Novodobe fortifikace Vol. 8 (2002)

Fortifications of Danzig Hill Grodzisko
Grzegorz Stepien (Poland)

The Grodzisko hill just outside the perimeter of the city of Danzig fortifications was very important for the defense of the city. As early as 1655 the city had started to be fortified using bastion system and a huge corner work was built there. Under the Prussian rule, the fortifications were strengthened, which however did not prevent it from being taken over by Napoleon's forces. Then it was significantly improved again, for example by realization of so-called "Haxo casemates". When the Grodzisko fortifications returned to the Prussian hands, the corner work was rebuilt to a large polygonal fort, protected by caponieres and equipped by the unique Carnot's mortar casemate. Today the fort of Grodzisko with the contiguous fortifications and infrastructure belongs to the best-preserved polygonal fortifications in Poland and vegetation is gradually wiped out from its surface. The article is illustrated with excellent full-page plans by M.Wojciechovski.

Shelters on the Lower shooting bastion's bank.
Photo by Grzegorz Stepien 2001.



The Construction of Underground Systems In Verdun Forts During The Battle
Martin Egger (Switzerland)

We have already brought brief information about the battle of Verdun in our magazine. The article of the well-known Swiss expert describes one of the most interesting chapters of the history of fortifications, the improvised construction of underground systems of the Verdun forts. At the beginning the author mentions the construction of the forts, which were unable to resist the heaviest artillery during the WWI, so the garrisons hidden there had to search a solution. After the first attempts to sink passages done under the command of captain Harispe right in the middle of the heaviest shelling in the Moulainville fort, this method had been successfully applied on the other fortification objects in an amazing scale. After the end of the fights the length of the underground through fares reached almost 30 kilometers. The author describes the underground systems under main forts and small forts (ouvrages) of Verdun fortress and the methods used during their construction. The author focuses on fort Douamont, where both sides had been sinking the passages, in great detail. He also mentions interesting examples of underground systems in Belfort and Nancy. As almost all archive sources had been destroyed and most of the passages have already collapsed, this article is one of the few possibilities to get some information about this interesting subject. (the article have been published in IBA-heft magazine).

tunnel, not concreted yet - Moulainville
A tunnel (not concreted yet) leading to the emergency exit of fort Moulainville.
Photo by M. Egger.



Czechoslovak Fortification Object KZ-3 For The T-34 Tank Turret
Martin Dubanek (Czech)

Tank turrets started to be used on fortifications during the WWII by Germans and this relatively inexpensive way how to strengthen the defenses spread into other countries after the war. Czechoslovakia was no exception. Here the objects for T-34 tank turrets, built from concrete prefabricates, were projected and actually constructed on the western border. The author describes the construction and resistance of the object, its inner equipment and the modifications of the tank turrets destined to be installed onto the object denoted as "KZ-3". In great detail he deals with the construction procedure, which is of course totally different from the procedure of constructing normal fortification objects. The article is illustrated with plans and photographs of the object near Tri Sekery village (Western Bohemia).

cross-cutting through the bunker type KZ-3
A cross-cut through the bunker type KZ-3. Unlike the others on photos, this one is not step.
According to an original plan drawn by O. Filip, 2001.



Coastal Defence Batteries on Kuivasaari
Jaroslaw Chorzepa (Poland)

In the second issue of our magazine we wrote about the fortification of the port of Helsinky. Now we bring you an article describing the remarkable fates of one of the important posts of this fortification, located on a small isle of Kuivasaari, which served its purpose for over 60 years. During the Russian rule only one open artillery battery with a fire control post had been built there. After the takeover by Finnish army a four-floor object was built on the place of the original battery, equipped with an armored rotary turret for two 305 mm cannons. After the WWII the turret was dismantled, but in 1960 it was installed on its place again. Today there is an exposition of the coastal artillery museum on the isle, but it is not commonly accessible to foreign tourists. The article is illustrated with archive plans, photos of the perfectly preserved battery and other exhibits of the museum.

detail of rotary turret
A detail of the rotary turret.
Photo by J. Chorzepa.



Mobile Armoured Cupolas "K2" And "K3"
Martin Dubanek (Czech)

After the W.W.II a lot of German fortification material remained on the territory of Czechoslovakia. One of the most interesting elements were German mobile heavy MG - nests (called "Panzernest"), which attracted the attention of the experts of Czechoslovak army. The author describes in great detail especially the tests performed on the trophy cupolas by the army, including rebuilding one of them into a rotary turret and mentions the drills planned to test the cupolas. The article is illustrated by plans of the famous Polish artist Robert Jurga.

armoured cupola
"Panzernest" installed in defence line from 1944 near Krakov. Picture was taken few years ago, the cupola has moved afterwards.
Photo by J. Sadowski.



Fortress Froideterre
Marcus Massing (Germany)

The fortress of Froideterre is a small infantry fort ("ouvrage") in the northern part of the Verdun fortification ring. During a large modernization in the beginning of the 20th century it was strengthened by concrete and armed with modern fortification weapons in armored turrets and the concrete "de Bourges" casemate. It played an important role in the battle of Verdun, because the German advance along the ridge, where fort Douaumont and fortress Thiaumont had fallen before, was stopped by the fortress. The author describes the construction of the fortress and deals with the dramatic events, during which the fortress was almost taken over by German attackers. In the conclusion he mentions a short fight for the fortress in 1940 and its fates after the war till today.

fortress Froideterre
A view of the right side of the fort with barrack, MG rotary turret (the bigger white poing) and observation dome type Digoin (the smaller white poing to the left). You can seen craters from artillery shells well.
Photo by L. Novak 1998.



German Heavy Bunker In Hradistko
Martin Dubanek, Jiri Krystufek (Czech)

Although the fortifications on the territory of Czech republic are thoroughly explored, an object unknown to the public may rarely be found. Martin Dubanek succeeded in this when he found archive information about a large object built by the Germans during the W.W.II on the SS training grounds in Hradistko village. A perfectly preserved object similar to Czechoslovakian pre-war blockhouse in size and construction was really found and its pictures were taken. The article is supplemented by a plan of this exceptional fortification object, which purpose is still unknown.

German bunker in Hradistko
A view of the front side of bunker helps to imagine the size.
Photo by Jiri Krystufek 2001.