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date: 21 August 2019

Germersheimlocked

  • Quentin Hughes

Extract

Small west German town at the confluence of the Rhine and Queich rivers, which was refortified, like many other frontier towns, after the Napoleonic Wars. In the 1840s the town was encircled by fortifications designed by Friedrich Ritter von Schmauss (1792–1846). Influenced by the French military engineers Marc-René de Montalembert (1714–1800) and Lazare Carnot (1753–1823), he built them not with bastions but with powerful multi-gun caponiers and casemated batteries covering and flanking straight faces of wall retrenched by defensible barracks. This was the German system of polygonal fortification, and, although it was different from the bastion system that had dominated military architecture for three hundred years, there were still arguments about its effectiveness in war.

These fortifications were dismantled in accordance with the provisions of the Treaty of Versailles (1919), but fine remnants survive, including the central sector of the Beckers Front with a caponier, ravelin, flank batteries and redoubts, all carried out in a combination of precise brickwork and rusticated masonry. The Ludwigs Tor or gate of ...

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