01709 385 624

Messines


7–14 June 1917

WW1 - Battle of Messines

At 3.10am on 7th June 1917 the British blew nineteen mines under the Messines Ridge in Flanders. These mines had been tunnelled as much as a year before and ranged in size from more than 30,000 lbs to over 96,000 lbs of explosive. Together they totalled near a million pounds of explosive making it the largest man made battlefield explosion in history until the Atomic Bomb in 1945.

The Facts


  • Date: 7–14 June 1917
  • Location: Flanders, Belgium
Countries Involved
British Empire German Empire
Countries Commanders
Sir Douglas Haig
Sir Herbert Plumer
Crown Prince Rupprecht
Sixt von Armin
Number of Casualties
Around 25,000 Around 35,000

The effect was devastating: German defences smashed to oblivion and thousands of German soldiers killed and wounded. In a single day the British and Commonwealth forces took the entire ridge, and for the next week beat back German counter-attacks. It was arguably one of the most successful British battles of the trench war on the Western Front.

Australian truck near Hill 63 during a bombardment

Australian truck near Hill 63 during a bombardment

Dummy tree observation post on hill 63

Dummy tree observation post on hill 63

Howitzer firing during battle

Howitzer firing during battle

Learn more about this battle on the following Leger Battlefield tours