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Beneath Hill 60 [Paperback]

Will Davies
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
Price: 6.75 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

30 Sep 2010

'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...


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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (30 Sep 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 085750049X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857500496
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 376,786 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Book Description

The extraordinary little-known true story of the cat-and-mouse war waged beneath the trenches of the Western Front and the subject of a powerful new film.

From the Back Cover

'One minute to go,' calls Lambert. Woodward's hand moves into position...'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 being split apart...

On 7th June 1917, nineteen massive mines exploded beneath the Messines Ridge, smashing open the German frontline. It was the largest man-made explosion in history. Ten thousand German soldiers died.

Two of those mines were laid and fired by men of the 1st Australian Tunnelling Company. Commanded by Captain Oliver Woodward, it was made up of miners and engineers rather than parade-ground soldiers.

Drawing on Woodward's diaries and other first-hand accounts, historian Will Davies tells the true story of this extraordinary yet little-known war waged ninety feet below No Man's Land: a Stygian battle-ground of labyrinthine tunnels where a man might drown in viscous clay, choke on poisonous air or die in vicious hand-to-hand fighting in the darkness.


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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The war beneath the trenches! 18 Nov 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is based on the true exploits of Captain Oliver Woodward, MC and two bars, of the 1st Australian Tunnelling Company of the AIF (Australian Imperial Force) in World War One, which has also been turned into a major feature film. The book retraces the remarkable service of Capt Woodward and centres around the huge allied tunnelling operation that led to nineteen massive mines being set off beneath Messines Ridge near Ypres on the morning of the 7th June 1917. This resulted in the largest man-made explosion in history up until that point leaving ten thousand German dead amongst a shattered landscape that smashed open the German lines to the allied advance.

Capt Woodward and his men were responsible for two of the mines at Hill 60, men who were miners and engineers rather than parade ground soldiers. The book highlights the training, service and lives of the men involved as well as amply describing the horrors of living in the trenches during World War One. The book is very descriptive of the industrialised scale of the slaughter of this first truly mechanised war of the twentieth century as well as the more personalised accounts of Capt Woodward and his men. The book is simply littered with accounts of bravery, savagery and suffering beyond comprehension and you wonder how soldiers endured and performed in such horrific conditions.

One must never forget that the key tenet of the book is the story of the tunnelling war beneath the trenches. Drawing on the diaries of Capt Woodward, "Beneath Hill 60" highlights the little known but terribly brutal true story of the subterranean war waged beneath the trenches of the western front. A hell on earth where men drowned in viscous chalk, suffocated in the blue grey clay, choked on poisonous air and died often alone in the darkness.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars top read 22 Jun 2011
Format:Paperback
A brilliant insight into what the tunnelers went through. A must read for all who would like to know more or would like a cracking good read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beneath hill 60 19 Sep 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Excellent reading goes into deep detail just came back from hill 60 so can visualise what they went through during the war.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting 21 July 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I should have read the book before I bought the film, but it shows a very different aspect and is very well written and most informative.
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