A Conversation for The Miracle of Mons


Post 1


There is not much chance that British troops used gas in August 1914. Britain was a signatory to the Hague Convention (1899) that forbade the delibrate use of poisonous or damaging chemicals and, being an horourable nation, it unlikely that there was any issue, let alone release of such a gas.

In any case, Mustard Gases were not developed properly until 1917, and certainly leave their mark on any casualty. Chlorine was first used by the Germans (very dishonourably) at the Battle of Loos 1915, and leaves a very distinctive 'signature' on its casualties.

There are a number of things which can make horses shy, including an old and valued weapon - the calthrop, consisting of four spikes arranged so whichever way it falls, one spike is vertical (ouch!). As for dead soldiers, the right flank of the German army had been marched after the retreating BEF at quite a pace. It is quite possible, given the German military ethos of the time, that they died from exhaustion. What relief for their commanders that the British claimed to have divine help.


Post 2


Sorry for the slow response.

Yes, I've recently come to refute the 'gas' theory myself. I'm not entirely sure how it ended up in the finished article, actually.

The Medieval-style three pronged spikes (in the examples I've seen) were nasty indeed.

With reference to your last point, it is my personal theory that both sides were eager to embrace the divine intervention thing as a convenient excuse. However, I saw a programme last year where they showed the effects of image projection due to environmental circumstances, and the situation on the day was exactly right. Who knows?


Post 3


Who does?

Anyone who was there is now passed and gone. Anything we say is pure speculation.

Isn't it grand to speculate though?


Post 4



Nice to chat to you, by the way, I've read all of your military entries, always entertaining and informative. I think I might have sub edited a couple, but can't remember now. But anyway, keep up the good work!


Post 5


I've had that many subbed, I think most sub-editors have had at least one.

Boy, am I pleased!

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