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Liège

Zeppelin Z. VI in the battle for Liège, greatest of the Belgian fortresses on the Meuse River, August 6, 1914.
The Zeppelin is partially hidden by smoke or clouds. Three planes are in flight nearby, one of them trailing smoke and falling to the ground. A fort is on a hill in the foreground, and the city and River Meuse are in the distance.
Text:
Das Eingreifen des Z. VI. im Kampf um Lüttich am 6. August 1914
Mit Genehmigung der Illustrirten Zeitung, Leipzig.
The engagement of Z. VI. in the battle for Liège on August 6, 1914
With the permission of Illustrirten Zeitung, Leipzig.

Zeppelin Z. VI in the battle for Liège, greatest of the Belgian fortresses on the Meuse River, August 6, 1914.

Image text

Das Eingreifen des Z. VI. im Kampf um Lüttich am 6. August 1914



Mit Genehmigung der Illustrirten Zeitung, Leipzig.



The engagement of Z. VI. in the battle for Liège on August 6, 1914



With the permission of Illustrirten Zeitung, Leipzig.

Other views: Larger

Belgium was defended by forts and fortresses, particularly those along the Meuse River: Dinant, Namur, and the fortress city of Liège. Lying in the narrow passage west of Germany and between the Netherlands and Luxembourg, Liège was encircled by twelve forts.

Germany had trained a special force to seize Liège during the two weeks its army mobilized. Met by machine gun and rifle fire, and illuminated by powerful searchlights at night, these troops suffered heavy casualties in assaults on Liège on August 5 and 6. On August 6, Belgian forces in the city itself surrendered to German forces that had bypassed the forts. On August 8, German artillery began attempting to reduce the forts using 21 and 28 cm. siege artillery. The first fort surrendered the same day.

The artillery of the forts was mounted in revolving turrets embedded in the earth, and were difficult to put out of action, presenting a low profile to the invaders. Conditions for the defenders worsened quickly. Searchlights were disabled and guns were destroyed. Gasses from the guns, fires, and explosions from enemy shelling and their own munitions threatened the defenders. On August 11, the second fort surrendered.

On August 12, the attackers began firing 42 cm. siege artillery with shells weighing 1,600 pounds. As many as 300 shells per hour fell on some forts. On August 13, Fort de Pontisse and Fort de Chaudfontaine surrendered after munitions exploded within the forts. On the 14th, four more forts surrendered, their guns unusable, their air unbreathable, their men dying of asphyxiation. On August 15, a shell exploded the 24,000 pounds of powder in the magazine of Fort de Loncin, blowing gun turrets into the air and collapsing the fort on 250 men. The last of the Liège forts fell on August 16.

As many as 53,000 German soldiers died taking Liège. The Belgians slowed the German advance while the British were reaching the continent, and the French were redeploying their forces.

Liège is a city in Belgium.

A sample pie chart graphic

Statistics for Liege (1)

Type Statistic
Population 167,521