Category Archives: Veiligheidstelling

The “Veiligheidsstelling” or safety defensive line features updated brick forts and concrete redoubts. In case the main defensive position was breached this line should be able to slow down enemy advance.

Redoubt VIII

Description – Redoubt VIII 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 east. Between the redoubts ran the main road to Mechelen. Redoubt IX was built more to the 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 VIII 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 but its moat shape is still discernible on aerial photos.

Sources – Own elaboration; Gils, R.

Redoubt VII

Description – Redoubt 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 – Redoubt 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 Oorderen

Description – The fort of Oorderen is a concrete fort built on a dyke near the village of Oorderen.  It was part of the veiligheidstelling and is located in the northern sector of the Antwerp defensive positions.  Also referred to as the redoubt of Oorderen it is considered to be a coastal defense site of Antwerp. Nearby areas could be flooded if under threat by an advancing army. Just before the outbreak of the Great War nearby defensive lines were being constructed. Because of its isolated position it was not very popular amongst Belgian soldiers.

Construction & Armament – The fort was made out of unarmed concrete and construction commenced in 1878. Completion followed in 1888. Its design is similar to Fort Berendrecht and the designs differs only in details. The Fort features a wet moat surrounded by the dyke, a main building with a cupola, an entrance building and two traverses. To the west one find the river Scheldt and inundated areas. Some redoubts of the veiligheidstelling were located more to the east.

Armament – Dyke Fort

  • ?x 150mm fortress gun
  • ?x 120mm fortress gun
  • ?x 75mm
  • ?6x 57mm

Commander 1914 – ?

Current condition – The Fort of Oorderen did not see action during the siege of Antwerp in 1914. It was most likely rendered useless by the garrisson when they evacuated the fort. It is unknown if the fort was refitted during the interbellum. During the expansion of the port of Antwerp during the 1960’s the fort was demolished and its remains are covered by earth. No traces of the fort are visible today but some remnants can be found to the east (Gate of Kraag/Kraagsepoort).

Sources – Own elaboration; Gils, R.

Fort Vlaams Hoofd (III)

Description – Fort Vlaams Hoofd was a brick fort built on the left bank of the river Scheldt protecting the city of Antwerp. Close to the fort the village of Saint Anne was located. A ferry service connected the city of Antwerp with the left bank hence the local population referred to it as “Fort ‘t Veer” (Tête de Flandre). A railway line between Antwerp and Ghent was built next to the southern flank of the fort. Next to guarding the Scheldt access to Antwerp it protected the Borgerweertpolder area and secured the strategic Verbrande Dijk road to the east towards Fort Stengel (until 1865). It was the third fort with this namesake as earlier fortifications had existed on this location.

Construction & Armament – The fort features a five point star shape and features earth works and brick. It was surrounded by a wet moat. Construction commenced in 1852. When it was finished it was rendered partly obsolete since new forts were heralded in 1859 in order to protect the city of Antwerp from bombardment. It featured several buildings including main infantry barracks, several artillery sheds, two powder magazines, two guard stations and a pavilion. Between the fort and the Scheldt river additional army logistics barracks were present (1840).

Armament – Fort Vlaams Hoofd

  • ?x 150mm fortress gun

Commander 1914 – ?

Current condition – The Fort Vlaams Hoofd did not take part in the siege of Antwerp in 1914 and was not damaged. The defending garrison fled east on October 9th when German troops tried to cross the river. The fort was demolished in 1930 and the moat was filled with dirt in 1932. A very small part of the fort is still visible close to the river. The Antwerp pedestrian tunnel crossing entrance is standing roughly in the middle of the former fort.

Sources – Own elaboration; Gils, R.; Van Meirvenne, R.; Lauwers, F.