Fort de Cormeilles, Cormeilles-en-Parisis

4.6
#13 of 38 in Historic Sites in Val-d'Oise
Historic Site · Military Facility
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The Fort de Cormeilles-en-Parisis was constructed between 1874 and 1877 as part of a new plan for the defense of Paris developed by General Raymond Adolphe Séré de Rivières, near the town of Cormeilles-en-Parisis. During the Franco-Prussian War, German troops had used the hill upon which the fort sits as a spotting and firing location, ideal for the siting of new rifled guns whose range was increased over old-fashioned smooth-bore guns. These weapons could attack Paris from Cormeilles, so a new outer ring of forts had to be built outside the first ring of forts built in 1840-1860 to deny the area to enemy gunners. The Séré de Rivières system was designed as a response to these technological innovations, and to the loss of French territories in Alsace and Lorraine.
The trapezoidal fort controls the lower Seine valley and the railway line to Pontoise. The walled fort was surrounded by a ditch defended by two double caponiers and an aileron. Entry was over a laterally-rolling bridge. The Fort de Cormeilles was armed with 64 guns, served by 1132 men, 36 officers and 14 horses, and could operate independently for three months. The new fort cost 3.3 million francs d'or. However, as one of the first of the Séré de Rivières system forts, it was built in brick and stone, with an earthen shield. This construction could not withstand new high-explosive shells that were developed in the 1870s, rendering the fort effectively obsolete without concrete reinforcement. This fort was never upgraded.
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