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The Maginot Line, History and Guide... from Pen and Sword


Title: The Maginot Line, History and Guide

Author: J E Kaufmann, H W Kaufmann, A Jankovic-Potocnik and P Lang

Publisher: Pen and Sword Books

ISBN: 978-1-52671-151-9

A new reprint of a title first published in 2011, and tackling one of the most famous series of fortifications of WW2.  This paperback edition holds over 300 pages and is packed with interest from start to finish.  It is split into two main sections, one dealing with the history and the second looking at what happened after WW2 was over and what remains of the line today.  The authors are are established experts on various defensive lines in Europe, along with an artist interested in fortifications and one of the guides from a surviving Ouvrage and re-enactor.  The result is a detailed and informative book that will be an ideal guide book to take with you if you are going to visit any element of the famous line.

Throughout the book there is a balanced mix of archive and present day photos along with some fascinating artwork and plans plus useful maps.  Part one is split into 5 chapters, each of which is then sub-divided.  The first looks at the background of the fortifications along the border, both French and German as well as the types or armament and equipment that were used in the new defences, making use of concrete, steel and earth with many underground facilities.  Chapter 2 deals with building the new line, from the North Sea to the Mediterranean.  Even down to the incorporation of older fortifications and the use of local contractors in an effort to keep details of the defences secret.  Chapter three moves it on to consideration of the Flanks and the army for training, reserves and mobilisation as war approached.  Chapter 4 goes over the war itself and what happened in the various sections of the line, leading on to the final chapter in part 1 of the book, and tackling the experiences of the US Army in 1944/45 as they tackled the line when now occupied by German troops before explaining what happened after the war.  Much of the line fell into disuse before even in the Cold War the French Government invested in a lot of refurbishment as they considered it could still be a useful defence if the Warsaw Pact was to invade Western Europe.

Part 2 of the book deals with the Maginot Line today, and the many elements of it which have been preserved and now open to visitors.  Lots of drawings in these pages to show just how complex some of the individual Ouvrages are.  Just two chapters in this final section, but then a series of 6 Appendices which provide even more fine details.

The RRP for this paperback is £16.99 and looking at the level of information it holds it offers excellent value for money and an ideal book to have in your car if you plan to visit any part of the Maginot Line today.


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