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Discover Kaliningrad: the Fort of Koenigsberg
February 28, 2018 09:45


The Fort titled “King Friedrich Wilhelm III” was built in late XIX century as part of the Koenigsberg defensive ring.

The fortress of brick and concrete had a twenty-meter moat, mortars, artillery and a garrison of three hundred soldiers and covered the road to Pillau. The neighboring fortifications of the defensive ring were located at a distance of three kilometers from each other, and the space between them offered a clear view of the surroundings.

The 43rd Soviet Army attacking Koenigsberg fired at the fort from the especially powerful weapons during three days, but the three-meter walls almost did not suffer from the hail of fire. The assault began only after the sappers crossed the moat under the cover of night and blew up the caponier of the fort. The battle lasted all the night from April 7 to April 8. The German garrison capitulated on the next morning. Fifteen Soviet soldiers were awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union for the siege and capture of the Fort No. 5.

In 1979 the fort became a subsidiary of the Kaliningrad Regional Museum of History and Arts.

In 2001 the fort became a basis for the Kaliningrad Non-state Museum of Fortifications and Military Equipment. Nowadays a part of the defensive structure is open for visits; themed expositions are open in barracks and canteens. There are exhibition of weapons and a memorial in honor of those who died on the fronts of the Great Patriotic War outside the fort, in the open-air.

Fort No. 5 is a powerful defensive structure surrounded by a moat with water, a stone wall and an earthen rampart. It was built in late XIX century and passed its main test in 1945.

To be more precise, the fort could not stand the attack, but the defenders of Koenigsberg killed ten soldiers of Red Army men for each dead German at these walls: that was the price paid by the 43rd Soviet Army for the conquest of the fort “King Friedrich Wilhelm III”.

Nowadays the fort looks in an idyllic way. The water of the defensive moat covered by light ripples reflects the peaceful blue sky; brick posterns and protective shelters (caponiers) are guarded only by a bored cashier.

We can only imagine how soldiers broke through the wall under the hail of fire. But on the Victory Day the territory in front the fortifications is given to the military re-enactors, and the war returns: it is a performance with pyrotechnic explosions, without blood and destruction. The peaceful museum exposition seems to disappear, and the military fortress comes to life.

Read more about Kaliningrad...



Author: Anna Dorozhkina

Tags: Kaliningrad Kaliningrad Region    

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