Usually found only in permanent or semi-permanent fortifications, a barbette was a raised wooden bed or platform that allowed an artillery piece to be fired over protective wall or parapet without exposing its gun crew to the enemy. During a long siege, the besieging army often set up elaborate but temporary fortifications for their artillery pieces, in which case a large mound of earth was often used as a substitute for a formal wooden barbette platform.
(Fr.) - artillery positioned to fire over the parapet rather than through an opening in it. See Embrasure. A cannon firing en barbette had an unrestricted (180-degree) field of fire, but its gunners were more exposed to fire than one firing en embrasure. A barbette gun was raised to fire over the parapet by means of a large carriage or by a gun platform built up to the appropriate height. See Gun Platform.