Germany / Fortification
The centre of Vaals offers a good view of the German Schneeberg, a wooded hill north of Aachen. There is a tank obstacle on the 'Snow Mountain', also known as a tank wall, which is approximately 450 metres long and has three embrasures. The wall was intended to stop the Allies and thereby protect Aachen. Vaals suffered the consequences.
Between mid-September and mid-October 1944, Vaals found itself in no-man's-land as enemy artillery fire from the Schneeberg prevented the Americans from taking the village. In the end, the defensive positions on the Schneeberg did not hold. The Americans liberated Vaals on 19 October 1944 and entered Aachen two days later.
The concrete obstacle was part of the Westwall, a defence line along the German western border that started at Nijmegen and continued as far as Switzerland. With a length of hundreds of kilometres, the belt included thousands of (underground) bunkers, numerous trenches, machine-gun nests, barbed wire fences, minefields, and various types of tank barriers.
The Germans started their "gründlich" (thorough) construction of the tank wall on Schneeberg in the late 1930s. The ravages of time have hardly affected it.
Near Schurzelterstrase 300, D-52074 Aachen