Chem. du Fort, 57100 Thionville.
MAY to SEP, Sat, Sun 15.
Adults EUR 5, Children EUR 3.
|Casemate Route des Fortifications Européenes
|Incandescent Electric Light System
|Feste Obergentringen, Chemin du Fort, 57100 Thionville, Tel: +33-382-88-12-15. E-mail:
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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The Feste Obergentringen was built from 1899 to 1906 when this area was German, and the nearby village was named Diedenhofen. When it became France the village was renamed Thionville and the fortress is called Fort de Guentrange in French.
The tour begins in the central barrack. Beneath the sleeping quarters of the soldiers, there are also the bakery, heating, kitchens, electricity generation, ventilation and drinking water supply. The tour follows an underground gallery to the north battery with the command center and a renovated turret, which is equipped with a 10 cm cannon and ammunition reloading equipment. The last stop is the museum with exhibits from 1870 to 1945, including those of the town of Thionville.
At the beginning of the 20th century, artillery was the key technology in warfare. The increasing power of artillery ammunition forced the Geram army to design a new fortification system. The forts were built further and deeper inland. The guns, which were installed outside since their invention, were mounted under turrets and behind concrete walls. Those systems were called artillery battery. The batteries were underground, with small openings, just big enough for the cannon, and were manned and supplied with ammunition from underground. For this purpose, the new forts had a system of underground passages which connected the quarters and the ammunition storage and all the batteries. The Germans called such modern castles Feste, the French Fort, and the english name was fortified group.
The Feste Obergentringen, the fort of Guentrange in Thionville, is one of them. Built between 1899 and 1906, it was already outdated at the beginning of World War I. The war was not actually a surprise, the situation was dangerous, and so the modernization and extension was started in 1912. It went on well into the war, until 1916. At the same time, the fort was already in use and manned.
The fort was one of the most modern forts of Germany. It was equipped with central heating, hot water which supplied the operating room, the kitchens and the showers. Electricity was provided by AEG generators driven by DEUTZ diesel engines. It was needed for ventilation and light, as the whole structure was underground. To improve the quality of the air, ozone generators were used. The telephony and the alarm system were made by Siemens. So the whole comfort was actually a strategic necessity.