From the 14th to the 17th century the star fortress became ever more important for siege warfare. Engineers and tacticians developed fortresses that were more elaborate and more solid than ever before. As a result, siege warfare reached an immense level of complexity. Throughout the middle ages, high and relatively thin walls were enough protection against storming ladders, siege equipment and projectiles.
But since the 14th century ever more effective firearms and artillery challenged the defensive potential of fortresses. A to and fro of military innovations began – improved fortifications countered improved gunpowder weapons and vice versa. This went on until the end of the 16th century, when according to historian Stephan Hoppe, “a successful solution to all important issues of defense had been found”.
One famous type of stronghold that was crucial to this evolution was the trace italienne better known as star fortress. It was to be found quickly all over Europe, though in a variety of forms. Historian John A. Lynn states that at the same time the number of fortified sites increased drastically, so that central European warfare shifted away from open field battles and finally revolved above all around sieges.