On 7 June 1917, the British Second Army launched its attack on Messines Ridge, detonating 19 giant mines beneath the German front-line positions. By the end of the day, one of the strongest positions on the Western Front had fallen, a place of such importance that the Germans had pledged to hold it at any cost. It was the greatest British victory in three years of war. The first two years of the First World War had represented an almost unending catalogue of disaster for the Australians. Messines was not only their first real victory, it was also the first test in senior command for Major General John Monash who commanded the newly formed 3rd Division and would later be hailed as Australia’s greatest soldier. Messines was a baptism of fire for the 3rd Division which came into the line alongside the battle-scarred 4th Australian Division, badly mauled at Bullecourt just six weeks earlier in one of the worst defeats of the war. The fighting at Messines would descend into unimaginable savagery, a lethal and sometimes hand-to-hand affair of bayonets, clubs, bombs and incessant machine-gun fire, described by one Australian as ‘72 hours of Hell’. After their string of bloody defeats over 1915 and 1916, Messines would be the ultimate test for the Australians.
• Part of the highly successful Australian Army Campaign Series. • Full colour with low RRP of $19.99 provides great value for money. • National PR campaign targeting Australia’s leading Military – History Magazines and Journals – physical and online. • Advertised in trade publications – InCite Magazine, Good Reading and B+P Magazine. • Mainstream Capital City newspaper book reviews and ABC local and national radio for author interviews.
Craig Deayton is a History teacher with a special interest in Australia’s military history. He has worked as a teacher and College Principal for over twenty-five years and is currently Principal in Hobart. Craig holds a Bachelor’s degree in History and a Masters degree in Education. Craig has also written: Battle Scarred The 47th Battalion in the First World War (isbn 978-1-922132-00-0) and At Any Price: The Anzacs in the Battle of Messines 1917 (isbn 978-1-925520-51-4). Craig lives in Hobart with his wife Tracey and children Patrick, Dominic, Michael and Annie.