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User / The Molotov Line photographer / Sets / Molotov Line Journals
Piotr Tymiński / 91 items

N 11 B 2.2K C 4 E Apr 26, 2015 F Apr 26, 2015
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Machine gun pillbox (for two Maxim heavy machine guns) built north of the road from Drohiczyn to the border of Belarus.
In 1941 this vital road, which goes parallel to the Bug River, was the only communication line leading east into the Soviet territory. Its capture was vital for the success of the initial German operation in the area.
Despite the resistance from some isolated pillboxes the advance of the Germans was lightning fast and the sacrifice of their defenders did not influence the overall situation in the opening hours of German-Soviet war.

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Tags:   abandoned bunker color derelict fine art fortification history military Molotov Line pillbox ruins sky Soviet textured tree ww2 Visualmanuscripts

N 8 B 4.6K C 0 E Apr 11, 2015 F May 2, 2015
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After the so called September Campaign of 1939 was over, and the joint German-Soviet attack crumbled the resistance of Polish armies, hundreds of thousands of Soviets were stationed in the newly occupied, eastern part of Poland.
Among them were thousands of officers of the Red Army. They were professional soldiers who brought their families with them. In this way, countless Russian civilians lived among the Polish population, in numerous villages and towns where flats and houses were requisitioned for them.

In 1941 signs of incoming trouble for the Soviets were already apparent - former allies were just about to start their deadly struggle - but the communist authorities still refused to evacuate the families of the officers. Such precaution could "incite panic and encourage nationalist elements". It probably could - they all lived in a subjugated and hostile country, after all.
Consequently, in June 1941 countless families of the Soviet servicemen were caught in the maelstrom of war.

Mrs Pelagia Yefremova Suleykina lived in a village of Anusin. There were two children with her, too: a three year old daughter and a son - on the 22nd June 1941 he was just 24 days old. Her husband was a lieutenant of the Red Army, an officer commanding a company of heavy machine guns supposed to man dozens of bunkers which had been built in the vicinity of Anusin and Słochy Annopolskie villages.

When the German attack began, she took cover in one of the bunkers, along with several other wives of the officers. Those concrete slabs were not made for women and children and it may seem strange why they decided to do so. They probably did not feel secure among the "nationalist elements" or, it seems, the Soviet border guards did not feel secure themselves, and they advised the women to leave the village and head for the bunkers.

Was it this very pillbox on the picture? Or one of many others hidden today in the forests nearby? We will never know for sure. And I can only try to image horror scenes in those narrow confines of the cold, concrete chambers, filled with smoke and soot, cries of the children terrified by the roar of the guns and then darkness creeping in when the lights went out.
And at that time Mrs Suleykina did not know that it'd take Germans five long days to quell the resistance of a pillbox which was located just several hundreds meters away from their own hideout.
Its stubborn defenders died under the rubble and her husband was one of them.

Mrs Suleykina and her children survived the war, her story was published in a collection of memoirs "Bug River on fire" in 1965.

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Tags:   abandoned bunker clouds color derelict fortification history Linia Mołotowa military Molotov Line pillbox Piotr Tyminski Poland sky Soviet textured tree ww2 Pentax Art Visualmanuscripts

N 7 B 780 C 0 E Mar 8, 2015 F Mar 24, 2015
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In June 1941 Soviet 86th Rifle Division was responsible for covering the portion of the new Soviet-German border where this solemn remnants of a pillbox are located. Although elaborate trenches and dozens of simple bunkers were constructed in this area, they proved useless when the German juggernaut started to roll Red Army defences from the north.

Nearby small town of Ciechanowiec was abandoned in panic just hours after the first shot sounded. Fleeing local NKVD troop left behind piles of documents - an unusual thing for the meticulous henchmen - and the town was taken by just 30 German cyclists who strolled lazily into the area. It seems nobody fired at them when they passed this pillbox when pedalling along Zuzela-Nur-Ciechanowiec road. Soviets, at least for now, were gone.

86th Rifle Division, hard-pressed from the north-western direction reatreated hastily to the east - not the easiest of maneuvers under such pressure. The whole unit, almost to the last man, was anihilated just three days later near Mosty (today in Belarus) - 200km from the place where they were supposed to stand their ground.

For the local Polish people the grim days of Soviet occupation were replaced by yet another period of hardship and struggle. For them, green-clad Soviet invaders were replaced by another ones, wearing field-gray uniforms.
That summer nothing had changed for them.

One of the very few places where remnants of the Soviet field defences can still be found is pictured on the photo. Today it's just a small mound overgrown by trees. The pillbox was a simple thing: build of stone and concrete and covered with wodden logs. It had a wide opening at the back, a small antitank gun could be rolled inside quickly. In 1941 there was no forest nearby and the crew, if there was any, would enjoy a perfect field of fire in the direction of Bug river from where the Germans came.

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Tags:   history military Soviet ww2 Molotov Line pillbox bunker fortification Polska PL onone software nik software Visualmanuscripts

N 1 B 582 C 0 E Oct 25, 2011 F Jun 2, 2014
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A periscope tube with remains of the mechanism to rise/lower the periscope. Most of the pillboxes, except for the smallest ones, were equipped with good quality periscopes mounted in a metal tube which was closed by a round plate at the roof of the structure. The plate was moved sideways by a long iron rod attached to the handle shown at the photo. Then, a periscope could be risen to provide 360 degrees view. Those plates and tubes proved to be the weakest spot of the Soviet bunkers. The round plate (or lid) could be pried open by a crowbar and grenades could be rammed inside the tube. Most often than not, once the German assault pioneers got to the roof it was usually beginning of the end for the crew inside.

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Tags:   abandoned bunker derelict fortification history Linia Mołotowa military Molotov Line pentax pillbox shelter Soviet urban exploration urbex WW2 бункер заброшенные Grabowo Podlaskie Polska POL decay Art Poland Visualmanuscripts

N 2 B 1.3K C 0 E Nov 6, 2012 F Jun 2, 2014
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In 1940/41 Soviet builders did not waste precious military manpower for initial preparation work required during the construction process of their pillboxes of the Molotov Line. Instead, local population was herded into the place and was forced to do all the digging and earthmoving. Their highly sophisticated forced labor system allowed for widespread usage of local manpower consisting of inhabitants of the newly conquered eastern part of Poland. It was a hard job made worse by strictly imposed norms. No excavators were used and everything was done manually. Still, the construction effort along the “new” border of the Soviet Union was so huge that even these resources were not enough. Prisoners were therefore used on a large scale, too.
Once the hard work was done the “unsecure” elements were moved away and the military moved in. Usually, a tall wooden fence was first built around the perrimeter to hide the construction site from the eyes of enemies. This term, of course, included the local population, too.
What you see on the photo is an unfinished two-machine gun pillbox. Surely a large number of local population laboured during the excavation here before the concrete work could begin. Time was running short for the Soviets and he construction was abandoned during the early stage, proving to be just another useless curiosity for the Germans who crashed through the border in June 1941.
Such unfinished pillboxes are also silent and tragic monuments to the hardships endured by countless people who were forced to slave away under the watchful eye of their Soviet masters.

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Tags:   abandoned bunker derelict fortification history Linia Mołotowa military Molotov Line pentax pillbox shelter Soviet urban exploration urbex WW2 бункер заброшенные Lithuania LTU decay Art landscape Visualmanuscripts


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