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Author Topic: Concrete Antitank Obstacles  (Read 4485 times)
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« on: February 16, 2010, 05:02:40 PM »


This section deals with the principal types of concrete antitank obstacles erected by the Germans in the coastal defense zones of France, Belgium, and The Netherlands.


a. General

The Germans make a practice of constructing concrete antitank walls in all coastal areas where a strong defense is planned. Walls of this type are used to block streets and roads in coastal towns, at the approaches to strategic points, and on the outskirts of towns, generally. Often the Germans prepare a continuous obstacle along the entire sea front of a town by constructing concrete walls in line with the front elevation of existing buildings. First, rough timber shuttering is erected along the site proposed for a new wall, and then the concrete is poured. Light steel reinforcement is sometimes used, but often there is no reinforcement at all. Often metal hooks project from the top of a wall, to serve as anchors for barbed wire.

To improve the effectiveness of a concrete antitank wall, the Germans often dig a ditch in front of the obstacle or prepare a tank trap in the form of a pit covered with planks and gravel, or garnished netting.

In areas where there are quarries which can supply large quantities of stone, road blocks are often constructed of the native stone, instead of concrete.

b. Continuous Walls

When a continuous wall is erected along the sea front of a coastal town, a minimum thickness of 6 feet is the general rule. It is reported that the average thickness is from 8 to 11 feet. The height of such a wall is usually from 6 to 8 1/2 feet.

c. V-shaped Walls

The Germans frequently erect V-shaped walls across the roads or tracks leading inland (through defiles between cliffs and dunes) from beaches. The point of a V-shaped wall is always toward the sea. These walls are especially common in open coastal stretches between towns. The dimensions of walls of this type are similar to the dimensions of continuous walls. It must be expected that the apex of the V will contain gun emplacements, or that the entire V will have been built to serve as a pillbox.

d. Walls with Gaps

When the Germans build a concrete wall with a gap, the gap is usually wide enough to allow only one vehicle to pass through at a time. The gap can be closed by means of girders, rails, or gates fitted into sockets imbedded in the wall.

It has been reported that in certain European coastal areas the Germans use an interesting type of staggered double road block. These obstacles consist essentially of a pair of walls or barricades, sited one behind the other, but projecting from opposite sides of a road. Each wall projects across 1/2 or 2/3 of the width of the road. These walls, which are never less than 6 feet thick, may be of masonry or concrete, or may simply consist of log barricades filled with earth or sand. The horizontal and vertical logs are about 1 foot in diameter. The vertical logs are driven deep into the ground, and additional resistance is provided by diagonal bracing. Obviously, such obstacles are intended to slow down advancing vehicles, and thereby render them much more susceptible to attack.


a. Dragons' Teeth

Concrete obstacles known as "dragons' teeth" are used by the Germans to block streets, exits from quays, and well-defined beach exits where the level of the beach is approximately the same as that of the roads leading inland. A typical arrangement consists of four to eight staggered rows of tapered dragons' teeth, with 6 to 8 feet between the teeth in each row and 6 to 8 feet between rows. Often the bases of the teeth are connected by concrete beams, in lines parallel with the road; this is a means of reinforcing the obstacles against possible overturning. The total height of these obstacles may be from 3 to 6 feet.

b. Plain Blocks

Plain concrete blocks are used in the same way as dragons' teeth, but are also found in defiles between sand dunes, which might afford an entrance inland for vehicles even though no well-defined road exists. These blocks are arranged in from one to three rows, and are not always staggered. In dune country they are also found on forward slopes, near the crests. The blocks may be rectangular (3 feet wide on each side and 4 feet high) or cylindrical (3 to 4 feet in diameter and 4 feet high).


In coastal towns the Germans often use straight or curved steel rails embedded in concrete to block ramps, promenades, streets, and all other exits leading from beaches. Sometimes three or four lengths of straight rail are combined to form a skeleton pyramid, with their bases embedded in concrete and the tops bolted together. Rail-and-concrete obstacles are generally from 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 feet high.

Dragon's teeth (German: Drachenzähne, literally "dragon teeth") are square-pyramidal fortifications of reinforced concrete first used during the Second World War to impede the movement of tanks and mechanised infantry. The idea was to slow down and channel tanks into "killing zones" where they could easily be disposed of by anti-tank weapons.

They were employed extensively, particularly on the Siegfried Line.

In practice, the use of combat engineers and specialist clearance vehicles enabled them to be disposed of relatively quickly, and they proved far less of an obstacle than many had expected.

World War II
Dragon's teeth were extensively used by all sides in the European Theatre. The Germans made extensive use of them in the Siegfried Line and the Atlantic Wall; typically, each "tooth" was 90 to 120 cm (3 to 4 ft) tall depending on the precise model. Land mines were often laid between the individual "teeth", and further obstacles constructed along the lines of "teeth" (such as barbed wire to impede infantry, or diagonally-placed steel beams to further hinder tanks). The French army employed them in the Maginot Line, while many were laid in the United Kingdom in 1940–1941 as part of the effort to strengthen the country's defences against a possible German invasion.

Behind minefields were the dragon's teeth. They rested on a concrete mat between ten and thirty metres wide, sunk in a metre or two into the ground (to prevent any attempt to tunnel underneath them and place explosive charges). On top of the mat were the teeth themselves, truncated pyramids of reinforced concrete about a metre in height in the front row, to two metres high in the back. They were staggered and spaced in such a manner that a tank could not drive through. Interspersed among the teeth were minefields, barbed wire, and pillboxes that were virtually impregnable by the artillery and set in such a way as to give the Germans crossing fire across the entire front. The only way to take those pillboxes was for infantry to get behind them and attack the rear entry. But behind the first row of pillboxes and dragon’s teeth, there was a second, and often a third, and sometimes a fourth.
Due to the huge numbers laid and their durable construction, many thousands of dragon's teeth can still be seen today, especially in the remains of the Siegfried and Maginot Lines.

 Post World War II
Switzerland continues to maintain lines of dragon's teeth in certain strategic areas, and has roadways rigged with teeth that are ready to 'pop up' and complete defensive lines that stretch past the roadways themselves. In the military jargon these constructions are often referred to as 'Toblerone lines', after the chocolate bar.

Dragon's teeth are also present in some areas along the Korean border.

The term has survived into the present day and now also can be used to describe any line of posts or pegs set into the ground to deter vehicle access, for example in rural car parking areas, or alongside roads. Bollard is another term for such a post.

Some countries, such as those made after the breakup of Yugoslavia, have movable teeth, positioned at roadsides at strategic locations, which are to be lifted and placed on the roads.


« Last Edit: February 16, 2010, 05:07:14 PM by papajoad » Logged

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Event Coordinator, Bridge at Remagen,1945 Tidioute ,Pa
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« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2012, 11:50:28 AM »

We trying to work in some of theses ideas for Remagen. More props make it real/

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