World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Article Id: WHEBN0000534589
Reproduction Date:

Title: Circumvallation  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: List of military tactics, 0 A.D. (video game), List of established military terms, Battle of Monte Laturce
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Investment is the military tactic of surrounding an enemy fort (or town) with armed forces to prevent entry or escape.[1][2]

A circumvallation is a line of fortifications, built by the attackers around the besieged fortification facing towards the enemy fort (to protect the besiegers from sorties by its defenders and to enhance the blockade).[3][4] The resulting fortifications are known as 'lines of circumvallation'.[5] Lines of circumvallation generally consist of earthen ramparts and entrenchments that encircle the besieged city. The line of circumvallation can be used as a base for launching assaults against the besieged city or for constructing further earthworks nearer to the city.

A contravallation may be constructed in cases where the besieging army is threatened by a field army allied to the enemy fort.[6] This is a second line of fortifications outside the circumvallation, facing away from the enemy fort. The contravallation protects the besiegers from attacks by allies of the city's defenders and enhances the blockade of the enemy fort by making it more difficult to smuggle in supplies.[7]

The Siege of Alesia which took place in September 52 BC is one of the most famous investments in history. Julius Caesar in his Commentaries on the Gallic War describes his textbook use of the circumvallation and contravallation to defeat the Gauls under their chieftain Vercingetorix. Thucydides notes the role circumvallation played in the Spartan siege of Plataea during the initial stages of the Peloponnesian War, 429 BC.

The basic objectives and tactics of a military investment have remained the same in the modern era. During the Second World War there were many sieges and many investments. One of the most famous sieges of WWII which demonstrated the tactical use of investment was the siege of Stalingrad. During the first half of the siege the Germans were unable to fully encircle the city, so the Soviets were able to get men and supplies into the city across the Volga River. In the second half of the battle, the complete investment of Stalingrad by the Soviets (including air space which prevented the construction by the Germans of an adequately large airbridge) eventually forced the starving Germans inside the city to surrender.

See also


This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.