Ancient and Medieval Siege Warfare



Had a search, wasn't there that I could see. From ancient Roman and Greek weapons, up to the 15th century which includes the higher Middle Ages, very roughly. Siege engines, trebuchets, ballistas and catapults, crossbows, battering rams, siege towers and flaming towers. Not to mention lobbing dung, any old crap, diseased bodies/parts into your enemy's property. And Greek Fire at the French,. Castle warfare. I'm no expert but when you consider the engineering and scale of some of these things, does it not make for a good thread?

WARWOLF A fifty foot high, counter-weight, Siege Trebuchet. Supposed to be the largest Trebuchet ever made and capable of lobbing massive rocks and iron balls at 100 mph plus, reducing Castle walls, five feet thick packed with stone and rubble, to dust. When disassembled, Edward I's Warwolf "would fill 30 wagons. It took 5 master carpenters and 49 other labourers at least 3 months to complete". The photo shown of a WarWolf replica/guesstimate is actually at contemporary Caerlaverock Castle, at the Solway Firth. Credits to Wikimedia for the photo. Apologies to Scotland, blame Longshanks during the siege of Stirling Castle. It took Edward six years to gain control of Scotland after Falkirk, and a good shoeing at Stirling Bridge. Over a dozen Trebuchets and various skulduggery finished off Stirling Castle over four months. The Castle garrison had offered to surrender. As Edward wanted to use his new toy he was having none of it. History says he spared all the Garrison and executed an Englishman. The English never actually ruled. No drawings of WarWolf or any accurate info survive.


Not sure why you have started the thread, but this a good looking reconstruction. Sieges were much more common than battles for most of written history.
You could be regarded as a brilliant medieval general and never have fought a battle. The restoration of order in England after King John relied on a Royal Siege Train and the story of his reduction of his enemies is intersting.

They don't receive the same level of protection as battlefields in Britain. There are 43 registered battlefields in Britain - but sieges are outside the scope of the protection. Any remaining castle or fortification might be protected as an ancient monument. The earthworks build by the attacker are not.

So the castle besieged in "Ironclad", Rochester castle, is covered but there is no protection for the archaeology under the mound that John's men used to site their war engines.

Funnily enough I spent yesterday planning a Battlefield Study for a unit where we look at a really good seige as part of a UK based battlefield tour, with lots of modern relevance.


Rochester castle and the "mine" , fat of forty pigs during John's siege. And another one of Henry 1 castles. Medieval sappers and tactics. It's a great subject and stuck on here for no particular reason other than miltiary history, degree research, tactics and engineering. Possibly under-rated and usually seen in historical movies, siege machines are dotted around old fortresses including Warwick Castle and Urqhart Castle Urquhart Castle Trebuchet | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Roman field artillery also launched bolts or stone balls Like the Scorpion catapult, a version of the ballista. Unlike the full-sized ballista which was a siege engine firing stone balls, the scorpio supported Roman infantry on the battle field by firing bolts at enemy.

Reconstructed, complete scorpio of the Ermine Street Guard in the UK (Legio XX Valeria Victrix), on display at Birdoswald Fort (Hadrian’s Wall) in May 2007.



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