The Early Effects of Gunpowder on Fortress Design

The introduction of gunpowder did not immediately transform the battlefields of Europe.

Designers of fortifications only had to respond to the destructive threats of siege warfare, and witnessing the technical failures of early gunpowder weaponry would hardly have convinced a European magnate to bolster his defenses. This essay follows the advancement of gunpowder tactics in late medieval and early Renaissance Europe.

In particular, it focuses on Edward III's employment of primitive ordnance during the Hundred Years' War, the role of artillery in the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople, and the organizational challenges of effectively implementing gunpowder as late as the end of the fifteenth century.

This essay also seeks to illustrate the nature of the development of fortification in response to the emerging threat of gunpowder siege weaponry, including the architectural theories of the early Renaissance Italians, Henry VIII's English artillery forts of the mid-sixteenth century, and the evolution of the angle bastion. The article concludes with a short discussion of the longevity and lasting relevance of the fortification technologies developed during the late medieval and early Renaissance eras.

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Article Source: http://www.vexillumjournal.org

Keywords: Gunpowder,Artillery,Fortifications,Siege Warfare



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