Description – The redoubt of Smoutakker was built in the northern sector of the Antwerp Fortified Position. It is considered to be a standard concrete redoubt of the hoofdweerstandstelling. It did not participate in fighting during the Great War but it was completely destroyed by the garisson when they evacuated the position.
Construction & Armament – This concrete redoubt was constructed between 1909 and 1912. It is considered to be standard redoubt featuring artillery pieces. The redoubt featured a wet moat and during war time the garrison entailed units from Fort Ertbrand to the east or Fort Stabroek to the west. One cupola was built in front of the redoubt: it had one 75mm gun installed. It was part of the hoofdweerstandstelling; its main task was to secure the intervals between the forts and guard the road to Bergen-Op-Zoom (The Netherlands)
Armament – Hoofdweerstandstelling Redoubt
- 4x 120mm fortress gun
- 5x 75mm fortress gun
Current condition – The redoubt of Smoutakker did not participate in operations during the siege of Antwerp in 1914. When the fortress of Antwerp had to be evacuated by the Belgian Field Army the garisson blew up the redoubt. This standard procedure would prevent German forces to occupy the redoubt. When the powder magazine exploded the commanding officer and one soldier were killed on October 10th. Two refugees who fled Antwerp were killed by debris. During the interbellum it was refitted and bunkers (pillboxes) were constructed and an anti-tank ditch was dug. During the Second World War some skirmishes between allied and German forces were recorded. The German army placed S-mines in the area surrounding the remains of the Smoutakker redoubt in 1944 covering their retreat to Rosendaal. This lead locals to refer to it as the “redoubt of death” since several people were injured and killed in the following years. Casulaties included both military personel as civilians. The site of Redoubt Smoutakker was declared safe on June 5th 1947 after years of mine clearing by the Belgian Army and German POWs. Today it can be visited freely but is largely overgrown. It is owned by a nature preservation association since 1999.
Sources – Own elaboration; Fox, Z.