The defensive system is mainly based upon the setting of inundations and defending the few places where they could be crossed. Older places like Naarden and Gorinchem were updated in the course of the 19th century by building new barracks and depots and adding detached works. Some places received new defensive works after the Law on the Fortifications of 1874, such as Utrecht. So we can discover pure bastioned works, polygonal forts, artillery tower forts, concrete shelters and bunkers all along the line. Although diverse in form, combined together, the fortifications were an obstacle to be reckoned with.


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In the course of his career, Vauban’s system evolved. The basis of his methods are to be found with earlier military architects, such as Blaise Pagan. However, Vauban developed a more practical and logical system, consisting of several layers of defence. He always used a natural site and available resources to his advantage. He used inundations and strategic terrain to hinder his enemies. Logic and mathematics helped him determine how long a place could hold out against the enemy. The multi-layered defences slowed down any attack.



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Fort Marghera is part of the defensive ring around Venice. This ring of fortifications defends the landward side as well as the seaside. Fort Marghera is part of a line of fortifications around the harbour of Mestre. There were even fortifications in the famous lagoon. Fort Marghera was designed as a Vauban style fortification, with bastions and outworks. These outworks were mainly a heavy crownwork and casemated ravelins which had to protect the moats. Barracks and depots filled the interior of the fort.



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The main system used at Chatham consists of lines following a bastioned trace, with a dry moat and a counterscarp. The walls were high, so that the defences could not be scaled easily. A field of fire was kept clear, so that the batteries could engage any attacking enemy. Fort Amherst was designed as a stronghold to house the troops and to serve as a depot for ammunition and supplies. Batteries were placed in lines, behind a parapet and protected from flanking fire by traverses. Infantry could cover the ditches from behind loop holed walls.


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