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The Schoenenenbourg structure is a major structure on the Maginot Line, which is located about 20 km northeast of Haguenau, and 10 km from the border, at an average altitude of 200m. The structure will count a maximum of 630 men.

Photo #1 from Roggenhouse, France by Belegorth⚡🗡️🔥 made on 2019-01-27 18:02 for Sola

The "Schoenenenbourg small structure" was first mentioned in 1928, when it was first defined.

Photo #2 from Roggenhouse, France by Belegorth⚡🗡️🔥 made on 2019-01-27 18:02 for Sola

It appears that Schoenenenbourg will mainly be a flanking structure of the Hochwald, of which it is located 6km to the east, its counterpart being the Four à Chaux in the west.

Photo #3 from Roggenhouse, France by Belegorth⚡🗡️🔥 made on 2019-01-27 18:02 for Sola

Between the front and the entrances, the main gallery is equipped with a 0.60 m long railway track with trolley equipment.

Photo #4 from Roggenhouse, France by Belegorth⚡🗡️🔥 made on 2019-01-27 18:02 for Sola

In the event that the enemy had managed to gain a foothold in the structure through one of the entrances, the various galleries could be closed by several successive armoured doors defended by blockhouses armed with machine guns.

Photo #5 from Roggenhouse, France by Belegorth⚡🗡️🔥 made on 2019-01-27 18:02 for Sola

However, it should be noted that the capture of the men's entrance, close to the factory, could have been crucial for the structure, which would then have been deprived of energy.

Photo #6 from Roggenhouse, France by Belegorth⚡🗡️🔥 made on 2019-01-27 18:02 for Sola

In the middle of the main gallery, a mine system could be ignited and prevent communication between the front and rear.

Photo #7 from Roggenhouse, France by Belegorth⚡🗡️🔥 made on 2019-01-27 18:02 for Sola

The work began in July 1931, at a time when budgets were running out, forcing designers to compose and "trim" the initial project.

Photo #8 from Roggenhouse, France by Belegorth⚡🗡️🔥 made on 2019-01-27 18:02 for Sola

To complicate matters, the terrain is of very poor quality, even at depth. A lot of humidity, a ground that carries little, all the blocks (except the 6) rest on a series of piles to anchor them well in the ground, which further adds to the cost.

Photo #9 from Roggenhouse, France by Belegorth⚡🗡️🔥 made on 2019-01-27 18:02 for Sola

The work on the main gallery, the undersides of the blocks, then the tops, of all the rooms, was carried out until the end of 1935/beginning of 1936, when only the finishing work remained.

Photo #10 from Roggenhouse, France by Belegorth⚡🗡️🔥 made on 2019-01-27 18:02 for Sola

In reality, there is still a lot to do, everything is missing, partitions, shelves, furniture is missing etc….

Photo #11 from Roggenhouse, France by Belegorth⚡🗡️🔥 made on 2019-01-27 18:02 for Sola

But very quickly the major problem of the structure grew in size. Water runs off from everywhere in the premises and very often the humidity makes everything difficult, mould spreads, facilitated by insufficient ventilation and/or heating.

Drainage works occupied the whole of 1938, and multiple modifications would continue even after the declaration of war.

Photo #12 from Roggenhouse, France by Belegorth⚡🗡️🔥 made on 2019-01-27 18:02 for Sola

In 1936, an initial alert (remilitarization of the Rhineland) led to the occupation of the structure for several weeks. Then, when the alert is over, normal life resumes.

Photo #13 from Roggenhouse, France by Belegorth⚡🗡️🔥 made on 2019-01-27 18:02 for Sola

In early September 1936, a convocation of the reservists made it possible to implement the structure for a week.

In 1937, the new General Staff directives improved the functioning of the crews and the 47 AC parts were put in place to complete the action of the machine gun twinning.

Photo #14 from Roggenhouse, France by Belegorth⚡🗡️🔥 made on 2019-01-27 18:02 for Sola

In 1938, a new international crisis (Sudeten affair) and new measures to occupy the structure, reported a week later. In March 1939, the structure was partially occupied, then once again calm returned.

Photo #15 from Roggenhouse, France by Belegorth⚡🗡️🔥 made on 2019-01-27 18:02 for Sola

On August 24, 1939, the occupation of Schoenenbourg was again ordered, but this occupation was definitive, because ten days later the state of war was declared.

The first shots of the 75 pieces were fired on September 10 to verify the accuracy of the pieces. It is about 20 shots per turret. From time to time shots of a few shots will be allowed but with a very clear limitation of consumption. At the end of January 1940, the 81-member turret was able to carry out its first firing.

Photo #16 from Roggenhouse, France by Belegorth⚡🗡️🔥 made on 2019-01-27 18:02 for Sola

In March 1940, a 120 L section of Bange guns was assigned to Schoenenbourg and placed on top of the front blocks. The 81 turret had few opportunities to intervene, so its staff provided service for the 120 parts.

Photo #17 from Roggenhouse, France by Belegorth⚡🗡️🔥 made on 2019-01-27 18:02 for Sola

On May 10, 1940, the Germans launched their offensive against Luxembourg, Belgium and Holland.

On June 4, one of the pieces of the 120 section exploded in the tube by premature explosion. The second part will be repaired, but the crew of the 81-unit turret lost 8 wounded, 3 of whom were seriously injured.

Photo #18 from Roggenhouse, France by Belegorth⚡🗡️🔥 made on 2019-01-27 18:02 for Sola

On June 15, the Germans launched their attacks on the P.A. located between Hoffen and Oberroedern. The Schoenenenbourg then fired with his 4 pieces of 75. 80 shots for P.A. 7, 80 shots towards Oberseebach, 80 shots towards Stundwiller.

In 1936, an initial alert (remilitarization of the Rhineland) led to the occupation of the structure for several weeks. Then, when the alert is over, normal life resumes.

Photo #19 from Roggenhouse, France by Belegorth⚡🗡️🔥 made on 2019-01-27 18:02 for Sola

In early September 1936, a convocation of the reservists made it possible to implement the structure for a week.

In 1937, the new General Staff directives improved the functioning of the crews and the 47 AC parts were put in place to complete the action of the machine gun twinning.

Photo #20 from Roggenhouse, France by Belegorth⚡🗡️🔥 made on 2019-01-27 18:02 for Sola

In 1938, a new international crisis (Sudeten affair) and new measures to occupy the structure, reported a week later. In March 1939, the structure was partially occupied, then once again calm returned.

Photo #21 from Roggenhouse, France by Belegorth⚡🗡️🔥 made on 2019-01-27 18:02 for Sola

On August 24, 1939, the occupation of Schoenenbourg was again ordered, but this occupation was definitive, because ten days later the state of war was declared.

The first shots of the 75 pieces were fired on September 10 to verify the accuracy of the pieces. It is about 20 shots per turret. From time to time shots of a few shots will be allowed but with a very clear limitation of consumption. At the end of January 1940, the 81-member turret was able to carry out its first firing.

Photo #22 from Roggenhouse, France by Belegorth⚡🗡️🔥 made on 2019-01-27 18:02 for Sola

In March 1940, a 120 L section of Bange guns was assigned to Schoenenbourg and placed on top of the front blocks. The 81 turret had few opportunities to intervene, so its staff provided service for the 120 parts.

Photo #23 from Roggenhouse, France by Belegorth⚡🗡️🔥 made on 2019-01-27 18:02 for Sola

On May 10, 1940, the Germans launched their offensive against Luxembourg, Belgium and Holland.

On June 4, one of the pieces of the 120 section exploded in the tube by premature explosion. The second part will be repaired, but the crew of the 81-unit turret lost 8 wounded, 3 of whom were seriously injured.

Photo #24 from Roggenhouse, France by Belegorth⚡🗡️🔥 made on 2019-01-27 18:02 for Sola

On June 15, the Germans launched their attacks on the P.A. located between Hoffen and Oberroedern. The Schoenenenbourg then fired with his 4 pieces of 75. 80 shots for P.A. 7, 80 shots towards Oberseebach, 80 shots towards Stundwiller.

Photo #25 from Roggenhouse, France by Belegorth⚡🗡️🔥 made on 2019-01-27 18:02 for Sola

In the following bears, the fire against the Germans would continue, but the commander of the artillery would have to reduce the consumption of each shot to spare the projectiles that would allow the maximum range to be obtained. 75mm cartridges will be recovered from the abandoned battery positions of the interval troops and brought inside the structure.

Photo #26 from Roggenhouse, France by Belegorth⚡🗡️🔥 made on 2019-01-27 18:02 for Sola

On June 17, the structure resumed firing east of the casemates of Oberroedern, Aschbach and Hoffen. The shooting will continue on June 18, 19 and 20. In particular on June 20, the firing of blocks 3 and 4 contributed powerfully to breaking the assault of the 246' I.D., together with the extraordinary resistance of the casemates of Aschbach and Oberroedern.

Photo #27 from Roggenhouse, France by Belegorth⚡🗡️🔥 made on 2019-01-27 18:02 for Sola

From June 20, the Germans were determined to silence Schoenenbourg. They bomb from Stukas planes, which cause some damage, but can be repaired immediately.

On June 21, the Germans used their 420-mm SKODA mortar. This part sends an anti-concrete projectile of 1020 kilos up to 14.2 kilometers.

Photo #28 from Roggenhouse, France by Belegorth⚡🗡️🔥 made on 2019-01-27 18:02 for Sola

Transported by rail, it is located east of Wissembourg.

In addition, his shots alternate with those of a 355 mm gun built by Rheinmetall.

The shooting starts at about 4:15 p.m. and continues at the rate of one shot every 7 minutes. The effects are superficial on the concrete but the cracks in the ground extend to a depth of about twenty meters.

Photo #29 from Roggenhouse, France by Belegorth⚡🗡️🔥 made on 2019-01-27 18:02 for Sola

On the evening of the 21st, 14 blows fell on the structure. On June 22nd at 4:15 p.m., the 420 resumed firing and fired 14 more shots. The 75 turrets remained eclipsed during the firing of the big Bertha. But as soon as the German heavy artillery fire stopped, the turrets returned in battery.

Photo #30 from Roggenhouse, France by Belegorth⚡🗡️🔥 made on 2019-01-27 18:02 for Sola

In addition, 88 and 105 pieces closely watched the 75 turrets and took them to task as soon as they prepared for a shot. A 105 shell hits the junction point between the forecourt and the wall of Block 3 and throws flames and smoke into the turret.

Photo #31 from Roggenhouse, France by Belegorth⚡🗡️🔥 made on 2019-01-27 18:02 for Sola

A steel burr in the wall will prevent the complete eclipse and it will have to be corrected with a chisel at night.

Photo #32 from Roggenhouse, France by Belegorth⚡🗡️🔥 made on 2019-01-27 18:02 for Sola

The turrets of Schoenenbourg, which seemed to have become the preferred objectives of the Germans' planes and artillery, must then be protected.

Photo #33 from Roggenhouse, France by Belegorth⚡🗡️🔥 made on 2019-01-27 18:02 for Sola

On 23 June, the structure continued to fire, but at 7:52 a.m., the 420 sent out its 14 shots. The 75-member turret of Block 3 was hit near the forecourt: its M 1-M2 was cracked but the block resisted. At around 7:20 p.m., the series of 14 shots was again dispatched to the front boulders and prevented the turrets from firing. The blocks were shaken but could resume firing as soon as the 420 shells had finished arriving.

Photo #34 from Roggenhouse, France by Belegorth⚡🗡️🔥 made on 2019-01-27 18:02 for Sola

The 81 turret also began to fire, but it was hit by a shell and its eclipse was no longer complete. A patrol sent on top at the end of the evening noted that the 81 turret had almost been a disaster: a 420 shell fell 50 centimetres from the grenade launcher bell and this bell, whose development is not yet complete, is closed by a simple 4 centimetre armour plate. If this plate had been hit by the one-tonne shell, it would not have been able to resist. It is likely that Block 5 would have been completely destroyed.

Photo #35 from Roggenhouse, France by Belegorth⚡🗡️🔥 made on 2019-01-27 18:02 for Sola

On 24 June, the structure still fired a number of shots at enemy rallies at the limit of its range, but received a violent counter-battery response based on 1 05 and then 150. On 25 June the armistice was signed to take effect on the night of 25 to 26 June. The crew of the Schoenenbourg still holds its work, all means of fire intact.

Photo #36 from Roggenhouse, France by Belegorth⚡🗡️🔥 made on 2019-01-27 18:02 for Sola

Between June 14 and 25, the Schoenenenbourg fired 12776 shots of 75 and 612 shots of 81, while from the beginning of the war to June 14 it fired only 3026 shots of 75 and 70 shots of 81.

Photo #37 from Roggenhouse, France by Belegorth⚡🗡️🔥 made on 2019-01-27 18:02 for Sola

On June 14, 1940, a War Council was held in Schoenenbourg, in the presence of the sector commander, the Hochwald structure commander, and the structure officers, and also in liaison with the Limestone Kiln structure commander. It was decided to resist and honour the motto of the Maginot line "No passing".

Photo #38 from Roggenhouse, France by Belegorth⚡🗡️🔥 made on 2019-01-27 18:02 for Sola

On July 1, on the orders of a military mission from unoccupied France, the crews had to leave their structures to the Germans and become prisoners without having been captured.

After the taking of the structure, it became a place of visit for many German officers, but also the way of building and the equipment of this structure, which had given the occupier a difficult time, was studied with respect.

Photo #39 from Roggenhouse, France by Belegorth⚡🗡️🔥 made on 2019-01-27 18:02 for Sola

Then came the time of dismantling, scrap metal for reuse by the German army.

2 of the 4 motors of the power plant, fans, anti-tank network rails etc… Everything that is recoverable and reusable for the German war effort.

Photo #40 from Roggenhouse, France by Belegorth⚡🗡️🔥 made on 2019-01-27 18:02 for Sola

Around December 15, 1944, under American pressure, the occupier left the structure, which was then occupied by the Gi's.

From January 20 to March 18, 1945, it was once again the Germans who occupied the structure, but this time, as they left the site, they sabotaged and dynamited everything that could be sabotaged. The power plant was partly devastated, the artillery pieces were out of order.

Photo #41 from Roggenhouse, France by Belegorth⚡🗡️🔥 made on 2019-01-27 18:02 for Sola

But it is mainly the two entrance blocks Men and Ammunition that are devastated. The one of the Men is extremely damaged, all the machinery, elevators are destroyed.

The structure was abandoned and underwent initial damage and "recuperation" until 1946 when the army shut down the structure.

Photo #42 from Roggenhouse, France by Belegorth⚡🗡️🔥 made on 2019-01-27 18:02 for Sola

Between 1947 and 1951 the shell was repaired, then in 1952 it was the turn of the armament, the turrets, to be repaired.

Finally, between 1953 and 1954, the EH block was rebuilt on the foundations of the old one, which could finally be recovered.

Photo #43 from Roggenhouse, France by Belegorth⚡🗡️🔥 made on 2019-01-27 18:02 for Sola

This new block has shapes adapted to the blast of an atomic explosion, with softened shapes and without sharp angles.

From 1953 to 1960 a fortress training battalion was created for reservists and remained in existence until 1960.

Photo #44 from Roggenhouse, France by Belegorth⚡🗡️🔥 made on 2019-01-27 18:02 for Sola

The times have changed, nuclear deterrence is taking precedence over the "old" fortresses. In April 1961, the turrets were no longer tested, and as the years passed, the army recovered equipment for other structures.

After 1968, there was a total abandonment, then the "reign" of scrap metal workers who dismantled and disassembled everything that could be dismantled and were interested in reselling it.

Photo #45 from Roggenhouse, France by Belegorth⚡🗡️🔥 made on 2019-01-27 18:02 for Sola

The water runoff quickly clogs the drains, the water rises and drowns everything, the humidity and mud degrades the rest….

Photo #46 from Roggenhouse, France by Belegorth⚡🗡️🔥 made on 2019-01-27 18:02 for Sola

In 1977, the Association des Amis de la Ligne Maginot d'Alsace (AALMA) was created to try to revive what they themselves considered to have become a wreck.

Photo #47 from Roggenhouse, France by Belegorth⚡🗡️🔥 made on 2019-01-27 18:02 for Sola

The work exceeds all expectations since today the work accomplished makes it possible to visit a structure in a state close to what it was at the time.

Photo #48 from Roggenhouse, France by Belegorth⚡🗡️🔥 made on 2019-01-27 18:02 for Sola

Visitable since 1978, more than 40,000 visitors discover its facilities every year.

Photo #49 from Roggenhouse, France by Belegorth⚡🗡️🔥 made on 2019-01-27 18:02 for Sola

All pictures has been taken by me in May 2016

See the association website in many language!

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