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The Messines Mines


sajackr
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I Have read and seen documentaries stating that the 19 mines were “fired simultaneously” (Spanbroekmolen 15 seconds late) but also that they were “fired consecutively” along the ridge at Zero hour.

What exactly did occur at 03:10 on the 7th June?

Regards

Sajackr

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There have been threads covering this before. I believe that they were intended to be fired simultaneously but some fires were marginally delayed for various unintentional reasons but all those that exploded did so fairly close together. There was a BBC documentary (much panned) recently that suggested that they were fired consecutively but this appears to have been to enable the BBC's CGI team to do a nice set of graphics!

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Thanks Centurion,

Simultaneously seemed the most logical to commence the attack. I had read they were consecutively fired and you are correct it was the BBC Documentary (can't recall the title) graphics that has had me thinking ever since "I wonder what the Germans further along the ridge were thinking as the detonations came closer?"

I guess that means, just because its in colour doesn’t necessary mean it’s true?

R'ds

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The circular "mine crater" on the golf course, was also not a crater, just a water feature!

Keith

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Nothing to do with messines

But I have seen in Guernsey the golf course with a WW2 bunker on the fair way and have been told the golf term in the bunker came from said bunker true or not I know not.

Btw I think golf is silly where as messines was awesome.

Biff :w00t::poppy:

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Nothing to do with messines

But I have seen in Guernsey the golf course with a WW2 bunker on the fair way and have been told the golf term in the bunker came from said bunker true or not I know not.

Not true. It comes from the Scots word Bonkar meaning a chest for safe storage (Hence a coal bunker) and possibly also the origin of bank (nowadays possibly an unsafe place for the storage of your money). Holes for the storage of sand or waste were being referred to as bunkers certainly in the 18th century. Bunker as a place for sheltering from shell fire or as a defensive position appears to originate in WW1 however I would suggest that it's possible that there might be a link to the period 1457 to 1502 when golf was illegal in Scotland and illicit golfers playing on the links might hide from the authorities in the sand holes surrounding the area or from the early 18th century when golf on Sunday was also illegal in Scotland and much the same happened.

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Please tell me, what length of frontage was covered by those nineteen mines that were detonated ? And how far apart were the mines that were most distant from each other : and, conversely, how close together were those nearest to each other ?

Perhaps I'm being naive in assuming that they were laid out laterally : maybe they were planted in depth, or echelon, or in a sequence that twisted and turned this way and that.

Phil (PJA)

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Would they have had the means to fire them all simultaneously?

Just finished reading about the Petersburg mine assault and its unpredicted outcome. Quite a contrast with Messines. Was 1915 the first use of a mine assault since the USCW?

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Was 1915 the first use of a mine assault since the USCW?

Here you are, Phil, look at this account from Jack Sheldon's wonderful new book THE GERMAN ARMY ON THE WESTERN FRONT 1915

This is the testimony of Reserve Leutnant Adolf Meyer 10th Company Bavarian Reserve Infantry Regiment 16 :

9th May, the hardest day for our company, is over. It was bad enough : we lost eighty nine killed, fifteen wounded and three captured. the British achieved surprise and broke in unexpectedly left and right. Heavy drum fire and a successful mine blast - the first such enemy mine so far - directed against our right hand platoon made this possible.

Bad enough ? Crickey ! Note the extraordinary ratio of killed to wounded - a reversal of the norm and evidence of the lethal effects of the mine. And the reflexive skill of the German soldiers in turning on the attackers and slaughtering them in turn : it is indeed redolent of the Petersburg Mine.

This is from pages 142-3 of Jack's book, which I am absolutely thrilled with.

Phil (PJA)

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Would they have had the means to fire them all simultaneously?

Just finished reading about the Petersburg mine assault and its unpredicted outcome. Quite a contrast with Messines. Was 1915 the first use of a mine assault since the USCW?

Almost. However there was some mining and counter mining at the siege of Port Arthur in 1904.

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found this about the best map so far

http://www.durandgro...ines_attack.htm

Is this really the case ..."Five fully charged mines containing 166,000 lb (75,500 kg) remain today."

I found reference to the following:

"Of the 21 mines laid 19 were exploded.

Of the two mines which remained undetonated on 7 June, the details of their precise location were mislaid by the British following the war, to the discomfort of local townspeople. One of the mines was detonated in a thunderstorm on 17 June 1955: the only casualty was a dead cow. The second mine remains undetected, although in recent years its location is believed to have been pinpointed. No-one has as yet attempted its recovery."

Which is it to be?

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