Medieval Siege Weapons

 

Medieval Siege Weapons

  • Medieval Siege weapons - Trebuchet, Ballista, Mangonel, Battering Ram and Siege Towers
  • Preparing for a Castle siege and identifying the siege weapons required
  • Building Medieval siege weapons

The Medieval Siege Weapons
The Medieval era saw the construction of hundreds of castles. A totally new form of warfare and weapons were introduced to England with the castles - Medieval Siege Warfare.

 
 
 
Medieval Weapons
Castles Index 

Siege warfare tactics and weapons varied according to the role of Castle Defender or Castle Attacker. Medieval Siege weapons were made to order! The most famous Medieval Siege Weapons were the Ballista, Mangonel, Battering Ram, Siege Tower and the awesome Trebuchet.

Medieval Siege Weapons

  • Battering Ram - The Battering Ram and the Bore were used to literally 'batter' down, pound, punch and shake and drill into castle gates, doors and walls
  • Ballista - The Ballista was similar to a Giant Crossbow and worked by using tension.
  • Mangonel - Missiles were launched from a bowl-shaped bucket at the end of the one giant arm of the Mangonel
  • Trebuchet - The massive Trebuchet consisted of a lever and a sling and was capable of hurling stones weighing 200 pounds with a range of up to about 300 yards
  • Siege Tower - A siege weapon designed to protect attackers and their ladders whilst storming a weak area of the castle wall.  The tower was usually rectangular with four wheels and a height equal to that of the wall, or sometimes higher, to allow archers to stand on top of the tower and fire into the castle. The soldiers lowered a drawbridge at the top of the tower onto the castle wall. This siege weapon was covered with wet hides to reduce the threat of fire

Building Medieval Siege Weapons
Medieval Siege warfare and building siege weapons was an extremely expensive business! Any siege, with the weapons that would be required had to be carefully planned. Lords and their Siege Engineers identified the weakest parts of the Castle they wanted to attack and planned the design of the siege engines accordingly. A workforce including carpenters and blacksmiths had to be transported to the site. The surrounding area was checked out for materials and supplies. Armed men were expected to help prepare for the siege. The following considerations had to be taken into account:

  • Strength, size, and resources inside the castle
  • What was their morale like - could this be reduced by fear and intimidation? The fear instilled by the massive siege weapons could help with this
  • What supplies were likely to be available in the castle?
  • Was there a supply route for new supplies - access to the sea?
  • Fresh water available?
  • Strength and types of weapons inside the castle?
  • The Fortifications of the Castle - Portcullis? Drawbridge? Barbican? Murder Holes? Moat?
  • Should the castle be undermined? The miners were called sappers
  • Identify all the weak spots of the Castle
  • Determine the height the siege engines should be built
  • Determine the local materials available for building the siege engines
  • Estimate the length of time required to build the siege engines
  • Estimate the resource, man power required to build the siege weapons
  • Ensure skilled siege engine makers were available - carpenters and blacksmiths
  • Slaughter oxen to obtain wet hides or arrange for them to be imported
  • Ensure sufficient tools available to build the siege engines
  • Estimate the correct position for the siege engines ensuring maximum effectiveness with minimum casualties!

Medieval Siege Weapons - Made to Order
The whole area outside the castle became a noisy hive of activity. The siege weapons would be built! Battle plans had to be drawn - no two sieges were ever conducted in exactly the same way. During this siege preparation time the attackers would seek terms of surrender. Failure to 'Come to Terms' resulted in siege warfare and the use of the terrifying siege weapons. The section detailing Siege Warfare provides details of siege tactics, the Chivalric Code, surrender and negotiation.

Medieval Siege Weapons

Medieval Weapons

  • The weapons used by the Medieval Knights - Swords - Broadsword, Falchion, Bastardsword, Cutting sword and the Greatsword
  • The Mace, the Dagger and the Lance
  • The Medieval weapons used by the armed men and archers including:
    • The Crossbow, The Longbow, The Battle Axe
    • The Poleaxe and Pikes
  • The massive Siege Weapons

Medieval Weapons

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