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What are pillboxes?

June 13, 2014
What are pillboxes?

The DOT (Long-Term Defensive (Fire) Point) is a fortification erected for shelter, defense, and firing from a room in wartime conditions.

As a rule, bunkers were erected from reinforced concrete, monolithic concrete, stones on cement mortar, iron beams, reinforcement and armor. Reinforced concrete fortifications consisted of dug-out or covered with earth (for masking) rooms with narrow embrasures for firing and an armored entrance. The bunkers could be both small and complex with several casemates and ammunition stores.

DOTs entirely made of metal are also known — such DOTs were called armored caps. Occasionally, the tower parts of old tanks without a running gear were dug into the ground as pillboxes. Formally, they were not considered to be pillboxes, but in fact in battle it was considered to be that they were such pillboxes.

The pillboxes were erected as single buildings and as fortification systems (for example, the Mannerheim Line or the Molotov Line during the Second World War).

After the Second World War, the following classification of pillboxes was adopted in the USSR:

  • super heavy type: protection against artillery shells of over 155 mm and air bombs more powerful than 100 kg .;
  • heavy type: from 88-mm projectiles, howitzers to 150-mm and 50 kg aerial bombs;
  • Reinforced type: from 50-mm anti-tank guns and light howitzers to 105 mm;
  • light type: from anti-tank gun, mortar and machine gun bursts;
  • splinterproof: from shrapnel, single bullets of small arms and machine gun.

Before World War I, the world did not yet know what DOTS were. The first such fortifications began to be used by German troops in 1916-1917 near the fortress of Metz north of Antwerp and in preparation for the battles in Flanders. Small concrete structures were dispersed on the battlefield. The Germans called them "sprayed fortification", and the French - "Fortification dust." However, the first experience with the use of concrete fortifications was unsuccessful, because these fortifications were too light and 210-mm shells dug them out of the ground, causing soldiers hiding inside to die from injury and contusions.

Despite the fact that the construction of pillboxes was much more expensive and more complicated than the installation of the pillboxes (Wood and Ground Firing Points), and also took a lot of time, they were very common during World War II.The pillboxes possessed a solid set of advantages over the pillboxes.

Among the advantages of these fortifications:

  • Reinforced concrete walls do not burn, withstand elevated temperatures and cover from blast waves.
  • DOTS, unlike DZTs, withstood not only shelling from automatic weapons, but also direct hits from artillery shells, tank volleys and even air bombs with a capacity of up to 2000 kg.
  • The pillboxes are very durable fortifications, some have been preserved to this day.

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