Fort Cindey

part of the historical fortress of St-Maurice

Why a fortress here ?

St-Maurice is the northern portal of the main alpine transit routes between the Franche-Compté and the Piemont. This determined the military importance of the place and the constant interest of building fortifications at this place.

At the end of the 15th century existed only a simple fortified castle. Subsequently the fortifications were extended in height and depth until, in the 20th century, they stretched from Lake Geneva to the
Great St-Bernard and Simplon passes. Finally, several hundred forts and bunkers existed, with powerful artillery protected by the rock. With Sargans in the east and the Gotthard in the centre, St-Maurice in the west was one of the three Swiss national fortresses.

Three generations of fortresses in the St-Maurice gap

The castle of St-Maurice was built in stages, during the Burgundy Wars, starting in 1476, after the conquest of St-Maurice, having been conquered by the 'Hauts-Valaisans' the castle guarded the border to Savoy and Bern.

In 1831, under the threat of a possible new European conflict, Switzerland prepared to defend the St-Maurice passage. Fortifications were built it in order to defend the bridge over the River Rhone, according to the plans of the future General G-H Dufour.

Fort Cindey was built during World War II, between 1941 and 1946. To a certain extent it took over the former task of the St-Maurice Castle and the Dufour Fortress. Cindey was part of a system of connecting fortifications, consisting notably of the larger forts of Dailly, Savatan, Scex, built from 1892 onwards.

Some details about Fort Cindey

The planners' intention was that Fort Cindey, together with Fort Savatan, Forts Toveyre-Petit Mont on the right Rhone bank and the defending troops, would block access to St-Maurice from the north, and defend the anti-tank obstacles constituted by the Rhone-Canal and the 'Le Courset' river, and the obstacles prepared on the roads and railway lines.

Dates

- construction 1941 - 1946

- rearmament 1948 - 1952 (2 guns 10,5 cm L 52 1939 / 46)

- end of service 1995

Garrison

1 fortress company with 173 men
   (8 officers, 28 non-commissioned officers, 137 soldiers)

Fortress weapons

- 2 guns 10,5 cm L 52 1939 / 46

- 4 antitank guns 9 cm 1950 / 57

- 3 fortress machine guns 1951 / 80

Mobile weapons

4 mortars 8,1 cm 1933

Points of special

interest

Cindey is connected to the Fort of Scex, situated 1 km further south, by a natural gallery called 'Grotte aux Fées' which is prolonged by an artificial gallery.

The Fort Scex supplies Cindey with electricity and means of communication.

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Dernière révision 02.08.2015