Battle of Messines - Belgium, New Zealand Sunset ceremony
New Zealand Memorial, Messines - Belgium - Sunset Ceremony
7-14 June 1917. The Battle of Messines, also known as the Battle of the Mines, was fought as a prelude to the Battle of Passchendaele. By simultaneously exploding 19 mines, the Allies could take the German positions at Messines by surprise. It was the most important Allied military victory of the war up to that point. The success of the offensive is attributed to the Australian, British, Canadian, Irish and New Zealand troops who prepared an intricate tunnelling system and carried out a sustained attack.
The Loudest Explosion
In the early morning of 7 June 1917, at 4.10 a.m. local time (Zero Hour), the world shook as 19 deep mines, placed by the Allies, simultaneously exploded near Messines. The resulting detonation was the loudest man-made noise at that point and was reportedly heard as far as Dublin. The impact on the German line was enormous: surprise, chaos and devastation. Through extensive bombardment and infantry attack, only one week later the Messines- Wijtschate salient was taken