Various Forms of Lithic Disguise

I finally had a chance to read John McPhee's book La Place de la Concorde Suisse,


his somewhat off-puttingly titled 1984 look at the Swiss military and its elaborately engineered landscape defenses.



To make a long story short, McPhee describes two things: how Switzerland requires military service from every able-bodied male Swiss citizen—a model later emulated and expanded by Israel—and how the Swiss military has, in effect, wired the entire country to blow in the event of foreign invasion. To keep enemy armies out, bridges will be dynamited and, whenever possible, deliberately collapsed onto other roads and bridges below; hills have been weaponized to be activated as valley-sweeping artificial landslides; mountain tunnels will be sealed from within to act as nuclear-proof air raid shelters; and much more.

First, a quick look at the system of self-demolition that is literally built into the Swiss national infrastructure:

To interrupt the utility of bridges, tunnels, highways, railroads, Switzerland has established three thousand points of demolition. That is the number officially printed. It has been suggested to me that to approximate a true figure a reader ought to multiply by two. Where a highway bridge crosses a railroad, a segment of the bridge is programmed to drop on the railroad. Primacord fuses are built into the bridge. Hidden artillery is in place on either side, set to prevent the enemy from clearing or repairing the damage.

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Article and Image Source: http://bldgblog.blogspot.com


Keywords: Switzerland,Defenses,Fortifications,Engineering,Book,Review




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