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Saturday 13 April updated on 04-13-2024 at 8:06

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Often considered a natural rampart, the Alps are however not impassable. Through the presence of the Petit-Saint-Bernard, Bonhomme and Iseran passes, the Haute-Tarentaise valley has brought together important places of passage since prehistory. Since Antiquity, the Petit-Saint-Bernard pass has been a link between local Alpine populations. During the Roman conquest, Emperor Augustus completed the construction of the Roman road. Troops, sovereigns, pilgrims, merchants, bankers and peddlers cross paths on the roads. At the end of the Middle Ages, the County of Savoie controlled five crucial passes, including the Petit and Grand Saint-Bernard.

 

 Visits 

  The rates and dates of the guided tours are presented on My week in Les Arcs, the weekly entertainments programme and in Tourist offices.


The Quartier des Alpins in Bourg Saint Maurice hosted the Blue Devils of the 7th Battalion of Alpine Hunters (BCA) until 2012. This place of memory allows you to discover the Haute Tarentaise valley and the defence works built to protect and control the communication routes to Italy. An opportunity to discover the local military past with its organization, the construction of fortifications, the battles and the men who gave their lives for our freedom and peace.

« “I am General R. A. Séré de Rivières. I was director of fortifications from 1873 to 1880. After 1871, the date of France's defeat against Prussia and its German allies, I invented a defense system that bears my name. »
Raymond Adolphe Séré de Rivières (1815-1895)

Thus above the city, a defensive system was built from 1890 to 1894 with:

• The Vulmix prohibition fort (1065 m).
• The Truc protection fort (1550 m).
• The Platte surveillance blockhouse (2000 m).
• La Redoute Ruinée on the ridge overlooking the Col du Petit Saint-Bernard hospice (2400 m).

In 1913, this device was completed by 3 batteries placed on the crest of the Malgovert forest.

Each fortified work has a precise mission with specific armament and garrison:

• The Vulmix battery, with its 8 cannons, protects the Petit Saint-Bernard pass road, the Montrigon bridge and the railway bridge.
• Fort du Truc protects both Vulmix with 2 cannons and any enemy advances on the heights with 6 other cannons.
• The Platte blockhouse monitors the valley. It serves as barracks and houses 4 cannons.
• The Redoute Ruinée fort monitors the strategic Petit Saint-Bernard pass.

MILITARY VOCABULARY - SOME DEFINITIONS


Fort: Fortified structure intended to defend a place. It has a protective enclosure and barracks for its garrison.
Battery: Unlike the fort, the battery is a fortification, which does not have barracks for its soldiers.
Blockhouse: Small fortified structure for the defense of a particular point.
Work: Synonymous with fort and drums.
Casemate: Small fortified structure or shelter protected from shellfire.
Outpost: Position ahead of the resistance line.
Redoubt: Small fortification work isolated and closed.
Special concrete: High strength concrete (400 kg of cement per m3).


 Did you know? 

SAINT-BERNARD DOGS

The vaguemestres, soldiers responsible for the postal service, are watched by soldiers isolated in the fortifications. On the road to Fort du Truc, they are accompanied by Saint-Bernard dogs, used to pull sleds or during mountain rescues.