Dragon’s teeth Groot-ValkenisseBack Duinweg, Biggekerke
Concrete dragon’s teeth finishing the western part of the Vlissingen ‘Landfront’ defense line.
- Year of construction
- Protected status
- national monument (monument no. 529330)
Dragon’s teeth (‘Höckerhindernisse' in German) are square pyramidal fortifications of reinforced concrete first used during the Second World War to impede the movement of tanks and mechanised infantry. The idea was to slow down and channel tanks into killing zones where they could easily be disposed of by anti-tank weapons. They were employed extensively, but in practice, the use of combat engineers and specialist clearance vehicles enabled them to be disposed of relatively quickly, and they proved far less of an obstacle than many had expected.
Dragon's teeth were extensively used by all sides in the European Theatre. The Germans made extensive use of them in the Siegfried Line and the Atlantic Wall. Typically, each "tooth" was 90 to 120 cm (3 to 4 ft) tall depending on the precise model.
Land mines were often laid between the individual "teeth", and further obstacles constructed along the lines of "teeth" (such as barbed wire to impede infantry, or diagonally-placed steel beams to further hinder tanks). The French army employed them in the Maginot Line, while many were laid in the United Kingdom in 1940–1941 as part of the effort to strengthen the country's defenses against a possible German invasion.
Due to the huge numbers laid and their durable construction, many thousands of dragon's teeth can still be seen today, especially in the remains of the Siegfried and Maginot Lines. Dragon’s teeth can also still be found in the remains of the Zealand part of the Atlantic Wall, like in Groot-Valkenisse.