Retrenchment - Encyclopedia


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RETRENCHMENT (Fr. retrenchment, an old form of retranchement, from retrancher, to cut down, cut short), an act of cutting down or reduction, particularly of expenditure; the word is familiar in this, its most general sense, from the motto of the Gladstonian Liberal party in British politics, "Peace, Retrenchment and Reform." A special technical use of the term is in fortification, where it is applied to a work or series of works constructed in rear of existing defences in order to bar the further progress of the enemy should he succeed in breaching or storming these. A modern example may be found in the siege of Port Arthur in 1904. When early in the siege Fort Panlung fell into the hands of the Japanese, the Russians connected up the two adjacent first-line forts to a fort in the rear by means of new works, the whole forming a rough semicircle facing the lost fort. This retrenchment prevented the Japanese from advancing, and remained in the hands of the defenders up to the fall of the whole line of forts.

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