Counterscarp


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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Counterscarp

 

(1) A ditch slope, close to the enemy, of a permanent or temporary fortification, used as a barrier against assaults.

(2) A steep cut in a terrain slope (hill or bank of a river) facing the defender. Counterscarps were made during the building of forts and were used extensively in the Great Patriotic War of 1941–45 as an antitank (antitransport) obstacle within the system of obstacles. The counterscarp was to tip tanks over as they descended from the top (precipice). The faces of the counterscarp were covered by artillery and rifle and machine-gun fire.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

counterscarp

The face of the ditch of a fortress sloping toward the defender.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
(70) The outlines of the new detached and attached counterscarps and/or bastioned works are a mixture of the various ideas explored in De Gomme's draughts.
Having discussed counterscarp repairs at the Porta da traicao postern, the 1514 auto proceeds to detail scarps and counterscarps at the foot of two mutually adjacent towers--Torre do sino and Torre dos bizcainhos (Tower of the Biscayans).
By 1669, if Hollar is to be trusted, additions to the land-front consisted mainly of a complex counterscarp with tenaille heads, covered-way, and a lozenge-shaped redoubt toward the shore, closely emulating the works proposed in PRO [NAL] MPH 1 fol.
Boytac unfortunately set the tone by grumbling from the very beginning about the ashlar and flagstones in the counterscarp, and by asserting that the stonework in the ditch was of poor quality and not well seated in mortar, although how he knew this begs a question, given that when the survey began, on 12 June 1514, the ditch was full of water.
The only sections mentioned are located along the already partly rebuilt west wall and next to the Porta da traicao postern, and even so the measurements and specification deal only with relatively minor adjustments to scarps and counterscarps at the foot of walls and towers.
The etching is an important document of the current state of the military defense system at the critical juncture of Anjou's entry, one to be recorded, disseminated, and, as evident in the accompanying text, celebrated: "and behold the counterscarps: the beautiful ditches full of clean water, clear to the very bottom of the channel, enclosed on either side with hewn stone: the great and beautiful bastions, the lovely walls, beautiful to look upon and very thick, and the broad ramparts garnished with trees planted by hand, such that it resembled a small forest." (43) This passage corresponds to a panorama of the city's walls (fig.
During World War II, Operation Citadel (pinching off in 1943 the Soviet held salient centered around Kursk) failed because the Germans relied on the principles of the Blitzkrieg: speed was hampered by boobytraps, minefields, anti-tank diches, scarps and counterscarps, hedgehogs, road blocks, barbed-wire entanglements and a myriad of other anti-tank and anti-personnel obstacles.
Others did fortify and rampire their walls, set up little fortresses, bastions, squared ravelins, digged trenches, cleansed countermines, fenced themselves with gabions, contrived platforms, emptied casemates, barricaded the false brays, erected the cavaliers, repaired the counterscarps, plastered the curtains, lengthened ravelins, stopped parapets, morticed barbacans, assured the portcullises, fastened the hemes, sarasinesques, and cataracts, placed their sentries, and doubled their patrol.
Places fortified, after the modern way, consist chiefly of Bastions, and Curtains, and Sometimes of Demi-bastions according to the Situation of the Ground, of Cavaliers, Ramparts, Fausse-brayes, Ditches, Counterscarps, Cover'd Ways, Half Moons, Ravelins, Hornworks, Crownworks, Outworks, Esplanades, Redents, and Tenailles.