AskDefine | Define bridgehead

Dictionary Definition



1 an area in hostile territory that has been captured and is held awaiting further troops and supplies; "an attempt to secure a bridgehead behind enemy lines"; "the only foothold left for British troops in Europe was Gibraltar" [syn: foothold]
2 a defensive post at the end of a bridge nearest to the enemy

User Contributed Dictionary



; A calque translation of tête de pont.


  • /ˈbɹɪdʒhɛd/, /"brIdZhEd/


  1. An area around the end of a bridge.
  2. A fortification around the end of a bridge.
  3. an area of ground on the enemy's side of a bridge, especially one that needs to be taken and defended in order to secure an advance.
  4. either of the two atoms in different parts of a molecule that are connected by a bridge.

See also

Extensive Definition

A bridgehead (also 'Bridge-head'; French tête-de-pont) is literally a military fortification that protects the end of a bridge that is closest to the enemy. The term has been generalized in news coverage and the vernacular to also mean any kind of defended area that is extended into hostile territory (also called a foothold or incorrectly, a beachhead), in particular the area on the farside of a 'defended river bank' or a segment of a lake or riverine coastline, such as the Bridge at Remagen, and is especially applied when such a territory is initially seized by an amphibious assault with the tactical and strategic intent of establishing a supply line across the geographic barrier feature.
As the process of moving an army over bridges is slow and complicated, it is usually necessary to secure it from hostile interruption, and the works constituting the bridge-head must therefore be sufficiently far advanced to keep the enemy's artillery out of range of the bridges. In addition, room is required for the troops to form up on the farther bank. In former days, with short-range weapons, a bridge-head was often little more than a screen for the bridge itself, but modern conditions have rendered necessary far greater extension of bridge defences.
Bridgeheads typically exist for only a few days, the invading forces either being thrown back or expanding the bridgehead to create a secure defensive lodgement area before breaking out into open country as happened when the U.S. 9th Armored Division seized the Ludendorff Bridge at Remagen in 1945 during World War II. In some cases, such as during the Gallipoli Campaign in World War I, a bridgehead may exist for months.


The term has also come to be used in a figurative sense, for instance in business, where a marketing "bridgehead" might be a specialized use of a new product in a particular market segment, in preparation for selling it against entrenched competitors across an entire market.

Uses in Information Technology

In IT, generally speaking, a bridgehead is a server that represents one network in another network.
For example, in directory services, a Bridgeead server is a domain controller that replicates directory information into a local site from a remote site .


bridgehead in Czech: Předmostí (vojenství)
bridgehead in Danish: Brohoved
bridgehead in German: Brückenkopf
bridgehead in Spanish: Cabeza de puente
bridgehead in French: Tête de pont
bridgehead in Italian: Testa di ponte
bridgehead in Dutch: Bruggenhoofd
bridgehead in Japanese: 橋頭堡
bridgehead in Norwegian: Brohode
bridgehead in Norwegian Nynorsk: Bruhovud
bridgehead in Portuguese: Cabeça de ponte
bridgehead in Slovenian: Mostišče
bridgehead in Swedish: Brohuvud

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

acropolis, advance guard, airhead, avant-garde, bastion, battle line, beachhead, blockhouse, bunker, castle, citadel, donjon, farthest outpost, fasthold, fastness, first line, forefront, fort, fortress, front, front line, front rank, front-runner, garrison, garrison house, hold, keep, line, martello, martello tower, mote, motte, outguard, outpost, peel, peel tower, pillbox, pioneer, point, post, precursor, railhead, rath, safehold, scout, spearhead, strong point, stronghold, tower, tower of strength, van, vanguard, ward
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