Esseillon Barrier - Redoubte Maria-Therese
The Redoubte Maria-Therese is a roughly U-shaped, multi-story fort.
One side of the U is longer than the other, providing flanking
fire for the entrance and more firepower pointed across a canyon toward
the road that the redoubt was designed to block. At lower left of
the panorama you can see
loopholes that allow small arms fire along the ditch. These
galleries extend around the ditch and are reached by a passage visible
here in the ditch, the caponier. This passage includes loopholes
on one side,
and the resulting wall could also serve to contain any enemy occupation
of the ditch. The redoubt was garrisoned by about 200 men.
Originally built without a roof, local weather and the request of
the soldiers stationed there justified the later addition of a removable one.
The terrace at right is over the entrance, and a wooden roof over
the terrace could be assembled or disassembled. Mortars could be
fired from the terrace.
We have come down the stairs on left and will continue down the stairs
at right and continue through the passage to the galleries.
The bridge at left did not exist when the fort was completed and was added only in the 1960s. The
arrow at bottom points to the end of the passage, or caponier, to the galleries.
...here - the left photo. We've come through the passage and up
Either direction has loopholes facing into the ditch.
One man would be responsible for four loopholes. Walking to
the right gets up to the gallery shown in the photo at right.
Next we'll go uphill and continue along an 80 meter passage to a
detached work, the Corps du Garde, du Pont du Nant,
that protects the main road.
We've come up the stairs at right and into the Corps du Garde, finished in 1827 when it replaced a wooden structure.
Four men worked the bridge which they could swung in order to cut
road. The road continues east over Mont Cenis to Turin.
Firing ports faced the bridge.
At right, you can see that the redoubt has loopholes at the lower level
covering the ditch. The story above also has openings for cannon,
and the top floor has loopholes. At the bottom of the ditch you
can see a drop-off at the caponier. At the end of the ditch you
can see loopholes and vents of the gallery behind the counterscarp.
Rising above it all is Fort Victor-Emmanuel in the distance, separated
from the redoubt by a deep gorge. The two works
were originally connected by a cable, but later a bridge was built over
the gorge. In the panorama below, you can see a building at left
where the cable system was operated. At right you can barely make
out the bridge.
Legend has it that assistance from the devil was required to make this
bridge, with the devil requiring as payment the first soul to cross the
bridge in exchange. Sheep were the first to cross, so the devil was greatly disappointed.
Copyright 2015, John Hamill