Fort Dailly

part of the historical fortress of St-Maurice

Why is there a fortress here ?

St-Maurice is the northern portal of the principal alpine transit routes between the Franche-Compté and the Piemont. This determined the military importance of the place and the constant interest of erecting fortifications there.

At the end of the 15th century there was only a simple fortified castle here. Subsequently the fortifications were extended in height and depth until, in the 20th century, they stretched from the Lake of Geneva to the Great St-Bernard and Simplon passes. Finally, several hundred forts and bunkers existed, with powerful artillery protected by the rocks. With Sargans in the east and the Gotthard in the centre, St-Maurice in the west was one of the three Swiss national fortresses.

Three generations of fortresses in the St-Maurice gap

The castle of St-Maurice was built in stages, during the Burgundy Wars, starting in 1476, after St-Maurice, having been conquered by the 'Hauts-Valaisans' lay at the border to Savoy and Bern.

In 1831, under the threat of a possible new European conflict, Switzerland prepared to defend the passage. Fortifications were built around it in order to defend the bridge over the River Rhone, according to the plans of the future General G-H Dufour.

After three successive construction stages between 1892 and 1910 Dailly and Savatan together featured 34 barrels ranging from calibre 5.3 cm to 15 cm. Savatan is basically equipped with five 12 cm howitzers 1891 type Schumann and Dailly with 6 12 cm Krupp guns 1893 mounted on St-Chamond-disappearing carriage. 
In addition, the two forts had 15 underground barracks, protective walls and observation posts connected with each other with telephone lines. 

In 1940, the artillery in Dailly was reinforced with two 10.5 cm turret guns and ten 10.5 cm field guns which were emplaced in 10 casemates cut into the rock.

On 28 May 1946 the explosion of three ammunition depots destroyed a major part of the fort. As a consequence, almost the whole fort had to be rebuilt. 

Based on design and planning work which started in July 1946, the National Defence Commission decided to build two 15 cm automatic turret guns. One of them was paid for out of the budget for the prototype study, the other one out of the budget for the reconstruction of the fort. Furthermore, when the fortress was recon- structed, the ten 10.5 cm field guns, which were destroyed in the explosion, were replaced by four 10.5 cm guns. 

Some details about the Fort Dailly

Dates

- Beginning of construction in 1892
- Explosion of 3 ammunition depots and destruction of Fort on 28 May 1946
- Beginning of reconstruction in 1948
- 1995 Dismantling of weapons and further use as training facility
  (With exception of the battery "Dailly nord", that until 1 January 2000 without personnel
   in the use remained)

Garrison

(state 1995)

1 fortress battalion type B (total: 29 officers, 101 non-commissioned officers, 485 soldiers)
   /
Fort-crew

· 1

· 1

· 1

· 1

staff (6 officers) / Fort-command

fortress-infantry company (9 officers, 42 non-commissioned officers, 203 soldiers)
/
Outsides defence

fortress-artillery company (7 officers, 25 non-commissioned officers, 125 soldiers)
/ Fortress-artillery

fortress-service company (7 officers, 34 non-commissioned officers, 157 soldiers)
/
Fortress-service and logistics

Fortress weapons

(state 1995)

 2

 1

 2

 4

 1

 4

17

armoured-turret guns 15 cm L 42 1958

fortress mortar 12 cm 1959 / 83

armoured-turret guns 10,5 cm L 52 1939

guns 10,5 cm L 42 1939

antitank gun 9 cm 1950 / 57

fortress mortars 8,1 cm 1956 / 60

fortress machine guns 1951 / 80

Mobile weapons
(state 1995)

-

-

4

4

mortars 8,1 cm 1933

machine guns 1951

Points of special

interest

- In the Fort there is also the battalion fire control centre.

- An underground cable car connects Fort Dailly with Fort Savatan. 
  Through this tunnel, the fort Savatan provides the fort Dailly with electric stream
  and telephone-connections and Dailly delivers water in direction Savatan. 

Open to public

Gallery "Rossignol" 
with 2 Batterys "Dailly nord"

A 10,5 cm gun 1939 L 42
B Ammunition magazine
C Battery fire control centre
D Photo-exhibition:
    Explosion of the 28.05.1946
E Historic museum

1 15 cm armored-turret gun
   1958 L 42
2 Ammunition magazine
3 Battery fire control centre
4 Funiculair Savatan - Dailly
   (upper station)
E Entrance

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Dernière révision 30.04.2014