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.
By Simon Jones (30 Oct 2014)