Grand Master Ramon Perellos y Roccaful. (Source: Museum of Fine Arts).
Coastal redoubts are the second category of coastal defences
built in the early 18th century. The most numerous types of fortifications
of this period were the coastal batteries, which were generally
built in vulnerable bays opposite each other and armed with cannons.
On the other hand coastal redoubts were built in the middle of
the bay in order not to let enemy forces disembark their troops
They operated as an infantry defensible stronghold to resist
enemy troops. The idea of building this type of fortification
was brilliant because if enemy soldiers were able to disembark
their soldiers, they would overwhelm these fortifications quickly.
The reason was because in the middle of the bay there was not
fortification. But with the introduction of the coastal redoubt
the situation was different because all the vulnerable points
of the bay were defended by these coastal fortifications. 1
of the normal coastal redoubt built in many places in Malta.
The country which put forward this idea of building coastal redoubts
wasFrance. Like the coastal batteries, they built a large number
of coastal redoubts around their empire, especially at Quebec.
This ex-French colony has much literature about its history, including
also on its fortifications. In time of crises like that of the
Seven Years War, the French administration built a number of coastal
batteries and redoubts and they succeeded in repulsing the British
invasion, although the city fell later. I like to emphasise as
I had done in my article about the coastal defences of mellieha
during the 18th century (for Maltese readers they can see my article
Fortifikazzjonijiet fil-Mellieha tas-seklu tmintax: batteriji,
ridotti u truncieri: Xebh bejn is-sistema ta difiza li nbniet
Malta, ma dawk li nbnew fl-imperu Franciz matul dan iz-zmien
in Imperial Band Club Mellieha Festa tal-Vitorja 2005) about the
similar function that these fortifications had. Those built in
the French colony succeeded in repulsing the invader while those
built in Malta did not. 2
of Kalafrana coastal redoubt. It was this type of coastal
redoubt that the French built in their colonial empire.
There were at least three different models of coastal redoubts.
Those built in the village of Mellieha had a pentagonal platforms
surrounded by low parapets and had a blockhouse at the rear of
the structure. The majority of them were not armed with artillery
and acted as defensive strongholds. The size too did not permit
the use of artillery. The only coastal redoubt in Mellieha that
was armed with artillery was the one built in the middle of Mellieha
Bay which was armed with four 6-pdrs. Five out of eleven coastal
redoubts were built in the village of Mellieha. This confirms
the importance of the village in the Hospitallers’ military
There were two other types of coastal redoubts. The third category,
which was not built in the Mellieha village, was similar to the
French ones built in their colonies. This consisted of a structure
similar to a tower and fitted with musketry loopholes in all the
four walls. 3