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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


6 kms from Bitche, the Fort Simserhof can be found on the D 35 direction Sarreguemines. It is one of the most important Forts of the Maginot Line and was built from 1929 to 1936. Its mission was to secure the „Môle de Bitche“ on the left flank of the Lauter Zone. The Artillery Fort Simserhof consists of 10 blocks: 2 entry and 8 combat blocks, which were equipped as follows:


      Block 1: one 135mm cannon, a turret, one MG and two 47mm cannons

      Block 2: one turret with a 81mm cannon, one MG, a periscope, two 47mm cannons and an emergency exit

      Block 3: one turret with a 81mm cannon, two MG, two 37mm cannons and an emergency exit

      Block 4: one Drehturm, drei MG, ein 35mm-Geschütz und Notausgang

      Block 5: three 75mm cannons, two MG, a periscope and an emergency exit

      Block 6: three 75mm cannons, two MG, a periscope and an emergency exit

      Block 7: one turret with a 135mm cannon and two MG

      Block 8: one turret with a 75mm cannon and two MG

The Simserhof's firepower was 2,5 tons per minute. A network of 10 km of subterranean corridors stretches out over 54 hectares, the longest one has a length of 5 km. There even was a little electrical narrow-gauge railway to transport crew and ammunition. Construction costs were appr. 80 billion Francs (then). The entire crew of 800 consisted of 782 troopers and 18 officers.

Soldiers were based here until 1956, and the Fort was occasionally used for maneuvers until 1992. The Simserhof only saw heavy and prolonged combat from 14. to 30. of june 1940. images/stories/Maginotlinie/maginot_15.jpgThese two facts explain the very good inner state of the Fort today.
Following the D-Day Landings, the American Forces on the way to Berlin attacked the Simserhof, which the Germans held occupied since 1940. Especially Block 5 sustained some damage from the American 203mm missiles, but withstood the shelling. Before retreating through the emergency exits of blocks 4 and 6, the Germans sabotaged the installation and disabled military equipment. It was only after the war that the equipment was repaired.

Next to the armament, the equipment of the Simserhof consisted of barracks, kitchens, military hospitals, air filter system, commando post, four power engines (type SULZER, 175kW each) wells and reservoirs such as a waste water ditch. An informative exhibition about the Fort's history can be found in front of the entrance. 

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