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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

3days diary Maginot 1997

9. april 1996

Departure from Moulins-sur-Allier around 10:00 direction Straßburg, hitch-hiking our way around. After a couple of lifts we aere somewhere in the back of beyond (am Arsch der Welt) and destined not to be picked up by anyone for the rest of the day. By nightfall we decide to camp on a field outside the village.

10. april 1998

Luckier today. It takes us only 3 lifts to Schoenenbourg. A 30 mins walk takes us to the ouvrage du Schoenenbourg (The Fort of Schoenenbourg). The tension rises until finally the first Maginot Bunkers greet us on the way. The sight is not quite as spectacular as we had expected due to the april-like weather with slight rain and fog, but nevertheless impressing. Two Entrance Bunkers, one for the crew and one for ammunition, greet us with their round steel towers glowering over the parking. The (closed) loop-holes flanking the entrance are quite unnerving. Here, the conserved war can be safely visited up close with the lingering atmosphere of centuries past. Due to the good state of preservation of this installation (no enemy contact was ever made), we are somehow expecting soldiers to populate the area, going on about their usual business any minute. Naturally nothing happens.

Heading in the direction of the German border, a small passage in the near forest reveals some trenches, rusty barbwire and steel poles. Maybe it was here, the French soldiers were awaiting the German attackers. Unhindered, we march through it. Two friends, one French, the other German. We don't get to see the inside today, so we walk around the area, taking and drawing pictures each lost in thought.

Information on a sign at the entrance tells us that the entire construction covers an area of 60 hectares, most of it being subterranean. Inf***ingcredible. As the visits only start again tomorrow, we deicde not to wait but go for Lembach, to see the Werk Kalkhofen (Four-a-Chaux, Lime Fort).
We reach the Fort around 5:30 pm and pitch our tent on the parking in front of the Fort. An American tank awaits us. Its silouette melting into the background. We spend a cold night guarded by the tank and the Fort.

11. april 1998

The alarm goes off at 8:30 am. Coffee. It's freezing cold. We get dome brekkie into us and pack up. At 9:30 am the parking gets populated by an increasing number of tourists. We all get a bilingual tour with one guide because the other one is ill. The guide lets us in on some of the secrets of this Fort being one of the biggest of the Maginot Line. We enter the Fort through the crew entry (Mannschaftseingang, Entree des hommes) which is situated 25m higher than the ammonitions entry.

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