Barst Maginot Site

Barst is a small town in the French department of Moselle in the region of Lorraine and is 48 km north east of Metz. Should you consult the various tourist information websites about the town, you will find a number of suggestions of places to visit; none, however, suggests you remain in the town and discover its unique jewel of the Maginot Line.



Barst has a largely agricultural economy and when the Maginot Line was being constructed, it formed one of the main crossing points of the anti-tank and personel defences, which ran along the entire length of the French northern border. Behind the town, the locals managed to preserve one of theses crossings, complete with its original 'wagon anti char', a concrete-enclosed wagon which could be released to close the opening in the defences. This was protected by a number of various sized bunkers.

In recent years, the site has been expanded and 'restored'. The Maginot Line is often believed to be no more than the sum of the deep-level fortresses and various concrete bunkers; however, these were connected by a series of trenches and other similar workings. Traces of the original trenches can still be seen in the Bois de Cattenom, whereas the ones to be discovered at Barst are most definitely recreations. Along with the trenches, the association concerned has also managed to acquire some fascinating items, which include an example of the concrete mixers used for the construction of the Maginot Line in the 1930's.


A small machine gun bunker.


A reconstructed frontier blockhouse. These were built to resemble a number of different buildings in order to disguise their true function.



The concrete mixing machine.



A section of the reconstructed trenches.


A demountable Hotchkiss turret. These were used along the length of the Maginot Line and could be moved around according to the threat locally.



The path through the anti-tank defences seen from the French side.


The Wagon Anti Char. The top image shows the remains of the release mechanism. The wagon weighs several tons and a combination of the wagon's weight and the rails protuding from the right hand side of the wagon prevented it from being pushed over. The French were completely paranoid over the Germans' ability to overcome their defences, so the wagon also includes a continuation of the anti-tank defences on the top.





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