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Encyclopedia > Siege engine
Replica battering ram at Château des Baux, France.
Replica battering ram at Château des Baux, France.

A siege engine is a device that is designed to break or circumvent city walls and other fortifications in siege warfare. Battering ram at Château des Baux, France Image by ChrisO File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Battering ram at Château des Baux, France Image by ChrisO File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Look up device in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Look up Break in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... The defensive wall of Braşov, Romania. ... Table of Fortification, from the 1728 Cyclopaedia. ... A siege is a prolonged military blockade and assault of a city or fortress with the intent of conquering by force or attrition. ...

Contents

Ancient siege engines

The earliest siege engine was the battering ram, followed by the catapult in ancient Greece. The Spartans used battering rams in the siege of Plataea in 429 BC, but it seems that the Greeks limited their use of siege engines to assault ladders, though Peloponnesian forces used something resembling flamethrowers. It has recently been proposed that the Trojan Horse was not, as the legends say, a covert container for stealthy attackers, but rather a large battering ram resembling a horse.[citation needed] Replica battering ram at Ch teau des Baux, France A battering ram is a weapon used from ancient times. ... It has been suggested that Heavy Catapult be merged into this article or section. ... The Temple to Athena, the Parthenon Ancient Greece is a period in Greek history that lasted for around three thousand years. ... Sparta (Doric: Spártā, Attic: Spártē) is a city in southern Greece. ... Centuries: 6th century BC - 5th century BC - 4th century BC Decades: 470s BC 460s BC 450s BC 440s BC 430s BC - 420s BC - 410s BC 400s BC 390s BC 380s BC 370s BC Years: 434 BC 433 BC 432 BC 431 BC 430 BC - 429 BC - 428 BC 427 BC... For other uses, see Ladder (disambiguation). ... Riverboat of the U.S. Brownwater Navy shooting ignited napalm from its mounted flamethrower during the Vietnam war. ... // For other uses, see Trojan Horse (disambiguation). ...


The first Mediterranean people to use advanced siege machinery were the Carthaginians, who used siege towers and battering rams against the Greek colonies of Sicily. These engines influenced the ruler of Syracuse, Dionysius I, who loved to destroy things. This article is about the ancient city-state of Carthage in North Africa. ... 19th century French drawing of a medieval belfry. ... Sicily (Sicilia in Italian and Sicilian) is an autonomous region of Italy and the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, with an area of 25,708 km² (9,926 sq. ... Syracuse (Italian, Siracusa, ancient Syracusa - see also List of traditional Greek place names) is a city on the eastern coast of Sicily and the capital of the province of Syracuse, Italy. ... Headline text 1649874 Dionysius I or Dionysius the Elder (c. ...

Roman siege engines.
Roman siege engines.

Two rulers to make use of siege engines to a large extent were Philip II of Macedonia and Alexander the Great. Their large engines spurred an evolution that led to impressive machines, like the Demetrius Poliorcetes' Helepolis (or "Taker of Cities") of 304 BC: nine stories high and plated with iron, it stood 40 m (125 ft) tall and 21 m (60 ft) wide, weighing 180 t (360,000 lb). The most utilized engines were simple battering rams, or tortoises, propelled in several ingenious ways that allowed the defender to reach the walls or ditches with a certain degree of safety. For sea sieges or battles seesaw-like machines (sambykē or sambuca) were used. These were giant ladders, hinged and mounted on a base mechanism and used for transferring marines onto the sea walls of coastal towns. They were normally mounted on two or more ships tied together and some sambykē included shield at the top to protect the climbers from arrows. Other hinging engines were used to catch enemy equipment or even opposite soldiers through apposite appendices which are probably ancestors to the Roman corvus, or to drop against them heavy weights. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Philip II of Macedon (Macedonia) (382 BC - 336 BC), King of Macedon (ruled 359 BC - 336 BC), was the father of Alexander the Great (Alexander III of Macedon) and Philip III of Macedon. ... Alexander the Great (Greek: ,[1] Megas Alexandros; July 356 BC–June 11, 323 BC), also known as Alexander III, king of Macedon (336–323 BC), was one of the most successful military commanders in history. ... Demetrius I (337-283 BC), surnamed Poliorcetes (Besieger), son of Antigonus I Monophthalmus and Stratonice, was a king of Macedon (294 - 288 BC). ... Helepolis (Taker of Cities) was an ancient siege engine invented by Demetrius I of Macedon and constructed by Epimachus of Athens for the unsuccessful siege of Rhodes, based on an earlier, less massive design used against Salamis. ... Centuries: 5th century BC - 4th century BC - 3rd century BC Decades: 350s BC 340s BC 330s BC 320s BC 310s BC 300s BC 290s BC 280s BC 270s BC 260s BC 250s BC 309 BC 308 BC 307 BC 306 BC 305 BC 304 BC 303 BC 302 BC 301... A corvus (meaning raven in Latin) was a Roman military boarding device used in naval warfare during the First Punic War against Carthage. ...


The Romans preferred to assault enemy walls building earthen ramps (agger) or simply scaling the walls, as in the early siege of the Samnite city of Silvium (306 BC). Soldiers working at the ramps were protected by shelters called vinea, that were arranged to form a long corridor. Wicker shields (plutei) were used to protect the front of the corridor during its construction. Sometimes the Romans used another engine resembling the Greek ditch-filling tortoise, called a musculus ("Little mouse"). Battering rams were also widespread. Siege towers were first used by the Roman legions around 200 BC. Samnite warriors Samnium (Oscan Safinim) was a region of the southern Apennines in Italy that was home to the Samnites, a group of Sabellic tribes that controlled the area from about 600 BC to about 290 BC. Samnium was delimited by Latium in the north, by Lucania in the south... Centuries: 5th century BC - 4th century BC - 3rd century BC Decades: 350s BC 340s BC 330s BC 320s BC 310s BC 300s BC 290s BC 280s BC 270s BC 260s BC 250s BC 311 BC 310 BC 309 BC 308 BC 307 BC 306 BC 305 BC 304 BC 303...


The first documented occurrence of ancient siege artillery pieces in Europe was the gastraphetes ("belly-bow"), a kind of non-torsion bolt-thrower. These were mounted on wooden frames. Greater machines forced the introduction of pulley system for loading the projectiles, which had extended to include stones also. Later torsion systems appeared, based on sinew springs. The onager was the main Roman invention in the field. The gastraphetes (Greek γαστραφέτης, lit. ... Sketch of an Onager, from Antique technology by Diels. ...

A stone-throwing machine set to defend a gate, in the fresco of Guidoriccio da Fogliano by Simone Martini (14th century).
A stone-throwing machine set to defend a gate, in the fresco of Guidoriccio da Fogliano by Simone Martini (14th century).

The earliest documented occurrence of ancient siege artillery pieces in China was the levered principled traction catapult and an 8foot high siege crossbow from the Mozi (Mo Jing), a Mohist text written at about the 4th - 3rd century B.C by followers of Mozi who founded the Mohist school of thought during the late Spring and Autumn Period and the early Warring States period. Much of what we now know of the siege technology of the time came to us from Books 14 and 15 (Chapters 52 to 71) on Siege Warfare from the Mo Jing. Recorded and preserved on bamboo strips, much of the text is now unfortunately extremely corrupted. However, despite the heavy fragmentation, Mohist diligence and attention to details which set Mo Jing apart from other works, ensured that highly descriptive details of the workings of mechanical devices like Cloud Ladders, Rotating Arcuballistas and Levered Catapults, records of siege techniques and usage of siege weaponry can still be found.[1] Image File history File links Guidoriccio_mangonel. ... Image File history File links Guidoriccio_mangonel. ... Petrachs Virgil (title page) (c. ... This 14th-century statue from south India depicts the gods Shiva (on the left) and Uma (on the right). ...


Medieval siege engines

Medieval designs include the catapult (including the Mangonel and Onager), the ballista and the trebuchet. These machines used mechanical energy to fling large projectiles to batter down stone walls. In Europe, the catapult was invented in Greece by Dionysius in 399 BC. Also used were the battering ram and the siege tower, a wooden tower on wheels that allowed attackers to climb up and over castle walls, while protected from enemy arrow fire. But on occasion arrows would pierce the siege tower and kill the combatants inside. The Middle Ages formed the middle period in a traditional schematic division of European history into three ages: the classical civilization of Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and modern times. ... It has been suggested that Heavy Catapult be merged into this article or section. ... A mangonel was a type of catapult or siege machine used in the medieval period to throw projectiles at a castles walls. ... Sketch of an Onager, from Antique technology by Diels. ... It has been suggested that Catapulta be merged into this article or section. ... Trebuchet at Château des Baux, France. ... Headline text 1649874 Dionysius I or Dionysius the Elder (c. ... Events Yazdegerd I becomes king of Persia November 27 - St. ... 19th century French drawing of a medieval belfry. ...


A typical military confrontation in medieval times was for one side to lay siege to their opponent's castle. When properly defended, they had the choice whether to lay siege to the castle or to starve the people out by blocking food deliveries, or more proactively to employ war machines specifically designed to destroy or circumvent castle defenses. The Middle Ages formed the middle period in a traditional schematic division of European history into three ages: the classical civilization of Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and modern times. ... Pierrefonds Castle, France. ...


Other tactics included setting fires against castle walls in an effort to decompose the cement that held together the individual stones so they could be readily knocked over, another indirect means was the practice of sapping, whereby tunnels were dug under the walls to weaken the foundations and destroy them and also catapulting diseased animals or human corpses over the walls in order to promote disease which would encourage the defenders to surrender. It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Undermining. ...


Modern siege engines

With the advent of gunpowder, firearms such as the arquebus and cannon—and eventually the mortar and artillery—were developed. These weapons proved so effective that fortifications, such as city walls, had to be low and thick, as exemplified by the designs of Vauban. It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Blackpowder. ... An assortment of modern hand-held firearms using fixed ammunition, including military assault rifles, a sporting shotgun (fourth from bottom), a tactical shotgun (third from bottom), and a sporting rifle (top). ... Japanese arquebus of the Edo era (teppo) The arquebus (sometimes spelled harquebus, harkbus[1] or hackbut; possibly related to German Hakenbuechse or Dutch Haakbus) was a primitive firearm used in the 15th to 17th centuries. ... Should not be confused with Canon. ... US soldier loading a M224 60-mm mortar. ... Artillery with Gabion fortification Cannons on display at Fort Point Continental Artillery crew from the American Revolution Firing of an 18-pound gun, Louis-Philippe Crepin, (1772 – 1851) A forge-welded Iron Cannon in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu. ... Table of Fortification, from the 1728 Cyclopaedia. ... The defensive wall of Braşov, Romania. ... Sébastien Le Prestre, Seigneur de Vauban and later Marquis de Vauban (May 15, 1633 - March 30, 1707), commonly referred to as Vauban, was a Marshal of France and the foremost military engineer of his age, famed for his skill in both designing fortifications and in breaking through them. ...


The largest railway rifle ever constructed, called informally "Paris Gun", was used by the Germans in the siege of Paris during World War I. The largest and longest range cannons proposed for use in World War II were the little-known German V3 weapons, a series of fixed barrels bored into tunnels and intended to fire a shell of over a metre in length, constructed on the coast of France and intended to completely destroy London. Their construction was halted after bombing by allied forces, using the huge Tallboy bombs. The remnants of the bunker may still be viewed today. The German Paris Gun, also known as Williams Gun, was the largest rail artillery gun of the Great War. ... City flag City coat of arms Motto: Fluctuat nec mergitur (Latin: Tossed by the waves, she does not sink) Paris Eiffel tower as seen from the esplanade du Trocadéro. ... “The Great War ” redirects here. ... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... Like the V-1 flying bomb and the V-2 rocket, V-3 cannon was one of the three vengeance weapons (German: Vergeltungswaffe) built by Nazi Germany during World War II. Unlike the V-1 and the V-2, however, the V-3 was not a guided missile, but a... A shell is a payload-carrying projectile, which, as opposed to a bullet, contains an explosive or other filling, though modern usage includes large solid projectiles previously termed shot (AP, APCR, APCNR, APDS, APFSDS and Proof shot). ... The or meter (see spelling differences) is a measure of length. ... This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ... This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ...


Prior to the First Gulf War it was believed that Iraqi armed forces were developing a "supergun" to attack Israel, under the leadership of a Canadian engineer named Gerald Bull. It is believed that this engineer was assassinated by the Israeli security forces (Mossad). This was fictionalized in the 1994 film Doomsday Gun. See also: 2003 invasion of Iraq and Gulf War (disambiguation) C Company, 1st Battalion, The Staffordshire Regiment, 1st UK Armoured Division The Persian Gulf War was a conflict between Iraq and a coalition force of 34 nations led by the United States. ... A SuperGun (or super gun) is a device used to play arcade games in lieu of requiring a full arcade cabinet. ... This article or section is not written in the formal tone expected of an encyclopedia article. ... It has been suggested that Selective assassination be merged into this article or section. ...   (Hebrew: המוסד למודיעין ולתפקידים מיוחדים, The Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations), often referred to as The Mossad (meaning The Institute), is Israels intelligence agency and is responsible for intelligence collection, counter-terrorism, covert operations such as paramilitary activities, and the facilitation of aliyah where it is banned. ...


Siege weapons are now considered obsolete owing to the effectiveness of aircraft-delivered munitions and cruise missiles, which have made defensive area fortifications obsolete. The only cost effective static defensive structures are now deep bunkers used for military command and control. Even these fixed assets are of questionable value as it appears that the most survivable command and control of mobile defensive forces (such as modern tactical and strategic aircraft, mechanized cavalry and mechanized infantry) is through decentralized command and the use of mobile command centers. A Taurus KEPD 350 cruise missile of the Luftwaffe A cruise missile is a guided missile which uses a lifting wing and most often a jet propulsion system to allow sustained flight. ... Bunkers in Albania A bunker is a defensive military fortification. ... In the military: The exercise of authority and direction by a properly designated commander over assigned and attached forces in the accomplishment of the mission. ... Look up aircraft in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... French Republican Guard - May 8, 2005 celebrations Cavalry (from French cavalerie) were soldiers or warriors who fought mounted on horseback in combat. ... Mechanized infantry are infantry equipped with armored personnel carriers (APCs), or infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) for transport and combat (see also mechanized force). ...


Notes

  1. ^ Liang, Jieming (2006). Chinese Siege Warfare: Mechanical Artillery & Siege Weapons of Antiquity, pp. Appendix D

Sources

  • Campbell, Duncan B. (2003). Greek and Roman Siege Machinery 399 BC - AD 363. Osprey Publishing. 
  • Liang, Jieming (2006). Chinese Siege Warfare: Mechanical Artillery & Siege Weapons of Antiquity. ISBN 981-05-5380-3. 

See also

Table of Fortification, from the 1728 Cyclopaedia. ... Military history is composed of the events in the history of humanity that fall within the category of conflict. ... Polish military engineers at work in Pakistan A military engineer is primarily responsible for the design and construction of offensive, defensive and logistical structures for warfare. ... Medieval warfare is the warfare of the Middle Ages. ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
Society Marshal - Combat - Siege Handbook Updates (1505 words)
Siege engine crews shall be made up of members who are authorized in siege, and are familiar with the engine that they are operating.
Siege engine crews are responsible for the safety and condition of their ammunition, and shall visually inspect each round for damage before it is fired.
Siege engine crews are all required to be in SCA minimum armor, and should be treated as any other fighter on the field.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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