Maginot Line

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The Maginot Line (French: Ligne Maginot, IPA: [liɲ maʒino]), named after French Minister of Defense André Maginot, was a line of concrete fortifications, tank obstacles, artillery casemates, machine gun posts, and other defenses, which France constructed along its borders with Germany and Italy, in light of its experience in World War I, and in the run-up to World War II. Generally the term describes only the defenses facing Germany, while the term Alpine Line is used for the Franco-Italian defenses.

The French established the fortification to provide time for their army to mobilize in the event of attack and/or to entice Germany to attack neutral Belgium to avoid a direct assault on the line. The success of static, defensive combat in World War I was a key influence on French thinking. The fortification system successfully dissuaded a direct attack. However, it was strategically ineffective, as the Germans did indeed invade Belgium, flanked the Maginot Line, and proceeded relatively unobstructed.[1] It is a myth however that the Maginot Line ended at the Belgian border and was easy to circumvent.[2] The fortifications were connected to the Belgian fortification system, of which the strongest point was Fort Eben-Emael. The Germans broke through exactly at this fortified point with a unique assault that incorporated gliders and shaped explosive charges. The surrender of the fort, in less than two days, allowed the invasion of France.


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