Saturday, April 06, 2013

LIGNE MAGINOT

Fort Schoenenbourg

Many of us learned about the Maginot Line somewhere between kindergarten and 12th grade, and perhaps studied it again during college.  However, I really do not think that one can fully appreciated the enormity of the line without a visit to France.  You can learn more about the Line at this link, and although there are many pictures there, I am posting some that I took on a recent field trip to Fortress Schoenenbourg.  It is interesting to note that the fortresses themselves were indeed impenetrable to the invading Nazis, but the French did not expect the Germans to simply bypass the heart of the line along the border, but rather flanked the line by passing through the low countries.  Clicking on a picture should provide a nice enlargement. 


The main part of Fort Schoenenbourg is nearly 100 feet below ground.  There are two major wings, one for living and maintenance and the second for weapons, and they are nearly a mile apart.  The train would bring in supplies at ground level, and then a very large elevator would transport the train down to the main level.  The main level had everything needed for self-sufficiency as seen below - generators, water processing, air filters [fear of poison gas used in WWI], kitchen, living quarters, clinic, and of course a wine cellar!  The living was similar to being on a submarine - small with no access to light and fresh air.












There were only a couple of places where soldiers had painted on the walls - too busy working.



9 comments:

Bizzy Brain said...

Interesting information on something I knew nothing about. Let's see, today the Maginot Line is used to recall a strategy or object that people hope will prove effective but instead fails miserably. Hmmm...

Douglas E said...

BB - seriously? I thought we all got a Maginot Line lecture or two when studyinhg the history of WWII. [Of course, you may not have been listening!]. Indeed the current use is based precisely on the seemingly good idea that failed miserably. And massively - a huge expenditure that did not turn out well.

BB said...

I had heard of the Maginot Line and knew it was in Europe and had something to do with war, but did not envision it as elaborate as your pictures show.

S3 said...

Get it out, Biz. What you were hinting at in your first comment is that the Maginot Line is a metaphor for socialism.

DDD said...

cool pics!

Douglas E said...

BB - I too did not imagine how large and extensive the Line; basic memory is that the construction and guns faced the German border, and the Germans simply went around the Line and came in from behind. The Germans basically waited out the French manning the Line, and after they surrendered, the Germans used the Line. Today, much of the line is abandoned, some is perserved for tours, and a couple are used by the French government for secure operations.

ps - maybe it's a metaphor for capitalism :-)

BB said...

Hardy har har, Douglas E. Sounds like you've been in Europe too long. Lol!

Douglas E said...

BB - just wanted to see if you were paying attention!

BB said...

I have a cast iron stomach, thus can digest anything you say.