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some preliminary remarks
The Maginot Line
At World War II
Fort Schoenenbourg
The Lime Fort
Fort Simserhof
Fort Hackenberg
Fort Immerhof
Fort Fermont
Fort of Villy-La-Ferte


The Lime Fort is situated in the vicinity of the village of Lembach. The Fort covers an area of 26 hectares and consists of 8 blocks, six combat and 2 entry blocks. The blocks are connected via a subterranean gallery of 4,5km lenght with a 25m difference in elevation. An angular corridor with 250 steps and a hoisting winch to transport ammo and other loads was constructed to level out this elevation.


The Fort was built in between 1930 and 1936 and had a capacity to held 600 men. Only once it was involved in combat, when in June, 1940, 66t of missiles were dropped onto the Fort. In the yourse of action, the 3,5m plating successfully withstood a one ton bomb.

Thick plating can be found throughout the construction giving way to floodgates that protected the rest of the Fort from gas infiltration or shock waves. The venting system consisted of a simple pipe system: Red = fresh air, yellow = exaust air. The Fort's water was provided by an artesian well delivering 6000 litres per hour.
The Fort also had an ingenious system of emergency exits which were never used. 


Inside the construction, the power station of the Fort can be found by the ammunitions entry, the barracks are next to the crew entry. Situated further towards the north east is the descending corridor and at the end of it, the heart of the Fort: the command center and switchboard. In between is the ammunition depot holding up to 10,000 boxes of grenades and further to the north-north west one can find the 6 combat blocks.

The mobile part of the turret (360° turnable) of block 2 weighs 100 tons. To operate it, 3 preferably small gunners were needed. Directly underneath the cupola, in the 'chambre de tir', 2 of them had to load the gun and the other one fired it. The firing rates ranged up to 35 grenades per minute. To operate the whole turret, 25 men were necessary. To obtain combat position, the turret had to be elevated 60 cm above ground, which could be done mechanically or electrically. With the aid of a counterweigth, the turret could easily be extended manually. 


Firing range of all canons of the Fort remained within 9,6km. The reasons for this were not technical but political. At this place, the German border was only 10km away. A firing range of more than 10km would have meant an aggression and the Maginot Line was intended to be a purely defensive structure.

The gunners underneath the cuploa could neither see what they were firing at nor take aim. Direction and distance of enemy troops were reported to commando by the observation post. The commandant then checked the the information and calculated the firing angle. These data were transfered to the gunner who adjusted the canon accordingly. Communication was done via telephone.
The turret had a wooden floor, because wood proved to be the only known material flexible enough to withstand the vibration caused by firing.

In spite of everything, there seldom were any combats during the 10 months of the 'Phoney War'. The crew of the Fort busied themselves with theatre and cinema or football and hunting. Every three months, every man was granted a weeks leave. 

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