Linia Maginot (Behemoth)

The Maginot Line: French Defensive Fortifications – World War Two

The Maginot Line: French Defensive Fortifications – World War Two

The Maginot Line was a defensive series of fortifications along the French borders with Italy, Switzerland, Germany and Luxembourg. The main purpose of the Maginot Line, named after French Minister of War André Maginot, was to deter German invasion.

Purposes of the Maginot Line

It would serve other purposes based off the experience of the First World War. It would save French manpower, becoming a substitute for a reduced army, as France had a shortage of young men for the armed forces.

It would also hinder the German army if they attacked, giving time to mobilize the main bulk of the French army. By the time the Maginot Line had been constructed, it had cost 3 billion Francs.

Characteristics of the Fortifications

The fortifications were built throughout the interwar years of the 1930s, and were state-of-the-art a marvel of military engineering.

It was not a continuous line as the name implies but a series of fortifications along the border. The main fortresses were manned by 500 to a thousand men They were built of thick concrete, and they had several storeys, heavy artillery within retractable armored turrets, and air filtration systems to prevent gas from entering.

Inside, there was everything needed to provide adequate living: Recreation areas, kitchens, hospitals, living quarters, supply store houses, and underground trains on rail lines to move ammunition. Smaller fortresses are around 100 to 200 men, also made up the line covering the small bunkers of 20 to 30 men armed with machine guns.

In front of these defenses, on the border, were anti-tank ditches and obstacles, barbed wire, mines and block houses disguised as residential homes, that French troops could raise the alarm from, if there was an enemy attack.

Weaknesses of the Maginot Line

Unfortunately, the French did not prepare for the Blitzkrieg tactics of the German forces, Or their invasion through neutral Belgium, which allowed them to simply outflank the Maginot line in 1940.

Where the Germans did attack the Maginot Line, it did serve its purpose well, and the 400,000 French troops who formed the garrison held up a strong defense, However these troops could have been used for the main battle within France.


Despite its shortcomings, the Maginot Line remains a fascinating part of military history, representing the best efforts of the French to defend their borders. It is a reminder of the challenges nations face in anticipating and preparing for the tactics and technologies of their potential enemies.

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Clip video in engleza despre asta, numit : Linia Maginot (Behemoth)

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