WW1 – the Forts of Liège

Filed Under History & Geography on August 9, 2014 | 2 Comments

100 years ago today, my native Belgium was suffering as the Germans illegally invaded the country. Belgian neutrality had been guaranteed by the Treaty of London in 1830. Under that treaty, the Germans (the Prussians to be exact) had actually signed on to be guarantors of Belgian neutrality, along with the British. It was Germany’s invasion of Belgium that brought Britain into the war. Historians argue about the exact scale of German atrocities in Belgium, but there is no doubt that the invading army inflicted terrible suffering on Belgian civilians, including mass executions.

The first major battle of the campaign was centred on the ancient town and prince-bishopric of Liège in the north-east of the country. The Battle of Liège lasted from the 5th to the 16th of August 1914, and centred on the ring of 12 fortifications surrounding the town. Remains of all of these fortifications remain in the landscape, and can be clearly seen on satellite images. When reading about the battle I found myself wanting to better understand the geography of the region, and where the forts fit into the landscape, so I mapped their locations on Google Earth and saved them out as a KML file.

I’ve rendered the file in the map below, and you can also download it here.

 

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