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"gun emplacement/gabion embrasure" Topic

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593 hits since 11 Aug 2017
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Osage201711 Aug 2017 12:41 p.m. PST

From what I know gabion is an open ended basket filled with dirt. Gabions were used by armies from the birth of gunpowder. Here are some pics:



My question is this. Because it looks like it required a lot of work and time, such fortifications were used mainly during sieges. Do you know any example it was used also on the battlefield ?

ps. 1
I remember LeBreton mentioned that the Russian heavy battery of 12 pieces had 6 artillerymen for construction of emplacements. But I can't imagine the few men could built in 1-2 hours 12-18 gabions for their guns.
ps. 2
Do you use gabion embrasures in your battles ? Any comments ?

42flanker11 Aug 2017 1:32 p.m. PST

The advantage of the gabion was that it could be made of materials to hand. All that was required was willow, or similar brushwood, and earth. Thus they were useful for the speedy creation of field fortifications. No sophisticated construction work was necessary. A simple trench or bank of earth was of limited use if unrevetted; its robustness dependent on the texture of local soil and the weather.

I can't quote you chapter and verse but in the British army, infantry men, supervised by pioneers and gunners, could be set to assisting with the making and filling of gabions for the construction of lunettes and other emplacements,

Osage201711 Aug 2017 2:04 p.m. PST

42flanker, thank you for your reply.
Do you know if the British and French heavy batteries (12pdrs) had part of the crew designed for construction of emplacements ? (The Russians heavy batteries had.)

Musketier Supporting Member of TMP11 Aug 2017 3:21 p.m. PST

In theory at least, gabions could be prefabricated and transported (empty) on carts – that's how they were brought to the point of use during sieges. Even then, six men might take more than a couple of hours to fill enough of them for an entire battery position; working through the night, maybe? More likely, could the six artillerymen have been trained in field fortifications, so as to supervise the brawn drafted from neighbouring infantry units, as suggested by 42flanker? Again, that would mirror the practice during sieges, when infantry units would rotate on digging duty (and be paid extra for it).

42flanker11 Aug 2017 5:19 p.m. PST

Sorry Osage, way out of my comfort zone, but FWIW I have never heard of such an arrangement within Royal Artillery.

Nine pound round11 Aug 2017 6:14 p.m. PST

They're still in use today; Google HESCO. Although not made of willow branches anymore.

Personal logo jeffreyw3 Supporting Member of TMP12 Aug 2017 12:56 p.m. PST

Osage, do you have a link to Le Breton's post re the Russian Battery complement?


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