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

N 2 B 567 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 5 B 795 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.

This photo is Best on black at Fluidr

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

This photo is Best on black at Fluidr

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

N 1 B 760 C 0 E Nov 7, 2012 F Jun 2, 2014
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It's all mud and water there. There's a thick layer of clay in the soil and even a two-day mild rain turns the fields into a sinking gaugamire, impenetrable even for the best of tractors and 4x4 vehicles.
This two-loophole heavy machine gun pillbox guarded a vital road to Kovno. Only four of them were built in this particular strongpoint, just 4 km south-east of Jurbarkas on the Neman river. Many more were planned in the area but the lack of time has never allowed the Soviets to catch up with the construction schedule.
In June 1941, just when they were needed most, none of them was even remotely combat-ready.

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 Lithuania LTU decay Art Visualmanuscripts

N 1 B 736 C 0 E Apr 14, 2012 F Jun 2, 2014
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A simplified version of an antitank pillbox. No hydraulics, no armor housings, just a concrete slab designed to protect a 45 mm antitank field piece which was simply rolled inside.
These kind of bunkers were usually pushed to the foreground, usually several kilometers ahead of the main defense line.
In this particular area Soviet border in 1941 formed a sharp bulge dangerously protruding into German territory, just begging to be cut off. Main strongpoints were therefore built farther to the rear and the borderline was screened with a number of simplified constructions.
Still, they were unmanned and were generally left undefended and therefore were quickly bypassed by the advancing Germans.

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 Cieszanów Podkarpackie Polska POL decay Art Poland Visualmanuscripts


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