Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the first offensive on the Western Front between the French and the Germans actually a FRENCH assault on GERMANY that was quickly repulsed and with very key French losses? I seem to recall that while the Germans were still moving through Belgium that France launched an attack along the heavily fortified French/German border that was a devistating failure, and thus in the opening salvos of 1914 lost many of thier best trained soldiers... quite possibly THE best trained soldiers they had. Which probably contributed to thier overcompensating retreat (which was almost too fast for the BEF to catch up with them). Meanwhile the Germans and the British were able to hold onto thier best soldiers for quite some time longer. In fact at the beginning of the war the British had to make do with a lack of Machine guns in thier battalions: but to the perceptions of the Germans it didn't matter becuase the BEF's rifle marksmanship was so accurate the Germans actually thought the British WERE using Machine Guns on them that they didn't have.