Friday, 25 October 2013

Handgrenadealien goes AWOL & a short pictorial description of Portuguese military architecture

It seems that way at any rate, this is my first opportunity to blog in nearly a month. The first part of the hiatus was spent struggling with a heavy workload to enable me to spend, latterly,  a rather happier week on holiday in Portugal.
The main idea was of course to take things easy, catch a bit of surf & generally over indulge the excellent Portuguese wines & cuisine but I did still manage to check out a bit of military history whilst over there.

First up: Forta de Almedena

Looking across the gateway to opposite bastion

Masonry apron of the same to protect projecting cannon barrel.

Curtain wall from bastion to cliff top.

Remains of vaulted powder magazine. Note thick walls & thin roof   to channel accidental detonations upward.

Doorway to Bastion.

Cannon loophole in bastion. Note, directly in line with the same opposite.

Bastion & apron from main gateway.

Interior wall of bastion with steps to roof.

Reverse shot from bastion to bastion.


View of ground in front of fort.

Frontal view of fort.
I've been trying the history of this site but there is very little in either Portuguese or English. What I have been able to turn up suggests that plans for its construction were put forward in 1587 to defend the coast against pirates ( there is a very eroded gun platform on the seaward side of this fort), but a local guidebook states that the construction was suggested as a result of Sir Frances Drakes occupation of the town of Sagres in the same year. One might be led to believe the Iberians considered them one & the same thing!
However, whichever case might be true the construction of the walls & bastions makes it fairly obvious that the fort was only intended to protect its integral coastal battery from attack by light forces. That said the terrain over which any attack would come would make it difficult to haul up any artillery heavy enough to make an impression, so a formidable work despite its apparent shortcomings.
You could if you wished view this site from the air on google earth; start from Lagos, Portugal & work westward along the coast- the site is labelled. I was hoping that a Texan aviator who was on site might have taken some aerial shots for me, but he convinced me he had enough on his hands keeping his paraglider safely in the air and to be frank, given the 200' drop to the sea I could see his point.

More Portuguese stonework & some SYW Prussians next time.