This was knocked off the other was victorious.

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This is a brief paragraph or two on each of the major siege
weapons. For the not just the besiegers but also the
defenders. Please note most of these weapons were not
used alone and often had many different versions of the
same weapon. KNIGHT At age seven a son of a noble
family was sent to a nobleman or lord, often who was a
relative. Here he was a page and taught how to ride a
horse, and his manners. At the age of fourteen he was
apprenticed to a knight. As the squire to the knight he
would take care of his horse, help him put the knights
armor on and keep it clean. In turn he was taught how to
use a bow, carve meat, and other knightly skills. The squire
would have to go into battle with the knight to help him
when he was wounded or unhorsed. If the squire was
successful he would be knighted at the age of 21. When
there wasn’t a war going on knight would have to practice,
practice, and practice some more. They would wrestle,
fight with blunt swords, do acrobatics, and also do sports
like javelin and putting which is throwing a heavy stone as
far as you can. Experienced knights would participate in
tournaments held by the king. The winner would usually just
get bragging rights and sometimes a sum of money. The
most common event was jousting. Jousting is a sport where
to fully armored knights ride at each other on horses while
aiming a long wooden lance at the each other. With speeds
reaching 60 miles per hour sometimes there could be fatal
accidents. If the person was knocked off the other was
victorious. CATAPULTS The catapult, was invented by
the Romans, and plays a large role in the siege of any
castle. Besiegers could fire 100-200 pound stones up to
1,000 feet. The catapult was used to destroy buildings and
walls inside and outside of the castle walls, it could also
destroy an enemies moral by throwing severed heads of
comrades, they could spread disease by throwing shit and
dead animals in, and they could destroy wooden building
by throwing bundles of fire in. Earlier models just used a
large weight on one end of a pivoting arm. The arm was
pulled back the missile was placed and then let go. The
weight went down the arm went up and good-bye missile.

Another later model gained its power from a tightly wound
skein of rope, hair, and skin. the skeins were twisted
incredibly tight and then had a wooden arm up to sixty feet
long placed in between them. The arm was pulled back
using pulleys and rope the missile was placed in the wood
cup and then the arm was released. The arm sprang to a 90
degree angle where it was stopped by a large padded
piece of wood. The arm was then brought back down
again and fired again. CROSSBOW The crossbow is an
incredibly powerful weapon in the arsenal of any army. A
well aimed shot could kill a person even if they were
wearing armor! It did however take a long time to reload
this made it and ideal weapon for defenders of a castle.

While reloading defenders could hide behind battlements
where they wouldn’t get shot. Sometimes a crossbowmen
would have an assistant to reload while they were aiming
another crossbow. Besiegers after a while built small
movable shields where bowmen could reload. The
crossbow gained its power from a tight cord was pulled
back over a small bump, the bolt was then placed in a little
crevice and when the trigger was pulled the bolt would go
flying. The bolt was a small foot long arrow with a four
sided iron tip. When reloading the crossbow you would
have to put your foot in the stirrup and pull back the cord
some crossbows were too taught so a windlass and pulley
were needed. BALLISTA The ballista was like a much
larger version of the crossbow used by besiegers. The
ballista used by the ancient Greeks was and anti-personnel
weapon. It was placed outside the city doors to discourage
sorties, when defenders rush out for a counterattack.

SIEGE TOWERS Sometimes if other methods had failed
an attacker would have to build large siege towers. Siege
towers were wooden structures on wheels that were just
taller than the castle wall itself. The tower had a large
drawbridge type thing that lowered at wall level. When the
drawbridge was lowered attackers rushed in. The tower
had arrow slits so attacking archers could pick off
defenders. The tower ran the risk of being burned from fire
arrows so besiegers placed animal hides on the side to
deflect arrows. If a castle had a ditch surrounding it the
ditch had to be blocked with wood and dirt then rolled up
next to the wall. Sometimes if a castle had a body of water
surrounding it siege towers had to be placed on boats then
ferried across. If siege towers were not available scaling
ladders had to be used scaling ladders however could be
throne off and rocks and boiling water could be tossed at
men on them. RAM A ram was used to actually break
down a wall or door. A ram was usually one or more trees
that had a metal tip on the end was either held by people or
swung on chains while inside a small penthouse. The ram
could break down the wall and when it did besiegers
stormed in. This was dangerous work for the people since
stones and arrows were flying down onto them. They then
built wooden penthouses to deflect those and keep them
safe. Defenders would toss mattresses to cushion the
blows. MACHICOLATIONS Machicolations were pieces
of the castle that jutted out from the top of walls that aloud
defenders to throw rocks, boiling water, and other
offensive substances down on the people below. Versions
of machicolations have been incorporated into castles all
over Europe. One in most usually found in the gate house
are “murder holes” they are little holes in the ceiling where
defenders throw all sorts of things down on attackers.

TUNNELING Tunneling was one of the techniques used
by besiegers only if they planned for a long and hard battle.

They didn’t use it very much because of expense. When
they would do it they dug under one of the towers and set
up shoring. When they had dug far enough under they put
twigs and flammable substances then burn it all. If it
worked properly the tunnel would cave in and the tower
would crumble to pieces. Defenders to counter act this
would either put out large puddles of water so that any
tunneling would create ripples then they could counter dig
and have an underground fight, or they could just have a
moat which would make digging hard and dangerous.

Categories: Plays


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