Nursery Rhymes

Siege Weapons

Middle Ages - Lords and Ladies

Siege Weapons and Warfare
The Medieval era of the English Middle Ages saw the advent of the Crusades to the Holy Land and the construction of hundreds of castles at home. A totally new form of warfare and weapons were introduced to England with the castles and following the experiences fighting the Saracens and their fortresses during the Crusades - Siege Warfare. Siege warfare tactics and weapons varied according to the role of Defender or Attacker.

Medieval Siege Weapons Design
Siege weapons were made to order! They were far too cumbersome to move from one place to another. In a siege situation the commander would assess the situation and the siege weapons design requirements to break a siege. Engineers would instruct soldiers as to the design and construction of siege weapons and siege engines.  The most famous Medieval Siege Weapons were the:

Ballista
Mangonel
Battering rams
Trebuchets
Catapult
Siege Tower

The design of the trebuchet was an awesome piece of engineering - the machine was massive.

Description of Siege Weapons
Medieval Siege Weapons used during the Middle Ages were the Ballista, Mangonel, Battering Ram, Siege Tower and the awesome Trebuchet. A brief description of each of the major siege weapons and engines are as follows:

  • The 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

  • The Ballista- The Ballista was similar to a Giant Crossbow and worked by using tension

  • The Mangonel- Missiles were launched from a bowl-shaped bucket at the end of the one giant arm of the Mangonel

  • The 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

  • The 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 even higher

Construction of Siege Weapons
Medieval Siege warfare and building siege weapons was an extremely expensive business! All sieges had to be carefully planned and the exact type and number of siege weapons had to be established. Medieval Lords, knights and their Siege Engineers identified the weakest parts of the Castle or town that they needed 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 and soldiers were expected to help prepare for the siege by helping to build the siege weapons and engines. Many elements needed to be taken into consideration when designing siege weapons. Click the following links for further details.

Siege Weapon Design

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