Fort Lupin

Construction of the naval dockyard at Rochefort on the Charente River made defense of the river approach a vital necessity.  Fouras at the mouth of the river was fortified.  Two miles south where the river narrows and changes to an east-west orientation, Fort de la Pointe was built on the north bank.  Between 1685 and 1689, Fort Lupin was built further upstream on the south bank.  This created a crossfire with Fort de la Pointe.  Not only did these defenses protect the dockyard, it also protected the ship watering facility at Fontaine Saint Nazaire between the two forts.  Vauban approved Fort Lupin's final design.  The fort has 22 embrasures facing the river in a curved battery so that ships passing single file would be subjected to fire before, during, and after passing the fort.  A tower is behind the battery separated by a ditch.  Barracks are to either side of the tower.

The fort was never attacked and is now a privately owned tourist site.

This is the river-facing side of the fort.  At the point closest to the river there is a small sentry post.  We can tell more about the fort from the other side.  There is a single embrasure visible separate from the battery, and we will walk through it.

We've walked through the embrasure on the left of the panorama, and we can now see the land-facing side of the fort.  We are on the covered way where troops could defend against land attack.  A wet ditch separates the covered way from the rest of the fort.  Between the embrasure that we walked through and the battery there is a wall damming the water and creating the moat.  To prevent a man from walking along this wall and into the battery, a round 'monk's hat' blocks the way.  Firing ports in the two story tower dominates the wet ditch and the covered way.  Barracks are on each side of the tower and accommodated 24 men each.  On the near side of the barracks shown here are the latrines emptying into the moat.

Here we can see the symmetry of the place.  The two sides differ only slightly with the latrine on one side and the bridge and gate on the other.  Each of the barracks also has firing ports on two stories.  The walls between the barracks and the tower also feature 'monk's hats'.

We are on the glacis, the open field of fire on the land-facing side of the fort.  The eastern half of the fort has the gate, which appears to have featured a drawbridge.  To the right of the gate you can see an opening to fire a cannon from; This is on the same level as the battery facing the river.  Like on the western half of the fort, the battery is connected to the covered way by a wall damming the wet ditch, and you can see the sluice used to regulate the water level.

View from the eastern end of the fort.

Copyright 2015 by John Hamill

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