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The hidden story of fort Driant

Discussion in 'Military History' started by Chewy_Barry, Apr 15, 2018.

  1. Chewy_Barry

    Chewy_Barry Member

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    Growing up in a military family, the interest for the history of war has been harboured inside me ever since i was a child. But although all war fascinated me the area that interested me the most was by far the second world war. Ever since then i have done research on tactics, equipment and people of that war but what i found most fascinating were the fortifications. Recently having read an interesting book on general Patton a part interested me the most was in the beginning of the book where it talked about him losing a battle at this mysterious fort known as Driant. Ironically fort Driant is unknown to most people and therefore i will try to reveal the amazing story behind this unknown treasure trove of history.

    Fort Driant was initially built by the French in the 1920s near the city of metz, its purpose was to defend the surrounding area from any German attack, but as we all know the fort and the entirety of France fell to Hitler in the historic battle of france. Under German occupation the fort received a variety of upgrades and by the Normandy landings it was a formidable fortress with a huge dry moat, tons of barbed wire and equipped with an unknown amount of 152mm guns. After the Normandy landing the allied armies were sweeping through western europe and approaching germany itself. The infamous general Patton was tasked with liberating the city of Metz but as we now know, the fort stood in his way. Backed by false intelligence reports that it was being manned by inexperienced troops with low morale and limited ammo general Patton attacked the fort on September 27 with around 10 000 troops despite having a lack of fuel. Ultimately the intelligence reports proved fatal as the fort was manned by 3 000 elite ss soldiers. After around 3 weeks of battle and over 700 casualties Patton retreated knowing that the only way to destroy the fort was through the use of heavy bombers which at the time the weather nor the lack of fuel permitted. Instead Patton chose to bypass the fort, the unstoppable general wasn't so unstoppable after all.
    Now came the most interesting part of my research, finding the fort itself. Using google earth I scanned the areas around Metz and some earthworks approximately 7km from the city caught my attention. After closer examination the earthworks turned into the moat, surrounding a fortified building. Tunnel entrances topped with heavily armoured turrets appeared of to the sides, the fort was found, sadly I couldn't find a way to attach files here so I am unable to show screenshots of this area.
    For those who wish to do further research on the fort its location is 49°04'21.1"N 6°03'08.3"E
    I hope that as a new member I will soon get used to this community and that you enjoyed my little article here. Thanks for reading :)



     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2018
  2. Chewy_Barry

    Chewy_Barry Member

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    Catcvyuhydspture.PNG Cap5r6t5ur6dture.PNG Cardtygdyftfspture.PNG
     
    Otto and GRW like this.
  3. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    Great stuff, thanks.
     
  4. George Patton

    George Patton Canadian Refugee

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    Thread bump because September 27 marks the 75th anniversary of the battle. This site is incredible and is a must-see for anyone in the area. I'll post photos if I have time later this weekend.
     
  5. rprice

    rprice Member

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    Fort Driant wasn't built by the French, though they did add on to it. It was built by the Germans as Feste Kronprinz, with the initial works being completed in 1902. After WW1, the French renamed it after Colonel Emile Driant, an officer who was killed at Verdun.
     
  6. harolds

    harolds Member

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    Nor was it manned by 3,000 SS soldiers. There was a clash between Patton's forces and the 17th PGr. SS Division just outside Metz's defenses but the defenders themselves were not SS.

    I'm also a bit confused by the 700 American casualties figure. Was that referring to deaths only, or all casualties such as wounded, captured, etc. All I was able to come up with in an internet search was nebulous statements such as, "Casualties were heavy on both sides."
     

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