The Fort de la Pompelle, also known as Fort Herbillon, is one of a number of forts built around Reims after 1870 as part of a fortification belt in the Séré de Rivières system. The forts saw combat during the First World War in the defense of Reims. The fort is located about 2 kilometres north of the town of Sillery, next to the N44 road, between Reims and Châlons-en-Champagne. Constructed as a supporting position for larger forts and disarmed in 1913, it saw the heaviest fighting of the Reims forts. It was bombarded during the war and remains in a state of ruin.
The Fort de la Pompelle was built between 1880 and 1883 to complete the fortification belt around Reims that was started by General Raymond Adolphe Séré de Rivières after the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. This secondary work was planned to support the principal forts of Witry-les-Reims, Nogent-l'Abbesse, Brimont, Saint-Thierry, Fresnes and Montbré. The relatively small rectangular fort was surrounded by a ditch defended by two-level caponiers. With a surface area of 2.31 hectares , it was provided with six 155mm de Bange 1881 guns, four 138mm guns and a variety of lesser pieces. An artillery company of 277 men garrisoned the fort. In 1917-18 a number of underground passages were cut from the chalk to provide access points a few hundred meters to the rear of the fort.
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