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The explosion in the Tavannes tunnel
This tunnel, 1,000 metres long, had been used as barracks, first aid post and ammunitions depot since the first day of the battle [map]. The Eastern- and Western entrance had been sealed with barbed wire and several metres of piled up sandbags. The tunnel was overcrowded with French soldiers who were cut off from their units or who were searching for shelter from the shellfire or who were on their way to or just returning from the front.
Monday 4 September a huge explosion took place in the tunnel; an explosion
that could be compared to the one of fort Douaumont. In this particular
case the cargo of a mule had caught fire, probably because of the cooking
of the soldiers. The fire increased immensely, caused by the air current
in the tunnel and turned into an inferno. Everybody panicked and over 500
soldiers were killed. Nevertheless, the confusion caused by this explosion
remained unnoticed by the Germans.