Maginot Line Facts

Maginot Line Facts
The Maginot Line was a series of fortifications, bunkers, and walls that the French government installed along the French-German border during the 1930s. As the Germans rearmed after the National Socialists came to power in 1932, French Minister of War, André Maginot, came up with an ambitious plan to protect France through a series of fortifications along the two countries' shared border. The Maginot Line proved to be impenetrable, but the Germans forces instead invaded through the Low Countries in May 1940. Although the French and British high command anticipated the Germans flanking the Maginot Line through the Low Countries, they did not think they would attempt to traverse the dense Ardennes Forest. When the Germans went through the Ardennes, it marked the beginning of the fall of France.
Interesting Maginot Line Facts:
The bunkers in the Maginot Line had railways to move people and goods and many were airconditioned.
Charles de Gaulle, who led the "Free French during World War II and was elected President of France after the war, was initially skeptical of building the Maginot Line.
The architects of the Maginot Line didn't take many things into consideration. Besides the fact that Germany could bypass the fortifications by going through Belgium, the French didn't consider the newer battlefield tactics of airpower and paratroopers. The general idea of blitzkrieg was also not thought of by the French military, who believed that the next continental war would be for the most part a repeat of World War I.
Many specialists were needed to man the Maginot Line. The soldiers manning the line required extra training and were considered an elite force.
The largest single fortification on the line was known as the Ouvrage Hochwald. It was the strongest point on the line and was manned by over 1,000 men in 1940.
French soldiers along the line fired on German mine layers during the so-called "Phoney War," which was from the time when France declared war on Germany in September 1939, until Germany invaded Scandinavia and then the Low Countries and France in the spring of 1940.
There were several different lines of resistance in the Maginot Line. The first line consisted of block houses, which were often disguised as residential homes.
The principle line of resistance was about six miles behind the main line. This is where the anti-tank traps and devices were placed.
Retractable turrets were built all along the line. Inside the turrets were cannons and high-powered guns.
The French never built in the Ardennes Forest because the high-command believed it would be impossible to traverse with a modern army and it would've been very expensive to build there as well.
The border with Belgium was left unprotected for a number of reasons. Since the French had agreements with Belgium and since they believed that they could stop the Germans in a chokepoint in they were to invade through Belgium, they decided not to extend the Maginot Line across the French-Belgium border.

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