Category Archives: Battery

A battery is a location where defensive artillery is stationed to guard strategic positions. In most cases it features long range artillery and limited defensive capabilities. It has no permanent garisson.

Blauwgaren Battery

Description – The battery of Blauwgaren was a coastal defensive structure located near Lillo (port of Antwerp) built in 1911. Its namesake dates back to earlier forts and redoubts during the Dutch war of independence against Spanish forces. This concrete coastal battery was constructed to prevent an enemy naval force sailing up the river Scheldt.

Construction & Armament – This coastal battery comprised several earth works, four gun platforms and a concrete main building. The southern flank remained open but the surrounding area could be inundated when necessary.

Armament –

  • 4x 120mm Coastal Gun (M1913)

Current condition – In 1914 Blauwgaren Battery didn’t participate in any operation but the Belgian Army command of Antwerp ordered the garrison to destroy the guns and the main building on the 8th of October. German forces occupied the site and built five bunkers during the Great War to close the Scheldt access. Remains of the battery and the German bunkers were displaced during the 1953 flood. In order to close breached dykes sand and dirt was retrieved from the earth works. Remains of the battery were burried and levelled when the port of Antwerp expanded in following years. The presence of munition could not be confirmed nor denied.

Sources – Own elaboration; Gils, R; Oliviers, T.; Documentatiecentrum Antwerpse Noorderpolders

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Fort De Perel

Description – Fort De Perel was located near the river Scheldt  at Kallo, now located in the port of Antwerp. It was named after an earlier fort built by Spanish forces and subsequent Austrian military commands at rougly the same location. It was built to secure the access to the river together with fort Saint Mary and fort Saint Philip. It was considered to be a coastal fort or battery.

Construction – This fort was designed for coastal defense and has the same basic design as fort Saint Pilip. It features a dry moat, a central reduit with three armoured coupolas which were powered by steam kettles. Because of unstable soil the fort was built using long wooden piles/beams. A gunpowder magazine was located at the landside entrance and deviates lightly from the Saint Philip design.

Armament –

  • 3 Coupolas (never installed)
  • 4x 240mm coastal heavy artillery (never installed)
  • 2x 280mm coastal heavy artillery (never installed)

Current condition – Fort De Perel was probably left undamaged in 1914.  In 1944’s it was used as a storage facility by the German army for sea mines. When they were forced to retreat they detonated the remaining mines causing damageThe fort was demolished in 1958 when the port of Antwerp expanded to the left bank of the Scheldt river.

Sources – Own elaboration; Gils, R., Oliviers, T.

Fort Kruibeke

Description – Fort Kruibeke is located on the left bank of the river Scheldt near Kruibeke and is still an army base. It is officially referred to as Fort Van Eepoel. It is a smaller asymmetrical brick fort with a trapezoid shape. It was constructed in order to allow the Belgian Army to conduct offensive operations on the left bank (Waasland) as it served a supporting role. It also guarded  the upstream part of the river Scheldt. It does not feature a central reduit but offers a small battery instead.

Construction & Armament – Constructed started in 1870 and the fort was completed near 1880. It served as a supporting position for the Belgian Field Army and a guarding station for the Scheldt river. It does not have a central reduit but a smaller battery offering indirect fire is present. Originally a brick fort it was upgraded with concrete by 1912. During the Great War it was not involved in any operations.

Armament –

  • ?x 120mm fortress gun
  • ?x 150mm fortress gun
  • ?x 210mm mortar (?)

Current condition – The fort is an overall bad condition since a large part has been destroyed due post-WO II industrial activities. The caponniere is gone as is a large part of the moat. The site is still occupied and maintained by the Belgian Army and serves the role of logistics depot. WARNING: This site can only be visited upon request. The Belgian Army still occupies this fort as a division of the logistics branch is stationed here.

Sources – Own elaboration; Fortengordels.be; Gils, R.

Fort Saint Philip

Description – Fort Saint Filip is located close to the Scheldt river at the port of Antwerp. It was named for after an earlier fort built by Spanish forces and subsequent Austrian military commands. It was built to secure the access to the river together with fort Saint Mary and fort De Perel and is considered to be a coastal fort or battery.

Construction – This fort was designed for coastal defense and has the same basic design of fort De Perel. It features a dry moat, a central reduit with three armoured coupolas which were powered by steam kettles. Because of unstable soil the fort is built using long wooden piles/beams. A gunpowder magazine is located at the landside entrance.

Armament –

  • 3 Coupolas
  • 4x 240mm coastal heavy artillery
  • 2x 280mm coastal heavy artillery

Current condition – Fort Saint Philip was damaged in 1914 by its retreating garisson rendering the coupolas useless. During the 1960’s it was used to burn off waste oil of the nearby refineries. Hence it is in pretty bad condition, but remains are still visible. CAUTION: visiting the site is prohibited and considered to be very dangerous due to (chemical) waste on site and in the lower parts of the fort itself.

Sources – Own elaboration; Gils, R., Oliviers, T.