British Fortifications, 1485–1945

An Illustrated History


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SKU: 9781476689715 Categories: , ,

About the Book

This book details British fortifications used from the Tudor period beginning in 1485 through the end of World War II in 1945. With the advent of firearms, the Tudor period indeed opened a new chapter in the histories of Britain, fortification and warfare. By 1500 AD, Britain and Europe at large entered a new phase, marked by the foundation of colonial empires and a broadened sphere of influence and rule.
During the following centuries, British sailors, ruthless adventurers, fighting men, and greedy merchants laid foundations to fortify the most widespread and most prosperous colonial Empire the world had ever seen. This text focuses on British coastal fortifications and on combinations of fortresses used for more general strategic purposes. Featured structures have protected points of vital importance, such as capital cities, military depots, ports, harbors and dockyards at essential locations in Britain and throughout the British Empire.

About the Author(s)

Historian, writer and illustrator Jean-Denis G.G. Lepage is the author of numerous books. His interests include World War II and medieval and French history. He lives in Groningen, Netherlands.

Bibliographic Details

Jean-Denis G.G. Lepage
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 272
Bibliographic Info: 192 illustrations, appendices, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2023
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8971-5
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4791-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments v
Introduction 1
Part 1: Tudor Fortifications 3
Historical Background, 1485–1603 3
Residential Palaces 4
Henry VIII’s Coastal Forts 6
The Elizabethan Era (1558–1603) 24
Bastion Fortifications 25
Early Bastioned Fortifications in England 28
Part 2: Bastioned Fortifications in the 17th and 18th Centuries 36
The English Civil War 36
Fortifications During the English Civil Wars 36
Anglo-Dutch Wars 54
Wars Against Louis XIV’s France 61
Jacobite Rebellion 63
British Fortifications in North America 67
American War of Independence 77
British Fortifications in the West Indies 81
British Fortifications in India and Asia 84
Part 3: British Fortifications During the Napoleonic Era 89
Napoleonic Wars 89
Martello Towers 90
Coastal Forts 97
Dover Western Heights 100
Chatham Dockyard Defenses 105
The Royal Military Canal 108
The Lines of Torres Vedras 109
Part 4: Fortifications in Britain in the 19th Century 114
Britain in the 19th Century 114
Polygonal Fortification 123
Palmerston Forts 128
Sea Forts 140
Defense of Dover 143
­Ferro-Concrete Fortification 144
Defense of London 153
Part 5: Fortifications in the British Empire in the 19th Century 156
Colonialism 156
The British Empire 157
Colonial Fortifications 158
British Fortifications in Canada 163
British Fortifications in Gibraltar 167
British Fortifications in Malta 167
British Fortifications in India 172
British Fortifications in New Zealand and Australia 173
British Fortifications in South Africa 175
British Fortifications in the Boer Wars 176
Part 6: British Fortifications in World War I 178
The First Phase of the War 178
Trench Warfare 179
Tactics and Weapons 186
Allied Victory 190
Part 7: British Fortifications in World War II 192
Evolution of Fortifications in the Interwar 192
Operation Sea Lion 193
Anti–Invasion Preparations 195
Coastal Defenses 197
Inland Fortifications 201
FW3 Pillboxes 208
Obstacles 231
Sea Forts 238
Churchill’s Command Bunker 240
Evaluation 241
German Fortifications in the Channel Islands 242
Other Theaters of Operation 243
Conclusion 249
British Fortifications Today 251
Appendices 255
1. British Kings and Queens, 1485–2022 255
2. British Prime Ministers, 1721–1945 256
Bibliography 259
Index 261