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France Group Fortification Verdun, 2017

Sectionate

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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  :shock:



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

 
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The_Raw

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Nice report mate, I've visited a few bits over there this year but not this one. Have to admit, I hadn't thought about unexploded ordnance. I was surrounded by spikes and barbed wire looking for a couple of maginot bunkers, it felt like I was crossing enemy lines

 
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Sectionate

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Nice report mate, I've visited a few bits over there this year but not this one. Have to admit, I hadn't thought about unexploded ordnance. I was surrounded by spikes and barbed wire looking for a couple of maginot bunkers, it felt like I was crossing enemy lines

Thanks. It's another good one near Metz - but as you know, you literally drive past 3 to get to where you want to see!

We hadn't really thought about it until we went to Michelsberg and the local there told use the roped off areas were suspected mines  :eek:  

 

Andy

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Nice report & set. We were close by on our last trip, but unfortunately we did not have enough time to visit this place, too.

 

hamtagger

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That's a pretty awesome place, wouldn't mind a wander around somewhere like this :)  

Those foot spikes would've ruined your day if you had stumbled onto some :eek: . Regarding the Unexploded Ordnance (UXO), any air-dropped weapons are generally pretty safe if just left alone and the old WW2 mines are 50/50 as to whether or not they would function nowadays. But definitely if you're in doubt about an item I'd leave it well alone and tip off a local/police as you're leaving to prevent some kid finding it. You'll find locals tend to mark areas like this with a downwards facing triangle with either a picture or a written warning about the potential for mines in the area or even something as simple as a stone or rock with half of it painted red. The red side (or other bright colour) will face the danger and the unpainted (or painted white side) will be the safe side. Worth keeping a look out for these simple markers if people are exploring these old military locations around the world and I wouldn't ignore them (y)  

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Dubbed Navigator

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 Great bit of info that, you’d think if a bomb survives a fall of several hundred feet, it’s going to survive someone stepping on it, no?

 

hamtagger

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 Great bit of info that, you’d think if a bomb survives a fall of several hundred feet, it’s going to survive someone stepping on it, no?

Cheers @Dubbed Navigator, but anything dropped from thousands of feet will undoubtedly have a fuse mechanism and will only go off when certain parameters are met, including G force reduction/increase and some other factors which i won't bore you with :D , but what i'm saying is that most 'dumb bombs' that hit a soft surface (like wet ground/peat/sand) would quite happily plunge into the ground and sit there for 70 years and be completely harmless. The only bit to worry about is the fuse, and the rest of the bomb could literally be battered from morning to night with a sledge hammer and nothing would happen. Landmines are a different kettle of fish, I'd just leave anything that looks manmade well alone :)  

 
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