A barracks is a building or group of buildings built to military personnel. The English word comes via French from an old Catalan word "barraca" (hut), originally referring to temporary shelters or huts for various people and animals, but today barracks are usually permanent buildings for military accommodation. The word may apply to separate housing blocks or to complete complexes, and the plural form often refers to a single structure and may be singular in construction.
The main object of barracks is to separate soldiers from the civilian population and reinforce discipline, training, and esprit de corps. They have been called "discipline factories for soldiers". Like industrial factories, some are considered to be shoddy or dull buildings, although others are known for their magnificent architecture such as Collins Barracks in Dublin and others in Paris, Berlin, Madrid, Vienna, or London. From the rough barracks of 19th-century conscript armies, filled with hazing and illness and barely differentiated from the livestock pens that housed the draft animals, to the clean and Internet-connected barracks of modern all-volunteer militaries, the word can have a variety of connotations.
Early barracks such as those of the Roman Praetorian Guard were built to maintain elite forces. There are a number of remains of Roman army barracks in frontier forts such as Vercovicium and Vindolanda. From these and from contemporary Roman sources we can see that the basics of life in a military camp have remained constant for thousands of years. In the Early Modern Period, they formed part of the Military Revolution that scholars believe contributed decisively to the formation of the nation state by increasing the expense of maintaining standing armies. Large, permanent barracks were developed in the 18th century by the two dominant states of the period, France the "caserne" and Spain the "cuartel". The English term ‘barrack’, on the other hand, derives from the Spanish word for a temporary shelter erected by soldiers on campaign, barraca; (because of fears that a standing army in barracks would be a threat to the constitution, barracks were not generally built in Great Britain until 1790, on the eve of the Napoleonic Wars).
Early barracks were multi-story blocks, often grouped in a quadrangle around a courtyard or parade ground. A good example is Berwick Barracks, which was among the first in England to be purpose-built and begun in 1717 to the design of the distinguished architect Nicholas Hawksmoor. During the 18th century, the increasing sophistication of military life led to separate housing for different ranks (officers always had larger rooms) and married quarters; as well as the provision of specialized buildings such as dining rooms and cook houses, bath houses, mess rooms, schools, hospitals, armories, gymnasia, riding schools and stables. The pavilion plan concept of hospital design was influential in barrack planning after the Crimean War.
By the First World War, infantry, artillery, and cavalry regiments had separate barracks. The first naval barracks were hulks, old wooden sailing vessels; but these insanitary lodgings were replaced with large naval barracks at the major dockyard towns of Europe and the United States, usually with hammocks instead of beds.
These were inadequate for the enormous armies mobilized after 1914. Hut camps were developed using variations of the eponymous Nissen hut, made from timber or corrugated iron.
In many military forces, NCOs and enlisted personnel will frequently be housed in barracks for service or training. Junior enlisted and sometimes junior NCOs will often receive less space and may be housed in bays, while senior NCOs and officers may share or have their own room. The term "Garrison town" is a common expression for any town that has military barracks, i.e., a permanent military presence nearby.
Barracks blockhouses were used to house troops in forts in Upper Canada. The Stone Frigate, completed in 1820, served as barracks briefly in 1837–38, and was refitted as a dormitory and classrooms to house the Royal Military College of Canada by 1876. The Stone frigate is a large stone building originally designed to hold gear and rigging from British warships dismantled to comply with the Rush–Bagot Treaty.
The Portuguese Army bases is referred as a quartel (barracks). In a barracks, each of the dormitory buildings is referred as a caserna (casern). Most of them are regimental barracks, constituting the fixed component of the Army system of forces and being responsible for the training, sustenance and general support to the Army. In addition to the regimental administrative, logistic and training bodies, each barracks can lodge one or more operational units (operational battalions, independent companies or equivalent units). Although there are housing blocks within the perimeter of some regimental barracks, the Portuguese current practice is for the members of the Armed Forces to live out of the military bases with their families, inserted in the local civilian communities.
Many of the Portuguese regimental barracks are of the CANIFA model (The CANIFA barracks were designed to lodge 1,000 or more soldiers). These type of barracks were built in the 1950s and 1960s, following a standardized architectural model, usually with an area of between 100,000 and 200,000 square metres, including a headquarters building, a guard house, a general mess building, an infirmary building, a workshop and garage building, an officer house building, a sergeant house building, three to ten rank and file caserns, fire ranges and sports facilities.
In the 17th and 18th centuries there were concerns around the idea of a standing army housed in barracks; instead, the law provided for troops routinely to be billeted in small groups in inns and other locations. (The concerns were various: political, ideological and constitutional, provoked by memories of Cromwell's New Model Army and of the use of troops in reign of James II to intimidate areas of civil society. Furthermore, grand urban barracks were associated with absolutist monarchies, where they could be seen as emblematic of power sustained through military might; and there was an ongoing suspicion that gathering soldiers together in barracks might encourage sedition.)
Nevertheless, some "soldiers' lodgings" were built in Britain at this time, usually attached to coastal fortifications or royal palaces. The first recorded use of the word 'barracks' in this context was for the Irish Barracks, built in the precinct of the Tower of London in 1669. At the Ordnance Office (responsible for construction and upkeep of barracks) Bernard de Gomme played a key role in developing a 'domestic' style of barrack design in the latter half of the 17th century: he provided barrack blocks for such locations as Plymouth Citadel and Tilbury Fort, each with rows of square rooms arranged in pairs on two stories, accommodating a Company of some sixty men, four to a room, two to a bed. Standard furnishings were provided, and each room had a grate used for heating and cooking.
In England, this domestic style continued to be used through the first half of the eighteenth century; most new barracks of this period were more or less hidden within the precincts of medieval castles and Henrician forts. In Scotland, however, a more demonstrative style was employed following the Jacobite rising of 1715 (as at Ruthven Barracks) and that of 1745 (as seen in the monumental Fort George). This bolder approach gradually began to be adopted south of the border during the eighteenth century (beginning with nearby Berwick, 1717). There was much building in and around the Royal Dockyards at this time: during the Seven Years' War, fears of a land attack led to defensive 'lines' being built around the dockyard towns, and infantry barracks were established within them (e.g. at Chatham, Upper and Lower Barracks, 1756, and Plymouth, six defensible square barracks, 1758–63). The newly constituted Royal Marines were also provided with accommodation in the vicinity of the Dockyards (e.g. Stonehouse Barracks, 1779) becoming the first Corps in Britain to be fully provided with its own accommodation. Large urban barracks were still a rarity, though. In London there was a fair amount of barrack accommodation, but most of it was within the precincts of various royal palaces (as at Horse Guards, 1753). The prominent Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich (1776) was one exception (but significantly the Artillery were under the command of the Board of Ordnance rather than of the Army).
In the aftermath of the French Revolution, though, things changed. The size of the army grew from 40,000 to 225,000 between 1790 and 1814 (with the Militia adding a further 100,000). Barrack accommodation at the time was provided for a mere 20,000. To deal with the situation, responsibility for building barracks was transferred in 1792 from the Board of Ordnance to a specialist Barracks Department overseen by the War Office. With a view to dealing with sedition, and perhaps quelling thoughts of revolution, several large cavalry barracks were built in the 1790s: first at Knightsbridge (close to the royal palaces), then in several provincial towns and cities: Birmingham, Coventry, Manchester, Norwich, Nottingham and Sheffield (as well as Hounslow Barracks just west of London). Several smaller cavalry and artillery barracks were established around this time, but very little was built for the infantry; instead, a number of large camps (with wooden huts) were set up: at Chelmsford, Colchester, Sunderland, Romford and Croydon.
It was not until some years after the end of the Napoleonic Wars (and post-war recession) that barrack-building began again. John Nash built four as part of his London improvements: Regent's Park and St John's Wood for the Cavalry, Wellington Barracks for the Guards, and St George's Barracks (since demolished) behind the National Gallery. In several instances elsewhere, buildings were converted rather than newly built (or a mixture of the two, as at Cambridge Barracks, Portsmouth where a new frontage, housing officers, was built in front of a range of warehouses converted to house the men). In response to the Chartist riots three barracks were established in north-west England in the 1840s, Ladysmith Barracks at Ashton-under-Lyne, Wellington Barracks at Bury and Fulwood Barracks at Preston.
A review conducted following the demise of the Board of Ordnance in 1855 noted that only seven barracks outside London had accommodation for more than 1,000. This changed with the establishment of large-scale Army Camps such as Aldershot (1854), and the expansion of Garrison towns such as Colchester; over time in these locations temporary huts were replaced with more permanent barracks buildings. Large-scale camps were not the only way forward, however; from the 1870s, the localisation agenda of the Cardwell Reforms saw new and old barracks established as depots for regional or County brigades and regiments. The latter part of the 19th century also saw the establishment of a number of Naval barracks (an innovation long resisted by the Royal Navy, which had tended to accommodate its sailors afloat either on their ships or else in hulks moored in its harbours). The first of these, Keyham Barracks in Devonport (later HMS Drake), was begun in 1879, and only completed in 1907.
During the 20th century, activity ranged from the need for speedy expansion during the First World War (when large camps such as Catterick were established), to the closure of many barracks in the interwar period. Many of those that remained were rebuilt in the 1960s, either substantially (as happened at Woolwich, behind the facade) or entirely (as at Hyde Park and at Chelsea - built 1863, demolished and rebuilt 1963, closed 2008). There has been an ongoing focus on improving the quality of barracks accommodation; since the 1970s several former RAF bases have been converted to serve as Army barracks, in place of some of the more cramped urban sites. Today, generally, only single and unmarried personnel or those who choose not to move their families nearby live in barracks. Most British military barracks are named after battles, military figures or the locality.
In Poland barracks are represented usually as a complex of buildings, each consisting of a separate entity or an administrative or business premises. As an example, the Barracks Complex in Września.
In basic training, and sometimes follow-on training, service members live in barracks. The U.S. Marine Corps have gender-separate basic training units. The U.S. Army has gender-separate basic training, but like the United States Coast Guard, U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy, has training where male and female recruits share barracks, but are separated during personal time and lights out. However, all the services integrate male and female members following boot camp and first assignment, except the various combat arms elements.
After training, unmarried junior enlisted members will typically reside in barracks. In the 21st century, these service members are generally housed in individual rooms conforming to the DoD's "1+1 standard", though exceptions still exist. During unaccompanied, dependent-restricted assignments, non-commissioned and commissioned officer ranks may also be required to live in barracks. Amenities in these barracks increase with the rank of the occupant.
Unlike the other services, the U.S. Air Force officially uses the term "dormitory" to refer to its unaccompanied housing.
On October 23, 1983, two truck bombs struck buildings in Beirut, Lebanon, housing American and French service members of the Multinational Force in Lebanon (MNF), a military peacekeeping operation during the Lebanese Civil War. The attack killed 307 people: 241 U.S. and 58 French military personnel, six civilians, and two attackers.
The first suicide bomber detonated a truck bomb at the building serving as a barracks for the 1st Battalion 8th Marines (Battalion Landing Team – BLT 1/8) of the 2nd Marine Division, killing 220 Marines, 18 sailors and 3 soldiers, making this incident the deadliest single-day death toll for the United States Marine Corps since the Battle of Iwo Jima in World War II, the deadliest single-day death toll for the United States Armed Forces since the first day of the Tet Offensive in the Vietnam War, the deadliest terrorist attack on American citizens in general prior to the September 11 attacks, and the deadliest terrorist attack on American citizens overseas. Another 128 Americans were wounded in the blast; 13 later died of their injuries, and they are counted among the number who died. An elderly Lebanese man, a custodian/vendor who was known to work and sleep in his concession stand next to the building, was also killed in the first blast. The explosives used were later estimated to be equivalent to as much as 9,500 kg (21,000 pounds) of TNT.Minutes later, a second suicide bomber struck the nine-story Drakkar building, a few kilometers away, where the French contingent was stationed; 55 paratroopers from the 1st Parachute Chasseur Regiment and three paratroopers of the 9th Parachute Chasseur Regiment were killed and 15 injured. It was the single worst French military loss since the end of the Algerian War. The wife and four children of a Lebanese janitor at the French building were also killed, and more than twenty other Lebanese civilians were injured.A group called Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the bombings and said that the aim was to force the MNF out of Lebanon. According to Caspar Weinberger, then United States Secretary of Defense, there is no knowledge of who did the bombing.Some analysis highlights the role of Hezbollah and Iran, calling it 'an Iranian operation from top to bottom'. There is no consensus on whether Hezbollah existed at the time of bombing.The attacks eventually led to the withdrawal of the international peacekeeping force from Lebanon, where they had been stationed following the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) withdrawal in the aftermath of Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon.
In 2004 it was reported that an Iranian group called the Committee for the Commemoration of Martyrs of the Global Islamic Campaign had erected a monument, at the Behesht-e-Zahra cemetery in Tehran, to commemorate the 1983 bombings and its "martyrs".Alcatraz Island
Alcatraz Island () is located in San Francisco Bay, 1.25 miles (2.01 km) offshore from San Francisco, California, United States. The small island was developed with facilities for a lighthouse, a military fortification, a military prison, and a federal prison from 1934 until 1963. Beginning in November 1969, the island was occupied for more than 19 months by a group of Native Americans from San Francisco, who were part of a wave of Native activism across the nation, with public protests through the 1970s. In 1972, Alcatraz became part of a national recreation area and received designation as a National Historic Landmark in 1986.
Today, the island's facilities are managed by the National Park Service as part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area; it is open to tours. Visitors can reach the island in a little under 15 minutes by ferry ride from Pier 33, located between the San Francisco Ferry Building and Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco. Hornblower Cruises and Events, operating under the name Alcatraz Cruises, is the official ferry provider to and from the island.
Alcatraz Island is home to the abandoned prison, the site of the oldest operating lighthouse on the West Coast of the United States, early military fortifications, and natural features such as rock pools and a seabird colony (mostly western gulls, cormorants, and egrets). According to a 1971 documentary on the history of Alcatraz, the island measures 1,675 feet (511 m) by 590 feet (180 m) and is 135 feet (41 m) at highest point during mean tide. The total area of the island is reported to be 22 acres (8.9 ha).Landmarks on the island include the Main Cellhouse, Dining Hall, Lighthouse, the ruins of the Warden's House and Social Hall, Parade Grounds, Building 64, Water Tower, New Industries Building, Model Industries Building,
and the Recreation Yard.Attack on Ballygawley barracks
On 7 December 1985 the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) attacked the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) base at Ballygawley, County Tyrone. Two RUC officers were shot dead and the base was raked with gunfire before being completely destroyed by a bomb, which wounded a further three officers.Barracks ship
A barracks ship or barracks barge, or in civilian use accommodation vessel or accommodation ship, is a ship or a non-self-propelled barge containing a superstructure of a type suitable for use as a temporary barracks for sailors or other military personnel. A barracks ship, a military form of a dormitory ship, may also be used as a receiving unit for sailors who need temporary residence prior to being assigned to their ship.Bow Barracks
Bow Barracks is a locality in the central Kolkata region.
The locality is a small hub of mainly Anglo-Indian population who have lived here for generations. The families living here do not pay any rent for their stay in Bow Barracks as the building is owned by the KIT and they have refused to accept a meagre amount of ₹30 paid as rent throughout the years without any increment in rent by the families for their stay. The government has declared this building ‘unsafe’, dangerous and plans are afoot to build a highrise and other structures in its place.Catterick Garrison
Catterick Garrison is a major garrison and military town three miles (4.8 km) south of Richmond, North Yorkshire, England.
It is the largest British Army garrison in the world with a population of around 13,000 in 2017 and measuring over 2,400 acres. Under plans announced by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in November 2005, the population of Catterick Garrison was expected to grow to over 25,000 by 2020, making it the largest population centre in the local area.Chatham Dockyard
Chatham Dockyard was a Royal Navy Dockyard located on the River Medway in Kent. Established in Chatham in the mid-16th century, the dockyard subsequently expanded into neighbouring Gillingham (at its most extensive, in the early 20th century, two-thirds of the dockyard lay in Gillingham, one-third in Chatham).
It came into existence at the time when, following the Reformation, relations with the Catholic countries of Europe had worsened, leading to a requirement for additional defences. For 414 years Chatham Royal Dockyard provided over 500 ships for the Royal Navy, and was at the forefront of shipbuilding, industrial and architectural technology. At its height, it employed over 10,000 skilled artisans and covered 400 acres (1.6 km²). Chatham dockyard closed in 1984, and 84 acres (340,000 m2) of the Georgian dockyard is now managed as a visitor attraction by the Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust.Deal barracks bombing
The Deal barracks bombing was an attack by the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) on the Royal Marine Depot, Deal, England. It took place at 8:22 am on 22 September 1989, when the IRA exploded a time bomb at the Royal Marines School of Music building. The building collapsed, killing 11 marines from the Royal Marines Band Service and wounding another 21.Garrison
Garrison (various spellings) (from the French garnison, itself from the verb garnir, "to equip") is the collective term for any body of troops stationed in a particular location, originally to guard it, but now often simply using it as a home base.
The garrison is usually in a city, town, fort, castle, ship or similar. "Garrison town" is a common expression for any town that has a military base nearby.Glenanne barracks bombing
The Glenanne barracks bombing was a large truck bomb attack carried out by the Provisional IRA against a British Army (Ulster Defence Regiment) base at Glenanne, near Mountnorris, County Armagh. The driverless lorry was rolled down a hill at the rear of the barracks and crashed through the perimeter fence. The bombing took place on 31 May 1991 and left three soldiers killed and 14 people wounded, four of them civilians.Hyde Park Barracks, Sydney
The Hyde Park Barracks, Sydney is a heritage-listed former barracks, hospital, convict accommodation, mint and courthouse and now museum and cafe located at Macquarie Street in the Sydney central business district, in the City of Sydney local government area of New South Wales, Australia. Originally built from 1811 to 1819 as a brick building and compound to house convict men and boys, it was designed by convict architect Francis Greenway. It is also known as the Mint Building and Hyde Park Barracks Group and Rum Hospital; Royal Mint - Sydney Branch; Sydney Infirmary and Dispensary; Queen's Square Courts; Queen's Square. The site is managed by the Sydney Living Museums, an agency of the Government of New South Wales, as a living history museum open to the public.
The site is inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List as one of 11 pre-eminent Australian Convict Sites as amongst "the best surviving examples of large-scale convict transportation and the colonial expansion of European powers through the presence and labour of convicts", and was listed on the Australian National Heritage List on 1 August 2007, and on the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 2 April 1999.The historic site was closed in January 2019 for $18 million restoration work to transform it into "a rich new, immersive visitor experience like no other in Australia".List of United States Army installations in Germany
The United States Army has approximately 36 military bases in Germany. Over 200 others were closed, mostly following the end of the Cold War in the early 1990s.List of United States military bases
This is a list of military installations owned or used by the United States Armed Forces currently located in the United States and around the world. This list details only current or recently closed facilities; some defunct facilities are found at Category:Closed military installations of the United States.
An "installation" is defined as "a military base, camp, post, station, yard, center, homeport facility for any ship, or other activity under the jurisdiction of the Department of Defense, including leased space, that is controlled by, or primarily supports DoD's activities. An installation may consist of one or more sites" (geographically-separated real estate parcels).The United States is the largest operator of military bases abroad, with 38 "named bases" having active-duty, National Guard, reserve, or civilian personnel as of September 30, 2014. Its largest, in terms of personnel, was Ramstein AB, in Germany, with almost 9,200 personnel. The Pentagon stated in 2013 that there are "around" 5,000 bases total, with "around" 600 of them overseas.Lists of military installations
This list of military installations consists of a collection of military related lists worldwide:
List of Australian military bases
List of Royal Australian Air Force installations
List of Royal Australian Navy bases
List of Brazilian military bases
List of Bulgarian military bases
List of Canadian Forces Bases
List of Chinese Air Force Bases
List of Danish Military Installations
List of Greek military bases
List of Honduran military bases
List of Indian Air Force bases
List of Irish military installations
List of Israel Defense Forces bases
List of Mexican military bases
List of New Zealand military bases
List of Russian military bases abroad
List of bases of the South African Air Force
List of South African military bases
List of Soviet Air Force bases
List of Sri Lankan air force bases
List of US-Bulgarian military basesMortar attack on Enniskillen barracks
On 4 September 1985, the Provisional IRA fired mortar bombs at a Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) base and training centre in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh. Nobody was killed, but 30 people were injured in the attack and the base, which was mainly used to train new recruits, was very badly damaged.
The IRA hoped to repeat the success they had earlier in the year when Newry RUC station was attacked with mortars and nine RUC officers were killed and almost 40 injured. It was one of numerous IRA mortar attacks on British Army and RUC bases around this time period.Royal Artillery
The Royal Regiment of Artillery, commonly referred to as the Royal Artillery (RA) and colloquially known as "The Gunners", is the artillery arm of the British Army. The Royal Regiment of Artillery comprises thirteen Regular Army regiments, King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery and five Army Reserve regiments.Royal Artillery Barracks
The Royal Artillery Barracks at Woolwich in the Royal Borough of Greenwich, London, was the home of the Royal Artillery from 1776 until 2007.Schofield Barracks
Schofield Barracks is a United States Army installation and census-designated place (CDP) located in the City and County of Honolulu and in the Wahiawa District of the American island of Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi. Schofield Barracks lies adjacent to the town of Wahiawā, separated from most of it by Lake Wilson (also known as Wahiawā Reservoir). Schofield Barracks is named after Lieutenant General John McAllister Schofield, Commanding General United States Army August 1888 to September 1895. He had been sent to Hawaiʻi in 1872 and had recommended the establishment of a naval base at Pearl Harbor.
Schofield Barracks has an area of 17,725 acres (72 km2) on Central Oʻahu. The post was established in 1908 to provide mobile defense of Pearl Harbor and the entire island. It has been the home of the 25th Infantry Division, known as the Tropic Lightning Division, since 1941 as well as the headquarters for United States Army Hawaii (USARHAW). The population was 16,370 at the 2010 census.Thiepval barracks bombing
The Thiepval Barracks bombing was a double car bomb attack carried out by the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) on 7 October 1996. The bombs exploded inside Thiepval Barracks, the British Army headquarters in Northern Ireland. One British soldier was killed and 31 people were injured. This bombing was the first major attack on a military base in Northern Ireland since the end of the IRA's ceasefire eight months earlier.