted a very small part of the overall defence strategy, which few could fully comprehend without all the facts at their fingertips. [2] It was a card often played in the aftermath of the war when difficult questions were raised by journalists or ex-servicemen…

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