VALLO ALPINO - BLOCKADE

"ERMESBURGO"

Blockade "Ermesburgo"

«Vallo Alpino» («Alpine Wall») Eastern Front – XXVI. Sector – Subsector XXVI. A.

Blockade (Sbarramento) "Ermesburgo" (Gomance)

Situated near height 934, on the road that runs parallel with the border, defending the crossroads in its vicinity. It includes two separate (several hundred meters apart) underground forts, a number of field-type MG and HMG nests, separate AT positions and passive AT defences (AT walls, mouts, steel wire block, concrete cylinders and minefields). The Gomanasca (Gomance) plain represents fairly big tank danger, hence the extensive passive AT defences.

 

Fort No. 1: W/SW side of the main road, with entrance block close to GaF barracks, consisting of six combat blocks, two armed with 57/43 mm Nordenfelt ex-Navy AT guns, three HMGs in steel casemates flush with hill slopes (grouped together as one massive concrete structure), and two HMGs in steel turret. One separate safety exit, but no separate observatory block. Underground (logistical part) including caserne with ammo, food and drinking water storage. Generator room situated in the entrance block, air filters and gas-proof doors for anti-gas defence. Gallery connecting main underground part and the three casemates approximately 80 meters long.

Fort No. 2: some 400 meters E from the fort No. 1, two combat blocks with HMGs in steel casemates flush with hill slopes. One observatory concrete block with safety exit. Underground (logistical part) including caserne with ammo, food and drinking water storage. Generator room situated near the entrance block, air filters and gas-proof doors for anti-gas defence.

Present state of the forts:

fully accessible (snow being a problem during wintertime). Fort No. 1 has all its casemates blown up, and steel turret removed. However, AT blocks are preserved and accessible. Entrance block is damaged , and the access gallery completely blocked, but it is possible to use the safety exit. Combat blocks of fort No. 2 are blown up, and observatory damaged, with the vertical safety exit duct inaccessible. Main access stairway of fort No. 2 full of stone debris, not easily negotiable. Logistical parts of both forts in reasonably good shape, not too unsafe. Naturally, vertical access duct of fort No. 1 is to be negotiated carefully. AT blocks of fort No. 1 are quite visible, but it is not easy to find the remains of fort No. 2 in summer.
Probably the most peculiar present feature of this blockade is that the forts are laying on the opposite sides of the present Croatia – Slovenia border! There is no any physical kind of «borderline», only a couple of slovenian signs «Pozor! Drzavna meja!» («Attention! State Border!»), so it is not impossible to cross it on foot (but beware of cro/slo border police, occasionally patrolling the area!), thus eliminating the need of long driving on dirt roads along either sides of the border.

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