AskDefine | Define barbette

Dictionary Definition

barbette n : (formerly) a mound of earth inside a fort from which heavy gun can be fired over the parapet

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. The inside fixed trunk of a warship's gun-mounting, on which the turret revolves. It contains the hoists for shells and cordite from the shell-room and magazine.



  1. Plural of barbetta

Extensive Definition

For the early 20th Century female impersonator, see Barbette (performer)
A barbette is a protective circular armor feature around a cannon or heavy artillery gun. The name comes from the French phrase en barbette'' referring to the practice of firing a field gun over a parapet (defensive wall) rather than through an opening (embrasure). The former gives better angles of fire but less protection than the latter.
Before the complete introduction of the fully enclosed armoured gun turrets, a barbette was a fixed armoured enclosure protecting the gun. The barbette could take the form of a ring of armour around the gun mount over which the guns (possibly fitted with a gun shield) fired.
In warships from the age of the dreadnought forward, the barbette is the non-rotating drum beneath the rotating gun turret (properly known as the "gunhouse") and above the armoured deck on a warship. It forms the protection for the upper ends of the hoists that lift shells and their propelling charges (e.g. cordite) from the magazines below.
When applied to military aircraft, a barbette is a position on an aircraft where a gun, or guns, are in a mounting which has a restricted arc of fire when compared to a turret. The word is frequently used to describe the tail gunner position on bombers such as the B-17 Flying Fortress.
The term "barbette" is often used with military aircraft of World War II, to name a remotely aimed and operated gun turret, which itself has no human presence directly within its mechanics-the German Messerschmitt Me 210 and Me 410 Hornisse had twin remote turrets, one per side, for rearwards defense, the Heinkel He 177 had such a turret for its forward dorsal defense, and the famous American B-29 Superfortress had four such remote turrets, two dorsal and two ventral, each with twin M2 Browning guns, with only the tail gun position being "directly" manned.

See also


barbette in German: Barbette (Artillerie)
barbette in Italian: Barbetta
barbette in Japanese: バーベット
barbette in Norwegian: Barbette
barbette in Polish: Barbeta
barbette in Russian: Барбет
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