The Fortifications of Copenhagen 1880-1920

At the time one of the greatest fortification works in Europe. It's also one of the best preserved - maybe in the world.

The old fortification wall around Copenhagen dating from the 17th century was demolished commen-cing in 1872, and the construction of a new defence line began from 1880.

The old naval and coastal forts were modernized, and a number of new forts north of the capital were constructed together with a new defence line "Vestvolden"(The Western Rampage) about 12 km south west of Copenhagen. The shore defences also received some new naval and coastal forts and batte-ries.

At the time of its construction the defence line was a worthy opponent for any aggressor with new and modern 15 cm artillery, mitrailleuses and machine guns which were hidden behind concrete walls. But military developments went very fast at the time, and just 20 years after its construction, the defen-ce line was out of date from a technological point of view. Also it was too close to the capital. The fortifi-cation needed a lot of manpower to be effective. All the 50.000 men that were enlisted to protect Danish neutrality in 1914, were deployed around Copenhagen.

As a result of this knowledge, a political agreement from 1909 became the basis for a new defence line 30 km west of the city - the Tune stronghold between the Køge Bugt (Koge Bay) and Roskilde Fjord (the Fjord of Roskilde). This line is the narrowest point on the island of Sjælland.

Construction started just after the outbreak of World War I. No more great forts or big batteries. Now it was dirty and wet trenches and foxholes.

In 1920 the defence lInes of Copenhagen were abandoned.

The purpose of this site is to tell the story of a dramatic period of Danish fortification history and the unique way this fortification line was built.

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Author: Sören Östergaard

Article and Image Source: http://www.vestvolden.info

Keywords: Copenhagen, Fortifications, Defences, Walls, Denmark



Sören Östergaard

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