Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Crater to Remember

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Today, Remembrance Day, we take a moment to remember and thank all of our Veterans, the fallen, and today's Peacekeepers, for their effort and sacrifice to uphold our way of life and protect the freedoms and principles we enjoy.

Generally, when we think of a Crater on our Planet, we think of the scars left by meteor impacts on the Earth. Lochnagar Crater is not a meteor impact. It is a lingering scar left by a nearly century old war and the grave marker of untold hundreds of soldiers from WW1.

Aerial Views of Lochnagar Crater
Lochnagar Crater website - Street View/Photos - zoomable map/satellite

At 7:28am on July 1st, 1916 the Battle of the Somme started with explosion of 17 massive 'mines' underneath enemy territory. Lochnagar was the largest of these. It remains "The largest crater ever made by man in anger".

Created by Allied mining and demolition experts over several months, the mine was packed with 27,216 kilograms of explosives, set in two charges 18 metres apart and 16 metres below ground. The explosion obliterated between 91 and 122 metres of the German dug-outs, thought to have been full of German troops. Debris was reported to have been thrown 1200 metres (4000 ft) into the air. At the time, the blast was loudest man made sound in history.

The total casualties of the Somme Battles are staggering and unthinkable today. Nearly 1 million men! The total dead and wounded, the Allies almost 624,000 including over 24,000 Canadians and the Germans with another 465,000.

Such are the horrors of war. As German Officer Friedrich Steinbrecher once wrote: "Somme. The history of the world cannot contain a more ghastly word."

Thanks to Richard Dunning for his support of this important historical site.

Hat Tip to Ray Khan for finding this.