In contrast to the Germans' willingness to settle and dig trenches, the French forces began a disorderly retreat on the late afternoon of 23 August, the Third Army withdrawing to Verdun chased by the German Fifth Army (where Ruffey was subsequently removed by Joffre) and Fourth Army retreating near Sedan and Stenay. The latter engaged their German pursuers whilst there on 26–28 August (the Battle of the Meuse (French: Bataille de la Meuse)), temporarily halting the Germans' progress.
As a consequence of the poorly managed French retreat, the Germans were able to take possession of important iron resources and were able to continue their advance into France.
The scale of the French defeat was notable. For example, the French Colonial Corps, the only truly regular force in the French army, had one of its divisions almost entirely destroyed (11,000 dead out of a contingent of 15,000 men). The scale of the defeat only became clear to Joffre after a period of time had elapsed. Even then he was inclined to blame the poor performance of his forces rather than attribute it to strategy and circumstances. It did not, however, discourage him from planning further offensive attacks in future battles.
Read more about this topic: Battle Of The Ardennes
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