Provincie Antwerpen

First World War

After the German invasion on 4 August 1914, the Belgian government, King Albert I and the army sought refuge in Antwerp. Before moving towards France, the enemy first set course for Antwerp to attack the outer ring of its fortification belt with heavy artillery.

On 29 September German troupes attacked the Railway Fort. A garrison of eighty Belgian soldiers offered resistance under the leadership of lieutenant Hastray. The Germans had heavy artillery at their disposal whereas the canons of the Railway Fort only had a short reach. Even though the two parties battled with unequal weapons the siege still lasted six days. The Railway Fort was the last fort situated along the southern Nete riverbank to remain. When on 3 October the situation became unbearable, the garrison set its own ammunition alight, set the fort on fire and fled.

On 10 October the city of Antwerp surrendered, but the resistance given by the fortification belt had delayed the German invasion to the extent that the allied troupes were given more time to get organised. The Belgian army was now to withdraw.