The Belgian fortress Eben Emael, built between 1932 and 1935, is located about 24 kilometers from Liege and about four miles from Maastricht. Like many other Belgian fortresses, the fortress Eben Emael was made under the French doctrine which was based on building fixed stronghold. With this fortress, the Belgians, attempting to block the passage through the Albert Canal four bridges: Lanaye (south), Cane (north), Vroenhoven and Veldwzelt. The Albert Canal, which was connected with Meuse in Antwerp, was completed in 1939 and was the first defensive line in Belgium.
Ironically, workers in the construction of the fortress were Germans, and this has facilitated plans for the training of the German attack force.
An underground fortress
The fortress had a form of an isosceles triangle, and occupied an area of 75 acres, measuring 900 meters from North to South and 800 from West to East. It had been built near the mountain of Saint-Pierre and consists of three levels, each one separated by airtight doors.
As stated, the fortress was located alongside the Albert Canal, and this served as a channel gap like the medieval castles. In addition, also other excavated pit smaller between the stated channel and Block II, from which gap an antitank was surrounding the fortress, with a wall of three meters high.
The fortress was protected by two batteries, the first consisting of two domes (Coupole Nord and Coupole Sud) which concerned two revolving towers each with two 75mm cannons, and the second consisting of the facilities Maastricht 1 and 2 and Vise 1 and 2 that comprised blocks I, II, IV, V, VI, channel to channel to North and South. The facilities of the second battery consisted of three 77mm cannons. At the center of the fort stood the Coupole 120 with twin 120mm cannons. The 120mm and 75mm guns had a range of 17.5 km and 11 km respectively.
The fortress also had seven bunkers on the anti-cars wall; with a 60mm cannon, two machine guns, reflectors, grenade launchers and armored observation cupolas, respectively.
Finally, there were two blocks placed on the fortress, which were also equipped with machine guns and reflectors: Mid-Nord and Mid-Sud.