Category Archives: 75mm

Features 75mm fortress artillery

Redoubt VII

Description РRedoubt VII of the Veiligheidsomwalling is a small redoubt located between Fort IV Mortsel to the north and Fort V Edegem to the west. Redoubt VI was constructed a little more to the east. The railway Antwerp-Brussels is located in between the redoubts. Redoubt VIII was built more west.

Construction & Armament – This concrete redoubt was constructed between 1910 and 1912. It is considered to be standard redoubt featuring artillery and secured the interval between two adjacent forts. The redoubt featured a wet moat but has only one floor. It is smaller than the design of the Hoofdweerstandstelling redoubt. One cupola was built in front of the redoubt: it had one 75mm gun installed. Two 75mm guns secured the intervals.

Armament – Veiligheidsomwalling Redoubt

  • 3x 75mm fortress gun

Current condition – Redoubt VII was completed when the Great War broke out in 1914. It is not known if it participated in any defensive actions. No traces of the redoubt were found on the former site.

Sources – Own elaboration; Gils, R.

Redoubt VI

Description – Redoubt VI of the Veiligheidsomwalling is a small redoubt located between Fort IV Mortsel to the north and Fort V Edegem to the west. Redoubt VII was constructed a little more to the west. A main road runs between the redoubt and Fort IV (Lier Gate). Between the redoubts the railway Antwerp-Brussels is located.

Construction & Armament – This concrete redoubt was constructed between 1910 and 1912. It is considered to be standard redoubt featuring artillery and secured the interval between two adjacent forts. The redoubt featured a wet moat but has only one floor. It is smaller than the design of the Hoofdweerstandstelling redoubt. One cupola was built in front of the redoubt: it had one 75mm gun installed. Two 75mm guns secured the intervals.

Armament – Veiligheidsomwalling Redoubt

  • 3x 75mm fortress gun

Current condition – Redoubt VI was completed when the Great War broke out in 1914. It is not known if it participated in any defensive actions. The redoubt was demolished and no remains can be found in the current landscape. The site has become a housing quarter.

Sources – Own elaboration; Gils, R.

Redoubt V

Description – Redoubt V of the Veiligheidsomwalling is a small redoubt located between Fort III (Borsbeek) to the north and Fort IV Mortsel to the southwest. Redoubt IV was constructed a little more to the north. A railway ran between the two redoubts.

Construction & Armament – This concrete redoubt was constructed between 1910 and 1912. It is considered to be standard redoubt featuring artillery and secured the interval between two adjacent forts. It secured the Cantevroy Gate which was located close by. The redoubt featured a wet moat but has only one floor. It is smaller than the design of the Hoofdweerstandstelling redoubt. One cupola was built in front of the redoubt: it had one 75mm gun installed. Two 75mm guns secured the intervals.

Armament – Veiligheidsomwalling Redoubt

  • 3x 75mm fortress gun

Current condition – Redoubt V was completed when the Great War broke out in 1914. It is not known if it participated in any defensive actions. The redoubt still exists but some parts are demolished. It serves as a storage facility.

Sources – Own elaboration; Gils, R.

Redoubt IV

Description – Redoubt IV of the Veiligheidsomwalling is a small redoubt located between Fort III (Borsbeek) to the north and Fort IV Mortsel to the southwest. Redoubt V was constructed a little more to the south. A railway ran between the two redoubts.

Construction & Armament – This concrete redoubt was constructed between 1910 and 1912. It is considered to be standard redoubt featuring artillery and secured the interval between two adjacent forts. The redoubt featured a wet moat but has only one floor. It is smaller than the design of the Hoofdweerstandstelling redoubt. One cupola was built in front of the redoubt: it had one 75mm gun installed. Two 75mm guns secured the intervals.

Armament – Veiligheidsomwalling Redoubt

  • 3x 75mm fortress gun

Current condition – Redoubt IV was completed when the Great War broke out in 1914. It is not known if it participated in any defensive actions. The redoubt was demolished and a trailer site has taken its place.

Sources – Own elaboration; Gils, R.

Redoubt III

Description – Redoubt III of the Veiligheidsomwalling is a small redoubt located between Fort II (Wommelgem) to the north and Fort III (Borsbeek)to the south. Redoubt II was constructed a little more to the north.

Construction & Armament – This concrete redoubt was constructed between 1910 and 1912. It is considered to be standard redoubt featuring artillery and secured the interval between two adjacent forts. The redoubt featured a wet moat but has only one floor. It is smaller than the design of the Hoofdweerstandstelling redoubt. One cupola was built in front of the redoubt: it had one 75mm gun installed. Four 75mm guns secured the intervals.

Armament – Veiligheidsomwalling Redoubt

  • 5x 75mm fortress gun

Current condition – Redoubt III was completed when the Great War broke out in 1914. It was abandoned by the garrison on 8th or 9th October in the wake of artillery shelling on Fort IV Mortsel. Some deserting soldiers went to Redoubt II in order to convince the defenders to leave as well. One deserter was shot by the commander of Redoubt II. The redoubt still exist but is private property and cannot be viewed from the street side.

Sources – Own elaboration; Gils, R.; Jacobs, W.

Redoubt II

Description – Redoubt II of the Veiligheidsomwalling is a small redoubt located between Fort II (Wommelgem) to the north and Fort III (Borsbeek)to the south. Redoubt I was constructed a little more to the north and Redoubt III consequently to the south.

Construction & Armament – This concrete redoubt was constructed between 1910 and 1912. It is considered to be standard redoubt featuring artillery and secured the interval between two adjacent forts. The redoubt featured a wet moat but has only one floor. It is smaller than the design of the Hoofdweerstandstelling redoubt. One cupola was built in front of the redoubt: it had one 75mm gun installed. Four 75mm guns secured the intervals.

Armament – Veiligheidsomwalling Redoubt

  • 5x 75mm fortress gun

Commander 1914 – adj.Huybrechts/Sgt. Hendrickx

Current condition – Redoubt II was completed when the Great War broke out in 1914. Commanded by Fort II Wommelgem the redoubt was the scene of British trenches. Deserting forces of Redoubt III tried to convince the garrison to leave their post; one soldier was shot by the redoubt commander adj. Huybrechts. Sgt Hendrickx assumed command thereafter. On 9th of October the garrison either deserted the site or retreated to the fort after the guns were disabled. The redoubt still exist but is private property and converted into housing; visitors can see the redoubt clearly.

Sources – Own elaboration; Gils, R.

Redoubt I

Description – Redoubt I of the Veiligheidsomwalling is a small redoubt located between Fort II (Wommelgem) to the north and Fort III (Borsbeek)to the south. Redoubt II was constructed a little more to the south. The redoubt housed a garrison of 3 junior officers and 33 NCO’s and soldiers.

Construction & Armament – This concrete redoubt was constructed between 1910 and 1912. It is considered to be standard redoubt featuring artillery and secured the interval between two adjacent forts. The redoubt featured a wet moat but has only one floor. It is smaller than the design of the Hoofdweerstandstelling redoubt. One cupola was built in front of the redoubt: it had one 75mm gun installed. Four 75mm guns secured the intervals.

Armament – Veiligheidsomwalling Redoubt

  • 5x 75mm fortress gun

Commander 1914 – Lieutenant Rosenbaum

Current condition РRedoubt I was completed when the Great War broke out in 1914. A British navy brigade led by brigadier-general Henderson occupies the trenches between Fort II and the main road to Berchem and Lier.  The redoubt was abandoned on October 9th. The redoubt still exist but is private property and hidden from public access.

Sources – Own elaboration; Gils, R.; Jacobs, W.

Fort Oelegem

Description – Fort Oelegem is a concrete (armored) fort of the first order with merged caponnieres. It is part of the hoofdweerstandstelling and is located in the eastern sector of the Antwerp defensive positions.

Construction & Armament – The fort was made out of unarmed concrete and construction commenced in 1909. Completion followed in 1912. Its design is similar to Fort Koningshooikt and is considered to be the strongest type of fort available to the fortress of Antwerp. It features a two merged caponnieres, two side cupolas and back/rear caponniere to defend the intervals between forts and redoubts. It features a wet moat. To the northeast one finds the redoubt of Schilde and the redoubt of Massenhoven to the south. It guarded the Capine and later the Albert Canal.

Armament – Fort First Order

  • 2x 150mm fortress gun
  • 2x 120mm fortress gun
  • 4x 75mm
  • 16x 57mm

Commander 1914 – Capt. Lannoy

Current condition – The Fort of Oelegem (Oeleghem) took part of defensive operations during the siege of Antwerp in 1914. It did not receive fire from German siege batteries. When the forts of Koningshooikt, Walem, Sint-Katelijne-Waver, Lier and Broechem were disabled it lost its role. It intervened on October 5th when it opened fire on the fort of Kessel since the latter was occupied by German forces. The fort still has some original grafitti located at the former northern observation tower dating back to 1915. After the war it was refitted. During the last phases of the Second World War it served as a observation and command station to intercept V1 flying bombs launched at Antwerp. It still has some drawings and writings by American soldiers on the walls of the hallways dating back to 1945. The Belgian Army abandoned the fort in 1963. Today the fort is a premier habitat site for several endangered bat species. The fort can be visited upon request during the summer. The fort is in good condition as it is maintained by volunteers.

Sources – Own elaboration; Gils, R. Van der Cruyssen, J., Smeyers, J.; De Wit, G.

Contact Link – Fort Oelegem

Fort Koningshooikt

Description – The fort of Koningshooikt is a concrete (armored) fort of the first order with merged caponnieres. It is part of the hoofdweerstandstelling and is located in the western sector of the Antwerp defensive positions.

Construction & Armament – The fort was made out of unarmed concrete and construction commenced in 1909. Completion followed in 1912. Its design is similar to Fort Oelegem and is considered to be the strongest type of fort available to the fortress of Antwerp. It features a two merged caponnieres, two side cupolas and back/rear caponniere to defend the intervals between forts and redoubts. It features a wet moat. To the northeast one finds the redoubt of Tallaart (Tallaert) and the redoubt of Bosbeek to the southwest.

Armament – Fort First Order

  • 2x 150mm fortress gun
  • 2x 120mm fortress gun
  • 4x 75mm
  • 16x 57mm

Commander 1914 – Major Sapin

Current condition – The Fort of Koninghooikt was one of the major scenes of battle during the siege of Antwerp in 1914. The shelling of the fort started on 30st of August. One month later German and Austrian forces employed 305mm and 420mm siege guns that forced the garrisson to evacuate the fort on October 2nd. One day later German units occupied the fort. Battles ensued since the Belgian Army retreated to the Nete defense lines. After the Great War the fort was refitted. It became widely known since it was the most northern strong point of the so called “KW defensive line” (Koningshooikt-Waver-linie). The fort did not see any action during WW II and German forces used it as a storage facility. After the war it became private property. It housed a pub (dancing club) and today it is home to an airsoft and paintball venture (Fort Knox). The fort sustained considerable damage that can be seen to this day. The site can be visited and on the whole it is in average condition. It is an official heritage site.

Sources – Own elaboration; Gils, R.

Fort ‘s Gravenwezel

Description – The fort of ‘s Gravenwezel is a concrete (armored) fort of the second order with detached caponnieres. It is part of the hoofdweerstandstelling and is located in the upper north of the Antwerp defensive positions. This fort guarded the main road to Turnhout together with the redoubt of Schilde.

Construction & Armament – The fort was made out of unarmed concrete and construction commenced in 1902. In 1907 it was considered to be completed. Its design is similar to Fort Sint-Katelijne-Waver and Fort Stabroek and features a full range of of artillery cupolas. It features a detached reverse caponniere, two side caponnieres and back/rear caponniere to defend the intervals between forts and redoubts. It features a wet moat.

Armament – Fort Second Order

  • 2x 150mm fortress gun
  • 2x 120mm fortress gun
  • 4x 75mm
  • 2(?)x 57mm

Commander 1914 – ?

Current condition – The Fort of ‘s Gravenwezel did not see action during the Great War. Some damage to the fort was inflicted by the retreating garrison. Later it became part of a German defensive position from 1917 onwards (Hollandstellung Nord) and a garrison continued to occupy the fort until the armistice of 1918. In 1939 an anti tank ditch was built connecting the fort with the Redoubt Schilde to the south and Redoubt Audaan to the north. The fort became private property after the Second World War. Today it is a trailer residence site. Some parts of the fort are still visible but a general visit to the fort is not possible. The fort is considered to be in bad condition as much of the original layout was altered.

Sources – Own elaboration; Gils, R.