Casemate of Pont Saint Louis
Petit bunker près de l'ancienne douane supérieur. Photo : Tangopaso
The casemate is to be found in a small square opposite the French customs building ...
The casemate of Pont Saint Louis is to be found in a small square opposite the French customs building to the left of the Number 5 trunk road, barely 7 metres from the border. It consists of the casemate itself, an anti-tank barrier and a permanent mine device (dispositif de mines permanent or DMP) located 20 metres behind at the Garavan crossroads, opposite the current police station. It also comprises an anti-tank barrier completed by a minefield, i.e. two rows of 6 holes in which Ollivier piquets (105 mm shells mounted on steel stakes) were set. The anti-tank barrier was strengthened with torque rods and the obstacle was completed with barbed wire. Originally, a trench led towards the double doors on which there was a support for an FM 24/29 used for the close defence of the access trench. This position was used for launching signalling grenades or rockets in order to request artillery fire (green rocket) or possible withdrawal of the company (red rocket). Construction of the fortification The fortification was built by a civil company at a cost of 0.34 million old Francs. For comparison purposes, the Cap Martin fortification cost 17 million Francs. The pilot study dates back to the 1st October 1930, but a project from the 14th March 1940 allowed the acquisition of extra premises. The structural work was finished in August 1932 following several incidents, in particular problems with the housing for the 37 mm canon. In 1934, the fortification was permanently commissioned. The casemate was finally finished, despite the doubts raised by General Besson when he inspected the fortification in April 1938: "this blockhouse won't last 5 minutes... ".
Description of the fortification We enter through a narrow corridor about twelve metres long, 0.80 metres wide and 1.70 metres high, which leads to the firing chamber. Opposite the entrance there is a small 2 metre square room, which contains a ventilation system, a filtering box and a space that is also used for ventilation. Outside, there is the OTCF radio station aerial and telephone cable linking the building with Cap Martin. The firing chamber contains a slot for an FM 24/29 and space to house either the 37 mm 1934 model anti-tank canon or Reibel machine guns. Taking into account the proximity to the border and the reduced firing range (6 metres wide and 10 metres long) the canon has always remained in the space and the pair of machine guns have never been used. A grenade launcher chute is located to the right of the anti-tank housing.
The crew of the casemate was taken from the 96th Alpine Fortress Battalion and comprised Sergeant Bourgoin, Corporal Lucien Robert, some alpine soldiers, Gaston Chazarin, Marcel Guzzi, Nicolas Petrio, André Garon and Paul Lieutaud and was commanded from 17th June 1940 by sub-lieutenant Charles Gros. The casemate and its crew were cited on the Order of the Army by General René Olry.
The casemate of Pont Saint Louis Esplanade Jojo Arnaldi 06500 Menton Tel.: +33 (0) 6 64 26 34 61 or +33 (0) 6 69 48 69 57 Access : Bus lines 3 and 8 from Menton railway station Open to the public all year round by appointment. From June to September: on Saturdays by appointment and on Sundays from 9 am to 12 pm and from 2 pm to 6 pm Prices Group (more than 10 people): 1€ 50 Adults: 1€00 Children (under 10 years old): 0€50 Free (on production of card) for Police, military police, customs officers, ex-servicemen and military personnel. Document in Pdf format - 5 Mo June 1940 - the glorious defence of the Pont Saint-Louis - Source: www.maginot.org
Esplanade Jojo Arnaldi 6500
06 64 26 34 61 06 69 48 69 57
Groupe (+ de 10 personne): 1,50 € Adultes: 1 € Enfants (- de 10 ans): 0,50 € Gratuit : Policiers, gendarmes, douaniers, anciens combattants, militaires
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