Home Page Photos
Members are invited to send any interesting fortification photos they have taken to email@example.com 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.
10 inch RML at Chapel Bay Fort (Roger Thomas)
Chapel Bay Fort was built in 1890-3 to mount three 10" rifled muzzle loaders, covering Milford Haven and the approach to Pembroke Dockyard. The guns could traverse through 360 degrees in order to also cover landing beaches to the south. Unlike the earlier forts in the Milford Haven area, Chapel Bay was built in concrete and sunken into the earth, being difficult to spot from the water. The fort is rectangular in plan and surrounded by a dry ditch which extends down to the shoreline from the Western and Eastern flanks of the fort. The ditch is covered by two caponiers, one mid way along the western side, the other in the south east corner. The fort was re-armed in 1901 with three 6-inch MkVII guns and decomissioned in 1920. It is in private ownership and currently under restoration by the Chapel Bay Trust.
Fort de la Marguerie, Col de Tende (Mike Brock)
One of a series of six 19th century Itallian forts built on the French border at Col de Tende, Fort de la Marguerie stands at 1850m above sea level on the French side of the current border. It is almost square in plan, stone faced and two stories high. The fort is protected by a ditch on three sides (covered by counterscarp galleries) with a precipitous slope on the fourth side. The armament consisted of 11 guns and 2 mortars, and the garrison totalled 220 men.
Blaye, France (David Flintham)
Blaye, around 15 miles north of Bordeaux, lies on the eastern bank of the Garonne. It was fortified by Vauban in 1685, incorporating some earlier works, partly to protect against attack of Bordeaux from the sea, and partly to ensure the loyalty of the surrounding area to the state. The town was relocated to the east, the new fortress being purely military in nature. Vauban's design used two large bastions, two demi bastions where the walls met the river and demi-lunes guarding the approaches to each of the two gates. The river front required little fortification as due to the height it was considered that ships would not be able to elevate their guns sufficiently to hit the citadel.
Fort Tourgis, Alderney (Trevor Davenport)
Fort Tourgis, completed in 1855 in western Alderney, overlooks Clonque and Saline bays. It is one of a series of forts built on the island by William Jervios of the Royal Engineers to protect against attack by the French. Braye Harbour was developed as an anchorage for the Royal Navy in 1844, but being only 8 miles from France meant the harbour could be of use to the French fleet, leaving Alderny in need of protection. The fort has long stood derelict despite a number of ideas for redevelopment being proposed over the years. Dutch architects, Verweij ans Partners, developed in 2005 a scheme to reuse the fort by developing it into a conference centre, but the project appears unlikely to go ahead in the current economic climate.
Batterie de Cornoualles at Brest (Keith Phillips)
Batteries de Rupture, such as Batterie de Cornoualles, were designed to mount large calibre guns close to the water level in positions where they could fire upon enemy ships at very close range. There was no provision for traverse so the line of fire was fixed and only one or two shots at a target would be possible. The batteries at Brest were built with considerable difficulty, in some instances by tunnelling or digging through the rock to break through the cliff face at the correct position. Additional batteries of this types were installed at the ports of Cherbourg, Toulon and Diego Suarez (Madagascar) in the late 19th Century.
Mine Control Casemate, Fortress Hellevoetsluis (Alaistar Fyfe)
The Dutch town of Hellevoetsluis, 15 miles West of Rotterdam, became the home port of the Dutch fleet in the 17th century. The harbour was first fortified in the early 17th century. Following the Dutch attack on the Royal Navy Dockyards at Chatham in 1667 the fortifications were enlarged and the entire harbour was encircled by a bastioned trace with a wet ditch isolating the harbour area from the mainland. Between 1798 and 1822 a dry dock, considered an engineering masterpiece was constructed in one of the bastions. The fortifications were upgraded through the 19th century including the establishment of a controlled minefield protecting the approach to the harbour.