World War II Tunnels
In 1940, Britain was at war with Germany and Italy and the future looked bleak for Gibraltar as the enemy surrounded it. Winston Churchill and the British military leaders believed that an attack on Gibraltar was imminent. The answer was to construct a massive network of tunnels, to build a fortress inside a fortress, a city within a city. In May 2005 the World War II Tunnels were opened to the general public and now you too can follow in the footsteps of Churchill, Sikorski and De Gaulle and walk through this amazing testament to the soldiers and civilians who toiled in the very bowels of the Rock during the darkest days of the War.
These tunnels were excavated during 1939-1944 by the Royal Engineers and a contingent of Canadian Engineers, and are an extension to The Great Siege Tunnels excavated during The Great Siege of 1779-83. The Rock is in fact honeycombed with a 32 mile-long network of tunnels. There are fascinating tours of these tunnels.
Grand Battery, the lowest part of the original Moorish Northern Defence, was known in Spanish days as the Curtain of St Bernard. The northern area provided defences for the Landport entrance, the Water Gate and the Cooperage. A narrow causeway connected Spain to this narrow land entrance into Gibraltar through Landport Gate. The sea would be lapping the causeway on one side (Glacis area) and on the other side by water from the inundation dug on the orders of the Prince of Hesse Darmstadt (1704). Years later, the Inundation was enlarged and many deep pits were excavated in it - the idea being that the sharp shooters above King’s Lines could shoot at anybody attempting to cross the causeway.