Breastwork (fortification)

Breastwork (fortification)

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A breastwork is a fortification
Fortification
Fortifications are military constructions and buildings designed for defence in warfare and military bases. Humans have constructed defensive works for many thousands of years, in a variety of increasingly complex designs...

. The term is usually applied to temporary fortifications, often an earthwork thrown up to breast height to provide protection to defenders firing over it from a standing position. A more permanent structure, normally in stone, would be described as a parapet
Parapet
A parapet is a wall-like barrier at the edge of a roof, terrace, balcony or other structure. Where extending above a roof, it may simply be the portion of an exterior wall that continues above the line of the roof surface, or may be a continuation of a vertical feature beneath the roof such as a...

 or the battlement
Battlement
A battlement in defensive architecture, such as that of city walls or castles, comprises a parapet , in which portions have been cut out at intervals to allow the discharge of arrows or other missiles. These cut-out portions form crenels...

 of a castle wall.

In warships, a breastwork refers to the armored superstructure in the middle of the ship that did not extend all the way out to the sides of the ship. Generally only used in ironclad
Ironclad warship
An ironclad was a steam-propelled warship in the early part of the second half of the 19th century, protected by iron or steel armor plates. The ironclad was developed as a result of the vulnerability of wooden warships to explosive or incendiary shells. The first ironclad battleship, La Gloire,...

 turret ship
Turret ship
Turret ships were a 19th century type of warship, the earliest to have their guns mounted in a revolving gun turret, instead of a broadside arrangement....

s designed between 1865 and 1880.

See also