In permanent fortification, a revetment is a retaining wall of masonry built for the purpose of holding back the earth of which works are composed. The most ordinary position of revetments is for the escarp and counterscarp of the ditch. The most important of these two is the escarp, which has to hold back the great mass of earth represented by the rampart, parapet, banquette, etc. It is usually solid, five feet thick at the top, and sloping outwards as it descends (on the ditch side only) to the extent of one in six. During the medieval period, the escarp revetment was commonly raised to the top of the parapet. Additional strength is imparted to the revetment wall by massive buttresses every fifteen feet, called counter-forts, and these again are sometimes connected and strengthened by masonry arches outside the revetment. The revetment forms a terrible barrier to an assaulting party. In field-works temporary revetments may be made of timber, turf, hurdles, or any other materials at hand.
Related term(s): Escarp; Counterscarp; Rampart; Parapet; Banquette; Counter-forts
Category: Castles and Fortifications
Source information: Wilhelm, Thomas. A Military Dictionary and Gazetteer. Philadelphia: L.R. Hamersly & Co., 1881. 486.