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. They outfought their German adversaries underground, and their efforts climaxed with the detonation of nineteen enormous mines beneath the Messines Ridge in June 1917. But this wide- ranging study also tells the story of the little known but fascinating battles fought in the French sectors of the Western Front which have never been described before in English.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 assesses the impact of these underground battles on the fluctuating fortunes of the opposing armies, and he places them in the longer context of military history from medieval times to the present day.