Maginot Line at War 1939-1940

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Then and Now

The Battlefield Today 

Much of the Maginot Line still exists.  Although urban growth and new highway construction have altered the countryside, the landscape still appears much as it did in 1940.  Here are some photograph comparisons.

Fortress Hackenberg located east of Metz



One of the four large diesel engines in the fortresses' power generation plant.  The engines are still used to this day to provide power to the fortress.


The 135mm mortar of block 9 during German occupation of the fortress and today, as seen during public tours of the fortress.


The 135mm mortar turret of block 9.  Hackenberg's greatest combat action was in 1944 when the US Army attacked and captured the fortress in November 1944.  This view of the turret is a reverse angle view from the 1940 photograph above.

Fortress Galgenberg located near Thionville



As one of the heaviest armed sections of the Maginot Line, the fortifications in the Cattenom Forest were not attacked by the German Army.  This German news photograph shows Galgenberg's crew waiting for handover of the fortress to the German Army. The munitions entrance block still remains much as it was in 1940.
Fort Sentzich near Thionville



Fort Sentzich is mono-block ouvrage sited along a main road from Thionville to Germany.  It is now a musem in the village of Sentzich.

Fortress Michelsberg located east of Metz



Block 2 after attack by artillery of the German 95th Infantry Division.  Repaired after the war by the French Army, the block has returned to its pre-war appearance.

Fort La Ferté 



The capture of Fort La Ferté was a German propaganda victory.  Block 2 of the fort is among most photographed Maginot fortifications.  German soldiers inspect the turret which was destroyed by German combat engineers.  In the foreground are the graves of three French soldiers.  Open to vistors since the early 1970's, the fort is a memorial to the 104 crew who died during the German attack.



Block 2's armored turret was dislodged by an explosive charge placed by German combat engineers.  Frozen in time, it is still in the same position as it was after the battle.


An armored cupola of Block 2 with impact marks from an 88mm Flak gun.

Fortress Fermont



A 135mm howitzer of block 4.  Subjected to artillery bombardment, this block was nearly destroyed when the wall of the block was penetrated by88mm Flak fire.  Fortunately for the fort's crew, the Germans were unaware of the breach and stopped firing before the interior of the block was damaged.  The block was repaired after the war by the French Army.

Fort Bambesch



The cupola of block 2 was heavily damaged by direct fire during the attack of the German 167th Infantry Division.  More more than 65 years later, an 88mm round is still lodged in the wall of the cupola.

Fortress Schoenenbourg near Wissembourg



Block 4's 75mm howitzer turret was the target of aerial and artillery bombardment.  Today, the combat blocks are in the middle of a pasture.

Fortress Four-a-Chaux



Superficial damage resulting from Stuka bombing.  Repaired after the war by the French Army, block 6 no longer shows any sign of damage.