The Czechoslovakian fortifications – Typology

Light fortified installations

The mainly built fortified constructions are the light installations model 36 and, most of all, the installations model 37. The pillboxes model 37 represent by following chiefly the principle of flanking fire a very modern concept of fortifications. Depending on type and performance they were considered for a crew of two to seven men. They had one or mostly two main embrasures and could stand artillery shelling from calibre 75 mm to 150 mm. The armament consisted of light or heavy machine guns and the personal firearms of the crew. Until September 1938 more than 10.000 installations of the two models 36 and 37 were built.

Heavy fortified installations

The heavy fortified installations with infantry blocks were built in the border sections with high defence priority. They were solid, mostly two-storey constructions which were armed with machine guns as well as with anti-tank guns, if necessary with mortars, too. The typical characteristics of these blocks were the armoured cones and cupolas which served for the observation of the battlefield. Other tasks were the fire control and the command of the machine guns. In case of war each infantry block was able to operate independently. Besides other facilities each infantry block had its own well, filter room and engine room, in which the electric power was generated. The infantry blocks were individually shaped to the corresponding terrain and constructed in accordance with their combat tasks. They differed in their dimensions, outlines, wall- and ceiling dimensions, armament and garrison. Nevertheless they consisted of standardized construction- and design elements. For a usual infantry block about 1300 to 1500 cubic meters of concrete and up to 120 tons of steel reinforcement were needed. They could stand artillery shelling up to calibre 305 mm. Until September 1938 228 heavy independent blocks were structurally finished.

Artillery fortifications

In the border sections with the highest tactical importance  so-called artillery fortifications had been built as strongholds in the heavy line of defence. These were the strongest installations of various types (artillery-, mortar-, infantry- and entrance blocks), which were connected by an extended system of rooms, chambers and tunnels. In the subterranean facilities all necessary means were available for the garrison to conduct a long-term defence. In detail there were the war time barracks with kitchen, a sick bay, radio and telephone communication centre, ammunition dumps, filter room, engine room etc. The way the planning stood at last these fortifications should only be built along the north border between the rivers Oder and Elbe. Considered were a total number of 15 fortifications. The first five of them had been structurally finished in September 1938, five others had been on different levels of completion, and the remaining five had been in the preparatory stages of construction.

An integral part of the Czechoslovakian national defence was the cleverly thought-out system of infantry obstacles and tank barriers. The important telephone communication was guaranteed by an extended fortification telephone network. Within the framework of the construction of the fortification system the army had streets and barracks built for the fortification garrisons.
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