with three faces towards the enemy, mounting nineteen guns firing forward, de- fended on their flanks by traverses. It had a self-contained keep in the pivot of the fan surrounded by its own ditch defended by caponiers and counterscarp galleries. The ditches had vertical walls.14 It was indeed a prototype. In 1863 many of the defences of Corfu were demolished and the island was handed over to Greece.
The Maltese had risen against the French army of occupation in 1798 and had called for British help. An expeditionary force and a naval blockade finally forced the French to surrender and, by invitation and treaty, Britain assumed a protective role over the Maltese islands which she maintained for a century and a half. She took over a bewildering assemblage of fortifications - ring upon ring encircling Valletta and the Three Cities which lay around the Grand Harbour - a vast array of incomplete fortifications, some of them obsolete, but nevertheless amongst the strongest in Europe.l5 As early as 1805 the defensive position had been assessed and Colonel Dickens proposed the construction of four detatched casemated stone redoubts capable of mutually supporting each other and receiv- ing protective fire from the main lines around the cities.16 These strong redoubts would, it was felt, block any attempted attack from the south-west against the vulnerable quarter of the harbour defences. Thinking on similar lines Sir Harry Jones proposed in 1828 to isolate the bastions on the unfinished Cotonnera Lines so that each would become a self-defensible work.17 The aim was to defend the place with the least possible expenditure, using the smallest possible garrison at a time when the nation was impoverished after a long war.
The introduction of steam-driven ships which could attack from almost any direction in most weathers, but could not blockade because of their limited fuels stocks, and more powerful guns with greater range and accuracy, rapidly changed the defensive situation in the naval stations. As navies began to replace the massed broadsides of their ships of the line with fewer more powerful guns in iron-protected vessels, the coast defence establishments began to change from multi-gun casemated forts and batteries, such as those found at Gibraltar and Malta, to new powerful forts and batteries pulled back from the coastal strip to more secure positions, and armed with fewer guns of greater range, sometimes protected by iron armour.
There were three situations to be guarded against - a naval bombardment which might destroy the dockyard or ships in the harbour, a surprise landing by a small force of marines, or the remote possibility of a full-scale attack by a large military force supported by siege equipment, bent on capturing or neutralising a naval station while the fleet was away. From the middle of the nineteenth cen- tury the defensive armament was modified to cope with these three threats, the first of which was the most likely event considering the state of British naval power.