Ouvrage Col de Restefond – Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Jausiers, France


Ouvrage Col de Restefond
Ouvrage Col de Restefond overview – Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Jausiers, France

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
Blocks 1 and 2 of Ouvrage Col de Restefond seen from the road, the chimney is visible in the top right corner – Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Jausiers, France

Construction

Petit Ouvrage Col de Restefond
Photo of Block 2 of Ouvrage Col de Restefond taken at an unknown date – Photo credit: Alain Loviny (CC BY-SA)

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.

Ouvrage Col de Restefond
Ouvrage Col de Restefond base of unknown purpose – Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Jausiers, France

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).

First Battle of the Alps sign
Information sign about the First Battle of the Alps. You can find this sign along the Route de la Bonette at various points – Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Jausiers, France

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

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.

Ouvrage Col de Restefond
Infantry Block 1 of Ouvrage Col de Restefond – Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Jausiers, France
Ouvrage Col de Restefond
The outer door of Ouvrage Col de Restefond
JM embrasure
JM embrasure for Reibel MAC 31 machine gun at the entrance of Block 1 of Ouvrage Col de Restefond – Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Jausiers, France
Air intake valve
Air intake hatch of Block 1 of Ouvrage Col de Restefond – Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Jausiers, France
Air intake shutter
Air intake shutter of Ouvrage Col de Restefond – Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Jausiers, France
Ouvrage Col de Restefond
MG stand of Block 1 of Ouvrage Col de Restefond – Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Jausiers, France
Ouvrage Col de Restefond
Block 1 entrance FM embrasure – Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Jausiers, France
Ouvrage Col de Restefond
Base of the GFM cloche of Block 1 of Ouvrage Col de Restefond – Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Jausiers, France
Ouvrage Col de Restefond
Detail of the elevator system of the cloche (armored turret) of Ouvrage Col de Restefond – Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Jausiers, France
Turret Ouvrage Col de Restefond
Looking up the GFM cloche inside of Ouvrage Col de Restefond. The hole in the center is for a periscope device. – Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Jausiers, France

Block 2

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.

Ouvrage Col de Restefond
Entry block 2 of Ouvrage Col de Restefond – Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Jausiers, France
Ouvrage Col de Restefond
Block 2 electrical installation Ouvrage Col de Restefond – Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Jausiers, France
Ouvrage Col de Restefond
Door barricade device at Ouvrage Col de Restefond – Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Jausiers, France

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.

Ouvrage Col de Restefond
View of emergency exit and chimney of Ouvrage Col de Restefond.

Block 3

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.

Ouvrage Col de Restefond
Block 3 of Ouvrage Col de Restefond seen from the hillside – Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Jausiers, France
Ouvrage Col de Restefond cloche
Cloche of Block 3 of Ouvrage Col de Restefond. – Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Jausiers, France
Ouvrage Col de Restefond
MG embrasures of Block 3 of Ouvrage Col de Restefond – Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Jausiers, France
MG embrasures Alpine Line
Close up of MG embrasures of Ouvrage Col de Restefond – Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Jausiers, France
Ouvrage Col de Restefond
The GFM Type A cloche of Block 3 overlooking the valley of the Granges Communes. In the upper right corner you can discover the works of Ouvrage Granges Communes – Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Jausiers, France
Ouvrage Col de Restefond
Block 3 cloche serial number detail of Ouvrage Col de Restefond. – Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Jausiers, France
Inside block 3 col de restefond
A look inside the cloche of Block 3 of Ouvrage Col de Restefond – Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Jausiers, France

Barracks and infirmary

The subterranean section has sleeping quarters for 5 officers and 72 soldiers and a kitchen connected by a tunnel system.

Ouvrage Col de Restefond
Corridor leading from Block 1 to barracks and infirmary – Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Jausiers, France
Ouvrage Col de Restefond
Pissiors and washing sinks at Ouvrage Col de Restefond – Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Jausiers, France
Ouvrage Col de Restefond
Barracks and infirmary of Ouvrage Col de Restefond – Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Jausiers, France
Ouvrage Col de Restefond
Bunk beds at Ouvrage Col de Restefond – Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Jausiers, France

Visit

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.


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