The Battle of Mons was the first major action by the British Expeditionary Force during World War I. From August 22-23 1914, despite being heavily outnumbered by German forces, British troops were actually able to hold the line at the Mons-Conde Canal near Mons, Belgium before being forced to retreat. Despite heavy casualties, the British troops inflicted even greater losses on the Germans during the battle and gradual withdrawal which lasted nearly two weeks before the Allies were able to counter-attack at the Battle of the Marne. It hardly seemed surprising that the British success in holding off superior troops during a well-ordered retreat became a propaganda coup for the British government. While technically a defeat, the story of the British troops at Mons became legendary.