The Maginot Line - A misunderstood history

Tourelle de mitrailleuses

Retractable MG turret

The origins of the 61 retractable machine gun (MG) turrets, build into the ouvrages of the Maginot Line, go back as far as 1893. The army engineers started work on a turret model, of which the GF4 Model 1899 was installed 29 times at Verdun between 1895 and 1914. However, the Maginot Line retractable MG turrets were more powerful, technically more refined and had, apart from the concept, few similarities with the ones in the Verdun area.

Retractable MG turret
Total weight 95,9 tonnes
Outer diameter 1,98m
Roof armour 30cm
Side armour 30cm
Total height (when up) 93 cm

On the Anciens Fronts, virtually all the large and small ouvrages were equipped with this turret. Sometimes one to three turrets per ouvrage. It was often flanked by one or two GFM cloches, or with casemate mounted (infantry) weapons.

The MG turret had three levels, just like all the other retractable turrets used in the ouvrages. The firing chamber was the upper level, the other levels are discussed further in the text.

A gunner (also turret commander) and a loader were positioned in a very confined space on the upper level which was accessed by a narrow hatch.