Monday, December 13, 2010


As was visible from the Maginot line, a constant fortification can often be defeated by avoiding it. The Germans did not want to use fortifications as defences, and referred to them as offensive weapons. The soldiers in the fortifications were low grade soldiers that were supposed to continue to fight long after they have been surrounded, to weaken the penetrating enemy forces. The before the penetration would be organised back into a fighting force, the best soldiers, acting as counterattacking reserves, destroy it and await a new attack in their fortified bunkers. This principle had many more mobile forces than any single wall fortification ever would.

The type of fortifications known as "Bunkers" in this section, was used by the Afrika Korps in some of their defence lines and cities. Most of the this fortifications was also used in Europe.

Text courtesy of Peter Sergakis from W.W.II Picture Archives

Tobruk Pit
Armor: Reinforced concrete
Weapon: 1 MG or 1 turret of a French tank Renault, Hotchkiss or Somua
Crew: ?
This strongpoint, as the nickname indicates, was first used in substancial numbers in north Africa. It is one of the simplest forms of bunkers wich could be found virtually anywhere in the German occupied territory. These concrete contraptions could be easily adapted to take a tank turret, anti-tank gun or machine gun-ring. In most cases the turret of the French Renault, Hotchkiss, or Somua tank was used. As with the Heavy Machine Gun Bunker, the Tobruk Pit was used in the perimeter defence of larger sites.

Typical use of the Tobruk Pit. This picture is from a 1-35 scaled diorama
The scene was set in Europe not Africa.
 Text and picture found in a 1986 catalog from Verlinden Productions.
Diorama by François Verlinden.

Ringstand Tobruk
Armor: Reinforced concrete: 1'3" (roof)
Weapon: 1 MG (360 Degrees)
Crew: 2 men
This structure was a reinforced concrete emplacement that was more permanent than the mobile pillbox. It was placed almost totally underground, but had a 'neck' leading towards the surface where the weapon was operated. It was particularly important to have a small and inconspicuous neck so it could not be located and targeted by artillery. It was also insisted that they could not have concrete roofs as that would make them easily visible to the enemy. They would have a decent store of ammunitions as its occupants were trained to fight long after they were surrounded, as part of the German doctrine of the depth of fortifications slowly eating away at the attackers. This type of bunker was also used in Normandy France.

Pic and info, courtesy of Peter Sergakis from W.W.II Picture Archives

Tobruk Mortar Emplacement
Armor: Reinforced concrete:1'6" (roof)
Weapon: 50mm Mortar or Special 50mm Mortar with loading device
Crew: 2 men
This Tobruk is similar to the Ringstand except for the fact that it has a base for the mortar that extends into the neck. It is also slightly larger. The loading device mentioned pre-loads 5 mortar shells into the mortar, this gives speed and requires less work, but was common only to fortifications.

 Pic and info, courtesy of Peter Sergakis from W.W.II Picture Archives

Tobruk Panzerstellung
Armor: Usually French Renault 35 turret
Weapons: 37mm and 7.5mm MG
Crew: 2 man
Made from whatever captured hardware could be found, these fortifications were a rather good idea. Most had somewhat outdated weaponry, but they gave firepower where little or none would exist otherwise.
Pic and info, courtesy of Peter Sergakis from W.W.II Picture Archives

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