a r I ii t r tu r
JORGE L. CURRAIS
MARCH 17, 1975
Prof. F. BLAIR REEVES
Man has always had a desire, if not a need, for
protection. This need is as old as man's innate agg-
ressiveness. Through the ages, no other form of occup-
ation has absorbed as much of his time, effort, and cap-
ital as the design and construction of defenses. "Fort-
fication" is the military art of strengthening positions
against attack. The word (Latin, fortis, strong and
facere, to make)implies the creation of defences.1 Two
elements are involved in the creation of fortifications.
One is protection: to shield defenders from the enemy's
missiles. There are two ways the defenders can go about
this: directly, by creating a wall or rampart of earth
or other materials strong enough to resist the enemy's
missiles, or indirectly, by putting distance between
the defense and offense, through the use of a high wall
above a cliff. Another indirect form of fortification,
not used much until WW I and after, is a defense through
The second element involved is the creation of
obstacles. This achieves almost the same result as in-
direct protection, but its conceived in a different
manner. It prevents the enemy from coming to close
quarters, by putting anything which will impede or de-
lay the enemy's advance ditches, walls, swamps,
barbed wire, etc.
The two elements must be used in combination to
create a strong fortification. But one thing must always
be held in mind and that is that the besieged must be
1 The Encyclopedia Britannica, 1962, page 679.
able to defend the obstacles and walls from their pro-
tected positions; they cannot rely solely on the strength
of their fortification.
We can divide the types of fortifications into three
1) Permanent erected at leisure with all the de-
fender's resources construction, mechanical
skill and labor. It is built of enduring material.
2) Semi-permanent the best imitation of the
above, but constructed in a shorter span of time
and with any available resources.
3) Field Fortifications erected by troops already
in combat quickly and with materials found
close at hand, that don't require much prepar-
ation. Example: earth, brush wood, or light tim-
A variety of objectives or uses have been found
for protective structures. They could give protection
to entire populations in times of war, along with the
necessary livestock and herds. Normally, in this case,
protection was not required by the army. Castles are
smaller fortresses intended solely for the use of a
dominating ruler and his troops, but during the times
of war, civilians from the surrounding country would
be allowed to seek refuge. Another objective was to
fortify entire military or civilian communities. This
type of military structure is called a fortress. They
are usually large in scale, like, the walled cities
of mediaeval Europe, A fort, the last type of protective
structure, is an enclosing structure housing only its
own garrison or troops and protects points of vital
importance, such as: capital cities, harbors, railway
junctions, and other strategic points.
SIt may be assumed that even prehistoric cave
dwellers used some form of protection for the entrances
of their caverns. But our interest lies with structures
created by man, and this occur during the Neolithic
Period, from ten thousand to seven thousand B.C., with
the shift from a hunting and food-gathering society to
an agricultural one. Man became a settler and gave up
his nomadic existence. The most primitive form of pro-
tection is a simple hedge of thorns or pointed branches.
This was fine protection against animals but useless
when but up against the most cunning enemy man, himself.
The next step was a bank of earth with the exterior made
steep and possibly with a ditch. This gives the defender
the advantage in hand to hand combat. Sometimes, both
the hedge and the earth embankment were used in con-
--5 The most important step in fortifications came
around eight thousand B.C., when the city of Jericho
experienced a sudden economic and population growth.
Its trade brought great wealth to the city and also the
nossibilitv of attack. As a direct result, the earliest
known permanent stone fortification was created. By
seven thousand five hundred B.C., the entire city was
surrounded by a wall four meters high, made of stone;
and a ditchJ.The city also had a tower, eight meters
high and eight meters in diameter. It was built as a
Watchtower though, not as a means of greater defense.
--'Another form of defense was Catal Huyuk. It was
not a planned fortification, such as Jericho, but a
Slide Numbers system of defense now known as the Anatolian System.
It was a street-less plan, where all the circulation
occurred on top of the roofs of the houses. The main
defense came from the fact that the houses built od
the exterior of the town had blank walls with no openings
and were slightly thicker. This type of systems did not
survive, mainly due to its street-less plan.
2 --- Meeootamia most cities built on flatland and
show a full development of the walled system that con-
tinued well into the eighteen hundreds. To function
correctly, the defenses had to do the following:
1) be strong enough (thick) to resist the battering
ram the strongest offensive weapon of the
2) be high enough to prevent escalade.
3) protect defenders atop the walls from projectiles
fired by the enemy; while allowing them to de-
fend the base of the walls.
The Mesopotamians did all these things impressively.
The walls were twenty-five meters high and twenty-five
meters wide, with towers thirty meters high. The inven-
tion of the crenellations and projecting galleries is
also attributed to them. Wide, water-filled ditches made
the approach to the walls harder. The trace of the en-
ceinte was usually square or rectangular but we found
occasional round and oval traces.
7 -'! --Zincirli c. one thousand B.C., in northern Syria,
It was built on ground level and with an almost round
trace. It had a double ring of walls with one hundred
Slide Numbers towers. An additional wall surrounds an ovaloid inner
r'- "E- town a citadel, which suggests an original settlement
that was outgrown. Citadels appear in Greece, through
the Middle Ages and even today, as for instance, the
Kremlin, in Moscow.
SKhorsabad c. seven hundred and fifty B.C. It was
an example of a planned citadel. It was strategically
placed, separately fortified, and on a platform at the
height of the town wall. The Assyrian cities were planned
solely for military purposes, with regulated street lay-
outs, suggesting ceremonial military and battle array.
We find a double wall with towers, again, and a strongly
---- The most basic forms of siegecraft were already in
existence at this time battering rams, ladders, siege
towers (first used by Nebuchadnezzar, in five hundred
and eighty-seven B.C.), mining, and sapping. For a more
detailed account of the evolution of the offensive wea-
pons, see appendix "B" and for a more detailed account
of offensive manouvers see appendix "C".
TheEpyptians, contributed two major features of
1) The glacis: An artificial, downward and outward
slope, in front of the exterior walls.
2) The pomerium: An open lane along the interior
base of the walls for freedom of movement to
all point of the walls.
3 .-..-. > In four hundred B.C., the fortifications of Syracuse.
were built. It expressed radical changes in defensive
Slide Numbers concepts. The age old strategy of "passive" defense was
replaced by an "active" defense, in which defenders
would leave the walls to disrupt the enemy's siege pre-
Darations and destroy his weapons. The city of Syracuse
4 built twenty kilometers of walls, along the edoes of a
---plateau to hold the hieh grounds. The key to these
defenses was the castel Euryelog, located at the western
end and the highest point of plateau. The fort flanks
the main gateway to the plateau. The city rates, them-
selves, are strongly protected by flanking walls. The
unique key to the active defense is the innermost ditch
(d). Its mouth is sealed with a wall which opens onto
the plain. This enables the defenders to attack the
enemy from behind, if they are attempting a siege of
the gates. All outworks behind the second ditch are
honeycombed with subterranean corridors and galleries
that permit the rapid shifting of forces to any part
of the fortification system. Up to one thousand men
could be held inside the third ditch. The walls of the
fort are relatively narrow; only two to three meters.
Elasticity and mobility have replaced defense by inert
5 --- Miletus, built around two hundred or one hundred
and ninety B.C., is another example of mobile defense.
The south wall, originally extending all the way to the
highest ground, has been shortened from one thousand
eight hundred meters to five hundred meters. The new
wall is essentially a straight line but is broken up
into eight slanting curtains, anchored by a powerful
tower. Adjacent to these towers are small gates. The
towers protect the gates and the adjacent walls. Through
the nine openings the defenders could pour out an entire
army into the combat field in minutes.
The Romans made no new contributions to the art of
fortification nor to the art of siegecraft. Still, they
did increase the power and strategy involved with the
latter. Unfortunately, they returned to the hermetically
sealed enclosures of fortification; confining their
efforts to improving towers, galleries, and crenellations.
Their strength depended on their mobile armies and the
weakness of all their enemies. None of them could mount
such a massive and methodical siege operation needed
to destroy the large Roman fortifications.
After the fall of the Roman Empire, fractionalized
power encouraged individual families to establish them-
selves in fortified residences, from which they ruled.
Most of these early castle were just high, strongly built
walls around a keep. Siegecraft, as an art, was lost
until the eleventh century, but by then the superiority
had been restored to the defense]. These local castles
had an advantage over fortified cities, since their
locations were only based on strength and not on trade
routes, or any other facts. They were also a smaller
area to defend.
SDuring the twelveth and thirteenth centuries, attacks
were concentrated on the keeps, towers, and walls of
forts. Mining, breaching, and not even ramming were used.
The reasoning behind this was the code of ethics of the
times the ideal warfare was personal combat, not manual
Slide Numbers labor against a wall or door.
As a result, we begin to see larger areas of defense,
with larger and more formidable walls and outworks.
Towers were projected outward for flanking power, large
open areas were created for freer movement of the
garrison, and the invention of the machicoulis galleries
of stone or wood. These galleries were built to provide
the defenders with an elevated platform outside the walls,
from which the base of the walls could be protected more
6 ----- Carcassonne is a perfect example of a thirteenth
century fortification. Originally, it was a Roman
"Castellum" but in twelve hundred and forty, Louis the
nineth, of France, decided to make it the bulwark of
his southern border. It was finished in twelve hundred
and eighty-five. Several towers at Carcassonne show the
7 Perm of the idea of the bastion. These towers were built
of masonry, in a kind of projecting horn. They did away
with any dead ground in front of the tower and increased
the flanking power of the tower. The use of the early
machicoulis gallery of wood and an important outwork -
the barbican, are seen at Carcassonne. Barbicans were
especially useful in the protection of gates. The great
barbican was several stories high and could hold up to
fifteen hundred men.
By the beginnings of the fourteenth century, mining
and sapoinq were back in use, along with the battering
rams and siege towers. New and effective types of weapons,
the catapults and trebuchets, had already come into use.
SAt one siege, these projectile firing mechanisms were
used to catapult carcasses of horsesand barrels of
sewage into a besieged city. This led to pestilence
and the capitulation of the city.
JIFTEENTji CENTURY A i
p until the fifteenth century, fortifications were
strong enough to resist all known forms of offensive
weapons. Catapults would damage, but not break down good
walls. Battering rams were used, but with great hazard
since the advent of the machicoulis gallery. The same
for the sapDing and mining. Only a long and costly
blockade, to starve the defenders, could cause a good
fortress to capitulate.
Whatever advantages the defenders had, however,
disappeared with the advent of firearms, also iron cannon
balls. Though in existence before, the cannon was a very
weak weapon, that shot sperical, stone projectiles, with
no more force than a rood catapult. But, with the iron
cannon ball, which weighed one third of the stone shots,
the cannon became a devastating weapon.
The art of cannon founding was started by the
Brothers Bureau, in France, so naturally the French
army of Charles the seventh was so powerful in gun
power that he captured all the castles of Normandy in
the year, fourteen hundred and fifty.
The Italians were the first to react to the cannon.
All the minds of the time Michelangelo, Francesco
Digiorgio, Leonardo DaVinci, Machiaveli were working
on the problem of defense. Two results in fortification
1) Early attempts to modify masonry defenses,
to make them less vulnerable to cannon-fire.
2) Improvement on the employment of Runs for the
[Since the trajectory of a cannon ball is relatively
flat, high walls and towers lost most of their defense
advantages. Some towers were actually cut off at wall
level in existing fortresses. The battering of lower
surfaces of walls to resist cannon fire was also tried.
Small castles were found ill-suited for cannon deployment,
so a re-emergence of the fortress came about,
--. Ostia Antica was built in fourteen hundred and
eighty-five. It is an example of the "new" type of
fortification. Fully casemated gun-emplacements near the
base of the wall, are among the first of their kind.
A casemate is a bomb-proof chamber of masonry, from
which a cannon can shoot through an embrasure, which is
an opening or slit in the wall. The towers and walls
are lower. The keep and the machicoulis galleries are
The invention of the bulwark was the first form
of construction innovation to appear, It was a temp-
orary structure, usually semi-circular and built of
earth work and timbers. They were used as shields for
Rates, towers, and intervals along the wall. In addition,
they offered advanced position for the guns of the
defense. But these were only temporary, as the radical
modifications came in the construction of walls in the
L In the new works, the first modification was
in the placement of the ditch and walls. A deep ditch
was built and the wall was sunk in it so that the top
of the wall was only a few feet above ground level. To
strengthen the walls against cannon fire, "counterforts"
were built. These were buttresses built inward from the
wall. An arched gallery was sometimes built under the
ramoart which had a two-fold use it served to buttress
the wall and served to countermine the attacker, by
tunneling from the gallery to his galleries. Still,
it had the flaw that if the outside wall was destroyed,
the arch lost one support. Albert Durer invented a
counter-arched revetment which was a series of arches
built between counterforts, with their axis at right
angles to the face of the wall. This made the wall much
stronger and became an obstacle after the destruction
of the outside wall. They could be built in one, two,
or three tiers of arches, according to the height of
The ditch, which was essential to the new fort-
ifications, also went through several modifications.
First, the addition of an escarp and counterscarp -
walls on either side of the ditch that made it a form-
idable obstacle. At the same time, the ditch became
useless, as an assembly area for the defenders. The
second modification was the return of the use of the
7lacis the earth from the ditch was used to make the
slope parallel to the sweeping fire from the ramparts.
A new assembly, called the covered way, was the third
modification, It was usually. a simple thirty foot wide
path behind the glacis and on the outer side of the
S j U -
ki 6L-- /
) H' I f
SBut the most important Droblem facing the Italian
minds, was how to develop an efficient system for the
deployment of defensive artillery. The first step was
*the creation of the rampart a bank of earth thrown
up behind the wall, which strengthened it and gave it
sufficient width for placing the guns .Lut no guns placed
on the ramparts were movable enough to flank the wall
or ditch in their immediate neighborhood. The cannons
had to face the besieger's batteries, and if a breach
occurred, defend the breached wall too. Two solutions
-w j) -_-------~__
arose the afore mentioned+bulwarks were large enough
for flanking guns, but were too detached from the main
7 work for security. So, an enlarged pointed tower was
attached to the walls but even though it had the right
angles for flanking, it was too cramped for the artillery.
-- The blending of the two ideas resulted in the most im-
portant change in fortification traces of the fifteenth
century. The result was the Italian System of fortifi-
cation, which would serve as the standard system of
military defense for the next three centuries,.
Theoretical systems, based on mutual relations of
flank and face evolved, in the sixteenth century. One
was the Cremaillere or Indented Trace, which was similar
to the defense used at Miletus, by the Greeks.)They
were flanks and faces, succeeding each other in regular
order. The Tenaille Trace was created by placing flanks
back to back, between the faces. If the flanks were
developed, another system called the Star Trace occurred.
However, in both of these systems, the guns on the ram-
parts of the faces could not defend the flanks. There
are dead angles in the ditch.
Slide Numbers -- Only in the Bastioned Trace is there no dead
11 ground, provided of course, that the flanks are not
so far apart that a shot from it cannot reach the ditch,
at the center of the curtain. The Bastion Trace is com-
posed of flanks facing each other and connected by cur-
tains. Normally, up to four cannons could be placed
in these flanks. The bastion adopted a triangular shape
so that the slanting surfaces of the angular front could
be protected from the flanks of the neighboring Bastions
and the adjacent curtains. The Bastioned Trace Ehceinte *
is known as the Italian System of fortification.
12 ---- Nettuno Fort was erected in fifteen hundred and one
and fifteen hundred and two. It was designed by Guilano
and Antonio Da Sangallo, the elder. It was the first
fortress to be built using the brand new theory of
fortification. The only flaw is that the height of the
walls was archaic.
13 -- In the defenses of Citaveoohia, in fifteen hundred
and fifteen, Antonio Da Sangallo, the younger, proved
that an entire city could be ringed with a bastioned
ened6ete, to form a defensive system with no blind spots.
14 -- In fifteen hundred and forty-five, the fortification
of the city of Lucca by Jocono Seghizzi, resulted in
an impressive bastioned enedinte, which assured Lucca's
independence down to the nineteenth century.
In the beginnings of the seventeenth century, the
French took the lead in the construction of fortifications
behind the military genius of Sebastian Le Prestre De
Vauban. His theory was: "one does not fortify by systems
Slide Numbers but by common sense" He did not believe in the geo-
metrical fortifications with a LeNotre landscape, you
will notice the same formal instincts of French classicism
under Louis the fourteenth.
15 ------ In sixteen hundred and sixty-seven, Vauban's first
system was simply a modification of existing fortification
methods. He only improved the details involved. He uses
both curved and. straight flanks in his bastions. He in-
vented the use of tenailles, as a shiels to the escarp
of the curtain. The parapet of them being very low, so
that the flanks could defend a breach at the shoulder
of the opposite bastion. He also used traverses on the
covered way, for the first time, to guard against
enfilade fire. He provided powder maRazines under his
bastions, connected to the main enciente, through under-
In the years between sixteen hundred and eighty-
four and sixteen hundred and eighty-eight, Vauban
developed his second system, or the "Tower Bastion
System". The novelty in this system was the separation
of the bastions from the enciente and the replacement
of these with smaller towers. The advantages of this move
are an increase in the depth of fire and a more flexible
defense the loss of one bastion does not cause the
defeat of an entire fortress.
16 --- c In sixteen hundred and ninety-eight, Vauban came
up with his third system, Neuf-Brisach. In this last
system, Vauban's outerworks dwarf the bastions. The
lunettes become the main defences, reinforced by the
bastions. He fortifies the entire counterscarp, converting
Slide Numbers the covered way into the first line of defenses. He
uses the double ravelin, improves the tower bastion,
breaks up the line of the enciente with flanks and
further flanks the curtain with towers. He adds large
ravelins with a keep and adds a hedge to the bastion
as an added obstacle.
Vauban's military genius was even more evident
as an offensive tactician./Included in this report is
an appendix on siegecraft, from the Encyclopedia
Britannica. Please refer to appendix"C", for more
information on Vauban's offensive tactics,
----- Towards the end of the sixteenth century, another
school of thought appeared in the Netherlands. The
Dutch System of fortifications owed more to nature
than to the design of the defensive works. Three con-
ditions governed the development of this system:
1) lack of time
2) lack of money
3) abundance of water
When the Netherlands began their revolt against
Spanish rule, they had no time or money for works in
the Italian manner. So, a defense based on wide water
ditches instead of high walls emerged. The high wall
command was undesirable anyway, due to the extreme
flatness of the land.'
The Dutch would firts utilize the walls of an ex-
isting fortress, usually mediaeval reminants. They
would then build a broad wet ditch in front of the wall.
In front of this would be the glacis and finally, another
smaller wet ditch. Sometimes, they would provide a
Slide Numbers ravelin or lunette, quite irregular in their design and
in their relation to each other. The wet ditches were
designed so they could be emptied and filled, because
if they froze in winter, the obstacle would be useless.
An example of this type of fortification is Coevorden.
K Another invention of the sixteenth century was
the use of "cavaliers". These were raised parapets of
artillery, used to protect the bastions. They were
located behind the parapet of the curtains. Their first
use was in Paciotto's citadel, at Antwerp. The cavaliers
had one major flaw, however, and that was that they cramped
the snace of the terreplein. They were not used too
widely after the seventeenth century.
17 _---- Another school appears towards the end of the
seventeenth century, in Germany. This school relied
mainly on the Tenaille Trace, To make the system work,
however, bomb-proof casemates were necessary. Landberg,
the younger (1670-1746), advocated the tenaille trace
on the grounds that the flank, which was the most im-
portant Dart of the bastioned trace, was also the
Another advocate of the Tenaille Trace, was a
French man Fiarc Rene Montalembert. He objected to
the bastion because it was a shell trap, because the
flanks, by crossing their fire, lost the advantage
of the full range of weapons and that the curtain was
useless for defense. He also noted that bastions with
ravelins constituted practically a Tenaille Trace,
spoiled by a detachment of the ravelins and cramped by
the curtains and flanks.
He advocated the idea of superior artillery of
defense casemates in several tiers in preference to
open naranets. Montalembert was the first to fore see
the coming of the detached fort; as a necessity due to
the increased range of artillery. His "polygonal
rsvstem" was not used until the Germanic Confederation
used it at Posen, in eighteen hundred and fifteen, and
it is modified in the main enedintes. The Confederation
was also the first to use Montalembert's idea of entrenchedL
At Posen, a central caponier is protected by a
detached bastion. This canonier forms the keep of the
whole front and sweeps both the interior wall and the
ditch by its flanking fire. The caponier has three floors
two floors of run casemates and one for musketry. On
top, is a parapet commanding the outworks and the body
of the place. Three smaller canoniers protect the main
one they're placed at the head with additional ones
at the inner ends of each flank. Masonry blockhouses,
loophol-d for musketry, are provided as keeps of the
re-entering places of arms. They have stairs leading
down to a counterscaro gallery, which serves as a base
for the countermine gallery.
-- With the growing range and power of the artillery,
the defenses moved further away from the Nagistral Line.
It became increasingly important to kepp the enemy
as far away as possible from the Magistral Line. An
example of this, is the development of Palmanova. In
the sixteenth century, Palmanova was a bastioned enciente,
with a wide ditch and glacis. This was sufficient for
the times. In the seventeenth century, ten ravelins
Slide Numbers were added in front of the curtains and outside of the
20 ditch. In the nineteenth century, Nanoleon decided to
nake Palmanova the key to his eastern defense. So he
added lunettes in front of the bastions. This extended
the rlacis to three hundred and fifty meters beyond
the bastions and the lunettes became semi-independent
The proliferation of these semi-detached outworks
became the independent strong points of the defense.
This was the first sten in the eventual dissolution of
continuous urban encientes. With the increased range
of the rifled gun barrel and the explosive longshell
(1855-1886), traditional fortifications became obsolete.
The strong points of the defense moved out so far out
into the field, that the enemy was kept well out of
range of the city. These points were surrounded by small,
heavily armed fortresses, strategically placed to seal
off all approaching lanes to the city. (/7:
THE DETACHED FORTS
The earliest conception of the role of detached
forts was to form an entrenced camp within which an
army could seek safety. At first, the forts were too
close to the mani enceinte to protect the main body
21 --- --- The first known detached forts were used by
Brialmont, in the defense of Antwerp, in eighteen hun-
dred and fifty-nine. The main enceinte was still heavily
protected in its own right. Antwerp was the strategic
center of national defense for Belgium. Brialmont was
a follower of the ideas of Montalembert. The detached
forts were built of concrete and were mostly under-
ground. They were placed at 2.5 mile intervals and at
anproximately four miles from the city. The forts were
self-sufficient and independent in everyway. Brialmont
also fortified the cities of Liege and Namur.
By the Franco-German Wars of 1870, the distances
of detached forts was steadily increasing, due to the
range of the powerful guns. Paris had a line of forts
18,000 yards away from the enceinte while Verdun was
Protected by forts, 12,000 yards away.jA new idea arose
in the new forts and that was the system of "wing-
batteries". The guns were moved from the forts and
were placed conceiled a few hundred yards away, on
both sides of the fort. Even more popular was the use
Sof steel turrets and disappearing cupolas, in favor of
casemates, since the mouth of the gun was the weakest
point and should not face the enemy's fire when not
in use. By 1886, with the invention of the explosive
longshell in Germany, forts were being strengthened
with concrete roofs, from six feet to ten feet thick,
with no earth tamped above it. By then, European military
opinion was more or less agreed on the following lines:
X1) Imoortant places must be defended by fortresses.
2) Their girdle of forts must be far enough out
to prevent the bombardment of the place.
'3) An enceinte is desirable but need not be elaborate.
4) A few guns (called "safety Armanent")should be
in the forts, and these must be protected by
5)The bulk of the artillery of the defence should
be outside the forts; the direct-fire guns
slide Numbers preferably in cupolas, the horwitzers in con-
6) The forts should be connected by lines of en-
trenched infantry positions and obstacles, per-
manent bomb-proof shelters being provided for
7) There should be ample communications radial
and peripheral between the place and the forts,
both by road and rail.
8) Special lines of communication such as mountain
passes should be closed by barrier forts.
The strategic use of groups of fortresses, the places
which, as mentioned above, are intrinsically worth being
defended as fortresses are:
a) Centers of national, industrial, or military
b) Places which may serve as points d'appui for
c) Points of intersection of important railroads.
d) Bridges over considerable rivers.
e) Certain lines of communication across a frontier.
TYPES OF DETACHED FORTS
22 --- .-yThe most commonly used fort was the Pentagonal
fort which was used by General Brialmont in his defenses.
It became a popular fort in the United States as a type
called the "washington star" trace. It was a heavily
armed structure with all guns protected by armour cupolas,
or concrete casemates. The fort had a "keep" which con-
sisted of a mass of concrete in the center. The keep
depends on the counterscarp galleries to protect the
ditches surrounding it. All the casemates are collected
in the keep and the gorge,uwith-passages -ll around,
eivinp access to the parapet and cupolas.
A second type of fort was the triangular fort,
which originated in Germany. It is a medium armament
installation with all Runs under cupolas. It also had
a main mass of concrete which rested on the qorge. There
was a narrow courtyard around it to give air and light
to the parapet and cuDolas. The ditch had an escarp and
counterscarp, with galleries for defense. There was no
covered way, since the troops were assembled in the
galleries. Concrete, the main construction material,
was over ten feet thick above the casemates.
An effective triangular fort only intended for
artillery fire, is the one at Copenhagen. This fort had
no Provisions for infantry defense, therefore, the ditch
had no escarp or counterscarp; there is, however, a
counterscarp gallery. The main armament was in the cup-
olas and all of it was for long range fighting.
To save on concrete, two construction methods are
used here. One is the use of layers of large stones,
before touring the concrete. The other is the use of
steel rails to reinforce the concrete. It is one of
the first known uses of this structural system. The
living casemates of the artillery crew, look out over
the gorge. All the magazines are found under the cupolas.
/,' Figure 51, is an example of "wing-batteries" in
Holland. There is little fortification since the success
of the batteries depended mostly on concealment. They
usually had medium armament, since they were not intended
for artillery duels with the long range guns of the
Slide Numbers enemy. The runs were in cupolas and the only obstacle
was a large wet ditch.
--- - The last example is an intermediate fort, for the
housing of infantry men. This type was usually located
between two large artillery forts. The only artillery
found were four light guns for the defense of the
structure, mounted on movable platforms between the two
cupolas. There are no observatory cuDolas in the Austrian
example. The infantry was stationed in casemates, in the
gorge. The fort had a formidable obstacle a glacis
slope planted with thorns and a ditch with wire entangle-
ments at the bottom.
---- In between the light and heavy forts, were the chains
of infantry fighting positions, composed of fire trenches
with good communication lines. Bomb-proof shelters for
men and ammunition were scattered along the defensive
line. Concealment and good communications were essential.
S-- In most forts, the obstacles have changed consider-
ably the escaro has falleK out of favor, the counter-
scarp is now of very solid construction and usually
contains a gallery for the assembly of troops. The
covered way originally used for an assembly area, is
now heavily planted with thorns; as are the lower parts
of the parapets. The ditch is sometimes planted with
wire entanglements to further enhance it as an obstacle.
The protection Drovided by iron plates became pop-
ular in fortifications after it was used in ships. The
first use of armour plating was probably in costal
batteries, since ships were such formidable opponents.
General Brialmont used armour turrets for the first
time in his defensive works at Antwerp. Practical types
of disappearing and revolving cupolas and turrets app-
eared soon after that.
Scasenate, the earliest form of fixed protection
for runs, had its disadvantages. The arc of fire of the
gun is very limited by the fixed embrasure or port-
hole. But, even more disadvantageous is the fact that
the muzzle of the gun, always faces the enemy's fire,
even when not in use. The advantages to casemates were
their cheapness and strength, and they were well suited
for costal fortifications.
SA turret was a cylindrical encasement with a flat
top, which usually revolved and/or disappeared when not
in use. hey were not used for batteries, but were func-
tional as search lights or light gun emplacements. They
emerged from the mass of the concrete fort and had a
fifteen inch thick iron collar around the opening. Figure
fifty-nine shows a disappearing type.
Cupolas are the second type of armoured protection
and were highly favored for the protection of guns. All
have a cast iron collar to protect the opening in the
concrete. There are several types of cupolas. Figure
fifty-eight shows a "central pivot" cupola well suited
for long and powerful guns with rapid fire mechanisms.
They were suitable for only one gun per cupola./No
lowering was done, instead, the -uin is rotated and placed
facing away from the enemy when reloading, leaving the
solid iron plate of the flat dome exposed to the fire-
Dower. A second type is called the disappearing cupola
and works on the sane principle as a disappearing turret.
The Run, when not in use, is lowered into the con-
crete mass. This type serves only for snall, quick
firing 7uns and was extremely expensive. A third type
shown is a transportable cuDola, best of all types for
a costal fortification. It was strong and steady, and
could handle any type or size of gun. A last type not
shown is the oscillitatinp cupola. It was supported in
the center by a knife-edge on which the gun can swing.
The oscillations were controlled by powerful springs.
After firing, the front of the cupola swings downward
and is held there until its ready to fire again. Armour
plated turrets and cupolas were hardly used in the United
States Most guns were placed in strong brick casemates
or left open on parapets.
The word "fort" has a broad meaning in the
U.S. It's usually given to any fortified place-
from a small log cabin with loopholes for firing
rifles to a large fortress. The early settlers and
later the Western pioneers had so much land to
cover that most fortified enceintes were built
on strategic places, such as the mouths of rivers
or harbors. They were basically "detached forts"
since walled cities were not fully developed in
the United States.
Most large scale fortififications were built y
foreign powers which at one time or another, oc-
cupied this territory. The English were not too
27 good at fort building. Fort Raleigh, erected in
1585, is probably the first military structure
built by the English in the Atlantic Coast of
North America. It was essentially a poor fort
with a very odd trace. The bastions give little
flanking power and the gun embrasures allow lit-
tle mobility of the guns. The fort was essential-
ly a "field fortification" with an earthen embank-
ment with a parapet,and a ditch in front.
The French had a line of well organized forts
along the Mississippi and St Lawrence rivers. The
Dutch built fortifications along the Hudson River,
and the Swedes along the Delaware River, but lit-
tie trace remains of their works.
The Spanish built large "Castillos" in St.
Augustine and Pensacola. They were European style
fortifications built of coquina stone and took
ten to fifteen years to construct. The forts had
fully developed bastions, a parapet and a moat.
The Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine is
the oldest masonry fortification in the U.S. It
was completed in 1672 and had coquina stone walls
up to twelve feet thick. The plan was that of a
symmetrical four sided European Bastioned trace.
It had a forty foot wet moat on all sides of the
fortress, and was entered by only one gate. To
reach it, one had to cross two draw bridges over
a smaller and the large moats.
The early American colonists built simple
earthen structures when there was danger of bom-
bardment. Otherwise, a simple palisade wall would
suffice. The greatest danger of bombing was close
to the sea, so most coastal fortifications were
of the earthen type. Fort Johnson guarding Char-
les Town harbor exemplifies the European type
of earthwork fort. The fort, built in 1708, was
the key to South Carolina's coastal defenses. It
had a triangular trace with fully developed bas-
tions well suited for a small fort. It was sur-
rounded by a dry moat on the two landward sides,
and had a mud, pino and oyster shell wall. The
entrance was protected by a ravelin with a small
ditch to one side, and separated from the main
enceinte by the larger ditch. At the harbor side,
a battery of heavy cannons was placed several
feet lower than the fort itself And were placed
on a ballast stone platform to protect the guns'
wall from the sea. The interior buildings were
constructed of large, hand hewn timber framing
with clapboard siding and shingle roofing.
They were crude structures with earth floors.
The following structures were probably found in-
side the fort: the Commander's house, the barracks,
the guard house, a store house and a magazine.
----Most forts built by the colonists for the Revo-
lutionary War were palisades forts and very simple.
By 1783 the U.S. had forts from the Atlantic Ocean
to the Mississippi River. In 1803, the Louisiana
Purchase gave the country a vast new territory
and more forts were erected. These forts were the
"frontier" garrison fort that was to become very
popular as the country expanded West. Fort Moore,
though built in 1724, is a good example of an Army
garrison fort of the 1800's. The forts were usual-
ly built to protect trading centers, major routes
or the border of the country along the frontier.
The trace of the frontier fort was square or rec-
tangular. It had bastions on all corners with light
cannons mounted on platforms. In later forts, the
cannons were discarded but the bastions remained
for easier enfilading of the curtains. The bas-
tions were sometimes covered with shed roofs, as
shown in this example. The exterior walls were
either a stockade, palisade or a horizontal
plank wall. The heights of the earlier forts,
such as Fort Moore, were only four feet high;
but in the Ninteenth Century the walls were higher.
Fort Moore's walls were rebuilt in that century to
a height of 15 feet, which was a preety standard
figure. Inside at about 4 feet from the top of
the wall, a banquette was constructed which was
simply a small walking platform around the inte-
rior perimeter of the fort.
Inside, several buildings were found- comman-
ders' house, barracks, store house, guard house,
Scorn crib, magazine and stable. All were probably
huts or very poorly built log framed structures
with clapboard siding. The forts were difficult
structures to keep up- palisades and clapboards
rotted away quickly, earthen walls were washed
away by the rain, all the wood was continuously
a serious fire hazard, and the close proximity of
man and animals was very unsanitary.
.-- In 1808, Congress tried to initiate plans for
the construction of a line of forts with a "Wash-
ington Star" trace. They were basic pentagonal
forts in the European tradition. The American
Engineers violently opposed the plans saying
that they were mediavel structures with a 3,000
mile moat separating it from their closest enemy.
After the War of 1812 and the burning of the
capital, President Monroe invited Simon Bernard,
former chief engineer to Napoleon, to come to the
United States. In 1816, he was named the Senior
Member of the Board of Engineers for seacost for-
tifications. The general had grandiose ideas and
designed the plans for such great projects as
Fort Monroe and Fort Pulaski. The american engi-
neers were,again, very critical of such large and
Fort Pulaski was built at the mouth of the
Savannah River and was part of the line of coas-
tal defences proposed by Bernard. Construction
began in 1829 and continued for the next 18 years,
and amassed a total cost of $1,000,000. It was
totally constructed of brick and was a large pen-
tagonal trace with a surrounding moat. The guns were
placed in tiers of brick casemates. A demi-lune
guarded the entrance and was separated from the
main enceinte by the moat, which surroundedit also
and separated it from the main land. The American
engineers that were critical proved to be right.
During the Civil War, The fort fell in only 30
hours to Engineer Captain Quincy Gillmore. The
Union Conmander had 11 batteries containing 36
guns including ten of the new rifled guns with
twice the range of older guns. It was this weapon
that finally made large masonry fortifications
As the country moved slowly West, new forts
were built for the protection of critical areas.
In 1834 the establishment of a "permanent indian
frontier" was fortified with a series of forts
from Fort Snelling in Minnesota to Fort Jesup
in Louisiana. Most western forts were merely sta-
tions for troops with little or no fortification
An example is Fort Kearny in Nebraska which was
composed of 5 wooden houses, afew low adobe struc-
tures and a cleared parade ground. Others had a
palisade or stockade wall around the perimeter
of the station.
. In 1848, The United States acquired Califor-
nia and along with it, a remarkable chain of Spa-
nish forts or presidioss" along the Pacific Coast.
But more important to the evolution of fortifi-
cation in the U.S. was the start of construction
on Fort Jefferson in Dry Tortugas. Fort Jefferson
was the largest of the massive brick fortifications
built during the 19th Century for the defense of the
American Coast.It was strategically placed at the
inlet and outlet of the qulf of Mexico.
It was a hexangular structure half a mile in
perimeter with brick walls 8 feet thick and 45
feet high. Four of the sides measured 476 feet in
length while the two remaining sides were only
325 feet.In each of the angles projects a small
bastion. It was designed to house a garrison of
1,500 men and had a fire-power of 450 cannons
positioned in three tiers of casemates. The lower
tier was built directly over large, fresh water
cisterns meant to collect their only supply of
fresh water- the rain. Fort Jefferson is a per-
fect example of brick arched construction.
The interior of the fort was a vast parade
ground forty feet below the roof of the structure.
Each interior angle has an octagonal-bastion-stair
tower. In the parade ground were the soldiers'
barracks- a 300 foot long brick structure three
stories high. The officers' quarters was similar
in plan and construction to the barracks,but wasV.
smaller. Between both rose a great barrel-vaulted
magazine which was never completed and next to it
a low lying hot shot oven.Fort Jefferson was never
completed, for the invention of the rifled cannon
made it obsolete before completion. The fort was
garrisoned during the Civil War and the Spanish
As the American frontier expanded, the most
common type of fortification was the palisade or
stockade fort. Most private fortified plantations
were of this kind. Sometimes, the exterior walls
were made of horizontal planks. Seldom were they
earthen walls. They were built for protection
against indians, who had no artillery power and
very limited firearms of any kind.
During the Civil War, no new major fortifi-
cations were built, as the rifled-gun proved ma-
sonry structures useless. Most defensive structu-
res built were makeshift affairs. Trenches proved
to be the most effective type of protection and
they remained as useful up to World War II. The
Spanish American war brought some refurbishing
of the coastal defenses, but when no retaliatory
attack was eminent, the modifications were
WORLD WAR ONE
Slide Numbers WORLD WAR I
In this period, we shall be dealing mostly
with the American situation and their solution.
A slight insight into the character of the de-
signs may be gotten from the description of the
necessary housing needed prior to the start of
the war. The solutions were arrived at with
incredible speed- the barracks were designed,
the specs readied, the contractors were hired,
and the buildings were completed in a total of
ninety days. Sixteen cantonments built, each
one housing 40,000 men and 10,000 livestock. In
addition, 16 National Guard camps were created
to house a total of 40,000 men. The existing
barracks outside the cantonments could house
an additional 100,000 men.
38 The typical barracks were constructed out of
wood and were of a very temporary nature. Each
housed a total of 250 men and was designed ac-
cording to the "standard plan" adopted by the
U.S. Army. This plan consisted of long, nar-
row dormitories with rows of cots on both long
walls and a central middle aisle for circulation.
Private sleeping rooms were provided at both ends
to house the non-commissioned officers. The ar-
ran ement is one that allows the maximum venti-
lation and light, along with the maximum number
of men. This typical barrack arrangement was in use
through World War Two, and is still in use today.j
No other information about the actual barracks of
an Army cantonment was found. But we can get an
idea of what the site layout was like and more de-
tailed information about barrack construction by
studying the barracks and hospital for the U.S.
Army School of Aeronautics in the campus of Ohio
-.- In August, 1917 the U.S. Army called for the
construction of eight ground and theory schools
to be built on university campuses across the
nation. This eliminated the construction of many
additional buildings, since the men were permit-
ted the use of the universities facilities. La-
boratories, recreation rooms, and dining and
kitchen facilities were all necessary for this
Army camp. The barracks were also supplied with
heat from the university steam plant. The pipes
were carried exposed under the floors of the li-
ving units, which helped keep the floors warm
and dry. The pipe coils inside the rooms were
run continuously under the window sills. This
system of radiation heat proved very effective
during the severe winter of 1917.
The plan of the entire camp is an "H" with
the two long barracks forming the legs of the "H"
and the sanitary units forming the bar. The study
rooms and the Headquarters close the top and bot-
tom of the plan. All the buildings are joined by
an exterior and elevated porch, which provides
shade and circulation in all types of weather.
The long barrack on each side is broken into two
separate dormitory rooms.
The construction of the barracks is of stan-
dard Balloon frame built three feet above the
grade to keep dampness out. All walls were fi-
nished with compo-bords and all interior strue-
ture was left exposed. The roofs were made with
3-ply felt mopped with bituminous products and
surfaced with crushed stone, brick or slate.
All the water plumbing was confined to the
latrine building, which had a direct line to
the sewage main. It had two separate compart-
ments, one for each barrack which housed 100
men. The rooms were supplied with 14 toilets,
11 shower stalls, 36 lavatories and 4 laundry
trays for each 100 men. The water heater was
placed between both compartments and had a
1,000 gallon storage tank. The floor of the
sanitary unit was a poured concrete slab on
grade with all pipes inside the slab.
V The hospital was built only for the use of
the enlisted men living in the barracks. It had
a maximum capacity of 20 patients, and was staf-
fed by Army medical officers.
The1 plan is a simple one, combining efficiency
with compactness. The twenty patients are held in
4 general wards with three beds, or in one of the
eight isolation wards in the West end. Each of the
latter are furnished with private toilet facilities.
The dining room is used by both staff and patients.
A nice design in the plan is the placing of dou-
ble doors leading to an enclosed and screened
porch. These doors are a great help in the moving
of the patients from room to room, without the
necessity of using the central corridor. The cor-
ridor is effective as a circulation path for the
nurses and staff.
The previously mentioned hospital is too
small to be considered as an example of the Base
Hospitals of World War I. There was one Base Hos-
pital in every Army cantonment. It was composed
of 56 one story frame buildings, which could
house 1,000 wounded or ill.soldiers. All of the
units were connected by ramps and protected por-
ches to facilitate wheelchair, and wheeled stre-
tchers movement Some Base hospitals were created
from existing two story barracks, but the lay-
outs and facilities were poor. The worst flaw
in these refurbished barracks was that there
were no provisions for the movement of the sick
by ramps or covered ways.
-0 Another type of Army hospital is the General
hospital. They are generally used for the care
of the sick and the wounded coming from abroad.
Many of them were simply civilian hospitals
which were in use by the Army during times of war.
If new, however, The same standard wood frame
construction and typical 2 story barrack plan
is used, with modifications such as connecting
all units with protected ramps. The layout of
the hospital was based on the needs of each unit.
The ward units were all oriented East/West and
in parallel lines to each other. These pavillions
had open porches in the Eastern end, and on fine
days, the patients are brought outside. The Ad-
ministration, Surgical laboratory and Recreation
buildings are all placed to the North of the Wards.
Beyond these lie the Nurses, Officers and Enlisted
men's quarters. The Hospital at Vincennes near
Paris was never completed but served as a basis
for the plans and layouts of other military hos-
pitals. I use it as an example because the de-
sign and layout were done by an American and is
very similar to the type built here.
It is interesting to notice how nicely arran-
ged the buildings required for checking into the
Hospital were played out. As we follow a sequence
of arrival, first we enter the reception unit
where any necessary information is gathered and
the patient is admitted. From there, we go to
the bath house/laundry pavillion. Here the sol-
dier is washed and put into new clothes, while
his old clothes are kept, washed and repaired.
The clothes, along with all his valuables, are
sent to the Storage building. The injured soldier
is taken to a ward or directly into the opera-
ting pavilion. When the man is discharged, he
must go to the storage unit, where he signs for
his valuables and is checked out. There are of
course, wooden walkways and ramps connecting all
units. They are covered to protect people from
the harsh weather.
(W/~t Some of the floor plans of the particular
Units are very interesting. The Operating pavi-
Ilion is provided with two entrances- one is
used by the patients and the other by orderlies,
who have needs to come and go for dressings and
other supplies. The separate entrance keeps them
from going into the operating rooms or any other
parts of the building. The unit has two operating
rooms- one for 3 tables and a smaller one with on-
ly one. The unit is one of the few constructed in
a 28 foot width. Most of the other pavillions are
constructed at the standard 22 foot width. Other
Slide Numbers units with the extra width are the kitchen,bath/
laundry, workshop/garage, and storage pavillions.
45 ------ Le wards containing a maximum of 24 beds in
an open dormitory, plus an isolation room for one.
Other necessary rooms found in each ward are the
toilets and bath, a dietary kitchen, a surgical
dressing room and the nurse's office. The out-
door terraces are here oriented to the South, &
the South wall has been designed totally out of
glass for a maximum amount of light to enter,
especially for patients who can't be moved.
TA recreation building is a necessity for the
men who are active and well except for a local
wound. A reading room and game room are provided
along with a canteen where alcoholic beverages
and refreshment are served. Other units include
the administration, pharmacy, laboratories, the
nurses and staff pavillions- where the sleeping
quarters are individual rooms; and the orderlies
pavillion- which is a dormitory or barrack style.
t The American Red Cross provided most of the
/ medical facilities and personnel during World War
One. Their services came in four units, each with
a different function and location in relation to
the front lines. The first Medical Aid is given
to a wounded soldier right in the trench were he
was fighting. Usually, the trenches are dug wider
at the bottom so that a field doctor can attend
the injured in relative safety. From there, he is
taken to a Hospital unit or dressing station. This
is usually found 50 yards behind the front lines.
These units are always underground and have a ca-
pacity of 12 men. The medical aid is provided by
an assistant surgeon and his aids. The chamber is a
10' wide trench with plank walls sloping slightly
in towards the floor. Log posts support the roof
and are spaced every 5 feet. The 12 bunks are
placed in two tiers with the lower beds being re-
served for the seriously injured. The roofs are
constructed for the maximum protection possible
against exploding shells, using only available
materials. Layers of logs are placed in a cross-
wise manner at 900 to the previous layer. Above
these is an "explosion chamber" which is simply
a hollow area about 20" high. Its designed to
counteract the effects of high explosive shells
with time delayed fuses that, set off by impact,
allows shell to penetrate earth before exploding.
Above this chamber are some more logs and finally
a layer of large stones and earth. The depth of
the roofs vary from 5 to 10 feet. Unfortunately,
to stop a direct hit by a 220 mm, shell, 15 feet
of protection is needed; and there is no known
protection from the explosion of a 380 or 420 mm.
From the hospital unit, the wounded are taken
to a surgical section. All movement is done through
the line of trenches, and the journey is extreme-
ly hard and painful for the injured soldiers. The
surgical sections are also underground and are
constructed in the same manner as the hospital
units. They are larger and can accommodate 24 in-
jured men, along with the living quarters foi a
full-fledged surgeon and his staff. Additional
spaces include examination rooms, waiting space
and an 8' X 17t operating room. The roofs are
protected by corrugated steel arches over which
log and earth and cement layers are placed.
the roofs are provided with 2 or 3 explosion cham-
bers and reach a thickness of 12 to 15 feet. They
are generally accessible by ambulances, especial-
ly at night. The wounded are then transported to
a French field hospital or an American Base Hos-
pital, and finally, flown back home to a Gene-
ral Military Hospital.
In all the Army cantonments and bases, recre-
ational facilities were provided for both the of-
ficers and the enlisted men. These were meant to
provide comforts and recreation to the men. The
main "office" or group that manned these centers
was the Y.M.C.A. When the first men were drafted
or enlisted, the "Y" had already erected tents
for welcoming the men to the camps, and helping
them to adjust to the new life style of the Army
training camps. Later, more permanent structures
were erected by the Y.M.C.A. in most of the can-
tonments. The buildings were designed and construc-
ted by the Construction Division of the Y.M.C.A.,
with the aid of the Goverment. Two standard plans
were adopted- The "E" huts which were essentially
one large room and a wing. The large room was used
as an auditorium, and the wing served as an assem-
bly room and canteen for non-alcoholic beverages.
Additional rooms were found in the wing to house
the trained workers and to serve as reading rooms
and other "private" functions. The second type of
hut erected was the "F" type, which was simply one
large room with sleeping quarters at one end.
All the buildings were of similar wood frame
construction as the barracks, but the interior was
nicely finished with paneling. In addition, clere-
story lighting through dormer windows on both sides
of the roof gave an open and informal feeling to
the huts. Heating was provided by large stoves as
in the barracks. By May, 1918 over 503 "Y" huts
had been constructed, with an additional 69 al-
ready authorized. In larger cantonments, large
auditoriums for 2,800 men were also built.
Another type of "recreational" facilities were
the Hostess Houses. They were located near the en-
trances of the Camps and were intended for the
accommodation of women guests at the training
camps. The standard type was designed by F.B. &
A. Ware, Architects. The plan consisted of two
large rooms separated by a large chimney with
fireplaces to both spaces. These rooms were uti-
lized for a lounging and dining rooms. In addi-
tionp rest rooms, a children's room and a check
room were provided on the ground floor. The se-
cond story housed the hostesses quarters and
overnight guest rooms for the women guests. The
construction was standard wood framing with
shingle exterior walls and prepared roofing.
The plan was usually a stunted "H" type. An
additional nice touch was provided by sun porches
on both long sides of the building.
The War Camp Community Service provided club
houses outside of the training camps for the
use of the enlisted men only. These were not gene-
rally "standard" plans but were usually very simi-
lar due to the same needs. The plan consisted of
a 2-story central part with an open timber roof.
A balcony was provided as a second floor and used
for locating pool tables, and extended all around
the perimeter of the two-story space. In addition,
one story wings housed the kitchen/dining facili-
ties, the toilets, a ladies retiring room and the
bowling alleys. Three fireplaces were provided to
heat the interior. The construction was usually
wood frame with painted siding.
Slide Numbers A last type of recreation building is one pro-
vided by the American Red Cross for convalescing
soldiers at home or abroad. They are usually found
in Base Hospitals and in the larger General Hos-
pitals. They are connected to the wards by means
of the previously mentioned covered ways. The
plan consisted of one large room with stage pro-
visions, toilet facilities and a serving bar for
refreshments and snacks. The construction was of
wood frame and the design was by Marshall and
American Combat Airdromes
47 -----" The Combat Airdromes were found very close to
the fighting front. Due to the high bombing danger,
a unique type of layout and construction was used.
Their were various types of airdromes depending
on the squadrons specialization- "pursuit", "ob-
servation", "day" or "night" bombing- but, the
essentials and the main features are similar. The
camp layout is characterized by very irregular
grouping on the site. No two hangars or barracks
were on the same straight line. Most were well
camouflaged and placed inside the edge of woods.
A landing field was simply a 500 yard stretch of
clear grass. It sloped slightly down hill so that
the planes had little difficulties in take-offs.
The maximum velocity attained by World War One
aircraft was 40 M.P.H. Each airdrome was designed
for the use of 3 or 4 squadrons. The had from 12
to 20 hangars. These were usually constructed of
a type known as a Bessoneau Hangar. They were of
French design and consisted of a framework of
light wooden trusses covered with canvas and ca-
mouflaged. The trusses were easily assembled on
the ground and raised into place. The whole assem-
bly was then anchored to the ground by wire ropes.
They were not very resistant to strong winds, so
the opening on one of the short sides was always
oriented away from the prevailing storm direction.
The size was a rectangle 701 X 100'. Other planes
were housed in small canvas tents when found very
near the front or in temporary air fields. A
larger American built hangar very similar to the
Bessoneau was also used. Two types existed, but they
only differed in size- 100' X 65' and 100' X 100'.
The construction was more permanent than the French
model. It consisted of concrete or wooden grille
foundations with steel trusses. These trusses were
covered witheorrugated iron plates on the roof &
the sides. It was more weather resistant and dura-
ble. It was also camouflaged withpaint and branches
to prevent detection.
The barracks for the pilots were the same long
plan, wood frame construction found in the Army
canps. The advantaged is that they were easily de-
mounted and erected- either process achieved in a
maximum of two days. The barracks usually housed
100 men and were two-story buildings. The bath-
houses and toilet facilities were housed in simi-
lar buildings as the barracks.
A unique type of structure called the Nissen
Bow Hut was also used in the airdromes. They were
used as the Headquarters, the officer's building,
the Hospital and as Storage huts. The latter had
a floor of packed dirt, while the others were wood
floored. The huts were constructed of semi-circular
sections of corrugated iron placedover steel arches
and camouflaged. Additional ones were used for the
guardhouse and the squadron office.
For night bombing or night reconnaissance
squadrons, the only additional implements were
landing and signal lights run by generators moun-
ted on trucks. Larger airdromes found further a-
way from the front lines were called Air Depots.
some additional buildings needed were a repair
shop, a replacement station, a commissary store,
a general supply store and housing for over 3,000
men.A typical combat airdrome houses only 600 men.
The construction of all these facilities was the
standard wood-framed type. Headquarters Settle-
ments for the control of the aeronautical organi-
zation of the American sector were also construc-
ted, These were far away from all combat and cargo
airfields for better protection from bombing. The
only buildings provided were Headquarter offices
and housing for 50 to 100 personnel- all of the
standard wood-frame construction.
- The last type of military architecture to be
studied in this period is one designed not for the
use during a war, but during times of civil dis-
turbances or as a last line of defense against an
invading force. The purposes of Armories is the
housing and drilling of the National Guard and the
storing and providing of Quartermasters', Commis-
sary and Ordnance supplies, The building type
emerged during the 1880's and is in use today.
The construction of an armory should be strong
and fireproof. Large entrances should be pro-
vided for the quick disposition of soldiers. The
entrances were protected with heavy iron grilles
and gates, and so were any windows at or near
street levels. The doors were massive, heavy wood
doors and hung on strong hinges. All entrances
were protected with enfilading towers with narrow
slits for rifle firing on the streets. The design
usually incorporated many of the ideas utilized in
mediaeval fortresses. Parapets and platforms were
arranged for riflemen, crenellations and machicou-
lated galleries were employed, and portions of the
armories were designed higher than any surrounding
The interior planning was built around the drill
hall. The space was approximately 200' X 300' for
an armory housing a regiment of infantry- composed
of 12 companies. The floor of the hall should be
column free and at or near the street levels. It
should have direct access to the street. The hall
was well ventilated and lighted by high clere-sto-
ry windows and skylights. The height of the space
was at least 40 feet, with surrounding galleries
no less than 12' off the drill hall and usually
suspended from the roof trusses. The trusses were
found of wood, iron and some steel construction.
Ample flights of stair were usually provided as
close to all four corners of the building as pos-
sible. The floor of the drill space was generally
made of wood, unless the armory housed a cavalry
battalion. The heating, power and lighting plant
was self-sufficient of all outside connections,
The company rooms required by an armory bat-
tallion are many. A list of the spaces and some
recommended square footage is as follows;
small store room
library 28'X 47'
recreation room 32'X 126,
Gymnasium (2-story) 40'X 80'
theatre 35'X 70'
large store rooms (4)
rifle range 6 targets,
two rooms standing & prone
ordnance officers room- 300 sq. ft.
commissary (2 rooms)
Colonel's office (2 rms.)
reception 20'X 35'
office 15'X 10'
4 adjutants (2 rooms)
locker 400 sq. ft.
offices 1,200 sq. ft.
Lieutenant's office 300 sq. ft.
-.Board of officers Rm. 1,500 sq. ft.
3 majors offices
offices 300 sq. ft.
locker room 200 sq. ft.
This gives one an idea of the large spatial
requirements for an armory for an infantry bat-
tallion. If the armory is to be used by a cavalry,
additional spaces such as stables, blacksmith
shop, etc. are needed. A bit more should be said
about the rifle range. It is a room 170' in
length with a minimum of 12" of solid masonry at
the end of the range. Inclined steel plates were
placed to prevent stray shots from passing down
range. Bullet catchers were placed at the end of
the range. They were 4 feet 6 inches in height
and made of one-half inch steel plates bent into
a spiral shape. Most of the armories designed
prior to W.W. I were 3 or 4 story structures, with
one or two of the floors below grade, and one floor
suspended from the trusses.
"- An excellent example is found in the Fifth
Regiment Armory in Brdoklyn.. It has a 200' X
300' drill space, 106' heightwith galleries on
all sides. It is centrally located in the 310'
X 360' building. It is surrounded on all sides
by the smaller rooms containing the Headquarters,
reading room, 12 company rooms, hospital corps.
The back wall consists of the gymnasium, dressing
rooms and equipment rooms. The basement houses the
rifle ranges, storage, bowling alleys, swimming
pool, billiards, kitchen and dining facilities,
and the mechanical rooms. There are 3 exits from
the main floor and the basement onto the street.
The stairs and the toilets are found near all
four corners of the building.
The exterior of the building is very strong
looking and massive. It is a straightforward de#6
sign with an arched clerestory at the rear of the
building and two enfilading towers with machi-
coulus galleries in fromt. Note the rifle slots
and the absence of low story windows in the en-
tire design. The cost of the building was $ 300,
000 and it encloses 6,000,000 cu. ft.
WORLD WAR TWO
Slide Numbers WORLD WAR TWO
Before the United States entered World War Two,
more time, planning and effort was taken in the
designs of buildings for war time installations.
The standardized unit system was adopted for most
barracks, mess halls, hospitals, etc. No "plan"
was adopted for the recreation buildings and for
military schools. As the War came to a close, a
new "freedom" of design emerged and the construc-
tion of buildings tailored to site, climate and
function emerged. For this reason, only a few
specific points will be discussed that will per-
tain to many buildings. The rest will be discus-
sions pertaining to specific design solutions of
the types that were investigated.
55 The temporary barracks of W.W. II were almost
identical in plan and construction as those in
W.W. I. They were two-story wood frame buildings
made to accommodate half-a-company, 53 privates
in one open dormitory with cots along both walls,
and 8 non-commissioned officers in 2- & 4-bed
rooms on either ends. The barracks, however, had
their own toilet and washing facilities on the
first floor, which was an improvement over its
predessesors. The plan, as already mentioned, was
a long, narrow and straight building. The non-
commissioned officers rooms were always on the
second floor of the building.
Some characteristics of this type of struc-
ture were ladders and platforms at both ends of
each building for emergency exits, a very poor
system of circulation under pressure; and a con-
tinuous hood over the first floor windows for
adequate shade and ventilation during rainy
weather. The barracks were arranged parallel to
each others and in company and regimental groups,
with their own mess halls, recreation buildings,
and headquarters, all of similar wood construc-
.- The Army had a standardized plan for their
permanent barracks which had been in use since the
1930's. The plan consisted of a very large building
broken down into 4. "L" shaped sections. Each of
the sections housed half-a-company, or 50 enlisted
men in dormitory arrangements, 7 non-commissioned
officers in three rooms, a barber, a tailor, and
toilet and shower facilities.
The exterior of the 3-story buildings was al-
ways made of brick, but could be designed in two
styles, depending on the location- "Colonial" and
"Spanish. Orientationwas East/West. In the inte-
rior wall formed by the "L", an exterior, screened
porch wastprovided for ventilation.
-." The Navy also had a standard barrack plan that
Slide Numbers had been in use for a number of years. It was de-
signed by the Bureau of Yards and Docks. The plan
consisted of an "H" type arrangement with all
elements completely symmetrical. The legs of the
"H" were composed of dormitories, each housing
approximately 50 men. The bar of the "H" housed
the stairs, the toilet and shower facilities,
along with two C.P.O.'s rooms with private toilets.
The exterior of the buildings were finished in
white paint, or camouflaged. They were generally
2-story buildings of standard ballon-frame cons-
truction with standard size wood doors and double-
hung sash windows. The roof was usually shingled.
59 Another type of housing necessary by both the
Army and Navy was for the bachelor officers. The
two branches of the service had very similar con-
clusions and this example is a Navy design.
The planning was very open, and "wings" were
provided as the best solution for maximum light
and ventilation. All rooms open to the exterior.
A unique system of paired rooms with a common
bath allows a "freedom" in arranging and accommo-
dating the different ranks of officers in one
floor. For two junior offices, the rooms would be
private and they shared the bath. For a senior
officer, the same arrangement produced a bedroom/
sitting room suite with its own bath. When two
units are combined, a single room with its own
Slide Numbers bath is adjacent to a common sitting room, while
the two additional bedrooms share the adjoining
bath. The layout shows that mess hall, kitchens
and storage were found in the service section of
the building and were for the use of the officers.
The buildings were generally of brick construction
with continuous hoods over the first and second
story windows, and a large roof overhang for the
protection of the third story windows.
60 ---- As stated before, no standard plans were adop-
ted for the permanent recreation facilities found
in Army camps and training schools. Temporary
wood structures similar to those of W.W. I were
used in most of the large cantonments. But, in
most of the permanent bases, a great variety of
buildings by a great number of firms were erected.
Buildings as large as auditoriums and gymnasiums
were erected of a great variety of materials. The
increasing use of reinforced poured concrete made
large spans and column-free spaces at low cost a
reality, and the use of it is evident in many of
61 the larger recreation facilities. A nice example
of a permanent game room and reception building
made out of laminated wood beams, columns and
wood paneling with an extensive use of glass, was
designed for the Great Lakes Naval Training Stati
by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill.
"Mess halls" is the name given to the dining
facilities in an Army or another Armed Forces
camp. The distinction that exists between enlis-
ted men and commissioned officers is further evi-
dent in the separate dining facilities provided
for both. Temporary mess halls are commonly used
in large, Army cantonments. The same construction
as that of the temporary barracks is used. The
plan is usually a long, narrow hall with cafeteria
type service. The rooms are open on the long
sides and well screened, to allow ventilation
and light without the hinderance of insects.
-- -- Permanent mess halls were usually arranged
according to the same straight floor plan, but
were built of a more enduring material. A new
type of mess hall plan was initiated by the Navy
in its later W.W. II installations. The plan was
an "H" shaped building much favored by the Navy
for barracks. The legs of the "H" are broken into
2 separate eating rooms on either side of the bar,
which houses the serving area for all four rooms.
The bar is extended and connected to the kitchen
facilities on another wing. The C.P.O.'s mess hanl
is also situated in the end of the kitchen wing.
The building is made entirely out of wood frame
construction and siding. The effiecency of this
type of plan arrangement is demonstrated by the
fact that 2,000 men can be served simultaenously
in less than 20 minutes.
Little was found on the plans and construction
of this type of building. The buildings are always
permanent and the exterior design and floor plans
are all "standard" designs adopted by the Army &
Little information was found regarding the
storage buildings of the armed forces. They are
designed strictly from a utilitarian standpoint,
and are probably built from standard plans. Most
facilities are probably permanent.
U.S. Coast Guard Stations
The Coast Guard has never adopted any stan-
dard types for their stations. They are all de-
signed by private architectural firms and are
all very individual due to varying sizes, number
of mens, sites and weather. This particular de-
sign shbws that the boathouse, garage and the
men's quarters were thought of as one unity. The
composition is very "shiplike" in feeling, yet
is strictly functional in plam- the boathouse is
arranged for the rapid transfer of the boats from
the garage to the water and vice-versa. The men's
quarter's lie on the second story, while the of-
ficer's quarters, the living rooms, mess hall
and kitchen are found in the ground level. A
look-out tower commands the design; andthe
entire horizon. The station is manned by 22
enlisted men and 4 officers.
The design of the modern hospital is such a
complex procedure that the results achieved by
the architects of military hospitals vary little
from designs for civilian hospitals. There is
no standard plan for the military hospital since
the sizes, sites and needs of all hospitals is
unique. I found no information regarding the
typical base hospital at an Army cantonment, or
of any General hospital built specifically for
the wounded of World War Two.
The examples of the buildings found in a mili-
tary school are taken from a Naval Training Sta-
tion in the East Coast. The Navy has another "stan-
dard plan" for Stations in the West Coast.
The barracks are done in a straight line plan
which vary from the Navy's "H" plan for their en-
listed men. It is very similar to an Army tempora-
ry barrack in its layout. The C.P.O.'s have their
own rooms in one end on both floors. Advantages
over other barracks is that shower and toilets
facilities are found on both floors. All interior
construction is exposed, except the second floor
ceiling where plywood sheets were used to cover
the insulation. The construction of the barracks
is also a departure from standard Navy practice.
The wood framework was finished with sheets of
asbestos cement. The windows, though stock dou-
ble-hung sash windows, were placed adjacent to
one anotherand inbetween studs to produce the e-
ffect of one continuous window.
The mess hall plan is also a new plan for the
Navy, along with the new "H" plan for larger
camps. This is a "T" shaped unit which divides
the seating and serving facilities into three
sections along the "bar" of the "T", and reserves
the stem for kitchen and storage facilities. It
is a self service cafeteria organization which
can serve up to 19,00 men. The construction is
the same as the barracks, except the floors,
which are made of poured concrete for easier
upkeep and less deterioration. The quarters for
the mess hall personnel are located on the second
story above the stem of the "T".
The armories by World War II have changed in
aspect to the use. There is no longer the need for
the companies quarters since most National Guards-
men do not live in the armories. Only the officers
and administrators are housed there. The designs
vary greatly, since each State architect is res-
ponsible for the designs in his State. The armo-
ries have lost most of their "fortress" quality,
since most threats of invasions or riots had
disappeared. The plans were more flexible than
in World War I due to the slow disappearance of
the cavalry which led designers to think about
future mechanization and its effect on the infan-
try and cavalry units. And last of all was the
influence of reinforced poured concrete, and its
great spanning qualities.*
-~ The United States Naval and Marine Reserve
Corps Armory in Los Angeles is a great example of
a W.W. II design. The facilities include adminis-
trators' and officers' quarters, library, audito-
rium, class and mess rooms. The exterior walls
are exposed concrete which gives it a rugged qua-
lity. The largest and most important space is
still the drill hall, with over 30,000 sq. ft. of
clear unbroken floor space. A balcony serves as a
running track, and a spectators' gallery. The roof
has a center height of 45', and was when built,
the largest Lamella roof on the Pacific Coast.
It measured 123'X 254' and ran unsupported from
wall to wall.
Some armories were already being constructed
to serve in two functions, like being used for
community auditoriums, or used as athletic clubs
along with their primary uses. This leads the
designer to be even more flexible in the design
of their floor plans.
Their are many different types of industrial
buildings involved in the manufacturing of mili-
tary weapons, machinery and aircraft. It would be
impossible to even list all of the necessary
types in existence during World War II. But, the
designs are based on simple utilitarian lines.
Most of the buildings were privately owned fac-
tories and shops that were contracted by the
Armed Forces, so the variety of designs is end-
less. New long- span systems, such as folded
plates, Z-plates, double "T"s, and long trusses,
allowed the maximum usage of ground space. This
type of construction is still utilized for the
same purposes and with the same results as thirty
Towards the close of the war, new designs were
appearing that were a departure from the Army buil-
ding practice. Amongst these was this design pro-
ject for an Army Base suited to tropical and
Also included after the above article, is an
article on concrete German watchtowers on the Is-
land of Jersey built during the war in 1941..
It is known that the United States has troops protecting the Atlantic coastline at
various localities extending from cold northern waters down to the tropic seas. Pro-
jected types of construction as shown here are of interest to architects, engineers
and building technicians in that they reveal a departure from traditional Army build-
ing practice, and a flexibility on the part of planners in adapting themselves to un-
familiar climate and location.
These new designs have been worked out in connection with proposed construc-
tion for troop housing in tropical and semitropical areas. They are presented here
because they show how it is possible to meet some of the housing problems confront-
ing the Army in such climates. The type of building that they involve will increase
living comfort in the tropics and will also withstand high wind pressure and resist-
ance to earthquakes.
SHAW, NAESS AND MURPHY, ARCHITECTS
MAIN POST ENTRANCE
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The typical barracks plan is shown directly below. Each
squad room contains living accommodations, with toilets,
non-commissioned officers' rooms and drying rooms in be-
tween. On the first floor this link contains a few offices as
well. Common services are located at the ground floor level,
and include a mess hall, a kitchen with a cafeteria-type serving
area and a day room, which is the general recreational space.
The tilting blinds which appear on the rendering of the exterior
are an old and very satisfactory device for providing shade,
ventilation and hurricane protection.
FIRST FLOOR (Second Floor Similar)
J U L Y 19 4 2
BUILDINGS FOR THE CARIBBEAN AREA
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-BARRACKS Peter A. Juloy & ?.
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T H E A R C H I T E C T U R
F O R U M
COMMISSIONED O-FiICERS' QUARTERS
This club-like group for commissioned officers is an excel-
lent example of the freedom ivith which the elements of a
building may be arranged when the climate permits., The
dormitory unit, for instance, has the traditional two-story
porch, which is a perfectly satisfactory means of circulation
in sub-tropical regions. The one-story structure contains the
officers' mess hall, lounge, game room and services.
OFFIOEIS' M II t
T H E A I C H I T E C T U I A L
FIRST FLOR (&rSd FAor& -UlT
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F O R U M
The permanent hospital is to be a com-
plete medical center, equipped not only
Sfor the normal requirements of treatment
and examination, but for emergency use
as well. The ramp system, which facilitates
the moving of patients anywhere witi in
y .. the building, connects directly with the
; p splinter- and gasproof shelters in the base.
meant. It will be noted that the plan is
composed of a series of narrow wings
OF A PA ; throughout the building, providing all
Awards and work spaces with excellent light
... and ventilation.
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JU L Y 1 9 4 2
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One of the handsomest buildings in this group is the chapel,
which makes extremely effective use of the contrast between
white stone or concrete and colored stucco. As in all Army
chapels, the building is arranged so that services for any
denomination may be held. The detail below is fairly typical
for a number of the buildings shown here. The raised tile,
providing roof ventilation, will conform to local architectural
practice in the area.
PEpIMENT AT END
SCALE IN FEET
o 5 10 15 ZO Z5
SECTION THROUGH WALL
The client wanted sleeping accommodation
for seven and a large living area. The best
view was from the end wall, which faces
south-west over the Langdale Valley, and
the living area was therefore placed on the
first floor and openly planned, with the
dining portion raised to increase the angle
of view, as shown in 2. The original pitch-
pine roof trusses are retained but the
underside of the slates is lined with plaster-
board to reduce heat losses.
Separated from the house by a through-
passage, 8, are more barns, now usetf
partly for garage and storage, into which
the house may be extended in the future.
WAR TIMi WATCr-TOWAM
Three German watch-towers on the
island of Jersey survive almost in-
tact because the Channel Islands
were bypassed by the closing stages
of the war. The towers were built in the
summer of 1941, when the Commander-
in-Chief of the German Armed Forces
gave orders to build fortifications on the
islands, the building operations being
carried out by the Organisation Todt.
They served the coastal artillery of the
army and navy, and were designed in
accordance with the firing methods of the
German navy, whose responsibility it was
to guard the water approaches to the
beaches constituting the forward area of
Although built according to a directive
laid down by tactical authorities, which
implied a certain amount of standardiza-
tion, they were nevertheless varied to suit
local requirements and site conditions.
Attached to each tower was a fortified
shelter, to accommodate the personnel who
possessed only light arms for their defence.
Each tower is about 02 ft. high, and is
massively built of concrete on which the
marks of the imported form boards are
deeply impressed. The quality of the
shuttered concrete is very good in parts
and has acquired an interesting 'patina'
due to the rusting of exposed reinforce-
ment. No camouflage paint was applied
which might have detracted from the
clarity of form of these buildings.
The five main floors are expressed
externally on the seaward side as con-
tinuous slits. These embrace all sides of
what is in fact a viewing balcony sealed
from the main body of the tower by a
massive steel door. Behind this door is a
single cell with a staircase recess the full
height of the tower. The slits were
originally filled with glazed oak frames
some of which were removable, and the
floor and outer wall were sometimes lined
with oak strips about 10 centimetres wide.
This conscious attempt to make the
watchers' immediate surroundings bear-
able, together with instruments bracketed
from the wall, combined to give a distinctly
nautical effect. Other windows, where
they occur, are defensive by nature and
so contrived to command the mainland
approaches across relatively flat barren
heathland. The roof details vary between
the three towers, but the roofs were
chiefly, used as a gun emplacement. One
of the towers, Les Landes, 1 and 2, still
retains some radar equipment on its roof.
The other tower illustrated, 3, is Noirmont.
Viewed in retrospect these watch-towers,
in spite of their still accessible gouged-out
passages and cells, may be classed among
the follies of our coast. The towers on Jersey,
having outgrown their initial usefulness,
are now public property, and perhaps in
the not too distant future the authorities
will think it worth while to reinstate
them as elevated viewing platforms
visually connected. But used or not, they
retain a powerful impact on the coastal
NEWRY, CO. DOWN
Rocque's plan of Newry marks in rather faint letters
in one corner 'Old Brewrry in Ruins.' Similarly a
map of Ireland to-day might mark faintly in one
corner 'Old Netcry in Ruins.' With the possible
exception of Derry, Newry is the most neglected
and ill-treated town In the whole of Northern
Ireland; and yet, while they remain, it is second
only to Armagh in the quality of its buildings: at
the present rate of decay and spoliation, it should
reach the bottom of the list remarkably soon. Not
long ago, amid general satisfaction, the two 'Dutch
houses' with Fine Willnam-and-Mary fronts were
pulled down: they had become too ruinous to do
anything else. The same is obviously going to
happen rather soon to the great bulk of the old
town. One recent casualty is the Custom House, a
noble early Georgian building which was tlhe
foundation of Newry's prosperity, but spent its
last years completely hidden among the gas-
works: perhal s it was too poignant a reminldr of
the work of time.
This however isn't meant to be a prcserve-it-at-
all-costs plea. OnI the contrary, to look at Itocque's
nmip, 1, is to realize how a broad, intelligent plan
was able to transform the town 200 years ago and
that something similarly bold is needed to-day.
The map is specially interesting as having been
made (in 1700) while the new town was being
built, and it shows proposed schemes which never
came off as well as what was actually achieved.
It shows, too, how the new plan was not only
civilized and coherent itself, but very nearly
managed to bring a reasonable shape to the
straggle that was there before. Newry stands
to-day on both sides of the Newry River, where it
makes a shallow arc to the west; but until the
eighteenth century only a ridge running north-
LIST OF APPENDIXES
APPENDIX A Glossary of Terms
APPENDIX B Evolution of Arms & Weapons
A ENDIX C The Attack of Fortresses, Mines & Types of
APPENDIX D Air Raid Protection & Camouflage
GLOSSARY APPENDIX A
Airdrome A temporary landing field and buildings for the
housing of airplanes and pilots near the front
Armory A building for the storage of arms and military
equipment and serving as headquarters for military
Arsenal An establishment for the construction, repair,
storage and issue of warlike stores.
Ballista Ancient hurling device in the form of a large
cross-bow. Ancient usage made no distinction be-
tween ballista and catapult. The most frequent dis-
tinction was made upon the different types of a-
mmunition used- the catapult shot stones, and the
Barbette --A platform inside a fortification raised sufficien-
tly high for artillery placed thereon to be able
to fire over the top of the parapet;. in ships, it
is a raised platform, protected by armour on the
sides, upon which the guns are mounted.
Barbican A medaeival fortified outwork; detached from an
inner ring of fortifications and frequently placed
in front of gates.
Barracks A building or group of buildings used to house sol-
Bastides Fortified towns founded in South-west France du-
ring the 12th and 13th Centuries.
Bastion A zun platform projecting from fortress walls,
consisting of 2 flanks behind a triangular head
formed by 2 faces terminating in a salient angle.
A french designed airplane hangar used during W.W. I
and made from wooden trusses covered with canvas.
In fortification, a small rooted work serving as a
fortified post for a small garrison. The word, common
since the fifteen hundred, is of uncertain origin
and was applied to what is now know as a detached
fort, blocking the access to a landing, channel, pass,
bridge, or defile. The modern blockhouse is a building,
sometimes two stories, which is loopholed on all sides,
and provided with a machicoulis gallery.
A temporary semi-circular earthwork and timber platform
used as a shield for gates, towers, and curtains. It
also offered an advanced position for the guns of the
A group of more or less temporary buildings for the
housing of troops.
Several tiers of casemated gun em-placements in place
of open parapets. Allows more guns to be placed in less
square footage of site.
Bomb-proof chamber, usually of masonry, from which
cannon can shoot through embrasures.
Mechanical hurling device, using either tension, torsion,
or counter-poise for the propulsion missiles.
Raised parapets of artillery used to protect the faces
of the bastions; located behind the parapet of the cur-
Walls or ramparts surrounding an open or inhabited area.
- A stringcourse, usually of masonry, from which cannon
can shoot through embrasures.
- Buttresses built inward to strengthen the wall.
- A series of arches built between counterforts with their
axis at right angles to the face o, the wall.
- A path along the rim of the counterscarp, protected
from the glacis by a shoulder-high parapet.
- Toothlike breatsworks on wall tops, formed by al-
ternating embrasures and merlons.
- Crown-shaned outworks.
- Stretch of wall connecting the towers or bastions
of a fortified front.
- Slit or opening in parapet or wall through which defenders
- A fortified enclosure.
- To rake with gunfire; to shoot in the direction
of the length of a trench or line of troops.
- To mount the ramparts of a fortress with the use of
ladders; from latin "scaca" ladder.
- Slope of inner ditch walls and of outer surfaces of cur-
tains and bastions.
- Side of bastion that immediately adjoins the curtain.
- The military art of strengthening positions against att-
- Artificial slope downward and outward from the rim of
the counterscarp. Its intended to improve the defenders
line of vision and to impede the movement of heavy siege
- Horn-shaped outworks.
Keep Large tower in medieval strongholds, served as living
quarters and last refuge.
Limes Originally meaning "boundary", used tp denote "marked
frontiers". Term was expanded to denote the frontiers
of the Roman Empire and its permanently fortified sections;
thus Hadrian's Wall in northern England (Limes Britannicus).
Lunette Detached outwork placed outside ditch and in front of a
bastion; usually consists of two faces forming a salient
Machicolation Opening in the floor of a gallery projecting outward from
wall top (machicoulis gallery); designed for the vertical
defense of walls and towers from above.
Magistral Line Main line of fortified defenses.
Martello Tower Kind of tower formerly used in English costal defense.
They are of solid masonry, containing vaulted rooms for
a garrison of anpr6ximately thirty men and providing a
platform at the top for three guns, which fire over a low
masonry parapet. In some cases a ditch is provided around
the base. Chief defect was its weakness against vertical
fire and breaching batteries. The round masonry tower,
entered through a door high above the base, is one of the
earliest types of fortification. The name comet from
a similar tower at Cape Martella. In 1794, fourteen hun-
dred troops were landed and the tower bombarded for two
and a half hours by two British frigates; "Fortitude"
and "Juno". The former was set on fire and sixty-two men
were lost. Finally, the tower surrendered thirty-two
men were taken and armament of only two eighteen pound
runs and one six pounder. The strong resistance led to
the conclusion that towers of this type were formidable
so many were built along the shores of England.
Mastio -ITalian word for keep.
Merlons Solid sections of crenellated parapet; they flank em-
Nissen-bow Hut A storage building made of semi-circular steel trusses
covered with corrugated iron sections.
Orillion Shoulder-like projection of bastion, designed to protect
Outworks Any fortifications outside the magistral line; often named
after the aDDearance of their plans (E. G. Tenaille -
Pincers; Demi-lune Half moon; and so forth)
Parapet Breastworks atop walls and bastions, designed to protect
defenders from enemy fire.
Poliorcetics The science of siege-warfare; from Greek "Poliorketes" -
taker of cities.
Polls Greek tern for a city as a political unit.
Pomoerium A street-like open area running parallel with and adjacent
to the interior base of the walls.
Postern Gates for sorties; from Latin "Postera" back door.
Ramnarts A defense or protective barrier,
Ravelin Detached outwork, generally shaped like a lunette, but
placed in front of a curtain.
Retirata Tempoary earthen rampart, built behind the main wall to
seal off a breach.
Revetment Facing of stone to sustain an embankment.
Rocca Italian tern for a fortress that serves Drimarily a military
purpose, as opposed to a Castello, which generally means
a fortified residence.
Sap(ping) Originally to undermine; to dig a trench or gallery from
the attacker's line to a point beneath the defender's
works for the purpose of either destroying them or
gaining entry into the stronghold.
All earthworks built up above the natural ground level.
Counterpoise catapult only new siege waepon to appear
during the Middle Ages. This weapon flung missiles from
the long arm of a pivoted spar, that was activated by
heavy weights attahced to its short arm,
A log fence, the individual logs planted upright but set
against one another producing a tighter, stronger barrier.
This is not to be confused with the PALISADE, which is
a log fence, with the individual logs planted upright but
a few inches apart,
Appendix B Evolution of Arms & Weapons
12th, 13th Cent.
From the early Mesopotamian kingdoms until the
10th Century, all sorts of spears, swords ja-
velins, and bows & arrows were the main weapon of
the infantry man. The catapult and the ballista
are beleived to have been Roman inventions, or
at least they were the first to utilize it fully.
Siege towers had been in existence since circa
560 B.C. during the reign of Nebudchanezzar. The
evolution of these weapons was simply a slow re-
finement of materials from stone, to bronze and
finally to iron.
The first use of axes and maces for the infantry
The cross-bow and the long bow reach a height in
use. The catapults, ballista, trebuchet and onager
are still the most efficient hurling devices.
1375- the first known use of small hand fire-arms
in England. They were small cannons fired by
putting a light up to a touch hole.
1419- Field artillery introduced in the Hussite
wars. A cart with several small cannons
mounted on it. High maneuvering power.
1450- French cannon founding by the brothers Bu-
reau is so efficient that in the same year
Charles VII's artillery captured every castle
1505- Spanish army makes full use of a new wea-
pon- the musket, heavier and more powerful
than all previous small arms. Fired by a
1515- Invention of the matchlock rifle. In use for
the next two centuries.
1525- The efficiency of the small hand arms such
as the arquebus makes the use of the cannon
1631- In the Thirty Years War, Gustavus Adolphus
re-uses artillery in the form of 42 very
light and movable guns.
The invention of the flintlock rifle super-
sedes the efficiency of the matchlock. With
the bayonet, it becomes the standard infan-
Larger cannons become mobile by using teams
of horses and mounting the guns on wheels.
Frederick the Great- uses smaller movable
artillery, and brings on the stationary
powerful guns only when a siege is expected.
The pike disappears in this century because
the infantry fire-power rules the battle-
1776- Gribeauval becomes the first Inspector Gene-
ral of Artillery for the French Army.
1785- He divides French firing power into three
Field Artillery- mobility, no gun
greater than 12-pounders.
Siege Artillery- Power, guns range
from 12 to 16-pounders.
Coastal Artillery- Heavy power, guns
from 16-pounders and up.
1791- Gribeauval introduces cavalry artillery into
the French Army, moves the 16-pounders up
into usable field weapons.
1807- Napoleon's "artillery Preparation" tactics:
"Once the battle has begun, the man
who brings up an unexpected force of
artillery without the enemy knowing
it, will win the battle."
1830- The invention of the Percussion Musket
1854- The invention of the muzzle-loading rifle
1866- The invention of the breech-loading rifle,
keeps larger guns out of range. Once infan-
try met infantry, all artillery fire ceased.
Similar to tactics used in the American Ci-
1890- The invention of the magazine rifle
1891- Quick-firing field guns, due to the invention
of a mechanical device that absors the recoil.
Development of Ammunition
At first, most cannons fired the traditional stone
shot used by catapults. Heavy solid metal shots
were tried, but were too expensive to use. Even-
tually, the hollow iron shell was tried and by the
Sixteenth Century was widely used.
Case shots- Lead or iron small shots were packed
in wooden casks. Still in use today
only small shot placed inside a cy-
lindrical iron shell. They were used
at close quarters when a volley of
small shot would injure many men at
Chain shots-Used specially against the rigging of
ships. Two spherical shots were tied
together by a length of chain. On lea-
ving the gun, they gyrated.
The introduction of iron plated ships brings about
the use of the Armour-piercing shots and shell.
Sir W. Palliser hardened the head of a pointed
cast-iron shot by casting the shot with the point
downward and forming the head with a cold, iron
mould, which cooled the tip faster.
Explosive shells- Balls of cast-iron filled with
gunpowder and a slow burning composition.
Not very efficient since the certainty
of the time of explotion was not ac-
Red-Hot shots- Contained molten cast iron in an iraa
shell, mainly used to set ships on fire.
Also called Martin's Shell.
Bullet- The original musket ball was small and
made of lead. If was two sizes smaller
than the bore, wrapped in loosely fit-
ting paper which served as cartridge.
Armour piercing shell- Came about when an explo-
sive was placed inside the cavity of
Pallister cast-iron shot.
Common shell- This was simply a shell filled with
gunpowder which burst into smaller pie-
cesdestroying some distance away from
the point of burst. It was effective a-
gainst troops since the pieces were too
Shrapnel shell- Invented in 1784 by Lieutenant
Henry Shrapnel, R.A. It was a spherical
common shell with lead bullets mixed in
with the explosive charge.
Exploding Shells were modified by the addition of
a time fuze, which made the timing more accurate.
The use of the mortar or other short muzzle can-
nons came about so as not to endanger the gunner.
The invention of the high explosive shells was
only the addition of a higher explosive, such as
Lyddite or Melinite, to a common shell.
Bullets- Went to a considerable amount of changes
in this century.
1835 W. Greener produced a new expansive bullet,
an oval ball with a flat end. The flat end
was perforated and a metallic plug was in-
serted. The explosion drove the plug home,
expanded the bullet which filled up the bore
and prevented windage.
1857- Joseph Whitworth proved tha a smaller bore
and a more elongated bullet were advanta-
geous to the velocity of the bullet.
1883- The invention of the small calibre rifle
with the elongated compound bullet.
Modern Steel Shrapnel- Directs the spray of the
bullets to a forward direction for more than
Shooting Shrapnel- Contains a large explosive
charge for the purpose of augmenting the
velocity of the bullets.
Evolution of the Cartridge
1586- Original cartridge used with the musket
bullet was ripped at the base by the sol-
dier and the powder was poured into the
barrel of the rifle before the bullet.
1635- The flintlock rifle eliminates priming
1834- Invention of the Copper Percussion Cap,
contained an igniting composition that was
detonated by the hammer.
1850- The Expansive Cartridge Case- Used a cop-
per percussion cap cartridge which expan-
ded and prevented windage.
1861- Central-Fire Cartridge- Cap is detonated by
hammer and the cartridge is not fired but
withdrawn. Still used today.
Medieval Men at Arms I
d(". L 7 -, -v Q '7 9 ,. / ,/, /u,. .
Ii l wll^ B A? iW fl
i lt . /0 .
. 7 I0
Vol. I, Armurier, PI. I.
Plate 61 Small Arms III
The flintlock was introduced into the French army in the first years of the 18th cen-
tury. The problem around which the design of small arms revolved, and which pro-
duced their evolution, was that of striking fire to the powder. In the earliest muskets
a red-hot wire was touched to the powder through a touch-hole. This was followed
by a glowing wick, later attached to the piece itself in the 15th century matchlock.
The next step was the 16th century wheel-lock, igniting the powder by striking
sparks from a steel wheel released from a clock-spring tension to spin against a frag-
ment of pyrites attached to a cock in contact with the powder. Finally, in the snap-
haunce musket the mineral element a piece of flint (Fig. 1, D) is transferred to
the hammer (Fig. 1, B, C) and in the final refinement of the flintlock the pan (i, G)
and stud (i, K) become a single piece (Fig. 4).
Fig. 2 shows the cocking and firing mechanism in detail, Figs. 5 and 6 the flintlock of
the infantry soldier, and Fig. 7 the flintlock pistol, carried by officers and cavalry.
The weapon fired a round ball loaded by the muzzle see the ramrod (Fig. 6).
Breech-loading and the use of elongated and ogival bullets fired by a percussion cap
were the 19th century steps in the evolution of the infantry weapon, and the in,
duction of semi-automatic and automatic fire. are contributions of our own time.
Small Arms III
_.-T I ---- --i-~- --
Plate 69 Artillery I
It was upon his artillery that an 18th century commander relied for breaching the
fortified places around which warfare revolved. Ordnance is illustrated in the fol-
lowing plates. This is a 24-pound bronze cannon i.e., it fires a 24 pound shot. It
is almost eight feet long. The design of bore and chamber are indicated in dotted
outline (Fig. 1). Notice the embellishment. The earliest cannon were cast by men
who worked in the atmosphere of Renaissance craftsmanship, and the tradition per-
sisted that an artillery piece should be, not only an instrument of destruction, but
a work of art, worthy of its maker and its user. (For the technique of casting and
boring cannon, see Plate 108ff.).
In Fig. 2 the gun is mounted on its carriage, details of which are evident in Figs. 3
and 4, and in Fig. 5 it is attached to the fore-carriage by which the piece is transported
in the artillery train and wheeled into position. Veterans of the first World War will
remember horse-drawn artillery pieces that had to be pulled backwards into place and
swung around to face the enemy. At the right (Fig. 6) are tools that serve the piece,
and at the bottom (Fig. 7) the parts of the gunsight.
''' 'i'.' I 1 -
Plate 70 Artillery II
The cannon was a flat-trajectory weapon. Fig. 1 illustrates how the ball would deviate
from the line of sight. This depended on the weight and characteristics of the ball,
and gunners used a compass (Fig. 3) for calibrating the ammunition.
The mortar (Fig. 4) was the weapon of high-angle fire. It had two advantages. It
could reach a target in defilade i.e. hidden behind a hill or rampart and since
it lobbed its shell at very low velocity, it could fire an explosive charge, a bomb (Figs.
5, 6, 7) rather than the solid cannonball. The range of the mortar depended on the
angle of elevation of the barrel, and this was adjusted by a quadrant (Fig. 8), details
of which are given in Fig. 9. This device was identical in principle with the sight
used in the early part of World War II to lay the 4.2 inch mortar of the U. S. Army
Plate 70 Artillery II
Plate 71 Artillery III
Fig. I illustrates the trajectory of a mortar shell, and Fig. 2 the geometry concerned.
The mortar in Fig. 3 was designed to fire rocks a cheaper form of shell and one
less given to blowing up in the mortar (exterminating the guncrew instead of their
enemies) rather than at the target. This remains today a possibility which no ex-
perienced mortar-man dismisses from his mind. The shell was a framework of steel
bands covered with canvas and filled with stones (Fig. 4, 5, 6).
Fig. 7 is an early howitzer, a form of artillery which represents a cross between the
cannon and the mortar. Beside it is a petard (Fig. 8), and a view of the under side
of the plank on which it was mounted (Fig. 9). Petards contained a charge of powder
and a fuse and were used to blow in a wall or a fortified gateway.
Finally, in Fig. 10, there is a top-view of an artillery battery emplaced. The com-
mander has had a ditch dug out (fosse) to protect his front and flanks. His pieces
are set on a foundation of planks. Number One gun is omitted to show the construc-
tion (B, C). The battery is protected by a rampart (D, F), in which embrasures (E)
provide a field of fire. From the scale at\ the bottom, it is apparent that the guns are
placed almost fifteen feet from muzzle to muzzle.
Plate 71 Artillery III
I ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ IfIII I III l IIIIII
. . .. Tennsr
t 1 3
FORTIFICATION AND SIEGECRAFT
and stronger arguments against the
general use of them, all of which are
clearly set forth by Sir George Clarke.
.a....Shettersfor 2 omenrach The worst objections to the cupola
ScaleorYard forPtan &~c.Wash-house*doprepar i are the military disadvantages of
T to ro. .30 40to 1 B .for de/c iree of or" a
S *- 4 | It d.... 0tc, defence isolation and immobility, and the
e .e.....ntrirpost. multiplication of mechanical arrange-
ments. For a successful round from
a disappearing cupola, the elevating
and traversing arrangements, the
elevating and loading gear of the
gun, and the telephone communica-
S! tion, must all be in good order. At
night the successful co-operation of
.....a.4 ,, the searchlight is also in many cases
S, immobile mechanical defences. Initi-
S*ative, surprise, unforeseen offensive
Action, keeping the besieger in ignor-
Sance of the dispositions of the
garrison, and of what progress he is
making: all these, with their influ-
Sence on the morale of both sides, tend
towards successful defences and do
not point towards the use of armour.
It may further be said that the
use of armour as a general rule is un-
Scale of Yards for Section AB. necessary, because a concealed battery
'... o so is a protected one; and with the long
4 431k .-'" ranges now usual for heavy guns and
.... 13 NO_ howitzers,there is not generally much
Sector on AB. difficulty about concealment.
In the opinion, however, of the
_.. _'_"1p present writer an exception must be
.. ... f i made for guns intended to flank the
line of defence, which would generally
need bomb-proof over-head cover.
Sectionn CD. Scale ofYards f SectionsCD. xr Section on EF, Further, when we leave theory and
o .... o come to the consideration of actual
From Schrotter's Die Fstmxn in der heien KXiegilahrung, by permisnon of E. 8. Mhttler u. Sohn. problems of defence, it will often be
Fro. 63. found that it is necessary to place guns
Sin certain positions where good con-
freedom of action to the defence and this should be taken full cealment cannot be got. In such cases some form of protection
advantage of. must be given if the guns are to engage the concealed batteries of
The argument as to the vulnerability of shielded guns is the attack
not at present strong. Sir George says (ib. p. 94), If the high III. THE ATTACK OF FORTRESSE
angle fire . is ever to find a favourable opportunity, it will III AT K r
surely be against a cupola, the site of which can generally be In considering the history of siegecraft since the introduction
determined with accuracy." On the other hand he says (p. go), of gunpowder, there are three main lines of development to
" During the long and costly experiments carried on at Bucharest follow, viz. the gradually increasing power of artillery, the
in 1885-x886, 164 rounds were fired from the Krupp 21 cm. systematizing of the works of attack, and in recent times
mortar at targets of about 40 sq. metres area (about 430 sq. ft.) the change that has been brought about by the effect of modern
" without obtaining a single hit. The range was 2700 yds.; the small-arm fire.
targets were towers built upon a level plain; the shooting Cannon appear to have been first used in sieges as mortars,
conditions were ideal, and the fall of each shell was telephoned to destroy hoardings by throwing round stones and barrels of
back to the firing point; but it must have been evident to the burning composition. Early in the i5th century we find cannon
least instructed observer that to attempt to group 6 or 8 shells throwing metal balls, not only against hoarding and battlements,
on an invisible area 2 metres square would have been absolutely but also to breach the bases of the walls. It was only possible
futile." These facts are adduced to prove that it is not necessary to work the guns very slowly, and archers or crossbowmen were
to give great thickness to concrete casemates, to resist successive needed in support of them, to drive the defenders from the
bursts of shells in the same place; but surely they are equally crenellations or loopholes of the battlements. At that period
applicable to cupolas. Again (p. 252), The experience gained the artillery was used in place of the medieval siege engines and
at Port Arthur was not altogether encouraging as regards the in much the same manner. The guns of the defence were in-
use of high angle fire. The Russian vessels in the harbour were accurate, and being placed high on the walls were made ineffective
sunk by opening their sea-valves. . Fire was subsequently by bad mountings, which did not allow of proper depression.
directed upon them from 1 in. howitzers at ranges up to about The besieger therefore could place his guns close to the walls,
7500 yds. This was deliberate practice from siege batteries at with only the protection of a few large gabions filled with earth,
stationary targets; but the effect was distinctly disappointing." set up on the ground on either side of the muzzle.
The cupolas therefore can hardly be considered ideal targets: In the course of the i5th century the power of artillery was
and the probability is that they would hold their own against largely increased, so that walls and gates were destroyed by it
both direct and indirect fire for a long time. There are other in an astonishingly short time. Three results shortly followed.
FORTIFICATION AND SIEGECRAFT
The guns of the defence having gained equally in effectiveness,
greater protection was needed for the attack batteries; bastions
and outworks were introduced to keep the besieger at a distance
from the inner walls; and the walls were sunk in ditches so that
they could only be breached by batteries placed on the edge
of the glacis.
Early in the i6th century fortresses were being rapidly re-
modelled on these lines, and the difficulties of the attack were at
once very much increased. The tendency of the assailants was
still to make for the curtain, which had always been considered
the weak point; but the besiegers now found that they had to
bring their guns right up to the edge of the ditch before they could
make a breach, andindoing so had to pass over ground which was
covered by the converging fire from the faces of the bastions.
Towards the end of the century the attack of the curtain was
delayed and the cross-fire over the ground in front increased by
the introduction of ravelins.
The slight gabion protection for the siege batteries was at
first replaced by strong timber shelters. These were found in-
adequate; but a still greater difficulty was that of bringing up the
siege guns to their positions, emplacing them and maintaining
communication with them under fire. In addition to this, the
guns of the defence until they could be overpowered (a slow
process) dominated a wide belt of ground in front of the fortress;
and unless the besiegers could find some means of maintaining
a strong guard close to their batteries these were liable to be
destroyed by sorties from the covered way.
Gradually the whole problem of siege work centred round-the
artillery. The besiegers found that they had first to bring up
enough guns to overpower those of the defence; then
sloscraft to advance their guns to positions from which they
Vauban. could breach the walls; and throughout these opera-
tions to protect them against sorties. Breaches once
made, the assault could follow on the old lines.
The natural solution of the difficulty of approach to the
battery positions was the use of trenches. The Turks were the
first to make systematic use of them, having probably inherited
the idea from the Eastern Empire. The soldiers of Christendom,
however, strongly disliked digging, and at first great leaders like
Bayard and Montluc had themselves to use pick and shovel, to
give their men an example. In due course the necessity of the
trenches was recognized, but the soldiers never took kindly to
them, and the difficulty was dealt with in a manner reminiscent
of the feudal ages, by impressing large bodies of peasantry as
workmen whenever a siege was in contemplation.
Through the r6th and most of the 17th century, therefore,
we find the attack being conducted by means of trenches leading
to the batteries, and supported by redoubts often called places
of arms also made by trench work. During this period the
result of a siege was always doubtful. Both trenches and
batteries were arranged more or less at haphazard without any
definite plan; and naturally it often happened that offensive
action by the besieged against the trenches would disorder the
attack and at times delay it indefinitely. Fig. 64, taken from a
late 17th-century print by de Fer of Paris, gives a good idea of
the general practice of that day when Vauban's methods were
not yet generally known.
Another weak point about the attack was that after the
escarp walls had been strengthened to resist artillery fire as has
been described, there was no clear idea as to how they should
be breached. The usual process was merely an indiscriminate
pounding from batteries established on the crest of the glacis.
Thus there were cases of sieges being abandoned after they had
been carried as far as the attempt to breach.
It is in no way strange that this want of method should have
characterized the attack for two centuries after artillery had
begun to assert its power. At the outset many new ideas had
to be assimilated. Guns were gradually growing in power;
sieges were conducted under all sorts of conditions, sometimes
against medieval castles, sometimes against various and widely-
differing examples of the new fortification; and the military
systems of the time were not favourable to the evolution of
method. It is the special feature of Vauban's practical genius
for siege warfare that he introduced order into this chaos and
made the issue of a siege,under normal conditions, a mere matter
of time, usually a very short time.
The whole of Vauban's teaching and practice cannot be
condensed into the limits of this article, but special reference
must be made to several points. The most important Vauba*,
of these is his general arrangement of the attack. teaching.
The ultimate object of the attack works was to make
a breach for the assaulting columns. To do this it was necessary
to establish breaching batteries on the crest of the glacis; and
before this could be done it was necessary to overpower the
enemy's artillery. This preliminary operation is nowadays
called the artillery duel." In Vauban's day the effective
range of guns was 600 to 700 yds. He tells us that it was cus-
tomary to establish batteries at 0ooo yds. from the place, but
FIG. 64.-Siege-works of the 17th century.
that at that range they did little more than make a great deal
of noise. The first object of the attack, therefore, after the
preliminary operations of investment, &c., had been completed,
was to establish batteries within 600 or 700 yds. of the place,
to counter-batter or enfilade all the faces bearing on the front
of attack; and to protect these batteries against sorties. After
the artillery of the defences had been subdued-if it could not
be absolutely silenced-it was necessary to push trenches to
the front so that guns might be conveyed to the breaching
positions and emplaced there in batteries. Throughout these
processes it was necessary to protect the working parties and the
batteries against sorties.
For this purpose Vauban devised the Places d'armes or lignes
paralldles. He tells us that they were first used in 1673 at the
siege of Maestricht, where he conducted the attack, and which
was captured in thirteen days after the opening of the trenches.
The object of these parallels was to provide successive positions
for the guard of the trenches, where they could be at hand to
repel sorties. The latter were most commonly directed against
the trenches and batteries, to destroy them and drive out the
working parties. The most vulnerable points were the heads
of the approach trenches. It was necessary, therefore, that the
guard of the trenches should be in a position to reach the heads
of the approaches more quickly than the besieged could do so
from the covered way. This was provided for as follows.
The first parallel was usually established at about 600 yds.
from the place, this being considered the limiting range of action
FORTIFICATION AND SIEGECRAFT
of a sortie. The parallel was a trench 12 to 15 ft. wide and 3 ft.
deep, the excavated earth being thrown forward to make a
parapet 3 or 4 ft. high. In front of the first parallel and close
Sto it were placed the batteries of the first artillery position."
While these batteries were engaged in silencing the enemy's
artillery, for which purpose most of them were placed in pro-
e longation of the faces of the fortress so as to enfilade
atta(. them, the Approach Trenches were being pushed
S forward. The normal attack'included a couple of
bastion and the ravelin between, with such faces of the fortress
as could&upport them; and the approach trenches (usually
three sets) were directed on the capitals of the bastions and
ravelin, advancing in a zigzag so arranged that the prolongations
of the trenches always fell clear of the fortress and could not be
Fig. 65, taken from Vauban's Attack and Defence of Places,
shows clearly the arrangement of trenches and batteries.
After the approach trenches had been carried forward nearly
half-way to the most advanced points of the covered way, the
second parallel was constructed, and again the approach trenches
were pushed forward. Midway between the second parallel and the
covered way, short branches called Demi-parallels were thrown out
eo either flank of the attacks: and finally at the foot of the glacis
\Vme the third parallel. Thus there was always a secure position
f' a sufficient guard of the trenches. Upon an alarm the working
parties could fall back and the guard would advance.
Trenches were either made by common trenchwork, flying trench-
work or sap. In the first two a considerable length of trench was
excavated at one time by a large working party extended along the
trench: flying trenchwork (formerly known as flying sap) being
distinguished from common trenchwork by the use of gabions, by
the help of which protection could be more quickly obtained. Both
these kinds of trenchwork were commenced at night, the position
of the trench having been previously marked out by tape. The
tasks or quantities of earth to be excavated by each man were
FIG. 65.-Regular Attack (Vauba
so calculated that by daybreak the trench would afford a fair amount
of cover. Flying trenchwork was generally used for the 2nd parallel
and its approaches, and as far beyond it as possible. In proportion
i the attack drew nearer to the covered way, the fire of the defenders'
all-arms and wall-pieces naturally grew more effective, though
this time most of their artillery would have been dismounted
the fire of the siege batteries. It therefore became necessary
b fore reaching the 3rd parallel to have recourse to sap.
Sapping required trained men. It consisted in gradually pushing
forward the end of a narrow trench in the desired direction. At the
sap-head was a squad of sappers. The leading man excavated a
trench I ft. 6 in. wide and deep. To protect the head of the trench
he had a shield on wheels, under cover of which he placed the
gabions in position one after another as the sap-head pro- S. .
gressed. Other men following strengthened the parapet P'r
with fascines, and increased the trench to a depth of 3 ft., and a
width of 2 ft. 6 in. to 3 ft. Fig. 66, taken from Vauban's treatise on
the attack, shows the process clearly. The sap after being completed
to this extent could be widened at leisure to ordinary trench
dimensions by infantry working parties.
FIG. 66.-Sapping (Vauban).
As the work at the sap-head was very dangerous, Vauban encouraged
his sappers by paying them on the spot at piecework rates, which
increased rapidly in proportion to the risk. He thus stimulated all
concerned to do their best, and reckoned that under average con-
ditions he could depend on a
rate of progress for an ordinary
S sap of about 50 yds. in 24
,:r It is interesting to compare
S. the more recent method of
sapping with that above de-
Sscribed (fig. 67 taken from the
Instruction in Military Engin-
eering, 1896). It is no longer
possible to place gabions in
position at the sap head
Sunder fire. Accordingly the
S- leading sapper excavates to the
full depth of 4 ft. 6 in., and
---the rate of progress is retarded
Disproportionately, so that an
advance of only 15 to 30 yds.
in 24 hours can be reckoned
S on instead of 50. The head
of the sap is protected by a
number of half-filled sandbags,
which the leading sapper
7' throws forward as he goes on.
-. The nearer the approaches
drew to the covered way, the
I more oblique became the zig-
,. : zags, so that little forward
.. ...-- progress was made in propor-
S-- -- tion to the length of the trench.
.- i he approaches were then
carried straight to the front,
-" .;":iI by means of the "double
':S-;;i:' sap," which consisted of two
single saps worked together
S with a parapet on each side
(fig. 68). To protect these
n). from being enfiladed from the
front, traverses had to be left
at intervals, usually by turning the two saps at right angles to right
or left for a few feet, then forward, and so on as shown in fig. 69,
the distance apart of these traverses being of course regulated by
the height from which the enemy's fire commanded the trench.
The later stages in the attack are illustrated in fig. 70. From
the third parallel the attack was pushed forward up the glacis
by means of the double sap. It was then pushed right and
left along the glacis, a little distance from the crest of the
covered way. This was called crowning the covered way,