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Beer

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  1. Let's move from the fortification system to the something a lot less bright... the airforce. The airforce was quite clearly the weakest point of the Czechoslovak army mostly due to the too conservative approach of the MOD. Nevertheless some interesting designs saw the daylight. Here are couple of those not very well known... Aero A-102. This plane was originally a bi-plane similar to Polikarpov i-15 (top wings connected directly with the fuselage) and one of the competitors to the Avia B-34. It was never built and lost the bid already in paper phase. Nevertheless Aero redesigned the plane to a braced low-wing. It was year 1934 and the MOD was rather conservative and refused such design. A new itteration came in summer 1934 with a shoulder wing configuration similar to Polish PZL P.11 but more aerodynamically clean, better armed and with much stronger engine. Despite the plane had weaker engine than Avia B-534, it was much faster simply because it was no bi-plane. The top speed with locally produced 800 Hp Gnome Rhone Mistral Major 14 Kfs engine was 430 km/h (B-534 had locally produced 860 Hp Hispano Suiza 12Ybrs but the license owner Avia, part of Škoda company, was doing everything it could to prevent other companies to use it). The armament was made of four 7,92 mm MGs vz.30 in the wings and optionally with light bombs. The plane actually flew and went through extensive testing and showed very good haracteristics However in the end it was rejected due to too high landing speed because it had no flaps (140 km/h). That was a real pity because otherwise it was clearly superior design to bi-plane Avia B-534. Avia B-35. OK, not that unknown but neverthless interesting. Czechoslovakia found late that the speed will be crucial in the future air battles. It tried to obtain Hurricanes from GB but the negotiations were not successful. The prototyp of the modern B-35 first flew on 28th September 1938 which is basically all you need to know about the future fate of it. Aside of that the plane was up to date. It had an eliptic wing made of wooden structure with an "armoured plywood" panels (plywood with 0,2 mm aluminium layer). The fuselage was made of steel tubes covered by magnesium-aluminium alloy panels. The engine was supposed to be 1000 Hp Hispano Suiza 12Y-1000C, three-blade adjustable propeller, retractable gear and flaps. The armament was made of one 20 mm Hispano 404 canon and two 7,92 mm MGs vz.30. The theoretical top speed was around 570 km/h. However the first prototype had fixed gear, two-blade wooden propeler and 860 Hp 12Ydrs engine. Despite it had the same engine as the B-534 and not yet the retractable gear it was roughly 100 km/h faster than the B-534 (485 km/h was achieved already in the very first flights). After the occupation the development went pretty slow and in the end 12 B-135 planes were delivered to Bulgaria in 1942 when they were already obsolete. B-135 had the retractable gear but it still had the old 860 Hp engine and the wooden two blade propeler (it achieved 550 km/h with it), moreover the canon was never installed in them. Despite that there are records that on 30th March 1944 one B-135 shot down a Liberator during an atack on Ploesti. Aero A-300. The funy thing about Czechoslovak air force is that in the fall of 1938 it was about to go in the war with Germany with its fastest planes being bombers. The airforce had roughly 60 fast Soviet Tupolev SB-2 bombers eqiped with Czech-made Hispano engines) and a licence production was just starting in the Avia factory with a name Avia B-71. Except that the rest of the bomber air force isn't worth talking about as it was hopelessly obsolete. The MOD knew that and tried to obtain a locally produced modern plane heavier than the Tupolev. The Aero A-300 first flew in spring 1938 but the testing was not finished until after Münich when it was officially adopted without the production ever started. It was a very fast (450-460 km/h) low-wing twin engine bomber with a capacity of up to 1000 kg of bombs. The crew of four had three 7,92 mm MGs (retractable dorsal, and belly posts plus one in the glass front). The engines were 830 Hp Bristol Mercury IX with De Havilland-Hamilton adjustable three-blade propellers. The fuselage was made of steel tubes with aluminium and textile cover. The wings were wooden and the plane had retractable gear and flaps. Letov Š-50. A recon and light bomber plane (with tasks similar to FW-189). Due to some issues in the development it first flew only in September 1938 and shortly after that the development was stopped. The plane had again tubular fuselage structure with aluminium cover but this time even thew wings were of steel tubular design. The engines were 420 Hp Avia Rk-17 equipped with two blade adjustable Hamilton propellers. The gear was fixed. The crew of three had three 7,92 mm vz.30 MGs (one in the Armstrong Withworth turret, one in the belly firing post and one forward firing in the wing). The plane could carry various photocameras, radio station and up to 600 kg of bombs. Aero A-304. This plane was originally a passenger plane ordered by Czechoslovak Airlines but they didn't want to wait and bought Airspeed Envoy isntead. The airforce liked the plane and let it be modified to a recon/light bomber plane. Nineteen were ordered and few of them were probably delivered before Münich (only one confirmed). Luftwaffe used them later as training planes. The fuselage was made of steel tubes covered by plywood and textile. The wings were wooden with plywood cover. The engines 430 Hp Walter Super Castor worked with wooden two blade propellers and the plane could reach 325 km/h with them. The gear was retractable. The crew had three 7,92 mm vz.30 MGs (one in the dorsal turret, one in the belly and one in the frontal post). It could carry 300 kg of bombs. One curiosity at the end. Have you known that interwar Czechoslovakia was using special fuel to decrease the dependence on oil import? It used a fuel called Bi-Bo-Li which had two variants - aviation and vehicle one. The aviation one was made of 44% ethanol, 44% benzene and 12% of kerossene. The vehicle one was made of 50% ethanol, 30% benzene and 20% petrol. The Czechoslovak army and the airforce collected rather large fuel and ammo supplies, in fact reasonably larger than Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe had in late 1938 (not in overall volume but in the time it could use them).
  2. Some weird thing I created 13 years a go when I was a student and had the time...
  3. The article quotes the deputy minister of defence. Actually the article mentioned that as a surprise specifically mentioning the situation with Puma.
  4. According to this article the MOD has a written commitment from all four bidders that they are able to follow the requested specification. That means that PSM really must work on a prolonged Puma with manned turret.
  5. I know it's very old topic but maybe interesting information. According to this article (which is reffering to a book of historian Vladimír Francev) North Vietnam got 1500 Sa-58 in 1965 and starting with 1969 10-15 thousand a year. Sa-58 is rather common in American movies about Vietnam but in reality it could not have been that widespread. Nevertheless the article contains some photos of US soldiers with captured Sa-58. The rifle was first addopted in 1959 and by the time of Vietnam war it was very modern one.
  6. One very important aspect of the modernization of the old vehicles was not mentioned here (sorry, if I overlooked it). By adding the new turret and/or more armor you completely change the weight distribution of the vehicle. See Iraqi T-55 Enigma as a funny example of what could happen. By the way another example (a bit more modern but still) of a modernized serial vehicle with prolonged body, upgraded suspension,new engine and gearbox, completely different sights and everything electronic inside is T-72M4CZ. That modification is pretty weird in fact. On one hand it had modern FSC, panoramatic sights, new power pack with automatic gearbox, new torsion bars, new ERA etc. but it also has the old steel M type turrets (only God himself knows why they didn't take M1 ones - at tleast the body is M1), old 2A46 gun and original autoloader without any modification (only new ammo including Wolfram rods was developed for it).
  7. Possibly last post dedicated to the fortification but a very long one dedicated to the heavy fortifications. I hope that a lot of those peculiar details are new for you. Most of the info comes from very knowledgeable staff of heavy infantry casemate N-S-82. If you ever want to visit some object of Czechoslovak fortification system you must not miss this one because this is the only one fully equipped as it shall have been (in fact it's a bit better equipped than in September 1938 then it was not totally finished inside). All photos are from my phone (it's allowed to take photos inside). N-S-82 is a stand alone infantry casemate located in a line on a slope upon the border crossing Náchod-Běloves. It was built in 1938 in a resistance class II. Which means that it had 2,25 m thick frontal wall (with a stones and earth cover). The roof was 2 m thick and the side and rear facing walls were 1 m thick. The border crossing is down bellow while roughly 1,5 km away on the hill there is an artillery fortress Dobrošov. It was guaranteed to withstand 240 mm artillery shells and 250 kg bombs (according to many authors Luftwaffe had no 500 kg bombs fielded at September 1938 yet) however during weapon testing on a casemate Jordán (experimental one used for fortification and weapon development) which had same resistance class even 305 mm heavy mortar hit didn't penetrate the roof (there were volunteers inside during the test fire!). It is said that there was some damage to the equipment but I don't know more details. On the same picture you can see also a combined anti-tank/infantry obstacle made of steel U-shape profiles welded together and stuck in a concrete base. Behind them there is anti-infantry barbed wire and a line of steel hedgehogs. Anti-infantry barbed wire could have been placed also in front of those rods. At certain place with high danger of tank attacks concrete anti-tank moats wete built too (sometime they can still be found). In 1938 you could find also these older concrete hedgehogs in the area. Those were used only earlier because they had two importnat drawbacks. The first one was that they offered better cover for the attacking infantry and the second was that their large area made them easier to move by shockwaves from artilery. A historical image showing how such line looked like in the September 1938 (where it was finished). This picture shows a heavy object K-S-35. N-S-82 was armed with one 47 mm AT gun, 5 HMG and 5-6 LMG. AT gun with coaxial HMG and a twin HMG were pointing down the valey towards the border crossing. On the opposite side (uphill) there were two single HMGs. LMG were used only in observation cupolas and for close defence of the object (normally the priority was to defend the neighbouring object with primary weapons). Let's go inside. There are three door covered by 2 LMG fire posts and one fire post for personal weapons directly in the entrance which alone had S-shape to prevent any direct fire into the object and on the main door. The first cage door are 200 kg heavy and on the left side behind them there is a fresh-air intake. On the right side there is armored door 600 kg heavy. Behind another corner there is third presurrized door 450 kg heavy. Both heavy door had emergency hatches in them so that the crew could get out if the door were deformed and stuck. The casemate has two floor. The top floor is combat and the bottom one is technical and living one. Every single heavy object had its own water source which must have been able to deliver at least 1,5 litres per minute. In this particular case it was around 4 litres per minute. This is the electric generator which was pretty noisy. It's in fully working state. It's cooling was used for heating the interior but even in summer the inner temperature didn't get upon 17°C and the soldiers often suffered from respiratory or rheumatic issues. This is the filtering and air venting room. On the left side there is the ventilator with back-up handles for manual operation (I tried it myself and it's quite tough). On the right side there are filters which were used only in case of gas attack. The whole object had an overpressure in it which was used also for extracting the fumes from gunnery rooms. This particular object had 32 men crew (only the commander was an officer). The soldiers had one bedroom (see bellow). The sub-officers had their own room with own bed for each one and the commander had also his own room but located on the combat floor. Only Czech or Slovak nationals were allowed to serve in the permanent boarder units manning the heavy fortifications (no German, Poles or Hungarians because low loyality was expected with them). This is part of the bathroom (it's difficult to take some photos inside because it's quite cramped and I don't want to post gazillion of photos, rather only millions). The lavatories had a water filtration station used to prevent pollution of the main water source and a ventilation preventing methane acumulation). Down bellow there was also a food storage, hand granade storage (275 pieces) and a telephone room (on the picture). The bunker had several external telephone lines leading to the neighbouring objects and to the sector command post. As a backup a ground telegraph was used with cable antenas dug underground. Depending on the particular soil composition it was capable of morse communication to the range of 5-10 km. Ground radio antenas for voice communication were not installed by September 1938 (the radio was developed and tested but not fielded). Here you can see some internal communication means in the gunnery room. A simple speaking tube and a telephone. There was another way how to communicate between the observation cupolas and the gunnery rooms and that was a color code (in case of big noise from bombardning for example). With that we got onto the combat floor. This is the LMG firing post for the defence of the rear side. You can see observation insert on the left side which was interchangeable with the LMG. The LMG is vz.26 which I don't need to introduce to you for sure. There were 120 ready-to-fire magazines for each LMG in the object! Here is similar firing post with the observation insert mounted and a removable periscope to the right side of it. That was used to observe the close surroundings and the moats at the weapons. Under the periscope there is a tube for hand grenades used for close defence. A view inside the observation cupola from bellow. The very peculiar thing here is that the floor worked similarly to the office chair and the soldier could very simply adjust the floor position to his height. The middle column was also used for evacuation of spent cartridges. The cupola is made of 200 mm thick cast steel and the inner diameter is 1,35 m. This is a periscoipe which could have been errected through the cupola roof for 360° observation. A simple lift was used to transport LMG mags to the cupola. Some more details before we get to the main weaponry. These are JIGs for MG loading. Top is belt-loading JIG for HMG vz.37 and bellow is a one for mag loading of LMG vz.26. This is the kitchen, gentelmen. Yes, for 32 people! The bunker had food reserves for 14 days but I can hardly imagine to fight 2 weeks inside without getting crazy. This is one very peculiar detail. When the bunker was bombarded by heavy weapons the ceiling could elastically deform. To prevent internal much thinner walls from collapsing they had on top of them a cork layer which worked like a spring reducing the pressure on the walls. Except for the grenades all ammo was stored in the combat department close to the weapons. The capacity of this object was 600 47 mm shells and 600 thousand 7,92x57 rounds. Now imagine that 263 heavy and nearly 10000 light objects were actually built before Münich. What an insane amount of ammo stored in the fortification system! In reality around 3/4 of the ammo was delivered at 28th September but I would say that it's still huge achievement of the army logistics. On the picture you can see AP and HE-FRAG round of the AT gun (from later war production). A third anti-infantry round was being developed but wasn't fielded. I don't know how it's called in English when the round is filled with steel balls. Can you help me? This is the right gunnery room with two single HMG vz.37 and one LMG vz.26 for close defence. Notice that all frontal and side walls and also the ceiling had metalic anti-spall and anti-vibration layer. All main weapons (AT gun and the HMGs) had sights with 2x zoom (upon the gun there is a drawing of the surroundings). Unfortunately not a single original support for the single HMG was preserved and the plans shall be dug somewhere in the German archives. Therefore these are just approximate replicas. The HMG vz.37 (ZB-53) alone is basically what the Brits know as BESA (rechambered to 0.303). Each single HMG had 2 men crew, the shooter and the loader. This is one of only three preserved heavy barrels for the HMG vz.37 in Czechia. This barrel would be used exclusively in fortifications. This is a view into the left gunnery room with an AT gun with coaxial HMG and a twin HMG. Both weapons and supports are original. Both the HMGs and the AT gun could have been quickly aimed by the body force alone without using elevation and traverse screws (that was also a possibility). The twin HMG vz.37 on the picture had a crew of three (one shooter and two loaders). I believe the most interesting thing is the AT gun Škoda vz.36. This particular gun was moved to Atlantic Wall in Norway and in 2002 returned back into N-S-82 and moreover with a spare barrel. There are only around ten of such guns preserved worldwide and very few spare barrels (only one or two in Czechia) and these two have matching serial numbers (173 + 2173; 2173 means second barrel for 173) and moreover they originally belonged to this particular bunker! The gun was capable of very rapid fire. Normally 20-30 aimed shots per mimute (depending on the skill of the crew) or up to 40 rounds per minute in autofire mode. That meant that it fired automatically once it was loaded (this was possible max. for 3 minutes and after a water cooling up to 6 minutes long was needed). The shooter could fire both the AT gun and the HMG by the same hand and he could use his second hand and his body to aim like with a gigantic rifle in a ball joint without using traverse and elevation screws. The gun had three loaders - two for the AT gun and one for the HMG. The gun penetration values vary in sources I saw but it shall be around 50 mm of cemented steel at 500 meters and 30°, i.e. more than enough for 1938. Later in the war special ammo with claimed double penetration values was developed by Škoda but I don't know if ever used anywhere. Well, that was N-S-82. Now some more peculiar things from other objects. This is a 15 cm Röchling shell still being stuck in a frontal wall of N-S-91. This object was built in class III therefore the wall on the picture is 2,75 meters thick and if the object was fully completed it would be covered by stones and earth (those would have likely little effect against the Röchling anyway). The wall was not penetrated. Czech fortifications were used for Röchling development just like later also the Belgian ones. However there is an important difference. I believe there is no Röchling hit in the roof in any Czech object while in Belgium the Germans tried the indirect fire and they achieved some very spectacular penetrations. The direct fire used against Czech fortifications was much less effective in terms of penetration but with the indirect fire it was close to impossible to actually hit something. I believe that this is another Röchling hit in the wall of N-S-49. Maybe a larger calibre for 21 cm guns, honestly I can't recognize. This is an object of an unfinished artilery fortress Skutina and the wall is 3,5 meters thick. It was too high to actually see inside and the object is not accesible from inside for public but it looked like it's not a penetration. Fun fact about this unfinished fortress. The guys who take care of it plan to connect the underground corridor betwen the existing objects where 27 meters were missing by the time when it was abandoned. Last thing is a replica of .380 ACP SMG vz.38 which was never fielded (on display in the object N-S-84). The SMG was basically developed in one month! It had two magazines, straight for 24 and drum for 96 rounds. 3500 pieces were ordered by the fortification command to be used to protect the entry door or in some light objects which were close to each other in difficult terrain instead of the LMG. The SMG was roughly 4x cheaper than the LMG. Only 15 were made before the order was canceled after Münich. Strangely Czechoslovakia which was very successful in small arms development never fielded an SMG in the interwar period. When the army realised it would be good to actually have one it was too late and moreover it had no money for it (at least the cavalery and artilery wanted it). Under the SMG You can also see Czechoslovak handgrenades from 1930'.
  8. That's from a hilarious commedy with Bud Spencer and Terence Hill. That's allowed imho.
  9. I think that the Tiger from Saving private Ryan or Uprising is missing here. Should be this one from Saumur museum according to this 14 years old discussion: https://www.valka.cz/Saving-Private-Ryan-Zachrante-vojina-Ryana-t15045
  10. Few photos (from my phone so pardon for the quality). I will add some more later. Artilery casemate R-S-79 of Hanička fortress (north-east Czechia). It shall have been armed with three 100 mm rapid firing howitzers which were never installed (plus several MGs and granade tubes). This type of objects was the largest in the whole fortification system. It is made of 5600 tons of reinforced concrete and the walls and roof are up to 3,5 meters thick (same for all object of artilery fortresses). By the late 1938 neiter Wehrmacht nor Luftwaffe had any weapon capable of guaranteed penetration. You can see damage caused by German tests. They achieved some penetrations only when firing salvos point blank from the rearward side. Hanička fortres was used for development of special Röchling bunker-penetrating shells and hand-held cumulative bombs. I am not able to recognize damage potentially caused by them. For sure one Röchling shell is displayed (badly corroded) in the fortress. Infantry casemate R-S-78 of fortress Hanička. It was one of the object used to defend the main artilery object. Its main armament was a cupola armed with heavy twin MG (plus several other MGs and grenade tubes). Unfortunately what You see is only an observation cupola (light MG could have been fired from it) not the heavy MG one. As You can see all weapons were installed behind a deep moat with grenade tubes and covered by a thick roof from the top. Generally the heavy Czechoslovak fortresses were similar to the French ones but as I don't know those very well I can't tell you how exactly they differed. In the war the object would have a camouflage coloring and net. Stand-alone infantry casemate R-S-87 covering a road over a mountain ridge. It's main armament is a 90 mm mortar installed in the moat. Also 47 mm anti-tank gun and two twin heavy MGs and several light MGs. Its walls are up to 1,75 meters thick and it's therefore one of the less resistant heavy objects however it is placed in difficult terrain. The bunker is private and the chimney is of course not original. Here would be the mortar. Twin heavy MG and a light MG on the left side of it. The firing posts are not original as those were removed probably for Atlantic Wall. Famous hedgehog and behind it you can see the anti-tank gun in a spherical armoured post. 47 mm AT gun. Stand-alone heavy infantry casemate R-S-81 after German tests (with armored firing posts taken to Atlantic Wall I believe). This object was built in the same resistance class as the one upon. Since it is one of the lightests heavy objetcs the results of the artilery tests on the normally inaccessible walls are not very impressive. An exampe of anti-infantry obstacles with a light object vz.37 in the background (this time from the southern border with Austria). Where armor attack was expcected the obstacles were made of mixture of concrete moats and steel or older concrete hedgehogs. The firing lines were of course free of trees which was advantage and disadvantage in the same time. Large majority of Czech border areas is hills, mountains and forests. That made it much more difficult for attackers but on the other hand the free of trees firing lines were clearly visible from the air. This is how the pillbox looks from the side of the enemy. Even these light pillboxes had walls up to 80 cm (120 cm for less common but still widely used reinforced variant). Together with stones and earth on the front side they are claimed to be capable to withstand 88 mm Flak fire (per German tests) or 105 mm howitzer hits (150 mm for the reinforced variant). The crew of max. seven men (depending on the type) had light MGs, grenade tubes and personal weapons. Detail of the firing post for the vz.26 light MG (sometimes also old heavy MG vz.24 was used I think - the MG vz.24 was rechambered Schwarzlose for 8 mm Mauser ammo). You can see how the firing post is covered by the shielding wall from the fire coming from the enemy. These pillboxes covered basically all enemy borders (except extremely difficult terrain where only field fortifications weere used) and usually in several lines. Nearly 10000 of them were finished. Unlike in France there was nowhere to pass around. At the end of the war there was a skirmish between Wehrmacht and US army where German soldiers tried to use these pillboxes. They could however use them basically only as a shelter because at that time the fans were removed and when someone fired from inside the pillbox was immediately full of exhaust gasses. Pillbox vz.37 from the rear (friendly) side. The biggest problem of these bunkers was absence of any anti-tank weapons but by the time of Münich no fielded German tank had more than 14,5 armour and even the MGs could be dangerous for them since the gaps between the bunkers were usually short. Of course AT guns could and would be used in field positions to support the lines of bunkers. Another issue was with the ammo. It was simply not possible to store much ammo inside therefore the bunkers needed ammo supplies (unlike large fortresses with underground warehouses and even own water wells). Part of the pillboxes on the iron curtain were in use by the army till 1990' and are therefore in good condition. They have however often different firing posts (for UK vz.59) and often more stone and earth cover (officially to prevent overturning them by nuclear explosion). Normally the pillbox has some 2 meters of concrete undeground.
  11. Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that the initial requirements were identical. In fact I haven't seen the initial requirements personally so I can't comment what was stated in them. Nevertheless I would not be surprised if they were changed because we have already seen number of spectacular twists and turns in the helicopter tender for example.
  12. Just a small additional info the weird looking Czech IFV aquisition tender (less weird than our initial multirole helicopter requirements) from this interview with general Miroslav Hlaváč (deputy chief of staff): https://www.idnes.cz/zpravy/nato/hlavac-bvp-obrnen-pasovy-armada-tendr-obrana-nato-aliance.A190530_105753_zpr_nato_inc The requirement for 8 dismounts means that the army wants to have a possibility to have mission-specific squad. One option is 6 soldiers + 2 specialists such as forward air/artilery controlers, drone operators, C4ISTAR specialists or canine officiers. The other is two 4-men squads in one vehicle. They claim that it's part of an infantry-centric doctrine. The other important point is that Czech army actually has long experience with unmanned turrets (Samson RCWS-30 on Pandur II) and the fact they decided to use manned turrets in the new vehicles mean that they see it as more practical for frontline vehicles (they specifically mention situation awarness or better reliability and serviceability as a reason). The vehicle can be heavy. The army considers amphibious capability of Pandurs as sufficient for its needs. More detailed (yet still not very much) requirements: Number of vehciles: 210 Crew: 3 + 6 soldiers + 2 specialists 7 variants: IFV, command, recon, engineering, ambulance, artilery recon, recovery Lifetime 30 years (min. 10 000 km to general rebuild) Programmable ammo for the 30 mm canon Coaxial MG 7,62 mm ATGM (2 in container, 1 in the vehicle) Smoke grenade launchers covering 360° Sights with min. 4 000/3500 m range day/night Balistic protection (base vehicle min. K2 + addon min. K5) - does that mean STANAG 4569 II/V? APS Protection against IED (jammer) Survilance systems: day CCD camera, night IR camera, laser rangefinder Top speed on the road 65 km/h, in terrain 40 km/h Range min. 500 km Air-transportable Intercom + VKV/UKV radios voice/data (GPS, TACSAT and cypher connection) Desptite that it looks like none of the bidders withdrew.
  13. Hello guys, I think that possibly some of you might be interested in our interwar Czechoslovak stuff. For starter I've decided to share with you a wonderful online document about our fortification system. At the very beginning I'd like to say that I have nothing common with its creators. It's just an incredible gem that deserves to be shared with you. If you know it, sorry for that, nevertheless I think most of you don't. Since I am new here I will not waste your time debating what if scenarios. Don't worry. Well, enough of talking. What I want to share with you is a massive interactive map of our fortification system containing nearly 11 thousand objects with information about every single one of them. You can switch on even such crazy details like cable networks or construction facilities used for building of the fortifications. The map is directly linked with an online database of the fortification buildings where more than 2000 objects are listed with detailed description (plans, 3D models, photos, weapons, crew, important dates, recent state etc.). Unfortunately this database is only in Czech language but it can be a great source of information for you anyway (especially when linked with the map). The good thing is that the map alone supports other languages and you can easily switch them. This is the base view where I have already switched on all objects. You can change background map type, information etc. on the left side and visualise everything what You want to see on the right side. Let's zoom in a little bit. Here You can see one of the strongest fortified places - a valey at Králíky in north-east Czechia. As you can see the object marks have different shapes, colours etc. The shape is matching the menu on the right side. Triangles are concrete pillboxes vz. (mark) 36. Small circles are pillboxes vz. 37. The letter inside means type of the object (with one firing post, two on each side, angled one etc.). The color can be decoded from the information table in the bottom right corner. Basically it shows whether the object was actually built, if it was later destroyed or the works were only started or even not so. The heavy objects are the large circles. The numbers have also a meaning. It's a resistance class (1 -> 2 -> I -> IV from the lowest to the most resistant). You can switch on also the ground plans of the artilery groups (fortresses with underground network between the casemates). You can see it here (fortress Hůrka). You can also switch on the firing lines. Here You can see heavy artilery coverage of the most fortified section of the line (the sad thing is that no heavy artilery pieces were installed by the time of Münich crisis - but lets leave such details aside for now). You can switch on the firing lines even for the pillboxes as you can see here on the example from the souther border. Nearly all Czechoslovak objects were built for side fire having superheavy resistance frontal walls with stone and earth covers. If You zoom even more and switch for satelite map you get something like this. In this case the red color shows anti tank 47 mm guns and the blue color is 7,92 mm (sometimes double) heavy machine guns of a heavy separated casemate (possible use of light machine guns in observation cupolas is not marked). The grey color shows vz.26 light machine guns of the neighbouring pillbox. You can click on every single object and you get available details. The first icon shows detailed lines of fire including realistic range. Bellow the L: L1 M ZN 3-4 means: Left side: L1 = 47 mm anti tank gun with 7,92 mm coaxial heavy MG; M = twin 7,92 heavy MG; ZN is I think type of the cupola but I'm not actually sure about it. The codes for the weapons are shown at the table in the lower right corner (you need to keep the cursor on the question mark). The Second icon leads to a database of objects which is unfortunately only in our weird language. Anyway you can dig a lot of information from it as well (drawings, recent state, photos, exact location etc.). The best thing is that most of the objects still exist till today (all of those heavy ones). The Germans managed to destroy roughly 2000 light objects (and gain some 11000 tons of steels from them). They managed to damage also many heavy ones when they were testing weapons and tactics for the future use duirng the WW2. They even moved some cupolas (and of course the famous hedgehogs) to other fortifications along the Atlantic wall or elsewhere. Many of them are made into better or worse museums today (large quantity is private now). Huge number of them is just left alone and freely accessible for anyone. If you are more interested I can give you tips which ones to visit. On the Czech map portal You can use a mode panorama which is basically the same thing as Google street view but it's much more up to date and it's nearly everywhere where they got at least with a motorbike. Since the fortifications are also visible there, you check where they are for easier access. If you are interested I can continue the fortification topic with some other information (I'm no historian but I have visited quite many of the objects myself and read some books about them). OK, so this was my first post on the forum. I hope you find it interesting and maybe for some of you it can be a reason for a trip, who knows :-)
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