Mont-Bart Fort. © Pays de Montbéliard Urban Area
Mont-Bart Fort, which was built between 1873 and 1877, was a link in the national defensive chain constructed after the 1870 defeat. It complemented the Belfort defensive belt by preventing invaders from circumventing it.
The fort has several notable features, the most impressive of which is the covered interior road, bordered on either side by the facades of the barracks and a room which is completely reinforced.
At 497m, the top of the fort offers superb views of the Pays de Montbéliard (orientation table).
A fortification must meet a defensive need and make use of the human resources and materials available, and is bound by geographic and strategic constraints. Using the example of Mont-Bart Fort, we will analyse these points for the fortifications constructed after the Franco-Prussian war.
At the end of the 19th century, France's army was inferior in terms of numerical strength to that of its powerful neighbour.
France therefore adopted a defensive system designed by General Séré de Rivière to guard against another invasion.
Fortifications were constructed to compensate for inferior human resources.
Given the loss of a part of Alsace and Moselle, the defensive system had to be redesigned in the Vosges rather than being based along the Rhine. The major subjects under consideration were controlling channels of communications and preventing supplies from reaching the enemy army. The answer found was a network of forts which all protected each other. This curtain of forts was supported by fortified camps, which acted as stoppers to block the major roads, as at Belfort.
Experiences in 1870 had taught Séré de Rivière the importance of keeping the enemy at a distance. It was essential to build numerous forts, some of which would only be occupied in the event of a conflict. The network needed to be dense for the system to be effective.
Mont-Bart Fort lies at the southern extremity of the Belfort fortified camp, behind the confluence of the Allan and the Doubs. It overlooks Pays de Montbéliard, with the exception of the Ecot plateau.
Its defence was linked to Mont-Vaudois, Lachaux and Le Lomont forts, and the Roches battery. The gateway to Alsace was closed off by the forts. The roads, railways and waterways were controlled by the forts.
Should an army succeed in sneaking between the forts, it would rapidly be blocked because supplies would not be able to get through. Forts were constructed to resist the weapons which existed at the time.
However, weapons developed very quickly between the late 19th century and the early 20th century. Forts were modernised to keep up with these developments until the First World War.
Rue du Mont-Bart - 25420 Bart
Tel: +33 (0)3 81 97 51 71 - Fax: +33 (0)3 81 96 23 85
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Impasse du Mont-Bart - 25420
03 81 97 51 71
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