Gorge

Gorge

Gorge (French, throat), is the rear opening of fieldworks and fortifications, from one flank to the other, or, in the case of fleches, from one face to the other, etc. It is either completely open, or closed by palisades, a tambour, a wall, a ditch etc. The size of the gorge of bulwarks is defined by the opening of the protruding angle and the position of the flanks; half a gorge here is the extension of the curtain to the gorge point.

The gorges of the outer works and outlying works, the ravelins, lunettes etc. are described either, according to Vauban, Coehoorn, and Busca, by joining the lines of the outer edge of the ditch, at the gorge point of which a dock is installed in moats, for the watercraft used in communications; or by drawing, according to Cormontaigne, two lines from the bulwark vertices (tips) to the rear slope of the wall walk of the ravelins, faces or flanks. This cuts off the rear area, which is exposed to rounds fired by enemy batteries and lodgements on the bastions; the stairs or ramp located in the gorge can no longer be hit by them. In a dry ditch, a weak, crenellated wall, made of simple bricks, is occasionally built in the gorge of the ravelins, tenailles etc. to make it more difficult for the enemy to storm them; one then uses wooden drawbridges, or stairs, which may be pulled up at night or during an attack. Should the enemy have taken the work, the wall is easily shot down from the main works, and does not provide him any cover.

Such walls are also used in those works that are so close to the glacis, that they must not be given a ditch in their rear, lest the enemy be provided with a convenient trench. Those works situated further forward, which are closed by a rearward ditch, also have crenellated walls placed below the scarp or counterscarp, which are often connected to small casemates for 1 or 2 guns. The best defence of the gorge is offered by round towers, the upper casemate of which sweeps the entire inner area of the work with fire, whereas the lower defends the ditch.

Source: Rumpf, H. F.: Allgemeine Real-Encyclopädie der gesammten Kriegskunst (Berl. 1827)

Throat (jugulum), that part of the neck in which the larynx is situated. On occasion, a »false throat« (German “falsche Kehle”) is spoken of, into which something is said to have gotten, referring to the windpipe, as opposed to the esophagus, the »proper throat« – in construction as much as throat cut (notch), groove; but then also the angular line created by two roof surfaces, in contrast to the ridge line of the same pitch, the ridge. – In the art of fortification, the gorge (French, throat), is that side of the work most denied to the enemy attack. This is called open, if the gorge has no closure or one consisting only of obstacles; closed, if the gorge is prepared to withstand enemy attack, as in forts etc. of fortresses. Isolated forts have no gorge and are equally defendable in all directions.

Source: Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon, 6. Auflage 1905–1909

Military Glossary