« the Heart of the Museum »
The "Abri" is a subterranean fort, built into the slope and invisible from the surface. The two thick armored doors piercing its massive blank 60 meter-long exposed side were covered by four machine gun positions. The diamond ditch, or moat, designed to collect the blocks of concrete splintering off the facade in case of a bombing attack, created an additional obstacle. Other standard features include two half-caponnieres (machine gun positions at moat level) equipped with crenels supplying close defensive fires and tubes for ejecting grenades into the ditch. Two GFM (Lookout and Machine Gun) "cloches" (cupolas) located on top of the structure served as observation and defensive positions. The fort was equipped with an antenna for radio transmissions.
The "Abri" was designed to shelter a garrison of 220 men.
Out of the 28 rooms, 14 have been restored to their original state.
Eight rooms have been converted into exhibition halls:
- Two are devoted to the battle of Hatten-Rittershoffen (January 1945)
- One displays mementoes of the evacuation of Hatten to Chateau-Ponsac (Haute-Vienne) 1939-1940
- Two depict life during the annexation
- Two have been turned into the infirmary and the dentist's office of the 1940's
- One is devoted to the liberation of Alsace
- Wireless transmission, the listening to enemies' radio transmission and electronics in general played an essential for the issue of WWII. The museum contains therefore also an exhibition of the corresponding equipment.
- Military Radio
- Radio equipment of German, English and Russian Tanks
- The complete electronic equipment of a German bomber: short and long wave transmitter and receiver,its antenna system (FuG 10), the radio compass (EZ6), the blind landing and radio guidance receiver « Knickebein » used for the bombing of England
- The complete radio and compass system of the German jetfighter Messerschmitt 262
- Electronic warfare and spying
- German and French directive transmission systems avoiding enemies' listening
- German, French, English and American Radio listening and goniometric receivers
- German, English and American RADAR receivers, used to warn before impeding enemies' attack
- FIALKA: the Russian ENIGMA
- German and Russian spying radio equipment
At last, one room, used as a movie theater, shows films about the battle of Hatten, the liberation of Strasbourg or Operation Nordwind.
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