Definitions for glacisˈgleɪ sɪs, ˈglæs ɪs; ˈgleɪ siz, -sɪz, ˈglæs iz, -ɪz
This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word glacis
A gentle incline in front of a fortification.
The angled armour plate on the front of a tank; glacis plate.
A device for sorting mail which slides parcels across a sloped surface.
a gentle slope, or a smooth, gently sloping bank; especially (Fort.), that slope of earth which inclines from the covered way toward the exterior ground or country (see Illust. of Ravelin)
Origin: [F. glacis; -- so named from its smoothness. See Glacier.]
A glacis in military engineering is an artificial slope of earth used in late European fortresses so constructed as to keep any potential assailant under the fire of the defenders until the last possible moment. On natural, level ground, troops attacking any high work have a degree of shelter from its fire when close up to it; the glacis consists of a slope with a low grade inclined towards the top of the wall. This gave defenders a direct line of sight into the assaulting force, allowing them to efficiently sweep the field with fire from the parapet. Additionally, but secondarily, the bank of earth would shield the walls from being hit directly by cannon fire. Though defenders on a high ground already have a direct line of sight, a glacis allows defenders to sweep the field more efficiently by minimizing changes to the angle of their guns while firing. Furthermore, the glacis prevents attacking cannons from having a clear shot at the walls of a fortress, as one usually cannot even see the walls until the glacis is crossed and the ditch, bounded on either side by the smooth, masoned scarp and counterscarp, is reached. More generally, the term glacis can denote any slope, natural or artificial, which fulfils the above requirements. The etymology of this French word suggests a slope made dangerous with ice, hence the relationship with glacier.
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