Medieval Siege Weapons Used to Attack and Bring Down Castles

Siege weapons were used to overcome a castle's defense.

They could land devastating blows to a castle's walls which almost invariently resulted in the castle's fall. Castle defenders could do very little in order to destroy the siege weapons besieging the castle. It was not until many centuries later when castles themselves began employing siege weapons to destroy the attackers as well.

When the term "siege weapons" is mentioned, one normally thinks of a catapult launching a missile. Nevertheless, there is an enormous variety of siege weapons including trebuchets, onagres, etc.

Siege weapons were improved throughout the centuries of the Dark Ages. Leonardo Da Vinci played an enormous role in the development of such weapons as he deviced a way for trebuchets, for example, to reach a farther distance and cause more damage.

Improvement of siege weapons halted when gunpowder was invented. However, siege weapons were very effective in previous centuries so their usage is unquestionable as they could easily destroy a castle's wall and give access to even the mightiest of castles.

Some castles had walls many feet thick in order to prevent them being destroyed because of a siege weapon. Unfortunately, many attackers would choose a seemingly weak spot in the wall and continue firing against it until it finally broke - for this reason, making an invulnerable wall was impossible as any could be breached sooner or later.

As I mentioned in previous articles, destroying a castle's walls was a possible, but not a practical way to make a castle fall. Sometimes, the attackers wanted the castle intact for their own purposes so destroying it would eliminate the whole purpose of besieging it in the first place.

The catapult dates back to the Roman Empire - from there it spread to the rest of Europe and it continued to be widely built during the Dark Ages. It then evolved into different forms which could shoot fire projectiles at a very large distance.

Another tactic castle attackers used with siege weapons was to, instead of throwing rocks or stone at a castle, was to throw dead humans or cows inside the castle to spread diseases. As the castle was completely surrounded, there was no way to get rid of such animals and diseases spread easily inside the castle which would haste the castle's fall.

For the defenders, siege weapons got them in a tight position. As I mentioned earlier, defenders began employing siege weapons too. Unfortunately, they needed a very good accuracy as attacking a 2 feet moving target wasn't the same as destroying a 200 feet static target.

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