Swiss 4th Army Corps - May 10, 1940

[Task and Position] [Order of Battle] [Fortress Sargans] [Fortresses in the Grisons]

In addition to the official maps I have for the border brigade 7 (Gz Br 7) some information on the positions out of the book [GzBr 7].

Task and Position

The 4th Army Corps had as a task to cover the line of the Zürichsee (starting at Thalwil), the plain of the Linth canal, the Walensee to Sargans and the mountain passes leading into the Grisons. The terrain in this area is very strong. It consists mainly of pre-alpine or alpine mountain formations which make an attack in force very difficult. In addition, water obstacles such as the Lake of Zurich, the Linth canal and the Walensee help the defender to concentrate his forces.

In addition it had to delay the enemy starting at the frontier at the Lake of Constance and following the Rhine river. The terrain here does not help the defender too much. Only the Rhine river and the Lake of Constance form initial obstacles to an aggressor. Afterwards the enemy can move in a mixed terrain West of the Säntis mountains. The possibilities for movements towards the South are limited and will focus on the areas of Sargans and the Linth plain.

Its task was defined in the Operationsbefehl No 4 as follows:

"4. A.K. hält den Abschnitt rechts der Armeestellung, von Sargans bis Bendlikon exkl. Es deckt den rechten Flügel der Armee in Graubünden."

"The 4th Army Corps holds the sector right of the Army position, from Sargans to Bendlikon (excl). It covers the right wing of the Army in the Grisons."

(Click here to get a larger map in a subwindow.)

For this task the 4th Army Corps had one division and five brigades under its command:

Forward Positions

Main Position

It seems that all troops in the area of the corps were able to prepare their positions themselves during the period of the "Drôle de Guerre" between September 1939 and May 1940.

Order of Battle

(click on the units to get to more detailed OOBs)

The 4th Army Corps fielded the following force:

  Field Fortresses Total
Men*) ca 76'150 ca 17'150 ca 93'500
LMG 2'745 636 3'381
Laf LMG 792 150 942
sMG 860 267 1'127
81mm Mortar 198 52 250
47mm ATG**) 170 48 218
75mm Feldgeschütz 52 19 71
105mm sch mot Kan 16 9 25
120mm Feldhaubitze 8 20 28
150mm Feldhaubitze 0 0 0

*) Combatant units only.
**) Actually a field gun. Mostly used in ATG role.

Commanding Officer: Oberstkorpskommandant Labhardt

Fortress of Sargans

The fortress of Sargans was a recent fortification. In the mid 30s it was developed as the third pillar of the alpine forteresses in Switzerland (St. Gotthard and St. Maurice being the other two). The main task of the fortress was to deny the ennemy the access to the mountain passes in the Grisons and the St. Gotthard through the valley of the Vorderrhein. In the end the forteress consisted of five forts with a total of 18 guns.

In May 1940 only the fortifications of Schollberg, Ansstein and Magletsch were partially ready. The 75mm guns (11 in total) were operational. The seven 105mm guns in armored turrets were installed between June and October 1940.

The fortress was significantly reinforced with additional infantry (more then 2 regiments) and two batallions of artillery.

Commanding Officer: Oberstbrigadier Gubler

Fortresses in the Grisons

Most of the forts in the Grisons were small installations with one or two concrete bunkers with one or two 47mm anti tank guns and stands for heavy machine guns. One fort (Splügen, Crestawald) had also two 105mm guns. Their task was to deny the enemy (the Italians) the use of the passes the fortifications covered.

[Last Update 30.08.2010]