Home Page Photos
Members are invited to send any interesting fortification photos they have taken to firstname.lastname@example.org for use on the home page gallery. The top banner image is of Fort Ronce on the French-Italian border and was taken by FSG member Mike Brock.
All images below are links to higher resolution copies.
Charles Fort, Ireland (Charles Blackwood)
Charles Fort, built during the 1670s to 1680s guards the approach the Kinsale Harbour in Co Cork, Ireland. It is one of the best preserved late 17th century forts in the British Isles having being restored over many years by the Office of Public Works following its decommissioning in 1922. The fort is overlooked by high ground to the east, and a plan was made in 1685 for this ground to be enveloped in outworks, but the work was not carried out. In 1690 John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough laid seige to Charles Fort, locating his batteries on the high ground and after 13 days the garrison surrendered following a breach of the walls.
St Catherine's Fort, Wales (Roger Thomas)
St Catherine's Fort was built in 1870 on St Catherine's Island, Tenby, in order to prevent a force landing to attack Pembroke Dockyard from the East. The fort mounted six 7in RMLs in casemates with three 9in RMLs on the roof. It was decommissioned in 1907 and converted for use as a private residence but taken back into military use in the Second World War. Following the war the fort was again used as a private residence, then a zoo but fell into disuse in 1979. A number of planning applications have been made over the years which could put the fort to a new use and hence ensure its survival for future generations. Unfortunately none has obtained approval, the most recent being rejected by National Parks in July this year.
Armstrong Protected Barbette, Morocco (Philip Francis)
During the 1880's three batteries, each mounting two 10-in RMLs, were built at Tangiers, Morocco by the British. The Armstrong Protected Barbette mounting was used for all but one of the six guns. The loading operating involved traversing then depressing the gun to align the muzzle with a port in the structure between the guns. A cartridge and shell were placed in a seesaw channel which then rose up so that it aligned with both the muzzle and the port. A powered rammer then extended from the port pushing both cartridge and shell into the gun together. The photo shows the right hand gun of Bordj el-Hajoui battery on its original carriage still in situ. The mechanical loading system used at Tangiers (and at number of other locations) was the forerunner of the full hydraulic loading and traversing system used on the 100-ton guns in Malta and Gibraltar. For more information see Dennis Quarmby's artice in Casemate 76, 2006, pg11.
Reenduff Battery, Bere Island (Charles Blackwood)
Situated on Bere Island off the southwest cost of the Republic of Ireland, Reenduff Battery was built in 1898 to mount two 4.7 inch QF guns. The battery (in conjunction with nearby 6-inch and 12 pounder batteries) covers the narrow channel from the Atlantic into Berehaven Anchorage. A 'pillbox' structure to the rear of the battery provided defence against attack by a landing party. Photographs, including some 360 degree panoramas of the defences of Bere Island are available at http://www.abandonedireland.com/bf_1.html
12.5 inch RML at Harding's Battery, Gibraltar (Ian Balestrino)
Harding's Battery, one of the southernmost in Gibraltar, was originally built to mount two 24 pounder cannon. These were changed to 32 pounders in 1863 and then in 1878 the battery was reconstructed to mount a single 12.5 inch RML en barbette. Following the Second World War the battery was covered over with rubble and remained so until 2011. Through the efforts of the Gibraltar Heritage Trust the battery has been restored, a 12.5 inch gun mounted on a replica carriage, and interpretation panels installed. It was opened to the public in June 2013.
Prefabricated pillbox, Albania (Philip Francis)
Between 1967 and 1986 up to 7000000 concrete bunkers were built across Albania at an average density of 24 per square kilometre. The majority are small two man structures (Qender Zjarri, or firing positions) built from prefabricated sections assembled on site, with a domed overhanging roof. The building programme absorbed 2% of Albania's GNP and used three times the amount of concrete used in the Maginot line, ending only with the death of Enver Hoxha in 1985.