Diego Suarez Bay

Diego Suarez, Madagascar
Posted on November 25, 2021 / 35
Listing Type : Foreign Port
Location : Madagascar

The French occupied Madagascar in 1896 and it became a French Protectorate and then Colony from 1897 to 1946.  The French finally withdrew from the Island in 1956.  Extensive fortifications were built by the French to defend the Diego Suarez Bay and later city of Antsiranana.  This harbour was ideally place for vessels travelling from Dakar in West Africa to Saigon.  The French build a series of major fortification from 1899 to 1914 around Diego Suarez Bay, which provides an interesting comparison with British fortifications built at the same time to protect their overseas ports and harbours, such a the nearby Mauritius.

The plans for the defence of Diego Suarez were finalised on 4th December 1897 with the intention of making the location a safe anchorage for French fleets as well as providing for their repair, coaling and victualling.

The defences were split broadly into six distinct zone because of the local geography.

1.  To the far west, some 20 kilometres from Diego Suarez we have La Battery de la Baie du Courrier covering the Bay of Courrier.  This battery, with an observation point on the high ground to the rear (Windsor Castle), was to prevent an enemy landing in this area and marching overland to attack Diego Suarez

2.  The Cape Vatomainty Battery (Batteries du Cap Vatomainty) is on the headland directly opposite Diego Suarez with four heavy guns.

3.  Cap Diego, to the west of Diego Suarez has two coastal defence batteries and three small forts to protect the land front. These were:

4.  Protecting Diego Suarez from land attack we have the Joffre Line with three small forts. This included:

5.   The main concentration of coastal defence batteries are on the Orangea Peninsular covering the channel (La Passe) leading into the large bay. These included:

6.  Another two small forts protected the land approaches to the Orangea Peninsular. This defence line includes:

Excellent information on Diego Suarez can be obtained through the web site fortification de diego suarez.  This site is run by a group of local historians including Suzanne ReuttPhilippe Zénone who have publish an outstanding reference work on Les Fortifications de la Baie de Diego Suarez.

They have also produced some short videos on YouTube including one of the Casemate de Boughes.

Diego Suarez Bay
The French occupied Madagascar in 1896 and it became a French Protectorate and then Colony from 1897 to 1946.  The French finally withdrew from the Island in 1956.  Extensive fortifications were built by the French to defend the Diego Suarez Bay and later city of Antsiranana.  This harbour was ideally place for vessels travelling from Dakar in West Africa to Saigon.  The French build a series of major fortification from 1899 to 1914 around Diego Suarez Bay, which provides an interesting comparison with British fortifications built at the same time to protect their overseas ports and harbours, such a the nearby Mauritius.

The plans for the defence of Diego Suarez were finalised on 4th December 1897 with the intention of making the location a safe anchorage for French fleets as well as providing for their repair, coaling and victualling.

The defences were split broadly into six distinct zone because of the local geography.

1.  To the far west, some 20 kilometres from Diego Suarez we have La Battery de la Baie du Courrier covering the Bay of Courrier.  This battery, with an observation point on the high ground to the rear (Windsor Castle), was to prevent an enemy landing in this area and marching overland to attack Diego Suarez

2.  The Cape Vatomainty Battery (Batteries du Cap Vatomainty) is on the headland directly opposite Diego Suarez with four heavy guns.

3.  Cap Diego, to the west of Diego Suarez has two coastal defence batteries and three small forts to protect the land front. These were:

4.  Protecting Diego Suarez from land attack we have the Joffre Line with three small forts. This included:

5.   The main concentration of coastal defence batteries are on the Orangea Peninsular covering the channel (La Passe) leading into the large bay. These included:

6.  Another two small forts protected the land approaches to the Orangea Peninsular. This defence line includes:

Excellent information on Diego Suarez can be obtained through the web site fortification de diego suarez.  This site is run by a group of local historians including Suzanne ReuttPhilippe Zénone who have publish an outstanding reference work on Les Fortifications de la Baie de Diego Suarez.

They have also produced some short videos on YouTube including one of the Casemate de Boughes.

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