Avoiding Blind Spots

Zwinger wall with projecting semicircular towers

The east flanking wall of 1360 had already incorporated the Annot, the Munot’s predecessor, into the city walls. In the 15 th century it was strengthened by an outer wall with half towers. During the construction of the Munot (1564–89) the east flanking wall was retained and later expanded with a new alure, still preserved today.

While walls afforded protection, they also obstructed the defenders’ field of vision. The most dangerous area was a blind spot, or “dead zone”, at the bottom of the wall. Defenders leaning over the parapet would obviously be exposed to enemy fire.

Solutions included projecting towers, brattices or covered positions such as caponiers (from Italian Capone = large head). These allowed the defenders to repel the enemy from the side while maintaining cover.

Bild: Museum zu Allerheiligen Schaffhausen, Inv. C461

Bild: Museum zu Allerheiligen Schaffhausen, Inv. C461

East flanking wall with outer ward and moat. City view by Johann Jakob Mentzinger (1644). The surviving Römerturm and open-gorged towers are marked in orange.

Protruding fortification components that help to avoid blind spots (proposed reconstructions proposals):
a | The Römerturm tower with a brattice (14 th century).
b | The Römerturm tower reinforced by an outer wall with an open-gorged semicircular tower (15 th century).