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This is a basic map of a castle in an alternate Earth. It was built with two walls, both of which were always built in a circle, with four broad, circular towers/gatehouses built in four cardinal directions—north, south, east and west. The outer wall protected the towns owned by the noble and gentry classes. The inner wall guarded the palace, which, on this alternate Earth, looked more like a mansion along the lines of Harlaxton Manor in England or Versailles in France than the many towers and turrets of fairy tale imagery.

The outer wall had to be barricaded by a moat, dug from a river and with the right width and depth to deter invasion, and the inner wall had to be built at the foot of a hill.

Could this sort of defense mechanism be feasible in real life?

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    $\begingroup$ You need to give a timeframe/technological level, broad upright walls are a poor choice against cannons for instance, and rounds towers give the enemy cover, this however was learned through trial and error so many castles had them Also is there a reason it has so many entrances? Castle defenses are more about the details than the general outline. Things like the design of the walls (top thickness, slope, ect. $\endgroup$ – John Nov 10 '17 at 17:32
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    $\begingroup$ How do you define Feasible? For example, the vast majortiy of protections like this are either built into a natural defense, or built in a star (rather than a circle), because a star is vastly better for defense. This design might be feasible as in it repels attackers, but may never occur because there's better designs. $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Nov 10 '17 at 17:32
  • $\begingroup$ If the defenders are serious, inner citadel should be always stronger, not weaker than the outer wall system. $\endgroup$ – Alexander Nov 10 '17 at 17:36
  • $\begingroup$ It will be very easy to siege. $\endgroup$ – A. C. A. C. Nov 10 '17 at 18:10
  • $\begingroup$ Work for what are they defending against cannons, naval attack, ect. How big is it, are we looking at a city, a tiny fortification? And what do you define as working people built all kinds of weird castles that worked even ones made of wood,the question is what they are defending against. $\endgroup$ – John Nov 10 '17 at 21:49
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It's a terrible defensive structure. Once you're close enough to the walls, you've eliminated flanking fire coming from the towers because the walls themselves block line of sight. This would allow anyone getting close to the wall to be safe from attack (except from directly above), giving them plenty of time to muck around to breach. Were they willing to take some risks they could work on any one tower by itself because it couldn't be supported by the others.

The moat is itself a relatively minor issue: moats were routinely crossed by besieging forces.

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    $\begingroup$ +1. Star forts are the way to go for any culture with ranged weapons. $\endgroup$ – SPavel Nov 10 '17 at 21:37
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    $\begingroup$ You forget that moats, permeable ground and a high water level are the best defense against building tunnels. The inavailability of pumps in pre-modern times makes tunneling exceedingly difficult and a deep moat forces the invader to go much too deep; if there is even rocky underground tunneling takes too much time and is senseless. $\endgroup$ – Thorsten S. Nov 11 '17 at 1:29
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    $\begingroup$ Who said anything about tunneling? Once you're at the base of the wall secure from flanking fire you can hack away at it all sorts of ways. And if the ground is permeable, and thus soft, what's supporting that big, heavy, wall? $\endgroup$ – Keith Morrison Nov 11 '17 at 22:00
  • $\begingroup$ @ThorstenS., permeable ground also makes building high walls a bit tricky. After the third or fourth time your castle collapses, most people would give up and go looking for a rocky outcrop to build on. $\endgroup$ – Mark Nov 14 '17 at 21:43
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What you describe sounds not like castle but like a fortified city with a central citadel. Many medieval cities had walls.

  • It was not unusual to have the citizens of the city defend the walls. This was often organized by the craft guilds.
  • Probably you do not have enough towers. One role of the tower was to allow fire along the curtain walls, much like a bastion at a later date. That means the towers will be less than twice the range of a bow or crossbow shot apart.
  • Gates may be incorporated into towers, but usually not all towers are gates. Four gates may not be enough -- there should be small sally ports, etc.
  • You will probably need towers/fortifications on the far side of the moat bridges to secure them.
  • You will also need a bridge across the big river, with a fortification on the far side.
  • As drawn, the citadel/palace has no direct connection to the outside. Anybody who wants to leave has to go through the outer ring with the commoners. It would be easy to move it to the riverside, so there is at least one landing.
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    $\begingroup$ The river is also a large concern. If the river is small then the enemy can just dam or divert the river. If the river is large, the city is going to need a port. Ideally the city would also be subdivided into section with their own towers, not just for defense but for fires and communication. Sewage, trash, and waste is also a concern for the the inner circle. If the river is the sole source of water, there is also a concern of the water being fouled. Simply camping the enemy army upriver would be enough to dirty the river (shit and what not). $\endgroup$ – user2259716 Nov 10 '17 at 19:14
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If you are after defense rather than aesthetics, I suggest making the outer walls concave inwards rather than convex outwards between the towers. That allows the defenders to control the walls. Same amount of material, better defensive coverage. Gates would be in the middle of the curve, not at the points. Make the points supper strong, and they have a clear shot at the outer surface of the gates. The Roman siege machine worked because the defenders could not hit the BACK of them.

And do not fill your moats with water. They offer more protection dry than wet. Defenders can use the outer rim of the moat for the first line of defense. Attackers first have to go DOWN the moat slope before they get to the walls. Then, in retreat, they have to go back up the moat. Defenders can fight attackers within the moat, free from enemy fire. If you could somehow flood the moat in the middle of the battle (when it is full of the enemy at the walls) better yet.

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  • $\begingroup$ How is a dry moat better than a regular one? $\endgroup$ – JohnWDailey Nov 10 '17 at 20:48
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    $\begingroup$ @JohnWDailey, a wet moat, the attacker fills it in/bridges it/crosses it by barge, and they're now at the base of the wall. A dry moat, the defender crosses the moat and now they still need to climb up the far side before they can reach the base of the wall. It gives your castle walls a bit of extra effective height, and in the pre-gunpowder era, height was a big advantage. $\endgroup$ – Mark Nov 10 '17 at 21:02
  • $\begingroup$ @JohnWDailey Also a wet moat keeps the defenders out of it as well. A dry moat, defenders can use it to go around the entire outside of the wall out of the attackers' sight and line of fire. $\endgroup$ – Justin Thyme Nov 10 '17 at 21:24
  • $\begingroup$ @JohnWDailey dry moat full of stakes pointing outward > wet moat $\endgroup$ – Jared Smith Nov 10 '17 at 22:04
  • $\begingroup$ You can still keep the basic shape of the moat as a circle,the way you have it in the picture. $\endgroup$ – Justin Thyme Nov 10 '17 at 22:38
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It would work reasonably well to some extent, however any determined opponent is going to attack at the weakest point and the weakest point in your fortification is probably the point midway between the two towers. At this point the curtain walls themselves start to get in the way of enfilade fire parallel to the curtain wall. If you look at the outer wall draw a line down from the right most tower and another line horizontally from the lowest tower the area between these lines and the perimeter curtain wall suffers from the problem of no enfilade fire.

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I don't think it will be too effective unless you add more towers, like other people said. Since you have a hill, you could add more rings and towers (don't be shy on towers!) and you basically have Minas Tirith from The Lord of the Rings

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However, I'd recommend a Bastion Fort, specially if enemies have gun powder

A bastion fort, star fort or trace italienne, is a fortification in a style that evolved during the age of gunpowder when the cannon came to dominate the battlefield. It was first seen in the mid-15th century in Italy.

The design of the fort is normally a pentagon or hexagon with bastions at the corners of the walls. These outcroppings are present for the purpose of a total, panoramic view of the battlefield. Because of the bastions, archers and cannon operators can hit any target on the battlefield without having to lean over the wall and expose themselves.

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which proved to be quite effective...

According to Geoffrey Parker in his article, The Military Revolution 1560–1660: A Myth?, the appearance of the trace italienne in early modern Europe, and the difficulty of taking such fortifications, resulted in a profound change in military strategy, most importantly, Parker argued, an increase in army sizes necessary to attack these forts. "Wars became a series of protracted sieges," Parker suggests, and open-pitch battles became "irrelevant" in regions where the trace italienne existed. Ultimately, Parker argues, "military geography", in other words, the existence or absence of the trace italienne in a given area, shaped military strategy in the early modern period.

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More towers, like others have said... But also more walls.

Divide the main interior into at least 4 sections so that if a main wall is breached, the entire city isn't lost. Usually the sections are named like "Merchants Quarter", etc.

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this isn't that different from many castle design layouts through Europe, middle East, and even asia.

In that sense sure it would

Is it particularly more effective than other layouts and or unbeatable then no it isn't. open castles like these not in difficult terrain were usually surrounded with large armies and eventually taken.

the river system reminds me a lot of medieval Paris which was sacked a few times

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Yes, in general terms. Here is a similar real world castle.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bodiam_Castle

However how effective it is depends upon size. Your description of the outer wall protecting several villages leads me to think it needs several more towers. You’ll also need more personnel to hold the wall. The squat square structure of Bodiam is more efficiently built.

However just because your design might be overly large and sprawling doesn’t mean it isn’t defensible. The Japanese have several examples of such castles.

http://pahoo0516.blog.fc2.com/blog-entry-158.html

Edit

Better Japanease castle example.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Himeji_Castle

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Himeji_Castle#/media/File:Old_map_of_Himeji_castle.jpg

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