Cavalier (fortification)

A cavalier is a fortification which is built within a larger fortification, and which is higher than the rest of the work. It usually consists of a raised platform within a fort or bastion, so as to be able to fire over the main parapet without interfering with the fire of the latter.[1] Through the use of cavaliers, a greater volume of fire can be obtained, but its great height also makes it an easy target for a besieger's guns.[2]

Illustration of a cavalier (the structure on the right, marked as "B") from Dictionnaire raisonné de l’architecture française du XIe au XVIe siècle by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc

There are two types of cavaliers:

  • Common cavalier – a raised gun platform without any additional defensive features
  • Defensible cavalier – a raised gun platform surrounded by a ditch. If the ditch cuts across the bastion's terreplein and is supported by cuts, the cavalier can also be considered as a retrenchment.[3]



  1. ^ Spiteri, Stephen C. (2010). "Illustrated Glossary of Terms used in Military Architecture". ARX Supplement. 5. Archived from the original on 25 October 2010.
  2. ^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Cavalier" . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 5 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 562–563.
  3. ^ Pasley, Charles William (1822). A Course of Elementary Fortification - Volume II (2 ed.). London: John Murray. pp. 337–342.