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Basic Information

A fascine (derived from the latin fasces, a bundle of rods) is a military engineering device consisting of a bale of brushwood (or, in the modern era, plastic pipes), strongly bound together by ropes or chains.

The main function of these devices is to fill in obstacles such as craters, streams and moats - or in some cases to aid in the escalade of low walls. The fascine is dropped into position and then the troops following behind walk, climb or drive across it and thus overcome the obstacle.

Originally these were man-portable and carried forwards by assaulting troops, but now they are most likely to be seen on top of armoured engineer vehicles taking part in an assault against prepared fortifications.

Loosely bound fascines can also be used as impact cushioning by troops who need to jump down into a moat or ditch (often with mixed results, but something of an improvement over a straight drop) and to help reduce spike obstacles.

Various items, including mattresses, vehicles and - in extreme cases - corpses can serve as improvised fascines as required. (In the case of corpses, this is usually the result of an assault having wasted so many lives that the obstacle becomes filled up with the dead rather than someone's deliberate decision.)

Fascines can also be used structurally to make a revetment, in other words to "shore up" a dirt slope to protect it from erosion. So they might be deployed along a shore or riverbank by civilians to keep the water from washing the land away, or they may be employed militarily to line a trench or other earthwork in a method similar to a gabion.



Game and Story Use

  • May be a part of the kit of the soldiers of a well-prepared army in your campaign world.
  • Or, during a siege or invasion, troops may be detached from the main force to go to a nearby woods to gather/construct fascines and gabions. Perhaps this excursion is the moment and place where they get ambushed.
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