Online Encyclopedia

FORTIFICATION AND SIEGECRAFT

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V10, Page 694 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
Spread the word: del.icio.us del.icio.us it!
FORTIFICATION AND SIEGECRAFT. " Fortification " is the military art of strengthening positions against attack. The word (Lat. fortis, strong, and facere, to make) implies the creation of defences. Thus the boy who from the top of a mound defies his comrades, or shelters from their snowballs behind a fence, is merely taking advantage of ground; but if he puts up a hurdle on his mound and stands behind that he has fortified his position. Fortification consists of two elements, viz. protection and obstacle. The protection shields the defender from the enemy's missiles; the obstacle prevents the enemy from coming to close quarters, and delays him under fire. Protection may be of several kinds, direct or indirect. Direct protection is given by a wall or rampart of earth, strong enough to stop the enemy's missiles. The value of this is reduced in proportion as the defender has to expose himself to return the enemy's fire, or to resist his attempts to destroy the defences. Indirect protection is given by distance, as for instance by a high wall placed on a cliff so that the defender on the top of the wall is out of reach of the enemy's missiles if these are of short range, such as arrows. This kind of defence was very popular in the middle ages. In the present day the same object is attained by pushing out detached forts to such a distance from the town they are protecting that the besieger cannot bombard the town as long as he is outside the forts. Another form of indirect protection of great importance is concealment. The obstacle may consist of anything which will impede the enemy's advance and prevent him from coming to close quarters. In the earliest forms of fortification the protecting wall was also the obstacle, or it may be a wet or dry ditch, an entanglement, a swamp, a thorn hedge, a spiked palisade, or some temporary expedient, such as crows' feet or chevaux de frise. The two elements must of course be arranged in combination. The besieged must be able to defend the obstacle from their protected position, otherwise it can be surmounted or destroyed at leisure. But a close connexion is no longer essential. The effect of modern firearms permits of great elasticity in the disposition of the obstacle; and this simplifies some of the problems of defence. Protection must be arranged mainly with reference to the enemy's methods of attack and the weapons he uses. The obstacle, on the other hand, should be of such a nature as to bring out the best effects of the defender's weapons. It follows from this that a well-armed force operating against a badly-armed uncivilized enemy may use with advantage very simple old-fashioned methods of protection; or even dispense with it altogether if the obstacle is a good one. When the assailant has modern weapons the importance of protection is very great. In fact, it may be said that in proportion as missile weapons have grown more effective, the importance of protection and the difficulty of providing it have increased, while the necessity for a monumental physical obstacle has decreased. The art of the engineer who is about to fortify consists in appreciating and harmonizing all the conditions of the problem, such as the weapons in use, nature of the ground, materials available, temper of assailants and defenders, strategical possibilities, expenditure to be incurred, and so forth. Few of these conditions are in themselves difficult to understand, but they are so many and their reactions are so complex that a real familiarity with all of them is essential to successful work. The keynote of the solution should be simplicity; but this is the first point usually lost sight of by the makers of " systems," especially by those who during a long period of peace have. time to give play to their imaginations. Fortification is usually divided into two branches, namely permanent fortification and field fortification. Permanent fortifications are erected at leisure, with all the resources that a state can supply of constructive and mechanical skill, and are built of enduring materials. Field fortifications are extemporized by troops in the field, perhaps assisted by such local labour and tools as may be procurable, and with materials that do not require much preparation, such as earth, brushwood and light timber. There is also an intermediate branch known as semi-permanent fortification. This is employed when in the course of a campaign it becomes desirable to protect some locality with the best imitation of permanent defences that can be made in a short time, ample resources and skilled civilian labour being available. The objects of fortification are various. The vast enceintes of Nineveh and Babylon were planned so that in time of war they might give shelter to the whole population of the country except the field army, with their flocks and herds and household stuff. The same idea may be seen to-day in the walls of such cities as Kano. In the middle ages feudal lords built castles for security against the attacks of their neighbours, and also to watch over towns or bridges or fords from which they drew revenue; whilst rich towns were surrounded with walls merely for the protection of their own inhabitants and their property. The feudal castles lost their importance when the art of cannon-founding was fairly developed; and in the leisurely wars of the 17th and 18th centuries, when roads were few and bad, a swarm of fortified towns, large and small, played a great part in delaying the march of victorious armies. In the present day isolated forts are seldom used, and only for such purposes as to block passes in mountainous districts. Fortresses are used either to protect points of vital importance, such as capital cities, military depots and dockyards, or at strategic points such as railway junctions. Combinations of fortresses are also used for more general strategic purposes, as will be explained later. I. HISTORY The most elementary type of fortification is the thorn hedge, a type which naturally recurs from age to age under primitive Ancient conditions. Thus, Alexander found the villages of the methods. Hyrcanians defended by thick hedges, and the same arrangements may be seen to-day among the least civilized tribes of Africa. The next advance from the hedge isthe bank of earth, with the exterior made steep by revetments of sods or hurdle-work. This has a double advantage over the hedge, as, besides being a better obstacle against assault, it gives the defenders an advantage of position in a hand-to-hand fight. Such banks formed the defences of the German towns in Caesar's time, and they were constructed with a high degree of skill. Timber being plentiful, the parapets were built of alternate layers of stones, earth and tree trunks. The latter were built in at right angles to the length of the parapet, and were thus very difficult to displace, while the earth prevented their being set on fire. The bank was often strengthened by a palisade of tree trunks or hurdle-work. After the bank the most important step in advance for a nation progressing in the arts was the wall, of masonry, sun-dried brick or niud. The history of the development of the wall and of the methods of attacking it is the history of fortification for several thousand years. The first necessity for the wall was height, to give security against escalade. The second was thickness, so that the defenders might Irave a platform on the top which would give them space to circulate freely and to use their weapons. A lofty wall, thick enough at the top for purposes of defence, would be very ex-pensive if built of solid masonry; therefore the plan was early introduced of building two walls with a filling of earth or rubble between them. The face of the outer wall would be carried up a few feet above the platform, and crenellated to give protection against arrows and other projectiles. The next forward step for the defence was the construction of towers at intervals along the wall. These provided flanking fire along the front; they also afforded refuges for the garrison in case of a successful escalade, and from them the platform could be enfiladed. The evolution of the wall with towers was simple. The main requirements were despotic power and unlimited labour. Thus the finest examples of the system known to history are also amongst the earliest. One of these was Nineveh, built more than z000 years B.C. The object of its huge perimeter, more than 5o m., has been mentioned. The wall was 120 ft. high and 30 ft. thick; and there were 15oo towers. After this no practical advance in the art of fortification was made for a very long time, from a constructional point of view. Many centuries indeed elapsed before the inventive genius of man evolved engines and methods of attack fit to cope with such colossal obstacles. The earliest form of attack was of course escalade, either by ladders or by heaping up a ramp of faggots or other portable materials. When the increasing height of walls made escalade too difficult, other means of attack had to be invented. Probably the first of these were the ram, for battering down the walls, and mining. The latter might have two objects: (a) to drive an underground gallery below the wall from the besiegers' position into the fortress, or (b) to destroy the wall itself by undermining. The use of missile engines for throwing heavy projectiles probably came later. They are mentioned in the preparations made for the defence of Jerusalem against, the Philistines in the 8th century B.C. They are not mentioned in connexion with the siege of Troy. At the sieges of Tyre and Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar in 587 B.C. we first find mention of the ram and of movable towers placed on mounds to overlook the walls. The Asiatics, however, had not the qualities of mind necessary for a systematic development of siegecraft, and it was left for the Greeks practically to create this science. Taking it up in the 5th century B.C. they soon, under Philip Y P times, . of Macedon and Alexander, arrived at a very high degree of skill. They invented and systematized methods which were afterwards perfected by the Romans. Alexander's siegecraft was extremely practical. His successors endeavoured to improve on it by increasing the size of their missile and other engines, which, however, were so cumbrous that they were of little use. When the Romans a little later took up the science they returned to the practical methods of Alexander, and by the time of Caesar's 'wars had become past-masters of it. The highest development of siegecraft before the use of gunpowder was probably attained in the early clays of the Roman empire. The beginning of the Christian era is therefore a suitable period at which to take a survey of the arts of fortification and siege-craft as practised by the ancients. In fortification the wall with towers was still the leading idea. The towers were preferred circular in plan, as this form offered the re-Conditions best resistance to the rain. The wall was usually re- n in enforced by a ditch, which had three advantages: it of op ng increased the height of the obstacle, made the bringing Chrithe stian up of the engines of attack more difficult, and supplied era. material for the filling of the wall. In special cases, as at ]erusalem and Rhodes, the enclosure walls were doubled and trebled. Citadels were also built on a large scale. The typical site preferred by the Romans for a fortified town was on high ground sloping to a river on one side and with steep slopes falling away on the other three sides. At the highest point was a castle serving as citadel. The town enclosure was designed in accordance with the character of the surrounding country. Where the enemy's approach was easiest, the walls were higher, flanking towers stronger and ditches wider and deeper. Some of the towers were made high for look-out posts. If there was a bridge over the river, it was defended by abridge-head on the far side; and stockades defended by towers were built out from either bank above and below the bridge, between which chains or booms could be stretched to bar the passage. The natural features of the ground were skilfully utilized. Thus when a large town was spread over an irregular site broken by hills, the enceinte wall would be carried over the top of the hills; and in the intervening valleys the wall would not only be made stronger, but would be somewhat drawn back to allow of a flanking defence from the hill tops on either side. The walls would consist of two strong masonry faces, 20 ft. apart, the space between filled with earth and stones. Usually when the lie of the ground was favourable, the outside of the wall would be much higher than the inside, the parapet walk perhaps being but a little above the level of the town. Palisades were used to strengthen the ditches, especially before the gates. There was little scope, however, in masonry for the genius of Roman warfare, which had a better opportunity in the active work of attack and defence. For siegecraft the Roman legions were specially apt. No modern engineer, civil or military, accustomed to rely on machinery, steam and hydraulic apparatus, could hope to emulate the feats of the legionaries. In earthworks they ex-celled; and in such work as building and moving about colossal wooden towers under war conditions, they accomplished things at which nowadays we can only wonder. The attack was carried on mainly by the use of+" engines," under which head were included all mechanical means of attack—towers, missile engines such as catapults and balistae, rams of different kinds, " tortoises " (see below), &c. Mining, too, was freely resorted to, also approach trenches, the use of which had been introduced by the Greeks. The object of mining, as has been said, might be the driving of a gallery under the wall into the interior of the place, or the destruction of the wall. The latter was effected by excavating large chambers under the foundations. These were supported while the excavation was proceeding by timber struts and planking. When the chambers were large enough the timber supports were burnt and the wall collapsed. The besieged replied to the mining attack by counter-mines. With these they would undermine and destroy the besiegers' galleries, or would break into them and drive out the workers, either by force of arms or by filling the galleries with smoke. Breaches in the wall were made by rams. These were of two kinds. For dislodging the cemented masonry of the face of the wall, steel-pointed heads were used; when this was done, another head, shaped like a ram's head, was substituted for battering down the filling of the wall. For escalade they used ladders fixed on wheeled platforms; but the most important means of attack against a high wall were the movable towers of wood. These were built so high that from their tops the parapet walk of the wall could be swept with arrows and stones; and drawbridges were let down from them, by which a storming party could reach the top of the wall. The height of the towers was from 70 to 150 ft. They were moved on wheels of solid oak or elm, 6 to 12 ft. in diameter and 3 to 4 ft. thick. The ground floor contained one or two rams.. The upper floors, of which there might be as many as fifteen, were furnished with missile engines of a smaller kind. The archers occupied the top floor. There also were placed reservoirs of water to extinguish fire. These were filled by force pumps and fitted with hose made of the intestines of cattle. Drawbridges, either hanging or worked on rollers,, were placed at the proper height to give access to the top of the wall, or to a breach, as might be required. Apollodorus proposed to place a couple of rams in the upper part of the tower to destroy the crenellations of the wall. The siege towers had of course to be very solidly built of strong timbers to resist the heavy stones thrown by the engines of thedefence. They were protected against fire by screens of osiers, plaited rope or raw hides. Sometimes it was necessary, in order to gain greater height, to place them on high terraces of earth. In that case they would be built on the site. At the siege of Marseilles, described by Caesar, special methods of attack had to be employed on account of the strength of the engines used by the besieged and their, frequent sallies to destroy the siege works. A square fort, with brick walls 30 ft. long and 5 ft. thick, was built in front of one of the towers of the town to resist sorties. This fort was subsequently raised to a height of six storeys, under shelter of a roof which projected beyond the walls, and from the eaves of which hung heavy mats made of ships' cables. The mats protected the men working at the walls, and as these were built up the roof was gradually raised by the use of endless screws. The roof was made of heavy beams and planks, over which were laid bricks and clay, and the whole was covered with mats and hides to prevent the bricks from being dislodged. This structure was completed without the loss of a man, and could only have been built by the Romans, whose soldiers were all skilled workmen. Although these towers were provided with bridges by which storming parties could reach the top of the wall, their main object was usually to dominate the defence and keep down the fire from the walls and towers. Under this protection breaching operations could be carried on. The approaches to the wall were usually made under shelter of galleries of timber or hurdle-work, which were placed on wheels and moved into position as required. When the wall was reached, a shelter of stronger construction, known as a " rat," was placed in position against it. Under this a ram was swung or worked on rollers; or the rat might,be used as a shelter for miners or for workmen cutting away the face of the wall. The great rat at Marseilles, which extended from the tower already described to the base of the tower of the city, was 6o ft. long, and built largely of great beams 2 ft. square, connected by iron pins and bands. It was unusually narrow, the ground sills of the side walls being only 4 ft. apart. This was no doubt in order to keep down the weight of the structure, which, massive as it was, had to be movable. The sloping roof and sides of timber were protected, like those of the tower, with bricks and moist clay, hides and wool mattresses. Huge stones and barrels of blazing pitch were thrown from the wall upon this rat without effect, and under its cover the soldiers loosened and removed the foundations of the tower until it fell down. In order that it might be possible to move these heavy structures, it was usually necessary to fill up the ditch or to level the surface of the ground. For this purpose an " approach tortoise " was often used. This was a shelter, something between the ordinary gallery and the rat, which was moved end on towards the wall, and had an open front with a hood, under cover of which the earth brought up for filling the ditch was distributed. The missile engines threw stones up to 600 lb weight, heavy darts from 6 to 12 ft. long, and Greek fire. Archimedes at the siege of Syracuse even made some throwing "Soo lb. The ranges varied, according to the machine and the weight thrown, up to 60o yds. for direct fire and 1000 yds. for curved fire. At the siege of Jerusalem Titus employed three hundred catapults of different sizes and forty balistae, of which the smallest threw missiles of 75 lb weight. At Carthage Scipio found 120 large and 281 medium catapults, 23 large and 52 small balistae, and a great number of scorpions and other small missile engines. Screens and mantlets for the protection of the engine-workers were used in great variety. In addition to the above, great mechanical skill was shown in the construction of many kinds of machines for occasional purposes. A kind of jib crane of great height on a movable platform was used to hoist a cage containing fifteen or twenty men on to the wall. A long spar with a steel claw at the end, swung in the middle from a lofty frame, served to pull down the upper parts of parapets and overhanging galleries. The defenders on their side were not slow in replying with similar devices. Fenders were let down from the wall to soften the blow of the ram, or the ram heads were caught and held by cranes. Grapnels were lowered from cranes to seize the rats and overturn them. Archimedes used the same idea in the defence of Syracuse for lifting and sinking the Roman galleys. Wooden towers were built on the walls to overtop the towers of the besiegers. Many devices for throwing fire were employed. The tradition that Archimedes burnt the Roman fleet, or a portion of it, at Syracuse, by focusing the rays of the sun with reflectors, is supported by an experiment made by Buffon in 1747. With a reflector having a surface of 50 sq. ft., made up of 168 small mirrors each 6 by 8 in., lead was melted at a distance of 140 ft. and wood was set on fire at 16o ft. The development of masonry in permanent fortification had long since reached its practical limit, and was no longer proof against the destructive methods that had been evolved. The extemporized defences were, as is always the case, worn down by a resolute besieger, and the attack was stronger than the defence. Through the dark ages the Eastern Empire kept alive the twin sciences of fortification and siegecraft long enough for the Crusaders to learn from them what had been lost in the West, Byzantium, however, always a storehouse of military science, while conserving a knowledge of the ancient methods and middle to fortification, so far as we know. In practice the ages. the great missile engines, contributed no new ideas nothing of it, and the efforts of Charlemagne and others of the Frankish kings to restore the art were hampered by the fact that their warriors despised handicrafts and understood nothing but the use of their weapons. During the dark ages the towns of the Gauls retained their old Roman and Visigoth defences, which no one knew properly how to attack, and accordingly the sieges of that period dragged themselves out through long years, and if ultimately successful were so as a rule only through blockade and famine. It was not until the Ilth century that siegecraft was revived in the West on the ancient lines. By this time a new departure of great importance Byzantines favoured multiplied enceintes or several concentric lines of defence. This of course is always a tendency of decadent nations. In the West the Roman fortifications remained standing, and the Visigoths, allies of Rome, utilized their principles in the defences of Carcassonne, Toulouse, &c. in the 5th century. Viollet-le-Duc's description and illustrations of the defences of Carcassonne will give a very good idea of the methods then in use: " The Visigoth fortification of the city of Carcassonne, which is still preserved, offers an analogous arrangement recalling those described by Vegetius. The level of the town is much more elevated than the ground outside, and almost as high as the parapet walks. The curtain walls, of great thickness, are composed of two faces of small cubical masonry alternating with courses of brick; the middle portion being filled, not with earth but with rubble run with lime. The towers were raised above these curtains, and their com- munication with the latter might be cut off, so as to make of each tower a small inde- pendent fort; ex- ternally these towers are cylindrical, and on the side of the town square; they rest, also towards the country, upon a cubical base or foundation. We subjoin (fig. I) the plan of one of these towers with the cur- tains adjoining. A is the plan of the ground-level ; B the plan of the first storey at the level of the parapet. We see, at C and D, the two excavations formed in front of the gates of the tower to intercept, when the drawbridges were raised, all communication between the town or the parapet walk and the several storeys of the tower. From the first storey access was had to the upper crenellated or battlemented portion of the tower by a ladder of wood placed interiorly against the side of the flat wall. The external ground-level was much lower than that of the tower, and also beneath the ground-level of the town, from which it was reached by a descending flight of from ten to fifteen steps. Fig. 2 shows the tower and its two curtains on the side of the town; the bridges of communication are supposed to have been removed. The battlemented portion at the top is covered with a roof, and open on the side of the town in order to permit the defenders of the tower to see what was going on therein, and also to allow of their hoisting up stones and other projectiles by means of a rope and pulley. Fig. 3 shows the same tower on the side towards the country; we have added a postern, the sill of which is sufficiently raised above the ground to necessitate the use of a scaling or step ladder, to obtain ingress. The postern is defended, as was customary, by a palisade or barrier, each gate or postern being provided with a work of this kind." Meanwhile, in western Europe, siegecraft had almost disappeared. Its perfect development was only possible for an army like that of the Romans. The Huns and Goths knewhad been castles. made in the seigneurial castle (q.v.), which restored for some centuries a definite superiority to the defence. Built primarily as strong-holds for local magnates or for small bodies of warriors dominating a conquered country, the conditions which called them into existence offered several marked advantages. The defences of a town had to follow the growth of the town, and would naturally have weak points. It was not to be expected that a town would develop itself in the manner most suitable for defence; nor indeed that any position large enough for a town could be found that would be naturally strong all round. But the site of a castle could be chosen purely for its natural strength, without regard, except as a secondary consideration, to'the protection of anything outside it; and as its area was small it was often easy to find a natural position entirely suited for the purpose. In fact it frequently happened that the existence of such a position was the raison d'etre of the castle. A small hill with steep sides might well be unapproachable in every direction by such cumbrous structures as towers and rats, while the height of the hill, added to the height of the walls, would be too much for the besiegers' missiles. If the sides of the hill were precipitous and rocky, mining became impossible, and the site was perfect for defence. A castle built under such conditions was practically impregnable; and this was the cause of the independence of the barons in the 11th and Lath centuries. They could only be reduced by blockade, and a blockade of long duration was very difficult in the feudal age. A very instructive example of 12th-century work is the Chateau Gaillard, built by Richard Cceur-de-Lion in 1196. This great castle, with ditches and escarpments cut out of the solid rock, and extensive outworks, was completed in one year. In the article CASTLE will be found the plan of the main work, which is here supplemented by an elevation of the donjon (or keep). The waved face of the inner or main wall of the castle, giving a divergent fire over the front, is an interesting feature in advance of the time. So also is the masonry protection of the machicolation at the top of the donjon, a protection which at that time was usually given by wooden hoardings. After the death of Richard, Philip Augustus besieged the chateau, and carried it after a blockade of seven months and a regular attack of one month. In this attack the tower at A was first mined, after which the whole of that outwork was abandoned by the defenders. The outer enceinte was next captured by surprise; and finally the gate of the main wall was breached by the pioneers. When this happened a sudden rush of the besiegers A outside view. prevented the remains of the garrison from gaining the shelter of the donjon, and they had to lay down their arms. Chateau Gaillard, designed by perhaps the greatest general of his time, exemplifies in its brief resistance the weak points of the designs of the 12th century. It is easy to understand how at each step gained by the besiegers the very difficulties which had been placed in the way of their further advance prevented the garrison from reinforcing strongly the points attacked. In the 13th century many influences were at work in the development of castellar fortification. The experience of such sieges as that of Chateau Gaillard, and still more that gained in the Crusades, the larger garrisons at the disposal of the great feudal lords, and the importance of the interests which they had to protect in their towns, led to a freer style of design. We must also take note of an essential difference between the forms of attack preferred by the Roman soldiery and by the medieval chivalry. The former, who were artisans as well as soldiers, preferred in siege works the certain if laborious methods of breaching and mining. The latter, who considered all manual labour beneath them and whose only ideal of warfare was personal combat, affected the tower and its bridge, giving access to the top of the wall rather than the rat and battering-ram. They were also fond of surprises, which the bad discipline of the time favoured. We find, therefore, important progress in enlarging the area of defence and in improving arrangements for flanking. The size and height of all works were increased. The keep of Coucy Castle, built in 1220, was 200 ft. high. Montargis Castle, also built about this time, had a central donjon and a large open enclosure, within which the whole garrison could move freely, to reinforce quickly any threatened point. The effect of flanking fire was increased by giving more projection to the towers, whose sides were in some cases made at right angles to the curtain walls. We find also a tendency, the influence of which lasted long after medieval times, towards complexity and multiplication of defences, to guard against surprise and localize successful assaults. Great attention was paid to the " step by step " defence. Flanking towers were cut off from their walls and arranged for separate resistance. Complicated entrances with traps and many doors were arranged. Almost all defence was from the tops of the walls and towers, the loopholes on the lower storeys being mainly for light and air and reconnoitring. Machicouli galleries (for vertical defence) were protected either by stone walls built out on corbels, or by strong timber hoardings built in war time, for which the walls were prepared beforehand by recesses left in the masonry. Loopholes and crenelles were protected by shutters. Great care and much ingenuity were expended on details of all kinds. Already in the 12th century the engineers of the defence had made provision for countermining, by building chambers and galleries at the base of the towers and walls. Further protection for the towers against the pioneer attack was given by carrying out the masonry in front of the tower in a kind of projecting horn. This was found later to have the further advantages of doing away with the dead ground in front of the tower unseen from the curtain, and of increasing the projection and thereforethe flanking power of the tower itself. The arrangement is seen in several of the towers at Carcassonne, and has in it the germ of the idea of the bastion. The defences of Carcassonne, remodelled in the latter half of the 13th century on the old Visigoth foundations, exemplify some of the best work of the period. Figs. 5 and 6 (reproduced from Violletle-Duc) show the plan of the defences of the town and castle, and a bird's-eye view of the castle with its two barbicans. The thick black line shows the main wall; beyond this are the lists and then the moat. It will be noted that the wall of the lists as well as the main wall is defended by towers. There are only two gates. That on the east is de- fended by two great towers and —~~_! a semicircular barbican. The gate of the castle, on the west, has a most complicated approach defended by a labyrinth of gates and flanking walls, which can-not be shown on this small scale, and beyond these is a huge circular barbican in several storeys, capable of holding 1500 men. On the side of the town the castle is protected by a wide moat, and the entrance is masked by another large semicircular barbican. An interesting feature of the general arrangement is the importance which the lists have assumed. The slight wooden barricade of older times has developed into a wall with towers; and the effect is that the besieger, if he gains a footing in the lists, has a very narrow space in which to work the engines of attack. The castle, after the Roman fashion, adjoins the outer wall of the town, so that there may be a possibility of communicating with a relieving force from outside after the town has fallen. There were also several posterns, small openings made in the wall at some height above the ground, for use with rope ladders. The siegecraft of the period was still that of the ancients. Mining was the most effective form of attack, and the approach to the walls was covered by engines throwing great stones against the hoardings of the parapets, and by cross-bowmen who were sheltered behind light mantlets moved on wheels. Barrels of burning pitch and other incendiary projectiles were thrown as before; and at one siege we read of the carcasses of dead horses and barrels of sewage being thrown into the town to breed pestilence, which had the effect of forcing a capitulation. With all this the attack was inferior to the defence. As Professor C. W. C. Oman has pointed out, the mechanical application of the three powers of tension, torsion and counter-poise (in the missile engines) had its limits. If these engines were enlarged they grew too costly and unwieldy. If they were multiplied it was impossible on account of their short range and great bulk to concentrate the fire of enough of them on a single portion of the wall. It is difficult to give anything like an accurate account, in a small space, of the changes in fortification which took place in the first two centuries after the introduction of gunpowder. fatrodac-The number of existing fortifications that had to be tioa of modified was infinite, so also was the number of gun- der attempted solutions of the new problems. Engineers pow ' had not yet begun to publish descriptions of their " systems "; also the new names and terms which came into use with the new works were spread over Europe by engineers of different countries, and adopted into new languages without much accuracy. Artillery was in use for some time before it began to have any effect on the design of fortification. The earliest cannon threw so very light a projectile that they had no effect on masonry and were more useful for the defence than the attack. Later, larger pieces were made, which acted practically as mortars, throwing stone balls with high elevation, and barrels of burning composition. In the middle of the 15th century the art of cannon-founding was much developed by the brothers Bureau in France. They introduced iron cannon balls and greatly strengthened the guns. In 1428 the English besieging Orleans were entirely defeated by the superior artillery of the besieged. By 1450 Charles VII. was furnished with so powerful a siege train that he captured the whole of the castles in Normandy from the English in one year. But the great change came after the invasion of Italy by Charles VIII. with a greatly improved siege train in 1494. The astonishing rapidity with which castles and fortified towns fell before him proved the uselessness of the old defences. It became necessary to create a new system of defences, and, says Cosseron de Villenoisy, " thanks to the mental activity of the Renaissance and the warlike conditions prevailing every-where, the time could not have been more favourable." There is no doubt that the engineers of Italy as a body were responsible for the first advance in fortification. There, where vital and mental energy were at boiling-point, and where the first striking demonstration of the new force had been given, the greatest intellects, men such as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Machiavelli, busied themselves over the problem of defence. It has been claimed that Albert Durer was the first writer on modern fortification. This was not so; Durer's work was published in 1527, and more than one Italian engineer, certainly Martini of Siena and San Gallo, had preceded him. Also Machiavelli, writing between 1512 and 1527, had offered some most valuable criticisms and general principles. Durer, moreover, had little influence on the progress of fortification; though we may see in his ideas, if we choose, the germ of the " polygonal " system, developed long afterwards by Montalembert. Dtirer's work was to some extent a connecting link between the old fortification and the new. He proposed greatly to enlarge the old towers; and he provided both them and the curtains with vaulted chambers for guns (casemates) in several tiers, so as to command both the ditch and the ground beyond it. His projects were too massive and costly for execution, but his name is associated with the first practical gun casemates. Before beginning to trace the effect of gunpowder on the design of fortification, it may be noted that two causes weakened the influence of the castles. First, their owners were slow to adopt the new ideas and abandon their high strong walls for low extended parapets, and, secondly, they had not the men necessary for long lines of defence. At the same time the corporations of the towns had learnt to take an active part inwarfare, and provided trained and disciplined soldiers in larg; numbers. When artillery became strong enough to destroy masonry from a distance two results followed: it was necessary to modify the masonry defences so as to make them less vulnerable, and to improve the means of employing the guns of the defence. For both these purposes the older castles with their restricted area were little suited, and we must now trace the development of the fortified towns. Probably the first form of construction directly due to the appearance of the new weapons was the bulwark (boulevard, baluardo or bollwerk). This was an outwork usually semicircular in The bul plan, built of earth consolidated with timber and revetted wart with hurdles. Such works were placed as a shield in front of the gates, which could be destroyed even by the early light cannon-balls; and they offered at the same time advanced positions for the guns of the defence. They were found so useful for gun positions for flanking fire that later they were placed in front of towers or at intervals along the walls for that purpose. This, however, was only a temporary expedient, and we have now to consider the radical modifications in designs. These affected both the construction and trace of the walls. The first lesson taught by improved artillery was that the walls should not be set up on high as targets, but in some manner screened. One method of doing this in the case of old works was The wall by placing bulwarks in front of them. In other cases the lists or outer walls, being surrounded by moats, were already partially screened and suitable for conversion into the main defence; and as with improved flanking defence great height was no longer essential, the tops of the walls were in some cases cut down. In new works it was natural to sink the wall in a ditch, the earth from which was useful for making ramparts. As regards resistance to the effect of shot, it was found that thin masonry walls with rubble filling behind them were very easily destroyed. A bank of earth behind the wall lessened the vibration of the shot, but once a breach was made the earth came down, making a slope easy of ascent. To obviate this, horizontal layers of brushwood, timber and sometimes masonry were built into the earth bank, and answered very well (fig. 7). Another expedient of still greater value was the use of counter-forts. The earliest counterforts were simply buttresses built -inward from the wall into the rampart instead of outward (fig. 8). Their effect was to strengthen the wall and make the breaches more difficult of ascent. An alternative arrangement for strengthening the wall was an arched gallery built behind it under the rampart (fig. 9). This construction was in harmony with the idea, already familiar, of a passage in the wall from which countermines could be started; but it has the obvious weakness that the destruction of the face wall takes away one of the supports of the arch. The best arrangement. which is ascribed to Albert Darer, was the " counter-arched revetment." This consisted of a series of arches built between the counterforts, with their axes at right angles to the face of the wall. Their advantage was that, while supporting the wall and taking all the weight of the rampart, they formed an obstacle after the destruction of the wall more difficult to surmount than the wall itself and very hard to destroy. The counter-arches might be in one, two or three tiers, according to the height of the wall (figs. to and II, the latter without the earth of the rampart and showing also a countermine gallery). A more important question, however, than the improvement of the passive defence or obstacle was the development of the active 'stt 0'0 defence by artillery. For this purpose it was necessary to find room for the working of the guns. At the outset it was of course a question The ram- of modifying the existing defences at as little cost as part. possible. With this object the roofs of towers were removed and platforms for guns substituted, but this only gave room for one or two guns. Also the loopholes in the lower storeys of towers were converted into embrasures to give a grazing fire over the ditch ; this became the commonest method of strengthening old works for cannon, but was of little use as the resulting field of fire was so small. In some cases the towers were made larger, with a semi-circular front and side walls at right angles to the curtain. Such towers built at Langres early in the 16th century had walls 20 ft. thick to resist battering. Even in new works some attempts were made to combine artillery defence with pure masonry protection. The works of Albert Durer in theory, and the bridge-head of Schaffhausen in practice, are the best examples of this. The Italian engineers also showed much ingenuity in arranging for the defence of ditches with masonry caponiers. These were developed from external buttresses, and equally with the casemated flanking towers of Darer contained the germs of the idea of " polygonal " defence. The natural solution, however, which was soon generally adopted, was the rampart; that is, a bank of earth thrown up behind the wall, which, while strengthening the wall as already indicated, offered plenty of space for the disposal of the guns. The ditch, which had only been occasionally used in ancient and medieval fortification, now became essential and characteristic. The ditch. Serving as it did for the double purpose of supplying earth for a rampart and allowing the wall to be sunk for concealment, it was found also to have a definite use as an obstacle. Hitherto the wall had sufficed for this purpose, the ditch being useful mainly to prevent the besieger from bringing up his engines of attack. When the wall (or escarp) was lowered, the obstacle offered by the ditch was increased by revetting the far side of it with a counterscarp. Beyond the counterscarp wall some of the earth excavated from the ditch was piled up to increase the protection given to the escarp wall. This earth was sloped down gently on the outer side to meet the natural surface of the ground in such a manner as to be swept by the fire from the ramparts and was called the Now, however, a new diffi- culty arose. In all times a chief element in a successful defence has consisted in action by the besieged outside the walls. The old ditches, when they existed, had merely a slope on the far side leading up to the ground-level; and the ditch was a convenient place in which troops preparing for a sortie could assemble with-out being seen by the enemy, and ascend the slope to make their attack. The introduction of the counterscarp wall prevented sorties from the ditch. At first it was customary, after the introduction of the counterscarp, to leave a narrow space on the top of it, behind the glacis, for a patrol path. Eventually the difficulty was met by widening this patrol path into a space of about 30 ft., in which there was room for troops to assemble. This was known as the covered way. With this last addition the ordinary elements of a profile of modern fortification were complete and are exemplified in fig. 12. Parapet Up to the gunpowder period the trace of fortifications, that is, the plan on which they were arranged on the ground, was very simple. It was merely a question of an enclosure wall adapted to the site and provided with towers at suitable intervals. Thefoot of the wall could be seen and defended everywhere, from the tops of the towers and the machicoulis galleries. The intro- duction of ramparts and artillery made this more diffi- The trace. cult in two ways. The rampart, interposed between the defenders and the face of the wall, put a stop to vertical defence. Also with the inferior gun-carriages of the time very little depression could be given to the guns, and thus the top of the enceinte wall, with or without a rampart, was not a suitable position for guns intended to flank the ditch in their immediate neighbourhood. The problem of the " trace " therefore at the beginning of the 16th century was to rearrange the line of defence so as to give due opportunity to the artillery of the besieged, both to oppose the besiegers' breaching batteries and later to defend the breaches. At the outset the latter role was the more important. In considering the early efforts of engineers to solve this problem we must remember that for economical reasons they had to make the best use they could of the existing walls. At first for flanking purposes casemates on the ditch level were used, the old flanking towers being enlarged for the purpose. Masonry galleries were constructed across the ditch, containing casemates which could fire to either side, and after this casemates were used in the counterscarps. Some use was also made of the fire from detached bulwarks. It was soon realized, however, that the flanking defence of the body of the place ought not to be dependent on outworks, and that greater freedom was required for guns than was consistent with casemate defence. The bulwark (which in its earliest shape suggests that it was in some sort the offspring of the barbican, placed to protect an entrance) gave plenty of space for guns, but was too detached for security. The enlarged tower, as an integral part of the lines, gave security, and its walls at right angles to the curtain gave direct flanking fire, but the guns in it were too cramped. The blending of the two ideas produced the bastion, an element of fortification which dominated the science for three hundred years, and so impressed itself on the imagination that to this day any strong advanced position in a defensive line is called by that name by unscientific writers. The word had been in use for a long time in connexion with extemporized towers or platforms for flanking purposes, the earliest forms being bastille, bastide, bastillon, and in its origin it apparently refers rather to the quality of work in the construction than to its defensive intention. The earliest bastions were modified bulwarks with straight faces and flanks, attached to the main wall, for which the old towers often acted as keeps; and at first the terms bulwark and bastion were more or less interchangeable. Fig. 13, taken from a con-temporary MS. by Viol let-le-Duc, shows a bastion added to the old wall of Troyes about 1528. On the other hand, in fig. 14 (taken from an English MS. of 1559, which again is based on the Italian work of Zanchi published in 1554), we find a a spoken of as " bulwarks " and b b as " bastilions." The triangular works between the bastilions are de-scribed as " ram-parts," intended to protect the curtains from breaching fire. (We may also notice in this design the broad ditch, the counterscarp with narrow covered way, and loopholes indicating counterscarp galleries.) Towards the end of the 16th century the term " bulwark " began to be reserved for banks of earth thrown up a little distance in front of the main wall to protect it from breaching fire, and it thus reverted to its original defensive intention. The term " bastion " henceforth denoted an artillery position connected by flanks to the main wall; and the question of the arrangement of these flanks was one of the main preoccupations of engineers. Exterior slope xte Covered way Glacis Flanks retired, casemated or open, or sometimes in several tiers were proposed in infinite variety. Thus, while in the early part of the 16th century the actual modification of existing defences was proceeding very slowly on account of the expense involved, the era of theoretical " systems " had begun, based on the mutual relations of flank and face. These can be grouped under three heads as follows: I. The cremaillere or indented trace: Faces and flanks succeeding each other in regular order (fig. 15). 2. The tenaille trace: Flanks back to back between the faces (fig. 16). The development of the flanks in this case gives us the star trace (fig. 17). 3. The bastioned trace: Flanks facing each other and connected by curtains (fig. 18). In comparing these three traces it will be observed that unless casemates are used the flanking in the first two is incomplete. Guns on the ramparts of the faces cannot defend the flanks, and therefore there are " dead " angles in the ditch. In the bastioned trace there is no " dead " ground, provided the flanks are so far apart that a shot from the rampart of a flank can reach the ditch at the centre of the curtain. Here was therefore the parting of the ways. For those who objected to casemate fire, the bastioned trace was the way of salvation. They were soon in the majority; perhaps because the symmetry and completeness of the idea captivated the imagination. At all events the bastioned trace, once fairly developed, held the field in one form or another practically without a rival until near the end of the 18th century. The Italian engineers, who were supreme throughout most of the 16th century, started it; the French, who took the lead in the following century, developed it, and officially never deserted it until late in the 19th century, when the increasing power of artillery made enceintes of secondary importance. It will be useful at this point to go forward a little, with a couple of explanatory figures, in order to get a grasp of the component parts of the bastioned trace as ultimately developed, and of its outworks. In fig. 19 ABCD represents part of an imaginary line drawn round the place to be fortified, forming a polygon, regular or irregular. ABC is an exterior angle or angle of the polygon. BC is an exterior side. zz is an interior side. abcdefghijk is the trace of the enceinte. bcdef is a bastion. zdef is a demi-bastion. de is a face of the bastion. _ e is a flank of the bastion. fg is the curtain. bf is the gorge. (Two demi-bastions with the connecting curtain make the bastioned front, defghi.) zd bisecting the exterior angle ABC is the capital of the bastion. xy is the perpendicular, the proportionate length of which to the exterior side BC (usually about one-sixth) is an important element of the trace. efC is the angle of defence. BCf is the diminished angle. cde is the flanked angle or salient angle of the bastion. e is the shoulder of the bastion. def is the angle of the shoulder. efg is the angle of the flank. The line of the escarp is called the magistral line since it regulates the trace. When plans of fortifications are given without much detail, this line, with that of the counterscarp and the crest of the parapet, are often the only ones shown,—the crest of the parapet, as being the most important line, whence the fire proceeds, being usually emphasized by a thick black line. Fig. 20, reproduced from a French engraving of 1705, shows an imaginary place fortified as a hexagon with bastions and all the S different kinds of outworks then in use. The following is the ex-planation of its figuring and lettering. I. Flat bastion: Placed in the middle of a curtain when the lines of defence were too long for musketry range. 2. Demi-bastion: Used generally on the bank of a river. 3. Tenaille bastion: Used when the flanked angle is too acute; that is, less than 70°. 4. Redans: Used along the bank of a river, or when the parapet of the covered way can be taken in reverse from the front. A, B. Ravelins. C. Demi-lunes: So called from the shape of the gorge. They differ from the ravelins in being placed in front of the bastions instead of the curtains. D. Counter-guards: Used instead of demi-lunes, which were then going out of fashion. E. Simple tenaille. F. Double tenaille (see L and M). (If the tenaille E is reduced in width towards the gorge, as shown alternatively, it is called a swallow-tail. If the double tenaille is t r The bastioned trace. reduced as at G, it is called a bonnet de preetre. Such works were rarely used.) H. Hornwork: Much used for gates, &c. I. Crown-work. K. Crowned hornwork. L. M. New forms of tenaille: (N.B.—These are the forms which ultimately retained the name.) N. New form of work called a demi-lune lunettee, the ravelin N being protected by two counter-guards, O. P. Re-entering places of arms. Q. Traverses. R. Salient places of arms. S. Places of arms without traverses. T. Orillon, to protect the flank V. X. A double bastion or cavalier. Y. A retrenchment with a ditch, of the breach Z. &. Traverses to protect the terreplein of the ramparts from enfilade. Turning back now to the middle of the 16th century we find in the early examples of the use of the bastion that there is no attempt made to defend its faces by flanking fire, the ,curtains being considered the only weak points of the enceinte. Accordingly, the flanks are arranged at right angles to the curtain, and the prolongation of the faces sometimes falls near the middle of it. When it was found that the faces needed protection, the first attempts to give it were made by erecting cavaliers, or raised parapets, behind the parapet of the curtain or in the bastions. The first example of the complete bastioned system is found in Paciotto's citadel of Antwerp, built in 1568 (fig. 21). Here we have faces, flanks and curtain in due proportion; the faces long enough to contain a powerful battery, and the flanks able to defend both curtain and faces. The weak points-of this trace, due to its being arranged on a small pentagon, are that the terreplein or interior space of the bastions is rather cramped, and the salient angles too acute. In the systems published by Speckle of Strassburg in 1589 we find a distinct advance. Speckle's actual constructions in fortification are of no great importance; but he was a great traveller and observer, and in his work, published just before his death, he has evidently assimilated, and to some extent improved, the best ideas that had been put forward up to that time. Two specimens from Speckle's work are well worth studying as connecting links between the 16th and 17th centuries. Fig. 22 is early 16th-century work much improved. There are no outworks, except the covered way, now fully developed, with a battery in the re-entering place of arms. The bastions are large, but the laces directed on the curtain get little protection from the flanks. To make up for this they are flanked by the large cavaliers in the middle of the curtain. The careful arrangement of the flank should be noted ; part of it is retired, with two tiers of fire, some of which is arranged to bear on the face of the bastion. The great saliency of the bastion is a weak point, but the whole arrangement is simple and strong. In the second example, known as Speckle's " reinforced trace " (fig. 23), we find him anticipating the work of the next century. The ravelin is here introduced, and made so large that its faces are in prolongation of those of the bastions. Speckle's other favouriteideas are here: the cavaliers and double parapets and his own particular invention of the low batteries behind the re-entering place of arms and the gorge of the ravelin. These low batteries did not find favour with other writers, being liable to be too easily destroyed by the besiegers'batteries crowning the salients of the covered way. Speckle's book is of great importanceas embodying the best work of the period. His own ideas are large and simple, but rather in advance of the powers of the artillery of his day. At the beginning of the 17th century we find the Italian engineers following Paciotto in developing the complete bastioned trace; but they got on to a bad line of thought in trying to reduce everything to symmetry and system. The era of geometrical The 17th fortification (or, as Sir George Clarke has called it, century. " drawing-board " fortification) had already begun with Marchi, and his followers busied themselves entirely in finding geometrical solutions for the application of symmetrical bastioned fronts to such imaginary forms of perimeter as the oval, club, heart, figure of eight, &c. Marchi, however, was one of the first to think of prolonging the resistance of a place by means of outworks such as the ravelin. De Villenoisy says that Busca was the first to discuss the proportions and functions of Scale o S, , , eooYard g all the component parts of a front; and Floriani, about 1630, was the last of the important Italians. The characteristics of a good deal of Spanish fortification carried out at this time were, according to the same authority, that the works were well adapted to sites, and the masonry excellent but too much exposed, while the bastions were too small. The Dutch and German schools will be referred to later. The French engineers now began to take the lead in adapting the principles already established to actual sites. In the first half of the century the names of de Ville and Pagan stand out as having contributed valuable studies to the advancement of the science. In putting forward their designs they discussed .very fully such practical questions as the length of the line of defence, whether this should be governed by the range of artillery or musketry fire, the length of flanks, the use in them of orillons. casemates and retired flanks, the size of bastions, &c. It is the latter half of the 17th century, however, which is one The 16th century. of the most important periods in the history of fortification, chiefly because it was illuminated by the work of Vauban. It was at this time also that a prodigious output of purely theoretical fortification began, which went on till the French Revolution. Many of the "systems" published at this time were elaborated by men who had no practical knowledge of the subject, some of them priests who were engaged in educating the sons of the upper classes, and who had to teach the elements of fortification among other things. They naturally wrote treatises, which were valuable for their clearness of style; and with their industry and ingenuity the elaboration of existing methods was a very congenial task. Most of these essays took the form of multiplication and elaboration of outworks on an impossible scale, and they culminated in such fantastic extravagances as the system of Rhana, published in 1769 (fig. 24). These proposals, however, were of no practical importance. The work of the. real masters who knew more than they published can always be recognized by its com-Vauban. parative simplicity. The greatest of these was Sebastien le Prestre de Vauban (q.v.). Born in 1633, and busied from his eighteenth year till his death in 1707 in war or preparations for war, he earned alike by his genius, his experience, his industry and his personal character the chief place among modern military engineers. His experience alone puts him in a category apart from others. Of this it is enough to say that he took part in forty-eight sieges, forty of which he directed as chief engineer with-out a single failure, and repaired or constructed more than 16o places. Vauban's genius was essentially practical, and he was no believer in systems. He would say, " One does not fortify by systems but by common sense," Of new ideas in fortification he introduced practically none, but he improved and modified existing ideas with consummate skill in actual construction. His most original work was in the attack (see below), which he reduced to a scientific method most certain in its results. It is therefore one of the ironies of fate that Vauban should be chiefly known to us by three so-called " systems," known as his " first," " second " and " third." How far he was from following a system is shown by de Villenoisy, who reproduces twenty-eight fronts constructed by him between 1667 and 1698, no two of which are quite alike and most of which vary very considerably to suit local conditions. Vauban's " first system," as variously described by other writers even in his own time, is' pieced together from some of the early examples of his work. The " second system " is the " tower bastion " defence of Bel- fort and Landau (1684- 1688), obviously suggested by a design of Castriotto's one hundred years earlier; and the " third system " is the front of Neu- Breisach (1698), which is merely Landau slightly improved. In other did not keep to the tower him. Fig. 25 shows two forms. In both the parapet of the tenaille had to be kept low, so that the flanks might defend a breach at the shoulder of the opposite bastion, with artillery fire striking within 12 ft. of the base of the escarp. Traverses are used for the first time on the covered way to guard against enfilade fire; and the re-entering place of arms, to which Vauban attached considerable importance, is large. For the construction of the trace an average length of about 40o yds. (which, however, is a matter entirely dependent on the site) may be taken for the exterior side. The perpendicular, except for polygons of less than six sides, is one-sixth, and the faces of the bastions two-sevenths of the exterior side. The flanks are chords of arcs struck from the opposite shoulder as centres. An arc described with the same radius, but with the angle of the flank as a centre, and cutting the perpendicular produced outwardly, gives the salient of the ravelin; the prolongations of the faces of the ravelin fall upon the faces of the bastions at 11 yds. from the shoulders. The main ditch has a width of 38 yds. at the salient of the bastions, and the counterscarp is directed upon the shoulders of the adjoining bastions. The ditch of the ravelin is 24 yds. wide throughout. As regards the profile the bastions and curtain have a command of 25 ft. over the country, 17 ft. over the crest of the glacis and 8 ft. over the ravelin. The ditches are 18 ft. deep throughout. The parapets are 18 ft. thick with full revetments. In his later works he used demi-revetments. Fig. 26 shows the tower bastions of Neu-Breisach, or the so-called third system." It is worth introducing, simply as showing that even a mind like Vauban's could not resist in old age the tendency to duplicate defences. Here the main bastions and tenaille are detached from the enceinte. The line of the enceinte is broken with flanks and further flanked by the towers. The ravelin is large and has a keep. The section through the face of- the bastion shows a demi-revetment with wide berm, and a hedge as an additional obstacle. After Vauban died, though the theories continued, the valuable additions to the system were few. Among his successors in the early part of the 18th century Cormontaingne (q.v.) has the greatest reputation, though his experience 18th and 19th and authority fell far short of Vauban's. He was a tulles. clear thinker and writer, and the elements of the system were distinctly advanced by him. His trace includes an enlarged ravelin with flanks, the ends of which were intended to close the gaps at the end of the tenaille, and a keep to the ravelin with flanks. He provides a very large 're-entering place of arms, also with a keep, the ditches of which are carefully traced so as to be protected from enfilade by the salients of the ravelin and bastion. He was also in favour of a permanent retrenchment of the gorge of the bastion. His works were printed, with many alterations, more than twenty years after his death, to serve as a text-book for the school of Mezieres. This school was established in 1748, and from this time forward there was an official school of thought, based on Vauban. Cormontaingne's work, therefore, represents the modifications of Vauban's ideas accepted works, between 1688 and 1698, he bastion idea. It will be convenient to take the " first system," as reproduced in the Royal Military Academy text book of fortification (fig. 25) as typical of much of Vauban's work. It may be observed that he sometimes uses the straight flank, and sometimes the curved flank with orillon. Parapets in several tiers are never used, nor cavaliers. The ravelin is almost always used. It is small, having little artillery power and giving no protection to the shoulders of the bastions. Sometimes it has flanks and occasion-ally a keep. The tenaille is very generally found. In this form, viz. as a shield to the escarp of the curtain, it was probably invented by by French engineers in the latter part of the 18th century. The school of Mezieres was afterwards replaced by that of Metz, which ,carried on its traditions. Such schools are necessarily conservative, and hence, in spite of the gradual improvement in ordnance and firearms, we find the main elements of the bastioned system remaining unchanged right up to the period of Section on AB o, to ao yds Reliefs in feet, +above or —below the plane of site the Franco-German War in 1870. Chasseloup-Laubat tells us that, before the Revolution, to attempt novelties in fortification was to write one's self down ignorant. How far the general form of the bastion with its outworks had become crystallized is evident from a cursory comparison of fig. 27 with Vauban's early work. This figure is the front of the Metz school in 1822; by General Noizet. Since, therefore, the official view was that the general outlines of the system were sacred, the efforts of orthodox engineers from Cormontaingne's time onwards were given to improvements of detail, and mainly to retard breaching operations as long as possible. We find enormous pains being bestowed on the study of the comparative heights of the masonry walls and crest levels; with the introduction here and there of glacis slopes in the ditches,put in both to facilitate their defence and to protect portions of the escarps. Among the unorthodox two names deserve mention. The first of these is Chasseloup-Laubat (q.v.), who served throughout the wars of the Republic and Empire, and constructed the fortress of Alessandria in Piedmont. Chasseloup's main proposals to improve the bastioned system were two : First, in order to prevent the bastions from being breached through the gaps made by the ditch of the ravelin, he threw forward the ravelin and its keep outside the main glacis. This had the further advantage of giving great saliency to the ravelin for cross-fire over the terrain of the attack. On the other hand, it made the ravelin liable to capture by the gorge. It is probable that this system would have lent itself to a splendid defence by an able commander with a strong force; but under the opposite conditions it has a dangerous element of weakness. Secondly, in order to get freedom to use longer fronts than those admissible for the ordinary bastioned trace, he proposed to extend his exterior side up to about 65o yds. and to break the faces of his bastions; the portion next the shoulder being defended from the flank of the collateral bastion and coinciding with the line of defence, and the portion next the salient, up to about 8o yds. in length, being defended from a central keep or caponier placed in front of the tenaille. The natural criticism of this arrangement is that it combines some of the defects of both the bastioned and polygonal systems without getting the full advantages of either. Fig. 28 shows a half front of Chasseloup's system, of ordinary length, as actually constructed. The section shows an interesting Reliefs to feet, •abooe or —below the plane of site o to so p 4o 5? ioo yd& detail, viz. the Chasseloup mask—a detached mask with tunnels for the casemate guns to fire through, the intention of which is to save them from being destroyed from a distance. The second name is that of Captain Choumara of the French Engineers, born in 1787, whose work was published in 1827. Two leading ideas are due to him. The first is that of the " independence of parapets." A glance at any of the plans that have already been shown will show that hitherto the crests of parapets had always been traced parallel to the escarp or magistral `line, Choumara pointed out that, while it was necessary for the escarp to be traced in straight lines with reference to the flanking arrangements, there was no such necessity as regards the parapets. By making the crest of the parapet quite independent of the escarp line he obtained great freedom of direction for his fire. The second idea is that of the " inner glacis." This was a glacis parapet placed in the main ditch to shield the escarp; its effect being to prevent the e§carp of the body of the place from being breached in the usual way by batteries crowning the crest of the covered way. The need for Choumara's improvements has passed by, but he was in his time a real teacher. One sentence of his strikes a resounding note: " What is chiefly required in fortification is simplicity and strength. It is not on a few little contrivances carefully hidden that one can rely for a good defence. The fate of a place should not depend on the intelligence of a corporal shut up in a small post prepared for his detachment." E' Before leaving the bastioned system it will be of interest to study a couple of actual and complete examples, one irregular and one regular. Fig. 29 shows the defences of Sedan as they were at the end of the 17th century. One sees the touch of Vauban here and there, but the work is for the most part apparently early 17th century. It will be observed that on the river side of the town the defence consists of very irregular bastions with duplicated wet ditches (see the Dutch style, below) ; and on the other side, where water is not available, strength is sought for by pushing a succession of hornworks far out. Fig. 3o is Saarlouis, constructed by Vauban in 168o in his early manner, a remarkable example of symmetry. Vauban of course never thought of aiming at symmetry, which is of itself neither good nor bad, but it is interesting to note such a perfect example of the system. It must here be remarked that the reproach of " geometrical " fortification is in no way applicable to the works of Vauban and his immediate successors. The true geometric fortification, which worshipped symmetry as a fetish, marked, as has been already pointed out, the decadence of the Italian school. Vauban and his fellows excelled in adapting works to sites, the real test of the engineer. The bastioned system was the 17th-century solution of the fortification problem. Given an artillery and musketry of short range and too slow for effective frontal defence, a ditch is necessary as an obstacle. What is the best means of flanking the ditch and of protecting the flanking arrangements? If Vauban elected for the bastion, we must before criticizing his choice remember that he was the most experienced engineer of his day, a man of the first ability and quite without prejudice. What is matter for regret is that the authority of Vauban should have practically paralysed the French school during the 18th and most of the 19th century, so that while the conditions of attack and defence were gradually altering they could admit no change of idea, and their best men, who could not help being original, were struggling against the whole weight of official opposition. :Again, such duplication of outworks as we see at Sedan is not geometric fortification. It is a definite attempt to retard the attack, on ground favourable to it, by successive lines of defence. As to the policy of this, no axiom can be laid down. Nowadays most of us think, as Machiavelli did, that a single line of defence is best and thata second line only serves to suggest the advisability of retreat. There are also, of course, the recognized drawbacks of outworks, difficulty of retreat, of relief and so forth, and the moral effect of their loss. But the engineers of such defences as Ostend and Candia might well say, " Oh, if only when we had held on to that bastion for so many months we had had a second and a third line of permanent retrenchment to fall back upon, we could have held the place for ever." And who shall say that they were wrong ? Let us at all events remember that the leading engineers of that time were men who had passed their lives in a state of war, and that we ourselves in comparison with them are the theorists. From the end of the 16th century the Dutch methods of fortification acquired a great reputation, thanks to the stout resistance offered to the Spaniards by some of their fortresses, the three years' defence of Ostend being sit o.1 tie perhaps the most striking example. Prolonged de- fences, which were mainly due to the desperate energy of the besieged, were credited to the quality of their defences. In point of fact the Dutch owed more to nature, and more still to their own spirit, than to art; but they showed a good deal of skill in adapting recent ideas to their needs. Three conditions governed the development of the Dutch works at this time, viz. want of time, want of money and abundance of water. When the Netherlands began their revolt against Spain, they would no doubt have been glad enough of expensive masonry fortresses on such models as Paciotto's citadel of Antwerp. But there was neither time nor money for such works. Something had to be extemporized, and fortunately for them they had wet ditches to take the place of high revetted walls. Everywhere water was near the surface, and rivers or canals were available for inundations. A wide and shallow ditch, while making a good obstacle, was also the readiest means of obtaining earth for the ramparts. High command was, owing to the flatness of the country, unnecessary and even undesirable, as it did not allow of grazing fire. What the Dutch actually did in strengthening their towns gives little evidence of system. Starting as a rule from an existing enceinte, sometimes a medieval wall, they would provide a broad wet ditch. No further provision was usually made on the sides of the town which were additionally protected by a river or inundation. On the other sides the wet ditch was made still broader, and sometimes contained a counterguard, some-times ravelins and lunettes. These were quite irregular in their design and relation to each other. At the foot of the glacis would be found another but narrower wet ditch, which was a peculiarly Dutch feature; and sometimes if the town was in a bend of a river there would be a canal cut across the bend in a straight line, strengthened by several redans. Speaking generally, they endeavoured to provide for the want of a first-class masonry obstacle by multiplication of wet ditches, and further to strengthen these obstacles by great quantities of palisading, for which purpose the timber of old ships was used. They also recognized the inherent weaknesses. of wet ditches, as, for instance, that when frozen they no longer provide an obstacle; and they studied the means, not only of causing inundations, but also of arranging to empty as well as to fill the ditches at will. Simon Stevin was the leader in this work. Nevertheless a Dutch school of design did come into existence at this time. The leaders, early in the 17th century, were Simon Stevin, Maurice and Henry of Nassau, Marollois and Freitag. The fortress of Coevorden, constructed by Prince Maurice, of which fig. 31 shows a front, is a well-known example of this, and the section shows clearly some typical features of the school. The elements of the plan are those of the early bastioned trace, but we find added both ravelins and lunettes, very regular in design. There is also the ditch at the foot of the glacis, and surrounding the rampart of the enceinte a continuous fausse-braie. This work, which partook of the nature of both boulevard and counterguard, served several purposes. It was desirable that the weight of the rampart should be drawn back a little from the edge of the ditch, and the fausse-braie filled what would otherwise have been dead ground at the foot of the rampart. It also afforded a grazing fire over the ditch, which was very important, and which the rampart supported by a plunging fire. Coehoorn (q.v.), the contemporary and nearest rival to Vauban, was the greatest light of the Dutch school. Like Vauban he was Coehoorn. distinguished as a fighting engineer, both in attack and defence; but in the attack he differed from him in relying more on powerful artillery fire than systematic earth- works. He introduced the Coehoorn mortar. His " first system," which was employed at Mannheim (fig. 32), is repro- duced for the sake of comparison with the Coevorden front designed a hundred years earlier. Among other points will be noticed the combination of wet and dry ditches; the very broad main ditch with counterguard; the roomy keep of the ravelin; the expansion of the fausse-brais into an independent low parapet; and the powerful flanking fire in three tiers. The " tenaille " system and the " polygonal " system which grew out of it are mainly identified with the German school. That school, says von Zastrow, does not, like that of France, represent the authoritative teaching of an official establishment, but rather the general practice of the German engineers. It was founded on the principles of Dtirer, Speckle and especially Rimpler, and much influenced in execution by Montalembert. " The German engineers desired a simple trace, a strong fortification with retrenchments and keeps, bomb-proof accommodation and an organization suitable for an offensive defence." These had always been the German principles. Already in the 16th century the Prussian defences of Kustrin, Spandau and Peitz had large bomb-proof casemates sufficient for a great part of the garrison. The same thing is seen in the defences of Giogau, Schweidnitz, &c., built by Frederick the Great. These works show various applications of the tenaille system. In 1776 Frederick became acquainted with the work of Montalembert, and his influence is seen in the casemates of Kosel. Whether through the influence of Albert Diirer or not cannot be said, but while the bastion was being developed in France the tenaille and the accompanying casemates from the first found acceptance in Germany, and thence in eastern and northern Europe. De Groote, who wrote in 1618, produced a sort of tenaille system, and may have been the inspiration of Rimpler. Dillich (164o), Landsberg the elder (1648), Griendel d'Aach (1677), Werthmuller (1685) and others advocated both bastion and tenaille, sometimes in combination; the German bastion being usually distinguished by short faces and long flanks. Rimpler, who was present at the siege of Candia (taken by the Turks in 1669) and died at that of Vienna in 1683, exercised a great influence. He had been struck by the weakness of the early Italian bastions at Candia, and published a book in 1673 called Fortification with Central Bastions, which was practically the polygonal trace. Zastrow thinks that Rimpler inspired Montalembert. He left unfortunately no designs to illustrate his ideas. Landsberg the younger (167o-1746), a major-general in the Prussian service, who saw many sieges, also had a great influence. He appears to have been the first who frankly a'dvocated the tenaille alone, chiefly on the ground that the flank, which was the most important part of the bastioned system, was also the weakest. Fig. 33 shows his system, published in 1712. It was, however, ultimately a French-man, Marc Rene Montalembert (q.v.), who was the great apostle of the tenaille, though in his later years he leaned more to the polygonal trace. He objected to the bastioned trace on many grounds; principally that the bastion was a shell trap, that the flanks by Mmhe and crossing their fire lost the advantage of the full carnot. range of their weapons, and that the curtain was useless for defence. He took the view that the bastions with their ravelins constituted practically a tenaille trace, spoilt by the detachment of the ravelins and cramped by the presence of the curtains and flanks. His tenaille system consisted of redans, with salient angles of 6o° or more, flanking each other at right angles; from which he gave to his system the name of " perpendicular fortification." Lazare Carnot (q.v.), the " Organizer of Victory," was, in German school. fortification, a follower of Montalembert, and produced in 1797 a tenaille system (fig. 34) on strong and simple lines. In 1812 Carnot offered three systems. For a dry and level site he recommended a bastioned trace; but for wet ditches and for irregular ground, tenaille traces. Both of these latter differ from his 1797 trace in that the re-entering angle is reinforced by a tenaille whose faces are parallel to the main faces and reach almost to the salients. There are also counterguards in front of the salients, whose ends overlap the ends of the tenaille. (N.B. To avoid confusion between the tenaille trace and the tenaille, it should be noted that the latter is a low detached parapet placed in front of the escarp of the body of the place, partly as a shield, and partly as an additional line of defence, It is used in front of the curtain in the bastioned trace, and in the re-entering angle in the tenaille trace.) Other important features of Carnot's work were: a continuous general retrench- ment, or interior parapet, following more or less the lines of the main parapet; the use of the detached wall in place of the escarp revetment; and the countersloping glacis. This last (of which Carnot was not the inventor), instead of sloping gently outwards from a crest raised about 8 ft. down to the natural level of the ground, sloped inwards from the ground-level to the bottom of the ditch. The advantage of the additional obstacle of the counterscarp was thus lost to the defence. On the other hand, the besiegers' saps, as they progressed down the glacis, were exposed to a plunging fire from the parapet. Carnot was also, like Coehoorn, a great believer in the mortar; but while Coehoorn introduced the small portable mortar that bears his name, Carnot expected great results from a 13 in. mortar throwing 600 iron balls at each discharge. He •3s endeavoured to prove mathematically that the discharge of these mortars would in zO yag -, due course kill off These mortars he emplaced in open fronted mortar-casemates, in concealed positions. Fig. 35 shows in section one of these mortar-casemates, placed between the parapet of the retrenchment and a detached wall. The leading idea of Montalembert was that for a successful defence it was necessary for the artillery to be superior to that of the enemy. This idea led him to the adoption of gonalThe in several tiers; in preference to open trace. parapets, exposed to artillery fire of all kinds, high angle, ricochet and reverse. In considering the defects of bastions he had arrived at the conclusion that for flanking purposes two forms of trace were preferable; either the tenaille form, connecting the ravelins with the body of the place, or the form in hich the primary flanking elements, instead of facing each other with overlapping fire, as with the bastions, should be placed back to back in the middle of the exterior side Fig. 36 is an ex-ample of this. The central flanking work resulting from this arrangement is the caponier of the early Italians, reintroduced and developed; and with it Montalembert laid the foundation of the polygonal system of our own time. Montalembert was one of the first to foresee the coming necessity for detached forts, and it was for these that he chieflyproposed to use his caponier flanking, preferring the tenaille system for large places. In abandoning the bastioned trace he was already committed to the principle of casemate defence for ditches; and the combination of this principle with his desire for an overwhelming artillery defence led him in the course of years of controversial writing into somewhat extravagant proposals. For instance, for a square fort of about 400 yds. side, he proposed over moo casemate guns; and one of his caponier sections shows 10 tiers of masonry gun-casemates one above the other. Confiding in the power of such an artillery, he freely exposed the upper parts of his casemates to direct fire. Montalembert is said to have contributed more new ideas to fortification than any other man. His designs must be considered in some ways unworkable and unsound, but all the best work of the 19th century rests on his teaching. The Germans, who already used the tenaille system and made free provision of bomb-proof casemates, took from him the polygonal trace and the idea of the entrenched camp. The polygonal system in fortification implies straight or slightly broken exterior sides, flanked by casemated caponiers. The caponier is the vital point of the front, and is protected in important works by a ravelin and keep. The essence of the system is its simplicity, which allows of its being applied to any sort of ground, level or broken, and to long or short fronts. The final period of smooth bore artillery is an important one in the history of fortification. It is true that the many expensive works that were constructed at this time were obsolete almost as soon as they were finished; but this was entrenche entrenched inevitable, thanks to the pace at which the world was camps. travelling. After the Napoleonic wars the Germanic Confederation began to strengthen its frontiers; and considering that they had not derived much strategic advantage from their existing fort- resses, the Germans took up Montalembert's idea of entrenched camps, utilizing at the same time his polygonal system with modifications for the main enceintes. The Prussians began with the fortresses of Coblenz and Cologne; later Posen, Konigsberg and other places were treated on the same lines. The Austrians constructed, among other places, Linz and Verona. The Germanic Confederation reinforced Mainz with improved works, and re- organized en- entirely ,-=o Rastatt and Ulm. The Bavarians built Germersheim and Ingolstadt. While all these works were conceived in the spirit of Rimpler and Montalembert, they showed the differences of national temperament. The Prussian works, simple in design, relied upon powerful artillery fire, and exposed a good deal of masonry to the enemy's view. The Austrians covered part of their masonry with earth and gave more attention to detail. .es Reliefs in feet,.aboee or -below 14.p/ass of site. The German development of the polygonal system at this time is not of great importance, since the great masonry caponiers were designed without sufficient consideration for the increasing powers of artillery. One example (fig. 37) is given for the sake of historical comparison. It is a front of Posen. " The exterior side of the front is about 65o yds. (600 metres) long. It is flanked by a central caponier, which is protected by a detached bastion. . . . The main front is broken back to flank the faces of the bastion from casemates behind the escarp, as well as from the parapet. " The central caponier forms the keep of the whole front and sweeps both the interior and the ditch by its flanking fire. It has two floors of gun-casemates and one for musketry, and Posen. on the top is a parapet completely commanding alike the outworks and the body of the place. It contains barrack accommodation for a battalion of woo men, and has a large inner courtyard closed at the gorge by a detached wall. The caponier is itself flanked by three small caponiers at the head, and one at the inner end of each flank. The escarp of the body of the place is a simple detached wall ; that of the detached bastion is either a detached wall with piers and arches, or a counter-arched revetment. At the salient of the bastion there is a mortar battery under the rampart, and a casemated traverse for howitzers upon the terreplein. The flanks of the bastion are parallel to those of the caponier, and at the same distance from it as the faces. Masonry blockhouses, loopholed for musketry, are provided as keeps of the re-entering and salient places of arms. In the latter case they have stairs leading down into a counterscarp gallery, which serves as a base for countermine galleries, and is connected with the detached bastion by a gallery under the ditch. The counter-scarp is not revetted if the ditch is wet. " The angle of the polygon should not be less than 16o°, in order that the prolongation of the main ditch may fall within the salients of the detached bastions of the neighbouring fronts, and the masonry of the caponiers may thus be hidden from outside view." (R.M.A. Text-book of F. & M.E., 1886.) We have now reached a period when the " detached fort " becomes of more importance than the organization of the enceinte. The early conception of the role of detached forts in connexion with the fortress was to form an entrenched camp within which an army corps could seek safety if necessary. The idea had occurred to Vauban, who added to the permanent defences of Toulon a large camp defended by field parapets attached to one side of the fortress. The substitution of a ring of detached forts, while giving it the greater safety of permanent instead of field defences, gave also a wider area and freer scope for the operations of an army seeking shelter under the guns of a fortress, and at the same time made siege more difficult by increasing the line of investment. The use of the detached fort as a means of protecting the body of the place from bombardment had not yet been made necessary by increased range of artillery. When these detached forts were first used by Germany the scope of the idea had evidently not been realised, as they were placed much too close to the fortress. Those at Cologne, for instance, were only some 400 or Soo yds. in advance of the ramparts. The same leading idea is seen in most of these forts as in the new enceintes; i.e. a lunette, with a casemated keep at the gorge. The keep is the essential part of the work, the rampart of the lunette serving to protect it from frontal artillery fire. The keep projects to the rear, so as not only to be able to flank its own gorge, but to give some support to the neighbouring works with guns protected from frontal fire. This is a valuable arrangement, which is still sometimes used. The front ditches of the lunettes were flanked by caponiers. Some of the larger forts were simple quadrangular works with casemate barracks and caponier ditch defence. In 183o, in Austria, the archduke Maximilian made an entirely fresh departure with the defences of Linz. The idea was to provide an entrenched camp at the least possible cost, whose works should require the smallest possible garrison. With this object Linz was surrounded with a belt of circular towers spaced about 600 yds. apart. The towers, 25 metres in diameter, were enclosed by a ditch and glacis, and contained 3 tiers of casemates. The masonry was concealed from view by the ditch and glacis. On the top of the tower was an earth parapet, over which a battery of 13 guns fired ell barbcttc. In order to find room forso many guns in the restricted space, the whole 13 were placed parallel and close together on a single specially designed mounting. This new departure was received with a certain amount of approval at the time, which is somewhat difficult to account for, as a more faulty system could hardly be devised; but the experiment was never repeated. The credit for much of the clear views and real progress made in Germany during this period is due to General von Brese-Winiari, inspector-general of the Prussian engineers. France, for a few years after 1815, could spare little money for fortifications, and nothing was done but repairs and minor improvements on the old lines. Belgium, having some money in hand, rebuilt and improved in detail a number of bastioned fortresses which had fallen into disrepair. In 183o France began to follow the lead of Germany with entrenched camps. The enceinte of Paris was reconstructed, and detached forts were added at a cost, according to von Zastrow, of £8,000,000. The Belgian and German frontiers of France being considered fairly protected by the existing fortresses, they turned their attention to the Swiss and Italian frontiers, and constructed three fortresses with detached forts at Belfort, Besancon and Grenoble. The cost of the new works at Lyons was, according to the same writer, £r,000,000 without the armament. Here and elsewhere the enceinte was simplified on account of the advanced defences. That of Paris, which was influenced by political 'considerations, was a simple bastioned trace with rather long fronts and without ravelins or other outworks; the escarp was high and therefore exposed, and the counterscarp was not revetted. As regards the detached forts there was certainly a want of clearness of conception. Those of Paris were simply fortresses in miniature, square or pentagonal figures with bastioned fronts and containing defensible barracks. Those of Lyons were much more carefully designed, but the authors wavered between two ideas. Unwilling to give up the bastion, but evidently hankering after the new caponiers, they produced a type which it is difficult to praise. The larger works were irregular four- or five-sided figures with bastioned fronts; and practically the whole interior space was taken up by a large keep, with its ditch, on the The detached fort. polygonal system. The smaller works, instead of a keep, had defensible barracks in the gorge. During the period 1855–187o a considerable impulse was given to the science of fortification, both by the Crimean War and the arrival of the rifled gun. One immediate result of these Period t e of Posen. It from 1855 was the condemnation of masonry exposed to artillery I typ be noticed that to 1870. fire. The most important work of the period was the while the large new scheme of defence of Antwerp, initiated in 1859. This it chiefly interesting as giving us the last and finest expression of the medieval enceinte, at a time when the war between the polygonal and bastioned traces was still raging, though the boom of the long-range guns had already given warning that a new era had begun. Antwerp is also associated with the name of General Brialmont (q.v.), of the Belgian engineers, whom posterity will no doubt regard as the greatest writer on fortification of the latter half of the 19th century. We give in figs. 38, 39 and 40 the general plan of the 1859 defences of Antwerp, the plan of a front of the enceinte, and its Antwerp. sections, as showing almost the last word of fortification before the arrival of high explosives. The defences of Antwerp were designed, as the strategic centre of the national defence of Belgium, for an entrenched camp for 1oo,o00 men. The length of the enceinte is about 9 M. The detached forts, which on the sides not defended by inundation are about 1 m. apart and from 2 to 3 M. in front of the enceinte, are powerful works, arranged for a garrison of moo men. They have each a frontal crest-line of over 760 yds. and are intended for an armament of 120 guns and 15 mortars.
End of Article: FORTIFICATION AND SIEGECRAFT
[back]
FORTIFICATION AND
[next]
KARL FORTLAGE (,8o6-1881)

Additional information and Comments

There are no comments yet for this article.
» Add information or comments to this article.
Please link directly to this article:
Highlight the code below, right click and select "copy." Paste it into a website, email, or other HTML document.