British Gen. Sir Charles Harington: “Gentlemen, we may not make history tomorrow, but we shall certainly change the geography”.
At 3:10 AM on June 7th, 1917 Royal Engineers detonated 19 explosive mines placed by tunneling companies under major German strongpoints known as stellungs. A creeping barrage delivered by 756 guns followed, and IX, X and II ANZAC Corps advanced behind this firestorm. This was the beginning of the Messines-Wytschaete Ridge (usually abbreviated to Messines) attack to drive the Germans off of the high ground south of Ypres and north of Ploegsteert in Belgium. This was a necessary first objective of Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig’s 1917 Offensive to End the War, regrettably called ‘The Big Push’, later officially labelled the Third Battle of Ypres.