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Terezín

Underground mine passages

A extended system of mine passages almost 30 kilometers long increased the defensive function of the individual ramparts. It served as a defence against enemy trenches and underminings. Well-planned explosions under occupied areas of the fortifications could significantly impair the assault and artillery positions of the assailants. Special units of sappers were assigned to service the system, each unit was familiar with only a specific segment of the whole system for security. The sappers had a maximum height restriction of 165cm and belonged to the elite of the engineering corps. Every passage has its name and number. The passage markings are of two types: a written sign on a flat cement square or a metal plate with an increasing number, both enabled orientation even in pitch dark. The system of underground mine passages consists of many types of passageway. The main passage, also known as střelecká (gunnery), leads thru the interior periphery wall of the fortifications. In the passage are alcoves for marksmen with gunports and ventilation holes. The passage is divided into defensive sections by traverse walls with gunports. Individual sections were protected by doors, like most of the passage system. Ready to use powder magazines were kept in single sections, where in case of war, gunpowder and other requirements for making demolition bombs were stored. Branch demolition tunnels of three types spread out from the main passage. Demolition tunnels of the first type lead from the level of the main passage and also from the upper passage and go below the surface. These tunnels have pairs of side tunnels ending in rooms for placing demolition mines. Explosions of these sub-surface demolition mines would make a crater on the surface about 6 meters across and 3 meters deep. Demolition tunnels of the second type are deeper, they stay on the same level as the main passage. A deep mine demolition explosion would make a crater on the surface 12 meters across and 6 meters deep. The third type of tunnel are communications tunnels, they connect the main passage with the passage known as the envelope. The envelope is 70 meters advanced from the main fortifications, it follows the main tunnel in shape and is divided into sections with through rooms. It was used for listening to the sounds that the enemy made during their operations. In case of need, demolition bombs could also be placed here. If the enemy were able to penetrate into the underground passage system in large numbers, the defenders could use the flood system to raise the water level in the moat and flood the system of underground passages.

Passages

Lengthwise cut branch mine

Underground

Useful information

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GPS position

N 50° 30.680', E 14° 8.743'
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