Description – Fort Lier served as the third fort so secure a bridgehead for the Belgian Army in the advent of the Franco-Prussian War. It’s design is close to that of Fort Walem and differs only in details with fort Walem. It was constructed in order to secure positions near the Nete river close to Lier. As is the case with her twin fort brick works are predominant but concrete reenforcements were installed as were armoured coupolas. It served as the headquarters of the Field Army under Albert I of Belgium during the initial phase of the Great War. It suffered from heavy siege artillery.
Construction & Armament – Construction started in 1882 and completed near 1892. It is a brick that shares many features with Walem. By the time it was completed it was considered outdated because of new artillery and therefore concrete reenforcements and coupolas were installed. Fort Lier is defended by earth works and a wet moat; as is the case with its counterpart Walem the fort features a main barracks builing in the center (terreplein). As a Brialmont brick fort it has two half caponnieres and two entrances. Only one entrance was used during peace time. Two caponnieres can be found: one at the front of the fort and one at the back of the fort.
- 3x 120mm fortress guns
- 5x 150mm fortress guns (only 4 were installed)
- 4x 75mm fortress guns
Current condition – Fort Lier was damaged during the First World War by heavy siege artillery (420mm, 210mm). When German forces advanced to Antwerp is was one of the forts that held out longer due the fact that the terrain of the fort is quite large (concrete forts are smaller) and proved more difficult to destroy. The garisson commander ordered the fort to be evacuated when all coupolas were disabled. The fort still clearly shows the damage done by the siege in 1914: the barracks are partly destroyed as was one of the 57mm gun coupola. During the interbellum the fort was reenforced with machine guns. It did not see any action during WW II. The fort is in rather bad condition: damage dating back from 1914 is clearly visible and most areas are off limits. The barracks are in moderate condition but the caponnieres are considered to be preserved substandard. A firing range and firearms sports club is present in the main building, but visitors who are interested in the fort’s history are not deemed to be quite welcome.
Sources – Own elaboration; Ryheul, J;