|Class||Very Resistant Bunker|
The Siegfried Blockhaus (Siegfried Line) is a highly-defended German bunker, capable of withstanding multiple hits to its body frame while dishing out serious damage to enemy armored units. Two Siegfried Blockhauses are featured in the demo as a secondary objective.
This reinforced bunker is Germany's reply to France's Maginot Bunker, though possessing one less anti-tank gun. Both are very effective against ground targets, but massive numbers, artillery, and an organized air attack can destroy it. Outstanding defensive results can be obtained with usage with the Machine Gun Nest.
Although possessing one less AT gun than the Maginot Bunker, this gun has a longer range of fire.
Despite France's declaration of war on Germany at the beginning of the Second World War, there was no major combat at the Siegfried Line at the start of the campaign in the west. Instead, both sides remained stuck in the so-called Phoney War, where neither side attacked the other and both stayed in their safe positions. The Reich Ministry of Information and Propaganda drew foreign attention to the unfinished Westwall, in several instances showcasing incomplete or test positions to portray the project finished and ready for action. During the Battle of France, French forces made minor attacks against some parts of the line but the majority was left untested. When the campaign finished, transportable weapons were removed from the Siegfried Line and used in other places. The concrete sections were left in place in the countryside and soon became completely unfit for defense. The bunkers were instead used for storage.
With the D-Day landings in Normandy on 6 June 1944, war in the west broke out once more. On 24 August 1944, Hitler gave a directive for renewed construction on the Siegfried Line. 20,000 forced laborers and members of the Reichsarbeitsdienst (Reich Labour Service), most of whom were 14-16-year-old boys, attempted to reequip the line for defence purposes. Local people were also called in to carry out this kind of work, mostly building anti-tank ditches.
During construction, it was already clear that the bunkers could no longer withstand the newly developed armour-piercing weapons. At the same time as the Siegfried Line was reactivated, small concrete "Tobruk" bunkers were built along the border to the occupied area. These bunkers were mostly dugouts for single soldiers.
In August 1944, the first clashes took place on the Siegfried Line; the section of the line where most fighting took place was the Hürtgenwald area in the Eifel, 20 km southeast of Aachen. An estimated 120,000 troops—plus reinforcements—were committed to Hürtgen. The battle in this confusing, heavily forested area claimed the lives of 24,000 troops plus 9,000 non-battle casualties. The German death toll is not documented.
After the Battle of Hürtgenwald, the Battle of the Bulge began, starting at the area south of the Hürtgenwald, between Monschau and the Luxembourgish town of Echternach. This offensive was a last-ditch attempt by the Germans to reverse the course of the war. It cost the lives of many without producing any lasting success.
There were serious clashes at other parts of the Siegfried Line and soldiers in many bunkers refused to surrender, often fighting to the death. By early 1945 the last Siegfried Line bunkers had fallen at the Saar and Hunsrück.
Strategies and TacticsEdit
- The best way to use Siegfried Blockhauses is to deploy them near major weaknesses and supply lines after advancing forward against the enemy. This helps to consolidate your position, but also allows you to pool your resources and field more advanced units to crush the enemy forces, all while severely limiting the enemy's movement and economy.
- Be sure to cover these with camouflage nets. As with all buildings and defensive structures, they are highly susceptible to artillery barrages.
- It can be useful to keep a recon unit near their position. Even if it is just a Kubelwagen, it will help extend the range of these structures.