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View Full Version : Fort Driant diagram and photos - also couple of pics of Maginot fortifications



DaSOB
10-14-2010, 12:40 PM
Here are a few pics and a diagram of Fort Driant, outside of Metz. I took the snapshots during a field trip with a class on WWII in the Saarland. Ft. Driant is notable as the site of Patton's only defeat during the 3rd Army's drive through the Saarland. It was pounded for weeks, but was never actually taken in battle.

First, a diagram and aerial view of the fort as it existed in WWII:

http://i233.photobucket.com/albums/ee33/dasob/ftdriantdiagramdotjpg


An aerial photo taken during the period.

http://i233.photobucket.com/albums/ee33/dasob/ftdriantaerialdotjpg


Satellite image of the larger part of the fort. Look closely and compare the diagram, the period photo and the current image, and you can correlate the various sections.

http://i233.photobucket.com/albums/ee33/dasob/ftdriant5dotjpg


And my photos:

A section of the barracks

http://i233.photobucket.com/albums/ee33/dasob/ftdriant2dotjpg



A look at the fašade of the main fort. This was down in the large ditch shown on the diagram, and artillery had a very difficult time with it. About the only rounds that could strike it were from Howitzers.

http://i233.photobucket.com/albums/ee33/dasob/ftdriant3dotjpg



100 mm battery

http://i233.photobucket.com/albums/ee33/dasob/ftdriant1dotjpg



Most interesting – a look at a wall of the fort with an unexploded 75 mm Howitzer round embedded in the stonework (white square). In this area, there were unexploded mortar rounds still sticking up out of the ground. I was a bit antsy about being around all that UXO. Also, the interior of the ground floor was absolutely littered with expended 8x57 brass, as well as .30 caliber bullets fired in by the Army.

http://i233.photobucket.com/albums/ee33/dasob/ftdriant4dotjpg



Now a couple of photos from the Maginot Line.

http://i233.photobucket.com/albums/ee33/dasob/maginot1dotjpg

37 mm turret that has been hammered by artillery and small arms fire.

http://i233.photobucket.com/albums/ee33/dasob/maginot2dotjpg


And finally, a look at the cemetery at St. Avold.

http://i233.photobucket.com/albums/ee33/dasob/stavolddotjpg

B_706K
10-14-2010, 12:46 PM
Some interesting shots especially that 37mm turret and the howitzer round in the wall... I wonder if that's still there?

DaSOB
10-14-2010, 12:47 PM
I'm sure it is. As far as I know, the entire fort has been left as-is.

One thing I don't have a photo of, and I wish I did, is the stub of a metal flagpole at the Porte Entre. I'm told that when the fort finally surrendered, there was a Nazi flag flying on that pole. Allied soldiers shot the pole with their rifles until they finally cut it in two, bringing down the flag!

theholeinthedonut
10-15-2010, 01:40 AM
Cool stuff. I will have to visit For Driant soon.

Bandit
10-15-2010, 02:12 AM
Very impressive. Thanks for sharing. Photos look vintage. UXO looks scary.

DaSOB
10-15-2010, 08:48 AM
Glad you enjoyed them, Bandit. I took the photos in 1975, when I was stationed in Germany.

There was UXO all around - mostly "dud" mortar rounds which, as we all know, could still go off even after (at that time) 30 years. The instructor who was leading the group actually pulled a round out of the ground by the rear section and waved it around as he was talking. I scooted behind a tree until he put it down again!

Hole, if you do go, be sure to post some photos - I'd love to see how the area looks now. I believe that our group entered at the Porte Entre. We had a major from the French Army escorting us, so I don't know if one can just go in there without permission. With all that UXO around, I expect the French prefer that unaccompanied persons not go into the area.

theholeinthedonut
10-15-2010, 10:26 AM
Glad you enjoyed them, Bandit. I took the photos in 1975, when I was stationed in Germany.

There was UXO all around - mostly "dud" mortar rounds which, as we all know, could still go off even after (at that time) 30 years. The instructor who was leading the group actually pulled a round out of the ground by the rear section and waved it around as he was talking. I scooted behind a tree until he put it down again!

Hole, if you do go, be sure to post some photos - I'd love to see how the area looks now. I believe that our group entered at the Porte Entre. We had a major from the French Army escorting us, so I don't know if one can just go in there without permission. With all that UXO around, I expect the French prefer that unaccompanied persons not go into the area.
I will ask around, the ML is not my usual stomping ground. Exploring the Maginot Ligne is much more dangerous then the Westwall.

Mat_fr
10-15-2010, 10:36 AM
Areas like some places of Verdun's Battlefield are also still full of non-exploded stuff so be careful anyway

but bring back some pix ;)

DaSOB
10-15-2010, 10:38 AM
Areas like some places of Verdun's Battlefield are also still full of non-exploded stuff so be careful anyway

VERY true. I know that there have been instances of farmers plowing their fields there and detonating a buried artillery round. I'm told that many of them started putting steel blast plates on the undersides of their tractors to give at least some protection.

theholeinthedonut
10-15-2010, 10:41 AM
If the Fort is still Military Terrain and access to it is still restricted I will stay out! Because of my job I can't allow myself to get into trouble for such trespassings.
I have quite a few pics from Gros Ouvrages of the Maginot Ligne that are now Museums, I can post those.

Mat_fr
10-15-2010, 10:44 AM
that would be a pleasure to see these pix theholeinthedonut

how do you do BTW ?

theholeinthedonut
10-15-2010, 10:45 AM
that would be a pleasure to see these pix theholeinthedonut

how do you do BTW ?

All is good, not much going on. How are you doing?

DaSOB
10-15-2010, 10:47 AM
I would venture to say that it is still considered a French military installation. We had to have a major from the French Army escort us through the area.

Mat_fr
10-15-2010, 10:48 AM
fine thanks. I'm beginning my Ph.D. ! ;)

theholeinthedonut
10-15-2010, 10:50 AM
fine thanks. I'm beginning my Ph.D. ! ;)

Well done! What are you studying? Where?

Mat_fr
10-15-2010, 10:52 AM
37 mm turret that has been hammered by artillery and small arms fire.

http://i233.photobucket.com/albums/ee33/dasob/maginot2dotjpg



I've already seen this turret in a book on the Maginot Line
If i'm not wrong, this thing :
http://tof.canardpc.com/view/c9947c5b-7e6c-46cc-85e0-fb8fd9efa165dotjpg

is an unexploded 88mm german shell from 1940.


edit
@ theholeinthedonut
i'm studying mechanical engineering (wear) in Lyon, in my Engineer School (i'm engineer for 2 months now!)

theholeinthedonut
10-15-2010, 10:57 AM
I would venture to say that it is still considered a French military installation. We had to have a major from the French Army escort us through the area.

I am a silly bugger. I knew about Fort Driant before you mentioned it DaSOB! But under a different name!!! The original fortifications were built in 1899 by the German Reich, after war of 1871 the Lorraine was part of Germany. In german the fortifications are known as "Feste Kronprinz". But you are right, the terrain is still in use by the french army and access is prohibited.