The long-distance defence attached gun battery no. XVa Borek, Siedliska
Narodowy Instytut Dziedzictwa pl

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The long-distance defence attached gun battery no. XVa Borek

Siedliska

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The artillery battery attached to fort GHW XV, well-preserved and maintained, has a significant research value as an example of a system of group fortifications and as a representation of a stage in the development of the Przemyśl ring fort. In addition, it has a substantial historical value, having played a significant role during the defence of the Fortress of Przemyśl. The gun battery is also an important feature in the surrounding landscape. 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 1887, in the light of the threat posed by the possible war against Russia, general Daniel Salis Soglio, the Inspector-General for Engineering, has managed to obtain the authorization for building a structure that would provide further reinforcement for the Fortress of Przemyśl. In the course of the construction works performed, the Werk XV “Borek” provisional artillery fort was established on the Borek-Las hill. In years 1895-1897, a new armoured fort was build next to the old structure, which was partially levelled, its front section and right flank converted into an attached gun battery. The design of the gun battery was prepared by the Directorate for Engineering in Przemyśl under the leadership of Moritz von Brunner and implemented by Albin Juda, who worked as the director for engineering at the time. The gun battery was designed to engage hostile forces attempting to storm the Siedliska group of fortifications by holding them at bay with long-distance artillery fire; in addition, the battery also provided support to the nearby defensive forts. Its armament consisted of four M.80 150mm siege mortars on steel mounts. The crew of the gun battery consisted of 50 soldiers. During the first siege of the fortress (18.09-9.10.1914), the artillery battery participated in the efforts to hold off the main Russian attacking forces which stormed the Siedliska Group as well as fort no. XV itself. During the second siege (9.11.1914-22.03.1915), on March 18 the battery provided artillery support for the sortie performed by the crew of the fortress towards Medyka. Before the fortress was forced to surrender, its crew detonated explosive charges, destroying the mortars. During the third siege (30.05-4.06.1915), the battery was overrun by German and Austro-Hungarian forces. During the interwar period, the gun battery remained abandoned. After World War II, the local residents dismantled the entrance gate and used the gun battery as an illegal landfill. In years 2005-2009, the battery - along with the nearby fort - was leased by the Prince Kinsky Third Historic Galician Regiment of Fort Artillery, which, through the voluntary efforts of its members, has managed to perform wide-ranging revalorisation and cleanup works. In 2010, the Union of Fortress Communes of the Przemyśl Fortress took over the duties of the caretaker of the gun battery

Description

The gun battery no, XVa “Borek”, attached to the GHW XV “Borek” fort, is a permanent artillery battery, designed as a section of a group of fortifications. It is located approximately 100 metres away from the GHW XV “Borek” fort, north-east of Siedliska, on the top of the hill 231.20, near the national border. The surface of the gun battery measured within the boundaries of its allocated plot of land (excluding fort no. XV) is approximately 5.8 hectares.

The battery was designed as a redan, preceded by a deep, dry moat. The main rampart and moat are the remnants of the former temporary artillery fort. An earth rampart with traverses separating individual battle positions from one another makes up the front sections (arms) of the battery. The longer, northern arm features four traverses, while the southern arm has only one. Mortar emplacements and ammo dumps were originally positioned between the traverses (the latter being shielded by wood and earthwork anti-shrapnel protective sheds). The gorge and flanks of the battery terminate with by an earth rampart with an entry gate located in the northern arm of the battery. Fragments of the gate wall with steel hinges have survived to this day. An access trench connects the gun battery with fort no. XV. Behind the gun battery, north of the cobbled access road, there is a well and foundations of the cookhouse, which are most likely the remnants of the original artillery fort, subsequently adapted for the purposes of the new gun battery. The existing tree planting, consisting mostly of black locust trees, are the remains of the fort’s camouflage (front masking arrangements).

The gun battery can be visited all year round. It forms a part of the black tourist trial as well as the tourist cycling path which runs between the various forts that formed the Fortress of Przemyśl.

Compiled by Adam Sapeta, Regional Branch of the National Heritage Board of Poland in Rzeszów, 01.09.2014.

Bibliography

  • 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, [in:] Informator regionalny Twierdza Przemyśl, Rzeszów 1999.
  • Forstner F., Twierdza Przemyśl, Warszawa 2000.
  • Idzikowski T., Architectura et Ars Militaris 5. Twierdza Przemyśl. Fort XV „Borek”, Przemyśl 2004.
  • Idzikowski T., Twierdza Przemyśl. Powstanie. Rozwój. Technologie, Przemyśl 2004.
  • Sapeta A., Dzisiejsze zagrożenia Twierdzy Przemyśl - raport, [w:] Informator regionalny Twierdza Przemyśl, Rzeszów 1999.
  • Sapeta A., Zestawienie obiektów Twierdzy Przemyśl, [w:] Informator regionalny Twierdza Przemyśl, Rzeszów 1999.
  • Website: 3 Historyczny Galicyjski Pułk Artylerii Fortecznej Im. Księcia Kinsk’yego. Fort Borek - http://www.festung.vot.pl/borek.php, access 28-08-2014.
  • Website: Twierdza Przemyśl. Uzbrojenie Twierdzy - http://twierdza1914.republika.pl/his/historia.html, access 1-09-2014.

General information

  • Type: defensive architecture
  • Chronology: 1887 r.
  • Form of protection: register of monuments
  • Address: Siedliska
  • Location: Voivodeship podkarpackie, district przemyski, commune Medyka
  • Source: National Heritage Board of Poland

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