During the Italian invasion of France, 9 French soldiers defended the Pont Saint Louis against 5000 Italians for 10 days – of which 700 Italians were killed or injured. Eventually an Armistice was agreed.
The Casemate du Pont Saint Louis was an advanced defensive work supported by Cap Martin and manned by the 96th BAF. It was the only fortification directly on the seacoast, located at the frontier between France and Italy, and was intended to block any advance along the coastal road.
The anti-tank gate was a rolling barrier which slid from a slot in a fortified concrete housing along the side of the road, forming a barrier some meters from the post’s blockhouse. The road and post occupied a narrow shelf between a cliff and a steep slope to the sea. The gate housing included two small arms ports, while the blockhouse could cover the gate and the road beyond with its guns firing through embrasures in the heavy concrete guardpost. Tunnels in the cliff wall behind the post contained a magazine, living quarters, and an escape tunnel, like a Maginot ouvrage on a much smaller scale.