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. 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 as mountains will be defended even when the rest of the county is occupied by a hostile power.
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. 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:
- National Reduit (Belgium), (Réduit National') a ring of forts built around Antwerp built between 1859 and 1914, was to be Belgium's national redoubt.
- National Redoubt (Switzerland) (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.
- Réduit des Flandres, during the Battle of France of the Second World War, around the Channel ports of Boulogne, Calais and Dunkirk.
- Réduit Breton, also during the Battle of France in a later phase, in the peninsula of Brittany.
- 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".
"reduit, n.". . 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".
- http://strangemaps.wordpress.com/2007/05/07/109-the-schweizer-reduit-hard-core-switzerland/ Strange Maps
- Fortifications open to the public as museums