Fall Of Fort Eben Emael Essay

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The Fall of Fort Eben Emael: Following World War I, in preparation for another potential German invasion, France and Belgium bolstered their defenses along their eastern borders. France built the Maginot Line, a series of walls and fortifications that ran the length of its border with Germany and Switzerland. Belgium strengthened its fortifications along the border with Germany and the Netherlands, including building a fort in the town of Eben Emael. Fort Eben Emael utilized the best technology of the time and was believed to be impregnable. The massive underground complex covered the area of roughly 70 football fields and boasted miles of underground tunnels on two levels and armored turrets with firepower that could reach any target within…show more content…
What Happened “The Allies had correctly predicted that the Germans would attack around the Maginot Line and through Belgium. They were prepared to engage the Germans as they violated Belgium neutrality” (Laughridge, 2006), however, they were not prepared for the speed and sophistication of the attack employed by the Germans. At roughly 2:00am on May 10, 1940, the alarms at Fort Eben Emael sounded. In accordance with the procedures of the fort, Major Jottrand sent soldiers to empty the wooden blockhouses outside of the fort. The officers of Fort Eben Emael used the blockhouses as administrative buildings, and their contents were to be secured in case of attack. Unfortunately, the soldiers assigned to this task were also the firing crew that was supposed to fire the blank rounds to summon the reserve troops. When a different gun crew was assigned to fire the blank rounds, they discovered that the firing pins had been removed and had not been properly reinstalled. Nearly 3 hours after the initial alarm, the gun crew corrected the fault and the sequence was started. In another turn of fate, the muzzle flash ignited the camouflage netting atop the turret and interrupted the firing sequence. The improper sequence, combined with low morale caused many of the reserve troops not to respond (Martin,
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