Fort of Guentrange
Fort of Guentrange. Source: ECPAD
The Feste (or fortified group) of Guentrange was part of the Moselle fortification programme drawn up under the Schliffen-Moltke plan...
The Fort of Guentrange is located 4 km north-west of Thionville, at the top of a wooded hill overlooking the city and the left bank of the Moselle at a height of 318 m.
The Feste (or fortified group) of Guentrange was part of the Moselle fortification programme drawn up under the Schliffen-Moltke plan, between the Luxembourg border and the strategic fortifications built around Metz. It was designed to protect the rail hub at Thionville, a crucial troop transit point between Germany and France. Festen are a group of units dispersed over a large area and connected by underground galleries. Unlike the compact fort surrounded by a polygonal ditch typical of the works inspired by Séré de Rivières, a Feste often covers several dozen hectares. The whole is defended by a large garrison, armoured artillery and a network of barbed wire and defensive grating protected by trenches surrounding the work.
Construction on the Feste Obergentringen (the fortified group of Guentrange) began in 1899 and was first completed in 1905. The fortified group then included three barracks and two armoured batteries each equipped with four rotating turrets with the Schuman system, armed with short 150-mm cannons with a range of 9,700 m. Reinforced with gratings, armoured doors, mine systems and underground galleries connecting the different concrete units, while a blockhaus in the rear controlled access to the Feste with a network of barbed wire. Starting in 1912, major consolidation work was undertaken on the slopes due to land sliding down the west glacis, then a line of flanking casemates were added to reinforce protection against attackers.
The Feste Obergentringen did not come under fire during the First World War, and it became French after the Armistice of 1918. In the 1930s, France integrated it into the Maginot Line as a second-line logistic support unit in the fortified sector of Thionville. At this time, the short 105-mm cannons were replaced with long cannons, increasing the artillery’s range to 12,700 m. In 1940, the fort was used as a munitions depot for the German army before it was taken back by the Americans in 1944.
Nowadays, several levels of the work and the central barracks are accessible. Along with an exhibition presenting the history of the fortified group, visitors can see the north battery’s fully restored artillery turret. They can also observe how the site was supplied by huge water reserves, machinery equipped with a diesel engine providing electricity to the entire group, and a complete central heating and ventilation system. The barrack rooms, kitchens and bakery, the infirmary and the operating theatre: the different spaces and equipment highlight the extraordinary comfort that the fort provided its troops with.
Like the French soldiers who took over the site in 1918, visitors will appreciate the luxury of this unit, unimaginable in France’s fortifications at the end of the 19th century.
Fort of Guentrange
Thionville Tourism Office
16 rue du Vieux Collège 57100 Thionville
e-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
Access to the Fort of Guentrange:
24 km from the Ouvrage Hackenberg via Buding on the D 60 highway, then Stuckange on the D 918, then take the A 31 motorway toward Thionville (exit No. 40 "Linkling, zones commerciales et artisanales, hôpital Bel-Air, Cattenom"), then the D 14.
30 km from Metz on the A 31 motorway (exit No. 40 " Linkling, zones commerciales et artisanales, hôpital Bel-Air, Cattenom ), then the D 14 highway. 85 km from Nancy via Metz.
30 km from Luxembourg on the E 25 (exit No. 43 "Longwy, Algrange, Nilvange" ), then take the D 14.
Visits: the 1st and 3rd Sundays of the month starting at 3.00 pm. Group visits by appointment.
Quiz : Forts and citadels
Tél. 03.82.53.33.18Fax 03.82.53.15.55
Les 1er et 3ème dimanches du mois à partir de 15 h. Visites de groupes sur réservation.