VALLO ALPINO - BLOCKADE

"MONTE LESCO"

Blockade "Monte Lesco"

«Vallo Alpino» («Alpine Wall») Eastern Front – XXVII. Sector (Fiume)

Blockade (Sbarramento) "Monte Lesco" (Leskovac) - Official designation unknown

Situated above the town of Fiume (Rijeka), on top of the Mt. Lesco hill where the border line made sharp turn towards the coast, it was almost finished by April `41, but still lacked weapons and various outfitting elements, including electrical and communication equipment. Combat blocks of “Mt. Lesco” fort were mostly large concrete structures built above the ground level, with some of them having more than one weapon positions. They were also artfully camouflaged, with layers of concrete shaped to resemble karst rock formations – but their size was a dead giveaway for any trained observer. This fort had nine combat blocks, totalling 13 HMGs and LMGs, but its design clearly showed advanced shortage of armoured steel parts: many embrasures were left without any steel armour, but had thicker concrete walls. Some of the combat blocks had pipes for hand grenades for close-in defence. Large underground caserne, space for power generators and latrines being near the entrance. The combat blocks, one by one:
No. 1: Two embrasures for HMGs/LMGs – frontal and flanking fire;
No. 2: Three embrasures for HMGs/LMGs – two frontal and one for flanking
fire; one embrasure for photophone (towards Drenova fort – which was
left unfinished);
No. 3: One HMG embrasure;
No. 4: One HMG embrasure with 20 cm thick steel shield;
No. 5: One HMG embrasure with 20 cm thick steel shield;
No. 6: One HMG steel casemate – extremely well camouflaged, flush with
ground level and hardly noticeable, except from point-blank range;
No. 7: Steel observatory cloche (“Osservatorio Attivo”) which could also
serve as a LMG position;
No. 8: Large concrete observatory with three embrasures (not armoured), with
separate HMG steel casemate;
No. 9: One embrasure for HMG for frontal fire; steel casemate for flanking
fire.
Blocks No. 1 – 3 each had one embrasure protected by steel plate approx. 2 in.
thick; the remaining embrasures of blocks No. 1 and 2 were not armoured.

 

Present state of the fort:

fully accessible and preserved. Logistical parts in reasonably good shape, not too unsafe, the only problem being collapsed ceiling of both casernes, i.e. debris on caserne floor. Almost sixty years have passed since the sanguinous battle of Fiume but the area can steel hide some nasty war-time surprises: not so long ago a live german AT mine, containing 7 kilos of explosive, was found at the very entrance of this fort. Therefore, caution is to be excercised in the former border zone of the town of Fiume (Rijeka) containing old military installations and forts.

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