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

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 1 B 755 C 0 E Apr 12, 2012 F Jun 2, 2014
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This ruined three-loophole machinegun pillbox still retaines its outer shape. But there's no layer of reinforced concrete thick enough to withstand a huge internal explosion. Dozens of artillery or mortal shells deliberately placed inside, sometimes coupled with dedicated explosive material, result in a detonation which wipes the interior clean. Fighting chambers and interior walls evaporate, floor collapses down into the storey below and the mighty structure breaks open.
Hours and days of hard labor, sweat and cursing, hunger and fear – everything useless, everything forgotten, the whole world turned into rubble now cracklling under my feet.
This is how empires collapse.

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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 Lubycza Królewska Lubelskie Polska POL decay Art Poland Visualmanuscripts

N 28 B 9.4K C 5 E Nov 12, 2014 F Nov 12, 2014
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This three-loophole heavy machine gun pilbox has a gaping hole in the roof, an effect of tests of shaped charges. A huge explosion cracked the walls of the pillbox, too – a testimony to the power of the explosives.
Such massive damage was not sustained during combat. There was no need and, first of all, no time for such extravaganza.
Interestingly, several strongpoints of the Rava-Ruska Fortified Region offered some resistance in the opening hours of German attack on the Soviet Russia in June 1941. Construction work was well advanced in this part of the defence line and the mountainous region of today's Polish-Ukraine border gave the defenders a good chance to stem the advance of the Wehrmacht.
Yet, it all ended as usual: isolated pillboxes fighting stubbornly while the whole mighty Soviet front collapsing in an ultimate mess of incompetence of commanders, silent mass-desertion of troops and overall stampede of an army which was fleeing from the technically and numerically inferior enemy.
Even in the south, where terrain favoured defence, the role played by the Molotov Line was not exactly the one which had been envisioned by the designers of these powerful fortifications.

On the German part fighting in this area saw an employment of strange breed of armored weponry: captured French Char Bis tanks reequipped to fulfill a role of a flame-throwing tank. Those slow and powerfully armored tanks, which proved immune to German guns during the French campaign of 1940, were no match for the quality of the antitank guns installed in the Soviet pillboxes.
Several survivng German photos show destroyed Char Bis in the vicinity of the pillboxes of Wielki Dział strongpoint of the Rava-Ruska Fortified Region and are a good testimony to the fact that if there had ever been enough men willing to man the guns and stand their ground, the bill for the Germans could've been hard to swallow.

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Tags:   urbex abandoned derelict decay forgotten history military Soviet ww2 Molotov Line pillbox bunker ruins fortification pentax Polska Lubelskie POL Pentax Art 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.

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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

N 1 B 842 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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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


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