Poliorcetics (2) The Maginot line

Zona noreste de la línea, en torno a Luxemburgo

Northeast zone, around Luxembourg

The name has been used with some frequency, and after 1940 it has been often mentioned in unfavorable terms. Some people say military strategists are always a war behind real events, and the Maginot line is often invoked as a proof.

Vauban invented for Louis XIV the concept of “Pré Carré”, a safe national space protected by border forts. When the Maginot line was conceived the horrors of WWI were still recent; a conflict in which the stabilization of fronts for years led to a complete destruction of woods, cities and people. The idea of a static war was the argument supporting the most sophisticated trench, as to ensure a total block from Switzerland to the sea, regardless of the landscape or territory in each section. But this territorial fortification was overwhelmed by a completely different form of war, which also had advocates in France (a certain Charles de Gaulle), but one for which the army was not ready.

After the war, this large trench, with its many bunkers, was perceived for some time as an asset for a different kind of war: bunkers could be used for a nuclear war, according to some, but finally NATO saw no use in it. The forts were sold to civilians from the 1970s

Despite the exhaustive aspect of the layout, I have seen no reference to border cities; I suppose they were protected by the fortifications, and urban planning was almost none at that time.

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