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Fort de St Héribert

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Fort de St Héribert
Fort de St Héribert

The Fort de St-Héribert is one of the nine forts making up the fortified position of Namur established at the end of the 19th century in Belgium. The fort was built between 1888 and 1892 to plans byGeneral Brialmont. Unlike the French forts built at the same time by Séré de Rivières, this fort was made of unreinforced concrete, a new material for the time, instead of masonry. During the siege of Namur in August 1914, the fort was heavily bombarded by German artillery. The Saint-Héribert fort was upgraded in 1930 in the hope of preventing or slowing down a hypothetical German attack. In 1940, it was attacked on May 15 and captured six days later. Since summer 2013, the fort has been undergoing restoration.Fort Saint-Héribert is located 6 km south of Namur. It is one of the largest Brialmont forts.
Triangular in shape, it is surrounded by ditches 6 meters deep and 8 meters wide. These ditches were defended in enfilade by 57 mm cannons assembled in casemates located in the counterscarp. The main armament was concentrated on the central massif, tightly packed under thick concrete. Belgian forts had few provisions compared with the daily needs of a garrison in wartime, and the latrines, showers, kitchens and mortuary located in the counterscarp made them untenable during fighting.
This would have major consequences for the forts' ability to withstand a long assault. The service area was placed opposite the barracks, which overlooked the ditch at the rear of the fort (in this case, in the direction of Namur) and enjoyed less protection than the front or salient.
The forts designed by Brialmont had the rear side more weakly defended to allow recapture by Belgian forces, and amenities and barracks were located there, with the ditch bringing light and ventilation to the living spaces. In battle, intense bombardment made the rear ditch untenable, and German forces were able to take advantage of this weakness after crossing the gap between two forts. The Brialmont forts were also designed to withstand a bombardment of 21 cm cannons.
The top of the central massif was 4 m thick with unreinforced concrete, while the barracks walls, deemed less exposed, were only 1.5 m thick. The armament of the Saint-Héribert fort included two rotating cupolas with a 21 cm howitzer, one cupola with two 15 cm guns and two cupolas with two 12 cm guns for long-range attack. There were also four collapsible domes fitted with 57 mm guns for close defense. Six fast-cadence 57mm cannons and two mobile cannons equipped the casemates for defense of the ditches and postern.
The fort also had a lighting turret. The fort's heavy artillery was of German manufacture (Krupp), while the turret mechanisms were of various origins. Communication between neighboring forts was by means of light signals. The cannons used black powder, which produced asphyxiating gases in confined spaces that spread throughout the fort

Photos: Alain Walthery
Text: wikipedia

 
Fort de St Héribert
Fort de St Héribert.
Blockhaus
Fort de St Héribert
Fort de St Héribert.
Blockhaus
Fort de St Héribert
Fort de St Héribert.
Blockhaus
Fort de St Héribert
Fort de St Héribert.
Blockhaus

Fort de St Héribert

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