What is an Investment (Military)?

Introduction Investment is military term for the process of surrounding an enemy fort (or town) with armed forces to prevent entry or escape. It serves both to cut communications with the outside world and to prevent supplies and reinforcements from being introduced. A circumvallation is a line of fortifications, built by the attackers around the… Read More

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What is a Camouflet?

Introduction A camouflet, in military science, is an artificial cavern created by an explosion. If the explosion reaches the surface then it is called a crater. Background The term was originally defined as a countermine dug by defenders to prevent the undermining of a fortress’s walls during a siege. The defenders would dig a tunnel… Read More

What was the Great Siege of Gibraltar (1779-1783)?

Introduction The Great Siege of Gibraltar (24 June 1779 to 07 February 1783) was an unsuccessful attempt by Spain and France to capture Gibraltar from the British during the War of the American Revolution. The American war had ended with the British defeat at Yorktown in October 1781, but the Bourbon defeat in their great… Read More

What is Sapping?

Introduction Sapping is a term used in siege operations to describe the digging of a covered trench (a “sap”) to approach a besieged place without danger from the enemy’s fire. The purpose of the sap is usually to advance a besieging army’s position towards an attacked fortification. It is excavated by specialised military units, whose… Read More

What is Sapping?

Introduction Sapping is a term used in siege operations to describe the digging of a covered trench (a “sap”) to approach a besieged place without danger from the enemy’s fire. The purpose of the sap is usually to advance a besieging army’s position towards an attacked fortification. It is excavated by specialised military units, whose… Read More

What is a Ballista?

Introduction The ballista (Latin, from Greek βαλλίστρα ballistra and that from βάλλω ballō, “throw”), plural ballistae, sometimes called bolt thrower, was an ancient missile weapon that launched either bolts or stones at a distant target. Developed from earlier Greek weapons, it relied upon different mechanics, using two levers with torsion springs instead of a tension… Read More

What is a Siege?

Introduction A siege is a military blockade of a city, or fortress, with the intent of conquering by attrition, or a well-prepared assault. This derives from Latin: sedere, lit. ‘to sit’. Siege warfare is a form of constant, low-intensity conflict characterised by one party holding a strong, static, defensive position. Consequently, an opportunity for negotiation… Read More