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163

Star forts or 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. Flanking fire allows guns placed in the side wall of the bastion (protected from direct fire from attackers) to safely and effectively shoot at an entire line of ...


90

The big disadvantage of a square or circle is that once an attacker had reached the wall, they are more or less immune to danger from the defenders. The only place they can be attacked from is directly above, having stuff dropped on them. This means that being at the base of the wall is a place of relative safety for the attacker. Conversely, for star ...


42

As noted, this type of castle was extremely common. Harburg (Horeburg/near Hamburg), the first castle at Danzig are perhaps the most famous of these. They were most often built along the Northern European plains on the South shore of the North sea and the Baltic Sea. But that is only indicating that a lot of wetlands can be found in those regions. They ...


33

Imagine that you are defending a fort with old-fashioned round bastions in the Middle Ages. Your walls are high, but once the enemy comes close and starts scaling the walls, very few of your defenders can engage them. After the invention of cannons it's even worse. Your walls have to be thicker and much shorter in height, otherwise they would be easily ...


32

These outcroppings are called Bastions and they became common when muskets and cannons became common in European warfare. The problem with a square or circle forts is that when the enemy has reached the wall, they are in your dead zone. You can't fire at them with your musket, unless you lean over the wall, which would make you a very easy target for the ...


20

Obviously this depends on how many defenders there were inside the castle. A castle garrisoned by a single person could probably live reasonably well off the chickens that might be in the bailey, for instance. He could even start a vegetable garden or some such. Realistically, no castle could hope to produce enough food to sustain a reasonably-sized ...


11

No, that was part of the defense strategy. Making the walls a little bit stronger over all wouldn't help as much as building a very strong keep. That's the general idea behind it. You are absolutely right to assume that those heavily fortified castles within cities were there for a reason: usually to keep the citizens at bay. In many fortified cities those ...


9

In the case of Harlech, what you describe as 'window seats' is actually a murder hole. The arrangement of defences at Harlech Castle can be seen in this plan and section of the gatehouse: The reason that the slot for the portcullis, and the channels for the ropes/chains that controlled it, cannot be seen on your third picture is simply that the ...


7

Simple answer, no. As you increase the size of your fortified enclosure to contain more land for cultivation, you obviously increase the length of the walls. The longer the walls are, the more people you require to defend them successfully. At the same time, those people actively defending the walls (in a siege) cannot be working the fields and tending the ...


7

On 20 October 1645, Parliament resolved that the Committee of Both Kingdoms should consider which castles and fortifications were to be slighted. Through 1646 and beyond, Parliament passed a series of resolutions to slight castles. I'm not sure that a central list exists but you can probably compile one easily if you search for "slighted" in the Journal of ...


7

Looking at late 11th century England, the Domesday Book commissioned in 1085-6 by William I records a division: of England into Counties; Counties were the primary structural element of Domesday Book. There were 31 counties in Great Domesday. of Counties into Fiefs; ..., a fief being the conventional term for the manors held directly from the Crown ...


7

Calvörde Castle in Saxony-Anhalt is an example of a rather common (to my great surprise) phenomena - the Marsh Castle. It guarded transportation routes between Brandenburg, Brunswick, and Magdeburg.


6

Because there was no need to. During the English Civil War, the old Wardour Castle was besieged and largely blown up by the 3rd Baron Arundell. This is not readily apparent from the Wikipedia article, which depicts this photo: (Photo by Simon Burchell CC BY_SA 3.0) Well, that seems formidable enough. However - if you walk around the castle, you'll see this:...


6

Question: What was the place of a catapult in a formation Short Answer: Typically they weren't deployed along with infantry. Catapults were siege weapons which would be used against standing fortifications over hours or even days to attrit fortified towns and their defenses. The infantry didn't need to be standing by all that time, just at the end when ...


6

SHORT ANSWER: No. LONG ANSWER: Every manor in Catholic and Latin medieval Europe had a manor house of some sort, except during intervals, possibly long intervals, between a manor house being destroyed and a replacement being built. If someone was the lord of two or more manors, obviously he could not live in two or more manor houses at the same time. ...


5

Ormond Castle was named after the hill it stood on, Ormond Hill. It is now impossible to trace how the name came about, but the Scottish antiquarian John Pinkerton says it was apparently an ancient moot-hill. Incidentally these were known in Scottish Gaelic as tom a' mhòid, which may provide a clue as to Ormond's etymology. [I]t appears that Ormond was a ...


5

There are two additional reasons. First, in principle, any fortification can be overcome, with enough time and resources. But a very important question is how long will it take. By prolonging the siege you may hope a) for reinforcement or b) that the enemy will withdraw for whatever reason. Several layers of defense prolong the siege. Second, do not forget ...


5

These were different lines of defense. A city was a relatively large area whose purpose was to maintain the political power of say, the king. As such, it had a large number of civilians, and provided a place of refuge for "some" people from the surrounding countryside. As such, a city was a better defended place than most of the of countryside, but its ...


5

You might like one of my local fortifications (The Portsmouth area is a fortification rich area with forts/castles dating from the 3rd to the 19th and probably 20th Century, all worth a look), Porchester castle is built on the remains of a Roman Fort of the Saxon Shore, with large parts of the Roman fortifications (including D shaped bastions) incorporated ...


5

I found out this is an old arcade token for Aladdin's Castle.


2

As you specified all of Europe, I thought I'd do a google on German "gut erhaltene Burgen" (well preserved castles). Select the Images result and you will find magnificent photos with specified locations. Many seem to be in Austria and/or Northern Italy, just from a glance. There's also a Wikipedia article on Castles in Germany, which seem to display some ...


2

@Semaphore I agree with most of what you say, except one thing: unless they do so surreptitiously you can move defenders quicker across the "diameter" than the attackers can around the "circumference". It's what they mean by having interior lines. As to OP's idea of cattle, a general rule of food chains is that each step is only 10% efficient. Land that ...


2

Dr Lila Rakoczy wrote a thesis on the topic. You can read it for free: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/11092/ I think the number of castles slighted was over 100 (can't remember exactly).


2

There is no one answer to your question. The outcome depended not only on the strength of the fortress, but also the force ratio, the capability of each side to endure a war of attrition (i.e. logistics), the determination of each side to win despite the costs, and superiority of weaponry. See, generally, [Kress and Talmor, "A New Look at the 3:1 Rule of ...


2

The main condition was sufficient food and water supply, and of course sufficient number of people to man the walls. Castles were actually very effective tool of defense, and in many cases the attacking army would just bypass them without a siege. But if the attacking army had enough people, enough time and good sources of supplies, then the only hope of the ...


2

Note: Most city-castles weren't inside the medieval city/town but at it's edge this can give the castle two uses: First it reinforces the part of the walls it is located at, making the city harder to attack. On the other hand they were meant to defend the lords against their own people. They often had their own gates in the city-walls and sometimes even ...


2

Adobe forts are more defensible. Perhaps the most famous one was the Alamo. During the war for Texas independence, it was defended by less than 200 Texans for nearly two weeks against odds of 10-15 to one. A palisade fort was mainly a stopgap against relatively small bands of soldiers. It was vulnerable to artillery and even fire. One such fort was Fort ...


2

Definitely yes - provided your story is set prior to the widespread destruction of the castles that began about the time of the Thirty Years War (1618-1648). However, note some important differences between German feudalism and our English language conceptions: The widespread practice of a form of Partible Inheritance in Germany (In German Ganerbschaft) ...


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