Fort Chaberton Battery Claviere Ranska


Fort Chaberton Battery Claviere Ranska





Built between 1898 and 1910 by the Italians to control the Montgenèvre pass (one of the easiest ways to cross Alps between France and Italy), this very impressive fortress included 8 turrets, sheltering a 8 149 mm artillery gun battery. This fortress was called "the fort of clouds". This fort, located on the top of a 3100m high summit, was then considered as the highest and most powerful of Europe.
It made rightly the pride of the Italian Army. Its dominant position allowed it to threaten the whole area, and particularly Briançon, the French opposite strong point.

On June 11th 1940, Mussolini’s Italy declares war to France, which is close to full collapse hardly one month after the German attack of the 10th of May. The French border of the Alps is only held than by some divisions of alpine troops which were not already engaged in Norway.
The artillery of Chaberton bombards the French strong points around Briançon, but ground gains are insignificant.

On June 21st 1940, the French succeed in destroying 6 of the 8 turrets with 280mm marine mortars which had served to Verdun (WW1 !). They were placed outside sight, at Poët Morand, about 1000 metres below, and guided by observers located in the Janus French fortress.
After the armistice, the border is moved and "Chaberton" has been since 1947 totally on French territory.

Nowadays, the 8 big towers still proudly raise themselves down from their 3100m height. Inside the fortress, you can see galleries, stores and barracks. In front of the towers, the Italians rased the summit of the mountain on a six metre height to establish a defensive glaze !

"Chaberton" is at first a really beautiful 1300m grade ballad, "a little bit physical", but without technical difficulty because almost all the trail is a good shape. On the summit (3131m), you can enjoy a panoramic sight on all the surrounding mountains : Oisans, Viso, Thabor, Rochebrune and Queyras....

For the History and military fortifications amateurs, it is one of the most impressive and the most exciting alpine sites. Towers and galleries are well preserved. Only artillery guns have disappeared, but masonry is still in good shape.

Attention : inside the fort, the visit of galleries is relatively dangerous : corridors are recovered with snow ice... Do not forget to take your own lamps !

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