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

N 10 B 3.7K C 1 E Nov 27, 2010 F Jun 6, 2014
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Uśnik strongpoint, located 13 kilometers from the 1941 German-Soviet border, was one of the eight strongpoints screening the vital road and railroad hub in the city of Łomża from the south-west direction. It was perfectly protected from the front by the Ruż river, which flows parallel to the old border.
But there was no battle for Łomża in 1941. Germans took the city the very next day after crossing the border and the Soviets stampeded eastwards offering no resistance along this part of the Molotov Line.
Only five pillboxes were built in Uśnik but many more were on the drawing board, construction of some of them reached just the stage of initial earthmoving. The builders apparently suffered from the shortage of water – a lot of water is needed during such massive construction effort – and a huge concrete tank (looking almost like a swimming pool) was built on one of the hills. Water was distributed from there to the nearby construction sites.
Although they were not effectively used in combat all the pillboxes in the area are utterly destroyed, either by the Germans testing their resistance to the explosive charges, or by the Polish or Russian army engineers who could utilise the sites right after the war for disposing of unused or dud ammunition scattered across the fields.

Three-loophole heavy machine gun pillbox featured on the photo suffered a similar fate. Destroyed almost beyond recognition is a silent testimony to the power of explosives which had been used to end its life.

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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 Śniadowo Podlaskie Poland POL Art Pentax Art landscape Visualmanuscripts

N 1 B 860 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 5 B 2.5K 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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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

N 2 B 603 C 0 E Jul 26, 2009 F Jun 2, 2014
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Unfinished pillbox for three heavy machine guns. There was no time to complete the roof and the whole construction was obviously made in great haste as the poor workmanship is clearly visible.
Not a single one of the pillboxes in this area was ever fully completed and some had only their substructures laid down. But no matter how badly the Soviet builders have lagged behind their schedule they never forget to herd the nearby local population into digging huge antitank ditches which were supposed to protect the strongpoint from the German armored vehicles.
Forced labor was used on a massive scale and is one of the dark and forgotten chapters in the history of Soviet fortifications.

This shot was also a prime candidate for a quick trip to the bin. But what on Earth one can expect when shooting from a tree which is swaying forth and back? I tried to do some surgery on it and at least you can see there's no roof down there indeed.

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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 Kolno Podlaskie Poland POL decay Art Visualmanuscripts

N 1 B 1.4K C 0 E Nov 22, 2009 F Jun 3, 2014
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Almost like an abstract - outer wall of the pillbox with neat holes made by direct hits of artillery. Most probably these are not typical combat scars, it seems the German gunners trained their small calibre 3,7 cm PAK 36 gun (or similar) at the wall to see the result of the impact. They probably did it after the pillbox was abandoned since such aggregation of hits would hardly be possible in combat situation.
But German shells which in 1941 pierced through the layer of concrete reveal another piece of forgotten history.
The black stone visible in the holes was a precious building material which was brought all the way from the Caucasus mountains. It was expensive and there was never enough of it so a regular stone, collected locally, was crushed into small pieces and was widely used, too.
I wonder who were the people who toiled their lives away in forced labor camps and stone quarries from which the building material was coming. Because what was expensive was the stone and coal to fuel the endless trains bringing it far to the western, newly conquered part of the Soviet Union. People were not expensive, they were expendable and there was always enough slaves to propel the mercilles machinery of gulag.
It's a strange feeling to run my fingers along the edges of these holes touching the black stone. It's like stretching my hand to touch the shoulder of an unknown human, long gone and forgotten, whose life had probably rotten away somewhere far away in a hell hole of a labor camp.
For the glory of the Empire.

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


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