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The Napoleonic Wars 1792-1815

'Place'

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Re: 'Place'

Postby Senarmont198 » December 22nd, 2015, 1:46 pm

I've been doing some research about period engineers and sieges, and have found that the British used the term 'place' for a fortified city or fortress, as Jones repeatedly does in his Journal.

I expect there wasn't a better military term for a fortress or fortified city that was in common use at the time.
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Re: 'Place'

Postby jf42 » December 22nd, 2015, 2:02 pm

As I said in my OP
jf42 wrote:

Over the last year I have been encountering in French texts the word 'place' (in Spanish texts 'plaza') to signify, depending on the context, a stronghold, a castle, a fortress, a fortified town or city, usually when the object of a campaign or attack.

I have failed to find a concise English translation. This may be to do with the portmanteau vagueness of the orginal. Obviously, one word in English just might not serve, but am I overlooking something? Needless to say, I don't think 'place' will do.
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Re: 'Place'

Postby Senarmont198 » December 22nd, 2015, 2:38 pm

It appears, however, that the engineering/fortification term 'place' did suffice and was used by the British, and probably by the Americans as well, to designate a permanent fortification.

That was the term used in English, so I submit it will have to do...
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Re: 'Place'

Postby TheBibliophile » December 22nd, 2015, 2:53 pm

jf42 wrote:Ah, I see. No, I don't require translation for my own comprehension.

I am looking for a concise, modern alternative to the C18th/early C19th usage of the word 'place', adopted from the French, and used in military parlance, although not quite a technical term, to refer to a range of fortifed places, strongholds, etc in accounts of campaigns.

Possibly in vain.

But does there have to be one. Can the word place not just mean place?
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Re: 'Place'

Postby jf42 » December 22nd, 2015, 6:38 pm

The meaning and usage. Is. Not. At. Issue.

Here is Charles James on the subject in the New Military Dictionary 1802

PLACE , in fortification, signifies in general terms, a fortified town, a fortress: hence we say it is a strong place

PLACE of arms (Place d’armes, Fr) This term has various significations, although it uniformly means a place which is calculated for th rendezvous of men in arms, &c.

1st. When an army takes the field, every stronghold or fortress which supports its operations by affording a safe retreat to its depots, heavy artillery, magazines, hospitals, &c. is called a place of arms.

2dly In offensive fortification, those lines are called places of arms or parallels which unite the different approaches,, &c. and contain bodies of troops who
[do duty in the trenches or assigned to attack]


Of course, I could use the word 'place' but I would need to put it in quotation marks because the term has fallen out of use in the military context- not least because fortresses and fortifed towns no longer play the same role in warfare. That is why the word place cannot be used to mean 'place' - not without quotation marks. It is a matter of writing style. I was wondering if there was a more contemporary portmanteau term that might do the job instead. Today, we might perhaps be more likely to talk about a 'position' or positions however, in my opinion, that word would not serve when writing in a late C18th context.
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Re: 'Place'

Postby TheBibliophile » December 22nd, 2015, 6:59 pm

Facility?
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Re: 'Place'

Postby Senarmont198 » December 22nd, 2015, 7:00 pm

I would suggest that if you are writing about the period, the term place should be used as a technical term, as it was used then. If there is confusion then that's what a glossary is for.
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Re: 'Place'

Postby jf42 » December 23rd, 2015, 11:45 am

As I said, a matter of style.
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