Entrenched Field


Built at the end of 1800, the entrenched field of Mestre is composed of a system of defensive works which pivot around Fort Marghera in order to defend Venice harbour and its important Arsenal from possible attacks by land. According to the original plans, it should have been composed of six forts set around Mestre like the spokes of a wheel. Fort Marghera, built in the Napoleonic Age, was no longer able to defend Venice from a possible bombing because of the increase in gun range. The exorbitant cost of this original plan drove the Committee of Defence, which had to build the work, to decide for the construction of three parts only: Carpenedo, Gazzera and Tron, set in defence of the access lines respectively from north-east (Trieste and Treviso), west (Bassano and Castelfranco) and south-west (Padova and Chioggia). Built in polygonal form, the three forts are identical and they are set at regular distances (between 3500 and 4000 metres) in reference to Fort Marghera, in order to ensure the mutual defence on the basis of the artillery range of that time. The first fort to be built was Fort Gazzera at the end of 1886. Each fort was armed with about twenty pieces of medium calibre placed on twelve open emplacements. Besides, emplacements for mortars, fusillades and machine-guns were located along the boundary and also in four "caponiere", placed along the moat that surrounded every fort, which ensured defence from every side. The cost of the forts was very high for that period, especially considering that further development of artillery at the time of their achievement had rendered them quite useless. Because of its unforeseen inadequacy, the entrenched field of Mestre was further fortified by a curtain of seven more external and modern forts built around 1912: Fort Bazzera at Tessera, Fort Rossarol between Tessera and Favaro, Fort Cosenz at Dese, Fort Mezzacapo at Zelarino, Fort Sirtori at Spinea and Fort Poerio between Oriago and Gambarare. After World War I all these forts became depots for arms and munitions and started to show their present apperance, characterised by a thick vegetation, mostly on the inside, grown for a mimetic purposes, which in time transformed these areas in real green areas and in sheltered areas for nesting birds. Since the eighties all forts have gradually been abandoned by the military authorities and some of them are used today for social activities which have made the most of their potentialities, halting in this way the progressive state of decay into which they were falling.

Co-ordination for the entrenched field of Mestre  http://www.artsystem.it/Forti_Mestre

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