Permanent Weapon Emplacement

Permanent Weapon Emplacement

 

a durable defensive structure (made of stone, brick, concrete, reinforced concrete, armored structural elements, and so on) intended for waging fire with artillery guns, mortars, machine guns, and other fire weapons and protecting the crews (subunits) operating these weapons against enemy fire.

The appearance of these emplacements dates to the 17th century. Initially permanent weapon emplacements existed in the form of casemates set in the walls of castles and fortresses (the boi and pechury in the sides and towers of Russian fortress walls). Later they came to be used extensively as independent elements in the fortification of state borders and troop field positions. Permanent weapon emplacements were divided by degree of durability into light (small), reinforced (medium strength), and heavy. Light emplacements were usually built for regular military weapons. They were one story high and the walls and ceiling were not more than 1.5 m thick. Medium emplacements were one or two stories high with several battle casemates, shelters for a garrison, and auxiliary rooms; the walls and ceilings were up to 2 m thick. The heavy emplacements were composite units holding several artillery guns, mortars, machine guns, and a garrison of significant size. The protective layers were 3-5 m thick. Light emplacements were used in the position warfare of World War I (1914-18). Subsequently all types of permanent weapon emplacements began to be used as the basis of fortified regions and zones. They were used most extensively before World War II (1939-45) during construction of fortified lines such as the Maginot, Siegfried, and Mannerheim. Permanent weapon emplacements were used mainly as separate fire emplacements (caponiers, half-caponiers, and blockhouses) and in groups forming fortified positions. Minefields were laid around the emplacements (or groups), and other obstacles were set up. Because of their durability, low elevation above the ground, and firepower, neutralization of the permanent weapon emplacements required the use of special fire weapons involving large expenditures of ammunition as well as assault operations.

REFERENCES

Shperk, V. F.Istoriia fortifikatsii. Moscow, 1957.
Ushakov, D. V.Fortifikatsiia. Moscow, 1940.

G. F. SAMOILOVICH

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