Fort Eben-Emael (French: Fort d'Ében-Émael) is an inactive Belgian fortress located between Liège and Maastricht, on the Belgian-Dutch border, near the Albert Canal, and designed to defend Belgium from a German attack across the narrow belt of Dutch territory in the region. Constructed in 1931–1935, it was reputed to be impregnable and at the time, the largest in the world. The fort was successfully neutralized by glider-borne German troops (56 men) on 10 May 1940 during the Second World War. The action cleared the way for German ground forces to enter Belgium, unhindered by fire from Eben-Emael. Still the property of the Belgian Army, the fort has been preserved and may be visited.
On 10 May 1940, 78 paratroopers of the German 7th Flieger (later 1st Fallschirmjäger Division) landed on the fortress with gliders (type DFS 230), armed with special high explosives to attack the fortress and its guns. Most of the fort's defenses were lightly manned and taken by complete surprise. Much of the fort's defensive armament was destroyed in a few minutes. The attackers were unable to penetrate inside the underground galleries, but the garrison was unable to dislodge them from the surface of the fort. The fortress surrendered one day later, when the German paratroopers were reinforced by the German 151st Infantry Regiment. While 1200 soldiers were authorized to be at the fort on any given day, only 650 were at the fort with an additional 233 soldiers 6 km away at the time of the German assault.
However, the Germans had planned the capture of the fort well in advance. In preparation they had practiced assaulting a full-scale mock up of the fort's exterior in occupied Czechoslovakia using the recently built and captured border fortifications that were modeled to a large degree on western designs. Adolf Hitler himself conceived of a plan to take over the fort by getting men on the fort by using gliders to overcome the problem of concentrating an airdrop on a small target, and utilizing the new top secret shaped charge (also called "hollow charge") bombs to penetrate the cupolas.
Good espionage and superior planning, combined with unpreparedness on the Belgian side, helped make the execution of Hitler's top secret plan a swift and overwhelming success. The capture of Eben-Emael involved the first utilization of gliders for the initial attack and the first use of hollow charge devices in war. The gliders, led by First Lieutenant Rudolf Witzig, landed on the roof of the fortress and being totally silent took the defenders by complete surprise. There they were able to use the hollow charges to destroy or disable the gun cupolas. They also used a flamethrower against machine guns. The Belgians did destroy one of the key bridges, preventing it from being used by the Germans but also preventing a relieving force from aiding the fortress. The Germans lost only 6 of the assaulting engineers and had 21 wounded, keeping pinned all the defenders until the arrival of the main attacking army. After the extraordinary success in the capture of the fort, Hitler personally decorated all the participants in the assault. Eben Emael, considered the strongest fortress in the world, was the linchpin of the Belgian main line of defense and dominated all terrestrial communications around the Albert Canal. It was a sensational coup and its loss delivered a hard blow from which the Belgian Army was not able to recuperate. (source: Wikipedia )
Thank you for visiting and all the comments on my previous images
BTW they dugout more then 5km (3 miles) of these underground galleries.
Critiques | Translate
Highmountains (2255) 2012-11-10 2:30
It's a very well composed photograph. You have taken advantage of the internal lighting to deliver a seriese of symmetrical arches of light and shadow.
There are three lines all along the passage. The one at the top is of the seriese of white lamps. Two darker lines (probably wires) on either side balances the composition.
The long path in semi darkness is well captured and the paint on both sides along the path adds to the compactness of the photograph.
The Notes are interesting and informative.
Thanks for sharing, Eric !!
mirosu (14984) 2012-11-10 3:37
Perfect view through this long gangway. Excellent DOF and well chosen viewpont. I like very much this symmetrical composition. Have a great weekend.
finlay (1549) 2012-11-10 8:07
The View along the narrowing corridor gives a great sense of perspective. The alternating areas of light and shadow adds to that effect too. Not the most welcoming place to be perhaps, but certainly one with an interesting history.
timecapturer (49288) 2012-11-10 9:18
great perspective and light in this shot and a beautifully detailed image of this amazing and historic place. Excellent notes to accompany this atmospheric an expertly presented image. Well done!
Enjoy the weekend - Brian.
rychem (24598) 2012-11-10 9:24
I like the long perspective and the light spots on the walls, nice symmetry, well done
jcpix (13704) 2012-11-10 13:07
I can't imagine what it was really like during that time, dark and dreary I'm sure. This photo is a good representation of that, stark plain surroundings. I do like this though for it's composition and alternating lighting effect, good choice on the vertical format.
raszid62 (18583) 2012-11-10 13:24
Corridor of the fort reminds us of gloomy days of World War II. Well-composed image, almost perfect symmetry. Very good sharpness.
aliabazari (15949) 2012-11-10 18:17
Selecteer een lay-out erg mooi en aantrekkelijk. Goede belichting met een uitstekende framing. Goed gedaan mijn vriend.
tedesse (25133) 2012-11-10 23:46
Excellent POV and perspective!
Beautiful symmetrical frame, good sharpness and colors.
karacabeylis (1465) 2012-11-12 13:26
a perfectly managed shot on account of showing a efficient depth and composition.
bayno (18342) 2012-11-19 14:36
very good perspective an managed of the light...very good exposure too...
LondonBoy (1386) 2012-11-21 1:11
Bonjour eric et bienvenu a TE :-)
J'aime beacoup cette photo a cause des coulers mate qui resemblent blance et noir, l'effet de profondeur et les ombres... composition parfaite. Felicitations et merci de partager sur TE.
fotka (3625) 2012-12-01 5:36
This is very nice picture in long perspective with repeating elements. You show nicely light and shadow in this long passage. Good quality photo with perfect colors, light, sharpness and very interesting note.
Have a nice weekend,
- Copyright: Eric Van Dael (Eric_vd) (289)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2012-04-29
- Categories: Ruins
- Camera: Canon 5 D Mark II, Canon EF 70/200 f/2.8L IS II USM
- Exposure: f/2.8, 1/60 seconds
- More Photo Info: view
- Photo Version: Original Version
- Date Submitted: 2012-11-10 2:19