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Šance Fortifications

After the Silesian Wars it was necessary to protect new state border in the north. It was done, apart from other things, by extensive pioneer work. In a short time a great number of fortifications, so called “šance”, trenches and firing positions for cannons were built. Nowadays we have only incomplete information about the time when the fortifications originated, about their appearance, the size of the garrison and the weapons which were used. The research in this field has just begun. We can register plans of four fortresses in the territory of the town and also their topographic background: one of them on Branka hill over the village of Branka, two others on Hanuše hill to the west of Podolí and another one beyond Hradec Castle. It is obvious that the fortresses were established at the latest in 174i, because the news from that era says that the fortifications were fought for at that time. In 1789, when a new conflict with Prussia threatened, it was decided to extend fortifications towards Jakubčovice and farther on towards Pustá Polom. It was General Laudon himself who supervised the modernization of the fortresses. After the situation had calmed down, the fortifications were abandoned and were not maintained any more.

The fortifications were built in triangular, rectangular or polygonal  shapes or in other more complex shapes with bastions in places located in higher positions and in strategic points near the roads, which they protected. They were also expected to cover themselves mutually by gun fire, if possible. The information about the military and technical facilities of the fortifications has not been quite clear so far. It is known that there were a number of deep ditches, possibly with drawbridges, and high ramparts provided with pointed palisades and embrasure. Wicker baskets filled with ground were set in gun emplacement and timbered shelters for the garrison, stores and maybe even stables for a few horses might have been built inside the ramparts. Earth mined on the spot, stone and wood transported from the close neigbourhood served as basic building material. The fortifications have not been preserved until now.  Some of them were completely destroyed, mainly in the second half of the 20th century, others have partly survived. A few, however, have been preserved in the terrain as a prominent system of ditches, ramparts and access roads for guns, entrances and so called traps. The fortifications represent sights of exceptional technical and military value which show the level of the 18th century military affairs and illustrate the history of the town of Hradec-upon-Moravice.