If you look at the fortresses of the New Age, you can get a very ambiguous impression. They do not have a gram of that medieval Gothic charm, which is inherent in the oldest stone fortifications in Europe. The very specific star-shaped form of these fortifications raises even more questions. Is there any sacred meaning in all this, or is it a purely utilitarian approach?
The “sacred” meaning of the star-shaped military fortification of the modern era is the most terrible: a scientific approach, accurate calculation and harsh pragmatics of warfare. That's the whole "conspiracy theory". They began to build fortifications in this form not at all from the desire for the beautiful, but from how, starting from the 15th century, they began to wage war in Europe and, in particular, from what new weapons they began to use in the most active way.
At the junction of the Middle Ages and Modern Times, literally everything changed: the economy, social structure, morality, religion, science. Of course, military affairs were also subject to change. Already at the beginning of the 15th century, it became obvious to tacticians and strategists that the future belongs to gunpowder artillery. First of all - heavy siege artillery, which many called "the key to the cities." It was the cannons that became anathema to the classic medieval wood-earthen and stone fortifications with high towers, walls and small, frequent battlements. Powder artillery made such fortifications virtually useless.
Of course, the development of fortification also did not stand still and adequately responded to the emergence of siege instruments of a new type. Throughout the modern era, the walls continued to play a decisive role in the defense of important points. However, they began to change fundamentally.
The stone walls of castles and fortresses began to be made much wider and lower, often with an earthen base inside. This was done so that such a wall was much more difficult to break with cannon fire, making a gap in it, where assault columns of infantry could rush during an attack. It was necessary to completely abandon the classic medieval towers, which became a vulnerable target for guns. Finally, small, but frequent serf battlements were removed. They were replaced by wide, long and rare ones. All this earthiness and massiveness of the fortification was dictated by one and only thing - the need to resist cannonballs, which hit simply with monstrous force in comparison with medieval throwing artillery.
This is how the fortification of the bastion type appeared. It was invented in Italy in the 15th century during the Italian Wars, when the French and the Swiss fought for the local lands in a bloody conflict on the one hand, and the Germans and Spaniards on the other. The first fortification, which, with a number of reservations, belongs to the bastion type, was created by the famous artist and Renaissance figure Michelangelo Buonarroti. It was he who was once contracted to renovate the destroyed walls of Florence. In the future, the master's ideas were developed by the outstanding architect Vincenzo Scamozzi. The apotheosis of the development of the bastion-type fortresses of the New Age was the projects of the legendary French military engineer Sebastien Le Pretre de Vauban.
The fortresses of the New Age consisted of all the same ditches, walls and "towers". Of course, in a modified form. As the name suggests, this very bastion was the basis of the bastion system of fortifications: a protruding long-term fortification located at the corners of the fortress. The tactical task of the bastion is the same as that of the medieval fortress tower - to provide flanking fire, preventing the assault from getting close to the most vulnerable parts of the fortification.
The bastions were interconnected by stone walls, which were called "curtain". Each individual curtain, due to the specific geometry of the fortifications, was guaranteed to be less durable than a bastion. And most importantly, direct fire from the wall is always less effective than flanking fire from the bastions. As a result, it turned out that the curtain was the most vulnerable part of the fortification, but it was extremely difficult to take it by storm because of the system of bastions on the flanks.
An important part of the fortifications still remained a system of ditches and embankments, which, on the one hand, did not allow an attack immediately, and on the other, did not allow the besiegers to position artillery in the most convenient way for them. In addition to the ditches in front of the curtains, ravelins could be poured between the two bastions - fortifications of a triangular shape, which either simply interfered with shelling the wall or were a kind of mini-bastions to strengthen the flanking shelling. There was a citadel inside the fortress. In the largest systems of fortifications outside the walls, separate firing points could be built in the form of redoubts and reduits in case the enemy broke through the first line of defense.
And it just so happened that, strictly geometrically, the shape of a star is the best shape for the location of firing points. But ironically, the bastion-type fortifications, which appeared thanks to the development of firearms, sank into oblivion already in the 19th century thanks to another leap in the development of this very artillery. Then rifled guns appeared, which began to shoot at previously inaccessible distances. New ammunition also appeared, which significantly weakened the effect of the fortress fortification.
Continuing the topic, read about an eccentric castle created in the style of the "modern middle ages"which is for sale.