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War Memorial Battle of the Mill Rotselaar

This monument commemorates the Battle at the Mill at Rotselaar between the Belgian Army and German troops on 12 September 1914. More than 325 Belgian soldiers were killed in this battle.

The events
"The Battle of the Mill" in Rotselaar took place as part of the second outbreak of the Belgian army from the fortress of Antwerp. In the days from 9 to 13 September 1914, about 80,000 Belgian soldiers faced an estimated 130,000 Germans across a 40 kilometer long front line between Werchter and Londerzeel.
On September 12, around six o'clock in the morning, soldiers of the 5th and 25th line regiments attacked the enemy from the hamlet of De Molen in Rotselaar, across the narrow bridge over the Dyle, in the direction of Wijgmaal. The terrain here shows a large open depression. The German forces took advantage of this free field of fire and immediately reacted with heavy artillery, infantry and machine gun fire. Despite heavy losses, the 1st Battalion of the 5th Line Regiment held out. The 2nd and 3rd Battalions entered the battle, but losses were high. The 25th line regiment, which had until then been held in reserve north of Rotselaar, was deployed around 9:30 am. The 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 25th crossed the bridge. This movement was noticed by the Germans and they are taking the bridge under heavy. Major Tielemans was seriously injured in the abdomen. Despite efforts to stop the advancing German infantry, the situation became hopeless due to a lack of commanding officers and ammunition. The Belgian troops withdrew and, supported by the Grenadiers, tried to cross the bridge. The German fire concentrated on the bridge. The slaughter was enormous. Soldiers swimming in their heavy army coats trying to reach the other shore were carried away by the current and drowned. The retreat is general between 10:00 and 10:30.
324 corpses were scattered on the battlefield, but many more were killed in the following days. The Belgians were not allowed to remove the rain-soaked Belgian wounded from the battlefield until after the weekend on Monday, when the Germans themselves had removed all their victims. The dead were buried on the Wijngaardveld. In 1926 the bodies would be brought together with those from the soldiers' cemeteries of Werchter and Haacht at the military cemetery of Veltem-Beisem.
After the battle of Rotselaar-Molen, the 5th Line retreated to Lier. The 25th line regiment was cantoned in Wommelgem in Antwerp.

The monument
Only in 1935 a monument was erected on the spot by the Rotselaar warriors. For a long time, the "Fraternities of Old Servants" had expressed its displeasure because the banners of old-timers made no mention of the lesser known battles. After all, in 1922 a list of the names of official battles was recognized by King Albert I. In it, the various battles, conducted in the context of both sorties, were centralized under the name "Antwerp" and thus the units received the mention "Antwerp" on their banner. However, the soldiers who had fought in those places united in a group called "Croix de feu" and formed a strong pressure group with about 100,000 members. They worked hard to erect monuments in order to highlight the relatively unknown, but no less important battles of the operations around Antwerp. The construction of most of the monuments was financed and maintained by the various fraternities themselves. It is also in this spirit that the monument was erected in Rotselaar.
The style is a typical art deco: machine rectangular, simple profiling, clear letters. The tone of the inscription, on the other hand, is almost poetic and could be the introduction to a story: "They were 300 ...".

The memorial is standing along the 5de Liniestraat, named after the Belgian unit which fought in the Battle at the Mill at Rotselaar on 12 September 1914.

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