The Fort at Sucy-en-Brie
The Fort at Sucy-en-Brie. Source: ECPAD photograph
This Fort forms part of the second fortified belt around Paris, created by General Séré de Rivières.
The Sucy-en-Brie Fort forms part of the second fortified belt around Paris. This defensive system was created by Général Séré de Rivières to supplement the one established on the new Eastern frontier after 1871.
Between 1870 and 1871, the Germans made the village of Sucy one of the strong points of their lines of trenches. The High Command had learned lessons from the siege of Paris in 1870, and decided to build a line of eighteen structures to keep any possible assailants at a distance. For the Fort at Sucy, it was a question of having, beneath its artillery fire, lines of penetration, consisting of trunk roads from Paris to Strasbourg (N°4) and Mulhouse (N° 19). In effect, from this position, the Prussians could bombard the St-Maur peninsula. It should also prevent the opening up of the Notre-Dame woods, an extension of the Armainvilliers forest, where the enemy could position itself in case of siege.
Built between 1879 and 1881, it cost almost 20,000 Euros and is constructed in stonework and protected by mounds of earth, that should allow it to be subjected to the impact of gun powder shelling, without suffering any damage. But very quickly, picric acid came to render these defences insufficient and the forts, though barely finished, had to be reinforced with concrete; most of the forts in the east had to do this. The 1911 project allowed for 4,300 Euros of modernisation works. Three concrete rampart shelters, two machine gun turrets and some observation posts were to be established. In 1914, the fort had only 14 cannons on the ramparts and 10 in its caponiers. Because of a lack of funds, the forts in the Ile-de-France were not modernised: In October 1913, it was planned to establish 75 mm anti-aircraft cannons on a base in the fort, but at the end of 1914 a 110 cm projector was installed; two 75 mm anti-aircraft guns were however installed in 1915.
Apart from the installation of heavy D.C.A. cannons around 1935, the Fort at Sucy was little used during the two world wars. Despite the destruction of the barracks' munitions depot on the 22nd August 1944, it has been left in perfect condition with its original features: entrance building, casemates in the trench and shooting galleries etc. Originally, this fort with a central section had a front, two flanks and a gorge in two parts, separated by a two caponiers, a basic one and one with a gorge; the whole thing was surrounded by a trench 9 metres wide. The double gorge caponier had the distinctive feature of being traversed by the entrance and attached to the front of the guard-house. The entrance was closed by a moving bridge and had a strange crenulated chest in front in the counterscarp. However, as the scarp was semi-detached and 4.5 m high, it was poorly protected from enemy shelling, which could graze the top of the counterscarp at a height of just 5 m. The ramparts had 11 cross-sections with shelters. Two cross-sections served as casemates for cannon. The barracks, situated under the central section with a magazine of 67 tonnes of gunpowder, could shelter 372 men and 10 officers, a tank and various magazines. Abandoned by the army and invaded by vegetation, it was bought by the town of Sucy in 1970. Since 1996, a voluntary association has been trying to make the Fort look as it did originally and bring it back to life.
The fort at Sucy-en-Brie allée du général Séré de Rivière 94370 Sucy en Brie "Fort de Sucy" Association 11, rue Lacarrière 94370 Sucy-en-Brie Tel.: 01.45.90.26.48Sucy-en-Brie Town Hall Tel. 01 49 82 24 50 Fax 01 49 82 24 61 Tours Guided tours on the first Sunday of every month at 3 pm. For groups (more than 15 people), booking is required.
Al. du G. Séré de Rivière - 94370
Association "Fort de Sucy"11, rue Lacarrière94370 Sucy-en-BrieTél. : 01.45.90.26.48Mairie de Sucy-en-BrieTél. 01 49 82 24 50Fax 01 49 82 24 61
Visite guidée le premier dimanche de chaque mois à 15h00. Pour les groupes (plus de 15 personnes), prendre rendez-vous.