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France The other side of Prison 15H - Woman and Men - November 2013

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    • By Sectionate
      Visited recently on my first foray over to the European side of life (can't believe it has taken so long). It was excellent / cold in the snow!
       
      History:
       
      On May 9, 1899, Kaiser Wilhelm II laid the first stone of Fort St. Blaise. Group Fortification Verdun group is built on top of two hills, it consists of two forts, the fort Sommy 30 ha in the south, and Fort Saint-Blaise 45 ha on the north. Group Fortification Verdun has four 150mm howitzers and six short 100mm guns. Fort St. Blaise was planned for 500 men and fort Sommy for 200 men. It could then receive two infantry companies, in addition to the gunners. St. Blaise, whose fortified barracks could receive 500 people, has 10 observation domes and 12 lookout posts.[4] The water tank's capacity was 1,300   m. 4 diesel engines of 25HP each, providing the energy necessary for Fort St. Blaise. The fort Sommy, including the fortified barracks, could accommodate 200 people, and has 6 observation domes and 8 lookouts. Its water tank could hold 600   m and it had 3 diesel engines of 20HP each, to provide the energy needed for its operation.[4] The coat of arms of Count of Haeseler is carved on the pediment of the door of the fort.
       
      It caused the Americans a huge headache in WW2 and proved its worth as a fortified location. Patton underestimated their strength immensely.
       
      Fort St. Blaise:
       
      The first of the two forts, complete with short 100mm funs in place showing battle damage. 
       

      Untitled by Nick, on Flickr
       

      Untitled by Nick, on Flickr
       

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      Untitled by Nick, on Flickr
       

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      Collapsed structure / battle damage
       

      Untitled by Nick, on Flickr
       

      Untitled by Nick, on Flickr
       

      Untitled by Nick, on Flickr
       

      Untitled by Nick, on Flickr
       
      The thing you don't realise until you get there is that the French Army have not removed any of the barbed wire entanglements, complete with foot spikes and in some places, unexploded ordnance 
       

      Untitled by Nick, on Flickr
       
      Fort Sommy:
       
      The smaller outer fort, with a machine gun cupola and two turrets with guns and a tonne more battle damage, with craters and wall collapses all over the shop!
       

      Untitled by Nick, on Flickr
       

      Untitled by Nick, on Flickr
       

      Untitled by Nick, on Flickr
       

      Untitled by Nick, on Flickr
       

      Untitled by Nick, on Flickr
       
       
       
       
    • By The_Raw
      Another visit from October with @Andy, @Maniacand@extreme_ironing. From seeing Andy's report I missed quite a few bits but you can't see everything unless you spend the whole day down there. Another epic bit of WW2 history and there's lots more out there.   
       
      Ouvrage Mont des Welches, a gros ouvrage of the Maginot Line fortifications, is part of the Fortified Sector of Boulay. It comprises two entrance blocks, one infantry block, one artillery block, one observation block and two combination blocks. The underground gallery system is compact, about 200 metres (660 ft) from end to end, and unlike larger ouvrages where the gallery system is linear in concept, the central portion of Mont des Welches is a dense network of tunnels crossing one another, housing the barracks and utility areas. The galleries are excavated at an average depth of up to 30 metres (98 ft). Unlike most gros ouvrages, its 60 cm internal rail network was not electrified, relying on human power to move the rail cars. Relatively small for a gros ouvrage, Mont des Welches saw a brief period of sharp action in June 1940, when German forces moving along the rear of the Maginot Line engaged the position without success. The manning of the ouvrage in June 1940 comprised 490 men and 17 officers of the 167th Fortress Infantry Regiment and the 151st Position Artillery Regiment. After modest renovations in the 1950s, it was abandoned in the 1970s.
       
       

       
       

       
       

       
       

       
       

       
       

       
       

       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
        
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
      Bon journée  
    • By Andy
      The colliery Saint Fontaine was opened in 1908. For the extraction of hard coal, they dug to a depth of 1037 meters. In the 1960s, up to two million tons of hard coal were mined. In 1972 the colliery was closed for the first time, but in 1976 the operation was resumed. In 1986, the final closure, whereupon a large part of the buildings were demolished. Today, apart from the listed tower, only the administrative building including the locker room / pithead baths exists. In recent years, unfortunately, there was a lot of vandalism; last the ceiling lamps were destroyed by some idiots.
       
      In Saint Fontaine, there were repeated fatal accidents.
      On 3 January 1933, 36 miners were killed in a gas explosion.
      On May 29, 1959, another 26 workers were killed in another explosion.
      On September 23, 1968, three miners smothered.
       
      Visited with @The_Raw.
       
       
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