Dutch Water Line


Vesting (Fortress) Museum

Position: 5217'34.53"N    5 9'36.07"O

Westwalstraat 6
1411PB Naarden

Naarden is one of the best conserved fortified towns in the Netherlands.

As you can see it has a double ring of earth work walls an moats.

The earth work walls of the inner ring have a brick upstanding face of about 4m high and are equipped with 6 large Bastions. Furthermore, there are 6 defense islands in the moat.

The Bastions are made according the so called New Dutch System.

In comparison with the Old Dutch System, these Bastions are larger and are situated on less distance of each other. They have a slender throat, equipped with flanking gun positions, that are covered by the broader front site of the Bastions.
This enables more intense flanking fire along the main wall and better fire support of each other of the Bastions.

Here you see the gun embankment for the flanking guns on one of the Bastions.

The stone wall is the face of the main earth work wall.

The door is a gate in the main wall, for bringing guns to the flank of the Bastion.

The stone wall is the back side of the head of the Bastion on the other end of the flanking guns embankment.

This protected the flanking guns from taking direct enemy fire.

At the left upper corner of this picture you see a neighboring Bastion.
Left the slender flank and right the point shape head of the Bastion.

As you can see from our Bastion, we have a clear shooting field on an enemy force attacking the neighboring Bastion.

On the upper right of the picture, you see one of the defense islands.

This is a view from the top of our Bastion giving a good impression of the main wall in-between the Bastions.

As you can see, the flanking gun embankments are slightly inwards curved, giving excellent fire coverage along the main wall, as well as on the neighboring Bastion and along its faces.

Here you see part of the gun positions at the face on top of the Bastion.

In between the each gun position is a small hill.
These hills prevent that an enemy shell will have effect on more than one gun.

Here you see a gun on a center swivel traversing platform.

The platform has also a recoil sledge.

The gun is a smooth-bore Canon. This type of gun was in use to the end of the 19th century.

This Canon type gun could already fire an explosive shell, however usually Canon did fire massive iron balls.

Shorter and larger caliber guns, called Howitzers and the very short and big caliber guns, called Mortars, were usually used, to fire explosive shells.

Further back on the bastion was a deep ditch, with a face of ground covered thick brick buildings.

This were protected gun positions for Mortars.

On this picture you see a typical Mortar.

The Mortar was usually shooting at 45 degrees and was used, to shoot very large explosive shells over the defense works to enemy trenches or at an enemy assault.


Each Bastion had also thick brick ground covered buildings.

This buildings contained also a gunpowder storage room and a so called Laboratory.

Here the gunpowder was put from a barrel into flannel and later in serge fabric cartridges.

The cartridge served as propellant for the massive round shot, canister, or an explosive shell.

The gun was first loaded with a cartridge of the appropriate amount of gunpowder an than the shot was loaded against it.
The flash of the cartridge ignited also the fuse of an explosive shell.

The gunpowder storage and laboratory were usually deep under ground on a cellar floor level.

Here you see an ammunition elevator, that was used, to bring the cartridges to the ground floor.

The cartridges, or shells were then carried by hand or transported by wheelbarrow to the guns.

Later on in the 20th century rifled guns were common, using complete shells instead of loose cartridges and shot.
Except for the very, very large guns, that still use separate cartridges.

This is the ground floor end of the ammunition elevator.

Because the explosive shell contained just black gunpowder at the time and had a primitive fuse, accuracy and destructive force was limited.
They were also called "bomb" and resembled more or less the cartoon like picture of a bomb, that a modern person would have in mind, reading this word.

The thick brick ground covered buildings and walls at the time were called "bomb free" because they could withstand these "bombs".

However, with the invention of the high explosive shell, they all became drastically obsolete.

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Last revised on 22-11-2009