By J. E. Kaufmann

  • Guide to the French defenses encountered by way of the German blitzkrieg in 1940
  • Includes finely certain plans, diagrams, and schematics of forts, blockhouses, turrets, artillery items, tanks, and extra

    Between the area wars, France developed an unlimited and complicated array of defenses designed to avoid German forces from penetrating the French heartland as that they had in the course of global struggle I. between those used to be the well-known Maginot Line, the final of the good gun-bearing fortifications, yet France additionally outfitted defenses alongside its coasts and in its territories in North Africa. totally illustrated with images, maps, and drawings, fort France describes the layout and building of those fortifications, discusses French protecting doctrine and process, and explains why those efforts proved not able to forestall the German assault within the spring of 1940.

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    Most blocks mounted one or more types of nonrotating steel domes known as cloches because of their bell-like shape. They became one of the distinguishing features of the Maginot fortifications. A few blocks had no casemate or turret but several cloches that, in many cases, formed a position known as an observation block. 33 34 FORTRESS FRANCE The combat blocks for artillery and infantry usually normally consisted of two levels that accommodated crews of twenty to thirty men. The upper level of a casemate block mounted the weapons and included a place for the ready supply of ammunition and an M-3 magazine.

    Since the work needed to be nearly completed before the evacuation of the Rhineland in 1935 and budget restraints were instituted, not only was the RF of Haute-Alsace (Belfort) eliminated, but also the encircling fosses THE MAGINOT LINE FIGURE 2*2. Map in three sections showing Maginot fortifications (the Extension is missing). [© Tomasz Idzikowski] (moats) for the GOs were eliminated. In the few new forts where the fosse was actually built, it was only partially built. After years of discussion and planning, in the rush to begin the work, the first of the forts were built for outdated weapons systems and had to undergo improvements.

    25 26 FORTRESS FRANCE Following the Mussolini-Laval accord of January 1935, the government ordered a moratorium an all construction on the Alpine front. However, the invasion of Ethiopia in the fall of that year triggered a resumption of the work, but much of the construction season was lost. After 1936, more sites that had not received primary urgency in the southeast now received priority. In 1937, an ambitious project was launched on the Authion Plateau, which acted like a natural fort, blocking the northern approach to Sospel and Nice.

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