Originally built by the Germans in 1902, the fort was built as Feste “Kronprinz” by the Germans after they annexed Alsace Lorraine in 1871. It was part of a ring of forts that protected Metz. Much of the fort was below ground and turrets and artillery blocks were connected by tunnels. The fort was well-equipped, not just with artillery but having forced air ventilation, central heating and electricity.
The design was in many ways a forerunner of the later Maginot line. It was renamed Driant when taken over by the French at the end of World War I. During World War II it was taken back by the Germans in 1940 with much of its armament being relocated to the Atlantic Wall. It was used as an underground factory for a period.
After the invasion of France it was hastily re-garrisoned and rained down deadly fire on General Patton’s US troops in September 1944. Metz was captured but Fort Driant held out until December of the same year. Today the site is owned by the French military for training but it is not permanently staffed.
The tunnels and emplacements survive but most of the contents including armaments, ventilation and power plant and barrack blocks have been stripped out.