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Underground Warfare 1914-1918 (Paperback)

WWI 1914 1915 1916 1917 1918

By Simon Jones
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 288
ISBN: 9781473823044
Published: 2nd October 2014

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Simon Jones's graphic history of underground warfare during the Great War uses personal reminiscences to convey the danger and suspense of this unconventional form of conflict. He describes how the underground soldiers of the opposing armies engaged in a ruthless fight for supremacy, covers the tunnelling methods they employed, and shows the increasingly lethal tactics they developed during the war in which military mining reached its apotheosis. While he concentrates on the struggle for supremacy by the British tunnelling companies on the Western Front, his wide-ranging study also tells the story of the little-known but fascinating subterranean battles fought in the French sectors. Vivid personal testimony is combined with a lucid account of the technical challenges – and ever-present perils – of tunnelling in order to give an all-round insight into the extraordinary experience of this underground war.

Simon Jones's graphic history of underground warfare during the Great War uses personal reminiscences to convey the danger and suspense of this unconventional form of conflict. He describes how the underground soldiers of the opposing armies engaged in a ruthless fight for supremacy, covers the tunnelling methods they employed, and shows the increasingly lethal tactics they developed during the war in which military mining reached its apotheosis. He concentrates on the struggle for ascendancy by the British tunnelling companies on the Western Front. But his wide-ranging study also tells the story of the little known but fascinating subterranean battles fought in the French sectors of the Western Front and between the Austrians and the Italians in the Alps which have never been described before in English. Vivid personal testimony is combined with a lucid account of the technical challenges.

Wartime Memories Project

The author has graphically explained the nature of this underground warfare, the people and the technologies involved. Highly commended!

Firetrench

A really fascinating insight into this very particular aspect of the fighting in WWI.

Military Modelling

Well structured, compellingly written and extremely well illustrated from British, French and German sources, Simon Jones has offered a fascinating and authoritative overview of the war underground. Recommended.

Western Front Association

As featured on BBC Radio Berkshire.

BBC Radio Berkshire

The Great War was fought as much underground as above it, Simon Jones writes in his highly informative book...What I particularly enjoyed about this book was the chapter devoted to mining in French sectors of the front line, most notably on the Butte de Vauquois in the Argonne Forest...this book lays bare the extent which this largely unseen underground war was fought and will surely become the standard work for anyone wanting to find out more about this type of warfare.

Burton Mail

Simon Jones's graphic history of underground warfare during the First World War uses personal reminiscences to convey the danger and suspense of this unconventional form of conflict.

Britain at War

It is rare to be sent books dealing with the 'underground war' and so they are always welcomed - this title in particular stood out this month. The book, well written and researched and easy to follow, concentrates on the determined struggle for ascendancy by the British tunneling companies on the Western Front. As the battles raged overhead, so the tunnelers fought their own war beneath the mud and dirt, every moment one of extreme danger; their efforts climaxing with the detonation of nineteen enormous mines beneath Messines Ridge in June 1917. This wide ranging and fascinating work also tells the story of the little known battles fought in the French sectors which have never before been described in English. A super narrative combined with a selection of photos, diagrams and maps showing tunnels and the equipment used to build and inhabit them make this a remarkable book. It is fair to say that the lives lived by these extraordinary men (many of them former pit workers) were unlike those of their contemporaries manning the trenches above their heads but were every bit as dangerous, if not more so for the fear of gas, explosion, collapse and suffocation were ever present.

Great War Magazine

it spans German and French efforts, as well as the British, and provides perhaps the best overview to date The subject is necessarily technical, but Jones manages very well the difficult balance between providing enough coverage of the engineering and munitions aspects and making the book a readable work that will appeal to many. It should not be regarded as a reference work for military mining, but as an excellent overview of how it came about, why it was considered important, what took place and the effects it had.

The Great War was not just about infantry going "over the top" and "Underground Warfare" adds to our understanding of a key aspect of the fighting.

1914-1918.net

Jones makes ample use of original trench maps, and in particular some illustrations taken from contemporary publications- British, French and German- that demonstrate mining tactics, equipment and instruments. Some impressive research has obviously gone into this book. This is not purely a 'history of first world war tunnelling', but places it in the larger context- historically and geologically- of military history.

dalyhistory

'This is a detailed and involving study of an important element of warfare on the Western Front, and will be of value to anyone with an interest in the Great War.'

History of War Website, March 2010
 Simon Jones
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