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Unknown Photographer

Netherlands troops on guard at an anti-tank defense stretched across the road, April 1940
Vintage ferrotyped gelatin silver print on paper

Creation Place: Europe
Technique: Photography
Credit Line: Restricted Gift of Michael Mattis, Judy Hochberg, and Daniel Mattis, in honor of Kathleen Stewart Howe
Accession Number: P2019.21.291

Illustrated: Associated Press ID #390427064.

Great progress has been made on the Netherlands defenses against Germany in the last year. They now include a first line along the frontier and three subsequent ones, compromising fortifications, waterways and an area that can be inundated. Now a stand can be made practically up to the coast. Along the German frontier there are pillboxes, tank traps, small fortifications, etc. A second line of defense is formed by the River Ijssel, the River Maas and a stretch of inundations between them. A third line, known as the Grebbe Line, has been constructed running roughly from the southernmost point of Lake Yseel to the Belgian frontier. The Grebbe Line consists in the north of a series of inundations and in the south of the swamps of the Peel. Finally, to block an invader intent on reaching the coast, Brabant and Zeeland. These provinces are enclosed in the east by the most formidable of all the inundations, known as the waterline, and in the south by the triple line of wide rivers, Lek, Waal and Maas, separated from one another only by low-lying lands, most of which can be flooded easily. Above are Netherlands troops on guard on a frontier road. Iron rails, embedded in huge concrete block as an anti-tank defense, stretch across the road. Small openings to allow the passage of only one line of traffic. These gaps can be closed at a moment’s notice, April 1940.

Ferrotyped prints are processed in such a way that they are shiny. The print has a sensitive surface, usually thinner, because it was put through a press while still wet.

Ferrotyped prints have a sensitive surface, usually shiny and thinner, because they are put through a press while still wet. Ferrotyping makes the surface of the photograph smoother. Light does not scatter as much on a smoother surface, so this increases contrast. That makes ferrotyped images better for press photography.

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