Buried in a limestone hill, the Work of the Maginot Line "the Four-à-Chaux" faces the Petit Ouvrage de Lembach located on the opposite side, and both were the true guardians of the Sauer valley, having to prevent any breakthrough by German troops during the Second World War.
The unique inclined plane
The work of Four-à-Chaux is a large work of the Maginot Line located south of Lembach, about 2 km from the center of the village.
This mountain work extends over an area of 26 hectares and has a network of 4,5 km of galleries buried 30 m underground. It has the particularity of being designed on two levels, an impressive inclined plane allowing you to make up for the difference in height. The Ouvrage du Four-à-Chaux takes its surprising name from a lime factory near the site, in operation until 1939, of which nothing remains today.
Did you know?
The Ouvrage du Four-à-Chaux takes its surprising name from a lime factory near the site, in operation until 1939, of which nothing remains today.
The construction and operation of the Four-à-Chaux during the war
Built between 1930 and 1935, the 580 soldiers of the 165rd Fortress Infantry Regiment are mobilized from August 24, 1939 to protect the country from the German invasion. During the "phoney war" the first months of the conflict, the soldiers organize life in the work but very little fighting takes place.
This period of relative calm made it possible to complete the 0,60 m wide outer railway line which connects the ammunition entrance to the structure at the Mattstall transshipment station located 3,5 km from the strong. It was operational from May 15, 1940 and made it possible to transport all the supplies necessary for the proper functioning of the fortress.
The resistance of the work and the capitulation of the soldiers in 1940
From mid-May 1940, the Ouvrage du Four-à-Chaux intervened in support of the neighboring fortresses in an attempt to counter the offensives of the German army. On June 15, the German artillery concentrated its fire on the Sauer valley to the point that in the evening the crew was put on alert and had to be ready to leave the Maginot Line and ensure the destruction of the fort... but they resisted .
The fighting raged again on June 19, but the crew held firm against the bombardments of the German air force and was still undefeated on June 25 when the armistice was signed. 1er July 1940, it was on the orders of the French High Command that the 580 men surrendered. They go into captivity, but the work perfectly resisted the assaults and fulfilled its mission.
Restoration and opening to the public in 1983
The work was restored by the military authority from the 1950s and was able to open its doors to the public in 1983.
Daily guided tours are offered from 1er April to October 31. For about 1h30 at a temperature of 13°C, the visitor walks on a route of about 1,5 km to discover the installations of the time. An immersion in the kitchen, the dormitories, the hospital, the officers' quarters... allows you to fully understand the organization of the work and its operation during the Second World War. And the highlight of the visit is undoubtedly the demonstration of the setting up of one of the combat turrets, followed by the descent of the 215 steps of the inclined plane.
The Escape Game for a playful approach to Four-à-Chaux
Take part in a game of Escape Game and discover the Maginot Line as if you were a soldier there!
To complete your discovery of the Maginot Line, this escape game aimed at a family audience in teams of 2 to 6 players was created in 2019 and installed in the heart of the fortress. It will allow you total immersion and thrills... for a truly unique experience with friends or family!