Maginot Line

The Maginot Line (French: Ligne Maginot, ), named after the French Minister of War 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 mobilise in the event of attack, allowing French forces to move into Belgium for a decisive confrontation with German forces. The success of static, defensive combat in World War I was a key influence on French thinking. Military experts extolled the Maginot Line as a work of genius, believing it would prevent any further invasions from the east (notably, from Germany).

While the fortification system successfully prevented a direct attack, it was strategically ineffective, as the Germans invaded through Belgium, defeating the French army. Flanked the Maginot Line, through the Ardennes forest and via the Low countries, completely sweeping by the line and conquering France in about 6 weeks. As such, reference to the Maginot Line is used to recall a strategy or object that people hope will prove effective but instead fails miserably. It is also the best known symbol of the adage that "generals always fight the last war, especially if they have won it".

The Maginot Line was impervious to most forms of attack, and had state-of-the-art living conditions for garrisoned troops, including air conditioning, comfortable eating areas and underground railways. However, it proved costly to keep, consumed a vast amount of money and subsequently led to other parts of the French Armed Forces being underfunded.

Read more about Maginot LinePlanning and Construction, Purposes, Organization, Features, German Invasion in World War II, After World War II

Other articles related to "maginot line, line":

British Expeditionary Force (World War II) - Deployment
... border a reinforced division called Saar Force served with the French Third Army on the Maginot Line (see pic ... For those troops along the Maginot line the inactivity and an undue reliance on the fortifications, which it was believed would provide an unbreakable ... the BEF) forward across the border to the line of the River Dyle ...
Maurice Gamelin - Role in World War II
... They stopped and did not even penetrate Germany's unfinished Siegfried Line ... Gamelin ordered his troops back behind the Maginot Line, but only after telling France's ally, Poland, that France had broken the Siegfried Line and that help was on its way ... upon a static defense along the Franco-German border, which was reinforced by the Maginot Line ...
List Of Alpine Line Ouvrages
... This is the list of all ouvrages of the Alpine Line or Little Maginot Line along the Franco-Italian border, organized by sector and type of fortification ... For a list of the ouvrages of the main Maginot Line, refer to List of Maginot Line ouvrages ...
Maginot Line - After World War II
... After the war the line was re-manned by the French and underwent some modifications ... of the French independent nuclear weapons by 1960 the line became an expensive anachronism ... withdrew from NATO's military component (in 1966) much of the line was abandoned, with the NATO facilities turned back over to French forces and the rest of it auctioned to the public or left to decay ...

Famous quotes containing the word line:

    A modern democracy is a tyranny whose borders are undefined; one discovers how far one can go only by traveling in a straight line until one is stopped.
    Norman Mailer (b. 1923)