Main artillery fort GHW VIII (Gürtelhauptwerk) VIII Łętownia, Łętownia
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Main artillery fort GHW VIII (Gürtelhauptwerk) VIII Łętownia

Łętownia

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A well-preserved main artillery fort GHW VIII (Gürtelhauptwerk - main ring fort) has substantial research values as the first centred, permanent defensive fort built during the third stage of the construction of the fortress. Additionally, the fort also has decorative architectural details. As a crucial part of the system of fortifications which formed the Fortress of Przemyśl, it remains a valuable historical monument of European importance.

History

In the years 1854-1855, as part of the construction of fortifications of the first stronghold around Przemyśl, an artillery sconce no. 4 of the FS type (Feuer-Schanze) was built in Kuńkowce village, in the western part of the ring. In the years 1881-1882, during the construction of permanent fortifications forming part of the Fortress of Przemyśl, the sconce was transformed into a permanent artillery fort GHW VIII “Łętownia” - the first one to be built in the fortress. It is marked as Lagerfort VIII Łętownia on the Festung-Umgebungs-Plan (fortress map). The design of the fort was prepared by Anton Werner. In 1903 the gorge section was modernised. In place of a demolished wall with a gate, a steel sponson with stations for two machine guns flanking the fort’s gorge was added to the barracks’ wall on the northern side of the gate. An opening of the entrance gate leading to the fort’s vestibule was lowered as well. The task of the fort was to defend the San river valley and the surrounding hills, defend Przemyśl-Dynów and Przemyśl-Sanok roads and to defend interfields stretching towards VII½ and VIIIa forts and their forefields. The fort was armed with four 12 cm cannons of the M.75/96 type standing on wooden trailers, two 9 cm cannons of the M.75/96 type on tall fortress trailers and two 15 cm cannons of the Granatkanone type on casemate trailers. The fort was manned by 1 infantry company (approx. 250 soldiers), 86 gunners and 8 pioneers (sappers). During the first and the second siege of the fortress (18 September - 9 October 1914 and 9 November 1914 - 22 March 1915) the fort did not experience a direct attack. Before the surrendering of the fortress on 22 March 1914 caponiers in the moat and intermediate ammunition warehouses in parts of emergency bunkers had been blown up. During the third siege (30 May - 4 June 1915), the fort was overrun by German and Austro-Hungarian forces. Until World War II, the fort was used by the Polish Armed Forces as an artillery munitions storage facility. Partial demolitions, among others, of the Carnot walls, were conducted at that time. In the years 1940-1941 Wehrmacht stationed in the fort. Executions of Jews and Poles were carried out there. After World War II the fort was used as a wine storage facility “Pomona”. From 2002 onwards, a museum run by private persons, lately - by Wiesław Sokolik, functioned there. In that period ordering works in the fort area were conducted. In 2010 the fort was taken over by the Society of Fortress Communes of the Fortress of Przemyśl. Currently, the Society is carrying out comprehensive renovation works.

Description

The GHW VIII fort (Gürtelhauptwerk VIII Łętownia) is a single-rampart artillery fort erected as part of the centred fort system. The fort is located on top of a hill (310.0 metres above sea level), north of Kuńkowiec.

The area of the fort is approximately 4.0 hectares.

The fort was designed as a pentagon. The feature is surrounded by a deep, dry moat, shallower in the gorge part. An irregular earthen roundel with an entrance in the middle has been preserved in the gorge section. The fort’s gorge terminates in barracks with an entrance vestibule located along the central axis. Entrances in the vestibule lead to the guardhouse with a prison and to an officer’s room. The central part of the vestibule includes entrances to corridors running along the exposed wall, leading to all casemates that initially housed: a fort commander’s room, soldiers’ dwelling rooms, a kitchen, a food warehouse, a room for the sick, two bathrooms and two toilets. In the end section of the vestibule there are two niches: one with a well and the other that probably functioned as a firewood storage facility. The barracks are sheltered by means of an earth rampart. The vestibule leads to a narrow, enclosed courtyard terminating in a bunker, initially housing a delivery warehouse of cannon munitions, two emergency bunkers and two toilets. Exits to battle posts are found on both sides of the courtyard. The main rampart that includes foreheads and flanks features transverses housing emergency bunkers. Posterns lead from three bunkers to currently non-existent caponiers in the moat. Fire posts of cannons and infantry were positioned between the transverses. All casemates, vestibule and posterns have concrete vaults. The façade of the barracks features semi-circular casemate bays, originally terminating in brick walls with windows terminating in arches. An entrance gate is located along the axis; windows and door openings of the munitions warehouse in the main bunker’s façade are decorated with surrounds that imitate rustication.

The fort is accessible throughout the year. Visiting the interior of the barracks and the main shelter will be possible after the completion of renovation works. The fort is located on the “left-bank fortress route of the Fortress of Przemyśl” (marked in black) and along the green tourist route from Przemyśl to Dynów.

compiled by Adam Sapeta, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Rzeszow, 12-10-2014.

Bibliography

  • Bobusia B., Gosztyła M., Zub M. Plany Twierdzy Przemyśl, Przemyśl 2004
  • Bogdanowski J. Sztuka obronna, Kraków 1993.
  • Bogdanowski J. Architektura obronna w krajobrazie Polski od Biskupina do Westerplatte, Warszawa - Kraków 1996.
  • Brzoskwinia W., Idzikowski T., Środulska-Wielgus J., Wielgus K. Wartości zabytkowej Twierdzy Przemyśl, w: Informator regionalny Twierdza Przemyśl, wyd. II, Rzeszów 1999.
  • Forstner F., Twierdza Przemyśl, tł. Bańbor J., Warszawa 2000.
  • Idzikowski T., Architectura et Ars Militaris 4. Twierdza Przemyśl. Fort VIII „Łętownia”, Przemyśl 2004.
  • Idzikowski T., Twierdza Przemyśl. Powstanie. Rozwój. Technologie, Przemyśl 2004.
  • Sapeta A. Zestawienie obiektów Twierdzy Przemyśl, w: Informator regionalny Twierdza Przemyśl, wyd. II, Rzeszów 1999.

General information

  • Type: defensive architecture
  • Chronology: 1881-1882
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Łętownia
  • Location: Voivodeship podkarpackie, district przemyski, commune Przemyśl
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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