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When the fortifications along the North-eastern border were almost complete, the General Staff decided to put up a series of forward concrete posts, known as “strong houses” along the German border. Tasked with giving the alert in the case of a surprise attack and starting to fight along the axes of penetration towards the fortified lines, these posts were thus fully justified.
In 1937, the High Command proposed building the same type of houses along part of the Belgian border, on the right bank of the Meuse. Twenty-two strong houses saw the light of day from Carignan to Hautes-Rivières. Situated next to a neutral country, they were far less interesting than those set up along the German border and their role during the Phoney War was restricted to being border posts. Incorporated into the cavalry’s fall back plan after its mission in Belgium, they turned out to be of no use whatsoever because the pace of the operations was quicker than planned. Abandoned without a fight save for one, they played no part in May 1940 and had been “useless watchmen” really.
Nonetheless they remain witnesses of this period which time is obliterating. It’s to avoid them disappearing totally from peoples’ memory that it seemed useful to us to make them live again through this book, illustrated with 225 photos and forty or so maps.
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