Fort Bessoncourt

Le fort de Bessoncourt ou fort Sénarmont. Source : ©chuchu90

This fort was built between 1883 and 1886 to defend the roads between Colmar and Basel and the Mulhouse railway and to cover the Roppe and Vézelois forts. 

It is a large fort made from limestone masonry with a pentagonal layout, designed to hold 650 men and some 30 artillery pieces. It is characteristic of the forts with a massif central and batterie basse (main structure and low battery) in which the long-range and short-range artillery are assembled on the rampart bordering the ditch while the infantry stand over the caponiers and on the roof of the central barracks. But shortly after it was completed, it was already outmoded and had to undergo modernisation.


It is one of the rare forts in the area to have been constantly maintained to keep abreast with technical progress: in 1888, a concrete shell was poured over one-third of the central barracks; the majority of its long-range artillery was distributed around the neighbouring batteries, the fort became a point d'appui for the infantry and underwent a complete refit (caponiers replaced by counterscarp batteries, shelters built for cannons on the flanks and concrete shelters over the ramparts, variety of fortifications). In 1908-1909, two 75-mm cannon towers and two machine gun towers were erected.

During the First World War, the fort was used as a hospital, but from 1917, fortification work resumed with the digging of deep underground rooms and galleries to provide communication with the exterior (entrances at the rear and machine gun outposts at the front).


The successive modernisations it received gave this fort a particular personality and makes it an excellent testament to the development of French fortifications between 1885 and 1918.


Tourist Information Office

2 rue Clemenceau 90000 Belfort

Tel: 03 84 55 90 90

Fax: 03 84 55 90 70



La Caponnière



  • Vue aérienne du fort de Bessoncourt. Source : Jean-Claude GIROUD . La Caponnière

  • Le fort de Bessoncourt. Source : Alfred BREITEL . La Caponnière

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