Atlantic Wall


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Atlantic Wall

 

a system of permanent fortifications, combined with field fortifications, built by the Germans from 1940 to 1944, after the defeat of France; more than 4,000 km long, it ran along the European coast of the Atlantic Ocean from Denmark to the Spanish frontier.

The Atlantic Wall was built to prevent an invasion of the continent by Anglo-American troops. The Atlantic Wall was to be completed within eight years, and 15,000 permanent fortifications were to be erected. Construction actually began in 1942, and by the end of 1943 only 20 percent of the works had been completed. The Atlantic Wall was a linear fortifications system (without distribution in depth), with long stretches of weakly fortified sectors; this made the wall as a whole a weak defense system during the invasion of the Anglo-American forces. The well-fortified regions were the Belgian coast, Pas-de-Calais, Cape Gris Nez, the mouth of the Seine, the Guernsey and Jersey islands, Brest, and Lori-ent. Mobile reserves were also deployed here. The coast of Normandy had weak garrisons, with only observation and command posts, and with one artillery battery for every 20 km of shoreline. The size of the troops deployed for the defense of the Atlantic Wall was insufficient: the 700-km line from the mouth of the Schelde to the mouth of the Seine was guarded by the Fifteenth Army, composed of 14 divisions, and the 1,600-km line from the mouth of the Seine to the mouth of the Loire by the Seventh Army, composed of eight divisions. The fighting capacities of the divisions were low (so-called stationary divisions). On the whole, the Atlantic Wall did not justify the hopes of the German fascist command of forestalling a landing or of prolonging resistance to it, although it enabled the Germans to cover the western front from 1940 to 1944 with small numbers of second-rate troops while using their main forces on the Soviet-German front.

I. M. GLAGOLEV

References in periodicals archive ?
Sheriffmuir was one of five secret sites chosen by the British Government for the construction of replicas of the Atlantic Walls built from the northern tip of Norway to Spain by the Axis powers between 1942 and 1944, using slave labour.
4. "It is difficult to understand the courage it took to advance through minefields and barbed wire under fire from mortars and machine-guns in order to punch through Hitler's Atlantic Wall, and yet that is exactly what many Canadians did." - former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper
They had forced a million Frenchmen to spend two years building the vaunted Atlantic Wall to protect against an invasion.
Hitler's Atlantic Wall: From Southern France to Northern Norway, Yesterday and Today
In 1976, Bandau encountered Paul Virilio's year-old study of the fortifications of the Atlantic Wall, Bunker Archaeology.
? Hitler had placed Field Marshal Erwin Rommel in command of German forces along the Atlantic Wall in anticipation of an Allied invasion.
HITLER | had placed Field Marshal Erwin Rommel in command of German forces along the Atlantic Wall in anticipation of an Allied invasion.
Sometimes the concrete just looks squalid, especially in the British climate, but abandoned wartime structures, bunkers and pillboxes (not to speak of the remains of Hitler's Atlantic Wall), as well as industrial structures, can achieve a powerful, if often sinister, beauty.
"The Great Wall of China, the walls of Rome and every medieval city, the Siegfried Line, the Maginot Line, the Atlantic Wall; nations -- empires, dictatorships, democracies -- have used every mountain chain and river to keep out foreign armies.
And these troops were not yet strongly entrenched: the fortifications of the famous Atlantic Wall would only be constructed late 1942 and spring 1944.
But what extraordinary mettle they show, these incredibly modest survivors of the generation that threw themselves against Hitler's Atlantic wall and liberated Europe from the grip of Nazism.

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