Maginos Line: Esch Casemates
I stumbled upon him too completely by chance. The purpose of my day was an underground fort line Magino, where I went. How suddenly right near the road noted a small military bunker with the rooftop American tank. I stopped and approached closer, but was Saturday and the museum was closed, as it works only on Sundays. The next day I decided to go back and get to know this relic of World War II.
French and German flags are flying at the entrance as a symbol of friendship between nations. Well come inside.
After the end of the war, the fortification structures of the Mazhino line belonged to the army that used large objects as warehouses for military ammunition, and those that were laughed were abandoned and then looted, gradually hiding behind their severe concrete corps for thick vegetation, resembling a terrible period of European history. The same fate has suffered this bunker. After the war, he was abandoned and gradually came to a state close to this. At the end of 1980, Hatten village municipality decides to build a memorial in memory of the terrible events of World War II. As a place for the construction of a memorial, an ESCH caasemate is selected, which is installed on the roof in 1985 as a monument to the American tank.
This is what the museum complex on the basis of the ESCH caasemap looks today.
And so he looked in 1989 (Photo: http: // www.Lignemaginot.COM /)
After the construction of the Memorial, the idea of creating a museum based on an abandoned bunker. The painstaking work on the reconstruction of the bunker begins. Most objects of the Maginos line were very typical, so it was not difficult to restore the bunker to the original state, and gradually the inner premises of the bunker acquire their primordial appearance. Also expands the exposition on the territory adjacent to the bunker.
I was the only visitor during the time I spent here. Only at the exit after the inspection of the entire museum complex, I met new visitors – Russian-speaking family with a child. Due to the absence of people, it was possible to perfectly immerse yourself in the atmosphere of this place and make good photos.
A lot of relics of defense engineering of the middle of the last century, but I will come back to their inspection later, but will come back to their inspection.
Around the beautiful and deserted countryside of the agricultural province.
With a closer approximation to the bunker, it becomes noticeable, as it has sacked it during the fighting.
The sign on the entrance indicates the year of the bunker constructions – 1931.
Before moving to the inspection of the internal exposure, I suggest familiarizing yourself with the device of this bunker. On the official website of the bunker (http: // www.Lignemaginot.com /) was a very detailed scheme on which everything clearly shown.
Team serving bunker: one officer, two nonber officers and 21 soldiers. Square occupied by a bunker 28 x 18 meters, height 7.5 meters. Wall thickness from one meter in the back of the bunker to two and a half meters in the front part. Armament: 2 guns 37 mm, 4 machine guns, 6 World Cup, 2 mortars 50 mm, brainets for grenade launchers.
The bunker was equipped with his well, from which water with the help of the pump was pumped into the reservoir, a diesel generator with electricity supplying the entire bunker in the event of hostilities, filter-imaging installation, personnel recreation rooms and two towers, of which was conducted as observing the territory and shooting.
Plan of the bunker Esch
Let’s start a review with the right side of the bunker, there is a small museum with a bunch of military artifacts, which can be considered for a very long time.
But honestly, I am not a big lover of this kind of museums. For me, the perfect museum – that in which everyone left as it was in the original. I do not like showcases with small things, mannequins and other museum attributes.
If you know the French here there is something to read – the originals of documents, certificates and other matters of military time.
And this is the original part of the Room Room (I do not know how it is called). On the left is visible an interesting device is an automatic telegraph for transferring and receiving commands. According to the principle of operation, it is similar to those used on ships and submarines. Such devices were equipped with all the bins and the forts of the Machino line.
In the same room, a large meeting of models of military equipment of the Second World War.
Represented as Soviet equipment.
. so french, american and german.
But this is more interesting. One of the bunkers of the Magino line in the context. A very detailed and high-quality model that makes it clear what the underground part of such structures looks like.
The detail of the model is impressive.
This is a room of a personnel of personnel as well as the place of work of the officer. Behind the back of mannequins is a huge two-tier bed for the military. Unfortunately, all this is fenced down with glass and because of the glare to make a normal sighting photo failed.
We go to the left wing of the bunker. There is also more interesting, less museum and more original details. The photo shows a small diesel generator setting, generating a current for lighting, water pump operation and an electric appliance of the filter ventilation unit. Just in case lighting everywhere is duplicated by kerosene lamps.
On the right side of the frame, the subject with which I have a bunch of memories from childhood – Tank Periscope (Triplex). Since my childhood passed near the tank regiment, this kind we had in bulk. In one old barn, we even equipped the headquarters by mouncing the triplex to observe the road. Looked at this tank periscope and immediately so many memories of childhood!
And this is already a fire room in the right wing. There is also a small arms exhibition.
The staircase in one of the turrets from which there was a circular observation as well as mortar and machine gun fire. Right lifting mechanism for delivery arrow arms and ammunition.
So the dome of the turret looks outside. As can be seen during the fighting, he also got.
In the left part of the photo you can see the filter ventilation unit. Drive from the electric motor, but when the generator fails, you can ventilate in manual mode. If necessary, in the entire bunker it was possible to create excessive pressure to prevent penetration into poison gases into penetration.
As can be seen on the tablet over the entrance, the bunker was built in 1931, but construction began in the 1930th. It was one of the first bunkers built in this region to protect the road leading to Renu, it was on this road that the German offensive was expected in the event of war. The bunker received its name from the locality name " Esch ", that on Alsatian dialect means "harrow farmer".
May 10, 1940 began the offensive of the German troops to France. During the combat operations of the 1940th year, the caasemont suffered. Since the main fighting was carried out at all elsewhere. As a result, on June 22, France capitulated and all French troops were disarmed. The fortification facilities of the Magino line were given to the Germans. Soldiers were ordered to leave the caasemates, leaving everything weapons there, ammunition and inventory.
Here are the memories of one of the soldiers who serve in the 1940th year in the bunker "Esch":"By June 26, we were ordered to be ready for the hand of the Kazhemate Germans. It was ordered to leave in the hopper card with plans of the terrain, weapons, ammunition and all equipment. It was allowed to carry only their personal weapons, but without cartridges. You could also take a bedspread, food, tobacco, alcohol and dressings. Senior Sergeant was supposed to stay after serving the entire personnel for the transfer of keys and instructions to the Germans. June 30 Personal Composition "Esch" and other incapheted occasions went to the village of Hatten, where they spent the night. All houses in the village were completely empty, the population was completely evacuated. On July 1, there was first contact with the German army, we were disarmed and sent by foot under the scorching sun to the city of Haguenau, which is more than twenty kilometers from the village of Hatten. We were placed in the former cavalry barracks simply on Earth with a stone straw. By this time, we’ve ended the food and lucky who was able to carry a little more food with them than the rest. The Germans were not ready for such a large number of prisoners of war and food supply was absent. Starting on July 13, 1940, the German government begins to release the prisoners of Alsatse and Larring in alphabetical order. July 15, my turn came, then I return to my hometown of Metz and the happy found my parents alive. I was 24 years old."
The roof of the bunker with two towers with traces of fighting and tank set here as a monument in 1985.
American tank "Sherman" On the roof of the bunker, these tanks fought in bloody battle, which occurred in 1945 in these places.
Palcol from the dried rails in the aim of obstacles to the promotion of enemy tanks. Such anti-tank barriers extended in the pre-war time in many places of Maginos line for hundreds of kilometers. In addition, they intensified a non-barbed wire network to prevent the passage of enemy infantry.
On the territory of the museum there are also various types of boys, for the construction of which often used the towers of outdated or written off tanks.
And this is already a bronorchelpak – a fire point, made entirely of metal.
Have been different types and forms.
The most destructive events in the history of the bunker occurred in 1945. On January 1, Hitler starts the Nordynder (North Wind) operation – the military operation of the Germans against the US and France troops, the arena for which Alsace and Lorraine became.
After the powerful attack of the Germans, Americans retreat and hide in the mazemates of the Maginos line, including here in the fortifications near the village of Hatten. January 8, 1945 Fights using artillery, tanks and infantry begins in this region. ESCH case, then found himself in the center of hostilities. Under the powerful fire of Germans, the Americans were forced to leave the caasemate and he moves to the Germans who have an observation post in it, a command post and a medical center for the wounded.
Soon the Americans are taking counterattack with the support of massive artillery fire. During the counterattack, several American tanks attack the right fire room of the bunker, from where the powerful defenses of the Germans. Despite the direct hitting of tank shells, the bunker endured this attack and the room did not suffer.
Traces from this attack you see in pictures.
The battle of Hatten-Rittershoffen took a lot of human lives: about 3,000 German and American soldiers died. As a result of this battle, the Americans are receded by the city of Haguenau on January 21, but later the counterattack resumes. Permanent battles and movement of the front line then one way to another, entrusted to a lot of human casualties among the civilian population of the Hatten village, where 83 civilians broke up with their lives. The village itself was erased from the face of the earth.
After the war, the village of Hatten was announced " Martyr region ". And indeed, it is very different from other Alsasy villages. It has almost no old architecture in it. All building modern, post-war.
Hatten Village, in 1945. (Photo: A.A.L.M.A.)
On this I finish my brief historical excursion. But the topic of the Magino line in my blog is not yet completed.