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In this generic scenario, there is a settlement protected by both an inner and outer walls. The inner wall protects an area of 72 hectares. Both walls are 40 feet tall and thick and made of brick. Also, the walls extend to resemble both a twelve-point star and an accompanying dodecagon. In times of war, and before the cannon makes these walls obsolete, which shape would the inner wall be for maximum defense against attack?

The twelve-point star?

enter image description here

Or the accompanying dodecagon?

enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ Star forts (aka trace italienne or bastion forts) were invented around 1450, when Italian military engineers realized that a star-shaped wall allows defenders of the wall sections to support each other by having overlapping fields of fire against the attackers. The idea is that at whatever point the attackers try to approach the walls they will find themselves in the field of fire of at least one group of defenders, whereas with curtain walls the wall itself provides a shielded area near the wall where the defenders cannot hit the attackers. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Mar 25 at 20:33
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    $\begingroup$ (Your star has exaggerated indentations. In real-life star forts there is no need for the angle between the indentations to be so acute; 90° is enough.) (Basically, a roundish wall is the worst; this rules out the dodecagon. A rectangular wall is better, but not by much. A rectangular wall with incorporated towers is clearly better. A start-shaped wall is best.) $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Mar 25 at 20:35
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    $\begingroup$ @AlexP your comments could be an answer. $\endgroup$ Mar 25 at 20:45
  • $\begingroup$ @TheSquare-CubeLaw: My comments should have been the first results of the most minimal research of star forts. (And the question specifies a roundish outer wall. I don't understand what it's for, so I cannot really answer anyway.) $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Mar 25 at 20:56
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    $\begingroup$ @AlexP I've always seen this discussed in many sites, and the consensus inevitably comes down to what was summarized in this answer. $\endgroup$ Mar 25 at 21:52
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Another Star.

The purpose of Star Walls is to counteract the enemy with ranged artillery or ranged fire - not in the sense they prevent attack, but in the way that attacking a star fort means you come under fire from at least one, if not multiple angles.

So obviously if your original star is working, then another layer of defence should be a similar star. Concentric stars would then be better. An example:

enter image description here

So the answer to your question should really be another star.

However as you have restricted your choice to your two diagrams, the answer would be the second one - if the star serves as your primary defence there is little point having a wall outside of this. Your primary defence layer, once breached, would then rely on your inner defence walls (which, although useless if your star is breached, perhaps hopefully delays the enemy as they pause to ponder the odd purpose of those walls enough for you to get the hell out of there).

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  • $\begingroup$ sweet image. Link? $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Mar 27 at 23:01
  • $\begingroup$ @Willk The fort is in the Netherlands, Fort Bourtange, to control the road between Groningen and Germany. $\endgroup$
    – flox
    Mar 28 at 23:03
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Stick with what works.

An overview of historical forts shows many star forts, and note that when they have two walls there is always a space between them so it is hard to leapfrog both at once. Sometimes the fortifications look rather concentric and sometimes the broad wall of one ring overlooks the point of the ring outside it, presumably so that many people/weapons can attack whoever gets over. I'm not sure why you need so many more points than they did, but in any case the attackers should need to breach walls twice, with no short cuts to cross both at once.

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