1940. The more one advances in “funny war” and the more the French high command worries in connection with its unfinished fortifications against which the German armaments could be increasingly effective.

February 1940. A new question arises in connection with bells GFM, these eyes of the works, their only truly parts vulnerable which are seen of too far and which are not even protected from the Hopkinson effect! And the question which installation is of importance:

new bombs with very large breath wouldn't they have a devastator effect on bells GFM and their occupants?


On February 2, 1940, by DM n°801-2/4S, the ministry for the War prescribes a series of experiments then to be carried out on one of the model GFM has of a work of the Alps in order to study the effects of the large explosions on the material and the physiology of its occupants. The work was selected vis-a-vis in Italy which, although expressing signs of belligerency, did not enter yet in open war.

3 experiments are then carried out on April 23, 1940 at the evening, with the work of the Laundrette (Lavoir_) (SF Savoy). The material of the GFM is traditional: épiscopes L and a FM on support not reinforced (model A). In such circumstances the usual occupants of the bell, of course, were replaced by animals: 2 dogs for which the veterinary surgeon colonel Valade is charged to analyze the state.

Like the floor of the GFM, although mobile, does not make it possible all the same to hoist the animals up to the level of the crenels, where are normally the heads of the guetteurs, of the trestles are posed on this floor so that the dogs are more close possible épiscopes.

However, as the sought-after goal is to see whether the shock wave produced by the explosion is not causes internal lesions, it matters that the animals are not incidentally wounded, for example, by the pulling up of a épiscope. To avoid this effect a rigid net is thus interposed between the equipment and the dogs.

The loads are placed at 7 meters of the épiscopes and are fired successively, by ascending value: first is of 40 kg, the second of 80 kg and the third of 100 kg.

The results are very satisfactory, which made it possible besides to conclude the experiment its. And in his report/ratio Colonel written Valade, inter alia:

the animals presented any organic disorder neither sensory, they expressed neither agitation, nor abatement (it should be noted that the equipment of FM and épiscopes resisted and were not torn off)

On May 9, 1940, in its report, the Permanent Delegation of the Technical Sections, with the ministry for the War, writing:

After the implementation of the complete series of the loads specified with the program, no deterioration was noted on the material, nor no effect on the animals placed inside the bell.

The GFM seem to be always good for the service.

In this day before “famous” May 10, 1940 the officers, brought together for the circumstance, thus had still, and undoubtedly, of what to be optimistic!



Dogs replace the men

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Maginot line - GFM; Sources: SHAT Vincennes and documents Philippe and Michel Truttmann. ER Cima ©2003-2008

0_*; Local files; 1_*; Concerns; 2_*; Experiments