Fort Eben Emael



Eben Emael is a key fort in the Belgium version of the Maginot Line.  It is famous because it was considered impenetrable.  The German Luftwaffe thought otherwise and on 10 May 1940,  sent a re-enforced platoon in 11 gliders to land on its roof and take the 500+ man garrison.  Before I visited the site, I imagined that the bunker complex would be very small.  Actually, it is huge and the size of an American battalion drop zone.  However, the fact is that the Germans were quality over quantity and only used the amount of men they needed to take the key fort.  Also, consider that they landed at 4:00 in the morning in total darkness in gliders!  You can also see the results of a new German secret weapon...the shaped charge.  The Germans placed the 50kg shaped charges on the roofs of several gun turrets and punched holes in them as well as killing the gunners inside.  After the battle, Hitler ordered these holes to be covered with concrete as to not reveal the secret of the shaped charge when Japanese and other Axis dignitaries came to visit the site of the amazing assault.  The concrete has since been picked out to reveal the effects of the German secret weapon.  Below are two links to PDF files to show you how the fort looks from the surface and below the surface as well as some pictures that I took during the tour. 

images/EbenEmael/Document.pdf

images/EbenEmael/EE2.pdf

 

Click Pictures Below to Enlarge

 

Model of JU 52 pulling a glider.  The museum is located in the Fort Cantina deep inside the fortress.  Tours are given about once a month.  You can get the exact dates on the website at :

http://www.fort-eben-emael.be/English/Frame1_English/frame1_engels.htm

You can tour the topside of the fort at anytime.  However, once you have seen one fort from the inside, you have seen them all.  Don't plan your trip exclusively by the schedule of the tours; there are other forts open year round in France. 

   

Relics of the battle in the museum. 

  

Pock-marked observation ports.  The results of WWI mentality vs. German shock troops!

(#1 on PDF Map)

   

View while standing on the North  (#9 on PDF Map) copula and looking in to the perimeter of the fort. 

 

The results of the jet produced by a 120 lbs of plastic explosive. (#11 on PDF Map)

    

(#11, 13, and 15 on PDF Map)

   

(#15 on PDF Map)

         

More bunkers, damage, and views of the interior from #9 PDF.


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