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Burkel, de laatste charge van het 1e Regiment Gidsen.

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BerichtGeplaatst: 19 Jun 2010 22:09    Onderwerp: Burkel, de laatste charge van het 1e Regiment Gidsen. Reageer met quote

Le 19 octobre 1918, la division de cavalerie opérait dans les environs d’Oedelem, à 7 kilomètres au - sud est de Bruges. Comme durant la guerre de tranchées, nos cavaliers combattaient à pied ; pourtant, l’espace était libre, les chevaux suivaient à courte distance... Qu’il eût fait bon de charger !

Le jour était à son déclin, nos tirailleurs avaient repoussé les arrière-gardes allemandes qui s’installèrent dans le petit bois de Kattine et, semblaient décidé à défendre cette position. Plusieurs lignes de mitrailleuses étaient en action et forçaient nos hommes à se terrer. A 16h30, le Major Van Strydonck, commandant le 2ème groupe du 1er Guides reçoit un ordre de l’Etat-Major « Franchir par un coup de force à cheval les lignes de mitrailleuses à hauteur de Burkel, se rabattre et prendre l’ennemi à revers, deux auto-mitrailleuses précéderont la colonne. ».

Lees verder (iets naar beneden scrollen):

Filmpje ( niet over de charge maar de tekst gaat er wel over):

De tekst:

The last cavalry charge in Western Europe, sabre in hand, was carried on by the 1st Regiment of the Guides at Burkel, near Maldeghem, on 19th October 1918.

On 19th October 1918, the Cavalry division of the Belgian Army was fighting around Oedelem, 5 miles south of Bruges. Like during the trench warfare, our cavalrymen were fighting on foot; however, the landscape was open, and the horses weren’t far away…how great would it be to charge!

The sun was setting, our infantry had repelled the German rear-guards, but the enemy, concealed in Kattine forest, looked determined to defend this position. Several defence lines with machine guns forced our men to go to ground.

At 4.30pm, Major Van Strydonck, commanding the 2nd squadron of the 1st Regiment of the Guides, receives an order from the headquarters: “Cross the enemy lines by surprise. Once arrived at Burkel, attack the enemy from behind. Two armoured cars will precede your column”

A charge: the dream of every cavalryman. The order is spreading among the soldiers, who are clenching their sabres. Their eyes are shining with joy. Among them, a young adjutant who can’t control his impatience: he walks to and fro, inspects his men and his horse, starring at the road on which he is going to leap.

Heavy gunfire is underway in front of Kattine. Our infantrymen are trying to draw the enemy fire while our artillery is bombing them with a deadly rain of shells.

Bridle down, a cavalrymen rushes towards the officers: “It’s time, sir!”. It was Count F. de Meuus, Captain-Commandant in the 1st Regiment of the Guides, bringing the order of attack.
Major Van Strydonck stands up on his stirrups, drawing his sabre.
__________________________________________________ ________________________

The column of horses slowly moves off and disappears in the greyness of the evening. Between the gunfire, you could hear the horses walking and breathing loudly. Erected ears, open nostrils, they feel that the battle is coming. The eyes of the cavalrymen are starring at the horizon, towards the enemy, towards the battle.

The open landscape is crossed, the horses are trotting now. The noise of their hoofs striking the ground gets mixed up with the jingle of the sabres.

Suddenly, in the evening’s mist, they discern the edges of Kattine’s forest. Abruptly, the major draws his sabre: “Charge, my fellows, for the King!”. In the plain, a huge clamour is rising: “Hourra! Long live the King!”.

The charge! Trumpets are calling! The two armoured cars, protected by their steel shell, are speeding along the column of cavalrymen, now at full gallop.

Soon, the first line of enemy machine-gunners is crossed by the Guides brandishing their sabres. The charge goes on towards the wood around Burkel. There, the panic-stricken German soldiers watch the roaring stream leaping towards them…”take aim!”

The two leaders, laying on their horses, speed up again. Suddenly, hundreds of glowing flashes lighten Burkel’s wood. The vanguard’s horses collapse, de Meuus is instantly killed and disappears in the dreadful whirlwind. His 20-years old adjutant replaces him on the spot, sabre aimed at the Germans.

A new volley of shots rattles from Burkel, the horses rear up, leap above the trenches, run over the Germans…the armoured cars are stuck. “On foot!”. The cavalrymen drop their sabres and draw their rifles. They spread in the wood and harry the enemy, who is disconcerted by the sudden arrival of troops while they believed they were protected by their defence lines.

5pm, the fire ceases…the Germans are fleeing.

In the wood, the units are gathering, and a roll call is carried out. “Adjutant Vander Cruysen?”
A deep voice answers: “Killed in action”

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