The Morice Line was a defensive line constructed in the 1950s and finished in September 1957. It was built to prevent Algerian FLN guerrillas from entering the French colony of Algeria from Tunisia and Morocco. It was named after the French Minister of Defence André Morice.
The center of the Morice Line was a long 2.5 meter high electric fence that ran its entire length. This electric fence carried 5,000 volts and also had barbed wire entanglement on one side. On each side of the fence was a minefield that extended 45 meters to each side. On the Algerian side there was also a patrolled track. The Morice Line was 460 km long along the border with Tunisia and 700 km long along the border with Morocco. However, these systems were not the main strength of the line. The strength that contributed to its success came from its then state-of-the-art electronic systems. These alarms, radars and searchlights helped to coordinate a response from the forces assigned to the line. These forces combined with the previous electronic systems made the line almost impenetrable.
Importance of the Line
The Morice Line had a significant impact of the reduction of guerrillas activities by forces that originated from Tunisia. Though the Morice Line was not a "fortification" in the traditional sense of the word, it was nonetheless effective in reducing FLN activity during the Algerian War.
The History of Fortification Chicago: St. Martin's Press 1981