Category Archives: Redoubt

A redoubt is a fortified position built on a strategic location. Dimensions my vary but as a rule of thumb it does not have a permanent garrison.

Fort Duffel

Fort Duffel
Fort Duffel


Description –
The fort of Duffel is a small fort built in order to secure the railroad between Antwerp and Brussels. It is a hybrid fort equipped with armored cupolas. It is part of the hoofdweerstandstelling and is located in the southern sector of the Antwerp defensive positions.  To west one finds the fort of Walem and the fort of Sint-Katelijne-Waver to the east. It held out for a considerable time during the siege of 1914.

Construction & Armament – The fort had brick walls and concrete vaults. It is considered to be a hybrid fort. Initally its design featured only earth works (1888). Later it was armed with cupolas and concrete protection covering the brick underground hallways (1894). The fort is surrounded by a wet moat and features three cupolas (1x2x150mm and 2x1x57mm).  It was formerly known as the Railway Redoubt (redoute du chemin de fer) later as the small Fort of Duffel (fortin de Duffel).

Armament – Fort Duffel

  • 2x 150mm fortress gun
  • 6x 57mm fortress gun

Commander 1914 – Lieutenant Hastray

Current condition – The Fort of Duffel was besieged in 1914. The fort held out for a considerable time while positions at Walem and Sint-Katelijne-Waver were lost. The garrisson destoryed part of the fort when they were forced to evacuate on the 3rd of October. The traditoire battery still shows considerable damage. It was not refitted during the interbellum and did not participate in any operations during WW II.  German forces stripped most of the metal from the fort. The fort was sold to a construction firm when the Belgian state declassified the entire site. For some time it remained in the same condition as during its abandonement. The fort was purchased by the Province of Antwerp and has become a heritage site. Today it can be visited; it offers information to visitors and some exhibitions are held. Several restorations and repairs have been carried out (e.g. the brigde has been rebuilt). These efforts have given back much of its former splendor. It is quite good overall condition.

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Sources – Own elaboration; Gils, R.;

Redoubt Audaan

Description – The redoubt of Audaan (Audaen) is located  built to secure the interval between Fort Brasschaat and Fort Schoten. It is a standard redoubt of the hoofdweerstandstelling built near ‘s Gravenwezel. It did not see any action during the Great War and was left intact by the retreating garisson.

Construction & Armament – This concrete redoubt was constructed between 1909 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 .  One cupola was built in front of the redoubt: it had one 75mm gun installed. It was part of the hoofdweerstandstelling.

Armament – Hoofdweerstandstelling Redoubt

  • 4x 120mm fortress gun
  • 5x 75mm fortress gun

Current condition – The redoubt of Audaan was propably intact when the Great War ended. It is not know weither interbellum upgrades were applied but is still private property thus and off limits to visitors. The redoubt was transformed in to a living home. The concrete facade has been restored. During the interbellum it did not receive a connection to the anti-tank ditch located more to the northeast.

Sources – Own elaboration; Gils, R.

Redoubt Bosbeek

Description – The redoubt of Bosbeek is located close east of the village Sint-Katelijne-Waver. It lies close to the redoubt of Dorpveld to the west. Further to the east lies the fort of Koningshooikt. It is a unique half redoubt and mirrors the design of Dorpveld; both were built to secure access to the village and guarded the road to Antwerp. Both redoubts are part of the hoofdweerstandstelling.

Construction & Armament – This concrete redoubt was constructed between 1909 and 1912 just before the outbreak of the Great War and in tandem with Dorpveld. It is thus one of two half redoubts in existence. It features a wet moat and only one side (flank) is armed with artillery pieces (2x 120mm and 2x75mm). One cupola was built in front of the redoubt: it had one 75mm gun installed.

Armament – Half Redoubt

  • 2x 120mm fortress gun
  • 3x 75mm fortress gun

Current condition – The redoubt of Bosbeek was involved in heavy fighting during the siege of Antwerp in 1914 as was its counterpart Dorpveld. Shelling by 305mm and 420mm artillery close to the redoubt took place. The redoubt was left relativity undamaged. During the interbellum it was refitted with heavy machine guns. Since 1998 is has become a protected heritage site. Much of the redoubt has been overgrown and access is quite difficult. The redoubt is private property.

Sources – Own elaboration; Gils, R.

Redoubt Dorpveld

Redoubt Dorpvel
Redoubt Dorpvel

Description – The redoubt of Dorpveld is located south of the village Sint-Katelijne-Waver. It lies close to the redoubt of Bosbeek to the east. To the west one finds the forts of Sint-Katelijne-Waver and Walem. Is is a unique half redoubt and mirrors the design of Bosbeek. Both defended the village and a main road to Antwerp. It is a part of the hoofdweerstandstelling.

Construction & Armament – This concrete redoubt was constructed between 1909 and 1912 just before the outbreak of the Great War. It is one of two half redoubts in existence. It features a wet moat and only one side (flank) is armed with artillery pieces (2x 120mm and 2x75mm). One cupola was built in front of the redoubt: it has one 75mm gun installed.

Armament – Half Redoubt

  • 2x 120mm fortress gun
  • 3x 75mm

Current condition – The redoubt of Dorpveld was involved in heavy fighting during the siege of Antwerp in 1914. Shelling by 305mm and 420mm artillery close to the redoubt took place, but it held out for one week against overwhelming odds. Its defenders fought to the last man even after they ran short of ammunition. In 1931 a monument was erected commemorating their valiant sacrifice. The redoubt, although a bit damaged is well worth a visit since it was restored to good condition. During the interbellum it was upgraded with heavy machine guns. Today it is private property but the main features are easy to see from a distance.

Sources – Own elaboration; Gils, R.

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Redoubt Dryhoek

Description – The redoubt of Dryhoek was built between Fort Brasschaat and Fort Schoten. Named for the Dryhoek (Driehoek) commune it secured the road to Breda (Bredabaan) and is a standard redoubt of the hoofdweerstandstelling. It did not see any action during the Great War as it was lost to German forces on 9th of October (and possibly partly rendered useless) by the retreating garisson. Later it was incorporated in the 1917 Hollandstellung.

Construction & Armament – This concrete redoubt was constructed between 1909 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 and during war time the garrison entailed units from Fort Brasschaat or Fort Schoten.  One cupola was built in front of the redoubt: it had one 75mm gun installed. It was part of the hoofdweerstandstelling.

Armament – Hoofdweerstandstelling Redoubt

  • 4x 120mm fortress gun
  • 5x 75mm fortress gun

Current condition – The redoubt of Dryhoek did not see any action in 1914 but it was probably evacuated on 8th of October. Records show that it might have been partly destroyed. In 1917 it became part of the Hollandstellung of the German Army since they feared an allied invasion from The Netherlands. During the interbellum it did not receive a connection to the anti-tank ditch located more to the northeast. It is not know if the redoubt was refitted with bunkers (pillboxes) since the location of the anti-tank ditch is quite a distance to the northeast. After the Second World War is became private property; today club Dixies (Dicies Nouveau) is located in the redoubt. An extra level has been added to the existing two stories redoubt layout.

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.

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 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 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 IX

Description – Redoubt IX of the Veiligheidsomwalling is a small redoubt located between Fort IV Mortsel to the north and Fort V Edegem to the west. Redoubt VIII was constructed a little more to the east.

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 IX 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 and the a housing block has been built on this site.

Sources – Own elaboration; Gils, R.