Ouvrage Métrich

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Ouvrage Métrich
Part of Maginot Line
Northeast France
GO Metrich - B11 - 2004-09-20 - 17.jpg
135mm gun turret, gros ouvrage Métrich Block 11, September 2004
Ouvrage Métrich is located in France
Coordinates49°23′27″N 6°17′37″E / 49.39083°N 6.29361°E / 49.39083; 6.29361Coordinates: 49°23′27″N 6°17′37″E / 49.39083°N 6.29361°E / 49.39083; 6.29361
Built byCORF
Construction
materials
Concrete, steel, deep excavation
In useAbandoned
Current
owner
Private
Controlled byFrance
Battles/warsBattle of France, Lorraine Campaign
 
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Ouvrage Métrich
Part of Maginot Line
Northeast France
GO Metrich - B11 - 2004-09-20 - 17.jpg
135mm gun turret, gros ouvrage Métrich Block 11, September 2004
Ouvrage Métrich is located in France
Coordinates49°23′27″N 6°17′37″E / 49.39083°N 6.29361°E / 49.39083; 6.29361Coordinates: 49°23′27″N 6°17′37″E / 49.39083°N 6.29361°E / 49.39083; 6.29361
Built byCORF
Construction
materials
Concrete, steel, deep excavation
In useAbandoned
Current
owner
Private
Controlled byFrance
Battles/warsBattle of France, Lorraine Campaign
Ouvrage Métrich
Type of work:Large artillery work (Gros ouvrage)
sector
└─sub-sector
Fortified Sector of Thionville
└─Elzange
Work number:A17
Regiment:167th Fortress Infantry Regiment (RIF) + 151st Position Artillery Regiment {RAP}
Number of blocks:12
Strength:769 enlisted + 26 officers

Ouvrage Métrich located in the village of Kœnigsmacker in Moselle, comprises part of the Elzange portion of the Fortified Sector of Thionville of the Maginot Line. A gros ouvrage, it is the third largest of the Line, after Hackenberg and Hochwald. It lies between petit ouvrage Sentzich and gros ouvrage Billig, facing Germany. Located to the east of the Moselle, it cooperated with Ouvrage Galgenberg to control the river valley.

Design and construction[edit]

Métrich was approved for construction by CORF (Commission d'Organisation des Régions Fortifiées), the Maginot Line's design and construction agency, in November 1930 and became operational by 1935,[1] at a cost of 127 million francs.[2] The contractor was Construction Générale.[3]

Description[edit]

Métrich is a typical large Maginot gros ouvrage[nb 1] with separate ammunition and personnel entry blocks. It has a particularly heavy artillery component, with seven 75mm guns, two 135mm guns and four 81mm mortars, making it the third most heavily armed unit in the Maginot Line.[6] More than 1,200 metres (3,900 ft) of underground galleries connect the entries to the farthest blocks 4 and 5, at an average depth of 30 metres (98 ft). An "M1" magazine, arranged with a horseshoe-shaped perimeter gallery connected by cross galleries between the legs, is located close to the ammunition entrance, while the underground barracks and utility areas are just inside the personnel entry.[7] The gallery system was served by a narrow-gauge (60 cm) railway that continued out the ammunition entry and connected to a regional military railway system for the movement of materiel along the front a few kilometers to the rear.[8] Several "stations" along the gallery system, located in wider sections of gallery, permitted trains to pass or be stored.[2] Several 60 cm wagons, which had remained at Métrich, were recovered in 1983 and were moved to the Maginot museum at Ouvrage Schoenenbourg.[9]

Ouvrage Métrich comprises two entries and ten combat blocks:

Due to the depth of the main galleries under the height of the Métrich hill, Blocks 8 and 11 are linked by a gallery at an intermediate level, containing an "M2" magazine. An intermediate level under Block 7 contains the command post.[22]

Casemates and shelters[edit]

Métrich was associated with a number of smaller fortifications. These included:

None of these are connected to the ouvrage or to each other. All were built by CORF.[26]

Manning[edit]

The ouvrage was manned by 795 men and 26 officers under the command of Commandant Lauga.[22] The Casernement d'Elzange provided peacetime above-ground barracks and support services to Bois-Karre and other ouvrages in the area.[27]

History[edit]

75mm turret with GFM cloche behind
See Fortified Sector of Thionville for a broader discussion of the events of 1940 in the Thionville sector of the Maginot Line.

The principal mission of the ouvrage was to cover the east side of the Moselle valley. In 1940 German forces largely bypassed the Moselle, enveloping Thionville from the rear. Métrich and other ouvrages in the Thionville sector therefore surrendered after the Second Armistice at Compiègne of 22 June.[28] During the Occupation support areas of the ouvrage were transformed by German occupiers into offices and manufacturing facilities. Some of the combat blocks were used by the Germans for testing of explosives.[29] In 1944 Métrich was held by the 74th Volksgrenadier Regiment of the 19th Volksgrenadier Division. Métrich was attacked on 10 November 1944 by the U.S. 90th Infantry Division advancing around he north side of Thionville. After an initial retreat, German resistance was strong. A second, cautious assault was launched on the 11th, and when the ouvrage had been surrounded the main force bypassed the position, leaving a holding force to clear the German defenses, where resistance ended on the 12th.[30]

Following the war, the Maginot Line was viewed as a means of slowing an advance by Warsaw Pact forces and most of the northeastern positions were renovated and rearmed.[31] The renovations did not include the command post or the barracks. However, the program was abandoned, and after a period of routine maintenance, Métrich's status was lowered to inactive reserve, and finally abandoned.[32]

Current condition[edit]

Métrich has been stripped of all materials by salvagers and vandals. The ouvrage is in a state of advanced dilapidation, primarily because the soil is composed of gypsum, causing the destruction of the floors and walls of the galleries. Magazine M1 was used for the cultivation of mushrooms in 1986-87. The entries and blocks with embrasures have been covered with rubble by the Army.[6][7]

The Abri du Sud-du-Bichel is being restored by the Association mémoire des intervalles de la Ligne Maginot.[25]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ English-language sources use the French term ouvrage as the preferred term for the Maginot positions, in preference to "fort", a term usually reserved for older fortifications with passive defensives in the form of walls and ditches.[4] The literal translation of ouvrage in the sense of a fortification in English is "work." A gros ouvrage is a large fortification with a significant artillery component, while a petit ouvrage is smaller, with lighter arms.[5]
  2. ^ An abri is an infantry shelter, sometimes underground or under earth cover. An abri in the main Maginot Line often closely resembles a casemate, but is more lightly armed and can hold more occupants.[24]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kaufmann 2006, p. 25
  2. ^ a b Wahl, J.B. "Artilleriewerk (G.O.) Métrich - A17" (in German). darkplaces.org. Retrieved 3 May 2010. 
  3. ^ Mary, Tome 1, p. 52
  4. ^ Kaufmann 2006, p. 13
  5. ^ Kaufmann 2006, p. 20
  6. ^ a b "Métrich (A17)". bunkertours.co.uk. Retrieved 4 May 2010. 
  7. ^ a b Puelinckx, Jean; Aublet, Jean-Louis & Mainguin, Sylvie (2010). "Métrich (gros ouvrage de)". Index de la Ligne Maginot (in French). fortiff.be. Retrieved 3 May 2010. 
  8. ^ Mary, Tome 2, p. 53
  9. ^ "Les premiers transferts" (in French). lignemaginot.com. Retrieved 4 May 2010. 
  10. ^ Puelinckx, Jean; et al (2010). "Métrich (go A17 de) Entrée munitions". Index de la Ligne Maginot (in French). fortiff.be. Retrieved 3 May 2010. 
  11. ^ Puelinckx, Jean; et al (2010). "Métrich (go A17 de) Entrée hommes". Index de la Ligne Maginot (in French). fortiff.be. Retrieved 3 May 2010. 
  12. ^ Puelinckx, Jean; et al (2010). "Métrich (go A17 de) Bloc 1". Index de la Ligne Maginot (in French). fortiff.be. Retrieved 3 May 2010. 
  13. ^ "Métrich (go A17 de) Bloc 3". Index de la Ligne Maginot (in French). fortiff.be. Retrieved 3 May 2010. 
  14. ^ Puelinckx, Jean; et al (2010). "Métrich (go A17 de) Bloc 4". Index de la Ligne Maginot (in French). fortiff.be. Retrieved 3 May 2010. 
  15. ^ Puelinckx, Jean; et al (2010). "Métrich (go A17 de) Bloc 5". Index de la Ligne Maginot (in French). fortiff.be. Retrieved 3 May 2010. 
  16. ^ Puelinckx, Jean; et al (2010). "Métrich (go A17 de) Bloc 7". Index de la Ligne Maginot (in French). fortiff.be. Retrieved 3 May 2010. 
  17. ^ Puelinckx, Jean; et al (2010). "Métrich (go A17 de) Bloc 8". Index de la Ligne Maginot (in French). fortiff.be. Retrieved 3 May 2010. 
  18. ^ Puelinckx, Jean; et al (2010). "Métrich (go A17 de) Bloc 10". Index de la Ligne Maginot (in French). fortiff.be. Retrieved 3 May 2010. 
  19. ^ Puelinckx, Jean; et al (2010). "Métrich (go A17 de) Bloc 11". Index de la Ligne Maginot (in French). fortiff.be. Retrieved 3 May 2010. 
  20. ^ Puelinckx, Jean; et al (2010). "Métrich (go A17 de) Bloc 14". Index de la Ligne Maginot (in French). fortiff.be. Retrieved 3 May 2010. 
  21. ^ Puelinckx, Jean; et al (2010). "Métrich (go A17 de) Bloc 15". Index de la Ligne Maginot (in French). fortiff.be. Retrieved 3 May 2010. 
  22. ^ a b Mary, Tome 3, p. 96
  23. ^ a b Mary, Tome 3, p. 97
  24. ^ Kaufmann 2006, p. 14
  25. ^ a b Kaufmann 2011, p. 223
  26. ^ Mary, Tome 3, pp. 87, 95, 97
  27. ^ Wahl, J.B. "Festungsabschnitt Thionville" (in German). darkplaces.org. Retrieved 3 May 2010. 
  28. ^ Kaufmann 2006, pp. 168-169
  29. ^ Mary, Tome 5, p. 154
  30. ^ Cole, Hugh M. (1993). "Chapter VIII: The November Battle for Metz". The Lorraine Campaign. Washington: U.S. Army Historical Division. pp. 380–395. 
  31. ^ Mary, Tome 5, p. 165
  32. ^ Mary, Tome 5, p. 175

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]