'Ten seconds, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one - fire!
Down goes the firing switch. At first, nothing. Then from deep down there comes a low rumble, and it as if the world is spliting apart...' On 7th June 1917, nineteen massive mines exploded beneath Messines Ridge near Ypres.
The largest man-made explosion in history up until that point shattered the landscape and smashed open the German lines.
Ten thousand German soldiers died. Two of the mines - at Hill 60 and the Caterpillar - were fired by men of the 1st Australian Tunnelling Company, comprising miners and engineers rather than parade-ground soldiers.
Drawing on the diaries of one of the key combatants, "Benealth Hill 60" tells the little-known, devastatingly brutal true story of this subterranean war waged beneath the Western Front - a stygian battle-ground where men drowned in viscous chalk, suffocated in the blue gray clay, choked on poisonous air or died in the darkness, caught up up in vicious hand-to-hand fighting...
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 288 pages, 1 x 16pp b & w photographic inset
- Publisher: Transworld Publishers Ltd
- Publication Date: 30/09/2010
- Category: General & world history
- ISBN: 9780857500496