"Rochonvillers -Ouvrage Rochonvillers [Artilleriewerk]" - die Geschichte
is one of the largest of the Maginot Line fortifications. Located above the town of Rochonvillers in the French region of Lorraine, the gros ouvrage or large work was fully equipped and occupied in 1935 as part of the Fortified Sector of Thionville in the Moselle. It is located between the petit ouvrage d'Aumetz and the gros ouvrage Molvange, facing the border between Luxembourg and France with nine combat blocks. Rochonvillers saw little action during World War II, but due to its size it was repaired and retained in service after the war. During the Cold War it found a new use as a hardened military command center, first for NATO and then for the French Army.
NATO command center
Munitions entry and perimeter fence in 2011
With France's acquisition of nuclear weapons in 1960, the Maginot fortifications began to be viewed as an expensive anachronism. Funding was provided for maintenance, but for little more. The Maginot Line, while obsolete in terms of its armament, was viewed as a series of useful deeply buried and self-sufficient shelters in an era of air power and nuclear weapons
In 1960 the French Army initiated inquiries among the other French forces and among NATO members concerning the use of Maginot fortifications as storage depots or as command centers.
In 1961, after discussions with the Americans and West Germans, Rochonvillers, Molvange and Soetrich were placed at the disposal of NATO. Rochonviller's main magazine, with its two entries and circulation loop crossed by five galleries, was made into a wartime command center for the NATO Central Army Group (CENTAG) (normally located at Fontainebleau) at a cost of 380 million francs. Rochonvillers functioned in this role until 1967, when France withdrew from NATO's integrated command structure. The command center is located close to and between the personnel entry and the munitions entry, with connections to each. It is more than a kilometer from the command center to the main combat blocks via the main underground gallery.
CENTAG's headquarters were moved to Brunssum, the Netherlands, where the deactivated Hendrik coal mine was available for use. In 1971 the names of the Maginot ouvrages were declassified by the French military. At the same time, Rochonvillers was demoted from a fortified position of the first rank to a lower status, foreshadowing a general divestment of the Maginot Line's function as a fortification.
French Army command center
After deactivation in 1967, Rochonvillers was renovated in 1980 as the French First Army's hardened command center. Work included replacement of the ventilation and filtration system and construction of a blast wall a short distance in front of the main entry. The installation was planned to house 500 people for an extended period, immune to the effects of electromagnetic pulse, radioactivity, chemical weapons and all but a direct hit with a nuclear weapon. The electrical generating plant and underground barracks were renovated. Most exposed concrete faces in the entry blocks were covered with earth as a blast shield, while the combat blocks themselves were used only as antenna mounts. The peacetime 1st Army headquarters was moved from Strasbourg to Metz in 1989, in part to be closer to Rochonvillers. From 1981 to 1998 the command center was maintained by a small staff in between full-scale exercises. With the disappearance of the Soviet threat, the command center was deactivated.
The Camp d'Angevillers is the above-ground component associated with the command center, located to the northeast of Angevillers. The entries to the ouvrage and the command center are located just to the northeast of the camp, with more than a kilometer of galleries connecting to the combat blocks on the hill above Rochonvillers."