The Maginot Line and the Deveze Shelters

Les troupes britanniques de la 51e Division des Highlands défilent sur un pont-levis menant à Fort de Sainghain sur la ligne Maginot, le 3 novembre 1939.
The First World War was coming to an end, but that didn't mean abandoing the weapons. France, Belgium and Germany set up systems to consolidate their defenses in case of a new conflict, such as the Maginot Line and the Deveze Shelters.

Reinforcing defenses in the interwar period

Both France and Belgium developed fortification systems to reinforce their defenses during the interwar period, particularly at the German borders.

In France, the Maginot Line (built between 1928 and 1940) constituted a vast defensive network that ran from the English Channel to the Mediterranean. Along the border with Germany, the line was composed of an almost continuous set of concrete and armored fortifications, barbed wire, artillery, and machine-gun posts. In the event of a sudden attack, they were intended to slow down the enemy and give the army time to complete the mobilization of its troops.

In Belgium, the Minister of Defense, Albert Devèze, was responsible for constructing a network of concrete and armed shelters, starting in 1933. The aim was to secure the country’s eastern border in the provinces of Liège and Luxembourg.

At the same time, the Germans also built fortifications. The “Westwall,” also called the “Siegfried Line,” extended over 630 km from the Netherlands to Switzerland. It covered almost the entire western border of Germany.

Map of the Maginot Line.
Map of the Maginot Line.
Schoenenbourg structure (Bas-Rhin) belonging to the Maginot Line.
Schoenenbourg structure (Bas-Rhin) belonging to the Maginot Line.
Damaged fortification system (bunker) of the Maginot Line. Around May / June 1940, France.
Damaged fortification system (bunker) of the Maginot Line. Around May / June 1940, France.

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