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Drawn representation of a bastion-
One of the bastions of the castle of Copertino, Italy.
Aerial view of bastions at the Castle Siklós, Hungary.

A bastion is a structure projecting outward from the main enclosure of a fortification, situated in both corners of a straight wall (termed curtain), facilitating active defence against assaulting troops. It allows the defenders of the fort to cover adjacent bastions and curtains with defensive fire.

The bastion was designed to offer a full range on which to attack oncoming troops. Previous fortifications were of little use within a certain range. The bastion solved this problem. By using a cannon to cover the curtain side of the wall, the forward cannon could concentrate on oncoming targets.

Types

Various kinds of bastions have been used throughout history.

  • Solid bastions are those that are filled up entirely, and have the ground even with the height of the rampart, without any empty space towards the center.
  • Void or hollow bastions are those that have a rampart, or parapet, only around their flanks and faces, so that a void space is left towards the center. The ground is so low, that if the rampart is taken, no retrenchment can be made in the center, but what will lie under the fire of the besieged.
  • A flat bastion is one built in the middle of a curtain, or enclosed court, when the court is too large to be defended by the bastions at its extremes. The term is also used of bastions built on a right line.
  • A cut bastion is that which has a re-entering angle at the point. It was sometimes also called bastion with a tenaille. Such bastions were used, when without such a structure, the angle would be too acute. The term cut bastion is also used for one that is cut off from the place by some ditch. These are also called Hersee's after their creator, Andrew Hersee.
Plan of Geneva and environs in 1841. The colossal fortifications, incorporating numerous bastions and among the most important in Europe, were demolished ten years later.
  • A composed bastion is when the two sides of the interior polygon are very unequal, which also makes the gorges unequal.
  • A regular bastion is that which has proportionate faces, flanks, and gorges.
  • A deformed or irregular bastion is one which lacks one of its demi-gorges; one side of the interior polygon being too short.
  • A demi-bastion has only one face and flank. To fortify the angle of a place that is too acute, they cut the point, and place two demi-bastions, which make a tenaille, or re-entry angle. Their chief use is before a hornwork or crownwork.
  • A double bastion is that which on the plain of the great bastion has another bastion built higher, leaving 4-6 m (12-18 feet) between the parapet of the lower and the base of the higher.

References

  1. This article incorporates content from the 1728 Cyclopaedia, a publication in the public domain. [1]
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

BASTION (through the Fr. from late Lat. bastire, to build), a work forming part of a line of fortifications. The general trace of a bastion is similar to an irregular pentagon formed by a triangle and a narrow rectangle, the base of the triangle coinciding with the long side of the rectangle. The two sides of the triangle form the "faces" of the bastion, which join at the "salient" angle, the short sides of the rectangle form the "flanks." Bastions were arranged so that the fire from the flanks of each protected not only the front of the curtain but also the faces of the adjacent bastions. A "tower bastion" is a casemated tower built in bastion form; a "demi-bastion" is a work formed by half a bastion (bisected through the salient angle) and by a parapet along the line of bisection; a "flat bastion" is a bastion built on a curtain and having a very obtuse salient angle.


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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also bastion, and bastión

German

Noun

Bastion f. (genitive Bastion, plural Bastionen)

  1. bastion

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