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Coordinates: 49°20′29″N 6°21′56″E / 49.34139°N 6.36556°E / 49.34139; 6.36556

Ouvrage Hackenberg
Part of Maginot Line
Northeast France
Built by CORF
Construction
materials
Concrete, steel, deep excavation
In use Preserved
Open to
the public
Yes
Controlled by France
Battles/wars Battle of France, Lorraine Campaign

Ouvrage Hackenberg, one of the largest (a gros ouvrage) of the Maginot Line fortifications, was part of the Fortified Sector of Boulay. It is situated twenty kilometers west of Thionville, in the Moselle département, near the village of Veckring, on the Hackenberg (343 meters). It was located between gros ouvrage Billig and petit ouvrage Coucou, facing Germany. The fort occupies the wooded Hackenberg ridge.

Ouvrage Hackenberg
Maginot3ix.jpg
View over Block 7
Type of work: Large artillery work (Gros ouvrage)
sector
└─sub-sector
Fortified Sector of Boulay
└─Sub-sector of Hombourg-Budange
Work number: A19
Number of blocks: 19
Strength: 1000 enlisted + 42 officers

Contents

Description

The gros ouvrage (large work) is composed of 17 combat blocks and 18 artillery pieces, with 10 kilometers of galleries. The galleries are between 25 and 30 meters below the surface to protect against bombardment. The main gallery extends 1884 meters and was equipped with an electric railway.[1]

Entries

East wing blocks

  • Block 1: infantry block, in front of the east wing, equipped only with a machine gun turret
  • Block 2: artillery block armed with a 75mm gun turret and two GFM cloches.
  • Block 3: armed with one 81mm mortar turret. An automatic rifle turret (GFM) was tactically linked to the neighboring Ouvrage Mont des Welches as an observation point.
  • Block 4: infantry block with one machine gun turret, one 37mm anti-tank gun embrasure, one machine gun embrasure (JM) and two GFM cloches.
  • Block 5: eastwards-flanking artillery block with three 75mm gun embrasures, two GFM cloches and one grenade-launcher cloche (LG).
  • Block 6: artillery block with one 135mm gun turret and one GFM cloche.

West wing blocks

  • Block 7 : infantry block, twin of Block 4 with one machine gun turret (JM), one machine gun/anti-tank gun embrasure (JM/AC37), one machine gun embrasure (JM) and two GFM cloches.
  • Block 8 : westwards-flanking artillery block with three 75mm gun embrasures and two GFM cloches.
  • Block 9 : an unusual artillery block, armed with one 135mm gun turret and a flanking 135mm gun embrasure to the west. Two GFM cloches provided local defense.
  • Block 10 : artillery block with one 81mm mortar turret and two GFM cloches.

Observation blocks

Two observation blocks are situated on the ridge of the Hackenberg, which gives its name to the ouvrage

Tank obstacle blocks

Apart from Hochwald, Hackenberg is the only ouvrage in the Line with a deep anti-tank ditch and wall. The ditch is defended by Blocks 21 and 25.

  • Block 21: located at the eastern extremity of the ditch, this infantry block is provided with one machine gun/anti-tank embrasure (JM/AC37), one machine gun embrasure (JM), one 50mm mortar embrasure and one GFM cloche.
  • Block 22: an infantry block in the angle of the ditch with one machine gun/anti-tank embrasure (JM/AC37), one machine gun cloche (JM), and a GFM cloche.
  • Block 23: a small block armed with two GFM cloches and a grenade-launcher cloche (LG).
  • Block 24: a large infantry block in the western angle of the ditch, with a machine gun/anti-tank gun embrasure (JM/AC37), a machine gun turret (JM), a 50mm mortar turret and two GFM cloches.
  • Block 25: a mixed block for the defense of the anti-tank ditch with a 75mm gun embrasure, a machine gun embrasure, a 50mm mortar embrasure and a GFM cloche.
The rail switching area in the interior of the ouvrage, near the munitions entry. This area allowed munitions trains to exchange between diesel locomotives (outside) and electric locomotives (inside the fort).

Manning

1040 men and 43 officers were billeted in the interior, part of the 153rd Position Artillery Regiment (RAP) and the 164th Fortress Infantry Regiment (RIF).

History

Hackenberg Block 8. The block posed a significant obstacle to the Americans in 1944.

The construction of the ouvrage took place between 1929 and 1933. After France's entry into World War II, the ouvrage was considered emblematic of the entire Line and was visited by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and King George VI.

German troops harassed the fort in 1940 (the 51st (Highland) Infantry Division was defending the front lines at this time, but the Germans bypassed the Line through Belgium. The fort remained under French control until the armistice of 25 June, 1940.

During the Occupation, the Germans occupied the fort, and posed a considerable obstacle to American advances in 1944. Block 8, which covered the Moselle River, posed a particular obstacle.

Hackenberg was maintained for use by the Army until 1968, and finally abandoned in 1970 [1]

In 1975, residents from nearby villages started to organize sightseing tours, which led to the founding of the volunteer-driven AMIFORT association. From 1975 until today (2008) AMIFORT volunteers are restoring the fortification and organising tourist sightseeing.

Current status

Today, site visits are organized by l'Association AMIFORT VECKRING. The volunteers have maintained one block functional, with a working elevator and a turret turnable and lift table. The movement of the turret is shown to visitors. One of the four generators is equipped with a post-WWII engine and also running during sightseeing tours. The electric train in the mountain is used in the tour to transport visitors from the ammunition entry to the functional turret. Block 8 is also visited in the tour.

Guided tours are offered on weekends, opening hours on weekends are 14:00 to 17:00, varying over the year.

See also

Notes

References

Bibliography

  • Allcorn, William. The Maginot Line 1928-45. Oxford: Osprey Publishing, 2003. ISBN 1-84176-646-1
  • Kauffmann, J.E. and Kaufmann, H.W. Fortress France: The Maginot Line and French Defenses in World War II, 2006. ISBN 0-275-98345-5
  • Mary, Jean-Yves; Hohnadel, Alain; Sicard, Jacques. Hommes et Ouvrages de la Ligne Maginot, Tome 3. Paris, Histoire & Collections, 2003. ISBN 2-913903-88-6 (French)
  • Mary, Jean-Yves; Hohnadel, Alain; Sicard, Jacques. Hommes et Ouvrages de la Ligne Maginot, Tome 5. Paris, Histoire & Collections, 2009. ISBN 978-2-35250-127-5 (French)

External links








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