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> Bucharest defence.
Wings_of_wrath
Posted: February 10, 2006 10:09 am
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QUOTE (ANDI @ Feb 10 2006, 07:15 AM)
The fort on the "centura", about 2km est of the Otopeni bridge is called "bateria 3/4" and that is what I saw written on it. I wrote about special forces doing some trainig there, but judging by the old cases my guess is that this training happens quite random and not too often.
The water is just in front of the entrance, actually is a small lake, which does not dry during the summer. However, there is an entrance point from the top of it, through one of the turrets. The acces inside is quite difficult as is dark and the galleries are full of water. I also think a gas mask will come in handy in case there are some gases (from the maneouvres) trapped inside.
Andi

So the fortification you were reffering to is not the fort behind the Mc Donalds on the "Calea Bucurestilor", near the bridge, but further off, between "2-3 Otopeni" and "3-4 Tunari".
And the name you found also solves a problem: Earlier on, I was trying to understand why the forts would have such strange names as "2-3 Otopeni", but now it dawned on me that maybe the forts had only names and the numbers were assigned to the batteries in between.
This way, the fort closest to the bridge becomes simply "Fortul Otopeni", the battery is "Bateria 3/4", the following one is "Fortul Tunari", and so on.
I will post a revisted satellite map later today, taking into account both Carol's and Andi's posts.

Btw, I have two functional gasmasks at home. But they're pretty old (65 and 78) and, although they've been stored properly (filter cartrige plugged) for all these years, I still wouldn't wouch my health on them...

This post has been edited by Wings_of_wrath on February 10, 2006 10:24 am
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dragos03
Posted: February 10, 2006 03:06 pm
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There were 6 types of forts:
- Type 1 - Chitila, Otopeni
- Type 2 - Mogosoaia, Jilava
- Type 3 - Pantelimon, Cernica, Leordeni, Catelu, Popesti, Berceni, Broscarie, Magurele, Bragadiru, Domnesti, Chiajna
- Type 3 mixt - Tunari
- Water Type - Stefanesti
- Unique Type - Afumati

The batteries also had several types:
- Type 1 - 13/14, 14/15
- Type 2 - 1/2, 4/5, 5/6, 6/7, 7/8
- Type 3 - 2/3, 8/9, 9/10, 15/16, 16/17, 17/18, 18/1
- Type 4 - 3/4
- Hybrid Type - 10/11, 11/12, 12/13

Some forts were already destroyed before 1933: Catelu, 2/3, 16/17, 18/1
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Wings_of_wrath
Posted: February 11, 2006 04:24 am
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Priceless information, Dragos!

However....

I tried to verify this right away by comparing the visible shape of each fort in the satellite pictures, and was astounded to discover that, although they are all described to be "Type3", there seems to be a visible difference in shape between "Magurele", "Broscarei" and "Leurdeni" and the other "3s" like "Popesti", "Catelu", "Pantelimon". The first seem to be shaped like a trapeze (more or less), while the latter are pentagonal, close to what you would expect from a "Type 1" (Otopeni, Chiajna) yet deffinitely different form the latter.

It apears either Vasiliu made a mistake, or I have gone completly shape-blind.
Here, draw conclusions for yourselves:


(IMG:http://img150.imageshack.us/img150/5448/type312hu.jpg)
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dragos03
Posted: February 11, 2006 01:54 pm
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I think only parts of some forts survive, that would explain the difference in shape. We'll see that when we visit them.

Also, as the book mentions, the Catelu fort was completely destroyed before 1933.

This post has been edited by dragos03 on February 11, 2006 01:55 pm
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Agarici
Posted: February 11, 2006 02:49 pm
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QUOTE (Wings_of_wrath @ Feb 9 2006, 09:54 PM)


The original network contained 18 forts liked by road (what is now known as "Soseaua de Centura") and rail, and as many artilerry batteries in between, totalling a staggering 240 guns, in various calibers, from the large turreted 150mm Krupp pieces to smaller 53mm Grusson and Hotchkiss, two of which are still on display at MMN:

(IMG:http://img51.imageshack.us/img51/6102/grusson0pk.jpg)
53mm Grusson.



OFF-TOPIC: So these are the famous “puscoace de 53 mm” which, after the forts had been disarmed, were used by the Romanian army during the 1916 and 1917 campaigns as “artilerie de insotire” (of course I'm not talking about the modified AA version).

This post has been edited by Agarici on February 11, 2006 02:51 pm
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Wings_of_wrath
Posted: February 11, 2006 02:56 pm
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I don't know what Vasiliu meant when he said that "Catelu" was completly destroyed.
As this image clearly shows, there is at least half of it left, although I must agree it doesn't look like it's in great shape. Also, you can see this fort is (used to be) quite different from the "types 3" like Leurdeni, yet is strikingly simmilar to the one at Popesti (or at least the base shape is- I can't say they're the same until I actually go there and see with my own eyes)

(IMG:http://img95.imageshack.us/img95/7607/catelu4ky.jpg)
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Agarici
Posted: February 12, 2006 08:20 am
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QUOTE (Wings_of_wrath @ Feb 9 2006, 09:54 PM)


Of course the article awakened my interest in the matter once again, and over the space of two months I was able to bring together more information on the fortifications:

The whole project was thought about in 1884 at a time when vast networks of military works were being built all around Europe, and work on the forts started in 1888, using the plans of a famed Belgian architect, Henri Alexis Brialmont (1821-1903), that later went on to build the fortifications around Liege. (see a nice site dedicated to those here)

The original network contained 18 forts liked by road (what is now known as "Soseaua de Centura") and rail, and as many artilerry batteries in between, totalling a staggering 240 guns, in various calibers, from the large turreted 150mm Krupp pieces to smaller 53mm Grusson and Hotchkiss.

The project took 12 years to finish, but by the start of WWI the consensus was that the forts were now obsolete, so they were stripped of their armament and abandoned. Some of the guns went on to serve in the Romanian Army as improvised  Anti-Aircraft weapons.

........................

I reasoned that the only way to establish for sure what forts survive to this day is by aerial or satellite photography, a plan that went amazingly well, as the following composite image clearly shows:

(IMG:http://img51.imageshack.us/img51/3572/forturibucurestisat6jl.jpg)

Dotted line represents forts and cassemates I'm not sure still exist, because, although their contour is clearly visible on the satellite photos, there are a number of unrelated buildings drawn on the map at those locations. Full line represents forts I'm pretty sure exist in a configuration close to their original design, while the red line is the road that once linked them in an impressive defensive complex.
Unfortunately nothing seems to remain from the two forts in the south-west (16-17 Bragadiru and 17-18 Domnesti), but apparently more than a few still exist and should make great targets for examination if not conservation in the near future.


I have found information about the forts in Istoria militară a poporului roman, vol V) - the same book indicated above by Imperialist and used by me many times on this forum. It copiously quotes lt.-col. D.I. Vasiliu and his book, as well as other sources.

The ring of fortification was build in order to maintain the Bucharest outside the range of enemy heavy (long range) artillery and, unlike the forts from Liege, to secure a circular, all directions defense and to forbid the enemy access to the city. According to the book, the projects of H. A. Brialmont were further adapted and improved by the Romanian fortification specialists; some of the mentioned improvements were the substitution of some open emplacements for artillery with artillery in armored cupolas, the replacement of the big forts with small cuirassed ones, the suppression of many annex buildings (administrative, warehouses), and so on.

Their construction began in 1884 and was officially finished in 1895. Tough, according to the book, until 1899 the fortifications were subjected to modernizations and improvements. In the end the defensive system comprised 18 forts and 18 intermediary support batteries, places between the forts. The fortifications were placed 12-13 km form the residential areas of the town and (including the support batteries) 2 km form each other (that being the effective range of the small rapid firing 57 mm cannons); the forts themselves were placed approx. 4 km to each other.

Around 1900 the artillery of the fortifications included 364 cannons, from 53 mm to 210 mm (around at least 60 Krupp heavy 210 mm).
The final cost of the defensive system (including the infrastructure: roads, railways, telegraph and telephone lines) was 111.542.772 lei - the equivalent of three yearly budgets of the War Ministry/Department.

Hope that info could somehow be useful.

EDIT: the book states that, according to the Romanian and foreign military specialists, this defensive ring represents the most important fortifications system built in Europe in the final quarter of the XIXth century.

This post has been edited by Agarici on February 12, 2006 08:31 am
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Wings_of_wrath
Posted: February 12, 2006 09:54 am
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I heard some conflicting information about the dates of construction- most articles mention 1884, but some state the work didn't actually pick up until 1888. By that time Brialmont was allready involved in constructing the Liege fortifications, and he apparently never lived to see the forts around Bucharest completed, since the same article list the completion date of the whole complex as 1908.
If you ask me, I would go along with 1884-1899. It sounds far more plausible, and Vasiliu seeems to have had access to some first hand information.

Speaking of which: I've been hearing lots lately about Col Vasiliu's book "Fortificatia Permanenta Contemporana", and of course I'm more determined than ever to get my hands on a personal copy. By a stroke of good fortune, last night I managed to track one here. It was 18 RON (180 000 Rol) and I only have to pay when I pick up the package. If it arrives in the alloted timeframe (3-4 days) and it's in good condition, I'll reccomend this online bookshop to everybody. If I get scammed, I'll let you know :D.

This post has been edited by Wings_of_wrath on February 12, 2006 02:37 pm
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Wings_of_wrath
Posted: February 23, 2006 01:58 pm
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Well, it's been more than 10 days, and I'm still waiting for that book, so we can safely assume they'll never actually send it. :( A pity, really.

Anyway, a quick update- while on the train to Constanta, I suddenly remembered that the railway line runs just a few hundred meters north of the Catelu Fort, so I rushed to the window, just in time to catch a glimpse of a partly collapsed brick structure and moat. So I guess there still is enough left of it to see, despite Vasiliu's claims.

(IMG:http://img95.imageshack.us/img95/7607/catelu4ky.jpg)

The railroad if the while line arching just above the pentagonal shape of the fort.

Also, I just realised a problem- the fort was visible NOW, because the trees sourrounding it are bare, but in the summer it would have been obscured by an impregnable wall of vegetation, so maybe we should take advantage of the weather and go to the forts now instead of waiting for summer.

What do you think? I'm free right now, so if you are interested, please PM me before the weekend. Especially if you can provide some means of transportation.

To reply an earlier post by Agarici: In fact, beside the 53mm guns I posted pictures of, (I belive they would have been used in retractible turrets) the MMN has also a few of the 57mm guns, located just to the left of the Grusson in the picture.
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Wings_of_wrath
Posted: April 29, 2006 01:45 am
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A few days ago, while playing around with Google Earth, trying to catch a glimpse of Chernobyl (ever a popular subject these days), I noticed they released new pictures for a few areas of Romania, including the viciity of Bucharest.
Until now we were able to see only rough outlines of the Bucharest forts, and I was pretty much sunk, with my work shedule full and summer fast aproaching, as I did not manage to gather any new pieces of information on the current state of the forts.
And in comes Quick-Bird, the world's only sub-meter commercial imagery satellite, with its 60cm resolution panchromatic cameras. It took a series of passes over Romania, in late Summer 2005, and now we have detailed very pictures of the structures.

Although there is still much to be deduced by studying the photographs, at first I will content myself with just posting the stills in clockwise order, starting from the first fort:

(IMG:http://img132.imageshack.us/img132/8739/ft19jb.jpg)

(IMG:http://img132.imageshack.us/img132/8784/b11qj.jpg)

(IMG:http://img79.imageshack.us/img79/2331/ft25rh.jpg)

The 2-3 Battery no longer exists

(IMG:http://img79.imageshack.us/img79/787/ft37do.jpg)

(IMG:http://img138.imageshack.us/img138/6554/b38cn.jpg)

(IMG:http://img138.imageshack.us/img138/2905/ft45qf.jpg)

(IMG:http://img138.imageshack.us/img138/4092/b42rr.jpg)

(IMG:http://img138.imageshack.us/img138/547/ft54pl.jpg)

(IMG:http://img138.imageshack.us/img138/1525/b50wt.jpg)

(IMG:http://img146.imageshack.us/img146/9895/ft61ia.jpg)

This post has been edited by Wings_of_wrath on April 29, 2006 10:40 am
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Wings_of_wrath
Posted: April 29, 2006 01:50 am
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Wings_of_wrath
Posted: April 29, 2006 01:54 am
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Wings_of_wrath
Posted: April 29, 2006 02:00 am
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valicaddy
Posted: May 10, 2006 11:42 am
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QUOTE (ANDI @ Feb 10 2006, 07:15 AM)
The fort on the "centura", about 2km est of the Otopeni bridge is called "bateria 3/4" and that is what I saw written on it. I wrote about special forces doing some trainig there, but judging by the old cases my guess is that this training happens quite random and not too often.
The water is just in front of the entrance, actually is a small lake, which does not dry during the summer. However, there is an entrance point from the top of it, through one of the turrets. The acces inside is quite difficult as is dark and the galleries are full of water. I also think a gas mask will come in handy in case there are some gases (from the maneouvres) trapped inside.
Andi

hello everybody. usually the water dries during the summer, and "bateria 3-4" can be visited. (i've been there many times). you won't need the gas mask. the trainings are really random cases. one month ago the water was 3-4 meters high, so please be careful if you go there!! the front entrance was totally under water last time.
despite the water, the fort is in pretty goon condition.
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C-2
Posted: May 10, 2006 07:47 pm
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A pacient of mine,who lives in Otopeni ,told me that from this fort there are catacombs and tunnels till the airport.
Acording to him,in very good cond.
I was there last year,and the water was hight and a lot of garbadge.
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