Inside a Maginot Line fort

Contemporary illustration of a Maginot Line fort

Further extracts from the diary of Captain Twomey from 58 Medium Regiment, Royal Artillery, on attachment to the French Artillery for a week, in which he describes a visiting a French Maginot Line fort:

In the afternoon we had a conducted tour of the HAKENBERG fort in the whole line and is just beside VEKRING. Actually there are other forts with a greater number of guns but there are a lot of Infantry and machine guns in the HAKENBERG. It has 16 guns of 75mm. And 60mm and two cupulas mounting a pair of 80mm Hows. Each. The fort cost as much as the Battleship Queen Elizabeth. The B.B.C. and every journalist in the world have tried to describe the Maginot Forts, and I can’t hope to improve on their efforts.

The things which fascinated me most were the mechanisms of the cupulas, the way rate of fire can be speeded up when in a fixed emplacement so that one gun equals almost two, the arrangement for machine guns with all round traverse to be traversed at night with an adjustment of elevate and depress them in conformity with the slopes of the ground, the arrangements for anti-tank gun shooting over open sights with photographic panoramas with ranges marked on them, and above all the system of mutual support of the forts and a perfectly worked out fire plan which of course we did not see in entirety – it would take a week to grasp.

There are twelve kilometres of tunnel in the HAKENBERG we did not walk all that but we were all quite tired when we got home and felt well exercised.

See TNA WO 217/7

Wargunner has much more on the 58 Medium Regiment and a full transcript of Captain Twomey’s Diary, together with images of the area described as it is today.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Earlier in the war:

Later in the war: