VALLO ALPINO - BLOCKADE

"CRUSCEVIE"

Blockade "Cruscevie"

"Vallo Alpino" ("Alpine wall") XXIV. Sector (Postumia), Subsector XXIV. A. (Postumia)
2nd defense system

Blockade ("Sbarramento") "Cruscevie" (Hrusevje) - Official designation unknown

Situated near the village of Cruscevie on the state road Trieste - Postumia, defending the crossroads where the road towards Orecche and Villa Slavina parts from the main road, as well as secondary and forrest roads S of Cruscevie. Peculiarly designated as "Cascino C" (no such word in italian language, so it could be a mistake of slovenian transcription). Three known forts (so far): one large underground fort close to the village; second fort SE from Cruscevie, towards the village of Orecche; third fort on the hill top E from Cruscevie, above fort No. 2. Also, a number of field HMG and LMG positions, as well as passive AT defences including minefields.

Official complement: around 100 enlisted men, 2 officers.

Armament: no less than 10 HMGs, 5 LMGs, one 57/43 mm AT gun.


 

Fort No. 1: built into a hill that overlooks the above mentioned crossroads, immediately E of the village of Cruscevie, with some of combat blocks constructed above the ground as massive concrete structures, while others are underground, artfully camouflaged to resemble carst rock formations. Rather than oriented towards one specific direction (usually E), the fire system of this fort was designed to cover all-round area. Still, the AT gun (57/43 mm ex-Navy Nordenfelt) was controlling the access from Postumia. One of the largest forts of the eastern Vallo Alpino, this one also had 4 machine guns combat blocks: two of them (facing N and E) were built into a hill face, exceptionally well camouflaged, with only their HMG embrasures staring from what seemed an "ordinary" rock. Each one of these combat blocks had one HMG behind "armour in three parts" (see note at the end!). Two other combat blocks were built above the hill top level, and had more than one HMG positions: the one facing the main road had three HMGs behind "armours in three parts", roughly oriented towards N, W and S, while the combat block farther E from the main road was armed by two HMGs behind "armour in three parts", facing E and W. This block also had a safety exit. Threee combat blocks were accessed from the main gallery level by circular stairs (which are now removed in case of first two blocks mentioned, making their combat layout only my guess - and it is certainly of no help that the whereabouts of those blocks are also hard to find, their shape almost indistinguishable), while the AT gun was accessed by a more "traditional" stairway. The block with three HMGs was accessed by steel ladders. The fort had two exits, power generators situated near one of them. The access galleries were defended by U-shape turns with embrasures for rifles/automatic weapons. Usual set of casernes, food, water and ammo storages. Only one latrine for such a large fort is an unusual feature.

Fort No. 2: situated SE from fort No. 1, on a forrest road towards height 716, above Cruscevie – Orecche road, controlling the access from Orecche, as well as the area of fort No. 1. One surface concrete combat block with two HMGs behind "armour in three parts", also with a safety exit. Underground (logistical part) including caserne with ammo, food and drinking water storage. Combat block accessed from the main gallery level by the means of circular stairs. Generator room situated near the entrance. Air regenerator and gas-proof doors for anti-gas defence. Entrance protected by an embrasure for rifle/automatic weapon.

Fort No. 3/Observatory: S from fort No. 1, on a hill overlooking the area around Cruscevie. One massive concrete structure, not underground but well “dug in” and camouflaged. Instead of any specific weapon positions there is only one steel observatory cloche oriented towards fort No. 1. Still, since this type of cloche could be also used as a LMG position, this fort could still have some limited combat purpose, besides its obvious main role as an observatory for the whole blockade of Cruscevie. Two photophones, one towards Orecche and the other (probably) towards the forts of Berda blockade – no apparent photophone connection with its fellow forts of Cruscevie blockade! Of course, since the area is completely covered with woods, now it is hard to tell the direction of the photophones. One caserne situated in the main structure, with ammo, food and drinking water storage. Two entrances, generator room situated near the one opposite of the cloche. Air regenerator and gas-proof doors for anti-gas defence.



Present state of the forts:

fully accessible, but with different degree of preservation. Fort No. 1 was obviously put to some use by the Yugoslav People`s Army after WW2, judging by the soldiers` graffitti as well as the new wiring. However, all the weapons`s embrasures were closed by concrete and stone, and even additionaly camouflaged! Original gas tight doors were removed, but new steel doors were fitted on both entrances. Circular steel stairs were removed from the positions No. 1 and 2, making them inaccessible. Fort No. 2 had its armours in three parts removed with the use of explosives, half destroying its only combat block, but the logistical part was left more or less preserved. Here, the circular steel stairs towards the combat block were also removed, leaving a dangerous pit of the access duct. Fort No. 3 peculiarly still has its steel observatory cloche "in situ", but the logistical part is heavily damaged by the removal of supporting steel beams, and not easily accessible due to the resulting debris.

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