We all remember images from WWI of massive artillery barrages and soldiers crossing shattered landscapes towards certain slaughter. Beneath the killing fields of the Western Front, another war was taking place, a deadly game 30 metres down, played between thousands of troops. These were not infantrymen… but miners. Their mutual goal was to tunnel beneath 'no man's land', under the opposing lines and destroy the German enemy from below. Unfortunately, the Germans had the same idea and were digging in from the other side.
Over 4585 Australian miners took part in this secret subterranean war, fighting under stress and conditions that terrified even the most hardened infantryman on the surface.
To coincide with ANZAC Day, the action packed story of Australia's cat-and-mouse underground mine warfare - one of the most misunderstood, misrepresented, and mystifying conflicts of WW I will be told onscreen. This film tie-in book will tell the story not only of this secret struggle beneath the Western Front that combined daring engineering, technology and science, but also share the exhilarating and horrific adventures of other soldiers and miners working along the front line.
Few on the surface knew of the brave, claustrophobic and sometimes barbaric work of these tunnellers.
The 1st Australian Tunneling Division was responsible for the mines set under 'Hill 60', a high point that dominated that part of the killing fields of Belgium. They were led by Captain Oliver Woodward who had started his mining career in Charters Towers, Queensland and went on to head BHP in Australia. His bravery and that of his men in guarding those underground mines and their subsequent massive explosions broke the gridlocked trench warfare that had continued for 3 years.
Through exhaustive research, Will Davies, has uncovered first-hand accounts of life for the tunnellers and soldiers at the front. In sharing their hopes, dreams, victories and disappointments he tells the broad story of day after day in the mud at the front line and uncovers the glorious spirit of these men who fought and died for their countries.
'Beneath Hill 60' is an unforgettable story.
1. Mobility to Stalemate
2. The War Goes Underground
3. In the Darkness and Mud
4. The Experience of Gallipoli
5. White Feathers and the Call to Arms
6. The Earthquake Data
7. Along the River Somme
8. Misspent Energy and Wasted Effort
9. Off to the Western Front
10. Back Near Messines
11. Just Out From Armentieres
12. The Red House
13. The First Big One
14. Sojourn at Ploegsteert Wood
15. The Move to Hill 60
16. A Month Today
17. The Days Before
18. After the Earthquake
19. A New Role and a New Danger
20. The Last Battle
21. Going Home
Weights and Measures