Definitions for abatisˈæb əˌti, -tɪs, əˈbæt i, əˈbæt ɪs; ˈæb əˌtiz, əˈbæt iz; ˈæb əˌtɪs ɪz, əˈbæt ə sɪz
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a line of defense consisting of a barrier of felled or live trees with branches (sharpened or with barbed wire entwined) pointed toward the enemy
A means of defense formed by felled trees, the ends of whose branches are sharpened and directed outwards, or against the enemy.
Origin: , mass of things beaten or cut down, from abattre. See abate.
alt. of Abattis
Abatis, abattis, or abbattis is a term in field fortification for an obstacle formed of the branches of trees laid in a row, with the sharpened tops directed outwards, towards the enemy. The trees are usually interlaced or tied with wire. Abatis are used alone or in combination with wire entanglements and other obstacles. There is evidence it was used as early as the Roman Imperial period, and as recently as the American Civil War. Abatis is rarely seen nowadays, having been largely replaced by wire obstacles. However, it may be used as a replacement or supplement when barbed wire is in short supply. A form of giant abatis, using whole trees instead of branches, can be used as an improvised anti-tank obstacle. A classic use of an abatis was found at the Battle of the Chateauguay, 26 October 1813, when approximately 1,300 Canadian voltigeurs, under the command of Charles-Michel de Salaberry, defeated an American corps of approximately 4,000 men. Another striking example was its use by Alexander Macomb in the stunning victory at the Battle of Plattsburgh. An important weakness of abatis, in contrast to barbed wire, is that it can be destroyed by fire. Also, if laced together with rope instead of wire, the rope can be very quickly destroyed by such fires, after which the abatis can be quickly pulled apart by grappling hooks thrown from a safe distance.
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