Siegfried Line, Aachen

The Siegfried Line, or Westwall as the Germans called it, was a 390 mile long defensive wall built in the 1930s to screen Nazi Germany in from an attack from the West and was partially built in reaction to the construction of the French Maginot Line. During the Phoney War in 1939.40 it inspired the famous song Hang Out The Washing on the Siegfried and did not see any serious action in the 1940 campaign. Following the breakout from Normandy in the summer of 1944, the first Allied troops to reach it were Americans near Roetgen in September 1944. After that it was the scene of heavy fighting in several areas well into 1945.

Siegfried Line, Kopfchen: Then & Now
Siegfried Line, Kopfchen: Then & Now

I visited the area of the Siegfried Line near Aachen last week and had a look at the remaining belts of Dragon’s Teeth. Some of these still stretched for miles and were very impressive. Around the villages of Walheim and Schmithof are numerous remains of the Siegfried Line, and it was also an area quite heavily photographed at the time too. One interesting discovery was that very few of the bunkers which protected the line were still visible. Some had been destroyed in the fighting, or post-war by explosives, but many had been deliberately buried.

Siegfried Line, Schmithof
Siegfried Line, Schmithof

This is an interesting area to visit with the battlefields around Aachen close by as well as the Hurtgenwald: more of that on World War 2 Revisited soon.

 

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Great site. Would it be possible to obtain your permisison to use the color photo of the siegfried line in an exhibit at the Texas Military Forces Museum in Austin, Tx?

    Like

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