Tag Archives: Kruibeke

Redoubt Landmolen

Description – The redoubt of Landmolen was built in the western sector of the Antwerp Fortified Position on the left bank of the river Scheldt. It is considered to be a standard concrete redoubt of the hoofdweerstandstelling. It did not participate in fighting during the Great War. It was refitted by the German army in 1917 when allied forces were able to increase the pressure on the western front. To the north Fort Haasdonk is located while Redoubt Lauwershoek guards the southern flank.

Construction & Armament – This concrete redoubt was constructed between 1909 and 1912. Its design is based on the standard configuration featuring several artillery pieces. The redoubt featured a wet moat and during war time the garrison entailed units from Fort Haasdonk located to the north. One cupola was built in front of the redoubt: it had one 75mm gun planned. It was part of the hoofdweerstandstelling on the left bank of the river Scheldt; its main task was to secure the intervals between the forts. To the south one finds Fort Steendorp.

Armament – Hoofdweerstandstelling Redoubt

  • 4x 120mm fortress gun (only 1 piece installed in 1914)
  • 5x 75mm fortress gun

Commander 1914 – Lieutenant Pierard

Current condition – The redoubt of Landmolen did not participate in fighting during the siege of Antwerp in 1914. When the fortress of Antwerp had to be evacuated by the Belgian Field Army the garrison tried flee to the Netherlands (Hulst) were they were disarmed and put in custody. Others tried to keep up retreating to the defense line of the canal Ghent-Terneuzen. The redoubt was disabled by the garrison when evacuated. It was occupied by German forces shortly thereafter and refitted because an allied breakthrough at the western front seemed imminent (October 1918). The redoubt is located in a small forest which makes it almost invisible to identify from a distance during spring and summer. Some parts were converted to living quarters and most of the redoubt housed a mushroom growing facility. The redoubt is in relatively good condition and most features are still intact and the 75mm gun placement is still there. The wet moat has been filled with earth. Near the redoubt One can still find prints of sand bags (filled with oplaster/concrete) probably dating back to either 1914 or 1918. Local farmers remove these prints and collect them near the roads since they damage farming machines. Several bunkers were built in the vicinity but were tipped over by local farmers. There is some evidence that a (small) railway existed near the redoubt. The site is private property and is considered off limits to visitors.

Sources – Own elaboration; Gils, R. local residents; Van Meirvenne, R;

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.