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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.

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