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small fortificationfortification,
system of defense structures for protection from enemy attacks. Fortification developed along two general lines: permanent sites built in peacetime, and emplacements and obstacles hastily constructed in the field in time of war.
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, usually temporary, serving as a post for a small garrison. Blockhouses seem to have come into use in the 15th cent. to prevent access to a strategically important objective such as a bridge, a ford, or a pass. Later the term was broadened to include all detached and isolated small forts, especially those in country just captured from an enemy. The typical blockhouse was of two stories, with an overhanging second story and loopholes on all sides for gunfire. In the North American colonies, blockhouses were used in frontier communities as protection against Native American attacks; they were built of timber or stone (in New England) or of logs banked with earth (in the South and West). The frontier blockhouses were frequently surrounded by palisades and thus were technically stockaded forts. The principal use of blockhouses in present-day military fortification is in defending isolated units against small-arms fire. See pillboxpillbox,
small, low fortification that houses machine guns and antitank weapons. Similar to a blockhouse, it is usually made of concrete, steel, logs, or filled sandbags. Pillboxes came into use during the early 20th cent.
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a defensive structure adapted for all-around machine gun, and sometimes artillery, fire. A blockhouse may be made of wood, stone, concrete, or steel, sometimes with armor, and has living quarters for a garrison. Blockhouses were widely used in the Anglo-Boer War of 1899–1902 and in World Wars I and II, especially to cover railroad bridges, for defense of cities, in forested swamp areas, on mountain passes, and in systems of permanent fortification.


A reinforced concrete structure, often built underground or half-underground, and sometimes dome-shaped, to provide protection against blast, heat, or explosion during rocket launchings or related activities, and usually housing electronic equipment used in launching the rocket.
The activity that goes on in such a structure.


1. A fortified structure used to furnish protection against enemy attack in frontier areas, usually at a location of strategic importance; often square or polygonal in plan; typically constructed of hewn timbers having dovetailed notches at the corners to provide strong rigid joints; commonly, an overhanging upper story; often masonry walls on the ground story with log construction above, or entirely of log construction; frequently, a pyramidal roof; usually a few small windows with heavy shutters; loophole openings through the walls permit the firing of guns over a wide range of angles.
2. A reinforced concrete structure that provides shelter against the hazards of heat, blast, or nuclear radiation.