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A reduit in the German fortress of Mainz.

A reduit is a fortified structure such as a citadel or a keep into which the defending troops can retreat when the outer defences are breached.[1] The term is also used to describe an area of a country, which either through a ring of heavy fortifications or through enhancing through fortification the defences offered by natural features such a mountains which will be defended even when the rest of the county is occupied by a hostile power.[2]

National reduit

The Antwerp forts, Belgium's Réduit national

In English the term National Redoubt is fairly commonly used. A redoubt is an outlying fortification, so its use to describe the Nazi's National Redoubt in the German and Austrian Alps is an accurate description.[2] However another term that is sometimes used in English and more frequently used in French is national reduit (Réduit national) to describe the holding of the centre of a country while abandoning outlying territory.

Examples of this usage are:

  • Réduit national, a ring of forts built around Antwerp built between 1859–1914, was to be Belgium's national redoubt.
  • Réduit suisse was a strategy by which the Swiss would first seek to hold an invading army on the border; if that failed to launch a delaying war that would allow the bulk of Swiss forces to withdraw to a defensible perimeter in the Swiss Alps, and there to defend that mountain stronghold.[3]


  1. Oxford English Dictionary, reduit "2. A keep or stronghold into which a garrison may retreat if the outworks are taken, thereby prolonging the defence of the place".
  2. 2.0 2.1 "reduit, n.". Oxford English Dictionary (Third ed.). Oxford University Press. November 2010 [September 2009]. Retrieved 3 March 2011. . An entry for this word was first included in New English Dictionary, 1904.
    • 1948 Times 31 Dec. 3/3 "The obsolete conception of a national reduit has been abandoned in favour of an extra-territorial base established in the Belgian Congo".
    • 2003 Macpherson Amer. Intelligence War-time London vi. 177 "As for the Reduit (or Redoubt), this was the rumoured area for 'a last-ditch stand' in the Bavarian, Austrian and Italian Alps".
  3. Strange Maps

External links

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