Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Fort Ferte on the Maginot Line

Fort Ferte was the fort on the west end of the Maginot line.  It was a second rank fort, just 2 bunkers linked by a 350m tunnel.  The Germany Infantry Corps covering Guderian's left flank after he crossed Meuse at Sedan, about 20km west, attacked it and took it.  It was the only serious Maginot fort to fall before the campaign was decided elsewhere.

I was fortunate to arrive there in nice time to join up with some Dutch visitors for an English langauge tour.  The guide really knew his stuff and made it a great tour.  Fort Ferte lacked the size of Fort Fermont, but more than made up for it by informative commentrary and serious battle damage.

The German commander made a text book attack...a demoralising continuous bombardment for a couple of days while getting ready.  30 mins of every heavy gun Corps would give him.  30 mins of direct fire by 88's and anything else he had on the observation cupolas.  Send in the pioneers under a smoke barrage.   Take out the observation cupolas first.  Blow holes with placed charges, then drop grenades inside.  The poor frogs mostly died of asphixiation as the consequent fires sucked up the oxygen while the isolation doors were either blasted open by the explosions or left open by shell shocked troops.

Pic 2 is the rear entrance to one of the bunkers.

Pic 3 is inside a main firing camber.  There are 2 guns a 47mm and a twin HMG.  The 47 can be quickly swapped for a second twin HMG.

Pic 4 is inside showing a dividing wall blasted away by the blasted of explosives the German pioneers dropped down a breached cupolla.

Pic 5 is a twin 47mm pop-up turret.  It had been hit while being raised or lowered & jammed half-way up by a shell hit, then the pioneers finished the job.  You see the marks of charges impressed into the steel on the LH side.

Pic 6 is my fav.  The deep holes are 88mm.  The shallow ones are probably heavy artillery.  The square hole on the left is an observation slot blasted by an attached charge.

1 comment:

BigLee said...

Great pictures and interesting commentary. Those hits by 88's made me wince. I wouldn't have wanted to be stationed in this place when the Germans attacked.