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World War II Armed Forces — Orders of Battle and Organizations Last Updated 02.10.2003

Belgian Fortifications, May 1940

Written by
Bernard Vanden Bloock

[ Overview | Deep Defences | Border Defences | Conclusions ]
[ Appendix A: Bunker Types | Appendix B: Weapons | Bibliography ]


The organisation of Belgium’s fixed defences in World War II was partly based on the experiences of World War I, in which the fortified positions of Antwerp, Namur and Liège played a significant role. It was also the result of a compromise between two conflicting strategic concepts. Proponents of the first concept held that Belgium should not give battle on its borders but on a fortified line in the heart of the country, allowing time both for the army to fully mobilise and dig in and for Belgium’s Allies to come to its help. The fortified line would run from Antwerp in the North through Leuven and Wavre along the Dyle River, and then on to Namur and Givet (France) along the Meuse. Many politicians, whose constituencies would have to be abandoned in the event of an invasion, opposed this “deep defence” concept. Instead, they wanted to fortify the border itself. Successive peacetime governments tried to please both sides of the argument, resulting in an unfortunate dispersion of resources.

Belgian Forts Overview

Belgian Fortifications, May 1940.

This article first appeared in World War II Online - Technical Publications.
Copyright 2005 Bernard Vanden Bloock
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