Le Fort Wagner

Feste Wagner

Useful Information

Location: Between Verny and Fleury. A31 exit 29 Lac de Madine, Metz est, N431 to Magny, exit D913 Verny, Metz-Magny, turn right towards Verny. After 4.7 km turn right, signposted.
(49.014867, 6.199838)
Open: MAY to JUN Sun 14:30.
JUL to AUG Thu, Sun 14:30.
SEP to OCT Sun 14:30.
Fee: Adults EUR 8, Children EUR 4.
Classification: TopicRoute des Fortifications Européenes
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours: D=2.5 h. Français - French Deutsch - German English
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Address: Le Fort Wagner, Tel: +33-387-52-76-91, Tel: +33-685-25-47-68. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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1904-1910 fort built by the Germans.
1944 a rear base for German units fighting against the Americans during the Battle of Metz in 1944.
1970s site looted.
1982 leased by the Association pour la Découverte de la Fortification Messine and renovated.


Le Fort Wagner is unlike most other military structures in this area is not a part of the Maginot Line. This fort is much older and is a fortification erected by the Germans against the French. The Lorraine was originally an independent country with a Duke, but soon the French Kings want to add this country to France.#However, iron ores and coal were discovered and in the mid-19th century the country became quite valuable. And so the two empires France and Germany fought several wars on the ownership of the Lorraine, none of them gave a single thought to the fact that the locals might have preferred to remain independent. And so, after the short French-German War of 1870 the Lorraine was German and known as Lothringen. Many people here actually spoke German, so this is not the translation of the name, it's the actual name. In order to keep the country the German Empire built forts, one of them was Fort Wagner.

The fortifications were erected to protect the city of Metz, which had a crucial role in the Schlieffen Plan. A first ring of forts was constructed at a radius of about 3 km. A second ring was about 6 to 7 km from the center and was built between 1899 and 1916. Fort Wagner was located in the outer ring south of the city, to protect the Seille valley. It was named Feste Wagner, after Julius Wagner, the German general responsible for the AKO. The used the most modern technology of the time, including central heating, toilets, running water, bread oven, telephone, and an electric power plant. The new possibilities of the massive use of concrete and steel increased the solidity of the fortification massively. And the constructed network of underground galleries, which connected the different bunkers, casemats and barracks.

After World War I all those forts were delivered without a fight to the French army. They were amazed by the technological genius and luxury of these forts. Many ideas from this Fort were valuable input during the construction of the future Maginot Line. During the construction of the Maginot Line it served as a depot for heavy artillery on the railway line. During World War II it was an underground factory and then a rear base for German units fighting against the Americans during the Battle of Metz in 1944.

It seems this is one of those structures, which were too massive to destroy them, but it was not actually used by the army. The time of such forts was over, and so it was maintained with a minimum effort until the 1970s. Then it was looted for some reason. The non-profit Association pour la Découverte de la Fortification Messine (Association for the Discovery of the Fortification Messina, ADFM) leased the site from the army, and after some necessary renovation opened it to visitors. Today it's possible to visit the surface structures which are located in a forest and nature reserve. On guided tours the inside of some bunkers can be seen, and it is possible to see the demonstration of maneuvering the turret for the 10 cm cannon and the blank firing of the 5.3 cm cannon.