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Archangel Michael, the Defender, waiting to strike.

Commonalities Across Religious Lines

Through several religions, Protestant, Catholic, Judaism, and others, Archangel Michael has been said to bring heavenly hosts of angels who fight to defend God’s people. The story of the Angels of Mons is one told since WWI, mentioned as a story of fiction by one writer, and its truth questioned by others. It is…..

The Story of the Angels of Mons

In 1914 during WWI,  a  miraculous intervention occurred in a fierce battle between a small British Expeditionary Force and the German Army. As the Battle of Mons raged, the BEF, outnumbered at least 3 men to one, began to believe all was lost. They continued to fight on against overwhelming odds, even as they prepared themselves for certain death.

An Unexplained Victory

Suddenly and inexplicably,  German forces began to withdraw, even though they were clearly winning the battle. The astonished BEF watched as the enemy began a panicked, disorderly retreat. The Germans were astounded upon seeing a band of angels lined up between them and their foe.  Further, after seeing an expanded, unending line of troops, bent on their destruction, they began an all out run for their lives. Pandemonium ensued, German foot soldiers fled, German officers’ horses stampeded and bolted the scene with many riders being thrown from the saddle. The Battle of Mons was over, with an unexplained victory going to the smaller force of British troops.

Truth or Legend?

The story of the Angels of Mons circulated with a story known as “The Bowmen,” in the London Evening News  by a Welsh-born journalist, Arthur Machen. He usually wrote true stories and this one was so well done that many parish magazines, believing it to be true, requested to reprint it to inspire their followers. Each time this happened, Machen admitted it was a work of fiction. But his protests fell on deaf ears, and the story became told orally from person to person, over and over, passing it on to later generations until it was told as truth. From the beginning, when the story was told always  “from someone who was there,”no one ever spoke directly with someone who was actually in the battle, it was always from a friend of a friend. So was it truth or legend?

The Angels of Mons

A Fictional Tale or Mass Hysteria?

In spite of Machen’s admission that he fictionalized the story, investigators believed something strange had taken place during the battle. Their reasoning was that if a mirage caused both sides to witness a spectral army of Angels, then it must have been mass hysteria. For this to be experienced by the men on both sides at the same time, would have not only been decidedly odd but unprecedented, having never been known to happen in that manner.

There WAS a Battle of Mons

There WAS a Battle of Mons on August 22-23, 1914 and the British Expeditionary Forces DID triumph over the enemy though they were badly outnumbered. Because the British achieved a somewhat miraculous triumph over enemy numbers of staggering size, some believe that an unusual and mysterious phenomenon DID happen. But was it just a fluke? Did a German officer mistakenly signal a retreat rather than a charge? Did they get word that a large British force was closer than they at first realized and decide to live to fight another day? What could have caused them to back off when they clearly outnumbered the foe? No one really knows for sure.

You may be interested in these stories from other writers on what happened at Mons to cause the German soldiers to panic and retreat, at the peak of a winning battle. Each writer has their own viewpoint, but what actually happened still remains a mystery.

The Mons Myth: A Reassessment of the Battle

The Angel of Mons: A World War I Legend

The Angels of Mons – The Bowmen and Other Legends of the War (WWI Centenary Series)