French Fortifications, 1715–1815

An Illustrated History

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About the Book

   This book describes and illustrates French fortifications from 1715 (the death of Louis XIV) to 1815 (the fall of Napoleon), focusing particularly on the Napoleonic era. After an historical background, it covers the heritage of the Ancien Régime with the important contributions of Vauban (the bastioned defense), Gribeauval’s reforms in artillery, and Montalembert’s innovations. Chapters explore the style of Napoleonic fortifications, siege warfare, artillery and engineering corps, as well as the Napoleonic achievements in France, Italy, German and the Netherlands, including projects that were planned but never completed.

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: 282
Bibliographic Info: 258 illustrations, maps, appendix, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2010
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4477-9
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5807-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction      1

1. HISTORICAL BACKGROUND      5
Louis XV      5
Louis XVI      6
The French Revolution      8
The Consulate      21
The Napoleonic Empire      24

2. FORTIFICATIONS OF THE ANCIEN RÉGIME      46
Bastioned Fortifications      46
Louis XIV and Vauban      50
Fortifications in the 18th Century      54
Montalembert      61
Siege Warfare      82
Projects Under Louis XV and Louis XVI      84
French Fortifications in Overseas Colonies      97

3. IMPERIAL FORTIFICATIONS      114
Napoleonic Style      114
Artillery      117
Military Engineering Corps      135
Napoleonic Génie Leadership      141
Siege Warfare      158
Coastal Defense      163
Cartography and Relief-Maps      171
Futuristic Weapons      172

4. NAPOLEONIC FORTIFICATION PROJECTS      176
Dismantlement of Obsolete Places      176
Napoleonic Arsenals      176
France      183
The Netherlands      223
Germany      241
Italy      246
Illyrian Provinces      252
Corfu      253
Malta      256
Military Roads and Canals      258
The Heritage of the Empire      262

Appendix
French Republican Calendar      267

Bibliography      269
Index      271

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Splendid…pack in an enormous amount of information copiously illustrated, encompass a diverse range of fortification aspects and will grace the shelves of any fortification enthusiast”—Casemate
  • “A splendid read”—FORT–The International Journal of Fortifications and Military Architecture.