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Knutange, France

Knutange is a commune in the Moselle department in north-eastern France near Thionville, about seven miles south of the Luxembourgian border and about 10 miles north of Metz. Knutange became part of France in 1718, formerly being part of the provinces of Bar and Luxembourg. Like other towns in the region, the steel industry was central to its economy during most of the 20th century. The town had two sites with blast furnaces: one known as the Haute plant and another called the Fontoy plant.

A prominent landmark on the north side of town on the Rue de la République is the Knutange Viaduct built in 1860. This rail viaduct is 323 meters long and almost 25 meters high and is composed of seventeen arches. In June of 1940 French engineers destroyed three spans to slow the advancing Germans and it would take the occupying Germans a year and a half to reconstruct the damage. In 1944, as the liberating Allies advanced from the west, preparations were made by the Germans to again demolish the bridge, but the plan was not carried out before they withdrew. These photos were taken in the fall or early winter of 1944 when the 347th Ordnance Depot Company spent several months in the Lorraine region.

The aforementioned Usine de Fontoy blast furnaces were located about a half kilometer north of Knutange's viaduct. The first of three blast furnaces at the site were started in 1902 and all were finally shut down for good in the 1970s during the steel crisis.

The commune of Hayange lies south of Knutange and was home to more steel industry and blast furnaces. The photo presented here shows the Church of St. Martin which was built in 1883.