On October 29, 1891, the new forts built around the cities of Li_ge and Namur, known as the "Forts of the Meuse," were turned over to the Belgian Army.
The huge project, which had begun in 1888 and cost 71.6 million Belgian Francs, required over 9,000 workers to complete. It produced 21 modern forts that could defend the strategic rail, river, and road arteries passing through narrow gaps to the flat, open plains of Flanders.
The Forts of the Meuse were the creation of General Brialmont, one of the foremost military engineers of his time. The development of new and more powerful artillery meant that Brialmont's forts were made of concrete, featuring underground barracks, storerooms, and guns protected in revolving steel turrets.
In August 1914, the German Army attempted a quick crossing of this area in order to reach France, but it took them 12 days to destroy the fortresses, with the 30,000 Belgian troops putting up a valiant fight.
Containing maps, diagrams, and photographs taken from private collections, this book explores the design, development, and influence of the "Forts of the Meuse," and highlights the importance of their role during the opening battle of World War I.
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Clayton Donnell has been a student of history for the past 25 years. He grew up in the United States but spent several years in Europe, where, at an early age, he acquired what would become a lifelong interest in the study of fortifications. He collaborated on a recent bibliography on European fortifications and has written articles on the Maginot Line and the Forts of Belgium. His was the first English language website on the Maginot Line, and he also has an extensive site on the Battle of Liege in August 1914. Clayton is married with three children and resides in Southeastern Pennsylvania. He is retired from the US Air Force. This is his first book for Osprey Publishing. The author lives in Southhampton, USA.Review:
“The story of the Belgian forts is important but little known, at least in this country. This book is a welcome corrective, and is highly recommended.” ―Bolling Smith, Coastal Defense Journal (August 2007)
“This may be one of the best of the Osprey Fortress series books and is certainly a must have book for those with an interest in the opening campaign of World War I or just the fortifications of Belgium.” ―J. E. Kaufmann, Site O
“This is all superbly illustrated by H. Johnson, L. Ray and B. Delf, giving us a superb look at how these forts developed and were sustained. Add in a fine collection of period photographs and you have an excellent book on a subject that is both historically significant and fascinating to read. It is one I can highly recommend.” ―Scott Van Aken, modelingmadness.com
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