This particular section of France's 1930s-era defensive Maginot Line fortifications -a marvel of engineering at the time- has been extensively restored by enthusiast groups in the area, some of whom I was able to meet with on the visit. This entrance is known as 'Fort de Shoenenbourg', located in a hilltop forest near the German frontier (the Rhein) in the Alsace region of France, about 40 minutes north of Strasbourg.
They did a great job keeping it authentic, really takes you back in time as you wander the 4-5 kms of tunnel and facilities now open to the public. One local involved with the rehabilitation of this part said it was in very, very bad shape when they first got hold of it (from the government). Although originally conceived as a defense against the Germans, the installations were last manned as defensive positions against any possible Warsaw Pact invasion in the early 50s -before France possessed nuclear weaponry- and had sat abandoned ever since...
-click any to enlarge-
|Retractable gun turrets guard entrance, narrow-gauge rail|
line for troops, cargo runs into main gate
|Trains switched from (this) Diesel mini-loco to|
an electric one once pulled safely inside the main entrance.
|All tunnels in fort shared can run the trains,|
which run ferried troops, ammo, etc to the
various gun/observation positions
|Tunnels literally kilometers long, |
seem to stretch-on into infinity...
|Underground street art|
|Where the guys picked-up their meal tray|
|Boiler monitoring instruments in hallway|
|All tunnel walls have grooves for handy |
installation/holding wiring, plumbing, etc.
|It smells vaguely of petroleum in some tunnels due|
to oil deposits in area leaking through walls (dark areas above)
|Mini water-tanker on narrow gauge rail|
|This compartment in the above two photos lays at the root of tunnels|
(to artillery positions) so that if breached by enemy, one tunnel can be
closed-off by demolition explosion with TNT packed here.
|Telegraphs in touch with Paris and military high command|
|Reports from observation posts wired to this room|
|Cannon formerly mounted in|
|Hallways red in firing areas|
Back above ground...
|Troop entrance to small fort guarding main gate area|
|Former guard house on road leading to entrance|
|Other gun positions in the area, just outside the woods,|
facing Germany (where else)
|This one had suffered a # of direct hits, it seems|
|This photo Wikipedia|