Incredible Images Of The Abandoned Bunkers and Fortresses of the Maginot Line

The Maginot Line was a series of fortifications built by the French Government in the 1930s. It ran along the border with Germany and was named after André Maginot, the French Minister of War.

France built it to hold back a possible German invasion. The idea behind it was to hold back enemy forces while the French mobilized their own armies. The French remembered when the Germans invaded their country in World War I, and so were anxious that the same thing should not happen again.

French military experts thought the Maginot Line was wonderful. It could turn back most forms of attack, including tanks and bombing from the air. It had underground railways to carry troops and equipment from fort to fort.

The living quarters for the soldiers were comfortable, and they even had air – conditioning. The French generals were certain it would stop any attacks from the east.

Maginot line - By Made by Niels Bosboom CC BY-SA 3.0
Maginot line – By Made by Niels Bosboom CC BY-SA 3.0

But the enemy did not attack from the east. The Maginot Line did not extend across the northern border with Belgium. This was because Belgium was a neutral country and France did not want to offend the Belgians.

So in 1941 the Germans violated the neutrality of Belgium and invaded France through that country, just as they had in World War I. They went right around the Maginot, and for all its might it was effectively useless. The German Army captured Paris and conquered France in six weeks.

But the Maginot Line had problems of its own, even if the Germans had bothered to attack it. It was very costly to maintain and was not provided with the money that it needed to keep the troops and equipment necessary for war.

The Maginot Line still exists, but is not maintained and not used for military purposes anymore.


10578442676_0a37df0e83_kInside a turret Flickr / mhobl

539272431_e708a569b9_bMachine gun turret  Flickr / Dirk Gently 

539153368_3952f4bcd4_zMachine gun turret  Flickr / Dirk Gently 

539154476_8d058eaf5f_bMachine gun turret  Flickr / Dirk Gently 

6350992084_07f92f7cfe_bInside the vast tunnel system that links the Maginot line Flickr / Romain DECKER

9203703016_b325ed8bb9_k Flickr / mhobl

4907915680_7e70980b84_bInside the massive tunnel system Flickr / Thomas Bresson

15064240430_86c71333ed_kSmall bunker on the maginot line near Crusnes Flickr / Morten Jensen

9920889704_f076d45814_kFort Fermont on the Maginot Line Flickr / Morten Jensen

9607914685_fd90371775_kGalgenberg fortress in the Maginot Line. Flickr / Morten Jensen

9611206932_bf5818452a_kGalgenberg fortress in the Maginot Line. Flickr / Morten Jensen

15064229229_44140f42c1_kFortress Bois Karre on the Maginot line Flickr / Morten Jensen

9919859233_b1a13b8656_kFortress Kobenbusch in the Maginot-Line Flickr / Morten Jensen

14651810640_07befa8916_kAbri Zeiterholz on the Maginot-line Flickr / Morten Jensen

10118086846_29e4856e99_kVillers-Pol (Nord) Blockhaus BLK A64 for 8-12 men. Flickr / Daniel Jolivet

15798082799_ae8e6c513a_kFlickr / Piefke La Belle 

9700327656_0f4b00588c_k135mm retractable turret Flickr / BigMikeSndTech

Joris Nieuwint

Joris Nieuwint is a battlefield guide for the Operation Market Garden area. His primary focus is on the Allied operations from September 17th, 1944 onwards. Having lived in the Market Garden area for 25 years, he has been studying the events for nearly as long. He has a deep understanding of the history and a passion for sharing the stories of the men who are no longer with us.