It would only last a few days, but all the history books describe it as one of the most strategic battles of the Great War. Called upon to provide back-up for the French army, on 22, 23 and 24 August 1914, the British troops fought bitterly in Mons to hold back the German soldiers from the borders. Positioned along the Mons-Condé canal, they held them off for 48 hours before retreating. Their courage gave the French the chance to organise their defence and prepare for victory in the Marne.