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

N 2 B 576 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.

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 Kolno Podlaskie Poland POL decay Art Visualmanuscripts

N 2 B 4.7K C 0 E Apr 4, 2011 F Jul 1, 2014
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Somehow most people consider those mighty pillboxes to be a safe heaven for the soldiers who manned them and, if given a choice, would prefer to stay inside than out in the open. Thick concrete walls give a comforting feeling of safety but the brutal reality of war taught us that combat in such places is far more horrible and far more dangerous than what is commonly believed.

A mighty pillbox, like the one one the photo, would draw all the firepower of the enemy and the place would become a hell on Earth. Those of you who served in the army probably remember their first experience with automatic weapons – the noise seems to be overpowering. Guns and belt-fed machineguns firing in the confined space would make a deafening noise. Grenades and artillery shells slamming into the structure would add to the unbereable experience – human ears would then inevitably start to bleed. We are not made to withstand this level of noise. Sharp pieces of concrete torn from the walls would fly visously in the tight fighting chambers inflicting terrible wounds.
The air-exchange systems, designed to suck off the enormous amounts of smoke produced by the guns, would eventually start pumping in the smoke from the outside – there would be a lot of it, the result of explosions of enemy shells. Simple systems invented to dispose of spent cartridge cases would clog and break and the hot cases would fly all over the place and roll under the feet of the men, making them stubmble and fall. Water would boil in the radiators of the machineguns, burning the hands of the gunners. And the armored housings of the guns and reinforced metal doors would be impossible to touch once they turn almost red hot after the attackers start employing flamethrowers at a close distance.
Enemy assault engineers would creep onto the roof, ramming grenades into the periscope shafts. Even a simple weapon - seemingly harmless smoke grenades, which were widely used by the German sappers, would prove to be deadly, forcing the defenders to wear their gas masks or choking them to death if the masks failed to work or were damaged.
Statistics show that if the pillboxes were successfully assaulted there were , most often than not, no survivors left.
These places were no safe heavens. They were the ultimate hellholes filled with primeval fear and claustrophobia.

They keep on lobbing grenades on us. I failed to throw back one of them. The explosion injures my hand and chest badly. Soldier, sitting right behind me, was killed instantly. I lost consciousness. When I recovered all I heard were explosions. I had a feeling that the floor was swaying forth and back. And then the familiar hissing sound comes again. I cough and vomit. My gas mask is punctured and I try to cover the hole with my fit hand – I keep on trying but it doesn't work. I tear the mask off the face of a dead comrade and somehow manage to put it on. I gasp and choke – the mask is full of blood

(As remembered by ensign Ivan N. Shibakov, who miraculously survived the combat in a similar pillbox of the Moltov Line in Słochy Annopolskie (Poland) on the Bug river.)

This photo is best Best on black at Fluidr

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

N 5 B 907 C 2 E Sep 15, 2014 F Mar 31, 2015
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This is not supposed to be a landscape shot.
In fact, this is not supposed to show you what you would normally expect from my Molotov Line Journals. What you can barely see on the photo is something pretty elusive - at least it became so after 75 years. No pillboxes this time.

A massive construction effort - building a defense line running all across Europe - required unbelievable amounts of raw materials. Those thousands of tons of stone, sand, conrete, wood - you name it - needed to be hauled into place and then moved around and delivered to hundreds of smaller construction sites, all in areas where there were very few roads or no roads at all. How do you go about it?

The answer is: narrow-gauge railway.
Soviets constructed (often employing forced labor) rail embankments and laid hundreds of kilometers of tracks. The railway snaked its way around dozens of soon-to-be-built strongpoints where hundreds of concrete pillboxes were erected. This simple transportation system became a lifeblood of the Molotov Line.
Where is it now? Can it be traced and mapped? Along with our research of the purely military side of the fortifications we also trace the elusive remnants of the Soviet narrow-gauge railway and draw it on the maps. Most of it is long gone: embankments had been levelled ages ago and only small traces of the railway can be found, usually in the forests, where nobody bothered to disturb them.

When you look at the photo the old embankment is visible right at the edge of the forest to the right. Then it goes across the field towards the forest on the left. Interestingly, there's actually almost no trace of it on the field (which must've been ploughed a thousand times) and even a satellite photo does not reveal much. But at certain hours, when light is favorable something like a shadow sneaking across the field can be seen. The embankment pops up again in the forest on the left side of the photo (well, you won't see it!). This is where massive, concrete foundations of stone-crushing machines still idle, all covered with moss. Once, the crushed stone was loaded there into the wagons and then hauled towards distant building sites where it was to be mixed with concrete.

What about the rails, wagons and locomotives? Well... the rails evaporated just hours after the Soviets fled. Bigger stuff took longer but still disappeared without a trace shortly after. Not far from the place where I stood taking the shot a friendly old farmer told a fascinating tale how it all happened. I am not a farmer and I find it hard to comprehend what use can be found for a pile of narrow-gauge railways in your average homestead. But his father and all his neighbours probably knew better. The most courageous ones, happily assuming the Soviet occupants won't come back, started to dismantle the track hours after the Bolsheviks were gone. The old man could still recall the desperation and disappointment of the more cowardly ones who, coming with their tools two days after, found nothing to scavenge!

War is hell, but life must go on in the meantime, and there MUST be some usage for a piece of rusty railway after all!

Thia photo is Best on black at Fluidr

Tags:   texture history landscape Poland forest country road military Soviet ww2 Molotov Line fortification b&w Pentax Art onone software Visualmanuscripts

N 11 B 3.1K C 2 E Apr 12, 2013 F Sep 22, 2014
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A single loophole pillbox on the banks of Studyanka River in Ukraine. A more formidable barrier, a mighty Bug River, is just a stone's throw away to the west.
In 1941 the river was a borderline and on on the 22nd June, just two hours before sunrise, German infantrymen and sappers hurled themselves into their pontoons and boats and paddled frantlically towards the eastern shore. It all went surprisingly well for them and pillboxes dotting the riverbank did not check the advance of the attackers.
Today an empty firing chamber still gapes towards the river as it did 73 years ago. The small pillbox is dwarfed by trees and I thought their naked branches looked like flames of hell frozen in time.

This photot is Best on black at Fluidr

Tags:   Linia Mołotowa HDR abandoned derelict forgotten history colors light fine art creative photography military Soviet ww2 Molotov Line pillbox bunker color ruins fortification Ukraine Pentax Pentax Art Ukraina UA Visualmanuscripts

N 3 B 1.6K C 0 E Apr 4, 2011 F Jul 10, 2014
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This small pillbox, designed for two heavy machine guns, is nicely integrated into a small hill Local farmers has found the hill to be a good source of sand and apparently helped themselves to a sizeable portion of the hill, giving us a nice cross-section of the pillbox.
This gives a clue to the depth at which the concrete slab was nested in the ground, making it a very difficult target to destroy..
The loophole is just above the ground level, and the entryway is practically below the ground level. A communication trench would be dug there to give a safe access to the entrace. There are also two metal pipes protruding from the wall almost at the very bottom of the pillbox. They were supposed to house telephone lines which would connect all the pillboxes in the area. They had never been installed.
There are still traces of black tar smeared on the side of the pillbox which served as a protection agains moisture which could inevitably creep in once the slab was covered with its protective earth embankments.
Metal bars above the loophole are still mysteriously there – a camouflage net was supposed to be attached to them.
In 1941 the Soviet-German border was just 4,2 km away from this place and the German steamroller overwhelmed the defences so quickly that not even a single shot was fired from this pillbox.

This photo is Best on black at Fluidr

Tags:   abandoned bunker decay derelict fortification Linia Mołotowa military Molotov Line monochrome pentax Pentax Art pillbox shelter Soviet texture urban exploration urbex WW2 бункер заброшенные mazowieckie Polska PL Visualmanuscripts


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