“TheCeļotājs” –
Liepāja Russian Tsar’s Fortifications

Battery No. 1 Fortifications 
Lat: N56.59184, Lon: E021.01593
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Jātnieku iela 25,
 
           
 
 
Battery No. 1, the Northern Coast and the Land Artillery Stands
 
The fortification system was built up as a combined lunette of coast artillery and repulsing front land offensive. The fortifications were erected during 1896 – 1902, made of German cement that was brought by Russia and in barrels, delivered to the Liepāja  Port. There were concrete basements for cannon gunpowder at the back of this battery, in the swamp next to Viestura iela.
 
 
The main authors for project of battery No. 1 are Colonel N. Bubnoy and engineer Captain A. Židkov 1859-1932. The northern fortification line played a strategic role as it covered access to the city from the Šķēdes Road and blocked up almost 2.5 kilometers wide area between the Baltic Sea and the Tosmare Lake. Including the coastal defense system, it disposed the armament consisting of 27 big caliber “6’-8’ and 20 small caliber 57 mm” guns. The defense structures were built up along the little Šķēdes Stream in form of extended open gun stands. The river was excavated and the left winger shore became the fortification escarpment [“Escarpe” – fr. the slop of the inner rampart of the outward moat”’. To provide effective cover for the Šķēde Road and for the bridge across the river, there were two ravelins [“Ravelin” – fr. a frontal auxiliary structure on the side of or in front of a fortification” and a court-in [“Courtine” – fr. a fortification between two bastions”] erected on the left. The fortified structures, casemates, [“Casemate” – fr. overland and underground military structures built of solid material”] that may be seen today are interconnected by an underground gallery, where the ammunition for the respective guns was stored and extra forces could be provided.
 
Construction of the ample structures of the batteries was finished by August 1903 when the Tsar Nicholas II arrived to Liepāja. A special train was equipped for him to run along the internal railway line of the new fortress. The Tsar was sitting on an open platform, together with his courtiers and the officers of the Russian Headquarters, receiving the solemn parades of the batteries. Battery No. 1 where 30 persons were engaged in servicing each of the guns was primary stand and the first one to visit during the Tsar’s stay.
 
The fortifications of Battery No. 1 were only once involved in hostilities that was on 4 and 14 November 1919 when the Russian – German troops, the so called Bermontians, mounted an attack towards the defenders of the Latvian Independence along the Šķēdes Road. The assault was beaten off requiring painful losses within the defenders’ ranks. 
 
One has to remember, that these fortifications and tunnels do not have any light in them. Once one enter the tunnel, and go very far one will become in total darkness and can very easy become lost. This is the reason why if one wants to explore any of these tunnels, it is recommended that one only do so with a local guide and have the correct equipment before doing so. Again remember once you enter these tunnels and go very deep your mobile phone will no longer work. Besides this, they are well worth exploring.
 
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Revised: 12-22-2012 – 09:37:00