How could a country as small as Switzerland become neutral and its neutrality respected in World War II?

The answer is partly because of this

Camouflage cannon behind a Swiss mountain home.

And camouflage defenses like these are not just one or two, but there are many in this alpine country. Example…

What do you see in this picture?

Is it just a bridge?

If this?

Is it just a peaceful mountain village?

Just a shack resting in the snow?

Because in Switzerland, all of that has its use in military defense!

The beautiful old bridge you saw earlier, in the town of Bad Sackingen, is on the Swiss-German border, and mostly has dynamite / TNT under it, ready to be detonated if an enemy wants to pass.

The lonely mountain village earlier?

There’s a camouflage cannon guarding it.

Then the hut in the forest? Yes, it contains a cannon like the one in the first photo.

All of these camouflage defenses are part of a Swiss strategy called “Schweizer Reduit” or “Réduit National” derived from the French word “réduit” (shrink).

This National Reduit was originally a strategy in the 1880s in which Switzerland, which used the doctrine of neutrality, built several national defense lines, which were centered on the defense of the high Alps area in the heart of Switzerland.

Map of the National Reduit line – the blue area (high Alps) is the “locked” heart of the defense, while the red line is only the “defensive barrier”

With World War II approaching, the commanders of the Swiss armed forces were forced to rack their brains to “upgrade” their aging Reduit defense system, already over 50 years in the late 1930s (early WW2).

Finally the Swiss Armed Forces were under Jen’s command. Henri Guisan also made a decision in Ruetli, that even though the Swiss cities would be “released”, every bottleneck / chokepoint would be used as a dangerous trap to slow down the movement of the German army which relied on the Blitzkrieg strategy, aka “blitzkrieg”.

Every bridge on the main roads is dynamite prepared to detonate, every strategic road position will be “swarmed” by bunkers & hidden cannon positions. The Swiss Armed Forces are ready to activate its reserve components (there are Wamil in Switzerland in that era) and prepare to “guerrilla in the mountains”.

This strategy was hoped by the commanders to make Nazi Germany aware that Switzerland could not be conquered quickly or at a low price (be it the cost of life, time, equipment or money).

The last question is also … about money …

One part of this Reduit strategy is also to move valuable assets, especially the gold reserves of the Swiss National Bank to St. Petersburg. Gotthard , a defensive area in the heart of the Alps over 2000 meters in height

The road to the St. Gotthard. Dizziness, dizziness.

In ways like this, Switzerland could make an important statement to Nazi Germany – “I know I will lose, so I’m ready to make you stay here for a long time, can’t go anywhere else. Shouldn’t you be locked in here? Shouldn’t we both interfere. yes.”

Even now, the remains of defenses such as this bunker are still there & quite a lot. I myself have been to Switzerland twice, once in a place of my acquaintance – and it is true, even in his house there is a World War 2 era hallway which I was told about, that connects his house to a local military base (a kind of Kodim in Indonesia).

Some of these bunkers are even now being made into hotels / inns

The interior of the “Nulle Stern” (Starless) hotel in St. Petersburg Gallen, Switzerland, built in a converted bunker.

But with the bunkers that have been converted, it doesn’t mean that this Reduit strategy isn’t used at all …

… Switzerland continues to use the Reduit strategy, but it is fitting that its generals in the World War “upgrade” according to the times, now the Swiss Reduit strategy is also modernized.

Example? Make air base / air base or fighter aircraft hangar … behind the mountain / cave. 

And of course, because this is the latest strategy, all we can and know is based on leaks or photos that have been made public (declassified / disclosed) .

Of course, there are definitely a lot more modernized Reduit strategy tricks that the public doesn’t know yet 🙂

That is, Swiss neutrality commitment which is supported by the Reduit strategy which is continually being “upgraded” according to the risk needs of its time.

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