Tag Archives: Melsele

Fort Jean Bart

Description – The fort of Jean Bart was located northwest of Antwerp on western side of the Borgerweertpolder and the main dyke of the river Scheldt. It was named for the French national hero and corsair from Dunkirk Jean Bart (Jan Baert). The fort never came close to completion. More to the south the fort of Stengel was also under construction.

Construction & Armament – Construction of the fort commenced in 1811.┬áThe fort was planned to have a five point star shape but when the project was halted only the outer ramparts were finished. The Scheldt dyke was connected to the outer defensive rampart of this fort.

Armament –

  • ?x Cannon

Current condition – When Dutch rule was installed the fort of Jean Bart was far from completed and in 1814 works were halted together with Fort Stengel. It was argued that these positions, when taken and occupied by enemy forces, could serve as a base of operations to lay siege to Antwerp and block the river Scheldt access. Fort Ferdinand, located on the right bank closer to Antwerp (near Oosterweel), was deemed more suitable for the task at hand.

Sources – Own elaboration; Lombaerde, P.;

Redan Put van Fien

Description – The Redan “Put van Fien” is located on the defensive dyke that connects the fort of Zwijndrecht to the south with fort Fort Saint Mary to the north. It was built defend the road between the village of Kallo and Fort Saint Mary. It also featured the defense of a road between Kallo/Melsele and the polder area. Its name was given by the local population but its origin remains unclear. It is one of the smallest defensive earth structures of the Antwerp fortress.

Construction & Armament – Construction of the redan, lunet and the dyke commenced in 1871 together with the military road encircling Antwerp. East of the dyke the area could be flooded when a siege would take place. West the Borgerweertpolder area allowed a defending army to take refuge. It did not see any action in 1914 since the Siege of Antwerp was centered on the right bank of the Scheldt river. The redan is surrounded by a wet moat which runs up north to Fort Saint Mary.

Armament – Redan “Put van Fien”

  • ?x 90mm

Commander 1914 – ?

Current condition – The defensive dyke did not see any action during the Great War. When it lost its military role it was kept as a safety barrier in case of floods. In 1953 a flood damaged part of the dyke and the redan was almost completely destroyed. Nothing remains of the military buildings that were built on the site. The shape of the redan is still visible. Put van Fien is located in a protected habitat site but can be accessed free of charge.

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

Lunet Halve Maan

Lunet Halve Maan
Lunet Halve Maan

Description – Lunet Halve Maan is located on the defensive dyke that connects the fort of Zwijndrecht to the south with fort Fort Saint Mary to the north. It was built defend the dyke and guard access to the Borgerweertpolder to the west and to the village of Melsele to the east. Its name was given by the local population since its shape resembles more or less a half moon.

Construction & Armament – Construction the lunet and the dyke commenced in 1871 together with the military road encircling Antwerp. East of the dyke the area could be flooded when a siege would take place. West the Borgerweertpolder area allowed a defending army to take refuge. It did not see any action in 1914 since the Siege of Antwerp was centered on the right bank of the Scheldt river. The lunet is surrounded by a wet moat which runs up north to Fort Saint Mary.

Armament – Lunet “Halve Maan”

  • ?x 90mm

Commander 1914 – ?

Current condition – The defensive dyke did not see any action during the Great War. When it lost its military role it was kept as a safety barrier in case of floods. In 1953 a flood damaged part of the dyke. In order to close breached dykes near Kallo much of the earth works of Halve Maan were removed. Although the original buildings have been demolished the bridge access is still present. The shape of the lunet is still clearly visible in the landscape. Part of Halve Maan is private property and the moat is used for recreational fishing sports.

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

Defensive Dyke

Description – The defensive dyke connects the fort of Zwijndrecht to the south with fort Fort Saint Mary to the north. It was built to allow the left bank of the river Scheldt to be secured by an inundated area. It is considered to be part of the military road connecting the forts and redoubts of the veiligheidstelling. It features two strong points: the lunet of Halve Maan and the redan of “Put van Fien” and measures approximately 2600m in total length.

Construction & Armament – Construction of the dyke commenced in 1871 together with the military road encircling Antwerp. East of the dyke the area could be flooded when a siege would take place. West the Borgerweertpolder area allowed a defending army to take refuge. It did not see any action in 1914 since the Siege of Antwerp was centered on the right bank of the Scheldt river.

Armament – Based on “Halve Maan” and “Put van Fien”

  • ?x 90mm

Commander 1914 – ?

Current condition – The defensive dyke did not see any action during the Great War. Since no forts north of Fort Haasdonk were built it was argued that the defense of the left bank would be centered on the defensive dyke and nearby forts. When it lost its military role it was kept as a safety barrier in case of floods. In 1953 a flood damaged part of the dyke. In order to close breached dykes near Kallo much of the earth works of Halve Maan were removed. Today it still marks the administrative border between the provinces of Antwerp and Eastern-Flanders.

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