Ouvrage Galgenberg

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Ouvrage Galgenberg
Part of Maginot Line
Northeast France
Go-galgenberg-b6-2001-05.jpg
135mm gun turret, Galgenberg, May 2001
Ouvrage Galgenberg is located in France
Ouvrage Galgenberg
Ouvrage Galgenberg
Site information
Controlled by France
Open to
the public
Yes
Condition Preserved
Site history
Built CORF
Materials Concrete, steel, deep excavation
Battles/wars Battle of France, Lorraine Campaign
Ouvrage Galgenberg
Type of work: Large artillery work (Gros ouvrage)
sector
└─sub-sector
Fortified Sector of Thionville
└─Elzange
Work number: A15
Regiment: 167th Fortress Infantry Regiment - 151st Position Artillery Regiment
Number of blocks: 8
Strength: 430 enlisted + 15 officers

Ouvrage Galgenberg forms a portion of the Fortified Sector of Thionville of the Maginot Line. It is situated in the Cattenom Forest, near the gros ouvrage Kobenbusch and petit ouvrage Oberheid. The ouvrage was tasked with controlling the Moselle valley and as such was called the "Guardian of the Moselle."[1] Galgenberg did not see significant action in 1940 or 1944. After a period of reserve duty in the 1950s and 1960s it was deactivated. It is now a museum.

Design and construction[edit]

The Galgenberg site was surveyed by the Commission d'Organisation des Régions Fortifiées (CORF), the Maginot Line's design and construction agency, in 1930. Work began the next year,[2] and the position became operational in 1935,[3] at a cost of 48 million francs.[4]The contractor was Verdun-Fortifications.[5] The site occupies the heights of the Galgenberg.[2] Ouvrage Sentzich is close by in the side of the Galgenberg massif, overlooking the town of Sentzich and the road to the north.

Description[edit]

The ouvrage[nb 1] comprises two entries and six combat blocks:

  • Ammunition entry: at grade, two automatic rifle cloches (GFM) and one machine gun/47mm anti-tank gun (JM/AC47) embrasure.[8]
  • Personnel entry: shaft, one GFM cloche and one JM/AC47 embrasure.[9]
  • Block 1: Infantry block with one JM/AC47 embrasure and one GFM cloche.[10]
  • Block 2: Infantry block with one JM/AC47 embrasure, one JM embrasure, and two GFM cloches.[11]
  • Block 3: Infantry block with machine gun turret and one GFM cloche.[12]
  • Block 4: Artillery block with 81mm mortar turret and one GFM cloche.[13]
  • Block 5: Observation block with one GFM cloche, one machine gun cloche (JM), and one observation cloche (VDP).[14]
  • Block 6: Artillery block with 135mm gun turret, one grenade launcher cloche (LG) and one GFM cloche.[15]

Galgenberg has a small "M1" main magazine compared to other 'gros ouvrages.[2]

Casemates and shelters[edit]

The Observatoire de Cattenom is located behind Galgenberg, near the Casernement de Cattenom, which provided above-ground peacetime quarters for the garrisons of the nearby ouvrages. The observation point was armed with one GFM cloche and an observation cloche. Flanking Galgenberg to the north is the Casemate du Sonnenberg, armed with one JM/AC37 embrasure, one JM embrasure and one GFM cloche. None of these are connected to the ouvrage or to each other. All were built by CORF[2]

Manning[edit]

The 445 men and 15 officers of the 167th Fortress Infantry Regiment (RIF) and the 151st Position Artillery Regiment (RAP) were under the orders of Captain Guillaume de la Teyssoniére.[2] The units were under the umbrella of the 42nd Fortress Corps of the 3rd Army, Army Group 2.[16] The Casernement de Cattenom provided peacetime above-ground barracks and support services to Galgenberg and other ouvrages in the area.[17]

History[edit]

See Fortified Sector of Thionville for a broader discussion of the events of 1940 in the Thionville sector of the Maginot Line.
Munitions entrance, Ouvrage Galgenberg

Galgenberg did not see significant action in the Battle of France in 1940, nor in the Lorraine Campaign of 1944. In 1940 Galgenberg fired on German infiltrators in the area. An accident with an 81mm mortar projectile damaged a mortar tube on 14 June 1940, which was repaired after three days..[18] The Germans largely bypassed the valley of the Moselle, advancing along the valley of the Meuse and Saar rivers, threatening the rear of the Thionville sector. An order to fortress troops by sector commander Colonel Jean-Patrice O'Sullivan to prepare for withdrawal on 17 June was reversed by O'Sullivan.[19] The garrison therefore remained in place. The garrison therefore remained in place. Following negotiations, the positions on the left bank of the Moselle finally surrendered to the Germans on 30 June, 1940.[20]

Renovation[edit]

In the 1950s the French government became concerned about a possible invasion by the Warsaw Pact through Germany. The Maginot Line, while obsolete in terms of its armament, was viewed as a series of useful deeply buried and self-sufficient shelters in an era of air power and nuclear weapons. A number of the larger ouvrages were selected to form defensive ensembles or môles around which a defense might be organized and controlled. [21][22] Galgenberg was nominated as a communications station, in concert with the command posts at Rochonvillers, Soetrich and Molvange.

Current condition[edit]

The ouvrage is maintained by Association A15 and has been open to visits, although it has been closed in recent years.[23][24]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ English-language sources use the French term ouvrage as the preferred term for the Maginot positions, in preference to "fort", a term usually reserved for older fortifications with passive defensives in the form of walls and ditches.[6] The literal translation of ouvrage in the sense of a fortification in English is "work." A gros ouvrage is a large fortification with a significant artillery component, while a petit ouvrage is smaller, with lighter arms.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Ouvrage d'artillerie du Galgenberg (57)" (in French). Chemins de mémoire. Retrieved 20 January 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Mary, Tome 3, p. 95
  3. ^ Kaufmann 2006, p. 25
  4. ^ Wahl, J.B. "Artilleriewerk (G.O.) Galgenberg — A15" (in German). darkplaces.org. Retrieved 23 March 2010. 
  5. ^ Mary, Tome 1, p. 52
  6. ^ Kaufmann 2006, p. 13
  7. ^ Kaufmann 2006, p. 20
  8. ^ Puelinckx, Jean; Aublet, Jean-Louis & Mainguin, Sylvie (2010). "Galgenberg (go A15 du) Bloc 11". Index de la Ligne Maginot (in French). fortiff.be. Retrieved 22 March 2010. 
  9. ^ Puelinckx, Jean; et al (2010). "Galgenberg (go A15 du) Bloc 10". Index de la Ligne Maginot (in French). fortiff.be. Retrieved 22 March 2010. 
  10. ^ Puelinckx, Jean; et al (2010). "Galgenberg (go A15 du) Bloc 1". Index de la Ligne Maginot (in French). fortiff.be. Retrieved 22 March 2010. 
  11. ^ Puelinckx, Jean; et al (2010). "Galgenberg (go A15 du) Bloc 2". Index de la Ligne Maginot (in French). fortiff.be. Retrieved 22 March 2010. 
  12. ^ Puelinckx, Jean; et al (2010). "Galgenberg (go A15 du) Bloc 3". Index de la Ligne Maginot (in French). fortiff.be. Retrieved 22 March 2010. 
  13. ^ Puelinckx, Jean; et al (2010). "Galgenberg (go A15 du) Bloc 4". Index de la Ligne Maginot (in French). fortiff.be. Retrieved 22 March 2010. 
  14. ^ Puelinckx, Jean; et al (2010). "Galgenberg (go A15 du) Bloc 5". Index de la Ligne Maginot (in French). fortiff.be. Retrieved 22 March 2010. 
  15. ^ Puelinckx, Jean; et al (2010). "Galgenberg (go A15 du) Bloc 6". Index de la Ligne Maginot (in French). fortiff.be. Retrieved 22 March 2010. 
  16. ^ Mary, Tome 3, p. 79
  17. ^ Wahl, J.B. "Festungsabschnitt Thionville" (in German). darkplaces.org. Retrieved 3 May 2010. 
  18. ^ Mary, Tome 5, p. 208
  19. ^ Kaufmann 2006, pp. 168-169
  20. ^ Mary, Tome 5, p. 230
  21. ^ Mary, Tome 5, p. 172
  22. ^ Seramour, Michaël. "Histoire de la Ligne Maginot de 1945 à nos jours" (in French). Revue Historique des Armées. pp. 86–97. Retrieved 19 February 2010. 
  23. ^ "Galgenberg" (in French). Association Ligne Maginot du Secteur Fortifié du Bois de Cattenom. 2009. Retrieved 3 May 2010. 
  24. ^ Kaufmann 2011, p. 221

Bibliography[edit]

  • Allcorn, William. The Maginot Line 1928-45. Oxford: Osprey Publishing, 2003. ISBN 1-84176-646-1
  • Kaufmann, J.E. and Kaufmann, H.W. Fortress France: The Maginot Line and French Defenses in World War II, Stackpole Books, 2006. ISBN 0-275-98345-5
  • Kaufmann, J.E., Kaufmann, H.W., Jancovič-Potočnik, A. and Lang, P. The Maginot Line: History and Guide, Pen and Sword, 2011. ISBN 978-1-84884-068-3
  • Mary, Jean-Yves; Hohnadel, Alain; Sicard, Jacques. Hommes et Ouvrages de la Ligne Maginot, Tome 1. Paris, Histoire & Collections, 2001. ISBN 2-908182-88-2 (French)
  • Mary, Jean-Yves; Hohnadel, Alain; Sicard, Jacques. Hommes et Ouvrages de la Ligne Maginot, Tome 2. Paris, Histoire & Collections, 2003. ISBN 2-908182-97-1 (French)
  • Mary, Jean-Yves; Hohnadel, Alain; Sicard, Jacques. Hommes et Ouvrages de la Ligne Maginot, Tome 3. Paris, Histoire & Collections, 2003. ISBN 2-913903-88-6 (French)
  • Mary, Jean-Yves; Hohnadel, Alain; Sicard, Jacques. Hommes et Ouvrages de la Ligne Maginot, Tome 5. Paris, Histoire & Collections, 2009. ISBN 978-2-35250-127-5 (French)

External links[edit]