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The absolute resistance of Fort Tancrémont

Fort de Tancrémont
"It is better to die of true determination than for the country to lose freedom." Motto of the Six Hundred Franchimontois, taken up by the soldiers of Fort Tancrémont

In 1938, Fort Tancrémont was the last fort of the Liège belt to be completed. It was also the last to surrender. Indeed, Captain Devos and his men fought with tenacious resistance for Fort Tancrémont. On May 10, 1940, the Germans launched an offensive on the fortifications of Liège. But Fort Tancrémont was not yet fully able to defend itself. Indeed, still in the middle of the “overpressure” works, the fort walls were very vulnerable.

However, Captain Abel Devos, in charge of the fort, did not admit defeat. He decided to fill in the excavations with his men using whatever means were available: bags of cement, tools, machines, anything! At noon, the fort was ready to be defended.

It resisted the German assaults for 19 days and only announced its surrender on May 29, 1940, one day after the official announcement of the Belgian Armistice. Captain Devos refused to believe the words of the German army, stating that King Leopold III had asked the troops to surrender. The German General Spang had to swear to Devos, on his honor as a soldier that this was true, and only then did Fort Tancrémont finally surrender.

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