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Between the world wars, France constructed a vast and complex array of defenses designed to prevent German forces from penetrating the French heartland as they had during World War I. Among these was the famous Maginot Line, the last of the great ...
Between the world wars, France constructed a vast and complex array of defenses designed to prevent German forces from penetrating the French heartland as they had during World War I. Among these was the famous Maginot Line, the last of the great gun-bearing fortifications, but France also built defenses along its coasts and in its territories in North Africa. Fully illustrated with photos, maps, and drawings, Fortress France describes the design and construction of these fortifications, discusses French defensive doctrine and strategy, and explains why these efforts proved unable to stop the German attack in the spring of 1940.
|Ch. 1||Marching to the wrong tune||1|
|Sidebar : Charles de Gaulle and mechanized warfare||7|
|Sidebar : economic considerations||11|
|Sidebar : building on experience||15|
|Sidebar : French generals and marshals and ministers of war||16|
|Ch. 2||The Maginot Line||19|
|Sidebar : initial funding of the fortifications||21|
|Sidebar : optics for fire control and surveillance||44|
|Ch. 3||Closing the gaps from the North Sea to the Mediterranean||69|
|Sidebar : equipment used for the construction of the fortifications||79|
|Sidebar : positioning the forts of the Maginot Line||81|
|Sidebar : final costs for the Maginot Line||91|
|Sidebar : Maginot fort garrisons||92|
|Ch. 4||Sea and air defenses||95|
|Sidebar : Georges Leygues, Minister of the Navy||96|
|Sidebar : airbases and air units||111|
|Ch. 5||The march to defeat||115|
|Sidebar : public expectations||134|
|Ch. 6||The French Army and the Maginot Line at war||147|
|Sidebar : the French Air Force unprepared?||153|
|Sidebar : French tank doctrine||154|
|Sidebar : Sumner Waite's account of tank maneuvers||155|
Posted July 28, 2009
This certainly is the best book in English on the Maginot Line and other French fortifications of World War II. It includes an overview of the fortifications with somewhat detailed descriptions of what the Maignot Line Complex consisted of along with its oerational history in the war. There are many illustrations showing what the French forts looked like from plans to crosssectional views. The book has maps, including some showing combat operations. The descriptions go beyond the Maginot Line to include coastal fortifications and some material on the Mareth Line in North Africa. Also, there is information on the French armed forces to provide provide a larger view of the military situation in 1939-1940. There are some other books in Enlgish, including by the same authors, but none as good as this one. I made the error of purchasing the hardcover which has NO PHOTOGRAPHS. I found this paperback is identical to the hardcover, except it INCLUDE PHOTOGRAPHS and is a fracton of the price. The paperback edition has everything the hardcover does, but also includes DOZENS OF PHOTOGRAPHS including some aerial photos of the forts (taken by the Germans), photos of equipment and weapons used in the fortifications, and photos of some of the fortifications - exterior and interior.
I have found it rather strange, that unlike the hardcover, the paperback has a photo of an armored artillery battery that was not part of one of the Maginot Line. Then again, the book is not about the Maginot Line only. I strongly encourage anyone interest in this aspect of World War II to find themselves a copy of this book.