Design and construction
Aumetz was planned as part of the second series of Maginot fortifications, with planning beginning in 1930 and construction in 1931. Initially planned as a gros ouvrage with three infantry blocks and three artillery blocks, the project was scaled back to just the infantry blocks, with entry blocks and artillery to come at a later date. Construction cost was 9.5 million francs.
Aumetz is a compact ouvrage with three closely-grouped infantry blocks with underground galleries converging on a central underground barracks. The entry is immediately behind the junction, with no special degree of fortification, as it was intended to be extended some hundreds of meters to the south in the second phase.
- Block 1: Entry block with one automatic rifle cloche (GFM) and one machine gun cloche (JM).
- Block 2: Infantry block with one machine gun turret and two GFM cloches.
- Block 3: Infantry block with one machine gun/anti-tank gun embrasure (JM/AC47), one machine gun embrasure (JM) and two GFM cloches.
Three additional blocks were planned for one 135mm and two 75mm retracting gun turrets, to be placed behind the infantry combat blocks as part of a compact ensemble of positions. A long gallery was planned to extend to the rear to open into a personnel entry and a munitions entry, with an underground barracks and a magazine.
Casemates and shelters
A series of casemates and infantry shelters extend in the direction of Rochonvillers, including
- Casemate de Tressange: Single block with one JM/AC47 embrasure, one JM embrasure, one mortar turret and one GFM cloche.
- Casemate de Buret: Single block with one JM/AC47 embrasure, one JM embrasure, two mortar cloches and one GFM cloche.
- Casemate de la Fond-d'Havange: Single block with one JM/AC47 embrasure, one JM embrasure, one 50mm mortar embrasure on the lower level, oneo mortar cloche and two GFM cloches.
- Casemate du Gros-Bois: Single block with one JM/AC47 embrasure, one JM embrasure, one mortar cloche and one GFM cloche.
- Abri du Gros-Bois: Shelter for two infantry sections, two GFM cloches, sector command post.
None of these are connected to the ouvrage or to each other.
The 1940 manning of the ouvrage under the command of Lieutenant Braun comprised 112 men and 2 officers of the 128th Fortress Infantry Regiment. The units were under the umbrella of the 42nd Fortress Corps of the 3rd Army, Army Group 2.
Aumetz did not see significant action until June of 1940, when German forces kept up a series of harassing attacks. On 19 June, the Germans set up a 37mm anti-tank gun on a mine spoil mound and opened fire against Block 3, without much effect. Bréhain's artillery replied with counter-battery fire. An advance along the nearby rail line was repelled with machine gun fire from Aumetz. Steady advances by the Germans isolated Aumetz by 23 June. The 22 June 1940 armistice brought an end to fighting.
Aumetz appears to have been ignored by the Germans during the Occupation. With the 1944 advance of the American army through the area, the Americans used some of the ouvrages for experiments in tactics and weapons. The cloches of the Casemate du Gros Bois was used as firing targets and were pierced by artillery fire.
After the war, Aumetz remained government property. On 23 June 1970 Aumetz was the first Maginot ouvrage to be offered for sale to the public. The buyers stripped the position of all materials and equipment, leaving only bare concrete.
- List of all works on Maginot Line
- Siegfried Line
- Atlantic Wall
- Czechoslovak border fortifications
- Allcorn, William. The Maginot Line 1928-45. Oxford: Osprey Publishing, 2003. ISBN 1-84176-646-1
- Kauffmann, J.E. and Kaufmann, H.W. Fortress France: The Maginot Line and French Defenses in World War II, 2006. ISBN 0-275-98345-5
- Mary, Jean-Yves; Hohnadel, Alain; Sicard, Jacques. Hommes et Ouvrages de la Ligne Maginot, Tome 3. Paris, Histoire & Collections, 2003. ISBN 2-913903-88-6 (French)
- Mary, Jean-Yves; Hohnadel, Alain; Sicard, Jacques. Hommes et Ouvrages de la Ligne Maginot, Tome 5. Paris, Histoire & Collections, 2009. ISBN 978-2-35250-127-5 (French)