The Vauquois battlefield in France tells a little-known story of mining warfare during World War I. Through four years of combat which saw the hilltop village of Vauquois completely destroyed, French and German troops dug miles of tunnels under each other’s positions to plant explosive mines that would ‘bomb’ the enemy from below. More than 14,000 soldiers died there.
Vauquois must be experienced firsthand to understand the difficulties – and despair – of living deep underground in wet, cold and cramped conditions for days at a time. Of course, not everyone can travel to France and crawl through the remaining tunnels in person. So, a group of researchers at Virginia Tech is bringing the battlefield to classrooms and museums with the help of reality capture and virtual reality (VR) technologies.