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France Gros Ouvrage Brehain, Maginot Line (visited 05/2017)

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Ouvrage Bréhain is part of the Fortified Sector of the Crusnes of the Maginot Line. The gros ouvrage was equipped with long-range artillery, and faced the border with Luxembourg. It saw no major action in either the Battle of France in 1940 or the Lorraine Campaign of 1944.

Bréhain was approved for construction in May 1931. It was completed at a cost of 84 million francs by the contractor Ballot of Paris. Compared with its neighbors, the ultimate plans for Aumetz, Bréhain, Bois-du-Four and Ouvrage Mauvais-Bois closely resemble each other, but Bréhain is the most fully realized, with only one unbuilt combat block and an unconnected casemate block. Its neighbors were built as petits ouvrages, to be developed with full tunnel networks at a later date.

 

Bréhain is a large ouvrage with a gallery system extending over 1,500 metres (4,900 ft) from end to end. The munitions and personnel entries are located far to the rear of the compactly arranged combat blocks, with the entries hidden in the woods. An "M1" ammunition magazine is located just inside the ammunition entry, while the underground barracks are located near the junction of the two entry galleries. From there a long, straight gallery runs at an average depth of 30 metres (98 ft) to eight combat blocks. As part of an uncommenced second phase, Bréhain was to receive a second 135mm turret. A gallery was projected to link the turret block to the Casemate de l'Ouest de Bréhain, which was built as (and remained) an unconnected infantry combat block.

The ouvrage has two entries and eight combat blocks.

 

The 1940 manning of the ouvrage under the command of Commandant Vanier comprised 615 men and 22 officers of the 128th Fortress Infantry Regiment and the 152nd Position Artillery Regiment. The units were under the umbrella of the 42nd Fortress Corps of the 3rd Army, Army Group 2.

 

On 21 June 1940 Brehain engaged advancing German troops, but saw no serious action Bréhain's chief efforts went to the support of neighboring fortifications, with 20,250 75mm, 1,780 81mm and 2,220 135mm shells fired between September 1939 and June 1940. 4200 shots were fired in support of actions at Esch 10–14 May 1940, and 10,145 shots of all kinds were fired 13–25 June 1940. The 22 June 1940 armistice brought an end to fighting. However, the Maginot fortifications to the west of the Moselle did not surrender immediately, maintaining their garrisons through a series of negotiations. Bréhain, along with Mauvais-Bois, Bois-du-Four and Aumetz surrendered on 27 June.

In 1951 Bréhain was renovated for use against a potential invasion by Warsaw Pact forces, becoming part of the môle de Rochonvillers strongpoint in company with Rochonvillers, Molvange and later Immerhof. After the establishment of the French nuclear strike force, the importance of the Line declined, and most locations were sold to the public or abandoned.

 

Visited with @The_Raw, @Maniac, @extreme_ironing and Elliot5200.

 

 

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Thanks everyone! 

 

@The_Raw & @Maniac: Absolutely, was a great day! :) 

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