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Thursday, 16 July 2015

Lorraine Trip - Maginot Line - Fort Fermont

The first fort we visited was l'Ouvrage de Fermont. This is a gros ouvrage, an artillery fort.

Built between 1931 and 1935, it comprises of seven combat blocks and two entrances. From the entrances there are stairs and lifts going down 30 metres to the internal transit level.

Diagram of the fort (copied from the Fort Guide)

The ammunition entrance (Museum postcard)

Goods elevator, note the railway track.

Narrow guage railway (copied from the Fort Guide)
Our carraiges

Artillery shell modular delivery frame

Ceiling mounted carrying system for delivery frames

Fighting Bloc 4 - 75mm cannons and ammunition racks

Bloc 4 External Views. The bloc provided support fire for Fort Latiremont. The damage was inflicted by German 88mm cannon, June 17th 1940.

Bloc 4 (Postcard from Museum shop)

Ditch for defence and to catch any concrete that flakes off the bloc when under enemy fire

17 June 1940, a German 88mm shell pierced the concrete wall

External, on top of Bloc 1. This bloc has a retractable turret with 2 X 75 mm cannon, a grenade launcher and a machine gun cloche.

The view

Grenade launcher

Retractable turret

Machine gun cloche

Armoured air intake
The retractable turret weighs 265 tons, of which its dome roof weighs 18 tons and has 33 cm thick armour.  The crew fired at around 20 to 30 shots per minute. Targets were precalculated. In the down position, the crew would lay the cannons on target, the turret would rise about 40 cms, fire off the required number of rounds, maybe 10 or 20 shells, then drop back down for the crew to lay the cannons for the next target. The bloc was undamaged during the German attack, withstanding 210 mm and 305 mm shells. The turret continued to  fire until the Armistice.

Walking back to Bloc 4 I noticed this machine gun mount on the Bloc 4, for local defence in the direction Bloc 1.

Returning to the coach, I spotted this goods carriage for the internal railway

Driving away from Fermont our guide said we could photograph another Bloc, unfortunately I do not remember which Bloc it was.

Finally, a copy of a postcard sold in the fort's museum shop. This card shows the vignettes of internal life in the fort.

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