The discovery of Big Bertha

Fort de Loncin
We met a terrible murderer. Without mercy, Big Bertha wreaks havoc.

In August 1914, Fort Loncin underwent several days of continuous bombing by the German enemy. As a result, the fort was the scene of an unprecedented massacre. The cause was the use of large-caliber German artillery machines, nicknamed Big Bertha. Already present during the attack on Fort Pontisse, the 42 cm shells characteristic of Big Bertha wreaked havoc at Loncin. With a maximum range of 12,500 meters, the shells triggered the explosion of 12 tons of powder stored in the heart of the fort. As a result, the fort collapsed, immediately burying 350 of the 550 soldiers in the garrison.

The site thus became a graveyard. Only 17 men came out alive; the rest of the soldiers died on the spot. In spite of everything, Fort Loncin was the only fort defending Liège that did not surrender. Today it is a unique relic of the First World War because it is one of the only places where one can still observe period weapons.

Discover other sites of memory

Back to all stories

Share your story

Vous avez des informations sur des événements vécus par votre famille pendant l'un des deux grands conflits mondiaux? En transmettant votre témoignage, vous enrichissez notre rubrique "s'inspirer des héros".

I testify

Follow the Land of Memory community