Uncovering Tunnels of World War I: The Falkenhausen Tunnel

In August 2019, Association des Souterrains Allemands de Puisaleine et des Environs 14/18, reopened a German underground network which was created during the Spring of 1916 on the battlefield of the French department Oise. This incredible network of underground tunnels, named “Falkenhausen Tunnel”, has 3 levels and extends over 400m (1312 feet) in length. A.S.A.P.E. 14/18 suspects that there’s even a more complex underground network attached to this one both in upper and lower direction.

These tunnels were drilled by two regiments of the Imperial Germany Army, Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment 48 and Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment 94 at the end of 1915. The tunnel complex was finished when the miners of the two regiments met eachother at the tunnel’s junction on May 30, 1916. The German units first entered this area in September 1914 and kept ground until March 1917.

The “Falkenhausen Tunnel” consists of an underground infirmary, various stairs to upper and lower levels, several exists leading to the surface (all buried under 3m of earth) and more… Due an explosion of a French charge in July 1918 a part of this tunnel network still remains unexplored to this day. Also the “Falkenhausen Tunnel” is only a part of a much larger underground network.

Many of the original engravings drawn throughout this underground complex are still present and in remarkable state of preservation.

The A.S.A.P.E 14-18, is an association, which aims to study through the use of archival documents, how and where the German and French underground system are located on the World War I battlefields around the commune of Moulin-Sous-Touvent and the surrounding municipalities of the French department Oise. As well as making field studies of these existing underground systems, record them in a log and analyze their state of conservation. Another initiative is to creat an archive with documents and objects relating to this period. A.S.A.P.E. 14/18 also aims to promote these underground sites as much as possible through exhibitions, conferences and books.

Another goal is to arrange field trips and make these tunnels open for the general public once they are safe enough to do so. Ultimately, helping the families of former soldiers find the traces of their ancestor at the fighting sites, is a high priority for the organization.

You can follow and contact Association des Souterrains Allemands de Puisaleine et des Environs via Facebook. All of the photographs were provided by A.S.A.P.E. 14/18 and are fully credited to the organization.

NOTE: Never go unauthorized and unaccompanied in any of the underground networks that were dug throughout the battlefields during World War 1. Many of them have been sealed of since World War I and are prohibited to enter. Many of them still contain explosives, may collapse any time and can be low on oxygene.

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