Gros ouvrage de Castillon - 5 blocs and mixed entrance - Located South of the Col de Castillon. Access from Sospel. Take the D2566 to the Col de Castillon and Menton. Just before the tunnel turn right to the entrance. Currently abandoned.

Commandant: Cne Finidori Regiments: 58th DBAF & 157th RAP Generators: 3 SIMM 135 cv


Castillon is a very compact gros ouvrage spreading over a surprisingly small area. The entrance, generator and caserne are at road level. From there steps lead up 100 feet to an intermediate (Mezzanine) level, from this level, further stairs rise up to the five fighting blocks. It was soon apparent that few people have entered this fort, the only graffiti is right at the entrance and there is no evidence of stripping, robbing or vandalism of any kind. Although completely derelict and abandoned the fort is in surprisingly good internal condition with many original features remaining.

It was clear from the outside that the guns were still in place as they were protruding through their embrasures, once inside Block 3 we found it was made up of two upper levels with a lift descending to the intermediate level 75' below us and a spiral staircase winding around the lift. On the upper level of the block the two 75 mm cannons are intact and in good condition and on the lower level we found two 81mm mortars fixed at 45 degrees. We descended to the intermediate level where there is a long corridor giving access to side corridors to the four fighting blocks. All the blocks have a lift and spiral staircase and a small magazine at this level. At the bottom of each block their is an airlock allowing any block to be sealed off from the rest of the fort. All the lift machinery is in good order. A single narrow gauge tramway runs along the corridor with a passing loop or station in the middle terminating at each of the four lifts where there is a turntable. There are also two turntables in the middle of the passing loop and a double lift down to the bottom level. Stairs down to this level are located away from the lift down a side corridor. This corridor also leads to the artillery commanders office, telephone exchange and other command offices. These retain their situation boards and telephone booths.

On the lower level is the caserne with dormitories and the infirmary. The dormitories are all empty as is the infirmary although it still retains its tiled walls, radiators and a small wash basin in each of the four rooms. One of the corridors in the caserne has washing facilities on either side with a water tank room at the end. The tanks are still full of water. From the caserne a short corridor leads out to Block 1 and the entrance drawbridge. Just before the block the kitchen is on the left. This still contains a large range with an extractor hood above it, a boiler, a line of sinks and a serving hatch into the corridor. Maginot forts did not have canteens, the men would collect their food from the kitchen and go back to the dormitory to eat. The forts operated a hot bed system with each bunk being used by three men, eight hours on duty, 8 hours resting and 8 hours sleeping. When fully manned the fort was home to 337 men and 7 officers.

The final two rooms in the fort are opposite each other just before the corridor curves round through the entrance air lock. The filter room on the right with banks of carbon filters in cylinders along two walls. Opposite this is the generator room with two marine diesel generators, a compressor/generator, fuel tanks and electrical switchgear all in good condition.