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Originally appearing in Volume V10, Page 713 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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FORTIFICATION AND SIEGECRAFT 707 and stronger arguments against the general use of them, all of which are clearly set forth by Sir George Clarke. The worst objections to the cupola are the military disadvantages of isolation and immobility, and the multiplication of mechanical arrangements. For a successful round from a disappearing cupola, the elevating and traversing arrangements, the elevating and loading gear of the gun, and the telephone communication, must all be in good order. At night the successful co-operation of the searchlight is also in many cases necessary. The teaching of history is all against immobile mechanical defences. Initiative, surprise, unforeseen offensive action, keeping the besieger in ignorance of the dispositions of the garrison, and of what progress he is making: all these, with their influence 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 unnecessary, because a concealed battery is a protected one; and with the long ranges now usual for heavy guns and howitzers,there is not generally much difficulty about concealment. In the opinion, however, of the present writer an exception must be made for guns intended to flank the line of defence, which would generally need bomb-proof over-head cover. Further, when we leave theory and come to the consideration of actual problems of defence, it will often be found that it is necessary to place guns in certain positions where good concealment cannot be got. In such cases some form of protection must be given if the guns are to engage the concealed batteries of the attack. aa Shetters for 120 men each 6&c. Wash-houses &c.prepar8d for defence of gorges dd Ditch defence eec Sentry posts. freedom of action to the defence and this should be taken full advantage of. The argument as to the vulnerability of shielded guns is not at present strong. Sir George says (ib. p. 94), " If the high angle fire . . . is ever to find a favourable opportunity, it will surely be against a cupola, the site of which can generally be determined with accuracy." On the other hand he says (p. 90), " During the long and costly experiments carried on at Bucharest in 1885-1886, 164 rounds were fired from the Krupp 21 cm. mortar at targets of about 40 sq. metres area " (about 430 sq. ft.) " without obtaining a single hit. The range was 2700 yds.; the targets were towers built upon a level plain; the shooting conditions were ideal, and the fall of each shell was telephoned back to the firing point; but it must have been evident to the least instructed observer that to attempt to group 6 or 8 shells on an invisible area 2 metres square would have been absolutely futile." These facts are adduced to prove that it is not necessary to give great thickness to concrete casemates, to resist successive bursts of shells in the same place; but surely they are equally applicable to cupolas. Again (p. 252), " The experience gained at Port Arthur was not altogether encouraging as regards the use of high angle fire. The Russian vessels in the harbour were sunk by opening their sea-valves. . . . Fire was subsequently directed upon them from 11 in. howitzers at ranges up to about 7500 yds. This was deliberate practice from siege batteries at stationary targets; but the effect was distinctly disappointing." The cupolas therefore can hardly be considered ideal targets: and the probability is that they would hold their own against both direct and indirect fire for a long time. There are other In considering the history of siegecraft since the introduction of gunpowder, there are three main lines of development to follow, viz. the gradually increasing power of artillery, the systematizing of the works of attack, and in recent times the change that has been brought about by the effect of modern small-arm fire. Cannon appear to have been first used in sieges as mortars, to destroy hoardings by throwing round stones and barrels of burning composition. Early in the 15th century we find cannon throwing metal balls, not only against hoarding and battlements, but also to breach the bases of the walls. It was only possible to work the guns very slowly, and archers or crossbowmen were needed in support of them, to drive the defenders from the crenellations or loopholes of the battlements. At that period the artillery was used in place of the medieval siege engines and in much the same manner. The guns of the defence were in-accurate, and being placed high on the walls were made ineffective by bad mountings, which did not allow of proper depression. The besieger therefore could place his guns close to the walls, with only the protection of a few large gabions filled with earth, set up on the ground on either side of the muzzle. In the course of the 15th century the power of artillery was largely increased, so that walls and gates were destroyed by it in an astonishingly short time. _ Three results shortly followed. 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 16th 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, and in doing 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 siegecraft to advance their guns to positions from which they euban. 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, tb 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 16th 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 ofmethod. 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 gnd practice cannot be condensed into the limits of this article, but special reference must be made to several points. The most important of these is his general arrangement of the attack. 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 customary to establish batteries at loon yds. from the place, but 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 paralleles. 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 Vauban's teaching. forward. The normal attack included a couple of bastions and the ravelin between, with such faces of the fortress as could support 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 enfiladed. 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 to either flank of the attacks: and finally at the foot of the glacis came the third parallel. Thus there was always a secure position for 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 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 as the attack drew nearer to the covered way, the fire of the defenders' small-arms and wall-pieces naturally grew more effective, though by this time most of their artillery would have been dismounted by the fire of the siege batteries. It therefore became necessary before 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 atrench 1 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- Sapping. gressed. Other men following strengthened the parapet 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. 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 conditions he could depend on a rate of progress for an ordinary sap of about 5o yds. in 24 hours. It is interesting to compare the more recent method of sapping with that above de-scribed (fig. 67 taken from the Instruction in Military Engineering, 1896). It is no longer possible to place gabions in position at the sap - head under fire. Accordingly the leading sapper excavates to the full depth of 4 ft. 6 in., and the rate of progress is retarded proportionately, so that an advance of only 15 to 30 yds. in 24 hours can be reckoned F on instead of 5o. The head of the sap is protected by a number of 'half-filled sandbags, which the leading sapper throws forward as he goes on. The nearer the approaches drew to the covered way, the more oblique became the zigzags, so that little forward progress was made in proportion to the length of the trench. The approaches were then carried straight to the front, by means of the " double sap," which consisted of two single saps worked together with a parappet on each side (fig. 68). To protect these 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. 7o. 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, 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 to 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- longation of the faces of the fortress so as to enfilade The attack. them, the " Approach Trenches " were being pushed and on the position thus gained breaching batteries were estab- lished in full view of the escarp. While the escarp was being breached, if it was intended to use a systematic attack Later throughout, a mine gallery (see Mining below) was stages driven under the covered way and an opening made the attack. through the counterscarp into the ditch. The sap was then pushed across the ditch, and if necessary up the breach, the defenders' resistance being kept under by musketry and artillery fire from the covered way. The ravelin and bastions were thus captured successively, and where the bastions had been re-trenched the same methods were used against the retrenchment. Vauban showed how to breach the escarp with the least expenditure of ammunition. This was done by making, with successive shots placed close together (which was feasible even in those days from a position so close as the crest of the covered way) horizontal and vertical cuts through the revetment wall. The portion of revetment enclosed by the cuts being thus detached from support was overturned by the pressure of the From Military Engineering, by permission of the Controller of H. M. Stationery Office. earth from the rampart. Ricochet fire was also the invention of Vauban. He showed how, in enfilading the face of a work, by using greatly reduced charges a shot could be made to drop over the crest of the parapet and skim along the terreplein, dismounting guns and killing men as it went. The constant success of Vauban must be ascribed to method and thorough organization. There was a deadly certainty 18th- about his system that gave rise to the saying " Place century assiegee, place prise." He left nothing to chance, principles and preferred as a rule the slow and certain progress of defence. of saps across the ditch and up the breach to the loss and delay that might follow an unsuccessful assault. His con-temporary and nearest rival Coehoorn tried to shorten sieges by heavy artillery fire and attacks across the open; but in the long run his sieges were slower than Vauban's. So much a matter of form did the attack become under these conditions, that in comparing the supposed defensive powers of different systems of fortification it was usual to calculate the number of days that would be required in each case before the breach was opened, the time being measured by the number of hours of work required for the construction of the various trenches and batteries. It began to be taken as a matter of course that no place under any circumstances could hold out more than a given number of days; and naturally, when the whole question had become one of formula, it is not surprising to find that places were very often surrendered without more than a perfunctory show of resistance. The theory of defence at this time appeared to be that since it was impossible to arrest the now methodical and protected progress of the besiegers' trenches, no real resistancewaspossible until after they had reached the covered way, and this idea is at the root of the extraordinary complications of outworks and multiplied lines of ramparts that characterized•the "systems" of this period. No doubt if a successor to Vauban could havebrought the same genius to bear on the actual defence of places as he did on the attack, he would have discovered that the essence of successful defence lay in offensive action outside the body of the place, viz. with trench against trench. For want of such a man the engineers of the defence resigned themselves contentedly to the loss of the open ground outside their walls, and relied either upon successive permanent lines IrdIIIIII/U/~~~~ of defence, or if these did 1%. /e not exist, upon extem- porized retrenchments, usually at the gorge of the A— .-.4. bastion. = :------ It is curious that such ---experienced soldiers as most of them were should not have realized the fatal effect upon the minds of the defenders which this almost passive abandonment of line after line must needs produce. Even a civilian—Machiavellihad seen into the truth of the matter years before nee.. when he said (Treatise on the Art of War, Book vii.): " And here I ought to give an advice . . . to those who are construct- ing a fortress, and that is, not to establish within its circuit fortifications which may serve as a retreat to troops who have been driven back from the first line. . . . I maintain that there is no greater danger for a fortress than rear fortifications whither troops can retire in case of a reverse; for once the soldier knows that he has a secure retreat after he has abandoned the first post, he does in fact abandon it and so causes the loss of the entire fortress." It must, however, be remembered that in those days when soldiers were mostly of a separate or professional caste, the whole thing had become a matter of business. Fighting was so much regulated by the laws and customs of war that men thought nothing of giving up a place if, according to accepted opinion, the enemy had advanced so far that they could no longer hope to defend it successfully. Once this idea had set in it became hopeless to expect successful defences, save now and then when some officer of very unusual re-solution was in command. This is the real reason for the feeble resistance so often made by fortresses in the 17th and 18th centuries, which has been attributed to inherent weakness in fortifications. Custom exacted that a commandant should not give up a place until there was an open breach or, perhaps, until he had stood at least one assault. Even Napoleon recognized this limitation of the powers of the defence when in the later years of his reign -he was trying to impress upon his governors the importance of their charge. The limitation was perfectly unnecessary, for history at that time could have afforded plenty of instances of places that had been successfully defended for many months after breaches were opened, and assault after assault repulsed on the same breach. But the same soldiers of the 17th and 18th centuries who had. created this artificial condition of affairs, Scale s 5 Io Feet .. omw ililullunwlPy 'usnimiti1nrainif ; it yin IIAW4 '7_ 141 1 11...~?1'',.''.'~'l 4 Soma ttotn9fIII? . i[iilliiili iiMfll7il liNi WIIIIUINiiIHIl01ilNII01t11114111i13 ~;,nllnlillllltlllllllllllll. tomlpllpl ulillninuu IVlu llinutI011lgl~1IIIVIpIIHIIlllltllfllHillhillHIlllwie established it by making it an understood thing that a garrison which surrendered without giving too much trouble after a breach had been opened should have honourable consideration; while if they put the besiegers to the pains of storming the breach, they were liable to be put to the sword. It has been necessary to dwell at some length on the siegecraft of Vauban and his time, not merely for its historical interest, but because the system he introduced was practically Peninsular unaltered until the end of the 19th century. The war. sieges of the Peninsular War were conducted on his lines; so was that of Antwerp in 183o; and as far as the disposition of siege trenches was concerned, the same system remained in the Crimea, the Franco-German War and the Russo-Turkish War. The sieges in the Napoleonic wars were few, except in the Iberian peninsula. These last differed from those of the Vauban period and the 18th century in this, that instead of being deliberately undertaken with ample means, against fortresses that answered to the requirements of the time, they were attempted with inadequate forces and materials, against out-of-date works. The fortresses that Wellington besieged in Spain had rudimentary outworks, and escarps that could be seen and breached from a distance. At that time, though the power of small arms had increased very slightly since the last century, there had been a distinct improvement in artillery, so that it was possible to breach a visible revetment at ranges from 500 to l000 yds. Wellington was very badly off for engineers, siege artillery and material. Trench works could only be carried out on a small scale and slowly. Time being usually of great importance, as in the first two sieges of Badajoz, his technical advisers endeavoured to shorten sieges by breaching the escarp from a distance—a new departure—and launching assaults from trenches that had not reached the covered way. Under these circumstances the direct attacks on breaches failed several times, with great loss of life. Wellington in one or two earlier despatches reflected on his engineers for not establishing their batteries on the crest of the glacis. The failures are, however, clearly due to attempts to push sieges to a conclusion without proper preparation. So much has been written of late years in criticism of the fortification to what may be called the Vauban period that it is important to note what were the preparations considered necessary for a siegeat that time (Journals of Sieges in Spain, 1817 to 1814). Sir John Jones summarizes his own experience in Spain and the data accumulated by practical engineers in former sieges from the time of Vauban onwards, in the following conclusions: The actual work of entrenching, sapping, &c., on the front attacked was much the same whether the fortress contained 5000 or 10,000 men. On the other hand the guard of the trenches was proportionate to the fighting men inside the fortress. (The total number of men had of course to be sufficient to allow three or four complete shifts or " reliefs " for all work and duties.) Adding a proportion of men for camp and other duties, he calculates, for the vigorous siege of an ordinary place situated in open country and containing 5000 men, a corps of 32,080 effectives, and remarks further that this force would be greatly exhausted after a month's service. The same place held by Io,000 would call for a besieging army of 50,830 men (guards and duties increasing, but not working parties). Thus the besieger should if possible have a superiority of 7 to 1 if the garrison numbered 5000, 6 to I if 10,000 and 5 to I if 15,000 and so on. As regards artillery, he should have as many, and if possible twice as many, guns as those of the defender on the front of attack, as well as howitzers for sweeping every line subject to enfilade and mortars for destroying traverses, &c. Later in the siege, more howitzers and mortars to clear the covered way and places of arms, and finally, after the covering of the covered way, fifty additional battering guns ould be required. It is apparent from this that the practical engineers of the day looked upon a siege as a serious matter, and did not find permanent fortifications wanting in defensive strength. During the long peace that followed the Napoleonic wars, one advance Crimea. was made in siege- craft. In England in 1824 successful experiments were carried out in breaching an unseen wall by curved or indirect fire from howitzers. At Antwerp in 183o the in-creasing power and range of artillery, and especially of howitzers, were used for bombarding purposes, the breaches there being mostly made by mines. Then came one of the world's great sieges; that of Sevastopol in 1854—1855 (See CRIMEAN WAR). The outstanding lesson of Sevastopol is the value of an active defence; of going out to meet the besieger, with countertrench and countermine. This lesson has increased in value for us in pro-portion to the increased power of the rifle. In comparing the resistance made behind the earthworks of Sevastopol with the recorded defences of permanent works, it is essential to remember that the conditions there were'quite abnormal. Sir John Jones has told us what the relative forces of besiegers and besieged should be, and the necessary preponderance of artillery for the attack. The following quotations may be added: " The siege corps should be sufficiently strong—(I) To invest the fortress completely, and maintain the investment against all the efforts of the garrison. (2) If a regular siege is contemplated, to execute and guard all the siege works required for it. Complete investment may sometimes be impossible, but experience has repeatedly shown that the difficulties of a siege are enormously increased if the garrison are able to draw fresh troops and supplies from outside, and to rid themselves of their sick and wounded " (Lewis). Again as regards artillery: " In a regular attack, where every point is gained inch by inch, it is impossible to succeed without overpowering the defensive artillery "; and " it is useless to attempt to sap near a place till its artillery fire is subdued . " (Jones). These conditions were so far from being fulfilled at Sevastopol that (a) there was no investment—in fact the Russians came nearer to investing the Allies; (b) the Russians had the preponderance in guns almost throughout; (c) the Russian force in and about Sevastopol was numerically superior to that of the Allies. We must add to this that Todleben had been able to get rid of most of his se –es civilian population, and those who remained were chiefly dockyard workmen, able to give most valuable assistance on the defence works. The circumstances were therefore exceptionally favourable to an active defence. The weak point about the extemporized earthworks, which eventually led to the fall of the place, was the want of good bomb-proof cover near the parapets. The Franco-German War of 187o produced no great novelty. The Germans were not anxious to undertake siege operations when it could be avoided. In several cases minor fortresses surrendered after a slight bombardment. In others, after the bombardment failed, the Germans contented themselves with establishing a blockade or detaching a small observing force. By far the most interesting siege was that of Belfort (q.v.). Here Colonel Denfert-Rochereau employed the active defence so successfully by extemporizing detached redoubts and fortifying outlying villages, that he obliged the besiegers (who, however, were a small force at first) to take up an Investing line 25 M. long; and succeeded in holding the village of Danjoutin, 2000 yds. in advance of the enceinte, for two months after the siege began. He also used indirect fire, withdrawing guns from the ramparts and placing them in the ditches, in the open spaces of the town, &c. At Paris the French found great advantage in placing batteries in inconspicuous positions outside the forts. Their direct fire guns were at a disadvantage in being fired through embrasures. These had served their purpose when artillery fire was very inaccurate, but had now for a long time been recognized by the best engineers as out of date. The Germans since the siege of Duppel in 1864 had mounted their siege guns on " overhank " carriages; that is, high carriages which made it possible to fire the guns over the parapet of the battery without embrasures.; The guns in the Paris forts which were further handicapped by conspicuous parapets and the bad shooting of the gunners were easily silenced. At Strassburg indirect fire against escarps was used. The escarp of Lunette 53 was successfully breached by this method. The breaching battery was 87o yds. distant, and the shot struck the face of the wall at an angle (horizontally) of 550, the effect being observed and reported from the counterscarp. moo rounds from 6o-pounder guns sufficed to make a breach 30 yds. wide. Fig. 71 is a good example of the attack in the late stages. It will be observed that batteries for mortars and field guns are established in the captured lunettes. The narrow wet ditch of Lunette 53 was crossed by a dam of earth and fascines, the headway protected by a parapet or screen of sandbags. " Lunette 52 was unrevetted, and its ditch was more than 6o yds. wide, and 6 to 9 ft. deep. . . . It was determined to effect the passage by a cask bridge, for which the casks were furnished by breweries near at hand. . . . The formation of the bridge was begun at nightfall. A pioneer swam across, hauled over a cable, and made it fast to the hedge on the berm. Four men were stationed in the water, close to the covered way, the casks were rolled down to them one after the other, and fitted with saddles, so as to form piers . . . these piers were successively boomed out along the line of the cable. . . . In two hours the bridge was finished, and the lunette was entered. . . . The work had not been discovered by the besieged, and the formation of lodgments inside the lunette was already begun, when the noise made by some troops in passing the bridge attracted attention, and drew a fire which cost the besiegers about 5o men. A dam was afterwards substituted for the bridge, as it was repeatedly struck by shells." (R.E. Professional Papers, vol. xix.) It is curious to realize that this happened at so recent a time. Such operations would be impossible now, as long as any defending guns remained in action. On the whole it may be said that siegecraft gained practically nothing from the Franco-German War. The Russo-Turkish war taught less, Plevna (q.v.) having been defended Modern b field works and attacked b the old-fashioned siege war- by by fare. methods. For the last ten years of the 19th century military opinion was quite at a loss as to how the sieges of the future would work out. As guns and projectiles continued to improve the " attaque brusquee " proposed by von Sauer had many adherents. It was thought that a heavy bombardment would paralyse resistance and open the way for an attack, to be delivered by great numbers and with special appliances for crossing obstacles. Others thought that the strength of the defence, as manifested by the Plevna field works,would be greater than ever when the field works were backed by permanent works, good communications and the resources of a fortress. One thing was obvious—namely, that as long as the artillery of the place, of even the smallest calibres, remained unsubdued, the difficulty of trenchwork and sapping would be enormously increased, and no one seemed to have formed a clear conception of how that difficulty was to be met. A lecture delivered in Germany about 1895 is worth quoting as a fair example of the vagueness of idea then prevailing: " For the attack, the following is the actual procedure: Accumulation and preparation of material for attack before the fortress: advance of attacking artillery, covered by infantry. Artillery duel, Throwing forward of infantry: destruction of the capability for defence of the position attacked; when possible by long- From Textbook of Fortification, by permission of the Controller H.M. Stationery Office. ' Fm. 71.—Strassburg, Lunettes 52 and 53, 1870. range artillery fire, otherwise by the aid of the engineers. Occupation of the defensive position. Assault on the inner lines of the fortress." That seemed quite a simple prescription, but the necessary drugs were wanting. And even since Port Arthur great uncertainty as to the future of the attack remains. Modern artillery has much simplified the construction of siege batteries. Formerly siege batteries and rampart batteries opposed each other with direct fire at ranges not too long for the unaided human eye, and the shells, travelling with low velocity, bit into the parapets, and, exploding, produced their full effect. Accordingly the task of the gunners was, by accurate fire, to destroy the parapets and embrasures, and to dismount the guns. The parapets of siege batteries were therefore made from 18 to 30 ft. thick, and the construction of such batteries, with traverses, &c., involved much work. The height of parapet necessary for proper protection being 7 ft. 6 in. to 8 ft., a great deal of labour could be saved by sinking the gun-platforms about 4 ft. below the surface level, but of course this was only possible where rock or water were not near the surface. The effect of modern projectiles was to reduce the thickness of earth necessary for parapets. High velocity projectiles are very easily deflected upwards by even a slight bank of earth. This is Franco-German war. especially the case with sand. Loose earth is better than compacted earth, and clay offers the least resistance to penetration. These facts were taken note of in England more than on the Continent in the design of instructional siege batteries. The construction of batteries is moreover vastly simplified by the long ranges at which artillery will fight in future. It will as a rule be possible to place howitzer batteries in such positions that even from balloons it will be difficult to locate them; and even direct fire batteries can easily be screened from view. This renders parapets unnecessary, and probably no more protection will be used than light splinter-proof screens to stop shrapnel bullets or fragments of common shell. Moreover batteries can be constructed at leisure and by daylight. The most important point about the modern battery is the gun platform for the larger natures of guns and howitzers. These require very solid construction to resist the heavy shock of discharge. Not long ago it was thought that the defence would have larger ordnance than the attack, as anything heavier than an 8 in. howitzer required a concrete bed, which could not be made at short notice. The Japanese, however, at Port Arthur made concrete platforms for 11 in. howitzers. It may be remarked that difficulties which loom largely in peace are often overcome easily enough under the stress of war. Another gain to the attack is in connexion with magazines. The old powder magazines were particularly dangerous adjuncts to batteries, and had to be very carefully bomb-proofed. Such propellants as cordite, however, are comparatively harmless in the open. They are very difficult to detonate, and if set on fire do not explode like gunpowder. It is therefore unnecessary to provide bomb-proof magazines for them in connexion with the batteries. In future sieges the question of supply will be more important than it has ever been. Leaving out of the question the bringing up of supplies from the base of operations, the task of distribution at the front is a very large one. The Paris siege manoeuvres of 1894 furnish some instructive data on this point. The main siege park was at Meaux, to m. from the 1st artillery position, and the average distance from the 1st artillery position to the principal fort attacked was 5000 yds. The front of attack on Fort Vaujours and its collateral batteries covered 10,000 yds. There were 24 batteries in the 1st artillery position; say 100 guns, spread over a front of 4000 yds. To connect Meaux with the front, the French laid some 30 M. of narrow gauge railway largely along existing roads. The line was single, with numerous branches and sidings. They ran 11 regular trains to the front daily and half-a-dozen supplementary. The amount of artillery material sent up was over 5000 tons, without any projectiles; but it can easily be imagined that large demands were also made on transport for other purposes. For instance, one complete bakery train was sent up daily. The amount of ammunition sent up would be limited only by the power of transporting it. A siege train of 100 pieces could probably dispose of from 50o to moo tons of ammunition a day, at the maximum rate of firing. But the most important question affecting the sieges of the future (putting aside accidental circumstances) will be the configuration of the ground. Assuming that local conditions do not specially favour the artillery of either side, it is highly probable that the artillery duel will result in a deadlock. If the besiegers' guns do not succeed in silencing those of the defence from the 1st or distant artillery position (which, whether they are in cupolas or in concealed positions, will in any case be an extremely difficult task), it will be necessary for the infantry to press in; to feel for weak points, and to fight for those that offer better positions for fire and observation. In doing this they will have to face the defenders' infantry, entrenched, backed by their unsilenced guns, and having secure places of assembly from which to deliver counter-attacks. The distance to which they can work forward and establish themselves under these conditions will depend on the ground. It will then be for the engineers to cross the remaining space by sap. This, under present conditions, will be a tedious process, and may even take long enough to cause the failure of the siege. As to the manner of the sap, it will certainly be " deep," as long as the defence retains any artillery power. When the 4 ft. 6 in. sap already described was first introduced, it was known as a "deep sap "; but the sieges of the future will probably necessitate a true deep sap, that is one in which the whole of the necessary cover is got below the surface of the earth. Such a sap may consist of an open trench, about 6 ft. deep, the whole of the excavated earth being carried away through the trench to the rear; or a blinded trench, covered in as it progresses by splinter-proof timbers and earth; or a tunnelled trench, leaving a foot or so of surface earth undisturbed. In either case nothing should be visible from the front to attract artillery fire. As the sap is completed, it will sometimes be necessary to add a slight parapet in places, to give command over the foreground for the rifles of the guard of the trenches. The sap will have to be pushed up quite close to the defenders' trenches and obstacles. After that further progress must either be made by mining, or as seems very probable, by getting the better of the defenders in a contest with shells from short-range mortars. Just as in the feudal ages a castle was built on some solitary eminence which lent itself to the defensive methods of the time, so in the future the detached forts and supporting points in the girdleof a fortress will be sited where smooth and gentle slopes of ground give the utmost opportunity to the defenders' fire, and the least chance of concealment to the enemy. There will be considerable latitude of choice in the defensive positions; though not, of course, the same latitude as when the existence of a precipitous hill was the raison d'dtre of the castle. In some places, as at Port Arthur, the whole country-side may by reason of its steep and broken slopes be unfavourable to the defence, though even then genius will turn the difficulties to account. But wherever it is possible the defender will provide for a space of woo yds. or so, swept by fire and illuminated by searchlights, in front of his lines. That space will have to be crossed by sap, and it needs little imagination to realize how great the task will be for the besieger. There are other modern methods of siege warfare to be noticed, the use of which is common to besiegers and besieged. Much is expected of balloons; but the use of these in war is unlikely to correspond to peace expectations. They must be kept at a consider-able distance from the enemy's guns, a distance which will increase as the means of range-finding improve; and as the height from which they can observe usefully is limited, so is the observers' power to search out hidden objects behind vertical screens. Thus, suppose a captive balloon at a height of 2000 ft., and distant 4000 yds. from an enemy's howitzer battery: and suppose the battery placed behind a steep hill-side or a grove of trees, at such a distance that a shell fired with 3o° elevation can just clear this screen. The line of sight from the observer to the battery is inclined to the horizontal at 2000 3 X0~ 4o that is e, or roughly 10°. It is obvious, therefore, that the observer cannot see the battery. Balloon observers are expected to assist the batteries by marking the effects of their fire. For this to be done on any practical scale a balloon would be required for each battery: that is, for only too guns, some 20 or 25 balloons. These would require an equal number of highly skilled observers (of whom there are not too many in existence), besides the other balloon personnel and accessories, and the means of making gas, which is too much to expect, even if an enemy were obliging enough to give notice of his intentions. Telephones and all other means of transmitting intelligence rapidly are now of the utmost importance to both attack and defence. Maps marked with numbered squares are necessary for directing artillery fire, especially from cupolas. Organization in every branch will give better results than ever before, and the question of communication and transport from the base of supplies right up to the front needs detailed study, in view of the great weight of ammunition and supplies that will have to be handled. The use of light mortars for the trenches, introduced by Coehoorn and revived with extemporized means at Port Arthur, needs great attention. It may be prophesied that the issue of important sieges in the future, when skilfully conducted on both sides with sufficient resources, will depend mainly on the energy of the defenders in trench work, on mining and countermining in connexion with the trenches, and on the use of light mortars made to throw large charges of high explosive for short distances with great accuracy. For a brief narrative of the siege of Port Arthur in 1904, one of the greatest sieges of history, both as regards its epic interest and its military importance, the reader is referred to the article Russo-JAPANESE WAR.

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