Gabion gun emplacement – using Meadow Fences and Walls

Here comes another gun emplacement made using elements of Meadow Fences and Walls set (and a linen thread).

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This time it is more modern gabion emplacement. As the firepower and widespread of firearms and artilerry increased in renaissance period, medieval wooden shields and hurdles proved not to be enough to protect the artillery crews and were replaced with gabion fortifications. Esentially a predecessor of modern sandbags or steel gabion fortifications these early gabions were actually wickerwork tubes open at both sides. When stuck in the ground and filled with earth they provided a solid protection against musket fire and some against artillery. They were used both as field fortifications, or as reinforcements or retaining walls for much larger or permanent military earthworks well into the industrial era. (Here’s a good example of gabions used as retaining walls during American Civil War)

Such gabions were usually made by basket makers in preparation for the campaign/ battle/ or siege. Made of varying diameter and fitted one into another, empty gabions could be easily stored or transported and deployed where needed, and after the battle unless severely damaged could be emptied and stored again for reuse.

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Sometimes gabions were stacked one atop another to provide a higher obstacle, on other occasions (e.g. when there was not enough of gabions or time to build multi tier walls) fascine bundles were laid on top to provide additional cover. However unlikely to stop a cannonball such bundles were enough to protect from musket fire. Their advantage was that they were portable, and easy to obtain during the campaign as suitable trees grew almost everywhere and required no wickerwork skills to make. In the XIX century fascine bundles as a form of shield were replaced by sandbags,and disappeared from the fields of battle in early 20th century together with wicker gabions.

On the photos you can see an early XVIIth century gabion emplacement made using Meadow Fences and Walls set. It is a relatively light fortification – one used in the pitched battles rather than in the siege. The cannon and the gunner are a quick “for the scale purpose” mock-up made with scraps of paper I got left when making the horse for the previous post and an undercarriage of some early Veuglaire test build. The size corresponds roughly to quarter or octave kartouve so a light to medium cannon, as for heavier siege cannons usually stronger emplacements were made.

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