Dutch Water Line

FORTRESS DE GAGEL

Location: 52 7'46.25"N    5 6'8.78"E

Address:

Gageldijk 163
3566 MJ Utrecht

Fort the Gagel is actually a so called "work" because it has an open throat (no earth walls on the back side).

It was made between 1819 and 1821 as an earth work with gun positions, surrounded by a moat .

Between 1850 and 1852 a square bomb free guard house was built at the open throat.
This guard house has many shooting holes for guns and had a parapet on top with gun positions and shooting slots for rifles.

The guard house was surrounded by its own moat and served not only as a gun tower, covering the roads and waterways, but also as  "redoute". That is a fortification term for an object, that is defendable to all sides and could be used for the troops, to make a last stand.

In 1880 the moat around the guard house was partly filled and a thick brick ground covered bomb free troop barracks and separate gun storage room were made.
Between 1935 and 1940, three concrete shelters were made, type "Piramide".

This is an aerial photo from before the Second World War. Fort the Gagel is about 1km in front of the fort at the Klop. The city Utrecht did not catch-up yet with the fortress and in 1850 certainly, it was at sufficient distance from Utrecht, to free the town from a direct artillery bombardment.
(Photo Technische Dienst Luchtvaartafdeling)

This photo is taken from the south -west.

From left to right, you see the guard house and close next to it the barracks.

The hill, to the right, is the gun storage room.
It stored 2 guns and has a cellar floor with a gunpowder room and a projectile storage room.

This photo is copied from the site http://www.hollandsewaterlinie.nl/index.asp and taken by Paul van der Heijden

This photo is taken from the north-west

Behind the trees you see the brick face of the troop barracks.

Originally there were no trees on the fortress. This was not the enemy side and the barracks would be clearly visible.
This photo is copied from the site http://www.hollandsewaterlinie.nl/index.asp and taken by
Maurizio Purcaro.

This is the guard house, still in good shape and almost in original form.

In 1880 the parapet on the roof, with gun positions and rifle slots was removed and earth covering was made on the roof.

The guard house did accommodate 40 soldiers and 4 howitzer type guns.

This photo is copied from the site http://www.hollandsewaterlinie.nl/index.asp and taken by Titia Blom.

The barracks are built so close to the old guard house on purpose.
Now the bomb free barracks building is shielding the guard house more or less from direct hits.

As you can see, the guard house has in our direction one shooting hole for a big canon an others for smaller guns.

This photo is copied from the site http://www.hollandsewaterlinie.nl/index.asp and taken by Paul van der Heijden

Left is the troop barracks building and ahead on the background the guard house.

The barracks accommodated 79 soldiers and 8 officers.
It has a sickbay, a galley, toilets and on the  cellar floor a gunpowder room and projectile magazine.

The first big door, you see on the left is a gun storage room and at the far end is another one.

When I make my own survey of this fortress I might be able to make some pictures of the interior.

This photo is copied from the site http://www.hollandsewaterlinie.nl/index.asp and taken by Maurizio Purcaro.

 

Here you see a close-up of the fortress before the Second World War. The bottom of the picture is east, the enemy side.

There were no trees at all on the fortress. On the front wall you see 4 gun positions and two houwitzer positions on the corners. After 1880 it had 4 guns of 120mm, 4 houwitzers of 150mm and 2 mortars of type Coehoorn.

The fortress has a modern (in 1880) layout, achieved simply and cheap, by making use of the old guard house, now functioning as a flanking gun bunker. It needed to be good, because this is a first line fortress.
(Photo Technische Dienst Luchtvaartafdeling)

These are the type "Piramide" concrete shelters.

They are built on the front site of the fortress for field gun crews and infantry to seek shelter in these, when under attack from enemy artillery or airplanes.

These shelters were made to withstand multiple hits of 150mm shells and a single hit of a 210mm shell.

This photo is copied from the site http://www.hollandsewaterlinie.nl/index.asp and taken by Paul van der Heijden

This is the house of the peacetime fortress keeper, built next to the fortress.

Most fortresses had a fortress keeper and a similar house.

As all the houses built near the fortresses, they were made of wood.
In wartime, the wooden houses could be burned down quickly, to free the field of fire.

All the fortresses owned by the city Utrecht are restored and re-used, Utrecht takes good care of these historical objects, see their very good website (in Dutch): http://www.utrecht.nl/smartsite.dws?id=272952
This photo is copied from the site http://www.hollandsewaterlinie.nl/index.asp and taken by
Titia Blom.

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Last revised on 31-12-2013