Maginot line


Maginot line
/mazh"euh noh'/; Fr. /mann zhee noh"/
1. a zone of heavy defensive fortifications erected by France along its eastern border in the years preceding World War II, but outflanked in 1940 when the German army attacked through Belgium.
2. any elaborate line of defense or set of barriers.
[1925-30; after André Maginot (1877-1932), French minister of war]

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Elaborate defensive barrier in northeastern France built in the 1930s.

Named after its principal creator, Andre Maginot, it was an ultramodern defensive fortification along the French-German frontier. Made of thick concrete and supplied with heavy guns, it had living quarters, supply storehouses, and underground rail lines. However, it ended at the French-Belgian frontier, which German forces crossed in May 1940. They invaded Belgium (May 10), crossed the Somme River, struck at the northern end of the line (May 12), and continued around to its rear, making it useless.

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▪ French fortification, Europe
      elaborate defensive barrier in northeast France constructed in the 1930s and named after its principal creator, André Maginot, who was France's minister of war in 1929–31.

      The fact that certain modern fortresses had held out against German artillery during World War I, as well as the admitted saving in military manpower, induced France to build the celebrated Maginot Line as a permanent defense against German attack. This ultramodern defensive fortification showed traces of the old circular system of fortifications, but its dominant feature was linear. The Maginot Line was, from the standpoint of the troops, a tremendous advance over previous fortifications. Its concrete was thicker than anything theretofore known and its guns heavier. In addition, there were air-conditioned areas for the troops, and the line was usually referred to as being more comfortable than a modern city. There were recreation areas, living quarters, supply storehouses, and underground rail lines connecting various portions of the line. Strongpoints had been established in depth, capable of being supported by troops moved underground by rail.

      Unfortunately, the line covered the French–German frontier, but not the French–Belgian. Thus the Germans in May 1940 outflanked the line. They invaded Belgium on May 10, continued their march through Belgium, crossed the Somme River, and on May 12 struck at Sedan at the northern end of the Maginot Line. Having made a breakthrough with their tanks and planes, they continued around to the rear of the line, making it useless.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Maginot Line — Ligne Maginot Part of Maginot Line Eastern France …   Wikipedia

  • Maginot line — prop. n. A line of fortifications built before World War II to protect France s eastern border. [WordNet 1.5] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Maginot Line — fortifications built along the north and east borders of France before World War II, in which the French placed unreasonable confidence, named for André Maginot (1877 1932), French Minister of War in late 1920s, early 1930s …   Etymology dictionary

  • Maginot line — [mazh′ə nō΄] n. [after A. Maginot (1877 1932), Fr minister of war] a system of heavy fortifications built before WWII on the E frontier of France: it failed to prevent invasion by the Nazi armies …   English World dictionary

  • Maginot Line —  Line of defensive fortifications across northeastern France, breached by Germany in 1940 …   Bryson’s dictionary for writers and editors

  • Maginot Line — n. 1 a line of fortifications along the NE border of France begun in 1929, overrun in 1940. 2 a line of defence on which one relies blindly. Etymology: A. Maginot, Fr. minister of war d. 1932 …   Useful english dictionary

  • Maginot Line — noun Etymology: André Maginot died 1932 French minister of war Date: 1936 1. a line of defensive fortifications built before World War II to protect the eastern border of France but easily outflanked by German invaders 2. a defensive barrier or… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Maginot Line — /ˈmæʒɪnoʊ laɪn/ (say mazhinoh luyn) noun a zone of French fortifications erected along the French German border in the years preceding World War II. {named after André Maginot, 1877–1932, French minister of war} …   Australian English dictionary

  • Maginot Line — Ma|gi|not Line, the a line of ↑forts (=very strong buildings for use by an army) built before World War II to defend the eastern border of France against the Germans. It was not effective, because the German army avoided it by going through… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Maginot line — Ma′gi•not line [[t]ˈmæʒ əˌnoʊ[/t]] n. why a zone of fortifications erected by France before World War II, but outflanked by a German invasion in 1940 • Etymology: 1925–30; after AndréMaginot, French minister of war …   From formal English to slang


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