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Basic Information

A Palisade is a wall or fence constructed of vertical stakes or tree trunks. The tops of the stakes are often sharpened to discourage the enemy from trying to climb over it. They were commonly used for small forts and outposts because they could be constructed fairly quickly out of nearby materials and were reasonably effective against small forces. They were often reinforced by earthworks.

A palisade may either be a solid timber wall - in which case the defenders will need to create a catwalk or fighting platforms from which to defend it - or spaces can be left between the beams1 so that the defenders can fight from ground level. Taken to its logical conclusion the spaced palisade becomes little more than an abbatis but can be quite an effective obstacle under the right conditions.

The standard Cavalry fort seen in Old West movies utilized palisade construction for it's outer wall, but the basic idea of it has been used going back the Ancient Romans and earlier.

Where timber is not to be had, mud-brick walls have been known to stand in for a palisade.



Game and Story Use

  • The village in the heroic Fantasy campaing that fears orc raids will probably build a palisade around it.
  • The Roman encampment on a campaign against the Barbarians will also have a palisade
  • And the Cavalry fort in the middle of Indian Territory.
  • Also anything on the Northern Frontier (for example during the Seven Years/French and Indian War).
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