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

N 1 B 1.7K C 0 E Apr 21, 2009 F Jun 2, 2014
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A story of “The Norm”.

A pile of stones and some barbed wire, still remembering the summer of 1941.
Construction of hundreds of pillboxes of the Molotov Line required huge amounts of stone. It was crushed and mixed with fresh concrete. The best one was coming from the Caucasus Mountains – a long and expensive journey. So, inevitably, local stones were used on a massive scale. But they did not come by themselves.
Soviets, as mad and ruthless as they were, were also very precise and rigorous people. Not content with herding thousands of civilians into forced labor zones, they also came up with a set of precise rules, or “norms”, regulating who, how much, when and how was supposed to contribute to the overall effort of “defence works”.
It was carefully planned and calculated how many stones each local farmer had to bring to the building site. You've got a horse? Two? If two, then you need to bring more. It was that simple. No horse? You will dig foundation trenches then or, better even, endless anti-tank ditches. There were norms stipulating how many cubic meters of earth one needs to remove and what is the distance that removed portion needs to be moved away.

I always go around those remote, small villages asking about anti-tank ditches. As huge as they had been, they are hard to find today, most eaten up by forests and cultivated fields. But every piece of information is precious when drawing the maps of those forgotten strongpoints. I'm always very careful not to overuse the technical and military jargon – these are mostly simple people I talk to. But most often than not I found myself disappointed that they did not understand what I was asking about. It's a simple thing – an anti-tank ditch – even the name implies it, hey, it;s just a damn, deep ditch, that's all about it!
And then, to my horror, the answers started to pop out like a devil from the box. Of course they knew what an anti-tank ditch was! I was simply asking a wrong question... They had a different word for an anti-tank ditch. The one they remembered from their fathers and grandfathers, the one which which was so feared as it was hated, the one so horrible it stuck in the minds of simple folk for generations.

The called it “the norm”.

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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 podlaskie Polska PL decay Art Poland Visualmanuscripts

N 3 B 2.0K C 0 E Oct 18, 2008 F Jul 23, 2014
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It's early 1941. It's 6,5 km to the German border and time is running short. Newly conquered Poland is supplying vast amounts of slave labour which is herded to toil on the construction sites of dozens of pillboxes screening the vital Warsaw-Grodno road.
Time is in short supply and the local population, entagled in the merciless machinery of forced labour, is obviously not allowed to peer behind the tall wooded fences hiding the places where huge concrete slabs are being erected. But they are good enough to dig vast antitank trenches which are supposed to protect Podbiele and Prosienica strongpints. And so they dig under a watchful eye of the Soviet masters.

It's 21 June 1941 and a sledgehammer blows falls from across the border. Thin Soviet defence force in the area evaporates under a merciless onslaught of the Wehrmacht. Some isolated pillboxed fight till their doom, most are abandoned without a shot and impressive antitank ditches prove useless.

And then, once the frontline moves far to the east, the merciless history finds a practical application for the derelict eartworks - but certainly not the one envisaged nby their designers. Countless "unneeded political elements", as the Nazis called them, are herded into the antitank ditches and shot en masse. They are all prisoners of war - Soviet officers and comissars.
It's estimated that between 1941 and 1943 more than 2.000 people had found their doom in the area. This number includes hundreds of Poles and Jews, too. Their names are unknown. For the Poles and Jews this is a tragic place, one of so many in this country. For the Soviets it's an ominous place where the ironic history made its merciless judgement and turned once powerful masters into a pile of corpses at the bottom of a long ditch - a dreadful place where the murderers slaughtered the murderers.

Sometime in the 70's, or maybe early 80's, when the Soviets were still considered, at least oficially, to be friends and allies, a row of simple concrete slabs was placed in the antitanck ditch, each adorned with a red star - unknown soldiers' graves where the Soviet officers were executed.
Today, ovegrown by trees and bushes, this place can only be reached by country roads winding their way through forests and clusters of trees dotted with ruins of dozens of pillboxes. It cannot be seen from an international Warsaw-Grodno-Moscow road which is, in fact, so close to it.

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Tags:   Linia Mołotowa texture abandoned derelict decay forgotten historic history old fine art ruin military stylized Soviet ww2 Molotov Line pillbox bunker war defence grave cross process Ostrów Mazowiecka Masovian Voivodeship Poland Линия Молотова заброшенные Visualmanuscripts

N 1 B 419 C 0 E Apr 14, 2012 F Jun 2, 2014
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A simplified version of the smallest Molotov Line pillbox for one heavy machine gun. Even these simple form of fortification could prove to be a pain for the attackers. Well hidden under the protective embankment they are quite difficult to spot even today. Here just the entrance to the pillbox is barely visible, the single loophole is on the opposite side.
Numerous pillboxes of this type screened the main defensive line in the south-eastern part of the Molotov Line but they were all abandoned by the Soviets and none took part in combat during the opening hours of the German advance into Soviet Union in 1941.

This photo is Best on black at Fluidr

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

N 5 B 416 C 0 E Apr 12, 2015 F May 22, 2015
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A big blob of concrete mixed with stones is all what remained from a simplified machine gun pillbox, one of many of this type built north of Niemirów on the Bug River.
They were cheap and simple to build and except from concrete and stones, collected on nearby fields, did not require sophisticated raw materials. They had no elaborate equipment installed and were supposed to support the mail line of defence which consisted of regular pillboxes that had been built closer to the river and further to the south.

This photo is Best on black at Fluidr.

Tags:   bunker clouds color fine art fortification history landscape military Molotov Line pillbox Piotr Tyminski polowy sky Soviet texture textured tree ww2

N 1 B 635 C 0 E Sep 15, 2012 F Jun 2, 2014
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Heavily damaged artillery pillbox for two 76,2 mm guns.
These good quality weapons originated from the tank gun and were capable of firing at "soft" targets at a maximum range of 7.300 m. They could also use armor-piercing ammunition and had no problem with going clean through a 4,4 cm thick armored plate at a range of 2.000 m.
These type of pillbox would surely prove to be a tough nut to crack if used properly. Here, lack of time prevented the Soviets from installing the proper armament and just the armored housings for the guns were fitted. Once the front line moved far to the east, Germans scavenged the precious (3.689 kg each!) lumps of metal by blowing the entire front part of the pillbox.

This photo is Best on black at Fluidr

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


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