Fort in Condé-sur-Aisne

Casernement à l'intérieur du fort de Condé. Source : License Creative Commons - Libre de droit

This fort in Condé-sur-Aisne was part of the Séré-de-Rivières system built to defend the new 250km border from Longwy to Belfort.

The fort in Condé-sur-Aisne was part of the Séré-de-Rivières system built to defend the new 250km border from Longwy to Belfort resulting from the 1871 Treaty of Frankfurt, which ended the 1870-1871 Franco-Prussian War. The five-sided fort was a second line component of the La Fère-Soissons fortification.

The Condé fort was built at the same time as the one at La Malmaison and by the same companies (Dollot and Fortier). The land survey dates from 1876; the first battery was completed in July 1877; the final plans were approved in May 1878 by the minister and in July by the engineering corps. The project's total cost was set at 1,850,000 francs. Most of the work was completed by late 1883. In 1885 two companies of the 67th infantry regiment (500 men) were garrisoned there. The 13-hectare fort was able to accommodate 650 men including 20 officers. An infirmary could house 80 patients. The stable was planned for 12 horses; powder magazines, a munitions depot, a forge and two wells occupied the rest of the area suitable for construction. An eight-metre-wide moat surrounded the fort, which had 18 artillery platforms. In 1888 the weaponry included four long 155mm cannons, four short 155mm cannons, nineteen 120mm cannons, four 15cm mortars, several revolver cannons and 12 breech cannons. Like the La Malmaison fort, the Condé fort became useless as weaponry grew more advanced and was decommissioned in 1912. On 1 September 1914 the Germans took the fort without a fight. The French and English attacked it several times a short time later. The position fell on 15 September before being retaken by a violent Imperial counter-attack. Fierce fighting raged in late September; the Germans did not give in. They built a beacon that swept the Aisne Valley and artillery batteries.
When the Chemin des Dames offensive began on 16 April 1917, Von Kluck's troops evacuated the position. In October 1917 Generals Pershing and Franchet d'Esperey came to observe the battlefield from the fort. On 27 May 1918 the Germans' counter-offensive broke through the Allied lines. They shelled the Condé-sur-Aisne fort and stormed it on 28 May. In August French troops retook their position in the Aisne sector. The Germans left on 7 August, taking their artillery pieces with them. The fort, which had become useless and lay partly in ruins, was disarmed after the war and abandoned in 1927. In the 1950s the fort housed a shell-clearing centre. In 1959 the town of Chivres Val bought the site from the town of Condé-sur-Aisne in order to use it as a stone quarry for the people living in Chivres-Val and its environs. In 1979 the Potiers set up an association to preserve and restore the Condé fort as well as endangered churches and monuments in southern Picardy. Renovation work on the fort started. On 1 July 2003 the Community of Aisne Valley Towns, which realised the site's economic potential, started offering events and guided tours of the fort.
Condé Fort 02280 Chivres-Val Tel.: 03 23 54 40 00 Fax: 03 23 54 40 04 E-mail: fortdeconde@wanadoo.fr Opening times and guided tours April-May: every day from 9:30am to noon and 1:30 to 5:30pm / Guided tours at 2 and 4pm and on Sundays at 2, 3 and 4pm June-July-August: every day from 9:30am to 6:30pm and Sundays until 7:30pm / Guided tours at 2, 3, 4 and 5pm and on Sundays at 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6pm September-October-November: every day from 9:30am to noon and 1:30 to 5:30pm / Guided tours at 2 and 4pm and on Sundays at 2, 3 and 4pm Admission Individual: adults €5; 10-18 years old €3; children under 10 free Groups (30 people minimum): adults €4; 10-18 years old €2.5; children under 10 free

  • Le fort de Condé-sur-Aisne. Source : SGA/DMPA - JP le Padellec

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    Condé-sur-Aisne
    03 23 54 40 00

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