List of technical terms in fortress construction

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Floor plan and profile of an ideal typical fortress with works in different manners and the associated technical terms

This is an alphabetical listing of the fortress usual terms .


Dropping roof
Early modern fortress construction: An easily dismantled structure to protect certain structural members. The roof is only removed when it is used for defense purposes.
Greek antiquity: Originally the fortifications that belonged to a town and were built on an elevation.
Approach trench during the siege of a fortress.
Dissolved fortress form
Fortress topology in which, in contrast to the standard fort, the functional areas are no longer housed in a closed fort complex, but are spatially separated. This design was developed on the German side from the end of the 19th century.
Visible elevation of a fortress above the horizon.
Offensive counter-attack by the besieged in a fortress on the besiegers.
Emergency yard
Particularly protected trench section from which an attack can be launched.
A work lying between the main wall and the glacis , for example a ravelin , a hornwork or a demi-lune .
Outer moat surrounding the glacis .


Riflemen appear on the wall .
A defense system partially or completely separated from the curtain wall, initially designed as a cannon bastion (Kaisertrutz Görlitz ), later as a covered rifle bastion ( barbican in the Kremlin , Moscow ), which protects the gate of a castle or a city wall. The barbican was replaced by the ravelin in the 16th century .
Heap behind the parapet to set up guns
Barriers and gate gates at the exit of the weapon stations .
Outdated name for a roundabout with a U-shaped floor plan. Especially in the southern German-Austrian region, a bastion is also used to describe a bastion.
Work with a pentagonal floor plan that protrudes from the wall and is open to the rear . Bastions are laid out in such a way that they can protect their faces and flanks from one another.
Bastionary system
Fastening system that provides for a regular bastion of the wall . The bastionary system was first implemented in the old Italian manner in the early 16th century and replaced by the polygonal system in the 19th century .
Bastion tower
Called “Tour bastionée” in French. Work used by Vauban in his so-called “Third Manner” , which was a turret with a polygonal plan. The bastion towers replaced the bastions that Vauban separated from the wall .
Remainder of the fortifications of the fortress Spandau : Batardeau to regulate the water level in the fortress moat
Batardeau (bear)
Weir to regulate the water level in a wet ditch .
Smaller structure in the area of ​​a fortification which is primarily intended for artillery equipment.
Battery tower
With particularly strong masonry, mostly round tower that could be equipped with guns. Precursors of the bastions and bastions.
Fortified space
Soviet fortifications.
Cladding wall
masonry cladding of earth walls .
The entirety of a curtain wall .
Cross path or paragraph between wall and ditch .
Log cabin
Small stone or wooden house, mostly on the covered path , which is furnished with cannons and rifles for defense.
General term for a work protruding from the wall line, i.e. a bastion , a bastion , a gun turret or a roundabout whose task is to flank the space in front of the wall.
Bomb safety
Protection of a plant from fire from above with mortar bombs. Bomb safety is achieved either by covering the plant or by covering it with neighboring plants.
Bonnet (cap)
A raised area of ​​the parapet of the rampart or the saillant of a bastion .
Bonnet casemate
Casemate built in the protruding corner of a free-standing wall to protect the defenders in the circular corridor .
Forcibly torn gap in the wall of a fortress with the aim of storming the fortress through this gap.
Angle in the wall of a curtain wall .
Independent work in front of a bridge, which is located on the opposite bank as seen from the actual fortress. Often had the shape of a hornwork .
Heavily fortified space, partly under armor.


Carnot wall
Rare name for crenellated wall (sd), named after the French fortress engineer Lazare Nicolas Marguerite Carnot .
Casemate de Bourges
Smaller, mostly two-story, French. Artillery bunker that served as space pranks. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the casemate de Bourges were mostly integrated on the shoulders of forts and ouvrages in France, partly to paint the throat of the plant itself and partly to cover the space behind the neighboring plant. The standardized construction made of reinforced concrete usually includes a combat area on the upper floor for two staggered Schneider fortress cannons 75 mm and on the lower floor ammunition storage and rest areas for troops. The casemate, which was covered against direct fire, was initially often only accessible above ground, after which it was then mostly accessible underground or through covered entrances.
Casemate Pamart
Small machine-gun combat area in the run-up to French forts and ouvrages.
Also fort : Roman antiquity: a military camp.
Outer slope of the outermost moat
Wall coronation,
External works of a fortress, see also counterguard.


Defension gallery
Connecting passage between the bastions in the curtain wall ; also called Dechargengalerie.
Defensive barracks
Defense-ready barracks.
Defense lines
Fire lines for trench defense from the adjacent flank of a bastion.
A trench in front of a bastion built from two Facen existing outdoor work . Its ground plan is similar to that of the Ravelin , but its throat is crescent-shaped. (Can be seen in the picture at the top right, No. 21)
Destruction of a fortress.
Detached work
Advance work , which, in contrast to an external work, is no longer connected to the walls surrounding the fortress and is therefore set up for independent warfare. Detached works were of central importance in the fortification systems of the 19th century.
Diamond trench
Narrow trench to protect the nicks in a work .
Medieval castles, France: a residential and defense tower .


Corner control room
Either arch-shaped or polygonal protruding parts of a wall or of gates for their reinforcement.
A recessed short piece of rampart that separates the flank from the bastion side . It gives good cover in frontal fire.
Elevation of the pipe axis beyond the horizontal, also called elevation.
Wall around a fortress.
Second line of ramparts of a fortress formed by contiguous outer works or only separated from one another by narrow gaps .
Overcoming the walls and bastions with the help of scaling ladders . To prevent an escalade , fortresses were surrounded with wide trenches and provided with storm posts .
Escarpe, also known as escarp wall
Inner wall or embankment of the moat. Usually there is also a gallery here.
Free space between a fortified city and its citadel . It serves as a free field of fire in front of the citadel's glacis.
Excavation, basement.


The pages of a work facing the attacker .
Part of the gate construction that was supposed to prevent an enemy from retreating.
Lower wall in front of the main wall between Wallgang and Graben
Describes a, in the New Prussian fortification manner of the 19th century, a larger, advanced fortification, which, in contrast to the fortress (= a large building complex), consists of "loosened, scattered development of the site", i.e. several individual, partially interconnected works, see in particular Feste Wilhelm II . in Mutzig, Alsace / France; See also Koblenz Fortress .
Fixed house
Middle Ages, 16th and 17th centuries: A partially defensive building that serves the noble owner for residential, military and representative purposes.
Side of a bastion that lies between the field side and the rest of the ramparts.
Flank battery
Cannon position in the bastion flank to coat the opposite bastion and the fortress wall in between. Mostly casemated against enemy fire, e.g. T. withdrawn.
A commonly only two Facen existing plant , which in contrast to the demi-lune and Ravelin before digging is built.
Independent, advanced work that secures strategically important places in front of a fortress. Fortified towns were systematically surrounded by forts in the old and new Prussian manner of the 18th and 19th centuries. Their distance to the core wall was initially about one kilometer, but grew to 15 kilometers by the late 19th century.
Fortification system, fastening technology.
Main enemy line of attack at a plant


Vaulted passage behind an escarpe or contre escarpe wall .
Covered path
Wide path running on the counter scissor carpe, which is covered by the rising glacis against enemy sight. In the corners of a covered path there were usually weapon positions .
Gun well
Round shaft under rotating guns.
Earth filling in front of the trench , which slopes towards the enemy in such a way that there is no blind spot.
Gorgen Wall
Also called the throat wall. Brick wall on the back of a plant .
Deepening of the earth in front of the actual fortress. The trench can be carried out wet (filled with water) or dry.
Trench bears
Dams for regulating the water level in wet moats.
Trench shears
(French: Tenaille) A low work lying in the main ditch in front of a curtain wall , which consists either of two ramparts converging at a receding angle or a short bastion front.
Trench pranks
Defense work in the moat.
Cast bay
See Wehrerker


Crescent or demi-lune
A trench in front of a bastion built from two Facen existing outdoor work . Its ground plan is similar to that of the Ravelin , but its throat is crescent-shaped. (Can be seen in the picture at the top right, No. 21)
Lock ring
A ring anchored in the wall below a cannon slot, to which smaller fortress guns such as a Prussian six-pounder on a casemate carriage were attached by means of a locking rope to absorb the recoil of a gun. Numerous examples of this have been preserved in the Prussian fortress of Koblenz, and especially on the Ehrenbreitstein fortress .
High entrance
Medieval castles: One especially for the dungeon chosen form of input, which - by attackers to impede access - not at ground level but is at the level of a higher floor and can only be reached by a ladder.
Hollow passage
Underground corridor to connect the plants with each other.
Hollow traverse
A traverse across the top of the wall, which is used to shelter troops, ammunition or a cannon by installing a bomb-proof room.
Beyond the trench pre deferred outside plant consisting of two by a curtain wall connected half bulwarks is straight lines and is bordered by two. (Can be seen in the picture at the top right, No. 22)
Outwardly protruding mostly wooden battlements on castle and city walls.


Combat block
Cannon yard
Gun emplacement built into the flank of a bastion , which covers the adjoining curtain wall and the face of the bastion next door with flanking fire, making it difficult for an enemy to approach; a crucial part of any fortress in the bastionary system . Access is usually through casemates .
The imaginary center line through the top of a bastion .
Also called "trench suitcase" or "trench weir". Work standing free in the ditch or leaning against the main wall , from which the ditch can be taken under fire in one or both directions (double ditch caponier). It usually consists of two floors, with courtyards on the right and left . Access is through a postern .
Formerly also known as the murder pit. Bulletproof room in a fortress, either underground, in a wall or in particularly safe buildings.
Field default or permanently mounted bearings , been in use mainly in antiquity.
Increased gun emplacement.
Gun emplacement that clearly towers over the neighboring works .
Back of a work and, depending on the design, the weakest or most vulnerable point
Throat ditch (also neck ditch )
Dig to protect the throat side
Throat suitcase
Bunker to defend the throat ditch
Hexagonal spaces created by the indentation and the recessed flanks .
Trench defense bunker
Form of Approche that should disturb the approach work of the attacker.
Counter battery
Batteries in the formal attack against the fortress
The outer ditch embankment of a fortification or obstacle ditch.
Fortification with great extension in length. The French Maginot Line and the German Siegfried Line corresponded to this concept.
Nuremberg castle bastions, the Kordonstein runs horizontally below the
Cordon stone
On the outer walls of fortifications, i.e. on the outer walls of bastions , curtains and their apron fortifications, a horizontal semi-circular projecting "endless stone", it optically separates the mostly vertical upper part of the wall with the defense platform from the sloping lower part of the outer fortress wall and probably made this easier knocked over by scaling ladders
crenellated wall
Term for walls with loopholes (sometimes also called Carnot wall)
Exterior work , which consists of two half bastions and one full bastion , which are connected by curtains . (Can be seen in the picture at the top right, No. 34)
Recessed ditch in a dry weir ditch; Second obstacle located deeper in a wet ditch.
Curtain wall
The wall section between two bastions or other bulwarks (such as "bastion", roundel or turrets in a modern fortress).


Fortifications usually consisting of earthworks and ditches with a large extension in length, which were built to protect a territory and to mark the border. The earth wall was often covered with vegetation that was as difficult to penetrate as possible, such as B. thorn bushes reinforced.
Independent work , with two faces and two short flanks, the layout of which is similar to that of a bastion . The term bezel is sometimes mistakenly used as a synonym for demi-lune .


Individual fastening system with a characteristic floor plan and profile.
Vertical throwing or casting opening of a fortification system. The Maschikuli served to defend the blind spot at the foot of the wall by throwing stones at the attacker or by pouring boiling liquids. Also appears as a "murder hole" in the vault behind the gate. Maschikulis were a popular ornament on the cornices of military and civil buildings in the 19th century. The name comes from the French mâchicouli .
Mine run
Corridor branching off from the Contre-Escarpe , from which explosives can be detonated under the attacking enemy.
Montalembert Tower
Tower that can accommodate many guns with all-round effect on one or two floors. Design used for the first time at the beginning of the 19th century with the construction of the Koblenz Fortress .


A line of defense covered by a low wall that runs along the foot of the ramparts and bastions . The tenaille emerged from the separation of the coppice from the main wall in the late 17th century .
New Prussian fortification manner
New Prussian method of building fortress systems in the 19th century (see polygonal system ).


Bastion shoulder, bulwark ear. Could be rounded as well as angular and covered the recessed flank of a bastion .
Russia, historically: A fortified settlement point surrounded by palisade walls.
French term for “ work ” as a preliminary or intermediate work. What is meant is a modern (late 19th – 20th century) fortification that can be seen as a single link in a chain of an entire fortification system, such as the "Ouvrages" of the Maginot Line


Part of the bunker system of Fort de Douaumont with an armored dome for observation in the foreground.
Dense row of sharpened logs rammed into the earth with the function of a wall .
Armored dome
Partly rotatable component of a plant armored with steel . Hemispherical or bell-shaped domes secure weapons or observation posts against enemy fire.
Armor plate
Work armored with steel . In contrast to the armored dome, the armor plate only worked in one direction.
In the 19th century the protection of works by means of molded parts made of chilled cast iron and later made of alloyed cast steel .
Parapet with roof.
Perpendicular casemate
Casemate set up perpendicular to an axis .
Polygonal system
Fortification system of the 18th and 19th centuries.
The English name for the attached mostly above the main portcullis .
Overbuilt corridor in a fortress for a covered transition from areas within the plant to systems in front of the wall or for the purpose of a breakdown.


Independent work erected in the ditch in front of a curtain wall with a triangular or pentagonal floor plan that is lower than the neighboring bastions .
The area in front of the fortress for which there are restrictions on civil structures.
Retreat plant, which was usually built within another plant and which formed a final core of resistance after it was stormed.
In the modern fortress construction, a ski jump with a mostly square floor plan.
Remparierung (ramp)
Backfilling of earth behind a wall to create a platform for heavy artillery.
Reverse battery
Work standing in the moat , from which the moat can be fired in two directions. They are erected in places where the ramparts form an acute angle.
Entrenchment, entrenchment; French se retrancher = entrench oneself.
Curtain wall
Defensive wall that completely encloses the area of ​​a castle.
A particularly massive work with a rounded floor plan that is as high or only slightly higher than the adjacent wall .
Round blanks
Space between a free-standing escarpen and the foot of the embankment.


Exiting angle formed by a work .
An attacker's trench, which, as the distance to the ramparts decreases, has to be covered by an ever-growing earth roller. See also appraisal .
A fortification consisting mainly of earth.
Cylindrical braids made of willow branches and filled with earthwork. In the military, the bulwarks have been used since the introduction of gunpowder, especially in the fortress war, to build field fortifications. They were mainly used to strengthen parapets, saplings and shelters when building positions. Also: gabion
Opening of a plant through which a firearm can be brought out. When not in use, the notch can be secured with a lock on some works.
Crowd watchtower
Also called "Echaugette" or "Pfefferbüchse". A watchtower erected on top or on the shoulders of a bastion , from which the apron could be viewed.
pacific removal of a fortress. Middle word: grinded (not grinded!)
Shoulder guards
Crossbars in the covered path to be able to hold off the side fire.
Second flank
Flankierungswerk that as part of a curtain wall is formed by right-angled rear breaking the wall.
Cuts in the glacis through which you can get out of the covered path into the area in front of the building.
Projecting firing position for painting the immediate area in front of an adjacent fortification wall, the rampart or a curtain wall . Often designed as a small, obtuse-angled bastion or bastion. First described in German in Albrecht Dürer's 1527 fortification theory.
Storm free
Height of a work above its foundation. Originally, this property was used to denote the inaccessibility of the work with scaling ladders .
Storm post
Pointed wooden posts that were rammed into walls and bastions to make the use of scaling ladders impossible.
Storm ripe
Prerequisite for the successful storming of a plant by destroying its walls .


Small defensible space to cover other objects like bridges or the like
Also called " trench shears ". A work lying in the ditch in front of a curtain wall , which consists of two walls converging at a receding angle. The tenaille emerged from the separation of the coppice from the main wall in the late 17th century .
Tenaill system
Fastening system with a star-shaped floor plan. The Tenaill system was used in the manners of Hermann Landsberg the Younger and Marc-René de Montalembert , among others .
blind spot
Area in which the fortress guns could not work. The tip of the arrow-shaped bastion secured the blind spot .
See space pranks
The trench of a fortress
A raised transverse wall on the top of the wall , the covered path or often through the middle of a plant to secure the troops against flank and rear fire.


Enclosing wall


Offset folds of the Ehrenbreitstein Fortress in the postern at the Grave Gate
Offset fold
Vertical slit occurring in pairs in a wall for the installation of obstacles or coverings in buildings. Opposite offset folds are used to accommodate beams made of concrete, wood or steel. This means that openings can be closed. Several offset folds in a row make it possible to fill the gaps between the joist walls with earth, stones or sandbags. This creates a secure cover that can also be used to close holes in outer walls. For example, in the Koblenz Fortress , many variants of the offset folds have been handed down. In the French fortresses of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, offset seams were also very common; they not only served to temporarily block hollow passages and the like, but were also used in the event of an alarm to protect normal windows and doors of the barracks from possible splinters, etc. to secure. For this purpose, railroad tracks were hung on steel profiles embedded in the walls. A kind of fixed blinds resulted. These can be viewed very well in Fort de Troyon .
Fortified camp
A closed " entrenched line " closed space in which larger troop units can be accommodated (not to be confused with a camp fortress , another name for a belt fortress ).


Gun place
Also called “Place d'Armes”. Usually located in an angle of the covered path for troops to gather before a sortie.
From Latin vallum (derived from vallus = Schanzpfahl) Old High German erdewal. Elevation of the fortress above its surroundings in the form of an embankment - z. Partly reinforced by walls and ditches. The upper surface contributes towards enemy parapet , behind her the Wall Gang for the installation of guns and traffic. For aerial archeology , ramparts and ditches and their remains are among the most permanent witnesses of the times.
On corbels resting equipped with loopholes firing point, often above the castle gate; as a throw or cast bay, also reinforced with machiculis for vertical defense (defense of the dead angle at the base of the wall).
Corridor at the top of a fortress or defensive wall, from which attacks can be repelled by notches.
From the 16th century, the back-translation of the French term ouvrage (work) was often used as an umbrella term for a single fortification. As part of a fortress, a work can include a. be a jump, a bastion, a log cabin or a ravelin. At the end of the 19th century, the term is used for entrenchments and small forts , and increasingly also for systems that are developed from the forts, which may look different depending on the country. After the First World War , these systems continued to develop. In Germany especially during the thirties when new concepts and systems were defined and developed in the course of the expansion of the state fortifications. In 1937 a plant was defined as a fortress that had to be defended independently with mechanical equipment for air and energy supply.
Wolf's Hollow
A pit and a wooden post inserted into it with a point pointing upwards
See Wehrerker


Pincer gate
Shield-shaped attachment on a parapet . Battlements are used to cover defenders against long-range weapons.
Independent, particularly well developed part of a fortress city, which is usually separated from it by an esplanade . When the city was stormed by enemy troops, the citadel served as a retreat for the garrison.
Movable bridge over a moat that can be pulled up in the event of a siege. The drawbridge can be traced as a structural element into the 20th century .
Zwinger (architecture)
The area between the curtain wall and an additional, advanced wall (Zwingermauer).
Space pranks
Also called a traditor . Artillery stationed here did not point to the front or the enemy side, but rather covered against enemy view in blind spots, in gaps and in the aprons of neighboring fortifications. Sometimes they were designed as part of a fort / fortress, sometimes as an intermediate work.
Intermediate work
A fortified base between the forts of a fortress.

See also


  • Horst Wolfgang Böhme , Reinhard Friedrich, Barbara Schock-Werner (Hrsg.): Dictionary of castles, palaces and fortresses. Reclam, Stuttgart 2004, ISBN 3-15-010547-1 , doi: 10.11588 / arthistoricum.535 .
  • Rudolf Huber, Renate Rieth (eds.): Glossarium artis. Volume 1: Castles and Fixed Places. European defense construction before the introduction of firearms. Systematic specialist dictionary. = Chateaux-forts et places fortes. = Castles and fortified places. 3rd, revised and expanded edition. Saur, Munich et al. 1996, ISBN 3-598-11183-5 .
  • Rudolf Huber, Renate Rieth (Red.): Glossarium artis. Volume 7: Fortresses. The defense construction after the introduction of firearms. Systematic specialist dictionary. = Forteresses. = Fortifications. 2nd, completely revised and enlarged edition. Saur, Munich et al. 1990, ISBN 3-598-10806-0 .
  • Hartwig Neumann : Fortress construction art and technology. German defense architecture from the XV. to XX. Century. With a bibliography of German-language publications on fortress research and use. Bechtermünz, Augsburg 2000, ISBN 3-8289-0395-9 .
  • Moritz von Prittwitz : Contributions to applied fortification art. 2 volumes. Decker, Posen 1836 (Prittwitz 'work contains the terms for the New Prussian fortification manner of the first half of the 19th century).

Individual evidence

  1. May, Magdeburg Fortress, page 263