The Fortress of Eben Emael.

Many times we say the internet is a
great source for entertainment.
And that, is very true. A site like
youtube houses , without a shadow of a doubt , the greatest collection
of silly-cat-videos known to man. But on the other hand it can also be
an enormous source of information. Throughout the years hours and hours
of informative documentaries have been produced throughout the world and
aired on dozens of television stations. Sometimes only once , sometimes
in endless reruns ( Who is tired of seeing yet another re-airing of
FRIENDS). But the downside of "classic television" is that there it is a
narrow-focused medium targeting only a selection of the worldwide
audience (those who can receive the tv station) and aired during a
specific time. When we look at our internet-centered life these days,
"Location and Time" are irrelevant. On Youtube you can watch just about
anyTHING, anyWHERE, anyTIME. Wether its copy protected material or not,
lets put that discussion aside for an other time.

Todays article
is a little "aggregation" of information about a certain topic I was
interested in. The Fortress of Eben Emael. Located at the very east of
Belgium, near the Dutch border it is the scene where Germany invaded
Belgium during world war two. This "Battle of Eben Emael" proved to be
yet another piece of "proof" to those who say that "unsinkable ships"
can be sunk and "in-impenetrable fortresses" can be penetrated. The
"Plateau van Caestert" where the fortress is located was of extreme
tactical importance for the Belgians before world war 2 begun. With this
massive fort (the largest in Europe at the time) they could defend the
country against the threat of the German invasion. The German army,
ready to invade France, needed to come through Belgium in order to reach
their target. The fortress at Eben Emael was Belgians "spearhead"
against just such an invasion. Capable of blowing up the three main
bridges that lead across the Albert Canal that where vital for German
troops, the fortress was also able to blow the crap out of any boat,
tank or foot-soldier in a 12 mile radius. Completely "entombed" in a
massive chalk rock-face it was also protected by the Canal , an anti-tank
ditch and heavily armed canons. But see for yourself with the power of Google Maps.

 

View Larger Map

 

I’ve visited the site many
times and had the pleasure of a tour "inside" this fantastic facility

that was the pride and joy of the Belgian army in the late 1930’s. But
when Germany decided to invade .. it took them 24 hours to conquer the
"impenetrable fortress" at Eben Emael.

To show you the power of
the internet i’ve googled up a fantastic (historic) documentary (its
about 50 minutes) about the fortress and the battle of Eben Emael. Its
made for ‘TV’ and is very accurate and features some of the original
(dare we say ‘user contributed’) video shot by both the Belgian and the
German army at the time. See the COMPLETE SERIES HERE .

But we of course take it a step
further
. Every so often (I believe once a month) you can have a guided
tour INSIDE the facility. An English speaking visitor made this two-part
video on the tour you receive INSIDE the facility.

And if you
want to get "up close and personal"
with the Topside of the fortress
(and the Willy Wonka-sized guns) you might want to take a peek at the
picture set I shot on the site a few years ago.

 

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

 

And of
course
, lets not forget the wikipedia link of the fortress.

Wikipedia.

So
there you go, just a little bit of Googling around and tapping into the
power of the internets and before you know it you’ve gone over, round
and INSIDE one of the most impressive WWII sites in my region.

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