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