MONT AGEL FORT
Mont Agel Fort, in its oldest section, dates from the 19th century and was part of the Maginot line. This is an imposing construction, of which most of the infrastructures are underground, with eight small blocks emerging at ground level. Its armament consists essentially in a pair of gun turrets.
Built at an altitude of 1148 metres on Mont Agel, overlooking Monte Carlo and the coast, the fortress was started in 1888 and completed in 1892. It was meant as a vantage point overlooking the Paillon and Gorbio valleys and the bay of Roquebrune, and to disorganise and launch flanking attacks against any assault on the forts. Along with the fort of Mont Ours that dates from the same era, Mont Agel was able to communicate with Barbonnet fort by optical relay.
During the Great War, the fortress was used as rear base and was entirely decommissioned in 1915. Its various fortification parts and ammunition were sent to the frontline.
In 1928 it was integrated to the Maginot line defence system with the creation of underground fortifications on the side of the ancient fort. The staging area of the cable car that ferried up the ammunition was housed in one of these Maginot blocs.
During the Second World War and the Italian offensive, Mont Agel was an active participant in the fighting. The fort was occupied first by the Italians and then by the Germans, before being liberated on the 4th of September 1944 by Canadian and American troops of the First Special Service Force. Resistance fighters then cleared it of its mines.
Mont Agel is not only an underground construction: there is also an old fort dating from the end of the 19th century, two military instruction casemates, artillery positions, and observatories.
Vieux Fort : started in 1888 and completed in 1892, this is a near rectangular polygonal storage structure. Its façade (seven meters high) bears the mention “1888 FORTERESSE du MONT AGEL 1892” It was also called “fort Catinat” (in reference to Marshall Nicolas de Catinat) and was part of Nice’s defensive system.
Military instruction casemates : Mont Agel is also unique in that it is home to two instruction casemates that were used to train artillerymen of the artillery regiments stationed in various Maginot constructions.
Artillery : From 1927 to 1940, an artillery battery was parked on Mont Agel, using the platforms of the warehouse (Séré de Rivières fort) or positions prepared throughout the plateau, in both cases in open air.
Observatories : Several distant observatories are connected to the Mont Agel structures, and by underground telephone lines to its artillery command post.
Nowadays, the Mont Agel fort is used by the French air force as a radar station: Élément Air Rattaché 943, under the command of Istres Airbase 125.
- Located in Peille at the Lieu-dit: Mont-Agel
- GPS location : 43° 46′ 23,59″ nord, 7° 25′ 12,91″ est
- Can not be visited.