10 Striking Pictures From World War I

Bomb Crater In West Flanders
This remarkable color photograph was taken during the Battle of Messines, which occurred in West Flanders, France in early June 1917. The battle lasted for a week, with over 25,000 confirmed killed and 10,000 missing. The colossal crater seen in the photograph was created on the first day of the battle by the British Second Army when they detonated 19 different mines in 19 seconds, followed quickly by a heavy artillery barrage. Five other mines remained undetonated, and a sixth was detonated during a thunderstorm in 1955. Over 10,000 German soldiers died in the blast, which is said to have been heard all the way from London and Dublin.The attack was the largest planned explosion in military history at the time and created very dangerous territory, even for the British. Overcrowding on the edge of the ridge resulted in the deaths of approximately 7,000 British soldiers. Many of the craters created during the Battle of Messines can still be seen on French farms and have been transformed into pools.