A Fort to Defend St Malo
Former Fort Royal, Fort National was built in 1689 by engineer Siméon Garengeau according to plans made by Vauban and under the orders of King Louis XIV, along the ramparts of St Malo which it defended. Prominent bastion of the corsair city, it is one of all the fortifications which go up to Fort La Latte.
On November 26th 1693, a fleet of 30 Anglo-Dutch ships appeared off the coast of Cap Fréhel. After having bombed the Fort La Latte and Ebihiens Island, the fleet headed towards St Malo, bringing with it an infernal machine designed to destroy the corsair city. For nearly two years, workers who never went out, worked in the Tower of London to design a mysterious nave under the orders of William the Silent.
The ship measured 84 feet long, had 3 bridges, a capacity of 300 barrels and 23 cannons. To approach the coast easily, its keel was only 7 feet high. Its sails were black and the sides filled with powder, bombs and scrap metals.
On November 29th 1693, the Fort de la Conchée and Cézembre Island fell to the power of the enemy whose aim was now to take Fort Royal. While the Fort Royal supported the bombing from the enemy fleet, the infernal vessel came away from the squadron and sailed to St Malo.
But while he sailed along the line of rocks that extends from Fort Royal to Fort la Reine, a violent storm from the west pushed the ship on the reef. People on board had just the time to ignite the cannons. But the ship exploded straight away before reaching the ramparts and everybody died.
William the Silent had premeditate the all thing. His goal was to reach the Tower Bidouane which was the gunpowder magazine of St Malo. A storm arose and protected Saint-Malo from a certain destruction. The cannon and the cannonballs that you can see at the Fort are coming from this machine.