FINDING THE MAGINOT LINE

In 1988 I embarked on my first journey into Northern France to find the Maginot Line. My only tool was a yellow Michelin map with a "*" symbol next to the town of Lembach, in the Northern Vosges. Four years later I was in possession of several guidebooks and blue "IGN" maps of 1:25,000 scale. Even with these references at my disposal, I still found the line evasive. With blue map in hand I searched all day and never found what I was looking for. On another day, on a whim, I would simply stumble upon a large ouvrage in the thick of the woods. It wasn't until my return to the United States that I was able to piece together the exact locations of the Maginot Line elements.

In 1996 I created this website for the express purpose of helping others find the Maginot Line, hopefully enabling them to study it rather than spend all their time looking for it. Many other excellent websites have been created since that time, and a "bunker friend," Caspar Vermuelen, has put together a CD complete with maps and photos of each sector of the line. I encourage you to order one.

For those of you without the benefit of four years to conduct a search, this page and "Off the Beaten Path" will help you locate just about every major work in the North. I will begin with those forts that are operated by the local organizations and of which you can receive a guided tour. Despite my dismay that the line seems to be disappearing in the woods, it is encouraging that there are far more associations fixing up the old ouvrages and opening them for tours. In 1988, Hackenberg, Fermont, Simserhof, Schoenenbourg, Four-a-Chaux, Bambesch, Zieterholz Shelter, Markolsheim Casemate, Immerhof, and Rohrbach were open to the public, Fermont being the first. Today, Bersillies, Bois du Four, Bois Karre, Sentzich, Michelsberg, Bockange Shelter, Bois de Bousse, and several others have been added to the list, some by appointment. Plus, what I believe is an excellent excursion set up by Association du Bois de Cattenom (A15) - a complete journey through several elements of the Maginot Line in the Cattenom Salient north of Thionville - Ouvrage Galgenberg, Casemate Sonnenberg, Abri Bois du Cattenom, and Observatory du Cattenom, and the forwards shelters, blockhouses, observatories, and trenches in the woods north of the fortified position - a veritable Maginot Line Park where one can spend an entire day.

Here are the museums that I know of - times are subject to change. If you know of any others, please let me know. Happy bunkering!


Ouvrage de La Ferte
- Located just off of the N43 which runs from Sedan to Montmedy, about 25 km south of Sedan. Take D52 south out of Blagny, through the village of Villy. The fort is just south of the village. Open Sunday afternoons, Palm Sunday to All Saints' Day, July/August, each day, 1330 to 1615.

Ouvrage de Fermont
- Located 4 km east of Longuyon. Take D17a northeast out of Longuyon. Stay on D17a rather than enter the village of Fermont. Turn right onto D174. The fort is down this road a short distance - entrance to the left. Open 1 May to 30 September, every day, 1330 to 1700; October and April, Saturdays and Sundays, 1330 to 1600; all days for groups on demand.

Abri de Zeiterholz
- North of Thionville, just off of Autoroute A31. Take D57 to D57a at Oeutrange. Take D57a north to Entrange. Look for road off to the right which crosses over the Autoroute. The shelter is just over the Autoroute. Open 15 May to 15 September, 2 p.m. on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of the month. Contact/Reservation: Amifort Entrange, 30 rue Principale, 47330 Entrange, Tel: (0) 3 82 55 11 43.

Ouvrage de l'Immerhof
- Located 2 km northwest of the town of Hettange-Grande, just off route D15. (For further information, see my link to Immerhof on the Home Page)

Ouvrage du Bois Karre
- A very interesting "Monolithic Bloc" located in the Cattenom Forest, just south of the village of Boust. Go just past the village on D57 toward Parthe. Turn right on the forest road just beyond the town limit (If you reach D56, you have gone too far). Visits by demand only - call 82 58 06 49.

Ouvrage du Galgenberg
- Located in the Cattenom Forest. Heading north out of the village of Cattenom, take the Forest Road to the left just before you enter the village of Sentzich/Homeldange. Once in the forest, continue straight along the ridge to your right. The road curves to the right and the Munitions Entrance will be to your right. This fort opened since 1992 so there are probably signs directing you there. A 1 1/2 hour visit. Guides available in French only. One of the few defenses to possess stone tunnels. Visit the Association Website for the latest visit information.

Ouvrage du Hackenberg
- One of the largest fortifications in the line, next to the Ouvrage du Hochwald. Hackenberg is located on the Hackenberg ridge near the village of Veckring. Leave the N153 at the village of Koenigsmaker and turn onto the D2. You will pass one of the Maginot Line above-ground garrison camps about 2km down on the left. (A friend tells me that this is now a paintball range). Continue to D60 past Buding. Continue towards Veckring. You will see an M10 tank parked on the left side of the road just south of the village. Turn left there and follow the road to the Munitions Entrance. Hackenberg is open from April to October, every Saturday, Sunday and holiday, beginning at 2:00, last tour at 3:30. Group tours (30 or more) may be arranged any day of the year.

Ouvrage du Michelsberg
- Located south of the village of Dahlstein, entrance off of D118h. Visit their Website for the latest visit information.

Abri de Bockange
- Located off of D3 near the village of Bockange, near the entrance to the Ouvrage d'Anzeling. 1 1/2 hour visit. Guides available in French and German. A surface shelter with some murals drawn by the Germans during the occupation. Open all year long by appointment. Contacts/Reservations: Abri de Bockange, 14 rue de la Parisienne, 57220 Bockange, Tel: (0) 3 87 35 79 42 or (0) 3 87 35 72 39.

Ouvrage du Bambesch
- Located west of the city of St. Avold, just off N3. Turn south off of N3 towards the village of Bambiderstroff. Bambesch is located between Zimming and Bambiderstroff. Open every other Sunday from 1300 to 1800 hours. The schedule changes each year. Call 87 90 31 95 for information.

Ouvrage du Rohrbach
- Rohrbach is located along the N62, about 20km east of Sarreguemines. The Ouvrage, which is called "Fort Casso" is located to the west of the village of Rohrbach, on the road to Guising (not numbered). Ouvrage Rohrbach is the only major building of the "Nouveaux Fronts" which can be visited. It is in immaculate condition. It has a complete mixed arms turret in working condition. Hours of visit are: 1 April to 31 October, every weekend and holiday at 1500. 1 November until 31 March, First weekend of the month at 1500 - call 87 09 70 95 for additional information.

Ouvrage du Simserhof
- This is a magnificent fortress. I have visited it three times and was amazed each time. It is also in excellent condition. Simserhof is located about 5 km west of the town of Bitche. If you are heading towards Bitche from Rohrbach, turn onto D35 at Frohmuhle, towards Legeret. Just past Legeret, look for the above-ground caserne. The road for Simserhof is identified to the left. Contact resa@simserhof.fr for the latest information.

Casemate Neunhoffen
Casemate Neunhoffen is located on the D853 between the villages of Neunhoffen and Dambach. For further information visit the museum website.

Ouvrage du Four a Chaux
- Located just south of the village of Lembach - Follow the direction signs from the center of the village. Follow D27 about 1km then turn left on D65. The ouvrage entrance is several hundred meters on the left. Visit the Four a Chaux website for more information.

Ouvrage du Schoenenbourg
- Schoenenbourg is one of my favorite ouvrages to visit. I have been there about four times and each time the association has made additional improvements. The caserne area is practically restored to its original condition. "Fortress noises" on loudspeakers are very distracting but they have added a museum with some very interesting pieces. The tour is self-guided so you can take as much time as you want in here. Schoenenbourg is located about 1 km north of the village of the same name, just off the D264, which continues into Wissembourg. Refer to the AALMA website for additional information.

Abri Caverne de Grasserloch
- Different from Zeiterholz in that this type of shelter was built underground and accessed by a staircase. Zeiterholz is an above-ground interval shelter. For visits and directions, check at Schoenenbourg.

Abri Hatten
Abri Hatten is located SW of Hatten and is accessed through the village. I was very impressed by my visit to Hatten. The rooms are set up as displays of different kinds so it can be distracting, but overall the shelter is in excellent condition and well worth a visit. For further information visit the Hatten website.

Casemate Esch
Casemate Esch is located about 1.5km SE of Hatten on D28. For further information visit the museum website.

Casemate of Markolsheim
- Also - Memorial of the Ligne Maginot du Rhin - Located south of the village of the same name, turn off D468 just south of the village. Casemate 35/3 is located along the road to the Rhine River crossing into Germany. Open from 15 March to 15 June and from 15 September to 15 November, every Sunday. From 15 June to 15 September, it is open every day.

Casemate of Aschenheim
- This is a relatively new find and I believe a fantastic one, since this is located in the SF Altkirch. It is in the southern sector of the Rhine defenses, located near the villages of Uffheim and Sierentz. Apparently the association has been hard at work for 12 years fixing up the casemate. It looks like they've done a marvelous job. Visit their website for more information and lots of photos.






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