Nov29

Bulwark and Bastion

A look at Musket Era Fortification.

The construction of fortifications to secure places from attack is a practice almost as old as mankind.Many primitive peoples have learned to erect stockades, earthworks, or walls of one sort or another to protect their dwelling places.

The classic civilizations of the Mediterranean protected their cities with massive walls strengthened by towers from which the defenders could deliver flanking tire. During the Middle Ages, barons constructed castles for their strongholds; and, later towns surrounded themselves with strong walls. The invention of gun powder, however. soon changed all this.

In 1453, the Turks breached the centuries old walls of Constantinople with huge new cannon. Nor was this an isolated incident. King Charles VII of France reduced the English strongholds in his country with guns and Charles Vlll invaded ltaly. bringing a large train of artillery along to demolish the fortifications of any who attempted to resist.

Obviously. old-time fortifications, walls and towers, had become obsolete. Low, semi-circular earth-works, called bulwarks, posted well in advance of the old fortifications, could make the enemy stay beyond effective cannon range of the walls. These bulwarks were strengthened with timber and revetted with brush, and seem to have been developed from the barbican. a kind of outwork to protect a gate.

Originally, butwarks were constructed before the gates, then at intervals all around the walls. However, such outworks were often easy to take by storm. Something new was needed.

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Author: Hinds & Fitzgerald

Article Source: http://naelibrary.nae.usace.army.mil

Keywords: Fortifications,Bulwarks,Bastions

 

Author:
Hinds & Fitzgerald
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