Following the mountain road from Jausiers from Camp de Restefond towards the Cime de la Bonette you will find Ouvrage Col de Restefond directly next to the road at an altitude of 2,680 meters. This Ouvrage is a lesser work (Petit Ouvrage) of the Maginot’s Alpine Line and consists of three infantry blocks connected by a subterranean tunnel system.
Ouvrage Col de Restefond was constructed between 1932 and 1938, but was never fully completed before WW2. Next to the three infantry blocks, it has a subterranean section with sleeping quarters for 5 officers and 72 soldiers and a kitchen connected by an underground tunnel system.
Blocks 1 and 2 and the chimney could be fitted with a snow collar like we can still see today on the Ouvrage la Moutière. The picture above shows Block 2 and the chimney with the metal snow collar device installed.
Interesting is the two vague ladder like structures in the background of the picture above. Is it a radio antenna or search light? Underneath a picture of what was probably the base. If anyone has more information on what these are, please let us know in the comments.
The First Battle of the Alps
In June 1940, during the attempted Italian invasion of France through the Alps, Ouvrage Col de Restefond was manned by soldiers of the second company of the 73rd Alpine Fortress Battalion (BAF).
Ouvrage Col de Restefond today
From the road you can see Blocks 1 and 2 on ground level which are directly accessible from the road. Block 3 is on the other side of the mountain.
Block 1 is an entry block fitted with a heavy twin MG embrasure to cover Block 2 and two smaller embrasures for close quarters defense of the bunker entry. On top it has an armored bell turret (GFM Type A cloche) for a 50mm machine gun. These cloches (bells) are commonly used in the Maginot Line works.
Block 2 is another entrance which is armed with a twin machine gun (JM) embrasure to cover the door and Block 1. A smaller MG (FM) embrasure is facing the road.
Above Block 2 on the hillside is a heavy concreted chimney which also functioned as an emergency exit. Blocks 1 and 2 and the chimney could be fitted with a snow exit like we can still see today on the Ouvrage de Cold de la Moutiere.
Block 3 on the other side of the hillside facing the Restefond mountain pass. It has a GFM Type A cloche for an MG or 50mm mortar, a Reibel MAC 31 machine gun embrasure and an embrasure for a light machine gun for close defense. Block 3 could give flanking fire for nearby Ouvrage Grange Communes.
Barracks and infirmary
The subterranean section has sleeping quarters for 5 officers and 72 soldiers and a kitchen connected by a tunnel system.
Following the mountain road from Jausiers towards the Cime de la Bonette you will find the Ouvrage Col de Restefond right next to the road. Early in the year the entry blocks can be covered by snow.