In recent naval usage, a 'barbette' is a protective circular armour support for a heavy gun turret. This evolved from earlier forms of gun protection that eventually led to the pre-dreadnought. The name ultimately comes from fortification, originally meaning a raised platform or mound, seen in the French phrase en barbette, which refers to the practice of firing a cannon over a parapet rather than through an embrasure in a fortification's casemate. The former gives better angles of fire but less protection than the latter. The disappearing gun was a variation on the barbette gun; it consisted of a heavy gun on a carriage that would retract behind a parapet or into a gunpit for reloading. They were primarily used in coastal defences, but saw some use in a handful of warships, and some inland fortifications. The term is also used for certain aircraft gun mounts.
Shipboard barbettes were primarily used in armoured warships starting in the 1860s during a period of intense experimentation with other mounting systems for heavy guns at sea. In these, gun barrels usually protruded over the barbette edge, so these provided only partial protection, mainly for the ammunition supply. Alternatives included the heavily armored gun turret and an armored, fixed central gun battery. By the late 1880s, all three systems were replaced with a hybrid barbette-turret system that combined the benefits of both types. The heavily armored vertical tube that supported the new gun mount was referred to as a barbette.
Guns with restricted arcs of fire mounted in heavy bombers during World War II—such those in the tail of the aircraft, as opposed to fully revolving turrets—were also sometimes referred to as having barbette mounts, though usage of the term is primarily restricted to British publications. American authors generally refer to such mounts simply as tail guns or tail gun turrets.
The use of barbette mountings originated in ground fortifications. The term originally referred to a raised platform on a rampart for one or more guns, enabling them to be fired over a parapet. This gave rise to the phrase en barbette, which referred to a gun placed to fire over a parapet, rather than through an embrasure, an opening in a fortification wall. While an en barbette emplacement offered wider arcs of fire, it also exposed the gun's crew to greater danger from hostile fire. In addition, since the barbette position would be higher than a casemate position—that is, a gun firing through an embrasure—it would generally have a greater field of fire. The American military theorist Dennis Hart Mahan suggested that light guns, particularly howitzers, were best suited for barbette emplacements since they could fire explosive shells and could be easily withdrawn when they came under enemy fire. Fortifications in the 19th century typically employed both casemate and barbette emplacements. For example, the Russian Fort Constantine outside Sevastopol was equipped with 43 heavy guns in its seaward side during the Crimean War in the mid-1850s; of these, 27 were in barbettes, with the rest in casemates.
A modified version of the barbette type was the disappearing gun, which placed a heavy gun on a carriage that retracted behind a parapet for reloading; this better protected the crew, and made the gun harder to target, since it was only visible while it was firing. The type was usually used for coastal defence guns. As naval gun turrets improved to allow greater elevation and range, many disappearing guns, most of which were limited in elevation, were seen as obsolescent; with aircraft becoming prominent in the First World War, they were largely seen as obsolete. However, they remained in use through the early Second World War, at least by the United States, due to limited funding for replacement weapons between the wars.
Following the introduction of ironclad warships in the early 1860s, naval designers grappled with the problem of mounting heavy guns in the most efficient way possible. The first generation of ironclads employed the same broadside arrangement as the old ship of the line, but it was not particularly effective for ahead or stern fire. This was particularly important to designers, since the tactic of ramming was revived following its successful employment at the decisive Austrian victory at the Battle of Lissa in 1866. Ramming required a ship to steam directly at its opponent, which greatly increased the importance of end-on fire. Designers such as Cowper Phipps Coles and John Ericsson designed the first gun turrets in the 1860s, which gave the guns a wide field of fire. These turrets were exceedingly heavy, which required them to be placed low in the ship to reduce top-weight—and produced a dangerous tendency to capsize in heavy seas, amply demonstrated by the loss of HMS Captain and Coles himself with the ship in a gale in 1870.
In the 1870s, designers began to experiment with an en barbette type of mounting. The barbette was a fixed armoured enclosure protecting the gun. The barbette could take the form of a circular or elongated ring of armour around the rotating gun mount over which the guns (possibly fitted with a gun shield) fired. The barbette system reduced weight considerably, since the machinery for the rotating gun mount, along with the mount itself, was much lighter than that required for the gun house of a turret. The savings in weight could then be passed on to increase armour protection for the hull, improve coal storage capacity, or to install larger, more powerful engines. In addition, because barbettes were lighter, they could be placed higher in the ship without jeopardizing stability, which improved their ability to be worked in heavy seas that would have otherwise rendered turrets unusable. This also permitted a higher freeboard, which also improved seakeeping.
Ironclads equipped with barbettes were referred to as "barbette ships" much like their contemporaries, turret ships and central battery ships, which mounted their heavy guns in turrets or in a central armored battery. Many navies experimented with all three types in the 1870s and 1880s, including the British Admiral-class battleships, the French Marceau-class ironclads, the Italian Italia-class battleships, and the German Sachsen-class ironclads, all of which employed barbettes to mount their heavy guns. All of these navies also built turret and or central battery ships during the same period, though none had a decisive advantage over the other. The British and the Russian navies experimented with using disappearing guns afloat, including on the British HMS Temeraire, the Russian monitor Vitse-admiral Popov, and some of the Ekaterina II-class battleships. They were not deemed particularly successful and were not repeated.
In the late 1880s, the debate between barbette or turret mounts was finally settled. The Royal Sovereign class, mounted their guns in barbettes, but the follow-on design, the Majestic class, adopted a new mounting that combined the benefits of both kinds of mounts. A heavily armoured, rotating gun house was added to the revolving platform, which kept the guns and their crews protected. The gun house was smaller and lighter than the old-style turrets, which still permitted placement higher in the ship and the corresponding benefits to stability and seakeeping. This innovation gradually became known simply as a turret, though the armored tube that held the turret substructure, which included the shell and propellant handling rooms and the ammunition hoists, was still referred to as a barbette. These ships were the prototype of the so-called pre-dreadnought battleships, which proved to be broadly influential in all major navies over the next fifteen years.
Ships equipped with barbette mountings did not see a great deal of combat, owing to the long period of relative peace between their appearance in the 1870s and their obsolescence in the 1890s. Some barbette ships saw action during the British Bombardment of Alexandria in 1882, and the French ironclad Triomphante participated in the Battle of Fuzhou during the Sino-French War in 1884. The two Chinese ironclads, Dingyuan and Zhenyuan, that took part in the Battle of the Yalu River during the First Sino-Japanese War in 1894, carried their main battery in barbettes, though they were equipped with extensive gun shields that resembled turrets. The shields were nevertheless only proof against small-arms fire. Three of their opponents at the Yalu River, the Japanese Matsushima-class cruisers, also mounted their guns in open barbettes. Those barbette ships that survived into World War I were typically used only for secondary purposes. For example, the French Marceau was used as a repair ship for submarines and torpedo boats, while the German Württemberg was employed as a torpedo training ship. A handful of barbette ships did see action during the war, including the British Revenge, which bombarded German positions in Flanders in 1914 and 1915.
When applied to military aircraft, largely in aviation history books written by British historians, a barbette is a position on an aircraft where a gun is in a mounting which has a restricted arc of fire when compared to a turret, or which is remotely mounted away from the gunner. As such it is frequently used to describe the tail gunner position on bombers such as the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, with American aviation books frequently describing the position as a tail gun turret, or simply as a tail gun.
The term "barbette" is also used by some, again primarily British historians, to describe a remotely aimed and operated gun turret emplacement on almost any non-American military aircraft of World War II, but it is not usable in a direct translation for the varying German language terms used on Luftwaffe aircraft of that era for such emplacements. As just one example, the German Heinkel He 177A heavy bomber had such a remotely operated twin-MG 131 machine gun Fernbedienbare Drehlafette FDL 131Z (Z - "zwilling"/twin) powered forward dorsal gun turret, with the full translation of the German term comprising the prefix as "Remotely controlled rotating gun mount".
The 10-inch Gun M1895 (254 mm) and its variants the M1888 and M1900 were large coastal artillery pieces installed to defend major American seaports between 1895 and 1945. For most of their history they were operated by the United States Army Coast Artillery Corps. Most were installed on disappearing carriages, with early installations on barbette mountings. All of the weapons not in the Philippines (except four guns in Canada) were scrapped during World War II. Two of the surviving weapons were relocated from the Philippines to Fort Casey in Washington state in the 1960s.12-inch gun M1895
The 12-inch coastal defense gun M1895 (305 mm) and its variants the M1888 and M1900 were large coastal artillery pieces installed to defend major American seaports between 1895 and 1945. For most of their history they were operated by the United States Army Coast Artillery Corps. Most were installed on disappearing carriages, with early installations on low-angle barbette mountings. From 1919, 19 long-range two-gun batteries were built using the M1895 on an M1917 long-range barbette carriage. Almost all of the weapons not in the Philippines were scrapped during and after World War II.16"/50 caliber M1919 gun
The 16 inch Gun M1919 (406 mm) was a large coastal artillery piece installed to defend the United States' major seaports between 1920 and 1946. It was operated by the United States Army Coast Artillery Corps. Only a small number were produced and only seven were mounted; in 1922 and 1940 the US Navy surplussed a number of their own 16-inch/50 guns, which were mated to modified M1919 carriages and filled the need for additional weapons.16-inch howitzer M1920
The 16-inch howitzer M1920 (406 mm) was a coastal artillery piece installed to defend major American seaports between 1922 and 1947. They were operated by the United States Army Coast Artillery Corps. They were installed on high-angle barbette mountings to allow plunging fire. Only four of these weapons were deployed, all at Fort Story, Virginia. All were scrapped within a few years after World War II.6-inch gun M1897
The 6-inch gun M1897 (152 mm) and its variants the M1900, M1903, M1905, M1908, and M1 (a.k.a. T2) were coastal artillery pieces installed to defend major American seaports between 1897 and 1945. For most of their history they were operated by the United States Army Coast Artillery Corps. They were installed on disappearing carriages or pedestal (a.k.a. barbette) mountings, and during World War II many were remounted on shielded barbette carriages. Most of the weapons not in the Philippines were scrapped within a few years after World War II.8-inch gun M1888
The 8-inch gun M1888 (203 mm) was a U.S. Army Coast Artillery Corps gun, initially deployed 1898–1908 in about 75 fixed emplacements, usually on a disappearing carriage. During World War I, 37 or 47 of these weapons (references vary) were removed from fixed emplacements or from storage to create a railway gun version, the 8-inch Gun M1888MIA1 Barbette carriage M1918 on railway car M1918MI, converted from the fixed coast defense mountings and used during World War I and World War II.Barbette (performer)
Barbette (December 19, 1898 – August 5, 1973) was an American female impersonator, high-wire performer, and trapeze artist born in Texas on December 19, 1898. Barbette attained great popularity throughout the United States but his greatest fame came in Europe and especially Paris, in the 1920s and 1930s.
Barbette began performing as an aerialist at around the age of 14 as one-half of a circus act called The Alfaretta Sisters. After a few years of circus work, Barbette went solo and adopted his exotic-sounding pseudonym. He performed in full drag, revealing himself as male only at the end of his act.
Following a career-ending illness or injury (the sources disagree on the cause), which left him in constant pain, Barbette returned to Texas but continued to work as a consultant for motion pictures as well as training and choreographing aerial acts for a number of circuses. After years of dealing with chronic pain, Barbette committed suicide on August 5, 1973. Both in life and following his death, Barbette served as an inspiration to a number of artists, including Jean Cocteau and Man Ray.Barbette Spaeth
Barbette Stanley Spaeth is an associate professor at College of William and Mary, and is an expert in Roman mythology. She is past secretary of the Williamsburg Society, Archaeological Institute of America, and president of the Society for Ancient Mediterranean Religions.She graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a PhD.
Spaeth wrote her doctoral dissertation on Ceres which became an acclaimed and well-cited treatise, The Roman Goddess Ceres. She was a professor at Tulane University, from 1987 to 2001.She has won numerous awards for her work in academia.Disappearing gun
A disappearing gun, a gun mounted on a disappearing carriage, is an obsolete type of artillery which enabled a gun to hide from direct fire and observation. The overwhelming majority of carriage designs enabled the gun to rotate backwards and down behind a parapet, or into a pit protected by a wall after it was fired; a small number were simply barbette mounts on a retractable platform. Either way, retraction lowered the gun from view and direct fire by the enemy while it was being reloaded.
It also made reloading easier, since it lowered the breech to a level just above the loading platform, and shells could be rolled right up to the open breech for loading and ramming. Other benefits over non-disappearing types were a higher rate of repetitive fire and less fatigue for the gun crew.Some disappearing carriages were complicated mechanisms, protection from aircraft observation and attack was difficult, and almost all restricted the elevation of the gun. With a few exceptions, construction of new disappearing gun installations ceased by 1918. The last new disappearing gun installation was a solo 16-inch gun M1919 at Fort Michie on Great Gull Island, New York, completed in 1923. In the U.S., due to lack of funding for sufficient replacements, the disappearing gun remained the most numerous type of coast defense weapon until replaced by improved weapons in World War II.Although some early designs were intended as field siege guns, over time the design became associated with fixed fortifications, most of which were coastal artillery. A late exception was the use in mountain fortifications in Switzerland, where six 120mm guns on rail-mounted Saint Chamond disappearing carriages remained at Fort de Dailly until replaced in 1940.
The disappearing gun was usually moved down behind the parapet or into its protective housing by the force of its own recoil, which (on many models) lifted a counterweight. Before firing, the crew tripped a catch on the counterweight, causing it to fall and move the gun back up "into battery" (firing position).
Some disappearing guns also used compressed air, while a few were built to be raised by steam.Fillet (clothing)
A fillet was originally worn in classical antiquity, especially in cultures of the Mediterranean, Levant and Persia, including Hellenic culture. At that time, a fillet was a very narrow band of cloth, leather or some form of garland, frequently worn by athletes. It was also worn as a sign of royalty and became symbolized in later ages as a metallic ring which was a stylized band of cloth.
Later, in medieval times, a fillet was a type of headband worn by unmarried women, in certain monk hoods, usually with a wimple or barbette.
This is indicated in the sign language of said monks (who took oaths of silence), wherein a sweeping motion across the brow, in the shape of a fillet, indicated an unmarried woman.Fort Ruckman
Fort Ruckman was a U.S. Coast Artillery fort located in Nahant, Massachusetts. Originally called the Nahant Military Reservation, the fort was laid out in 1904-1907 and covered an area of about 45 acres just northwest of Bass Point, on the southwest side of the Nahant peninsula. During the 1920s, this area was renamed in honor of Maj. Gen. John Wilson Ruckman, a former Colonel in the Coast Artillery.The fort was decommissioned after World War II and the property was sold to the town and to private owners beginning in about 1947. The fire control tower indicated on the map was used as part of the Army/Lincoln Labs Nike program-related radar research and development during the late 1940s and early 1950s and at one point had a large radar antenna on its roof. A Nike target tracking radar was also erected on Bayley's Hill (the eastern edge of the fort) during the 1950s.
During World War II, Fort Ruckman was part of the Harbor Defenses of Boston, and housed the Group Command post for the northern district of the harbor defense artillery and Battery Gardner, two 12-inch guns in east-facing casemates of reinforced concrete. These casemates were built just before WW2 over the open (surface) gun positions originally completed in 1923.The guns were the 12-inch M1895 gun, on Model 1917 long-range barbette carriages. When they were installed, these were the largest caliber guns in the harbor defenses. Each gun a total weight of 151 tons and had a maximum range of about 29,300 yards (about 16.6 miles). This would enable the guns, for example, to cover an arc extending from Gloucester in the north to North Scituate in the south. The centers of the two gun positions are roughly 425 ft. apart.
Today, most of the area within the fort's World War II boundaries has been converted into residential real estate, recreation, or park land for the Town of Nahant. The extensive concrete galleries between the north and south firing positions which housed fire control activities, ammunition storage, and crew quarters, have been buried under 20 or so feet of earth during the casemate construction process. These subterranean galleries are still accessible and are used by the Town for storage.
On the surface of the buried galleries are a series of large and smaller concrete chimneys that ventilate the galleries below. A geodetic marker, MY0039—RUCKMAN RESET (see photo at left), was emplaced in 1943, likely as a point of reference for aiming the 12" guns.
About 800 ft. NNW of the northernmost gun position of Battery Gardner lay the center of a 3-gun battery of antiaircraft guns known as Location 130-2C, or the Boston Harbor No.4 AAA Battery. The three guns were surface-mounted, standard barbette carriage 3" guns, Model 1917A2. The gun centers formed a roughly equilateral triangle 150 ft. on a side. The gun positions were constructed in 1934, but were not armed until 1942. Final construction on the battery commenced on May 5, 1942, and was completed in less than a month. Today, the battery positions appear (from Google maps) to have been destroyed, but the center point of the battery would fall roughly at the left field foul pole of the first baseball field southeast of the corner of Castle and Flash Roads.Fort Sumter
Fort Sumter is a sea fort in Charleston, South Carolina, notable for two battles of the American Civil War. It was one of a number of special forts planned after the War of 1812, combining high walls and heavy masonry, and classified as Third System, as a grade of structural integrity. Work started in 1829, but was incomplete by 1860, when South Carolina seceded from the Union.
The First Battle of Fort Sumter began on April 12, 1861, when Confederate artillery fired on the Union garrison. These were the first shots of the war and continued all day, watched by many civilians in a celebratory spirit. The fort had been cut off from its supply line and surrendered the next day. The Second Battle of Fort Sumter (September 8, 1863) was a failed attempt by the Union to retake the fort, dogged by a rivalry between army and navy commanders. Although the fort was reduced to rubble, it remained in Confederate hands until it was evacuated as General Sherman marched through South Carolina in February 1865.
Fort Sumter is open for public tours as part of the Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie National Historical Park operated by the National Park Service.HMAS Barbette (P 97)
HMAS Barbette (P 97) was an Attack class patrol boat of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).List of battleships of France
French battleships (French: Cuirassés de la Marine Française) which feature here below, were serviced for the period 1859–1945. Years given are the ships' launch date.Marceau-class ironclad
The Marceau class was class of ironclad battleships of the French Navy. They were the last barbette ships built in France.Rodman gun
The Rodman gun is any of a series of American Civil War–era columbiads designed by Union artilleryman Thomas Jackson Rodman (1815–1871). The guns were designed to fire both shot and shell. These heavy guns were intended to be mounted in seacoast fortifications. They were built in 8-inch, 10-inch, 13-inch, 15-inch, and 20-inch bore. Other than size, the guns were all nearly identical in design, with a curving bottle shape, large flat cascabels with ratchets or sockets for the elevating mechanism. Rodman guns were true guns that did not have a howitzer-like powder chamber, as did many earlier columbiads. Rodman guns differed from all previous artillery because they were hollow cast, a new technology that Rodman developed that resulted in cast-iron guns that were much stronger than their predecessors.Second Battle of Fort Sumter
The Second Battle of Fort Sumter was fought on September 8, 1863, in Charleston Harbor. Confederate General P. G. T. Beauregard, who had commanded the defenses of Charleston and captured Fort Sumter in the first battle of the war, was in overall command of the defenders. In the battle, Union forces under Major General Quincy Gillmore attempted to retake the fort at the mouth of the harbor. Union gunners pummeled the fort from their batteries on Morris Island. After a severe bombing of the fort, Beauregard suspecting an attack replaced the artillerymen and all but one of the fort's guns with 320 infantrymen, who repulsed the naval landing party. Gillmore had reduced Fort Sumter to a pile of rubble, but the Confederate flag still waved over the ruins.The Blood of a Poet
The Blood of a Poet (French: Le sang d'un poète) (1930) is an avant-garde film directed by Jean Cocteau, financed by Charles de Noailles and starring Enrique Riveros, a Chilean actor who had a successful career in European films. Photographer Lee Miller made her only film appearance in this movie, which features an appearance by the famed aerialist Barbette. It is the first part of the Orphic Trilogy, which is continued in Orphée (1950) and concludes with Testament of Orpheus (1960).Tupolev '102'
The Tupolev '102' and Tupolev '101' were 1950s projects for a turboprop airliner and assault transport by the Tupolev Design Bureau. The aircraft designs were almost identical but the '101' had a rear loading ranp and tail barbette for two Nudelman-Rikhter NR-23 cannon. The internal arrangement also differed with the '101' cabin being unpressurised apart from the flightdeck and a small cabin for ten passengers, whilst the '102's pressurised cabin was in one section, configured for 40 passengers.
Similar requirement s were also issued to OKB-23 (V.M. Myasischchev) and OKB-473 (Oleg K. Antonov), resulting in the Antonov An-8 which formed the design root of all Antonov's turboprop transports up to the An-22.