Latter-Day Dig of ‘Great Escape’ Tunnels Humbles Modern Engineers
CAMBRIDGE, England — For scale, they were no match for the Great Pyramids of Giza or the Panama Canal. The labor took months rather than years and a work force of barely 100 men. As for materials, there were none, beyond what the captured Royal Air Force fliers who built them could scavenge, scrounge or improvise.
But by the measures of ingenuity, courage and persistence, the tunnels built almost 70 years ago in sandy scrubland near the small town of Zagan, 130 miles southeast of Berlin in what was then Hitler’s Germany and is today western Poland, were a legendary feat of engineering, although on a miniature scale.
Chronicled by the 1963 movie “The Great Escape,” the tunnel building is one of World War II’s great stories. In the decades since, the legend of the allied fliers’ mass breakout on the night of March 24, 1944, together with the ingenious planning and the Nazi retribution that followed — 73 of the 76 escapers recaptured, and 50 of them summarily executed on Hitler’s orders — has, in a way, eclipsed reality....
comments powered by Disqus
- Isis Palmyra demolition has begun with ancient God Lion statue destroyed
- Moving Photographs of Japanese American Internees, Then and Now
- A One-of-a-Kind Trove Reveals What 19th-Century American Boyhood Was Really Like
- St. Louis University moves controversial statue after protests
- UNC Renames Building That Honored Ku Klux Klan Leader
- NYT hosts debate including Eric Foner: How Americans should remember Reconstruction
- William Leuchtenburg says historians and the media have been too hard on Obama
- Hugh Ambrose, historian who helped develop WWII Museum, dead at 48
- Historian discounts claim that Churchill and other British PM's were gay
- Nick Bunker Wins $50,000 2015 George Washington Book Prize