Vauban joined the army at age 17, in the regiment of the prince of Condé (who was then fighting against the King).Two years later, he entered Louis XIV's service.
He got his royal engineer certificate when only 22, in 1655.
As a military engineer, Vauban did not rule the army : his task was to finalise town attacks and defence
strategies. He studied a lot to improve his different methods.
1673, he worked out a siege method he later used in Maestricht (Netherlands) for the first time. This method remained effective for the next two
This method is based upon :
A methodical occupation of the ground
A clever use of the artillery
The care for loss of human life
from Traité de l'attaque des places,
to enlarge the picture
On the King's request and in order to defend the French kingdom, Vauban travelled all around the country. He built fortifications on weak sites such as the northern and south-east borders as well as the coastal areas. Eventually, Vauban built or modified more than 130 sites.
Vauban is the designer of many inventions and military innovations, some of which are explained below.
Vauban studied artillery equipment and changed bronze-gun inner tubes for more resistant iron ones. He also provided the small curtains with airing chimneys to let fumes escape. He modified weapons , fitting out muskets with socket
In 1679, Vauban created the first pioneer and miners company.
He also created raised relief maps together with Louvois (Louis XIV's war minister) These scale-models ( scale 1/600) of major fortified places and towns are a very important source of information for the historains of geography and architecture. The models that remain today are displayed in the Invalides museum in Paris and the Beaux-Arts museum of Lille.