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France Gros Ouvrage Latiremont (Maginot Line), France - May 2017

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The Maginot Line, named after the French Minister of War André Maginot, was a line of concrete fortifications, obstacles, and weapon installations built by France in the 1930s to deter invasion by Germany. It was constructed along the borders with Switzerland, Germany, and Luxembourg. Ouvrage translates as "works" in English: published documents in both English and French refer to these fortifications in this manner, rather than as "forts". An ouvrage typically consists of a series of concrete-encased strongpoints on the surface, linked by underground tunnels with common underground works (shops, barracks, and factories etc.). Constructions started in the early 1930s. They served during the Second World War, and were often reused during the Cold War before being gradually abandoned by the French army. 

 

Ouvrage Latiremont is a gros (large) ouvrage of the Maginot Line, located in the Fortified Sector of the Crusnes, sub-sector of Arrancy. It lies between the gros ouvrage Fermont and the petit ouvrage Mauvais Bois, facing Belgium. More than 1,200 metres (3,900 ft) of underground galleries connect the entries to the farthest block, at an average depth of 30 metres (98 ft). The gallery system was served by a narrow-gauge (60 cm) railway that continued out of the ammunition entrance and connected to a regional military railway system for the movement of material along the front a few kilometres to the rear. Several "stations" along the gallery system, located in wider sections of gallery, permitted trains to pass or be stored. The 1940 manning of the ouvrage under the command of Commandant Pophillat comprised 21 officers and 580 men of the 149th Fortress Infantry Regiment. 

 

Latiremont was active in 1939-1940, coming under direct attack in late June 1940. From September 1939 to June 1940, Latiremont fired 14,452 75mm rounds and 4,234 81mm rounds at German forces and in support of neighbouring units. It was not until June 1940 that Latiremont and Fermont were directly attacked by the German 161st Division, which brought 21 cm howitzers and 30.5 cm mortars on 21 June. By this time, German units were moving in the rear of the Line, cutting power and communications. Heavy fire repelled attacks but Latiremont's garrison surrendered to the Germans on 27 June 1940.

 

After renovations during the Cold War, it was abandoned.

 

This was the first of 3 gros ouvrages I visited with Elliot5200, @Maniac, and @extreme_ironing. Also good to hook up with @Gromr123 who happened to be nearby on this occasion. Photos can't quite convey how large it is in here, 1.5km from one end to the other. We only saw a portion of it due to time constrictions, but you could easily spend a whole day in here.   

 

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3.

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4. Some amazing blast doors down here

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5. 

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6. 

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7. Workshop with a lathe inside

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8. Remains of a kitchen

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9. Shower block

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12. Blast door inside one of the attack blocks on the surface

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13.Some rusty gun machinery still in situ

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17. Another epic blast door

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19.

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20. Engine Room

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21.

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22.

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24. Train station for bringing in materials, the platform on the left

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25.

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26. <3 this door 

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27.

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28.

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Cheers for looking :thumb 

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Fantastic set! Too bad I could only go with you for one day and did not see this place.

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Damn, i thought i had already commented on this. Maybe I saw it on 28 or something and commented there :?. really like the mechanics on that door amongst some other top pictures once again :thumb 

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    • By WildBoyz
      History

      Ouvrage Latiremont is a gros ouvrage (large work) of the Maginot Line – a line of concrete fortifications, obstacles and weapon installations built by France in the 1930s to deter invasion by Germany. The site of Ouvrage Latiremont was selected and approved by the Commission d’Organisation des Régions Fortifiées (CORF) in 1931. It cost eighty-eight million francs (approximately twelve million in pound sterling) to construct the fortification. The design of Ouvrage Latiremont is known as a casemate fortress – a fortified or armoured structure, also referred to as a vaulted chamber, from which guns are fired. Once completed, 75mm and 81mm guns were installed and a second phase was planned, to add additional 75mm and 135mm gun turret blocks. However, the second phase of the development never went ahead as the funding was allocated elsewhere. 

      Latiremont has two main entrances and six combat blocks (three infantry blocks and three artillery). It also comprises more than five kilometres of underground tunnels and galleries; these are at an average depth of thirty metres. A small narrow-gauge railway system, which was connected to a regional military railway system, once linked all six sections of the fortress and it was used to transport supplies, such as equipment, food and ammunition. There were said to be several stations inside Latiremont which were large enough to service and store large trains. Once fully operational, Latiremont was placed under the command of Commandant Pophillat. Pophillat had twenty-one officers and five-hundred and eighty men of the 149th Fortress Infantry Regiment at his disposal. 

      Following the 1939 invasion of Poland, Britain and France declared war on Germany. Thereafter, between the September 1939 and June 1940, Latiremont fired over 14,4  52 75mm rounds and 4,234 81mm rounds at German forces. The fortress, though, was not directly attacked until June 1940. On the 21st June 1940, the German 161st Division led by Colonel Gerhard Wilck, which brought 210mm howitzers and 305mm siege mortars with them, launched their attack against Latiremont. While the attack was underway, a small number of German units moved to the rear of the Maginot Line where they were able to cut power and communications. Despite heavy resistant from Latiremont and nearby fortress Fermont, firing ceased on 25th June and both garrisons surrendered to the German forces on 27th June. For the remainder of the war, the area was used for a German propaganda film, to document the June 1940 attacks, but it did not see any further significant fighting. 

      In 1951 the French government attempted to restore many of the northeastern ouvrages, to defend against a potential advance by the Warsaw Pact. However, following the establishment of the French Nuclear Strike Force, the importance of the Maginot Line diminished. Latiremont was subsequently abandoned by the military in 1967. Today, the fortress remains abandoned and has suffered heavily from water ingress. 

      Our Version of Events

      Aside from drinking beer, this explore was our reason for being on the other side of the English Channel. We weren’t certain at all if the place would be doable, but after reading about it we decided it was probably worth the risk. Nonetheless, towards the end of our trip there was a sudden drop in team morale. This resulted in us taking a vote in an Aldi car park, over French bread and Biscoff, on whether or not we should crack on and drive for three more hours to reach Latiremont, or turn tail and check out a few old manors as we headed back to the ferry terminus. With the votes all in and tucked nicely into a hat, we made a short ceremony out of revealing the results. In the end, the remainers won, four to two, so there would be no leaving Europe just yet. 

      We finished off our Biscoff and spent our remaining Euros on food in Aldi before we set off for Latiremont. Our combined wealth got us a couple of tins of beans, a box of mushrooms and some spices to sprinkle on top. Someone did offer to buy our car in the car park after we got the supplies in, but we had to insist we really needed it to get home to England. The potential buyer still didn’t seem to see that as a problem though. It was quite a mission to shake him. 

      The drive over to the border of Luxembourg was very pleasant. We played some banging tunes and arrived at the location with plenty of time to spare. At first, we had anticipated that finding the fortress in the forest would be quite a challenge, but as it turned out we stumbled across it within ten minutes of being there. Gaining access to the gros ouvrage was a little more tricky of course – it is a military fortress after all! 

      Once inside, we found ourselves in a standard-looking bunker. There were signs and evidence that guns had been positioned in here, and at first we thought that was that. Most bunkers we’ve entered have been fairly compact and bare, and you can usually get through all the rooms very quickly. Our minds were blown, then, when we discovered a lift shaft and, after peering down to see how high it was, realised we couldn’t see the bottom. Obviously extremely excited at the point, at the prospect the place was going to be absolutely huge, we began to make our way down a staircase next to the lift shaft. 

      We made our way down the steps, which went on for a long, long time, until we reached the bottom where we found ourselves in a cold tunnel surrounded by enormous blast doors. It was at this point we realised we’d underestimated how big this place really is. For the next few hours, then, we made our way through different snaking tunnels, and explored many side rooms and chambers leading off from them. One of the best parts of the explore that we came across was some sort of old gun turret. There were plenty of others things to see as well though. This place was certainly a bit of a time capsule. The only problem, however, was that we started to lose track of where we were inside the fortress. It’s very easy to get lost in the labyrinth-like corridors and rooms and we’d eaten all the bread earlier in the day, so making a breadcrumb trail had been out of the question. Eventually, we felt as though we were well and truly lost so decided it was time to find a way back to the surface. It took a little while, and a few false turns, before we found a tunnel that sort of looked familiar. We followed it and, thankfully, ended up back where we started. 

      All in all, then, this explore was absolutely fantastic – certainly one of the best military fortifications we’ve ever explored. It’s also steeped in interesting history about the war. Anyone who happens to find themselves near Luxembourg should definitely pay this place a visit. You never know your luck after all, you might find a way inside like we did. 

      Explored with Ford Mayhem, MKD, Rizla Rider, The Hurricane and Husky. 
       
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    • By prettypeculiar
      Right,
      Found out i still had an active membership here and kind of forgot about it (The ADHD is strong in this one) So I decided to start posting again, since I'd like to get some honest/valuable feedback on my pictures and that is something i am surely missing on social media.
       
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      Visited this castle in July 2017. I really like the decay and that there's so little graffiti. Seems like most vandals forgot this castle which made me happy. 
       
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    • By prettypeculiar
      Another one from my little journey to France in july 2017.
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    • By TrevBish.co.uk
      Not sure on dates of closure, but a beautiful power plant.
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      ok, been a while since I posted from this trip.
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