Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Monday, August 26, 2019

Heroic Fort de Liouville Lost Every Gun but Never Fell

Postwar Photo Showing the Damage at Fort de Liouville
Located on a hill between St. Mihiel and Apremont, the French Fort de Liouville—a  Séré de Rivières fort (Séré de Rivières was a 19th-century military architect)—held out against an German onslaught in September and October 1914 and was held by the French Army for the entire war. The fort was manned by almost 700 men  and was armed with a total of 40 artillery pieces in 1914, including  Mougin (revolving) turret with two 155mm guns. 

Aerial View Showing the Overgrown Fort Today
It Is Located 1.8 Miles Southwest of Apremont de Foret

Fort de Liouville was bombarded by German artillery for a large portion of the war, with the heaviest fire between 22 September and 16 October 1914. The Mougin turret was hit by a 305mm German shell but continued to fire with one gun until 28 September. The north ammunition magazine was penetrated by shellfire. The 75mm turret fired despite considerable trouble with the mechanism and numerous casualties until the fort was evacuated and the turret was jammed by a direct 305mm hit. Infantry continued to hold the area, and the fort was never taken  

Main Entrance

Although every artillery piece was eventually disabled, Fort de Liouville served as an observatory facing German lines along the southern side of the St. Mihiel Salient and as a resting place for the regiments taken out of combat.

An Inner Courtyard (Note Fine Design Features)


  1. Am I right in my opinion that the courtyard and main entrance (or at least sections thereof) look to be surprisingly intact - as if they were rebuilt after the war? I have my doubts that they could not have been unscathed under the German onslaught, or after 100+ years of weathering.

  2. Maybe it was the reverse slope, kept it from ever being hit.