A Caponier is a type of
fortificationstructure. The word originates from the French word "caponnière" - which strictly means capon-cote i.e. chickenhouse.
The fire coming from the feature (e.g.
muskets, machine-guns, case-shotetc.) sweeps along the bottom of the attendant ditch and so prevents the enemy from establishing itself there.
In some types of bastioned fortifications, the caponier served only as a covered means of access to the outworks, with the bastion-trace allowing for the defence of the ditch by fire from the main parapets.
Originally the term referred to a covered passage way that traversed the
ditchbetween the walls of a fortressand a ravelinoutside the wall. This was more than simply a passage however as fire from this point could sweep the ditch between the ravelinand the curtain walland inflict devastating damage on any attempt to storm the wall. Thus the passageway was equipped with musket ports and cannonports that fired along the ditch.
fortifications were evolving to the simpler polygonal style, the term was used to describe the blockhousesset in the corners of the ditch that provide the same function in that style of fort.
It usually takes the form of a low blockhouse, often partly sunk into the floor of the ditch, projecting outward into the ditch with access from the main fortress via a passage through the curtain wall, or as fortresses became largely underground, via a tunnel from within the fort. The roof is vulnerable to
plunging fire, and is thus usually exceedingly thick and curved to deflect falling shells, or covered with a thick layer of earth.The caponier is usually equipped with a firing stepand rifleports to allow troops to fire along the ditch, and often has provision for small cannon to sweep the ditch as well. To clear the smoke and fumes from the firing the roof of the caponier is often provided with ventilation ports.
To avoid fire from one caponier bearing on the next, caponiers are usually set at alternate corners of the fort, so that they fire towards a blank wall at the opposite end of the ditch, giving full coverage of the ditch without subjecting the next caponier to fire. The length of the straight sections of the ditch is chosen so that it can be covered by fire from a single caponier. Caponiers are often wedge shaped so that they can fire down both angles of the ditch.
An alternative to the caponier is a
counterscarp battery, dug into the outer face of the corner of the ditch, giving a similar field of fire. Again reached by a tunnel from within the fort, it does not have the vulnerable roof that the caponier has, but being outside the ditch, is potentially more vulnerable to mining. Both structures may be found in the same fort.
Caponiers are a common feature of 19th century fortification, and are found on almost all the Victorian forts of
Malta, the Palmerston Fortsin UK, fortifications in many Nordic countries, and in:
Blackness Castlecontains a good example to be found in Scotland.
* [http://www.undergroundkent.co.uk/caponier_fort_amherst.htm Amherst Fort - Kent]
* [http://fortress.wl.dvgu.ru/eng/ph10_en.htm Vladivostock Fortress]
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Look at other dictionaries:
caponier — n. covered passage across a moat or ditch … English contemporary dictionary
caponier — [ˌkapə nɪə] noun a covered passage across a ditch round a fort. Origin C17: from Sp. caponera, lit. capon enclosure … English new terms dictionary
caponier — n. a covered passage across a ditch round a fort. Etymology: Sp. caponera, lit. capon pen … Useful english dictionary
demi-caponier — See demi 5 … Useful english dictionary
Капонир — … Википедия
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