Suburban Atlanta Castle Defenses: Flanking Towers
You never know when someone might lay siege to your family.
Castles were invented by the French, which means they are inarguably fancy. The early ones, around the 11th century, were just mounds of dirt with a wooden keep perched on top and a wooden fence around. But over the centuries they grew in all manner of ways, literally bristling with machinery and architectural details intended to turn attackers into squishy, if not burning, heaps.
Imagine my surprise when I moved out to the suburbs to be with my wife and found that the local houses have actual castle defenses.
Case in point: flanking towers.
Why Flanking Towers?
Great question and I’m glad you asked. To protect your flanks, of course.
When an attacking army lays siege to your home the first thing they are likely to do is dig underneath the flat side of your house. That’s called undermining. If they succeed, they might bring the wall crashing down. Then they’ll get inside and run away with your valuables.
They might even get ideas about poking your very own carcass with something sharp. The bastards!
That is, until all hell rains down on them from above because you’ve wisely stationed your daughter Ayden in the flanking tower with a longbow and an unholy fuckload of arrows. She’ll give those sumbitches what-for.
You know what? You might want to give her some backup. Put her brothers Cayden and Grayden in the flanking tower too. Jayden and Brayden can help you with the rest of your defenses.
What other defenses do I need?
Good question, and I’m glad you asked. As you can see in the photo above, it’s also wise to add a barbican to your home if you can. The barbican is a bit like a doorway before your actual doorway. This one most likely has a roll-up portcullis stashed inside.
A castle without a door would be easy to defend, but there would be no way for Ayden, Jayden, Brayden, Cayden, etc. to get out to go to catch COVID at school let alone back in to infect you and your partner.
You can see above that this home’s barbican is deceptively simple. An attacking army, supposing they dealt with the roll-up portcullis, would head right through that arch and start attacking the door, probably without even considering that your home might have machicolations.
Those morons. You definitely have machicolations. What do they think you are? An idiot?
What are machicolations?
Great question and I’m glad you asked. Machicolations are defensive protuberances above sensitive areas of a castle allowing defenders to drop stuff on the heads of attackers. Heavy stuff, pointy stuff, boiling stuff, any combination thereof.
You might look at the home above and think, “Well hell, I’ll just bust through one of those big picture windows.” Until you try it and Ayden, defending from the protruding window above, dumps a full Le Creuset of hot vegetable oil on you and your idiot army.
NOTE: Vegetable oil has a higher smoke point (400F+/200C+) than many other cooking oils, so you’re less likely to smoke yourself out of your castle as you’re preparing this defense. If you try this with olive oil you’re fucked.
You might also look at the above home and think, “Wow, there’s an awful lot of roof hanging over the entry way area here.” You probably think it’s just an artifact of bizarre 1990s McMansion home design. Nope.
Side Note: I shared these photos with noted Atlanta urbanist Darin Givens who said: “to me it seems like some of these McMansions, especially the largest of them, have a jumbled roofline that intentionally resembles one of a Medieval village.” He makes a great point. A jumbled roof could be excellent camouflage against an overhead wizard or dragon. Even if they look down they’ll keep right on flying, thinking your house is a shitty village.
What if I want to combine my flanking tower with my entryway?
Ugh what a stupid question. I’ll answer it anyway.
I guess you could, but I think it lowers the overall defensive rating of your castle. Stick to the basics: archers in the flanking tower, defenders pouring boiling oil and flinging defunct cable routers from the machicolations. Everyone’s happy.
Nobody, and I mean nobody, is ever going to try something that mind-bendingly- Oh.
I bet you have a bunch of other stupid questions, like, “Why does the HOA allow solar panels but only on the back of my house? That would only work on houses facing north. A house facing any other direction than due north with solar panels on the back of the roof would see about as much sunshine as my ass cheeks.”
We’re not trying to save the Earth here, bucko. We’re protecting what matters: privilege-driven wealth. Sure, Ayden, Jayden, Brayden, Cayden, and Grayden are going to struggle with the world we’re leaving them, but it ain’t our problem. We’re leaving it.
Just keep your flanking tower properly staffed, keep that vegetable oil on simmer, and we’ll all get along just fine.