__NOTOC__A glacis (IPA |/ˈgleɪ.sɪs/ or IPA |/ˈglæ.si/) in military engineering is an artificial slope of earth used in late European fortresses so constructed as to keep any potential assailant under the fire of the defenders until the last possible moment. On natural, level ground, troops attacking any high work have a degree of shelter from its fire when close up to it; the glacis consists of a slope with a low grade inclined towards the top of the wall. This gave defenders a direct line of sight into the assaulting force, allowing them to efficiently sweep the field with fire from the parapet.

The attackers are further frustrated by a deep ditch situated between the glacis and the wall itself, bounded on either side by the smooth, masoned scarp and counterscarp.

More generally, the term "glacis" can denote any slope, natural or artificial, which fulfils the above requirements. The etymology of this French word suggests a slope made dangerous with ice, hence the relationship with "glacier".

Armored Vehicles

The term glacis plate describes the sloped front-most section of the hull of a tank or other


An erosional or depositional pediment, with little slope. Erosional glacis occur mostly in arid regions, and result from intense meteorization (weathering) and surface transport via laminar, episodic water flow.

ee also

* Fortification
* Siege
* Sloped armour


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • glacis — 1. (gla sî) s. m. 1°   Talus, pente douce et unie. Le glacis d un étang. •   Il portait la passion du bien public à un tel point, et en même temps cette sorte de passion est si rare, qu il est peut être dangereux d exposer au public que, quand il …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • glacis — GLÁCIS, glacisuri, s.n. (geol.) Teren neted în pantă uşoară. – Din fr. glacis. Trimis de gall, 13.09.2007. Sursa: DEX 98  glácis (teren) s. n., pl. glácisuri Trimis de siveco, 10.08.2004. Sursa: Dicţionar ortografic  GLÁCIS …   Dicționar Român

  • glacis — Glacis. s. m. Talud, pente douce & unie. Le glacis d un estang. le glacis de la contrescarpe …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • Glacis — Gla cis, n. [F. glacis; so named from its smoothness. See {Glacier}.] A gentle slope, or a smooth, gently sloping bank; especially (Fort.), that slope of earth which inclines from the covered way toward the exterior ground or country (see Illust …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • glacis — (Del fr. glacis, de glacer, helar). m. Mil. En una fortificación permanente, declive desde el camino cubierto hacia el campo …   Diccionario de la lengua española

  • glacis — [glā′sis, glas′is] n. pl. glacis [glā′sēz΄, glas′sēz΄] or glacises [glā′sis iz, glas′sis iz] [Fr < OFr glacier, to slip < glace, ice < VL glacia: see GLACIER] 1. a gradual slope 2. an embankment sloping gradually up to a fortification,… …   English World dictionary

  • Glacis — (fr., spr. Glasih), 1) eine 7–8 Fuß hohe, ganz flach (etwa auf 80–100 Schritt) sich verlaufende Brustwehr zum Schutze des bedeckten Weges (s.d.) der Festungen: G. en contrepente (spr. G. ang kongterpangt), die äußere Böschung des Grabens einer… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Glacis — (franz., spr. glaßĭ), Feldabdachung, eine vor dem äußern Grabenrand einer Befestigung nach dem Felde zu flach verlaufende Erdanschüttung. Bei Feldschanzen stellt man einen glacisförmigen Auswurf her, der das Bestreichen des Vorfeldes vor dem… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Glacis — Glacis, s. Festungsbau …   Lexikon der gesamten Technik

  • Glacis — (frz., spr. ßih), bei Festungen die Erdanschüttung jenseit des Grabens und Bedeckten Weges, die sich nach der Angriffsseite hin sanft abdacht; Glaciskrete, die obere Kante des G …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Glacis — (frz. glassih), die von dem äußersten Festungsgraben sich in das freie Feld verlierende Abdachung, die von den Werken nach jeder Richtung bestrichen wird …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

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