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An illustration of Devonshire Redoubt, Bermuda, 1614
A redoubt is a fort or fort system usually consisting of an enclosed defensive emplacement outside a larger fort, usually relying on earthwork, though others are constructed of stone or brick. It is meant to protect soldiers outside the main line of defense and can be a permanent structure or a hastily-constructed temporary fortification. Redoubts were a component of the military strategies of most European empires during the colonial era, especially in the outer works of Vauban-style fortresses made popular during the 17th century, although the concept of redoubts has existed since medieval times. A redoubt differs from a redan in that the redan is open in the rear, whereas the redoubt was considered an enclosed work.

The advent of mobile warfare in the 20th Century generally diminished the importance of the defense of static positions and siege warfare, though combat bases and fire bases of the Vietnam War, and Forward Operating Bases of the Iraq War and Afghanistan can be seen as the descendants of this type of fortified position.

Historically important redoubts

Wars of the Three Kingdoms

During the Wars of the Three Kingdoms redoubts were frequently built to protect older fortifications from the more effective artillery of the period. Often close to ancient fortifications there were small hills that overlooked the defences, but in previous centuries these had been too far from the fortifications to be a threat. A small hill close to Worcester was used as an artillery platform by the Parliamentarians when they successfully besieged Worcester in 1646marker. In 1651 before the Battle of Worcestermarker the hill was turned into a redoubt by the Royalists, (the remains of which can be seen today in Fort Royal Hill Parkmarker). During the Battle of Worcestermarker, the Parliamentarians captured this redoubt and turned its guns on Worcester. In so doing they made the defence of the city untenable. This action effectively ended the battle, the last of the English Civil War.

Other important redoubts

See the Battle of Poltavamarker (1709), the Battle of Yorktown (1781) where Alexander Hamilton led his only military command against a British redoubt, the Battle of Bunker Hillmarker (1775), the Lines of Torres Vedras of the Peninsular War (1809–1810), the Battle of Borodinomarker (1812), the Charge of the Light Brigade (1854), the Railroad Redoubt of the Battle of Vicksburgmarker (1863), and during World War I the "National Redoubt of Antwerp" (1914) as well as the Hawthorn Ridge Redoubtmarker (1916) are examples where redoubts played a crucial role in military history.

Other meanings

The word redoubt also occurs as a verb meaning "to dread, stand in awe or apprehension of: a person, nation, thing, or event. The word also denotes something respected, noted, distinguished, commanding respect, reverence, or apprehension.

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