Crumps and Camouflets Australian Tunnelling Companies on the by Damien Finlayson

By Damien Finlayson

under the shattered flooring that separated the British and German infantry at the Western entrance within the First international warfare, an unseen and mostly unknown conflict used to be raging, fought by way of miners, ‘tunnellers’ as they have been recognized. They knew that, at any second, their lives can be extinguished abruptly by way of hundreds and hundreds of tonnes of collapsed earth and debris.

These males have been engaged in a determined duel with their
German rivals to wreck their opposing entrance traces by
blowing mines, rigorously positioned in darkish, treacherous tunnels
under no man’s land. even as, the tunnellers
worked to safeguard their very own entrance traces from the German
miners, motive at the similar lethal job. It used to be a struggle within
a battle in its such a lot literal feel. the key warfare culminated
in the simultaneous blowing of 19 large mines, with
a mixed payload of virtually 450,000 tonnes of high
explosives, underneath the Messines Ridge.

Over 4,500 Australians served at the Western entrance in three
Australian tunnelling businesses and their distinctive support
unit, the Alphabet corporation. round 330 males did not
return. The continues to be of such a lot lie in conscientiously tended military
cemeteries unfold alongside the whole size of what was once the
British region of front, from the Belgian coast at Nieuport
Bains within the north, to Bellicourt within the south. a few lie on
German soil the place they died in captivity. Others are lost
in the darkish, silent include of the earth and whose resting
place is understood unto God.

Australian tunnelling businesses took half within the battles of
Fromelles, Arras, Messines, Passchendaele, Cambrai, the
defence of Amiens, Lys, and the recognized final a hundred days.
Crumps and Camouflets, is the 1st whole historical past of
Australia’s position within the tunnelling warfare of 1914-1919, of the
men and devices within which they served, and of existence within the tomblike
tunnels of the conflict underground.

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