Ouvrage de Saint-Ours Bas is a Petit Ouvrage (PO) of the French Alpine Line in the Fortified Sector of the Dauphiné. The work consists of a single infantry casemate with two levels. It is armed with 6 (FM) machine gun embrasures and a 50mm mortar embrasure. On top the work has 3 JM cloches for twin Reibel MAC 31 machine guns and two GFM Type A cloches for MG and/or 50mm mortar. Unlike many other works typical for the Maginot Line, Ouvrage de Saint-Ours Bas doesn’t have an underground section.
The purpose of PO de Saint-Ours Bas was to control the RN 100 road through the valley of the Oronaye along the Ubayette river to the Col de Larche. Lying in the center of a possible attack the work was flanked by the Gros Ouvrages (GO) of Saint-Ours Haut and Roche la Croix, located respectively on the right and left banks of the Ubayette.
PO de Saint-Ours Bas was manned by 57 men, 8 NCO’s and a commanding Officer of the 83rd Alpine Fortress Battalion (BAF).
The construction of Ouvrage de Saint-Ours Bas began in July 1931. Although the work is largely finished in 1934 based on the original construction plan, some improvements are postponed time and again until the Invasion of France in June 1940 starts and it is too late.
Beneath the entrance door originally there was a removable foot bridge.
Due to the difficult winter conditions in the mountains, the entrance blocks and emergency exits of the Alpine works were equipped with metal “snow collars” allowing passage in case of heavy snow, like here above the entrance of PO de Saint-Ours Bas. These were common on many of the other works of this section, like Ouvrage Col de Restefond and Ouvrage la Moutière.
Today Ouvrage de Saint-Ours Bas is a museum. The top-level can be visited on given days during the summer months. Unfortunately our timing was bad and we found a closed door, so be sure to check the museum website for visiting hours.