Bitche, France

Bitche Citadelle

Leading up to 22 May 05, Uli and I coordinated a ride to the Biche Citadelle. This is an impressive fortress that was built and used for the Prussion war, WW1, and WW2. This fortress has never fallen to the enemy, and is in my opinion, contra to the rest of France. The Fortress was built INTO the mountain. It has 12-16 foot thick rock walls. tunnels that go down to the water table, and during war, was capable of holding the entire village along with the troops that were protecting it. The "Tour" is by headsets in either French, German, or English (maybe other languages, but not sure). It took approx 1.5 hours and really only goes through the upper levels... there is MUCH I am quite sure that you will never see very far below the mountain. It has hospital areas, kitchen areas, livestock areas, weapons/gunpowder storage areas, command/control areas, blacksmith areas (for maintaining the cannons), enlisted soldier living quarters, officer living quarters, and areas where the rest of the village stayed when under attack. VERY COOL and VERY worth the visit if you are in the area.

The first couple pictures are of the French bunker/tunnel system that they had to protect them against the German Armies.....France in all their wisdom had a very extensive network of tunnels, bunkers, and gun emplacements to protect them from the East...Great concept. Only major problem was that they placed it on the most likely route that the Germans would use to enter France. Well, the Germans used a less likely way with MANY more trees, cliffs and other natural obsticals that made defense there seem less needed...that coupled with the French short sightedness of having ALL their gun emplacements FIXED to face East....well, the German Army went around the tunnel/bunker system then took them from behind (from the WEST) with no problems as all the guns were fixed in an Eastward facing direction. OOPS! Bet if they ever decide to protect themselves from the East again, they don't fix the guns quite the same way and limit their travel!!

The first pictures were taken by me, the second half of the pictures were taken by Albi. Hope you enjoy them!

Those that went are: Chris (me) riding my E-Glide Standard, Ron riding his Honda Valkyre, Kevin and Hellen riding his Dyna, Uli and Sabine (Sabine refused to ride with Uli on his "Small" 125cc Suzuki, and rode 2 up with Chris as he had the larger, more comfortable seat), and a couple that are good friends with Uli and Sabine, Alby and his wife on his 500cc Suzuki (I think!). Weather for the day was about par for Germany....Cloudy for most of it, but of course, we could NOT have a day of riding without getting wet. We had rain for the last leg riding home. Temps were in the 50's or so. Wish I could have taken more pics of the INSIDE of the fortress, but my camera decided to run out of battery power and the fact that most of the inside locations were going to be hard to capture the details. STRONGLY RECOMMEND you see this for yourself! Double thumbs up!


100 German France border, bunkers and tunnels went for miles_JPG.jpg

101 France lost the border as they fortified only facing East_ Germany went around and got them from behind_JPG.jpg

102 Here is the parking area for this_ 5 bikes, 8 people_JPG.jpg

103 we had Ron, Kevin, Hellen, Uli, Sabine, Chris and one other German couple_jpg.jpg

104 Chris at the historical marker sign_JPG.jpg

105 Ron at the Historical Marker Sign_jpg.jpg

106 Bikes at the base of the Fortress_jpg.jpg

107 Top of Bitche Fortress_JPG.jpg

108 From top of fortress, the only entry into the fortress_JPG.jpg

109 could you imagine trying to take this enterence_JPG.jpg

110 there are actually 3 sections, here is the divide between 2_JPG.jpg

111 one of the cannons that protected the fortress from the Germans_JPG.jpg

112 Stats of the cannon_hope you can read French!_JPG.jpg

113 Looking down on the top of the fortress_JPG.jpg

114 looking out from the top of the fortress_JPG.jpg

115 Chris on the fortress_JPG.jpg

116 The walkway up the fortress_jpg.jpg

117 This way to K'Town!_jpg.jpg

118 Overlooking the Gasthouse on the roof of the fortress_jpg.jpg