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

N 1 B 370 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.

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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 Wąsosz Podlaskie Poland POL decay Art Visualmanuscripts

N 1 B 539 C 0 E Sep 15, 2012 F Jun 2, 2014
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Three-loophole, frontal-firing heavy machine gun pillbox. What you see on the photo is an exposed back of the structure. The cracks in the massive concrete slab are a result of detonation of explosive material which had been used to blow off the armored housings of Maxim machine guns (they are on the opposite side).
This two-storey bunker would normally sit deeper – the ground level would obviously be where the entrance is. The slit, or opening, to the left of the photo served an important purpose: it allowed the blast of an explosive charge, or grenades, thrown into the entrance, to dissipate. A small loophole further to the left housed an extra light machine gun to protect the entrance. Just below there's a metal pipe sticking out – it was an air intake. All of the pillboxes required a constant supply of fresh air – and lots of it – once the guns started to sing their tune the amount of smoke inside the bunker would make the life of the crew unbearable so proper ventilation systems had to take care of efficient air exchange.

This photo is Best on black at Fluidr

See more at: www.visualmanuscripts.com or connect with me on Google+, Facebook or Twitter.

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

N 1 B 420 C 0 E Sep 26, 2009 F Jun 2, 2014
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This small, single-loophole machine gun pillbox sits quietly on a forest clearing. It can hardly be seen and that's exactly how they were supposed to look.
Some of the pillboxes were indeed built in the forests; trees were then cut down all around to provide clear field of fire. What's interesting is that 30-40 cm tree stumps were always left in place. It was a clever approach – they did not provide any significant cover for the attackers but made any wheeled vehicles movement practically impossible.
There were so many of these stumps left along the Molotov Line that even today, after more than 70 years, this kind of deforestation is called by the locals “a Russian forest”.

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See more at: www.visualmanuscripts.com or connect with me on Google+, Facebook or Twitter.

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

N 5 B 638 C 0 E Apr 21, 2015 F Apr 21, 2015
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I was sitting on a riverbank contemplating the silence of the wilderness, watching the Bug River flowing by.
Right in that place, almost on the Polish - Belarusian border, the bend in the river bulges southwards and Bug is surprisingly narrow there. I though of all that small one-man pontoons we had back in my army days. We never used them. But then I thought I could get my platoon across the river in no time in that place. That would be fairly easy, maybe even without pontoons... But what then?
Behind me was an almost impenetrable thicket and it'd take us ages to plough our way through it, before we could reach any half-decent road. What if we get our whole batallion across? Then it'd take us forever and a day to march through the forest.

That is why the Germans never tried crossing the river there in June 1941 and the Soviets never bothered to build any real defences in the bend of the river. That is, except for just several dugouts serving rather as observation posts that anything more serious.

Some 19 miles to the west the river is much wider, and except for some clusters of trees nothing obstructs the view from the north-eastern shore, where once the Soviets waited. Wide, grassy meadows, occasionally turning into marshlands stretch on both sides of Bug and the place is a defender's dream, with high slopes giving perfect vantage points and creating natural terraces. Dozens of pillboxes are dotting the landscape there and their firing azimuths are fashioned into elaborate killing grounds. There are no dead zones there.
And this is exactly where the Germans chose to cross the river on the early morning of June 22nd 1941.

There was something which attracted them all like a magnet. That thing was a road and wars are all about roads.

Small pillbox pictured on the photo was placed relatively far from the riverbank and its task was to protect other bunkers which were built closer to the river. Still, its defenders could easily sweep the river with their heavy machine gun equipped with a high quality scope. That is, if there were any defenders to do it.
The road is visible as a narrow strip just behind the structure and today, as it was 75 years ago, is the only decent road running along west-east axis into the former Soviet Union.

In the opening hours of the German-Soviet war the surprise factor worked miracles for the attackers. Many of the pillboxes were not manned at all, some were quickly abandoned - their crews silently disintegrating into the woods - but still there were places where clusters of bunkers kept firing long after the frontline had moved far to the east. Their crews fought with suicidal courage and stubbornness, hoping to hold long enough to see the relief force coming. It never came, and their pillboxes, some blown almost into oblivion, are today a silent testimony to the horrors of war, all hidden in the forests stretching along the Bug River.

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See more at: www.visualmanuscripts.com or connect with me on Google+, Facebook or Twitter.

Tags:   bunker fortification history military Molotov Line pillbox Soviet ww2 Visualmanuscripts

N 6 B 1.5K C 0 E Sep 15, 2012 F Jun 23, 2014
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This antitank pillbox, designed for two machine guns and a 45mm antitank gun, is a bit of an oddity. It is connected by an underground passage with two other pillboxes and forms a small group clustered close together in the forest. It's the only ony visible enough for taking a photo since it's just on the edge of that forest.
There are several such groups in the area and the question is: why build them this way? There are thousands of pillboxes on the Molotov Line, yet there are only a dozen which were connected underground. They were usually built in pairs and only one had an entry, the other being accessible only through the passage from the first one. After years of research the answer WHY is still eluding us. Thre area in which they were built is no different (in terms of terrain) that any other so why bother? On the other hand, there are places where it would make sense to construct such clusters of connected pillboxes but again, they did not bother to do it.
Soviets had always been masters of improvisation and made good engineers and builders (in a truly positive sense) but sometimes we tend to overestimate their wisdom. The explanation might be simple and, to some extent, laughable. Somebody made a plan, sooner or later it had to be implemented somewhere. They happened to have enough building material so they did it right there. There were many cases when what was effectively built was seriously drifting away from what was initially made on the drawing board. Plans were changed, factories producing various parts of equipment were not informed on time and the builders, always in a mad rush to catch up with the schedule, were ending up with a pile of stuff which was not quite compatible with the original design. And so they had to change things on the fly – all these stories are described in surviving (very few) memoirs of those who had been building these vast fortifications. In some way, they are fun to read...
Therefore it is not excluded that somebody all of a sudden remembered that there was a design a bit different than the common ones, parts of the underground passage were ordered (sort of concrete Lego bricks, nothing fancy), then promptly brought by train (or could've been even made locally) and voila, here it is!
Or, the chief engineer responsible for this particular part of the line, just liked the idea of undergound passages:)
Once you learn to think the Soviet way, things sometimes become just a little bit more obvious...

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See more at: www.visualmanuscripts.com or connect with me on Google+, Facebook or Twitter.

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


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