The Fort des Dunes, also known as Fort Leffrinckoucke and sometime Fort de l'Est, is located in the commune of Leffrinckoucke, France, about 6 kilometres east of Dunkirk . Built from 1878 to 1880, it is part of the Séré de Rivières system of fortifications that France built following the defeat of the Franco-Prussian War. Although it played no part in World War I, it had a significant role in both the beginning and end of World War II. It has been preserved and is interpreted by a local preservation association for the public.
The Fort des Dunes was built as the westernmost frontier fort in the Séré de Rivières system, in the coastal sand dunes within a few hundred metres of the English Channel. The chosen site was both served by and a place of protection for the coastal railway and canal. It occupies a sandy hill 27 metres high, and is itself protected by as many as 6 metres of sand cover. The rectangular fort is surrounded by a dry moat defended by caponiers that provide a protected firing position to sweep the length of the ditch with gunfire. The main fort is accessed by a drawbridge over the ditch. The Fort des Dunes was armed with a variety of artillery over its history, initially mounted on the fort's surface. The fort's barracks and service areas are recessed into the surface and covered with soil and turf. The walls are built of brick and stone masonry. It was initially armed with about 25 artillery pieces, served by 451 men.
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