The fortress of Ulm (Bundesfestung Ulm) was one of five federal fortresses of the German Confederation around the cities of Ulm and Neu-Ulm. With its 9 km polygonal main circumvallation Ulm had the biggest fortress in Germany in the 19th century and it is still one of the biggest in Europe.
After the final defeat of Napoleon in 1815, the victorious powers agreed to defend the states from the inside. The fortresses were one of the few realised projects of the confederation. The fortress Ulm was planned by the Prussian construction manager Moritz Karl Ernst von Prittwitz und Gaffron and built under his supervision between 1842 and 1859.
In peacetimes the fortress should hold 5,000 men of the federal army, in wartimes up to 20,000 soldiers. A plan to expand the fortress to hold 100,000 men was never realised. The building costs were valued at 16,5 mio. guilders.
The fortress is a closed, polygonal wall system around the cities of Ulm in the Kingdom of Württemberg and Neu-Ulm in the Kingdom of Bavaria. In some distance detached works were added. The at this time first stone bridge across the Danube laid between both cities inside of the fortress. The next stone bridge was in Regensburg.
For the first time the bastion system was given up and replaced by a polygonal system with detached works, which is called Neupreußische Manier (New Prussian Fortress System) or Neudeutsche Manier (New German Fortress System). The later constructed works at the upper Eselsberg were built as so-called "Biehler-Forts".
|Work No.||Name||Built||Today's shape|
|I||Obere Donaubastion||1843–55||Reduit preserved, ramparts demolished in 1914|
|II||Curtain wall with Ehinger Tor||1843–55||Inner Gate Ehingen and parts of the middle gate preserved, all other parts were demolished in 1903–04|
|III||Ravelin before Ehinger Tor||1843–55||Completely levelled 1903–04|
|IV||Middle Bastion||1843–55||Reduit preserved, remainder demolished in 1903–04|
|V||Blau flèche||1843–55||Completely levelled 1903–04|
|VI||Curtain wall with Blaubeurer Tor||1843–55||Inner gate and 100 m of the curtain wall preserved, all other parts were demolished in 1903/04|
|VII||Ravelin before Blaubeurer Tor||1843–55||Completely levelled 1903–04|
|VIII||Curtain wall to the Kienlesberg||1843–55||Completely levelled 1903–04|
|IX||Counterguard Kienlesberg||1843–52||Part of the Gate Ruhetal preserved, all other parts were demolished in 1903–04|
|X||Kienlesbergbastion||1843–52||Nearly completely preserved|
|XI||West mountain front||1843–52||Nearly completely preserved|
|XIII||Left feeder line||1852–57||Completely preserved|
|XIV||Left redoubt||1852–57||Completely preserved|
|XV||Curtain wall between the redoubts||1852–57||Completely preserved|
|XVI||Right redoubt||1852–57||Completely preserved|
|XVII||Right feeder line||1852–57||Completely preserved|
|XVIII||East mountain front||1843–58||Nearly completely preserved|
|XIX||Obere Gaisenbergbastion||1843–58||Nearly completely preserved, but right side was demolished in 1904|
|XX||Curtain wall||1843–58||Only the caponniere is preserved, all other parts were demolished in 1916|
|XXI||Untere Gaisenbergbastion||1843–58||Just the double caponniere and parts of the escarped are preserved, all other parts were demolished in 1962|
|XXII||Curtain Wall to the Untere Donaubastion with Stuttgarter Tor and Friedrichsautor||1845–55||Only the glacis is preserved, all other parts were demolished in 1903–04|
|XXIII||Counterguard Untere Donaubastion||1845–55||Completely levelled|
|XXIV||Untere Donaubastion||1845–55||Reduit preserved, all other parts were demolished|
|XXV||Oberer Donauturm||1845–55||Completely preserved|
|XXVI||Obere Stadtkehle with Ländetor||1845–55||Partially preserved|
|XXVII||Untere Stadtkehle||1843–55||Partially preserved|
|XXVIII||Unterer Donauturm||1843–55||Completely preserved|
|Work No.||Name||Built||Today's shape|
|XXIX||Unterer Kuhberg||1846–58||Nearly completely preserved, area built-up|
|XXX||Horn work||1846–58||Completely preserved|
|XXXI||Mittlerer Kuhberg||1855–57||Ruined in 1944 by an explosion caused by a supposed blind shell, ruins demolished in 1962.|
|XXXII||Oberer Kuhberg1||1848–57||Completely preserved|
|XXXIII||Söflinger Turm||1855–56||Preserved, but ruinous|
|XXXIV||Unterer Eselsberg||1848–56||Completely preserved|
|XXXV2||Oberer Eselsberg Subwork||1883–87||Completely preserved|
|XXXVI3||Lehrer Turm||1848–50||Demolished in 1876–78|
|XXXVI||Oberer Eselsberg Main work||1883-87||Only parts of it are preserved, most of the fort was demolished in 1971.|
|XXXVII||Prittwitz (first named Avancé)||1847-54||Completely preserved|
|XXXVIII||Örlinger Turm||1850–52||Completely preserved|
|XXXIX||Albeck||1846–59||Preserved, but ruinous|
|XLI||Friedrichsau||1852–54||Nearly completely preserved|
1) The Fort Oberer Kuhberg was also an early concentration camp between 1933 and 1935. One well-known prisoner was the SPD politician Kurt Schumacher.
2) That work no. was planned to be a turret in the Ruhe valley, which was not built for financial reasons.
3) The work no. was passed to Fort Oberer Eselsberg Hauptwerk in 1881.
|Half bastion 1 with Augsburger Tor||1844–54||Train pillbox, parts of the glacis and one flank battery preserved, all other parts were demolished in 1958–60|
|Curtain wall with caponniere 2||1844–54||Gradually demolished between 1903 and 1958|
|Bastion 3||1844–54||Gradually demolished between 1903 and 1958|
|Curtain wall with caponniere 4||1844–54||Demolished before 1945, the caponniere was restored in 2006–08|
|Bastion 5 with war hospital||1844–54||Nearly completely preserved|
|Curtain wall with caponniere 6||1844–54||Completely preserved|
|Bastion 7 with powder magazine II||1844–54||Completely preserved|
|Curtain wall with caponniere 8||1844–54||Nearly completely preserved|
|Half bastion 9 with Memminger Tor||1844–54||Nearly completely preserved|
|12 Schwaighofen||1850–53||Nearly completely preserved, but deformed by additional buildings|
|13 Ludwigsvorfeste||1850–53||Completely preserved|
|14 Illerkanal||1850–53||Completely preserved|
The fort 10 (near Offenhausen) and the gun turret 11 on the railroad Ulm – Munich were not built for cost reasons. The plans for work XLI Friedrichsau had to be changed for this. Work 14 was to be work 15, between 13 and 15 a small fort was planned and later also canceled. The fort Illerkanal was nameless until the completion of the Iller channel in 1906. An additional fort near Pfuhl was planned in the mid-1860s, but cancelled due to the dissolution of the German Confederation. Instead of the fort the infantry base Kapellenberg was built in the 1900s (see below).
As the weapons were improved, the fortress had to be improved too. On Fort Oberer Kuhberg, the front wall and side towers were reduced in height, and around many forts, infantry fences were installed. Two new forts were built on the Eselsberg (see #Forts).
Between 1901 and 1910 several new buildings were constructed to support the fortress. These buildings were (beginning with Böfingen and moving counterclockwise around Ulm):
|Infantry base Böfingen||1903–04||Alfred-Delp-Weg, Böfingen||Completely demolished|
|Infantry base Haslach||1901–02||Heidenheimer Straße, east of Örlingen||Completely demolished|
|Infantry base Jungingen east||1901–02||east of Albstraße, Jungingen||Overbuilt|
|Infantry base Jungingen center||1901–02||Albstraße / Franzenhauser Weg, Jungingen||Completely demolished|
|Infantry base Jungingen west||1901–02||Stuttgarter Straße, Jungingen||Completely demolished|
|Infantry base Spitzäcker||1908–10||Lerchenfeldstraße, north of Lehr||Completely demolished|
|Infantry base Lehr||1905–07||Tobelstraße, west of Lehr||Completely demolished|
|Infantry base Weinberge||1901–02||east of Heilmeyersteige, Eselsberg||Completely demolished|
|Infantry base Gleißelstetten||1901–02||Hasensteige, Söflingen||Completely demolished|
|Infantry base Kapellenberg||1907–09||Narzissenweg, Pfuhl||Overbuilt|
The last major expansion of the front line took place in the first years of World War I. 93 works were to be built or improved, the majority of them were never actually constructed or completed. The numbering began with the trench 1 between Obertalfingen and Böfingen, went counterclockwise around Ulm and Neu-Ulm and ended with trench 78 on the other side of the Danube. Between the bases 21 and 22 was the trench 21a. In the south an own front line was to be installed, consisting of the bases 3c near Ludwigsfeld and 2b south of Wiblingen, and the trenches 2a, 3a, 3a II, 4a, 4a II, 1b, 1b II, 3b, 4b, 1c and 2c.
74 of these works were to be trenches. The works 3, 8, 14, 18, 21, 37, 45, 54, 58, 63, 76, 2b and 3c were to be infantry bases. Only the bases 45 in the Maienwäldle and 58 south of Neu-Ulm are completely preserved. The bases Spitzäcker, Lehr, Weinberge and Kapellenberg and the forts Oberer Eselsberg Hauptwerk and Oberer Eselsberg Nebenwerk were improved and integrated in the numbering system as works 22, 26, 32, 70, 29 and 30 respectively.
Furthermore 20 artillery rooms, 10 munition rooms, 4 pump stations and 9 so-called "Zwischenraumstreichen", which could cover long gaps between some works, were built behind the front lines. Of them only the pump station Buchbrunnen and the Zwischenraumstreiche 6 exist still today.
In Ulm and Neu-Ulm were several buildings bought or built for the garrisons.
|Name or function||Built||Location|
|Fortress construction administration||Bought in 1842||Building Reichenauer Hof, Donaustraße, Ulm|
|Fortress construction yard||1845–48||Silcherstraße, Neu-Ulm|
|Commissariat Ulm||1860–62||Frauenstraße / Karlstraße, Ulm|
|Commissariat Neu-Ulm||1849–64||Silcherstraße / Krankenhausstraße, Neu-Ulm|
|Chevauxlegers barracks||1865–67||Flößerweg / Silcherstraße, Neu-Ulm|
|Karl barracks||1860–63||Between Karlstraße, Zeitblomstraße, Syrlinstraße and Keplerstraße, Ulm|
|Kienlesberg barracks||1865–68||Kienlesbergstraße, Ulm|
|Maximilian barracks||1860–67||Between Maximilianstraße, Kasernstraße, Bahnhofstraße and Ludwigstraße, Neu-Ulm|
|Schiller barracks||1882–91||Between Böblinger Straße and Söflinger Straße, Ulm|
|Sedan barracks||1909–16||Between Sedanstraße and Wörthstraße, Ulm|
|Hospital Gaisenberg||1862–66||Eythstraße / Prittwitzstraße, Ulm|
|Hospital Neu-Ulm||1862–66||Krankenhausstraße, Neu-Ulm|
|Imperial fortification||1876–79||Between Zeitblomstraße and Schaffnerstraße, Ulm|
|Military prison||1889||Frauenstraße / Holzstraße, Ulm|
|Civilist prison||Around 1890||Talfinger Straße / Wielandstraße, Ulm|
|Protestant garrison church||1908–10||Frauenstraße, Ulm|
|Catholic garrison church||1902–04||Frauenstraße / Olgastraße, Ulm|
Furthermore several officer's messes, powder magazines, artillery depots and the like were erected. Some of the buildings still stand today, but are used differently with exceptions: The civilian prison is still in use today as a place of detention and the churches were opened for the citizens as Pauluskirche (Protestant) and St. Georg (catholic).