Fort Douaumont was the largest and highest fort on the ring of 19 large defensive forts protecting the city of Verdun, France since the 1890s. It has a total surface area of 30,000 square metres and is approximately 400 metres long, with two subterranean levels protected by a steel reinforced concrete roof 12 metres thick resting on a sand cushion. These improvements had been completed by 1903. The entrance to the fort was at the rear. Two main tunnels ran east-west, one above the other, with barracks rooms and corridors to outlying parts of the fort branched off of the main tunnels. The fort was equipped with numerous armed posts, a 155 mm rotating/retractable gun turret, a 75 mm gun rotating/retractable gun turret, four other 75 mm guns in flanking 'Bourges Casemates' that swept the intervals and several machine-gun turrets.

By 1915 the French General Staff had concluded that even the best-protected forts of Verdun could not resist bombardments from the German 420 mm Gamma guns. These newly deployed giant howitzers had easily taken several large Belgian forts out of action in August 1914. As a result, Fort Douaumont and other Verdun forts were judged ineffective and had been partly disarmed and left virtually undefended since 1915.

On 25 February 1916, Fort Douaumont was entered and occupied without a fight, by a small German raiding party comprising only 19 officers and 79 men. The easy fall of Fort Douaumont, only three days after the beginning of the Battle of Verdun, shocked the French Army. It set the stage for the rest of a battle which lasted nine months, at enormous human costs. Douaumont was finally recaptured by three infantry divisions of the French Second Army, during the First Offensive Battle of Verdun on 24 October 1916. This event brought closure to the Battle of Verdun in 1916.

Today Fort Douaumont is open to the public.

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Address

D913D, Douaumont, France
See all sites in Douaumont

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Founded: 1890s
Category: Castles and fortifications in France

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

bls txi (2 years ago)
This is an incredibly sizable fort that is in relatively good condition for its Age and what happened here. Touring with in an above the fort is most informative where you can see how life was inside it as well as the Damage Done to the area around it from artillery
Kord X (2 years ago)
definitely go there! ..it's been my first stop through verdun and it's been very very impressive! ...take the audio guide inside. very well done! ...very nice lady at the counter helped me a lot figuring out where to go next! ..very nice indeed!
Matt Carvell (2 years ago)
I can't stress enough how amazing this site is. Truly unbelievable. The inside of the fort is certainly interesting but what is really amazing is walking around the fort. It is crazy to walk the paths and see the shell holes from over 100 years ago. It is so tough to comprehend what here and what people went through. This is a site not to be missed whether you love history or not
Andy Schwarz (2 years ago)
WOW! This is one of the top places to visit in France. World War One will come to life as you walk around and through this amazing piece of history. See the trenches from 100 years ago as well as the rusted barbed wire. View the grounds where thousands of bombs were detonated. Just amazing
Marc Welter (2 years ago)
Great place to visit. A place situated in the middle of nature which has nice views. It’s absolutely worth a visit of the inside of the fort!
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