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Bastion Fort (wikipedia.org)
76 points by ferros on Sept 12, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 49 comments

Think this was posted before but the French military are building these today


There are loads of bastion fortresses in France thanks to this guy: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sébastien_Le_Prestre_de_Vauban

Those remind me of the anime Attack on Titan.

I love reading about these designs but I find the Wikipedia articles don’t do a great job explaining the logic behind the geometry. I assume it has to do with maximizing what your cannons can see while minimizing flat-on surfaces for their cannons to strike?

But then there’s probably some tactical reasons too like how the emplacements on the points of the star forces enemy engagement to take place a certain way.

All guesswork. Any good links or videos that really do a good job explaining the why?

There's a good history stackexchange answer on the topic. https://history.stackexchange.com/a/35726

> Bastion forts are designed to enable enfilade (or flanking) fire: shooting on the line of attackers from the side, significantly increasing firing efficiency of the defender.

The bit about the offensive strategy reminds me of the old city of Jerusalem. We visited the wall, and on the way passed though a new condo development, where I joked that the zig-zag streets would limit flanking fire. My hosts said the architects knew what they were doing, and pointed out various bullet holes around the rest of (their quarter of) J'lem the rest of the day.

Thanks. Now that I’m thinking about it from the perspective of maximizing flanking fire... geez these are nasty nasty citadels to attack...

If you think about it abstractly, all of these approaches are effectively increasing the surface area of the fortification without substantially increasing its internal area. This increases the number of positions from which defenders can operate, while simultaneously decreasing the effectiveness of any particular attack.

If you build a round tower or a circular fort (which is optimal in both area/wall ratio and strength) (edit: or use any other ‘locally convex’ layout), attackers who manage to sneak up to the wall at a location where there isn’t any opening in the wall (i.e. most places) can hack away at the wall relatively (they may still be hit from above, but even that may be limited, depending on the design of the wall) unimpeded, as nobody shooting projectiles out of the fort can hit them. So, such attackers could work for days or even weeks to bring down part of the wall.

These designs are such that, wherever attackers are standing near the wall, there’s a position inside the fort from where one can hit them, often from both sides.

You also don’t want you projectiles, aimed at attackers, to hit and damage your own wall.

Projectile range and rate of fire mean one cannot simple scale up a smaller design to make a larger one.

After clicking a few linkd deep, I too would like a video link showing not just this fort design but the development through history of these. I couldn't figure out the distinctions between this and star forts and polygonal forts and the differences of Vauban's attack plan versus what is used against polygonal, etc. Any video recommendations?

Gothenburg, Sweden, was built as a bastion fort [1]. When the fortifications were removed in the early 19th century, large parts of the ramparts were converted into a public park, which still surrounds the city center[2].

1: https://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%B6teborgs_bef%C3%A4stning...

2: https://www.google.com/maps/@57.7036863,11.9640366,2382m/dat...

Also true for Utrecht in the Netherlands. They have just finished restoring the moat that goes around the inner city where the fortifications were. For several decades part of the moat was converted to a motorway. https://bicycledutch.wordpress.com/2020/09/09/cycling-around...

I absolutely love military history, and it's interesting on how much I find it relates to other parts of life.

It was just this week I was explaining to my therapist the concept of "Defense in Depth" and how that relates to trust, friendship making, security, life opsec, work opsec, work, and making reliable systems.

The geometry in particular I always find to be interesting, since a lot of it is about reacting to life (both animal and human) and the natural shape of the terrain. Things like how animals hunt, or where they like to nest. Where and how colonies are established, etc. Covering distance quickly and secretly, and being able to see others coming. Protecting resources like food, water, or crypto keys.

Is this why the Pentagon is a pentagon? I always thought it was to contain the lloigor to prevent it from assimilating souls.

No, Bastion forts are not convex polygons like the Pentagon, they are concave because the concavities create kill zones where the fort can fire at attackers from the sides as well as the front.

The Pentagon is an (irregular) pentagon because of the roadways surrounding the site when it was selected.

The original chosen site was on Arlington Farms and was pentagonal. The current site wasn't, but they (mostly) kept the original design.

Is the Pentagon not regular? It seems like it is from pictures…

It’s definitely to keep him from getting out. We’re very fortunate that only the outer pentagon was broken 19 years ago.

You sure he didn't get out? Have you paid attention to the news since 2001?

When it was built we (USA) also had five branches of service: Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force & Coast Guard.

This is commonly repeated but is completely false. The Pentagon was completed in 1943 but the Air Force didn’t exist as a separate branch until 1947.

I can’t find any evidence that the Coast Guard was ever headquartered in the Pentagon.

Yea, thanks! I heard it once on a tour of DC. A bit more history I learned today from here: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/why-p...

> During World War II, messengers traveled the hallways by bike or roller skates.


If I ever gain the ability to time travel I'm taking roller blade technology back to the 1940s to see what effect it has on the war effort.

>> On the other hand, the Ottomans failed to take Corfu in 1537 in no small part because of the new fortifications, and several attempts spanning almost two centuries (another major one was in 1716) also failed.[6][7]

The bastion fortifications of Corfu were established shortly before the last Ottoman invasion of 1716, by Count von der Schulenburg, appointed to the Job by Venice. They were destroyed later when Corfu joined the newly freed Greek nation with the treaty of 1864. The destruction of the Corfu fortifications was an actual clause of the treaty. Today, only the (Venetian) Old Fort remains and some few parts of the star-shaped walls. Allegedly, the fortifications were so renowned that the British wanted them destroyed in case they ended up being used against them. A bit of a shame, too, since they were really impressive and they would have made a spectacular historical site today. What remains is already interesting enough.

Sources: a bit of wikipedia to remind me of the dates and primarily local lore (I spend a lot of time in Corfu) and also maps depicting the Ottoman siege in 1716, showing e.g. fortified positions of the defenders and the invaders with detailed descriptions of the forces deployed, illustrations of gun emplacements and even the trajectories of enfilading fire etc. Such maps are often exhibited in Corfu, and I must surely look a huge nerd the way I spend hours poring over them every bloody time :)

If your flight lands on the right runway (27R) at Philadelphia International Airport, you will get a close up view of Fort Mifflin, a bastion fort dating back to 1771 which took part in the Revolutionary War.


Goryōkaku (五稜郭) in Japan:


indigenous New Zealand: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pā#Gunfighter_pā

(mostly innovative in local material use for protection from artillery, but at least one was designed for enfilade)

The trace italienne also features prominently in the novel Wolf in White Van: https://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/26/books/wolf-in-white-van-b...

The history of warfare has gone back and forth between offense and defense being stronger. In the castle era, defense was stronger, which led to military and political strong points. But a castle can't project power very far, at best half a day's ride. Hence, strong barons, weak central governments.

Better cannon changed that, and gave the attacker an advantage.

Still better artillery and fortifications, plus heavy machine guns, gave the defender the advantage again, resulting in WWI, which was stalled with everyone in fixed positions for some time.

Then came tanks, and offense started beating defense again.

Arguably, guerilla warfare has given defense an edge again. It's a defense based on hiding and disappearing into the general population, but a defense nevertheless.

>Arguably, guerilla warfare has given defense an edge again. It's a defense based on hiding and disappearing into the general population, but a defense nevertheless.

Guerilla warfare has a different purpose than total war and it should not be compared. Guerilla warfare basically happened in the american revolution.

The brits[1] complained it was guerilla warfare, but by the end, Washington had naval support (merci, france), cavalry (dziękuję, poland; köszönöm, hungary), and artillery (merci encore, france), not to mention tacit logistical support from a number of other countries[2].

General Washington explicitly stood on the principles of being a regular, so much so that he would send back british letters unopened if they had not been properly addressed according to military custom.

(that custom has been codified somewhat with the Geneva Conventions, but it remains to be seen how applicable these conventions are in the twenty-first century.)

[1] hostilities having started when the brits, acting on undeniably accurate intelligence, sent out parties to destroy rural terrorist arms caches somewhere out in the boonies of Middlesex county. After accomplishing their mission despite sporadic hostile opposition, they were subject to sustained small arms fire from unlawful combatants on the return trip.



[2] Catherine, for instance, not only engaged in sanctions busting, but (at least according to russian sources) reneged on providing troops for the british which her diplomats had initially considered, leaving the public/private military contracting to various HRE relatives of George's. No fan of democracy, she, but "enemy of my enemy" reliably trumps ideologies in geopolitics. (for contrast, the CSA would discover mere economics "but muh property rights! and cheap cotton!" didn't trump a general nineteenth century distaste for slavery: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24260354 )

E.g. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hesse-Hanau_Troops_in_the_Amer... provided 2'400 troops out of an estimated 30'000 germans, suggesting the coalition of the billing must've been fairly large. https://www.lagis-hessen.de/de/subjects/xbrowse/sn/hetrina might contain better information.

Yes. By the end of the Vietnam war, when the North Vietnamese entered Saigon, they did it with a tank assault.[1] The later phases of a guerilla war, if you win, have to involve taking and holding territory and taking over. In that phase it's no longer about hiding.

[1] https://apimagesblog.com/historical/2020/4/24/the-fall-of-sa...

TIL "doing donuts" was a thing in both the capitalist (1st) and communist (2nd) worlds.

(also, about a predecessor to the Stinger: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/9K32_Strela-2 )

Bonus clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2W1FFu4Z2mI (Strela being a polysemous term in russian, it can be used not only in a military sense, "arrow", but also in geographical, and, as this girl group embodies, an anatomical.)

I should have qualified it with *the beginning of the american revolution

I dont think many of the points you brought up refute guerlla warfare should not be compared to total war. I do think it's interesting to note that almot every country will continue guerlla warfare to wear down their friends and enemies. Iraq is a good example of this.

I'm curious what country you're from since you're using the apostrophy for the decimal separator "2'400"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decimal_separator#Examples_of_... ought to narrow it down. We're neither doubly landlocked, nor have we ever listed our entire country on Airbnb.

TIL about SI thin-spacing.

(Pedantically speaking, there's a large middle range between guerrilla warfare, irregular and asymmetric, and total warfare, in which instead of an economy with an army one has an army with an economy. Note that Clausewitz, whose ignorance of the twentieth century made him use Napoleonic France as an example of "total", considered total war, not as misattributed a desirable state, but as an asymptote. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24316395 )

PS. Assuming we're both under the same atmosphere, which windows: visible, mid-wave infrared, or radio?

Not pedantic at all and I would probably benefit from your knowledge. Interesting, I've never read Clausewitz.

So you're from SA eh? Always wanted to visit but no idea where to go.

I love all windows equally

For the technological considerations which give rise to Eastasia, Eurasia, and Oceania: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=24375023

(If one wants to predict which countries get Two Minutes Hates from the US, just look at the rest of the Permanent Members: CN, check, RU, check, FR, check. UK has always been theirs, but even they were in the doghouse in between Suez and Sputnik.)

As to guerilla warfare, apparently at least some US white supremacists have discussed going the communist cell model one better: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~satran/Ford%2006/Wk%202-1%20T...

Please allow me to note that "leaderless resistance" pretty much firmly puts one in the "terrorist" classification, because having a command structure is part of the requirements to be recognised as a "freedom fighter" under the Geneva Conventions.


if you all haven't noticed by now, this account is an anti-fascist propaganda mouthpiece. As for us, don't tell anyone, but we're organised in a tetrahedral cell structure and ultimately report to an AGI named Temperance (codename "Alfa").

> "Look at base sketch. Each vertex of each triangle shares self with zero, one or two other triangles. Where shares one, that's it's link, one direction or both — but one is enough for a multipli-redundant communication net. On corners, where sharing is zero, it jumps to right to next corner. Where sharing is double, choice is again right-handed.

> Take fourth level, D-for-dog. This vertex is comrade Dan. No, let's go down one to show three levels of communication knocked out — level E-for-easy and pick Comrade Egbert. "Egbert works under Donald, has cellmates Edward and Elmer, has three under him, Frank, Fred, and Fatso … but knows how to send message to Ezra on his own level but not in his cell. He doesn't know Ezra's name, face, address or anything — but has a way, phone number probably, to reach Ezra in emergency."

For more details, view some of our anti-fascism clips on YouTube (e.g. "Don't be a sucker", 1947), and if you "wish to do more", just browse our deep state homepage at www.duckdascism.gov [1]. The DNS query alone suffices, you will receive the relevant information, MitM'ed to your customary news feed, at a later date.

Stay Alert. The computer is your friend.

[1] 3615 Marianne in france, because the frogs always have to do things their own way.

Cape Town, South Africa, 1679 -still used in part as a military base. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castle_of_Good_Hope

Fort McHenry- Baltimore, MD https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_McHenry

The Netherlands is full of these, lots of cities have bastion forts around it. When i was in Sri Lanka, Jaffna, I even found one made by purtogese, captured by the dutch during their Colonial era: https://goo.gl/maps/CBEBGZSgTtfHoSV68

They are still in use, see this [0] French FOB in Mali

[0] https://i.redd.it/f325vekqsxh51.jpg

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