Fortified Lines

Hadrian’s Wall; Chesters Bridge Abutment Despite the remaining fortifications that surrounded them, the Europeans of the Germanic West had difficulty reaching the level of defensive sophistication of the Roman Empire. Even with the extant physical reminders of the Roman fortified lines, especially Hadrian’s Wall in Britain, they declined to maintain such lines and delayed a […]

Read More

German Defences in Italy

Mussolini inspecting fortified positions, 1944. Panther turrets are not of course AFV but their impact on the course of AFV affairs is thought to be sufficiently important to justify a few words. Panther turrets were first met in the Hitler line and were in fact the salient features round which the other defences were built […]

Read More

Early Fortifications

Babylon The Ishtar Gate Structures built to protect against attack-played an important role in the city-states, kingdoms, and empires of the ancient Near East. This was especially true for cities built on flat plains that had no natural barriers, in regions such as southern Mesopotamia. Most early fortifications consisted of walls built around a city. […]

Read More

Massive Mines

1 UNDERGROUND WORLD Specialist tunneling companies dug subterranean trenches across much of the Western Front, such as those preserved in the Wellington Quarry beneath Arras in northeastern France. The mine tunnels were among the most ambitious of all. 2 BIG BANG A rare photograph captures the explosion of the mine under Hawthorn Ridge Redoubt, packed […]

Read More

Festung Schneidemühl

On the left – Oberst Remlinger Schneidemühl [the name today is Pila (pronounced Piwa) ]was the “cornerstone” of the defence of East Pomerania. The garrison of Schneidemühl was commanded by Colonel Remlinger, and some particularly heavy fighting developed against the troops of the 47th Soviet Army in the extensive railway marshalling yards. A German armoured […]

Read More

Atlantic Wall I

“Enemy forces that have succeeded in landing must be destroyed or thrown into the sea by immediate counterattacks.” Führer Directive No. 40, March 23, 1942. Hitler’s directive of March 23, 1942, marked the official birth of the Atlantic Wall even though the actual work had started much earlier. Unfortunately, since Hitler had no clear concept […]

Read More

Atlantic Wall II

Many of the older fortifications on the islands were incorporated into the new defenses, after being reinforced with concrete. OT built over 8 km of concrete anti-tank walls wherever there were no preexisting granite walls along the beaches. It also installed the famous Mirus Battery of 305-mm guns on the island of Guernsey. However, it […]

Read More

Hitler’s Directives and Orders for Building an Atlantic Wall I

30 May 1944. Admiral Theodor Krancke (Oberbefehlshaber Marinegruppenkommando West); Generalfeldmarschall Erwin Rommel (Oberbefehlshaber Heeresgruppe B); General der Infanterie Walter Buhle (Chef vom Heeresstab im OKW); General der Pioniere Alfred Jacob (General der Pioniere und Festungen im OKH). Generaloberst Hans von Salmuth (Oberbefehlshaber 15. Armee); Generalleutnant Rudolf Hofmann (Chef des Generalstabes 15. Armee); Generalmajor Max Pemsel […]

Read More

Hitler’s Directives and Orders for Building an Atlantic Wall II

Hitler examines model of heavy fortifications and bunkers, September-October 1942. From left to right: Generalfeldmarschall Wilhelm Keitel (Chef des Oberkommando der Wehrmacht), Adolf Hitler (Führer und oberster Befehlshaber der Wehrmacht), Oberst Erich Kahsnitz (Führerreserve im Oberkommando des Heeres), and General der Pioniere Alfred Jacob (General der Pioniere und Festungen im Oberkommando des Heeres) Battery Hanstholm […]

Read More

Petersburg 1865

Part of the elaborate Confederate works outside Petersburg, after their evacuation in April 1865; such trenches extended for many miles in both directions. The Crater. Although referred to as the “siege” of Petersburg, the Union attack against this small southern city was not a full encirclement; rather, it was 10 months of gruelling trench warfare. […]

Read More