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User / The Molotov Line photographer / *Molotov Line, 64 Zambrów Fortified Region, strongpoint Szulborze, Poland*
Piotr Tymiński / 250 items
This is one of the few parts of the Molotov Line where actual fighting took place. Szulborze strongpoint was located just 6 km from the German-Soviet border (as it was in 1941) and the vital strategic railroad Warsaw – Białystok was going right through it.
Pillboxes, unlike in many other places, were mostly well equipped and had their proper armament fitted, along with periscopes and other equipment. Antitank ditches were ready and screened the strongpoint, too. But the telephone lines were still missing so there was no direct connection between the pillboxes.
Soviet 86th Rifle Division stationed in this area didi its best to counterattack German units crossing the border but due to very poor coordination and lack of communications (a common pain for the Soviets at that time) suffered heavy losses and had to fall back. Some piecemeal accounts of the fighting in this area prove that several pillboxes were blown by their crews who joined the reatreating units of the 86th.
It is also known, though, that the order to retreat had never reached many of garrisons of the bunkers of Szulborze and Prosienica strongpoints and they were left behind. Their fate remains unknows but is easy to imagine.
Some of the pillboxes were blown up by the Germans after the fighting was over and, coupled with typical combat scars, leave us with structures which are destroyed almost beyond recognition. Only a well trained eye can figure out the type of the structure, its armament and direction of fire.

What you see on the photo is a one-chamber frontal-firing single machinegun pillbox. Build on a gentle slope, just at the edge of the forest, it could enjoy a clear field of fire. Huge explosion had cracked it open and it lookes almost like a tulip flower opening into the light. Was it blown up by its own crew? Or were they the unlucky ones who stayed behid, cut off and hoping to be de-blocked by a counterattack which never came?
We will never know.

This photo is Best on black at Fluidr
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  • Taken: May 30, 2009
  • Uploaded: Jun 2, 2014
  • Updated: Nov 7, 2017