|History of the West Wall in the KMC Area|
|Construction of the Siegfried Line, or WestWall, paralleled the Maginot Line in France. Both expensive, marginally effective lines of defense were made obsolete by the air war and tactical changes since WWI. In fact, General Patton reportedly answered a question on the Westwall by saying "Fixed fortifications are a monument to the stupidity of mankind". Border fortifications along the 800 mile line included antitank devices, over 10,000 bunkers, antiaircraft weapons, and simple posts embedded in the earth.
Construction of fortifications in this area took place in 1938 & 1939 and brought a welcome burst of prosperity to this depressed region of Germany. Construction was directed by Organization Todt (which also built the autobahns through this area in the early 1930's) and carried out by the Reichsarbeitsdienst program, a paramilitary work program similar to the US Civilian Conservation Corp. Over 500,000 men and women helped build the Siegfried Line.
The Dragon's Teeth were manufactured in three different models of increasing size and strength; the ones in Lambsborn were either the 1938 "reinforced old" or 1939 "new" model designed to resist tanks up to 36 tons. The Heideblick patch contains the deep pits designed to fill with groundwater to trap any tanks able to breach the "humps". The cement in this area was manufactured right in Lambsborn at a factory adjacent to the Dragons Teeth.
The Westwall bunkers in this area were constructed in the late 1930's according to constantly changing plans from Organization Todt. The observation and artillery/infantry bunkers were placed about 2-3 km apart and connected by telephone wire laid several meters deep, runners, radio, and light signals. Most bunkers were disarmed in summer 1940 and the weapons moved to the Atlantic Wall in Normandy. Some effort to rearm the obsolete bunkers was made as the Allies advanced in late 1944 and early 1945.
Prior to Hitler's takeover of the coal-rich Saarland in March 1936, the French border was only10-12 miles west of Landstuhl, running through the villages of Jagersburg and Vogelbach. The bunker and the antitank cement protuberances, called “Hockersperre” or "Hockerlinie", were built in the 1938-39 and provided a second line of defense behind the new border at Saarbrucken.
Not many people know Hitler made a visit to Lambsborn on 20 May 1939. He was enroute to Homburg am Saar via Bechofen and detoured to visit the fortifications in the Lambsborn valley. Herr Otto Hiegel was twelve years old and remembers slipping through the security cordon to get within nine feet of the Fuehrer. Hitler "went in and out of one bunker" and was on his way.
In contrast to the fierce fighting in the Saarlouis region, American forces advanced into this area in March 1945 with minimal resistance. This situation could have been quite different since the A6 autobahn (Paris - Frankfurt) was designated an alternative route to the Rhine. Six years of war and deprivations were more than enough for the rural population in the KMC area, though, and they hoped only that the Americans were not as brutal as the Russians. By the end of the war villages in this area were populated mostly by old men, women, and children and many German men didn't return home until 1947. A look at the names on the WWII monument in any local village hints at the staggering human cost of the war to these rural families.
This Rhineland area came under French administration until 1951. Elderly residents describe the post-war years in this area as chaotic with very little infrastructure. Eligibility for employment required a complicated anti-Nazification process, and few jobs were available anyway. Deprivations in food and household goods prompted "Hamsterfahrts" or "Hamster Trips" across the nearby French border for black-market supplies. One woman described a coat lined with pockets for stashing canned meat and other supplies purchased in France.
Postwar destruction of the Westwall was a low priority despite "Direktive No. 22" ordering destruction of all military buildings. Some bunkers were exploded and fortifications removed beween 1946 and 1950, but many stood untouched through the 1960's. One local residents remembers playing in the Lambsborn bunkers as a child. Cement and fortifications around the Panzergrabens were dumped into the ponds and many eventually became protected nature preserves. Beginning in the 1980's and 1990's, historical groups began to document and preserve this chapter of local history. As of the late 1990's, 98% of the Westwall in Rhineland/Pfalz has been destroyed.