What was the exact purpose and functioning of the Siegfried Line?

What was the exact purpose and functioning of the Siegfried Line? How did it work and who manned it with what kind of equipment and protection against Allied planes, tanks and soldiers?


It wasn’t a line that was meant to repel an invasion. It was a sold defensive line that would slow down an advance and would allow the Germans to regroup for an effective counter attack. In 1939-1940 it would have been a major kink in an allied offensive. Especially with Germany having such a robust army and powerful panzer force.

By 1944… not so much. It was outdated (the bunkers could only hold 37mm guns and MG 38s!), it had been stripped of many of its weapons and hardware, and it was thinly manned by Luftwaffe fortress battalions, local security units, and whatever ash and trash the Germans could scrape up. The German Army Group B was in terrible shape and had few, if any, reserves. However! It still was a formidable fortification and it did help the Germans slow down and stop the allied offensive, although the awful supply situation and the general fatigue and depletion of the summer battles helped too.

Throughout the fall of '44 it would serve as a backstop for the Germans and it strengthened their defenses. It would be nearly December before the allies mostly cleared it… just in time for the Battle of the Bulge.

Here is a great and free account of the allies’ fall campaign against the thing: