What is a bulwark?

A bulwark is a projection in a part of a fortification, designed with an angle facing the wall to allow the defensive fire to spread in multiple directions. It has an angular shape and is usually positioned at the corners. The ramparts were dominant for the 300s (from the mid-sixteenth century to the mid-nineteenth century). The fortifications of the bastion replaced the previously used medieval fortifications. The difference between these two forms of fortification is that the ramparts were flat sides unlike the medieval ones, which were curved.

Importance of the characteristics of the bulwark

The flat nature of the ramparts helps to exclude the dead zone, thus making it easier for the defenders to shoot from any side at the front of the bastion. The ramparts cover a piece of land more significant than most towers mainly to ensure that there is enough space for the assembly of cannons (mounted guns) and operational activities by the crew. The walls of the bastions were thick (made of rubble or hard earth) and therefore they would have allowed the cannon balls to cross them but to be absorbed. Sometimes the ramparts could be successfully attacked and the attackers could do more damage. To stop it, other projects of sticks came out, and they would have allowed to dig trenches on the back of the fort of the bastion, thus reducing the possibility of attacking the main bastion. The distance between the channels and the upper part of the ramparts is wide enough to prevent the attackers from climbing.

Types of bulwarks

Various types and designs of ramparts have been used over the years. They include solid bastions, flat bastions, compound ramparts, empty ramparts, cut-out ramparts, circular ramparts, irregular ramparts, double ramparts, regular ramparts, demi-bastions and semicircular bastions. The solid ramparts are also known as complete ramparts. They are filled and have no empty space near its center. Flat bastions are built in the middle of a closed courtyard or curtain when the curtain is too large to be defended by ramparts. Both sides of the inner polygon for the compound ramparts are unequal, while the empty bastions have a rampart around their faces and sides, providing an empty space towards the center, which is why they are also known as empty ramparts.

The cut bastions are made at an angle at a particular point, and may be too sharp. The circular ramparts (also known as rounds) were an evolution during the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, but were slowly replaced by angled bastions. The irregular bastions are also known as deformed bastions and may lack a side or have a shorter side than the inner polygon. The double bastion is built on another bastion and the height difference between them is thirteen feet or twenty feet. The regular ramparts have proportional flanks, faces and throats. The demi-bastions, on the other hand, have a single side and a face; the side protects the adjacent curtains and bastions. The bastion is fortified with two bastions arranged at an angle. The semicircular ramparts were commonly used during the sixteenth century, but they went out of order because it was difficult to concentrate firearms around a curve. In general, the ramparts offered sufficient protection to the inhabitants.

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