Although St Catherine's Port with its fort-like gateway, dramatic ravelin and ditch and the city walls are photogenic, they don't play much of a part in the fighting around Tangier. More useful are palisades, covered ways, rivers and rolling hills.

Ghailan's forces had no cannon with which to attack forts or fortifications and so most of the early confrontations took place in the open countryside. Palisades and pikes were sufficient deterrent against free-riding lancers and cavalry support could flush out concealed skirmishers. Nonetheless successive governors thought cavalry too expensive and unnecessary and hot-headed officers rushed into pursuit without bothering to ensure cavalry support - and often paid the price.

Later conflict often took place around the small forts as the Sultans, with greater resources than Ghailan, determined to attack with siege equipment or destroy them with shot from  one or two captured cannon (often commanded by Europeans who accepted circumcision and converted to Islam rather than face life as slaves).

In the later stages, during the Siege of Tangier, forts were besieged by trenches, undermined and assaulted with cannon-fire.

In the final battles during September and October of 1680 the Moors had a number of captured cannon and large numbers of well-equipped troops, and had reduced most of the outlying forts, but the English garrison had been greatly reinforced.. Battles took place relatively close to the city walls around the forts and hills that presented the greatest threat to Tangier itself.