Fort de Loncin Liège | Belgium

Constructed 1881/84 - Destroyed August 1914

We reommend a visit to Fort de Loncin, constructed in the 1880's without the benefit of reinforced concrete

Golfers will know a Big Bertha to be a golf club brand but the success of a German 42cm Howitzer of the same name was much celebrated in Germany. 

In August 1914, Fort de Loncin was was of the last forts around Liège to be bombarded. For three days the fort was under heavy bombardment until a shell detonated one of the two magazines. 

Of the 550 men in the fort (garrison), 350 were killed and, from our understanding, the remains of most of them remain in the fort. As such this is a war grave.

The photographs here show blocks of concrete larger than family cars thrown about as if they part of a film set and made of polystyrene. 

A sombre place to visit, run by a team of dedicated supporters. The museum has an excellent selection of exhibits. We met the Chairman of the group who was keen to show us around, clearly proud of the work of his group in making this a good museum to visit, while remaining respectful to its status as a war grave.

A visit here is a reminder of the heavy price paid by the Belgian people in defence of their country in August 1914. 

We last visited in - June 2023

Under 6 - free
Under 12 - €3
Adults €7
Over 65/student €5

More about Fort de Loncin

Tino von Struckmann runs an excellent (and compelling) YouTube channel which we highly recommend. 

Please subscribe to Tino's You Tube channel and give him the credit he deserves.  Tino also has his own website and we recommend a visit. 

Here's Tino's fascinating video on Fort de Loncin. 

Video Credit - YouTube, Tino von Struckmann

Belgium's forts | The Cicerone's view

Describing the forts as a failure, risks disregarding the advancements made in both the firepower and accuracy of weaponry before 1914. 
Might one also risk disregarding the sacrifice of those who garrisoned the forts?

The story of the Belgian forts stands as a symbol to the resilience of a nation grappling with overwhelming odds. As the conflict raged across Europe, the 'failure' of the Belgian forts marked a critical juncture.

In the early stages of the Great War, Belgium found itself confronted with an unprecedented onslaught from the formidable German forces. Armed with cutting-edge weaponry, the German army embarked on an aggressive campaign to breach the formidable Belgian defensive line, fortified by a series of strategically placed forts. These bastions, once considered impregnable, symbolised Belgium's resolve to defend its sovereignty and honour, yet they ultimately succumbed to the overwhelming might of the German onslaught.

The German Federation was a signatory to the 1839 Treaty of London, formally recognising and guaranteeing the independence and neutrality of Belgium. Despite this, fifty years later Belgium committed its finite resources to the building of its forts. The fall of the Belgian forts was not merely a military defeat; it encapsulated a narrative of valour and sacrifice. Despite the formidable resistance put forth by Belgian forces, the superior firepower and tactical prowess of the German army eventually led to the gradual crumbling of these once-mighty strongholds. 

The courageous efforts of Belgian soldiers, who valiantly defended their posts against insurmountable odds, epitomised the unwavering spirit of a nation unwilling to succumb. Despite the lapse of time, despite even Brexit (goodness, me I typed the B word), one will find Belgians who have high regard for all nations who served with the British army. Indeed, if one were to thank members of the Last Post Association for their 365 day-a-year Act of Remembrance, the response is usually 'no it is our duty'. But to focus on just the British and the myriad of CWGC cemeteries, does a disservice to the sacrifice of the Belgian and French armies when, in 1914/15 Britain remained a junior partner. To make a small diversion away from CWGC cemeteries and the British Army centric narrtive we pay due respect to the legacy of the Belgian forts, and honour the bravery and sacrifice of those who valiantly defended their posts. 

This site is included in our Verdun Tour.  Contact us.

NEW to 2024 - In 2024 we intend to run a tour to the Maginot Line. Contact us.


Did you know?

The other forts around Liege that can be visited are Lantin, Flémalle, Hollogne, Pontisse, Barchon and Embourghina.

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