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Siegfriedstellung; also Westwall), a system of permanent fortifications erected between 1936 and 1940 in the west of Germany, in the border zone from Kleve to Basel.
The Siegfried Line consisted of three defense zones: the security zone, from 1 to 20 km deep; the main zone, from 3 to 8 km deep, and up to 20 km in some sections; and the rear zone. The construction of the rear zone, which was called the Hindenburg Position, began secretly in 1934 on the border of the demilitarized Rhineland. The total depth of the Siegfried Line averaged between 35 and 75 km and was up to 100 km or more in the center. The line was over 500 km long. The engineering installations consisted of permanent fortified weapon emplacements, installations for command and observation posts, shelters for troops, and antitank and anti-infantry obstacles. Approximately 16,000 fortified works were built. The Siegfried Line could serve as a assembly area for offensives and supported troop maneuvers and defensive operations. After World War II the above-ground fortified weapon emplacements and the antitank and anti-infantry obstacles of the Siegfried Line were destroyed by the Allied occupation troops; some of the underground installations have been retained and are used for military purposes.