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

N 1 B 826 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 868 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!

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

N 1 B 641 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.

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 Grabowo Podlaskie Polska POL decay Art Poland Visualmanuscripts

N 2 B 630 C 0 E Apr 4, 2011 F Jul 30, 2014
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Deserted and forgotten – silent sentinel on the shore of a lake in Lithuanian forest.
Is there a story it could tell? A story of great engineering feat, a story of power and highest expectations? A story of the army which was to march to the rocks of Gibraltar and beyond?
Or a story of panic and deafeat, a story of absolute failure and shame?
On a hot summer evening, when the sun is sliding beyond the horizon and the lake glows like gold, you may try to touch its cold, concrete walls and listen.
After 74 years it may tell you the truth.

This photo is Best on black at Fluidr

Tags:   Linia Mołotowa urbex texture abandoned derelict decay forgotten historic history urban exploration foliage sky old colors painterly light lost lake clouds military Soviet ww2 Molotov Line pillbox bunker Lithuania Okręg olicki Pentax Pentax Art 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


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