The 16 forts of the Fortified Position of Liège (F.P.L.)
The F.P.L. was a defensive belt of fortifications surrounding Liège, including 16 forts built with massive amounts of concrete, sited partially underground. Distances between forts were such as to enable them to provide covering fire for their neighbours. They also protected the city of Liège and its main bridges.
The heroic resistance of Belgian forces in these positions at the start of WW1 (4th to 16th August 1914), had a decisive influence in the war's early stages by giving French troops extra time to prepare. Meantime, the forts were being pummelled by the first shells from 'Big Bertha'. To commemorate this feat of arms, Liège was the first non-French town to be awarded the French Legion of Honour. Furthermore, as another mark of recognition of the city's courage, it was chosen to host the unique symbol that is the Interallied memorial. During the Second World War, this belt remained operational, with 4 new forts being added to it.
One last honour - and certainly not the least: Paris cafés changed the name of a popular dessert from café viennois (Viennese café - which had connotations with one of the enemy powers) to café liegeois, which is popular all over the so-called 'Ardent city' (Cité ardente).