The wall had to be at least half a mile in length; hundreds, if not thousands, of trees had to be felled, their trunks stripped of branches and chopped or sawed to the proper length, then set deeply into the ground. The tree trunks of the fort had to be set so tightly together that a man could not get between them. Standish also insisted that they must construct three protruding gates, known as flankers, that would also serve as defensive shooting platforms. For a work force of fewer than fifty men, living on a starvation diet, this was an almost impossible task. One of the remarkable things about the small village is that it had been able to survive for almost a year without any stockade or wall -- enemies and friends could, and did, simply walk straight into the village, where the only place of defence was the fort, which also served as a church, meeting hall, storehouse, and dormitory. It took them more than a month to finish the stockade around the village.