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|WorldWar2.ro Forum > Romanian Army at War > Bucharest defence.|
|Posted by: C-2 March 19, 2005 09:45 pm|
| In some of the photos posted by Alex on the "Tidalwave"topic,we all could see some forts in the north part of Bucharest.
Today with the help of an helicopter pilot,I found two of them(from 6 existing).
They are all over the "centura " of the city;from Mogosoaia to Tunari.
The first I saw was near 'Zarea "factory.
I came near it but it was not posible to get to it since from the north and west there was a deep trench full of water.To get to it I need to wind some relation on the Transmition unit near by.
The second one was about 2 km from the Otopeni bridge to Tunari.
Also very well camuflage and surounded by water.On the entrence is written "regimentul......artilerie".
My friend told me that in late summer the water evaporatyes and it is posible to get near by.
|Posted by: Caliber March 19, 2005 10:19 pm|
|hmmm i hope i get a chance to see some of this, but ill be there in early summer|
|Posted by: dragos03 March 20, 2005 01:14 am|
|There are more forts, all around Bucharest, i have seen them all. Just drive around the belt road and look carefully. Some of them are now inside military units (like the one near the Mc Donalds in Otopeni).|
|Posted by: Carol I March 20, 2005 10:54 pm|
Any update on the http://www.worldwar2.ro/forum/index.php?showtopic=41&view=findpost&p=12058 on these old forts?
|Posted by: dragos03 March 21, 2005 08:03 am|
|Not yet. I have all the info but i didn't write it because i couldn't find any magazine interested to publish it.|
|Posted by: jirka vrba April 16, 2005 09:17 pm|
| to dragos03:
I´m planning the second trip around rumunian fortification - can youn write me any informations about forts around Bucharest and another fortifications in Rumunia.
|Posted by: dragos03 April 16, 2005 10:23 pm|
| To see the Bucharest forts you simply need to drive your car along the belt road of the city. The forts are usually close to the road, on the side opposite the city. Look carefully at any military base, many of the forts are inside them.
If you come to Bucharest, you can send me an e-mail before. I have an old book about the forts, it includes schetches, plans and maps of the Bucharest forts and some other fortified areas (FNG line, Cernavoda bridgehead). We can meet and i can show you the book.
|Posted by: jirka vrba April 17, 2005 06:38 am|
| Thank you - that´s great
I´ll send you mail. It is nice and useful to know somebody to ask in foreign country. I´m looking forward to our meeting.
|Posted by: dragos03 April 17, 2005 12:04 pm|
|No problem. I sent you a PM with my e-mail adress.|
|Posted by: dragos03 July 24, 2005 09:47 pm|
| Yesterday i went to try and see the Otopeni fort. This was the oldest and the largest of all Bucharest forts. It had two 150 mm guns, two 210 mm howitzers and ten 57 mm guns.
The first thing i saw was this bastion.
|Posted by: dragos03 July 24, 2005 09:50 pm|
| The main building is now some kind of warehouse. Unfortunately the old guard didn't have the keys of the red door but he told me that i can get in during the week.
|Posted by: dragos03 July 24, 2005 09:53 pm|
| I also climbed to the suprastructure. Only then i realised the real size of the fort: it's huge. There were several buildings and walls on the suprastructure, but also so many treees and vegetation that i didn't attempt to reach them.
Here is a blurry photo of one of the walls on the top.
|Posted by: C-2 July 24, 2005 09:56 pm|
Let's go during the week!
The warehouse belongs to "Zarea".
|Posted by: dragos03 July 24, 2005 09:59 pm|
|Ok, let's go.|
|Posted by: C-2 July 24, 2005 10:04 pm|
| Take that book you have about the forts!
And if you have a jurnalist ID would be good.
Maybee we can enter the transmition fort near the Otopeni bridge.
|Posted by: dragos03 July 24, 2005 10:06 pm|
| I'll take the book, unfortunately i don't have a journalist ID (it is not needed anyway, people get suspicious when they see it).
There is no need to enter the military unit, most of the fort is outside it.
|Posted by: cipiamon July 25, 2005 12:05 am|
|I have a journalist id, only it is mentioned (writen small) that i am designer and not a redactor , anyway if you guys need a metal detoctor-man i am up for action|
|Posted by: dragos03 August 15, 2005 05:48 pm|
| Here is a photo of the fort near the Bucharest-Drajna highway. I think it is the 9/10 fort.
It is the easiest to see and visit (even inside) of all the Bucharest forts.
|Posted by: dragos03 August 15, 2005 05:50 pm|
| Another photo of the same fort.
|Posted by: mihnea September 28, 2005 03:28 pm|
| In this imagine you can see the exact location of each bunker (“baterii intermediare” and “forturi”).
The page is scanned by me I don’t remember the book but it also shoed drawings of each type of fortification it’s gun emplacement.
I’ll try to find the book.
|Posted by: ANDI September 29, 2005 05:45 am|
| There is another fort called "bateria 3/4" close to the highway belt, about 2km from the bridge at Otopeni. Most of the time is full of water, and some special antitero units practice there. I tryed once to descend into it, but after 2 stories, I came across a lot of water (don't know how deep!) and I had to give up. Quite scary though.....You should proceed with care.
I also heard a story about one of the forts back in the '50es when the police discovered 2 dead german soldiers shot in the back of their heads. They were only in their uniform, and the only thing discovered were the boots and belt buckles.
|Posted by: dragos03 September 29, 2005 09:10 am|
|The map posted by Mihnea is from the same book that i've got. It is "Fortificatia permanenta contemporana" by Col. Vasiliu.|
|Posted by: Imperialist September 29, 2005 09:23 am|
I have found the same map in "Istoria Militara a Poporului Roman".
esit -- and it indeed quotes the book you mention, written in 1934
|Posted by: Wings_of_wrath February 09, 2006 09:54 pm|
| My interest in fortifications was first sparked by seeing an interesting site on the Belgian Forts a few years ago. At the time I knew Bucharest used to have a ring of fortifications around it, but I assumed they were destroyed in the communist era to make way for the new "residential areas" like Pantelimon, Berceni, Balta Alba, etc...
Then, in late December last year, a frend showed me an article published in "Romania Libera":
The title reads "The Forts of Bucharest, Transformed in Mushroom Farms, Warehouses and Graveyards" and lists a few of the surviving forts, as well as their sad fate (18-1 Chitila [also listed as "Chiajna"] used as storage for pickles, 11-12 Berceni used to raise mushrooms in, and 10-11 Popesti that will be transformed in a graveyard) as well as a small history of the fortification project, but other than that it is pretty uninformative. The only other piece of information we get concerns the three forts "15-16 Magurele" "14-15 Broscarei" and "13-14 Jilava" that are still used by the military, the last as a detention centre and thus off limits to the civilian public.
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 http://www.geocities.com/~brialmont/forts.html)
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:
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, but most fell into German and Austrian hands following the disastruous campaign of 1917, so their fates remains unknown.
In the folowing years the forts were forgotten, a phenomenon fueled by the the Romanian military bureaucracy's love for secretness, to the point that the long abandoned and decrepit buildings are still ommited from maps, even detailed architectural ones such as the PUG (Proiect Urbanistic General- General Urbanistic Plan) for Bucharest, from which I extracted the following two fragments:
Please note the difference between the detail in the nearby regions (listing everything including underground oil reservoirs) and the "blank spot" where the fort would be. In the first Image the caption in the middle reads "Institutie" ("Institution") while the second one lists the area as a forest, eventhough the tell-tale polygonal shape of the fort is clearly visible.
Faced with this deliberate lack of information 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:
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.
Following the latest pieces of information I aquired and, since I run a small Bucharest based group of "Urban Explorers" I intend to mount an expedition aimed at documenting the surviving forts and casemates. Most likely the trip will take place around Easter, (it wouldn't be a smart idea to go sloshing about deserted buildings in sub-zero temperatures) and take about a week, to allow the drawing of plans for each fort, as well as creating a database of photographs. We intend to be well equipped, with such gear as ropes, flashlights, helmets, as well as official papers allowing us access (most likely from my University, since they have provided us with such clearances in the past).
However, we are severely short on manpower and transportation, and we would like to adress this way other enthusiasts like us for voluntary work in trying to document these unique pieces of history, before nature and man makes the better of them.
If you feel inclined to help us, please PM me, and I'll keep you posted on the preparations as well as any aditional information I might find. (I intend to go scouring trough the National Archives, the division for the City of Bucharest in search for any references as well as more tangible documents such as plans relating to the forts)
A later phase will include the creation of a website dedicated to the fortifications, where we will post our findings, in the hope that this will draw some attention on this forlorn subject of military history.
|Posted by: Carol I February 09, 2006 11:29 pm|
You misidentified the location of fort "2-3 Otopeni". It is on the other side of the highway as illustrated by the images posted http://www.worldwar2.ro/forum/index.php?showtopic=1636&view=findpost&p=20671. I think you may want to take a look into that thread. There C-2 http://www.worldwar2.ro/forum/index.php?showtopic=1636&view=findpost&p=20818 that 2-3 Otopeni is sometimes used as training grounds for the special forces. As such it might be difficult to obtain permission to enter it.
|Posted by: Wings_of_wrath February 09, 2006 11:51 pm|
| No, I didn't. I drew the contour of all the forts as they can be seen in the satellite photograph.
Here is a zoomed in version of the same picture.
In the 1944 picture North is to the right of the photograph. You can see that quite clearly, since the shape of the Banesa forest just below the road is unchanged.
Indeed acess to this fort might be a little dicey, but as far as I know, most of the times it sits empty, so, unless our visit overlaps with a police exercise, it should all go smoothly.
|Posted by: Carol I February 10, 2006 12:05 am|
My mistake then. I thought the highway was to the "right" of your drawing, but maybe it was only a border between two sectors in your composite image.
|Posted by: ANDI February 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.
|Posted by: Carol I February 10, 2006 08:05 am|
Some structures appear to be visible in http://archive.spaceimaging.com/ikonos/2/kpms/2005/07//browse.12488.crss_sat.0.0.jpg. Could they be your missing forts (or at least their remains)?
|Posted by: Wings_of_wrath February 10, 2006 09:55 am|
| Beautiful Picture!
Yes! On the poor quality satelite photographs I had there was no visible trace of the two south-western forts so I assumed them destroyed, but your picture seems to suggest that not only are the forts there, but also in pretty good shape.
So, in the end, it seems all the forts are accounted for. Thanks, Carol!
|Posted by: Wings_of_wrath February 10, 2006 10:09 am|
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...
|Posted by: dragos03 February 10, 2006 03:06 pm|
| 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
|Posted by: Wings_of_wrath February 11, 2006 04:24 am|
| Priceless information, Dragos!
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:
|Posted by: dragos03 February 11, 2006 01:54 pm|
| 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.
|Posted by: Agarici February 11, 2006 02:49 pm|
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).
|Posted by: Wings_of_wrath February 11, 2006 02:56 pm|
| 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)
|Posted by: Agarici February 12, 2006 08:20 am|
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.
|Posted by: Wings_of_wrath February 12, 2006 09:54 am|
| 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 http://www.editurasigma.ro/index2.php. 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 .
|Posted by: Wings_of_wrath February 23, 2006 01:58 pm|
| 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.
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.
|Posted by: Wings_of_wrath April 29, 2006 01:45 am|
|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:
The 2-3 Battery no longer exists
|Posted by: Wings_of_wrath April 29, 2006 01:50 am|
|Posted by: Wings_of_wrath April 29, 2006 01:54 am|
|Posted by: Wings_of_wrath April 29, 2006 02:00 am|
The 16-17 Battery no longer exists
The 18-1 Battery no longer exists
|Posted by: valicaddy May 10, 2006 11:42 am|
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.
|Posted by: C-2 May 10, 2006 07:47 pm|
| 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.
|Posted by: SieHorten May 19, 2006 07:27 am|
| Hi everybody!
Does anyone know what is now on 5-6 baterry? An ultramodern building based on the fortification walls. Is it a protocol building, particular or what?
|Posted by: valicaddy June 10, 2006 01:37 pm|
|what is happening at Bateria 3-4 ??? the area is surrounded with little announcements: "private property". Who the h*ll can buy such a place? This country really is for sale!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!|
|Posted by: Wings_of_wrath June 14, 2006 03:37 pm|
| Yes, I noticd those too a couple of days ago when I passed by.
As far as I know, it is still the property of the Ministry of Defence. I know it is sometimes used as a training ground for special forces.. maybe this has anything to do with that?
BTW: Despite the signs, the place did not appear to be guarded.
EDIT: Indeed, who can afford such a place? Nastase?
|Posted by: C-2 June 16, 2006 05:45 pm|
| I just told Dragos 03 that I had a pacient today ,who grew in Otopeni.
All kids used to play in the bateries.
Batery 3-4 is indeed used sometimes as a training ground for SF.
He also told me that inside the batery there are about 7 floors under the ground.
Each about 2 m hight.Ther's a painted chapel,a cinema,and a tunnel conects all bateries and the Otopeni airfield.
He's a jurnalist and his grandfather was a Stalingrad veteran.
I asked him to make us a "guided tour" inside.
If some of you want to come,it will take place after the 5 th of July.
|Posted by: Carol I June 16, 2006 11:13 pm|
Don't forget to take pictures.
|Posted by: C-2 June 17, 2006 06:37 am|
We gonna film also!
|Posted by: Carol I June 17, 2006 09:10 am|
Good, but it would be more difficult to post the film on the forum.
|Posted by: valicaddy June 19, 2006 04:04 pm|
1. That is correct so far.
2. As far as I'm concerned it is not a matter of money here. May be someday, someone, will sell the Military Museum too.
I will like to go there too. I hope the water will finally dry...
|Posted by: valicaddy June 19, 2006 04:09 pm|
???????????? I can't believe it, but I will realy like to see if that is true! And I hope it is!!!!!
And if it is true, and the batteries are (almost) identical, may be it's not the only one like that.
|Posted by: C-2 June 19, 2006 08:21 pm|
| Well ,the guy I told aabout,his grandfather was stationed there for many years.
All kids from Otopeni used the bateries as a playground.
|Posted by: ANDI June 20, 2006 09:04 am|
| The idea of a filmed documentary about these forts is good indeed! The proper authorities, like the Ministry of Culture, should also hear about it.
If they do nothing, they (the forts) will soon disapear and lost forever.
I think it would be great to restore/preserve at least one of these forts (in the way Belgium did).
|Posted by: valicaddy June 20, 2006 02:06 pm|
You're right , Andy ! We should preserve all of them, not only one. They are a page of our history, and we HAVE to take care of it!
|Posted by: dragos June 22, 2006 04:24 pm|
| This is a mapsource file for exporting to GPS systems (Garmin), providing the location of Bucharest forts, based on the information presented here so far. I am unable to guarantee the accuracy of the data, though.
|Posted by: Dénes June 22, 2006 06:59 pm|
| How do you read the GDB files? My Photoshop doesn't recognize this file extension.
|Posted by: dragos June 22, 2006 07:24 pm|
|It appears you need to open it with http://www.gpsinformation.org/dale/mapsource.htm, and it is useful only if you have a Garmin GPS device.|
|Posted by: Wings_of_wrath June 24, 2006 07:08 am|
| C-2, I was planning my own expedition at roughly the same time*. Maybe we could join forces?
In the last few days I was investigating a number of possible targets to the North of Bucharest, and came up with a pretty accurate list of the available fortifications and their current state-
(Starting from the railway line leading to Constanta, going north)
Fort7 -Pantelimon- the military facility around it seems to be in good shape, and the site is still guarded. Unless we can get some official documents, entry will be impossible.
6-7 Battery - It's in the middle of a dense patch of vegetation. Although there are some signs of habitation nearby (recently built houses to the north) I haven't seen any fences or guards, so I'd nominate this as one of the "must see" sites.
Fort 6 - Afumati - Although there seems to be some human activity concentrated along the ring road, just in front of the fort, the fortification itself seeems to be deserted and readily acesible. It is sorrounded by a chainlink fence, but much of that is in desrepair.
If anything, we can ask the people there to allow us to see the fort. Otherwise, e just go in unopposed, from the other side.
5-6 Battery- Like it's mentioned elswhere on this thread, there is a modern construction on top the 5-6 Battery. My guess as an aspiring architect is that they turned the fort into a warehouse, but one thing is clear. After it's transformation, the structure was stripped of much of it's historical value, so visiting it might be a waste of time, even if they allow us to get in.
Fort 5 -Stefanesti- The Aquatic fort is probably one of the prime targets, since it's one of a kind, yet I was unable to learn much about it's current state. It lies surrounded by vegetation, but it's enclosed in a fence. The whole site looks like an operational military unit, yet the guard towers are deserted. Maybe we should just go there and ask permission to go in? From the look of it, they aren't using the fort, just some of the ground in front of it.
4-5 Battery. As far as I can tell, this site is completely deserted. Some of the battery's wall is visible from the ring road, and there are no fences or guards barring the acess. I'd say this is another definite target.
Fort 4- Tunari- There is civilian activity going on on the site, so I'm pretty sure the guard is light, but it's better to ask permission first instead of breaking and entering.
3-4- Battery- Clearly the most controversial of all. Despite the owerwhelming density of "Private Property, Do not Enter" signs, there is absolutely no guard, so acess is readily available. Maybe the placcards are there to deterr people from entering the fort and getting injured? Somehow, I doubt it. Also, there are strong signs of innundation near the battery's wall, so I'd reckon the inside is flooded right now. Lower levels might be totally unaccesible.
Fort 3- Otopeni- As far as I know, this site is active as the home of the 48th Transmission Group commanded by Colonel Ceraceanu, so I'd rather wait and ask his permission instead of sneaking in... Not to mention the fact that a guided tour from somebody with an interest and knowledge in the buildings is clearly an advantage.
2-3 Battery. This building was demolished in the 1930's and nothing remains.
Fort 2 Mogosoaia - Also a bit of a mistery. I got a good look from two sides at the site (from the ring road and from a train that was inching it's way into Bucharest at a hairrasing 20km/h around the outside of the fort) and the fortification does not apear to be guarded, despite the existence of some old rusted guard towers. However, there are signs of recent acctivity in the vicinity, but I think those might be from nearby houses, and be unrelated to the fort. This is also one of the "must see" sites.
1-2 Battery. No point in wasting any time with it, since public acess will be permitted on September 2 during the reenactment.
Fort 1 -Chitila- I never seen this site, so I must rely on second-hand information from a friend that went there recently. It appears the site has a fence around it but it's in a state of disrepair, so acess is not hard. Also, there are no sign of guards, although human activity is present.
This concludes my samall asessment, and I would like to point out that, judging by the sattelite imagery, there might be more suitable targets to the south-east of Bucharest, since the fortifications there seem incased in a lot more vegetation then those on the north side, and also there is less evidence of buildings on the sites.
Another thing would be to backtrack on an earlier affirmation I made about the Catelu fort. At the time I assumed it to be in place despite reading about it's distruction in Colonel Vasiliu's book, but now I realise I was looking in the wrong place, and the ruins I was seeing belong to the 7-8 Battery instead.
*I'll be leaving Bucharest for Sibiu on the 9th, so anything we attempt should happen in the short 4 day period between the two dates. Hope the weather holds.
|Posted by: C-2 June 24, 2006 09:32 am|
| You are welcome to join.
From what I heard ,the underground galeries are filled with water.
It is possible that it has been made by porpossed in order "to put them on the market".
|Posted by: Wings_of_wrath June 25, 2006 09:06 am|
| Things have started to pick up again on the forts - I've spent a lot of time searching in vain for a book called "Istoricul lucrarilor de fortificatie a cetatii Bucuresti" (The history of fortification works on the Bucharest fortress) published in 1900, and now not only I found out the MMN has a copy, but they've also agreed to let me make some copies... And not to confuse you, but this is the definitive work relating to the forts. It has all the information one would ever need (from lists detailing each individual weapon purchase to relatively useless items like cost estimates for brickwork in a particular month) and not only that, but it comes with a detailed map of the whole fortification ring, as well as copies of some of the original architectural blueprints for each type of fort. (the same Vasiliu used in his book, only far, far, larger and a lot more detailed)
C-2, Thank you.
That was indeed my impression when I visited the site, that most of the fort is flooded.
I would suggest we keep other possible targets as "backup plans" in case the 3-4 Battery is unaccesible, namely the 6-7 and 4-5 Batteries and the Stefanesti or the Afumati Forts. Other suitable (and suitably unguarded) sites are the Leurdeni and Popesti Forts and the 10-11 Battery (the last one is possibly the best of them all, since it's totally deserted) on the eastern side and the Bragadiru and Chiajna forts as well as the 17-18 battery on the south-western side of Bucharest. Also possibly the 13-14 battery, since in the satellite photos the site apears to be overgrown with vegetation, thus devoid of any human activity.
I don't know about the signs. Maybe somebody allready purchased it like they did with the 5-6 Battery but they don't have enough money to do antyhing with it at this time?
By the way, we should also stay in touch by phone, in order to smooth up the details of the "expedition". Pease check your PM, I've sent you my number.
|Posted by: valicaddy July 02, 2006 02:55 pm|
|1 hour ago 3-4 battery was FULL with water, probably it still is.. you can see the upper level, (I hope)|
|Posted by: Wings_of_wrath July 02, 2006 04:34 pm|
|Alas, I was suspecting that following yesterday's storm... I guess that must be also true for the 1-2 battery we are supposed to be visiting on Saturday. Let's hope, it will be EXREMELY hot until then so that at least some of the water can evaporate.|
|Posted by: Dan Po July 06, 2006 10:16 pm|
" The 'Waffenfabrik der Skodawerke AG' received the contract for the first batch of guns for the 'improved TEGETTHOFFs' 24 July 1914: 10 guns plus one spare barrel for the first unit. 22 November 1914 a 35 cm trials barrel was tested at the Skoda gunnery proving ground at Bolewetz. [...] 30 May 1916 gun No 1 returned to Skoda to be changed against gun No 2, but this never happened because No 2 had been sent to the Bulgarian front. It's goal was to destroy Romanian fortifications on the Danube when Marshal Mackensen's Army crossed that river attempting to encircle the retreating and defeated Romanian army near Bucharest. So on 23 and 24 November 1916 gun No 2 was in action near Svistov, but only a few rounds were fired."
fr more informations and to see the context, check http://www.cronab.demon.co.uk/ah2.htm
Probably this gun was send here to fire against bucharest's fortifications ...
|Posted by: Wings_of_wrath July 06, 2006 11:29 pm|
| Thanks to Mr. Ichim from the MMN, I got to make copies of very interesting report titled "Raport Asupra Lucrarilor de Fortificatie a Cetatei Bucuresci" (Report on the Fortification Work of the Bucharest Stronghold) dating from 1900. It is written on a typewriter and the pages were torn using a ruler rather than cut... Most of the titles are handwrittren, and the first page bears the stamp "Foarte Confidential" ("Very Confidential"- Top secret) as well as "exemplarul 3/5" (copy 3 out of 5)
Anyway, aside from the very interesting plans (including a fold-out color map of the entire ring of fortreses) I stumbled upon a list detailing the state of armament for each of the forts, and it paints a grim picture of the readiness of the Bucharest "Stronghold":
15cm guns (M 1891 St.Chamond, M 1891 Montlucon, M1891 Creusot, in single or twin mounts):
In place: 88 Missing: 4
21cm howitzers (M. 1888 Gruson, M. 1891 Montlucon- am unsure of the actual destination of these guns- despite the fact they are consistently reffered to as "obusiere" [howitzers] in belgian forts they are called mortars)
In place: 36 Missing: 32
57mm retractible cuppolas M. 1891
In place: 126 Missing: 3
Flanking guns (various types, mainly 53mm quick-firing)
In place:114 Missing: 250
In place: 256 Misssing:295
A further handwritten note dated "May 12 1916" confirms that no furter weapon purchases took place from the moment the list was drawn up to the disarming of the forts....
So besides being totally outdated by the advances in the field of artillery (in 1896 the advent of astralite and later cordite as a propellant more than doubled the range and the introduction of melinite as a high explosive tripled the power of the shells) the "mighty stronghold" was lacking more than 60% it's weapons!
Seen this light, the decision to disarm the fortress and redeploy the guns as field artillery is self-evident, despite the cries of "treason!" in Colonel Vasiliu's book.
That, in turn, brings up the question- why is there no mention of the poor state of the forts in mr. Vasiliu's book? I'm sure he read it, since most of the drawings are exact copies of those present in the report, yet not only does he not take it into account, but he insists that the forts would have held the enemy for at least 12 days, giving the batred Romanian army enough time to re-group. He bases that assumption on the lenght of time the forts around Liege forts held, WITHOUT taking into account the following factors:
1) Despite being designed by the same man (Alexis Brialmont), the belgian forts were constructed after those of Bucharest, thus taking into account the aforementioned advances in artillery.
2) The belgian forts were fully armed, and yet thay fell with relative ease.
3) The disposition of weapons in the Bucharest stronghold was asymetrical. The first forts build had almost all of their armament in place (the 12-13 battery was the only one to be fully operational) but newer ones were almost unarmed. And, by a cruel twist of fate, most of the weaker forts were facing in the direction of the german advance...
4) Some of the belgian forts surrendered without fighting, because of the low morale of the defending troops. In Romania, the morale would have been equally low.
5) The german guns were heavier and had a longer range than the artillery mounted in the forts. Two belgian forts exploded after taking just a few hits each from heavy siege guns, because their munition stores were ineficiently protected. The same would have been expected with those around Bucharest.
6)The main cause of surrender for the belgian forts was poor ventilation, that caused asphyxiation with gas from explosions, gunfire and latrines. The ventilation and sanitary systems were virtually identical in the romanian strongholds.
7) Finally, I'm not at all sure how he came up with the 12 day figure in the first place, since the belgian redoubts fist came under attack on the 4th of August 1914, and thew last fortress fell on the 16th (Fort Loncin, blowing up with the loss of 350 men, that are still burried in the ruins of the fort).Granted that is a 12 day interval, but after the fall of Fort Barchon on the 8th, the germans had been able to bypass the defense line and enter the town of Liege unoposed. Although the rest of the forts held out for a few more days, they were totally isolated, and the main body of the german army had moved on on the 9th, leaving only the second echelons to continue the bombardment of the forts... Surely, the same would have happened in Romania, denying the romanian army the restbite it so desperatedly needed. On the contrary, by ignoring Bucharest as a strategic point altogheter, we were able to re-organise a line of defence further north, on the Focsani-Namoloasa-Galati Front, with the added benefit of preserving all those guns and men that would otherwise have fallen into the hands of the enemy.
EDIT: Pictures come from http://www.geocities.com/~brialmont/forts.html
|Posted by: Carol I July 07, 2006 07:18 am|
The fragment states clearly that the gun was to be used against fortifications on the Danube when Mackensen crossed it in the end of November 1916. Were there any fortifications around Zimnicea at that time?
|Posted by: dragos03 July 07, 2006 10:18 am|
|I think it was used against the forts in the Turtucaia bridgehead.|
|Posted by: Carol I July 07, 2006 10:54 am|
It could be, but on the other hand the fragment mentions the crossing of the Danube in the end of November (Turtucaia fell almost two months earlier).
|Posted by: Dan Po July 07, 2006 03:47 pm|
|I dont thing for the Turtucaia was needed 350 mm guns . But for the Bucharest the aswer is afirmative.|
|Posted by: dragos03 July 07, 2006 07:44 pm|
| I couldn't find any details about what guns were used against the Turtucaia fortress. However, the Bulgarians used 24 heavy guns and mortars of over 150mm calibre (possible the 305 mm pieces too). The concentrated fire of these guns was one of the main reasons for the fall of the fortress. What is certain is that the Bulgarians had some 350mm guns in WW1, and even some 420mm pieces.
305 mm pieces were later used by the Central Powers in Dobrogea (probably by the Germans) and fired against both land and naval targets.
Also, in 1919, the Hungarian Red Army had several 305mm guns in the Battle of Tisa. I think some of these might have been captured by the Romanian Army.
|Posted by: Jeff_S July 07, 2006 08:04 pm|
Are these breech-loading howitzers? The picture suggests "yes" but it's not definitive, at least not to my in-expert eye. I know there are breech-loading mortars but it's not what the term usually implies.
Very interesting work as always, Wings-of-Wrath.
|Posted by: Carol I July 08, 2006 09:37 pm|
|I have found an interesting description of the WWI Romanian fortifications and artillery on a Bulgarian military history forum: see posts #64-73 in the thread on the http://forum.boinaslava.net/showthread.php?t=6610&page=3.|
|Posted by: mihnea July 16, 2006 04:57 pm|
| Bateria 1-2
The road leading to the front of the fort. This road is defended by a 57mm gun placed in the small port under the window.
The right side of the facade, notice the height of the ground, probably earth from the
shooting range trench.
The 57mm emplacement in the left tower.
The grate is not original.
I'm not tall neither on a ladder, but the ground level is about 40 cm higher than it should be.
From the entrance, the steers lead to the top floor and the 150mm cupola that is missing.
One of 3 close-defense slits on each side of the entrance.
Left tunnel leading to the 57mm turret and 210mm cupola. In foreground on the right is the tunnel leading to the front 57mm turret and the underground floor.
The right tunnel leading to the 57mm turret and 210mm cupola.
|Posted by: mihnea July 16, 2006 05:32 pm|
The 57mm gun emplacement covering the access road.
Air vent, there is one in each room.
Recently this fort was used as a film set for a movie probably with a medieval theme and some of the additions were not removed.
The 150mm emplacement.
The stairs leading to the ground floor.
Door leading to the top of the fort, the door is not original.
A small tunnel with two air vents and an opening on the right that covers the stairs.
The tunnel going round the 15mm emplacement, probably used as storage.
|Posted by: dan3 July 18, 2006 09:25 am|
| Hello, it appears i have found this by pure chance and i'm very glad i did...i am very interested in the forts. So far the only one i have explored is Bateria 9-10. It's totally deserted, except for traces of human presence (someone apparently had a picnic there). Also, reportedly on weekends the local kids play there, and also, apparently, at least one loving couple...Some friends of mine, during a photoshoot had trouble with some gypsies, but it is an isolated incident. Every time i have been there, including at night, it was totally deserted. Some photos. If your monitor isn't well calibrated or you are looking in bright daylight you will miss a lot of details in the darker areas.
Circular corridor arount the main gun emplacement, i think the 150, correct me if i'm wrong:
Corridor leading to the 53 turrets. Do you know what the small, approximately 0.5X0.5 m tunnel at the floor level is? There are several around the fort, apparently parallel to the main corridors. Could be air vents? I thought about ammunition conveyor tunels, but the fort is too old for that, probably...any ideas?
Room under one of the two secondary emplacements
Main corridor. The walls have big holes in them, and they are pretty thick. Intresting to note that all the debris in the smaller holes are thrown from the outer rooms into the corridor, so whatever made the holes was not in the coridor but in the rooms. There are also burn marks on the walls. This corroborates with other evidence that special troops trained there, and perhaps blew the holes in those walls. The "other evidence" is remains of rubber crowd control (tear gas?) grenades and some 9mm casings with a strange plastic device instead of the bullet. Training rounds maybe?
Corridor bifurcation to the upper and lower room of secondary emplacement, also leading to the 53 turret
Outer view, open door...
The main emplacement through a hole in the cupolla.
One of the 53mm emplacements. Another possible entrance.
later edit: Oh, and i forgot, if anyone goes exploring around the forts, please let me know
|Posted by: mihnea July 18, 2006 11:06 am|
| Very nice pictures, although they aren't my favorite type, artistic, with a flash there would have been more detailed.
The 9mm cartridges you found are gas pistol cartridges 9mm PA, used for self defense, non-lethal.
Bateria 9-10 is type 3 with one 150mm cupola in the center, two 210mm cupola, three 57mm turrets and three 57mm guns for close defense.
Do you know why is that big hole near the 150mm emplacement, in the first picture?
I also noticed the tunnels but I have no idea what role they had, here is another picture of one in Bateria 1-2.
With a bit of adobe I have “enlightened” this picture to reveal more details, hope you don't mind.
|Posted by: dan3 July 18, 2006 11:25 am|
| The "hole" is a small shaft, about 30 cm diameter, lined with metal, that leads to the circular balcony in the main room. It is just off the edge of picture 7, the one with the main room. You cannot reach that balcony except by climbing, so i couldn't look closely...
From your picture i remembered that the small tunnels had metal door frames, so they could probably be sealed. Would make sense if they were ventilation tunnels, in case of a gas attack...
And about the pictures, most of the interior ones *are* lit with flash, the green glow in the photo you edited, and the red one are flashes with colored filters. And, yes, they aren't that informative I didn't think of that aspect when i took them
|Posted by: C-2 July 18, 2006 11:54 am|
|Guys Guys,now when it is dry ,lets get together and make an expedition!|
|Posted by: horia July 18, 2006 11:57 am|
|I'll come too!|
|Posted by: dan3 July 18, 2006 12:03 pm|
|I suppose you are talking about the Otopeni - Philip Morris fort? Count me in|
|Posted by: C-2 July 18, 2006 04:16 pm|
|Guys,get a target in the north part of the city and let's go Sunday morning!|
|Posted by: C-2 October 04, 2006 05:49 pm|
| I met today,Mr Iancu,from Otopeni.
He's 75 and his father had a large restaurant in front of Bateria 3-4 with 200 places and worked mainly with the army.
He told me that there used to be sort of a subway train under the forts.Possible for aproviz.
I also heard that the Russian p[lanes that bombed Otopeni at night had very strange bombs:
None of them exploded.When army engeniers "opeded" them ,they found sand inside.
Also ,after 23.8.44 ,when USAF bombed the airfield,the acualy missed and bombed the village.You could see dead cows hanging on trees after the bombardment.
Also an AA german batery,who had only 2 soldiers others were on permision,held very well for two days.
The AA gun,was "colected " by one of the locals,and found by the police in his barn 6-7 years later.
|Posted by: dragos03 October 09, 2006 07:23 pm|
| King Carol I was very proud of these forts and, in his will, he wanted the forts' artillery to fire at the moment of his death:
"I want the guns to fire from all the forts in Bucharest, Focsani and Galati, forts that i built to shield the Romanian lands in desperate times, of which I pray to God the country will be spared".
|Posted by: Wings_of_wrath October 24, 2006 12:20 am|
| I'm starting to get the hang of how the batteries worked.
After extensively exploring some of them (mainly 1-2, 3-4 & 9-10), I am now pretty sure I can correctly identify the way the main systems of the forts (ventilation, ammunition supply, etc) functioned, including the use for the "mysterious flooded tunnel" from the 1-2 Battery and the little side-tunnels found in all batteries.
I don't have the time right now for an elaborate post, but I have prepared a detailed sketch of the "standard" interior, and I will add it as soon as I get it scanned, with ample explaination as to what was where and why.
Please bear with me a little while longer.
PS: A prospecting trip to the 10-11 Battery on the South-Eastern part of Bucharest ended dissapointingly a few weeks ago, when we stumbled onto construction works at the site of the battery. Apparently, a couple of months ago somebody actually purchasd the place, and they are now converting it into...well, something. In the good tradition of Romanian secrecy, we were only told to "scram" because we were trespassing on private property, and were refused even such details as the current owner and the plans in store for the fort. A pity really, especially since 10-11, along with 11-12, (now sealed inside the compound of a new housing project) were a whole lot different from all the others, being much smaller, with only 2 main and 2 secondary cuppolas instead of the full complement of six.
|Posted by: Mezekouw May 28, 2007 08:49 am|
|I have been reading this topic, and I am very excited about it.
I first read about the fortifications of Bucarest through a study I was doing on the defence line of Amsterdam. Dutch engineers actually visited Romania to be present at some experiments on targeting concrete with heavy explosives.
I have searched for information for a long time before I stumbled upon this webpage. The people I know in Bucharest also could not tell me more.
I will share some of my insights with you at the end of the week. When I have more time. I and I will post some reactions.
I hope somebody is still reading this forum chapter.
Maastricht, the Netherlands
|Posted by: Mezekouw August 01, 2007 12:18 pm|
| well a week turned into months, but here's my comment.
It was mentioned that the defence line was under equiped. The fortresses did not have enough canons, etc.
From my experience with the Amsterdam defence line I can say that this was actually normal.
National reduits, like the bucharest defense line, were last resorts.
The main strategy ( for the dutch at least) was to minimize all the guns in the fortresses. It was thought that if the guns were kept in the fortresses or batteries, they were useless. The guns could not be used in battle. That's why in the Netherlands, most guns were transferred to the field army. Then if it had to retreat in to the line, it was thought (they were ordered) to bring the guns with them. Then they were installed in the fortresses and batteries in between.
Does anybody have a general ground plan of the fortresses by the way?
|Posted by: madalinfocsa February 12, 2008 08:36 am|
| Hello, I discovered the forts not long time ago.
Making a serious research, I noticed that between the 9-10'th Battery and Fort X "Leurdeni" there is a huge space, like in no other place... What's with this space here ?, I said.
But last week I found out that somewhere in the middle of this distance it could be a battery ! COULD IT BE ??? The 19'th battery ??? Or I'm wrong ?
Please help !
Here you cand see it > http://wikimapia.org/#lat=44.394404&lon=26.222434&z=17&l=29&m=a&v=2
What do you think about it ??? I knew there were built only 18 forts and 18 batteries ! Coul it be possible to exist another "secret" battery here ???
Please go there, which of you are in the area, and tell us what do you know about this place.
|Posted by: Mezekouw February 12, 2008 12:32 pm|
| I have also marked that spot on google maps.
I think it is a battery/ fortress too.
compare it with this other fortress/ battery around bucarest: http://maps.google.nl/maps?f=q&hl=nl&geocode=&q=bucarest&ie=UTF8&ll=44.374867,26.003544&spn=0.003604,0.007231&t=h&z=17
|Posted by: DaSk July 04, 2008 04:04 pm|
| Hello Friends!
I found this topic very interesting, and I read it with great interest. In this july I'm going to spend my holiday in Romania, and visit Bucharest forts. Can You tell me which forts and batteries are quite easy accessible to see them without any problems (guards, fences etc.), and which of them are most interesting to see.
I hope You will be able to answer that questions.
|Posted by: Wallachia October 02, 2008 08:39 am|
Great job guys !
|Posted by: sanostol March 08, 2009 05:30 pm|
I have basically the same request as "DaSk" had last year. I will be spending most of April09 in Bucharest and would like to visit the fortifications surrounding it. Can you please help me and name some forts and batteries which can be easily visited and are in good condition. I do research mainly on Austrian-Hungarian fortifications but this is now a great opportunity to see what was built by Brialmont around Bucharest. The google earth views show fantastic things.
Also, is there any literature available on that topic?
thanks for your help!
|Posted by: C-2 March 08, 2009 11:15 pm|
|Contact me on a pm.|
|Posted by: valicaddy March 09, 2009 03:17 pm|
| Please correct me if I am wrong:
-is there a lower level in every battery? I remember that, at one point, the ceiling of a corridor was going down, like I suppose to find some stairs there, and the floor was covered with concrete, newer than the fort itself, like someone wanted to close the acces to something undeneath. I guess it was in battery 3-4.
-I entered one of the square 50cm/50cm tunnels, but this reveiled nothing interesting at that time. No entrances or links to other tunnels.
-I went for a shooting session a long time ago, to a place with following coordinates:
N 44* 25' 04,60''
E 26* 14' 20,32''
check google earth please, I can't see it on the map, but on the ground I remember it was a fort there too. The place used to belong to the army, nowadays, who knows who took it for 2 cents.....
|Posted by: C-2 March 09, 2009 06:48 pm|
| Batery 3-4 had many levels.
It hapened that I talked today with a person who's father had a restaurant just in front of this batery.
It had a chapel and also a cinema.
A long corodor went all the way till Otopeni airfild.
It is posib. that since that coridor (who served as a playgroung to the otopeni's kids) became a potential danger and was closed.
|Posted by: valicaddy March 17, 2009 07:49 am|
and what about those coordinates?