Twelve Casements on the Maginot Line

14 page single-sheet folded book
160 x 160mm

"We could hardly dream of building a kind of Great Wall of France, which would in any case be far too costly. Instead we have foreseen powerful but flexible means of organising defence, based on the dual principle of taking full advantage of the terrain and establishing a continuous line of fire everywhere."
AndrĂ© Maginot  / 10 December 1929

The problem with building walls, no matter how impenetrable is that people will always find a way to get round them. The Maginot Line might well have been a technological triumph - impenetrable from direct attack - but if the attacking army can just go round it instead of going through it, it quickly becomes an expensive folly. The remains of this 'wall' have been crumbling away for over half a century - impotent monuments to a bygone age of mis-guided military imperialism. As these futile relics slowly rot into the hedgerows and ditches of rural France their original purpose becomes ever more unrecognisable as they slowly regress to concrete skeletons clinging to existence.

On Saturday 18 August 2012 I took a car from Hertz Car Rental in Strasbourg and drove off to photograph what remains of the Maginot Line to the north of the city. I had the car from 0900 to 1800 the same day. I had researched where remains were to be found and programmed these locations into my satnav. I had also worked out using Google Maps how far each casement was from the next and how long it would take to reach each location, park the car, and then walk to each site. There were a total of 18 that were reachable in one day but only 12 that could sensibly be reached taking into consideration the time spent walking and driving. This book contains those 12 casements.