Casemate Rieffel


Useful Information

Location: Rue de l'Herbe, 67250 Oberrœdern.
(48.9203494, 7.9816950)
Open: One Sun per month, Heritage Days 14-18.
[2023]
Fee:  
Classification: SubterraneaWorld War II Bunker SubterraneaUnderground Museums TopicLigne Maginot
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Dimension:
Guided tours: Français - French English
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography:  
Address: Casemate Rieffel, Rue de l'Herbe, 67250 Oberrœdern, Tel: +33-607-82-41-24.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

1930 begin of construction.
1940 fights during the Battle of France.
1945 fights during operation Nordwind.
2001 restored by the Amis de la Ligne Maginot d’Oberroedern, a group of volunteers.
2008 opened to the public.

Description

Casemate Rieffel is located in Alsace, at the eastern side of the village Oberrœdern, towards the German border, which is 12 km to the east. The bunker was built as a defense against Germany, and was actually the site of a fight during the Battle of France in 1940 and operation Nordwind in 1945. The bunker is used as an underground museum with military equipment of 1939-1940.

This was one of the first fortifications started in 1930, one of the five fortifications defending Oberrœdern. It lay dormant for some years, until between the 22th and 25th August 1939, when the 79th Fortress Infantry Regiment and its 2400 soldiers were assigned to the defense of the sub-sector of Hoffen. The regiment was responsible for 13 bunkers, two shelters and one oberservatory. The soldiers were about 25 % regular soldiers, and 75 % local reservists. A crew of 24 men, led by Lt. Rieffel and his second in command Sgt. Delsart, manned the south bunker of Oberrœdern. The first part of the war is called the Drôle de guerre (Phoney War), an eight-month period with limited military land operation on the Western Front. Then the Germans started the Battle of France (10-MAY-1940 to 25-JUN-1940). They actually never fought at the Maginot Line, they actually avoided it. By invading the Netherlands and Belgium they avoid the defences and start the occupation of France. Most men of the 79th fortress infantry regiment leave as reinforcement for St Dizier on 14-JUN-1940. Only 700 remained on the defense line. But the Wehrmacht knew about the recent departure of most defenders and launched the assault.

On 15th June 1940, the Wehrmacht launched the assault. The first attack was repelled on 19-JUN-1940 in the evening. The day after the Germans fired on the steel bell-like turret with their antitank guns, killing Sgt. Delsart while he was closing an episcope. German Stukas dive bombers struck the bunkers of the area and dropped smoke bombs. Under this the cover, the Stosstruppen lead the assault on the north bunker, which was the most damaged one. Again the defenders repel the enemy after an intense hand-to-hand fight and thanks to the 75mm shells of the Schoenenbourg fort, inflicting heavy losses.

Actually, they never lost, but on 25-JUN-1940 the armistice concluded between France and Germany took effect. They were ordered to hand over the bunker to the Germans.

The bunker is maintained and operated by the Amis de la Ligne Maginot d’Oberroedern (Friends of the Maginot Line of Oberroedern), which was founded in 2001. It seems they operated the bunker until 2021, but they have not updated their website since then. At the moment we have no info if the site is still open, we actually guess they were just forced to close due to the pandemic. Probably they just moved their website to facebook, like so many others.