Lochnagar Crater – The blown up mine in Ovillers-la-Boisselle

The crater was created by a large mine placed beneath the German front lines on the first day of the Battle of the Somme (World War I), it was one of 19 mines that were placed beneath the German lines from the British section of the Somme front, to assist the infantry advance at the start of the battle.

Lochnagar Crater 2016 / Image source

The British named the mine after ‘Lochnagar Street’, a British trench where the Tunnelling Companies of the Royal Engineers dug a shaft down about 28 meters deep and then excavated some 275 meters towards the German lines to place 27 tons of ammonal explosive in two large adjacent underground chambers 60 feet apart. Its aim was to destroy a formidable strongpoint called ‘Schwaben Höhe’ in the German front line, south of the village of La Boisselle in the Somme department.

On Saturday 1st July 1916, at 7.28am, two minutes before the attack began, the mine was exploded, leaving the massive crater 21 meters deep and 100 meters wide.

Troops passing Lochnagar Crater, October 1916

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