Cortical maps of orientation preference in cats, ferrets and monkeys contain numerous half–rotation point singularities. Experimental data have shown that direction preference also has a smooth representation in these maps, with preferences being for the most part orthogonal to the axis of preferred orientation. As a result, the orientation singularities induce an extensive set of linear fractures in the direction map. These fractures run between and connect nearby point orientation singularities. Their existence appears to pose a puzzle for theories that postulate that cortical maps maximize continuity of representation, because the fractures could be avoided if the orientation map contained full–rotation singularities. Here we show that a dimension–reduction model of cortical map formation, which implements principles of continuity and completeness, produces an arrangement of linear direction fractures connecting point orientation singularities which is similar to that observed experimentally. We analyse the behaviour of this model and suggest reasons why the model maps contain half–rotation rather than full–rotation orientation singularities.