The forts of Lozengrad





Lozengrad (Turkish Kirk Kilisse, now Kirlareli) is situated 55 km east of Odrin and 70 km west of the coast of the Black Sea, on the shortest line of operations against Istambul for an assailant coming from north. The Turkish Army had planned to strengthen the defence of the town, in order to build another fortress in support the great entrenched camp of Odrin, and to block any possible attempt to invade the Eastern Thace and menace the capital. Therefore ten forts had been planned along the line Kara Agder – Raklitza – Karakoč and on the heights of the right bank of the Bujuk Dere, north-east of Lozengrad. Nevertheless of the planned fortifications, only two permanent forts (redoubts) had been built before the outbreak of Balkan War: Raklitza, north-west of the town, about 1 km south of the village of the same name, and Skopo, on the right bank of the Bujuk Dere. In addition there was an old lunette dating back to 1870s. The works around Lozengrad should be resumed only after the completion of the Odrin forts.

The two forts were about 1.5 – 2 km from the town, and 2.5 – 3 km from each other, being separated by an unbroken valley. In front of them there was a dead space of 0.7 – 1 km, beaten by some entrenchments. East and west of Lozengrad there were also some field works (artillery batteries and infantry entrenchments) of little worth. In September 1912 they were outdated and in a neglected condition. The fort of Scopo had only 4 heavy guns, while Raklitza was disarmed. According with other sources, Scopo was armed with 12 – 120mm Krupp guns and Raklitza with 10 – 87mm Krupp guns. All were placed in barbet, firing over a protective breastwork, whose brick traverses covered of earth were used to store the ammunition. After the capture of the town, the two forts were renamed by the Bulgarian Army “Ferdinand” and “Bulgaria” respectively.




Fort of Raklitza

Fort of Skopo