How does the French military bunker Maginot Line
• How does the French military bunker Maginot Line
It forts were on a plan to become the creators of the impregnable wall designed to hold back the enemy offensive of the army at the time, until the border is not tightened, the French army. Forts located along the French border near the strategically important roads or settlements at a distance of a few dozen kilometers from each other.
The space between them is covered pillboxes and antitank and antipersonnel obstacles. Forts were divided into two types: small forts (Petit Ouvrage) and large forts (Gros Ouvrage). Today, I will introduce the reader to the device a small fort on the Maginot Line fort example Petit Ouvrage de Rohrbach (hereinafter simply PO Rohrbach).
PO Rohrbach ideal to illustrate the small fort device because of its excellent preservation. Fort completely restored to its original state before the war and all its mechanisms, components and tools are fully functional.
To date, the fort maintained by a group of enthusiasts of military history, and every year is open to visitors on certain days of the week. Wander through the dungeons of the fort can only be a guide as virtually all museum forts of the Maginot Line. This, of course, a minus, but the guide is very understanding responds to human backlog with a camera from the group, so that the photos do no interfere in the frame without the people.
Entrance into the fort through a combat unit №2, which is depicted in the photo. Tours are conducted in German and French, each group with its own guide, respectively. The duration of excursions is more than two hours.
Before proceeding to the description of the internal device of the fort at the beginning conventionally a bit of history. Fort fort Rohrbach is the second generation, its construction began in 1934 and ended in 1938. For the construction of the fort took 6,000 cubic meters of concrete and 500 tons of steel. Originally this place was planned to build a large fort, consisting of 13 warheads, but in the future due to the crisis and lack of money, these plans have been heavily reduced and as a result at the time of its completion in 1938, the fort consisted of three combat units. In this form it remained until the present time.
The workers posing against the backdrop of the second unit is under construction.
September 1, 1939, Germany attacked Poland on September 3 and France declared war on Germany, from this day being mobilized and the fort is filled with soldiers who will leave it only in June 1940, after the capitulation of France. Until May 10, 1940 last period of "phony war", during which both sides of Germany and France sit behind their lines of fortifications and large-scale military action is underway.
After an industrious Germans Maginot line in the Saar region in the area of the region begin hostilities, but in spite of the powerful attacks of the Germans, supported by artillery, the fort was never able to capture and he remained undefeated. After the capitulation of France June 25, 1940 the soldiers of the fort were forced to surrender on honorable terms on the orders of the Supreme Command of the French. A few days later the fort PO Rohrbach was handed over to the Germans, and his lawyers sent to a camp for prisoners of war.
German soldiers near the second unit in 1940.
The second block in our time. The aperture grille with the foreground - the ventilation air intake system of iron armature with wire stretched between them - a radio antenna. Near the entrance loophole machine gun, which was supposed to prevent the approach of the enemy close to the unit. Before the walls of the unit is a so-called diamantovy moat, whose main goal was - to take concrete debris from the walls and the roof in the case of the bombing of the fort aircraft. Thus I avoid blockage exit fort concrete rubble. Bridge spanning the moat at Fort diamantovy closing retract. This door - the only entrance to the fort, with the exception of the emergency exit tunnel.
The German army has not used the fort nor in 1940, nor in the fight against the Allied forces in 1944-45. Because of this fort was injured and almost perfectly preserved in original condition. In 1951, many of the Maginot Line forts including Fort Rohrbach were upgraded and put on alert due to the emergence of a potential new enemy - the Warsaw Pact. But after the creation of the French of their nuclear weapons, the defenses of the Maginot Line completely lost its relevance in 1970 Rohrbach fort was dismissed from the army. In 1987, activists of the local residents with the support of the city of Rohrbach-les-Bitche set about the restoration of the fort, a 1989 established the association "Fort Casso", whose aim was to restore the fort to the pre-war status and opening it to the public.
US troops near the second unit in 1944.
That is all for the history of the fort. Now a few words about the structure of the fort. All forts Maginot line have the same structure and consist of a number of warheads (block 3-4 at small forts and up to twenty blocks in the largest forts defensive lines) interconnected underground tunnels (Poterna). In addition, the underground barracks are located to accommodate personnel, kitchen, electricity, hospital, command post, signalers premises, warehouses for provisions, fuel and ammunition. In fact the fort was a small underground city, able to keep the defense within two months, remaining completely self-contained. The depth of the underground part of the fort Rohrbach 25 meters. This is a safe depth to which the explosive method was impossible to get through, even if the bomb in the same place. The fact that the most powerful bomb at the time when the Maginot Line was built, left a crater six meters deep. The second bomb dropped into the funnel of the first, punching is not six meters, but much less. Thus, to break into the 25-meter depth was impossible to use the weapons of the time. The figure below, though not of this fort, but gives a great idea of how to look like a combat unit of the Maginot Line forts and its underground system.
Driving a small fort PO Rohrbach presented below. As can be seen from the scheme, it consists of a fort three warheads interconnected Poterna, slowness of several hundred meters. Fort has one main entrance, arranged in the second block. In addition, there is also the main emergency exit, which is located at the end of the gallery, originating near the third block. The length of this gallery can be a few hundred meters, and perhaps a kilometer or more. All underground part fort (barracks, kitchen, warehouse, power) is concentrated near the second input unit. In total, the fort served as a PO Rohrbach 182: 6 officers and 176 rank and file soldiers.
Well, let's go inside and see how it looks in reality.
Place the machine-gunner with a built-in machine gun embrasure MAS 24/29, guarding the entrance to the fort. If the front security door will be blown up, and the enemy will begin storming the fort, the first thing he comes across - the barrel of a machine gun.
In the next room there is a filter-ventilation unit. The filters can be seen year when they were installed in the fort - 1939 th.
The second unit is equipped with two cupola: first GFM-dome domes of this type, I wrote in the previous posts, dedicated structures of the Maginot Line. The second dome-type AM (Arme Mixte). So they look outside (in the foreground AM, in the background GFM):
Supervisory type GFM armored covers could be equipped with optics for observation, if necessary, in the recess was built machine gun MAC 24/29 or 50-mm mortar caponier. The thickness of the cover armor 300 mm armored covers GFM weight is 26 tons.
And this is mine armored covers type AM. There are already appears povnushitelney equipment.
type armored covers AM equipped with combined arms, consisting of machine guns and 25-mm anti-tank gun. This is the most impressive type of armored covers used on the Maginot Line sites. Weight armored covers reaching up to 50 tons.
The combination of weapons of armored covers exposed for clarity around.
In the next armored door is the elevator shaft and the envelope of its spiral staircase down. Elevator had the right to use only the officers or other high-ranking visitors of the fort, the soldiers walked. Besides officers transported products on the elevator and ammunition to the lower level. This is the only elevator fort. The elevator car is housed eight people or tonne of cargo, and was equipped with a stopper, in case of rupture of the suspension cable.
go underground stairs, envelope fenced grid elevator shaft. 145 steps lead to the ground.
The underground level of the fort PO Rohrbach lies at a depth of 25 meters in the limestone soil - is about the height of a nine homes.
Numerous communication between underground and surface part of the fort.
So we reached a depth of 25 meters, from this place, and my acquaintance begins with a fascinating underground world.
Immediately opposite the elevator is a small pantry with various household small things. This room served as an intermediate storage, where you can quickly unload a lift and send it for the new consignment. During hostilities premises also serve as a morgue. But in the history of the fort there died only one soldier patrolling the area around the fort and stumbled on a German reconnaissance.
To get the shots without people, I went to the end of the tour, so part of the picture was taken with an eye ago. Behind the door in the photo is the lifting mechanism of the elevator.
Let us return once more to the scheme of the fort. I red oval around the part of the fort, which I show in this post. Immediately next to the stairs and an elevator is the kitchen in front of her energy center, comprising current transformers for high voltage conversion obtained from the outside through the power cable and autonomous power plant consisting of two diesel-generators. Next come the barracks of soldiers and officers of the room, an infirmary, a command center and warehouse of the fort, which houses a small museum with a variety of weapons and equipment of the fort. In the diagram can be seen as an appendix of the unfinished inspection gallery, which was supposed to lead to another combat unit, but due to funding cuts in the block has not been built, and Poterna zabutovany was before the war.
Now, examine the entire underground portion of the fort in the listed sequence.
Near the room to the elevator shaft - the kitchen. Where people are seen in the photo - it's way out to where we started an underground walk. That is, the photo is made back to the footway leading further into the fort.
To live for months in a confined space hopper psychologically very difficult. Therefore, to maintain morale and vitality of staff nutrition soldiers assigned a special role. The bunkers of the Maginot line fed much better than on the surface. In the bunker by the best chefs and the kitchen was equipped with the latest technology of the time. A lot of kitchen equipment installed in the forts of the Maginot line, appeared in an ordinary apartment only decades later.
Fully all the equipment in the kitchen, including an oven, it was electric. A large silver box in the right part of the photo - coffee.
And this amazing device is peeling potatoes. Thus, the soldiers were exempted from the dress cleaning potatoes. All this fort was designed to make life easier underground.
Such is the high-tech kitchen mid 30s.
In the kitchen there are a few little rooms, one of them - hooks for meat carcasses.
In another - the equipment that purpose could not be established. Perhaps some sort of refrigeration system.
The window for delivery of food to the soldiers.
A characteristic feature of the forts of the Maginot Line was the lack of diners. Each soldier received their food and eat it either on your bed or behind such tables here, exposed directly to the postern of the fort. In the photo at the bottom of the tables are located right next to the kitchen.
This Poterna, leaving the other two warheads. Here we also see tables with benches along the underground passage.
Immediately opposite the kitchen is power backup diesel generators. Let's look back.
Then everywhere stylish diesel-punk. The door to the center of the frame is in the room with the huge fuel tanks.
In the event of damage to the power cable feeding the fort in one of the buildings was built a local power plant, consisting of SMIM (Paris) company's two engines.
Both the four-cylinder engine, developing 100 hp. from. 600 rev / min. Thanks to the work at low revs the engines were very reliable.
In this corner of the power plant is located under the floor of the well, the depth of 250 meters, of which the whole fort is supplied with water by means of an electric pump located under the floor. In the photo on the right shows a part of pumping equipment for the transport of water from the well in the fort tanks.
It looks like the whole room station.
The engines are very impressive in their appearance and size.
In the corner of the room there is a small power plant workshop, which had everything we needed for repairing the malfunction light technology.
Each of the motors is connected to a generator of alternating electric current. Huge engine is started by means of compressed air which is fed to the two of the four cylinders to drive the propeller shaft with huge and heavy flywheel. After acceleration of the engine, comprising a stationary mode with fuel injection. Reservoirs of compressed air necessary for starting diesel engines, are visible on the left side.
The output is another single-cylinder engine with a small generator, possibly a backup. power inspection is over and we are back to the main footway.
Next for the power station building - transformer. Take a look and there.
As I mentioned, the fort is powered via the power cable from the outside. The transformer current obtained from the outside, converted into an intranet 110 volts fort. So look transformers and associated electrical equipment. All this is working so far.
In the transformer is a room with huge tanks. They provide water for cooling power plants equipment.
to photograph them is very difficult, because they occupy most of the volume of the room.
The network found an excellent plan inspected us part of the fort. It's all very clearly shown. And we go further into the barracks of the fort.
In the technical area end Poterna makes a slight bend, it is also seen in the picture above.
Security doors on the left side of the photo led to the barracks of the fort, Poterna on the right side of the fort - the other two warheads.
The extent of the underground labyrinths are very impressive.
A bathroom. All Fort Lighting was duplicated ordinary candles or gas lamps in the case of failure of electricity. candle can be seen on the left in the photo. Closed door in a photo - a toilet for the officers and commanders, toilets with half-open doors - for ordinary soldiers.
The sewage collected in special tanks with chemical solvents - prototypes of modern composting toilets. Tanks were placed under the toilet, classical sewage was in the fort.
Next to the toilet is a small room with a washbasin.
Next shower rooms. Of the three shower cubicles, one intended for disinfecting affected by toxic gases, the other two were conventional showers. Each soldier had the right to bathe in the shower once a week.
filter-ventilation system, designed for the decontamination of victims of the gas attack.
In twenty meters from the showers and toilets are located directly own barracks.
One of the two rooms with iron beds to ten seats was designed for professional fort workers: mechanics, nurses, cooks, electricians.
Simple as the soldiers were sleeping in hammocks, which hung in two levels. This room housed 26 hammocks. A feature of this room was that the metal structures are easily disassembled, allowing for a very short time to turn the room into a festive hall. In 1939, the fort soldiers celebrated Christmas there with songs, wine and fun.
Next, another room with hammocks, but smaller.
Double room non-commissioned officers.
Comandante room fort, the only single room in the fort.
The room in which the lieutenants lived.
The fort also has a small medical unit, consisting of a dressing room ...
... and wards for two patients.
At the barracks inspection is over, move to the next location, situated next to the barracks - the command center, from where the fort control.
The command center is located behind the next turn (on the left).
The main hall of the command center. Pay attention to the radiator. Heating fort was carried out by heaters, which are served warm air in all the fort premises. Installation of the central hot water heating has been in the process of installation but the work was interrupted by the outbreak of war. Therefore, in different rooms of the fort can be found radiators, which never worked.
In the command center received information about the situation inside and outside the fort. Then analyzes the situation and hence the orders were given various warheads and is in communication with the neighboring forts.
The main sources of information were five observation armored covers of the fort, the information from which the call to report to the command center. Also thanks to a telephone connection with the neighboring forts fort Command was well informed about the situation in dozens of kilometers around.
Message from General de Gaulle to the French nation.
Telephone cables between the forts were built at a depth of three meters in the vicinity of the fort, and at a depth of two meters in the fields. In addition to direct telephone communication between the forts, each of forts was connected to a single telephone network, installed in line potential near the front. In the event of failure of the telephone line has been a fallback communication between the forts by flares.
Telephone exchange. Closest to the command center at the fort were settled officers and telephonists. Thus, when declaring an alarm command center started to function almost immediately. The telephone records all the information it receives from the outside in special documents, which were immediately investigated by officers, analyzed maps and decide whether the firings, which were passed away in combat casemates of the fort. The downside of the forts of the Maginot line was that they were blinded by nightfall or heavy fog. After laying all the instruments at that time it was exclusively visual.
At this point we leave the command center, and moved into the final underground location of the fort - a warehouse.
In the warehouse, in order to fill the empty warehouses, organized a small museum with a good collection of various techniques used in the forts of the Maginot Line, ranging from weapons and ending periscope observation cupola and various electrical appliances.
Engine Telegraph, similar to the ship. With the help of these devices from the command center of the fort sent teams into fighting units, and back came the confirmation of their implementation.
Tandem caponier gun installation which usually set fort in embrasures combat units. If necessary, this machine gun mount was removed away and in its place grew a 47-mm anti-tank gun.
This installation with combined arms, which was placed inside the cupola type AM which was higher (photo 10, 12, 13). Combined arms are themselves two weapons in one: a machine gun and a 25 mm anti-tank gun. Armored covers type AM system equipped with removal of powder gases and ventilation in the cap feed system and ammunition cooling water weapons.
Despite the fact that the very cupola was not rotated, by means of supporting brackets heavy gun can be quickly reinstalled in one of two embrasures armored covers. All the settings and configuration tools by rotating the handle, which greatly simplifies its operation.
On the way to the first combat unit, found such a appendix zabutovany inspection gallery (see. Map at the beginning of Lent). During the construction of the fort was planned much larger number of warheads, but after funding cuts had to limit the construction of three blocks. By that time it had to pass an inspection gallery to the intended fourth block, which zabutovany soon. How far away zabutovany Poterna - is still unknown. Employees of the museum of the fort there was erected a monument André Maginot - Minister of the French military, which had initiated the construction of the line military fortifications on the border with Germany.
Another small room next to the zabutovany footway. Initially it was a room vertical shaft through which was excavation when drilling underground tunnels. When construction was completed, the barrel top filled, and thus the fort formed another extra room. Without thinking twice, then made another barracks for soldiers.