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Information - Swiss Military Bunkers, some privately owned museums

"Bert" Weedon

Alan "Bert" Weedon, ex Bawdsey, ex Orfordness
28DL Full Member
#1
The Swiss haven't had a war for more than 100 years, call them neutral, call them cowards, but in the 1940's they became worried that Adolf might pop over and check they were looking after his gold in a professional manner.

The thing was the Swiss weren't very numerous, nor very rich in those days, so a famous general had the idea of retreating into the mountains and fighting the enemy from above. The problem was the missus, the kids and the cigarettes were all left down in the bottom of the valleys. However they pressed ahead and built bunkers into nearly every mountain and every main approach to cities. They even built special farmhouses with windows that dropped down, allowing cannon to fire up to 20 miles across the valleys. At the same time they allowed the Nazis to cross Switzerland on their way to and from Italy, so there never was an actual military invasion.

These bunkers are still around, most were de-commissioned between 1990 and 2000, and many have been bought by individuals that need a bit of safe storage, computer data etc, and a few by military fan clubs.

I am posting here the details of three sites I have visited, there are many more!! Access is not terribly difficult, you park the car, pay about £10 and walk inside. If anyone is very interested I can do more specific research.

Please use Google translate, there isn't a lot of stuff in English, what does exist leaves out half the detail.

Many of these museums are not open all year round, nor every day. Usually the local tourist office has details.
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Swiss Military Bunkers


Overview: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Redoubt_(Switzerland)
Camouflaging: https://www.google.co.uk/?gws_rd=ssl#q=swiss+camouflage+bunkers

All the sites could be sealed against a gas attack, and were supplied with filtered air and a water supply.
The gun barrel couldn't be sealed easily, so it was mounted poking out of a small hole, and the operator team
wore gas masks. The infantry lived in the bunker, and patrolled outside with rifles. There were usually heavy
machine guns deployed from fixed positions to cover the local approach roads, sometimes anti tank guns..
Approach roads were often mined, which could be detonated if the enemy vehicles became too close.
There were no anti aircraft defences, they relied on secrecy and camouflage. Even today the bunkers in the
mountains would be very hard to destroy, as the gun turret has a very small opening.

You need good walking shoes and a jacket, the sites are moist and cold, about 8 deg C, ~ 47 deg F
there are always stairs to climb, so wheel chairs and push chairs are not allowed.
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Fort Fuerigen

the site is on the lake road, about 12 Km from Luzern railway station

Address:
Kehrsitenstrasse, 6362 Stansstad, Canton Nidwalden. GPS: 46.983659, 8.348436

Google Map
https://www.google.ch/maps/place/Festung+Fürigen/@46.9825169,8.3489723,17z/data=!4m13!1m7!3m6!1s0x478ff9e1dca0dfa5:0x22c4735f56c3b8ca!2sKehrsitenstrasse,+6362+Stansstad!3b1!8m2!3d46.9821692!4d8.3452816!3m4!1s0x0:0x91f2234de0b61527!8m2!3d46.9835937!4d8.3484882

https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Festung_F%C3%BCrigen

http://unterirdischeschweiz.ch/96462.html

Photos,
http://www.festung-oberland.ch/Gebirgsarmeekorps 3/Reduitbrigade 22/A2255 Fuerigen/A2255 Fuerigen/Galerie A2255.html

Built in February 1941 to July 1942, in service 1942 – 1987.

Two 7.5 cm cannons, range ~ 8 miles, plus 3 heavy machine guns for defence. Many museum displays.

This is a popular and very well known site, it's open most days in the Summer,
you are given a paper guide and you make your own way around.

But call ahead to make sure it is open! E-Mail info@nidwalden.com
Nidwalden Tourist Office
P.O. Box, Postfach 1045
6371 Stans
Tel. +41 (0)41 610 88 33
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Fort de Pré-Giroud

the site is about 4.7 km by road from Vallorbe railway station (North west Switzerland).

Address:

le Rosay, 1337 Vallorbe, Cantone Vaud. GPS: 46.708700, 6.408500

Google Map
https://www.google.ch/maps/place/Pré-Giroud+Military+Fort/@46.708695,6.408484,17z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x478db3e0cfcd427d:0x3c377a8021f30820!8m2!3d46.7086913!4d6.4106727


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_de_Pr%C3%A9-Giroud

https://www.pre-giroud.ch/index.php?sl=EN

Photos; https://www.google.com/search?site=imghp&tbm=isch&source=hp&biw=1210&bih=597&q=Pré-Giroud&oq=Pré-Giroud&gs_l=img.12...10702.10702.0.32336.1.1.0.0.0.0.447.447.4-1.1.0....0...1ac.2.64.img..0.0.0.1AArJmJ0E8s

Built between 1937 and 1939, in service until 1980's, manned by 200 soldiers, including an infantry defence.

Three 7.5 cm cannons with range of about 8 miles, 1 x 4.7 cm gun, plus 6 heavy machine guns for defence.

http://www.myswitzerland.com/en-ch/...hichte/the-pre-giroud-fortress-1939-1945.html

Always phone & check the site is open! Tel. +41 (0)21 843 25 83 www.vallorbe-tourisme.ch

Office du Tourisme de Vallorbe E-Mail contact@vallorbe-tourisme.ch
Grandes-Forges 11
Case postale 90
1337 Vallorbe

if it's still raining, there are limestone caves to visit https://grottesdevallorbe.ch/en/
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Fort Waldbrand


the site is about 5.5 km NW of Beatenberg, going towards Sigriswil,
& about 16 Km (10 miles) by road from Interlaken West railway station.

Address:
Chrachewald, 3803 Beatenberg, Canton Berne GPS: 46.693828, 7.752089

Google Map

https://www.google.ch/maps/place/46°41'37.8"N+7°45'07.5"E/@46.6938317,7.7499003,489m/data=!3m2!1e3!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x0!8m2!3d46.693828!4d7.752089


http://www.festung-waldbrand.ch/


https://www.festung-oberland.ch/Gebirgsarmeekorps%203/Reduitbrigade%2021/A1880%20Waldbrand/A1880%20Waldbrand.html

Photos: http://www.festung-waldbrand.ch/GALERIE/Galerie.html

This site grew from a storage place for mobile cannon into an enormous defence site capable of holding 450 men, working 3 shifts. The project started in 1941 and building was continued from June 1942 to February 1944. Over the years it has been heavily modified throughout the cold war, until it ceased to be operational on 31.12.1998.

Armament was 8 x 10.5 cm (4“ cannons) range about 25 miles, 40 km. Plus heavy machine guns

http://www.interlaken.ch/en/region-...eatenberg/tour-of-the-waldbrand-fortress.html

There are guided visits possible on Fridays, tours begin at 14:00 & 16:00, and last about 2 hours
on every Friday in July and August, (Not 1st August - it's a national holiday)
every 1st and 3rd Friday in May and June
every 1st and 3rd Friday in September and October.
at other times by pre arranged appointment at the Tourist Office, it costs at least CHF 150,--

Entrance fees, Adults CHF 15, Children up to 16 years old CHF 10.
Wear good shoes & carry a jacket. altogether a minimum of 10 people is necessary for a tour,
Booking is necessary for all visits,
reserve tour places: up to 4pm (16:00) on the preceding day at:
Beatenberg Tourist Office, Tel. +41 (0)33 841 18 18. E-Mail info@beatenbergtourismus.ch
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