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The Napoleonic Wars 1792-1815

The Glossary of Siege Warfare

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The Glossary of Siege Warfare

Postby DavidB » May 24th, 2011, 1:20 pm

It's impossible to read about siege warfare of the time without coming across a lot of specialist terminology, to I thought a glossary might be useful. Will start slowly and add terms to it gradually, but do let me know of any others that should be included or any definitions that need improvement.

Abattis - a barrier of trees, cut and laid close together, with branches outwards
Approaches - trenches dug towards the fortress
Bastion - a defensive work with two front faces forming a salient angle, and two flanks protruding from the curtain wall
Blindsap - A narrow dead-end trench, used primarily for observation purposes
Cheval de Frise - a portable barrier equipped with sword blades and any other sharp implements to hand, used for blocking breaches to assualting troops
Counterguard - an earthwork to protect the base of a curtain wall
Counterscarp - the vertical face of a ditch on the outer side
Enceinte - the main perimeter of a fortress
Epaulement - wings added to batteries and other earthworks to protect against enfilade fire
Escalade - assault on an unbreached wall by means of ladders
Fascine - a bound bundle of sticks or brushwood used for revetting trenches and ramparts
Fausse-Braie - an earthen rampart to protect the base of a curtain wall. Not as sophisticated as a counterguard or tenaille.
Flying Sap - A sap made as quickly as possible by using a row of gabions to shelter the workmen
Forlorn Hope - small party of soldiers, often volunteers, that attack prior to an assault to draw fire and induce the defenders to fire their mines etc prematurely
Gabion - cylindrical wicker basket, about 3ft high and 2ft diameter, and filled with earth to provide rapid cover
Glacis - the sloping ground surrounding a fortress beyond the outermost works
Lunette - a small, triangular outwork
Parados - the earth bank to the rear of a trench
Ravelin - a triangular outwork, built in the main ditch, designed to protect the main curtain wall
Redoubt - a small, fully-enclosed, self-contained defensive outwork
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Re: The Glossary of Siege Warfare

Postby Mark » May 24th, 2011, 4:03 pm

Thanks for the glossary, David! Very helpful :)

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Re: The Glossary of Siege Warfare

Postby Senarmont198 » June 1st, 2015, 9:41 am

If anyone is interested in the mechanics of siege warfare they are covered very well in the American Artillerist's Companion by Louis de Tousard. It is available on Google Books in two of the three volumes. It also has a detailed artillery glossary at the end of Volume II which contains many applicable to siege warfare.
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Re: The Glossary of Siege Warfare

Postby Mark » June 1st, 2015, 10:57 am

Some members might also find this link useful: http://www.napoleon-series.org/military ... ousard.PDF

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Re: The Glossary of Siege Warfare

Postby jf42 » June 1st, 2015, 1:58 pm

In my view nothing beats walking round a Vauban trace from the 17th &18th with the relevant information in hand and looking along line of site, to see how the fields of defensive fire and the protective works function.

Lille is very accessible via Eurostar for British readers and a very enjoyable outing. Fort George outside inverness is perhaps less accessible although under the right circumstances a budget flight north is probably compariable to the rail ticket. Both have very good visitors information. The food will probably be better in Lille; the views incomparably better overlooking the Moray Firth, with dolphins a bonus.

FORT GEORGE LANDWARD

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FORT GEORGE SEAWARD

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Re: The Glossary of Siege Warfare

Postby jf42 » June 1st, 2015, 2:07 pm

LILLE - MACRO TO MICRO

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Re: The Glossary of Siege Warfare

Postby Josh&Historyland » June 1st, 2015, 2:40 pm

Oh sweet Geometry!

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Re: The Glossary of Siege Warfare

Postby jf42 » June 1st, 2015, 6:10 pm

Josh&Historyland wrote:Oh sweet Geometry!

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:ugeek:
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