Evolution of Military Fortifications
The introduction and proliferation of gunpowder in warfare profoundly affected how fortifications changed throughout the early modern period. At the outset of the early modern era in the 1450’s, Medieval castle walls were still providing defenders with ample protection from arrow volleys and trebuchets aimed at breaking the wall. By the 1490’s this had changed; during the Italian Wars (1494-1559) the traditional medieval castle was replaced by the Trace Italianate fortification. The main innovations of the Trace Italianate were: decreasing the height of the walls, increasing the width of the walls, angling the walls, and creating areas where cannons could be placed to cover the entire battlefield with artillery fire. These innovations increased the staying power of the fort's walls, and posed increasing challenges for those storming the fortification. By the late 1500’s a new style of fort, pioneered by the Dutch during the 80 years war, the Bastion fort, was in style. The Bastion fort saw improvement on the Trace Italianate by increasing the number of dedicated areas for cannons (bastions), as well as increasing the areas of crossfire between each bastion. By the end of the 30 Years War (1618-1648), fortifications had seen another major improvement with the star fort, which saw greater numbers of outworks and bastions being added to increase its firepower. However, the main innovation was the fact that the shape of the bastion changed, allowing a bastion to fire on a neighbouring bastion in the event it was taken by the foe.