Lochnagar Crater, Ovillers-la-Boisselle, Picardy, France

The Lochnagar mine crater on the 1916 Somme battlefields in France is the largest man-made mine crater created in the First World War on the Western Front. It was laid by the British Army’s 179th Tunnelling Company Royal Engineers underneath a German strongpoint called “Schwaben Höhe”. The mine was exploded two minutes before 07.30 am Zero Hour at the launch of the British offensive against the German lines on the morning of 1st July 1916.

The British division attacking in this sector was 34th Division of III Corps. All twelve battalions in this division, each with a fighting strength of about 700 men, went into the attack that morning. Despite the successful blowing of the mine and the damage caused to the German strongpoint, the German defenders managed to get into well-placed positions to fire at the advancing British soldiers. Within half an hour of the start of the infantry attack many hundreds of them were already dead or wounded.

Visit France. Epic France Adventure Route © Monika Newbound

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