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Translated Jeff Matthews

In XIX and XX century fortifications, the term refers to a casemated work with gun holes for small arms, machine gun and rapid fire cannon. The structure is used in the flanking protection of the sides of the wall and, generally, of the entire fortification by developing a sweeping fire over the trench. It may be connected to the main structure by a corridor or tunnel. Depending on location they have different names.

Rear embrasure: serves to protect the area behind a fortified work (rear) and faces into the fortified square. Externally, this work remains opposite the presumed enemy direction of attack (attack front).

Counterscarp embrasure: serves to defend the trench and can be constructed in counterscarp wall salients. This type of work communicates with the counterscarp gallery by means of covered walkways. One example may be seen at the ex-Forte Austrian Belvedere, built perpendicular at Val d'Astico (Veneto) on one of the spurs of the Lavarone high plain.


Padovan Gianluca (ed. ), Archaeology of the Subsoil. Lectures and studies of artificial cavities. British Archaeological Reports, International Series 1416, Oxford 2005.

Basilico Roberto et alii, Italian Cadastre of Artificial Cavities. Part 1. (Including introductory comments and a classification), B.A.R. International Series 1599, Oxford 2007.

Gianluca Padovan (Associazione S.C.A.M. – Federazione Nazionale Cavità Artificiali)

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Counterscarp embrasure (Borgatti M., La fortificazione permanente)

Counterscarp embrasure with small door (Borgatti M., La fortificazione permanente)

Rear embrasure (Borgatti M., La fortificazione permanente)

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