Fort Douaumont

Douaumont, France

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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D913D, Douaumont, France
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Founded: 1890s
Category: Castles and fortifications in France


4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Travis Smith (2 months ago)
Very interesting battlefield location to visit. 100 years later and this Fort is slowly turning into a cave. Great visual of how the Earth will slowly take it back. Was chilly and wet inside from the rainy day outside. Amazing gun turrets to see.
Alexandre NIKOLIC (3 months ago)
Relive the History! Great place to visit. Make sure you have warm and dry outfit ??
Patrickzxm (6 months ago)
A truly sad place laden with horrific acts people were willing to do at some point in history. Really eye-opener.
Danny Proko (9 months ago)
Gwendal of Verdun Battlefield Tour (Royal Journey France), which booked through TripAdvisor, provided an outstanding WW1 overview, as well as comprehensive, in-depth details about the Verdun battlefield and forts. During the drive to the location, Gwendal also provided an overview of the Champagne Region of France. The Fort Douaumont visit gave keen insight into the static battle within, while also showing the terrain overview, trench warfare, and the moonscape the area became after the artillery shelling. Outstanding visit.
antonio herrera (14 months ago)
If you like the History of the WW1 Era, Fort Douaumont is a must. I arrived 1 hour earlier as the opening time, so I was alone when I when over the super structure and take a walk (and pictures) without people. The 22nd of April 2022 was a glorious weather day. In 1 hour, you have time to go easy and "ruhig" to take fotographs, to walk quiet and so on. It opens at 10:00 and the 2 ladies there were very nice. I do not speak French, but they helped me in both English and German. Very nice people. Please take your time with the Fort. Get the Audio guide. Dont rush, have a look at the rooms, the guns, the shells, the HISTORY. It is worth it. There are plenty of closed areas (that is why I added not so common pictures), so you can leave your imagination do the rest. It is well worth a visit. I bought a ticket for 2 Forts and the Memorial and the price of it is just very low: 16 Euros!!! And in both of the forts you get a free Audio Guide (French, German and English languages), at lesast until April 2022. So, enjoy the visit... I really did it.
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