Tag Archives: Schilde

Fort Oelegem

Description – Fort Oelegem is a concrete (armored) fort of the first order with merged caponnieres. It is part of the hoofdweerstandstelling and is located in the eastern sector of the Antwerp defensive positions.

Construction & Armament – The fort was made out of unarmed concrete and construction commenced in 1909. Completion followed in 1912. Its design is similar to Fort Koningshooikt and is considered to be the strongest type of fort available to the fortress of Antwerp. It features a two merged caponnieres, two side cupolas and back/rear caponniere to defend the intervals between forts and redoubts. It features a wet moat. To the northeast one finds the redoubt of Schilde and the redoubt of Massenhoven to the south. It guarded the Capine and later the Albert Canal.

Armament – Fort First Order

  • 2x 150mm fortress gun
  • 2x 120mm fortress gun
  • 4x 75mm
  • 16x 57mm

Commander 1914 – Capt. Lannoy

Current condition – The Fort of Oelegem (Oeleghem) took part of defensive operations during the siege of Antwerp in 1914. It did not receive fire from German siege batteries. When the forts of Koningshooikt, Walem, Sint-Katelijne-Waver, Lier and Broechem were disabled it lost its role. It intervened on October 5th when it opened fire on the fort of Kessel since the latter was occupied by German forces. The fort still has some original grafitti located at the former northern observation tower dating back to 1915. After the war it was refitted. During the last phases of the Second World War it served as a observation and command station to intercept V1 flying bombs launched at Antwerp. It still has some drawings and writings by American soldiers on the walls of the hallways dating back to 1945. The Belgian Army abandoned the fort in 1963. Today the fort is a premier habitat site for several endangered bat species. The fort can be visited upon request during the summer. The fort is in good condition as it is maintained by volunteers.

Sources – Own elaboration; Gils, R. Van der Cruyssen, J., Smeyers, J.; De Wit, G.

Contact Link – Fort Oelegem

Redoubt Schilde

Redoubt Schilde
Redoubt Schilde

Description – The redoubt of Schilde was built in the eastern 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 was a standard design featuring several artillery pieces. The redoubt featured a wet moat and during war time the garrison entailed units from Fort Oelegem to the south or Fort ‘s Gravenwezel to the north.  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 Turnhout.

Armament – Hoofdweerstandstelling Redoubt

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

Current condition – The redoubt of Schilde 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 subsequently destroyed the redoubt. This standard procedure would prevent German forces to occupy the redoubt. During the interbellum it was refitted and bunkers (pillboxes) were constructed and the redoubt was connected to the anti-tank ditch. In 1961 the redoubt lost its military role. Today it can be visited freely but some parts are overgrown.  A fishing club is located nearby.

Sources – Own elaboration; Gils, R. De Wit, G;