Description – The fort of Kessel is a concrete (armored) fort of the second order with attached reverse caponnieres. It is part of the hoofdweerstandstelling and is located in the eastern corner of the Antwerp defensive positions. To the north one finds the Fort of Broechem (across the Kleine Nete river) and the Fort of Lier to the south (across the Grote Nete river).
Construction & Armament – The fort was made out of unarmed concrete and construction commenced in 1906. In 1914 it was considered to be completed. Its design is similar to Fort Brasschaat. Being a fort of the Hoofdweerstandstelling it features a smaller number of artillery cupolas than first order designs. It has an attached reverse caponnieres and a back/rear caponniere to defend the intervals between forts. It is surrounded by a wet moat and is part of the Hoofdweerstandstelling. It guards an isolated position in between two rivers.
Armament – Fort Second Order
- 2x 150mm fortress gun
- 6x 120mm fortress gun
- 8x 75mm
- 18x 57mm
Commander 1914 – Captain Piraux
Current condition – The Fort of Kessel sustained considerable damage during the Great War together with Fort Lier, Fort Broechem and Fort Koningshooikt. It was shelled by heavy siege artillery in 1914. The right wing of the main building has partially collapsed and breaches are found throughout the fort. Fort Kessel is involved in operations starting September 29th. On the 4th of October the fort was rendered disabled by continued shelling by both 305mm and 420mm siege artillery. During the interbellum it was refitted. Because of its isolated position it was not included in the pillbox defense line which runs from Fort Broechem to the left bank of the Kleine Nete river at Lier. The fort has sustained major damage but can be visited. A dedicated heritage assocation has restored part of the fort and offeres guided tours upon request. The fort is in good condition and the sites of artillery impacts are very impressive. These elemets warrant a visit.
Sources – Own elaboration; Gils, R.