Redoubt Massenhoven

Description – Close to the Campine Canal the redoubt of Massenhove was built. Sometimes referred to as the canal redoubt it secured the interval between Fort Broechem to the south and Fort Oelegem to the north. It was a standard concrete redoubt of the hoofdweerstandstelling. After the Second World War it lost its military importance.

Construction & Armament – This concrete redoubt was constructed between 1909 and 1912. It is considered to be standard redoubt featuring artillery pieces but it is possible that additional earth works were erected to secure the canal. The redoubt featured a wet moat and during war time the garrison entailed units from Fort Broechem or from Fort Oelegem.  One cupola was built in front of the redoubt: it had one 75mm gun installed. It was part of the hoofdweerstandstelling.

Armament – Hoofdweerstandstelling Redoubt

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

Commander 1914 – Lieutenant Jottrand/Major Fraikin

Current condition – The redoubt of Massenhove saw only limited action during the siege of Antwerp in 1914. As far as our sources indicate it did not take any damage by 305mm and 420mm artillery contrary to the nearby fort of Broechem . On September 16th Major Fraikin assumed command of the redoubt. The garrisson opened fire towards the village of Nijlen in order to prevent German forces to take one of the bridges over the Kleine Nete river (6th). The commander ordered the redoubt to be evacuated on October 7th. The garrisson crossed the Campine Canal and managed to reach Beveren. During the interbellum it was refitted and bunkers (pillboxes) were constructed since it became part of the KW-defensive position. By that time the Capine Canal was being replaced by the Albert Canal so it is possible the redoubt served as a strongpoint for other canal bunkers. It was not involved in fighting during WW II. It was demolished when the Antwerp Water Works (AWW) constructed a water basin on the site of the redoubt (1976).

Sources – Own elaboration; Antwerpse Water Werken.