The original Siegfried line (Siegfriedstellung) was a line of defensive forts and tank defenses built by Germany as a section of the Hindenburg Line 1916-1917 in northern France during World War I. Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany ( ˈbʊndəsʁepuˌbliːk ˈdɔʏtʃlant is a Country in Central Europe. The Hindenburg Line (also known as the Siegfried Line) was a vast system of defences in northeastern France during World War I. Year 1916 ( MCMXVI) was a Leap year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Leap year Year 1917 ( MCMXVII) was a Common year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar (or a Common year This article is about the country For a topic outline on this subject see List of basic France topics. World War I (abbreviated WWI; also known as the First World War, the Great War, and the War to End All However, in English, Siegfried line more commonly refers to the similar World War II defensive line, built during the 1930s, opposite the French Maginot Line, which served a corresponding purpose. World War II, or the Second World War, (often abbreviated WWII) was a global military conflict which involved a majority of the world's nations, including The Maginot Line (IPA, Ligne Maginot named after French Minister of Defense André Maginot, was a line of concrete Fortifications tank obstacles artillery The Germans themselves called this the Westwall, but the Allies renamed it after the First World War line. In general allies are people groups or nations that have joined together in an association for mutual benefit or to achieve some common purpose This article deals with this second Siegfried line.
The Siegfried Line was a defense system stretching more than 630 km (390 mi) with more than 18,000 bunkers, tunnels and tank traps. A military bunker is a hardened shelter often buried partly or fully underground designed to protect the inhabitants from falling bombs or other attacks During World War II the term " dragon's teeth " came to designate square-pyramidal fortifications used to impede the progress of mechanized armies It went from Kleve on the border with the Netherlands, along the western border of the old German Empire as far as the town of Weil am Rhein on the border to Switzerland. Cleves redirects here for the Duchy of Cleves and the conjoined states of Jülich-Cleves-Berg, see those articles The Netherlands ( Dutch:, ˈnedərlɑnt is the European part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, which consists of the Netherlands the Netherlands The German Empire is the name commonly used in English to describe Germany from 1871 to 1918 when it was a semi- Constitutional monarchy: beginning with the Unification Weil am Rhein is a German town and commune situated on the east bank of the River Rhine, and close to the point at which the Swiss, French Switzerland (English pronunciation; Schweiz Swiss German: Schwyz or Schwiiz Suisse Svizzera Svizra officially the Swiss Confederation More with propaganda in mind than for any strategic reason, Adolf Hitler planned the line from 1936 and had it built between 1938 and 1940. Propaganda is a concerted set of messages aimed at influencing the opinions or behaviors of large numbers of people Hi and welcome to Wikipedia! Please understand that this article is frequently vandalized and vandalism is reverted immediately Year 1936 ( MCMXXXVI) was a Leap year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar. Year 1938 ( MCMXXXVIII) was a Common year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar. Year 1940 ( MCMXL) was a Leap year starting on Monday (link will display the full 1940 calendar of the Gregorian calendar. This was after the Nazis had broken the Treaty of Versailles and the Locarno Treaties by remilitarizing the Rhineland in 1936. Nazism, which was a short name for National Socialism (Nationalsozialismus refers primarily to the Ideology and practices of the National Socialist German The Treaty of Versailles was one of the peace treaties at the end of World War I. The Locarno Treaties were seven agreements negotiated at Locarno, Switzerland on 5 October &ndash 16 October 1925 and formally signed The Rhineland ( Rheinland in German) is the general name for the land on both sides of the river Rhine in the west of Germany.
Today we can no longer know for certain the exact origin of the German name Westwall (West Wall). During World War II the term " dragon's teeth " came to designate square-pyramidal fortifications used to impede the progress of mechanized armies It is most likely that the name simply came into popular use from the end of 1938. Nazi propaganda did not initially use the term very much, but the name was well-known from the middle of 1939, as Hitler sent an "Order of the Day to the soldiers and the workers at the Westwall" on May 20, 1939. Year 1939 ( MCMXXXIX) was a Common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian calendar. Mentioned in Despatches (MID is a Military award for gallantry or otherwise commendable service Events 325 - The First Council of Nicaea &ndash the first Ecumenical Council of the Christian Church is held The official name for the line until then had depended on the programmes described in the next section of this article. The name "Limes Programme" for example was a deliberately misleading cover name, chosen to make people think of the archaeological research that had just finished at the Limes Germanicus (Upper Germanic and Rhaetian Limes). Archaeology, archeology, or archæology (from Greek grc ἀρχαιολογία archaiologia – grc ἀρχαῖος archaīos The Limes Germanicus ( Latin for Germanic frontier) was a remarkable line of frontier ( Limes) forts that bounded the ancient Roman
There were several distinct construction phases on the Siegfried Line:
These programmes were all pushed forward with the highest priority, using every resource available. ( Ripuarian: Oche, Dutch: Aken, Spanish: Aquisgrán, Italian: Aquisgrana, French, Saarland (ˈzaːɐ̯lant in German; French: Sarre) is one of the 16 federal states (German Bundesländer) of Germany. Brüggen is a municipality in the district of Viersen, in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.
At the start of each construction programme, basic construction prototypes were laid out on the drawing board and then built, sometimes by the thousands. This standardisation of the bunkers (popularly known as Pillboxes) and tank traps was necessary because of the lack of raw materials, transport and workers. A military bunker is a hardened shelter often buried partly or fully underground designed to protect the inhabitants from falling bombs or other attacks
For the main part of the pioneering programme, small bunkers were set up with three embrasures towards the front. The term embrasure, in Military architecture, refers to the opening in a Crenellation or Battlement between the two raised solid portions or Merlons The walls were only 50cm thick and provided no protection against poison gas. Chemical warfare involves using the toxic properties of Chemical substances to kill injure or incapacitate an enemy. Soldiers stationed there did not have their own beds but had to make do with hammocks. In exposed positions, similar small bunkers were erected with small armoured round "lookout" sections on the roofs. All these constructions were already considered outdated when they were built and at best offered protection against shrapnel from bombs and grenades. Shrapnel is the term originally applied to an anti-personnel artillery shell which carried a large number of individual bullets to the target and then ejected them forwards relying A bomb is any of a range of devices that typically rely on the Exothermic Chemical reaction of an Explosive material to produce an extremely The programme was carried out by the Border Watch (Grenzwacht), a small military troop which took up activity in the Rhineland immediately after it was remilitarized. The Rhineland ( Rheinland in German) is the general name for the land on both sides of the river Rhine in the west of Germany. The bunkers were set up near the foreign borders.
The Limes Programme began as a result of an order by Hitler to strengthen fortifications on the western German border. Bunkers built in this phase starting in 1938 were more strongly constructed. The framework for each of this programme's Type 10 bunkers probably took around 20 man years to build and required around 287 m3 of concrete, very close to the amount needed for a small block of flats. Concrete is a construction material composed of Cement (commonly Portland cement) as well as other cementitious materials such as Fly ash and Slag
The bunkers had a ceiling and walls 1. 5m (5 feet) thick, but this was proved completely insufficient even before construction was finished. A total of 3,471 Type 10 bunkers were built along the entire length of the Siegfried Line. The bunkers had a central room or shelter for 10 to 12 men with an entrance, stepped embrasures facing backwards and a combat section 50cm (19 inches) higher. This section had embrasures at the front and sides for machine guns, and a separate entrance. More embrasures were provided for carbines and the entire structure was constructed so as to be safe against poison gas, based on experiences in the First World War. A carbine is a Firearm similar to a Rifle or Musket, but generally shorter and of lesser power Chemical warfare involves using the toxic properties of Chemical substances to kill injure or incapacitate an enemy.
The bunker was heated with a safety oven, and the chimney, which led to the outside, was covered with a thick grating. Every soldier was given a sleeping-place and a stool; the commanding officer had a chair. There was very little space: each soldier had about 1 m2 of space, which meant that the rooms were packed full.
Inside the bunkers of this type still remaining today are the signs hung up to prepare the men for their task: "The walls have ears" or "Lights out when embrasures are open!" However, these warning signs did little to save the Line from inevitable defeat.
The bunkers built under this programme were similar to those of the Limes programme: Type 107 double MG casemates with concrete walls up to 3. A casemate, sometimes rendered casement, is a fortified gun emplacement or armored structure from which guns are fired originally a vaulted chamber in a Fortress. 5m thick. One difference was that in this case there were no embrasures at the front, only at the sides of the bunkers. Embrasures were only built at the front in special cases and were then protected with heavy metal doors. The programme included the towns of Aachen and Saarbrücken which were initially west of the Limes Programme defence line. ( Ripuarian: Oche, Dutch: Aken, Spanish: Aquisgrán, Italian: Aquisgrana, French, Saarbrücken (ˈzaːɐ̯ˈbrʏkn in German; Sarrebruck is the capital of the state of Saarland in Germany.
The Western Air Defence Zone (Luftverteidigungszone West or LVZ West) continued parallel to the two other lines toward the east, and consisted mainly of concrete flak towers. Anti-aircraft warfare, or air defense, is any method of engaging hostile military Aircraft in defence of ground objectives, ground or naval forces Scattered MG42s and MG34s were also placed for additional defense, against both air and land targets. Flak turrets were designed to force enemy planes to fly higher, thus decreasing the accuracy of their bombing. These towers were protected at close range by bunkers from the Limes and Aachen-Saar programmes.
The Geldern Emplacement lengthened the Siegfried Line northwards as far as Kleve on the Rhine, and was only built after the start of World War II. The Siegfried Line originally ended in the north near Brüggen in the Viersen district. Viersen is the capital of the district of Viersen, in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. The primary constructions were unarmed dugouts which were, however, extremely strongly built out of concrete. For camouflage they were often built near farms. Camouflage is a method of cryptic or concealing coloration that allows an otherwise visible Organism
Tank traps were also built for miles along the Siegfried Line and were known as "dragon’s teeth" or "pimples" (in German Höcker, "humps") because of their shape. These blocks of reinforced concrete stand in several rows on a single foundation. There are two typical sorts of barrier: Type 1938 with four teeth getting higher toward the back, and Type 1939 with five such teeth. Many other irregular lines of teeth were also built, however. Another design of tank obstacle was made by welding together several bars of steel in such a way that any tank rolling over it would be penetrated in its weak bottom armor. If the lie of the land allowed it, water-filled ditches were dug instead of tank traps. An example of this kind of defence are those north of Aachen near Geilenkirchen. Geilenkirchen (ˈgaɪlənkɪʁçən is a town in the district Heinsberg, in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.
The bunkers constructed during the pioneering programme were mostly built by private firms, but the private sector was not able to provide the number of workers needed for the programmes that followed. This gap was filled by the Todt Organisation named after its founder, Fritz Todt. The Organisation Todt (OT was a Third Reich civil and Military engineering group in Germany eponymously named for its founder Fritz Todt, an Fritz Todt (4 September 1891 – 8 February 1942 was a German engineer and senior Nazi figure the founder of Organisation Todt. With this organisation’s help, huge numbers of workers - up to half a million at a time - were found to work on the Siegfried Line. Transport of materials and workers from all across Germany was managed by the Deutsche Reichsbahn railway company, which took advantage of the well-developed strategic railway lines built on Germany’s western border in World War I. Deutsche Bahn AG ( DB AG, DBAG or DB) is the German national Railway company
Working conditions on the building sites were highly dangerous; for example, the most primitive means had to be used to handle and assemble extremely heavy armour plating weighing up to 60 tonnes. Life on the building site and after work was monotonous and many people gave up and left.
German industry could not deliver as many steel armour plates as were needed for the mounting of weapons in the bunkers, meaning that the bunkers were not of great military value. Steel is an Alloy consisting mostly of Iron, with a Carbon content between 0 The armour-plated sections included the embrasures and their shutters as well as armoured cupolas for 360-degree defence. A gun turret is a device that protects the crew or mechanism of a projectile firing weapon and at the same time lets the weapon be aimed and fired in many directions Germany depended on other countries to provide the alloys required in producing armoured plates (mostly nickel and molybdenum), so either the armour plates were left out or they were produced with low-quality replacement materials. An alloy is a Solid solution or Homogeneous mixture of two or more elements, at least one of which is a Metal, which itself has Nickel (ˈnɪkəl is a metallic Chemical element with the symbol Ni and Atomic number 28 Molybdenum (məˈlɪbdənəm from the Greek word for the metal " Lead " is a Group 6 Chemical element with the symbol Mo This deficiency was visible even on official photographs.
The bunkers were still fitted with guns, which proved inadequate in the first war years and were therefore dismantled, but the high-calibre weapons necessary for efficient defence could not be built into the existing bunkers.
Despite France’s declaration of war on Germany at the beginning of the Second World War, there was no major combat at the Siegfried Line at the start of the campaign in the west. Instead, both sides remained stuck in the so-called Phony War, where neither side wanted to attack the other and both stayed in their safe positions. The Phoney War, also called the Twilight War by Winston Churchill, der Sitzkrieg in German ("the sitting war" a When the campaign finished, all transportable weapons were removed from the Siegfried Line and used in other places. The concrete sections were left in place in the countryside and soon became completely unfit for defence. The bunkers were instead used for storage, for example for farming equipment.
Billy Joel wrote a song called The Siegfried Line as a demo in the 1970's, but it was only recently released, as part of his My Lives album. The song describes the period during the so-called Phony War, where neither side attacked the other.
All the guns are silent on the Western wall And we clean the rifles that we never use at all And we're writing letters just to pass the time And the days go by on the Siegfried Line.
Oh they say the English have given up the war And we've heard the Russians won't last through '44 But a long-time soldier has an open mind And a man grows old on the Siegfried Line.
With the D-Day landings in Normandy on June 6, 1944, war in the west broke out once more and a new situation arose. D-Day may also refer to Decimal Day in the United Kingdom. D-Day is a term often used in Military parlance to denote Normandy (Normandie Norman: Normaundie) is a geographical region corresponding to the former Duchy of Normandy. Events 1508 - Maximilian I Holy Roman Emperor, is defeated in Friulia by Venetian forces; he is forced to sign a three-year Year 1944 ( MCMXLIV) was a Leap year starting on Saturday (link will display full calendar of the Gregorian calendar. On August 24, 1944 Hitler gave a directive for the renewed construction of the Siegfried Line. Events 49 BC - Julius Caesar 's General Gaius Scribonius Curio is defeated in the Second Battle of the Bagradas River 20,000 forced laborers and members of the German National Labor Service (Reichsarbeitsdienst, RAD) most of whom were 14 to 16-year-old boys, attempted to reequip the line for defence purposes. Local people were also called in to carry out this kind of work, mostly building anti-tank ditches. It all ended in failure as a result of Allied air superiority. Air superiority is the dominance in the Air power of one side's air forces over the other side's during a Military campaign.
During construction it was already clear that the bunkers could no longer begin to withstand the newly developed armour-piercing weapons. At the same time as the actual Siegfried Line was reactivated, small concrete "Tobruk" bunkers (named after Tobruk, the seaport in eastern Libya) were built along the border to the occupied area. Tobruk or Tubruq (طبرق also transliterated as Tóbruch, Tobruch, Ţubruq, Tobruck) is a Town, Seaport Libya ( ليبيا ar-Latn Lībiyā; Libyan vernacular: Lībya; Amazigh:) officially the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab These bunkers were mostly dugouts for single soldiers.
In August 1944 the first clashes took place by the Siegfried Line. The Allied advance from Paris to the Rhine was one of the final Allied phases in World War II of the Western European Campaign. The section of the line now fought over the most was the Hürtgenwald area in the Eifel, 20 km (13 miles) southeast of Aachen. Hürtgenwald is a municipality in the district of Düren in the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. The Eifel is a low mountain range in western Germany. It occupies parts of southwestern North Rhine-Westphalia and northwestern Rhineland-Palatinate An estimated that 120,000 troops, plus replacements, were committed to Hürtgen. The battle in this confusing, heavily forested area claimed the lives of 24,000 troops plus 9,000 non-battle causalties.  The German death toll is not documented, but Hans von Luck estimates it at around 9,000. Hans-Ulrich von Luck und Witten ( 15 July 1911 – 15 January 1997) usually shortened to Hans von Luck, was a Colonel in
After the Battle of Hürtgenwald, the Battle of the Bulge began, starting at the area south of the Hürtgenwald, between Monschau and the Luxembourgian town of Echternach. The Ardennes Offensive (16 December 1944 – 25 January 1945 was a major German offensive launched towards the end of World War II through the forested Ardennes Mountains Monschau (Montjoie is a Town in the west of Germany, located in the district Aachen, North Rhine-Westphalia. Luxembourg (Groussherzogtum Lëtzebuerg Grand-Duché de Luxembourg Großherzogtum Luxemburg is a small Landlocked country in Western Europe, bordered by Echternach (Iechternach is a commune with city status in the canton of Echternach, which is part of the district of Grevenmacher, in eastern This offensive was a last-ditch attempt by the Germans to reverse the course of the war. It cost the lives of many people without resulting in any lasting success.
There were serious clashes at other parts of the Siegfried Line as well as soldiers in many bunkers refused to give up fighting, and often fought to the death. By Spring 1945, however, the last Siegfried Line bunkers fell at the Saar and Hunsrück. The Saar or Saar Area or Saar Protectorate or Saar Region was a French-German borderland territory twice temporarily made a protectorate The Hunsrück is a low Mountain range in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany.
The Siegfried Line was much more valuable as a propaganda tool than as a military defence. German propaganda, both at home and abroad, repeatedly portrayed the line during its construction as an unbreachable bulwark.
For Germans the building of the line represented the regime's defensive intentions, whereas for neighbouring countries it appeared threatening and reassuring at the same time. This strategy proved very successful from the Nazi point of view both at the start and at the end of the World War II. At the start of the war, the opposing troops remained behind their own defence lines, allowing the Germans to attack Poland, and at the end of the war, the invading forces spent more time than necessary at the half-finished, now-gutted Siegfried Line, thus allowing military manoeuvres in the east. Poland (Polska officially the Republic of Poland In this light, the Siegfried Line can be seen as the Nazis' greatest propaganda success, with wide-ranging consequences.
The Siegfried Line was the subject of a popular British song of 1939 which fit the mood of the time for the troops marching off to France:
We're going to hang out the washing on the Siegfried Line. We're Going to Hang out the Washing on the Siegfried Line is a popular song written by Irish songwriter Jimmy Kennedy, whilst he was a Captain in the British Expeditionary
Have you any dirty washing, mother dear?
We're gonna hang out the washing on the Siegfried Line
'Cause the washing day is here.
Whether the weather may be wet or fine
We'll just rub along without a care.
We're going to hang out the washing on the Siegfried Line
If the Siegfried Line's still there . . .
((Kennedy/Carr) Peter Maurice Music Co Ltd 1939)
General George S. Patton, when asked about the Siegfried Line, reportedly said, "Fixed fortifications are monuments to the stupidity of mankind". For the 19th century Scottish jurist/politician see George Patton Lord Glenalmond.
During the post-war period, many sections of the Siegfried Line were removed using explosives. This article is about ruins in Architecture; for other meanings see Ruins (disambiguation. Biotope is an area of uniform environmental conditions providing a living place for a specific assemblage of plants and animals. This work, as well as removal of land mines, once again cost the lives of many people. A land mine is an Explosive device designed to be placed on or in the ground to explode when triggered by an operator or the Proximity of a vehicle person
In North Rhine Westphalia, about 30 bunkers still remain intact; most of the rest were either destroyed with explosives or covered with earth. The tank traps still exist to a large extent; in the Eifel, for example, they run over several kilometres, giving an impression of what was probably the greatest Nazi propaganda success.
Since 1997, with the motto "The value of the unpleasant as a memorial" (Der Denkmalswert des Unerfreulichen), an effort was begun to put a preservation order on the remains of the Siegfried Line as a historical monument. A monument is a structure either explicitly created to commemorate a person or important event or which has become important to a social group as a part of their remembrance of past This was intended to stop propagandistic use of the Siegfried Line by radical right-wing groups. In Politics, right-wing, the political right, and the Right are positions that uphold traditional values and/or authorities The idea was furthermore to take away the myth of the line's impermeability: if it is a memorial everyone interested will be able to visit it and judge matters for themselves.
At the same time, state funding was still being provided to destroy the remains of the Siegfried Line. For this reason, emergency archaeological digs took place whenever any part of the line was removed, for example for road building. The archaeological activity was not able to stop the destruction of these sections but furthered scientific knowledge and revealed details of the line's construction. It is still a very controversial question whether or not it is justifiable to preserve these military structures – similar to the Roman Limes – given that they were built by the Nazis. A limes (or the Limes Romanus) was a Border defense or delimiting system of Ancient Rome.
Nature conservationists consider the remains of the Siegfried Line valuable as a chain of biotopes where, thanks to its size, rare animals and plants can take refuge and reproduce. Environmentalism is a broad philosophy and Social movement centered on a concern for the conservation and improvement of the environment. Biotope is an area of uniform environmental conditions providing a living place for a specific assemblage of plants and animals. This effect is magnified because the concrete ruins can not be used for farming or forestry purposes.