5 guns of the siege that brought the horror for millennia

Before the advent of gunpowder and, as a result, large fire-breathing cannons that could erase the walls in the dust, siege it was much more interesting and complicated. The army could have a few years to stand under the walls of the fortress, which was ten times less soldiers, achieving nothing. Often harvested just took in the ring lock and waited for the guys behind the wall will start to die from starvation, exhaustion and disease. But this could not happen, because fortifications were built across the logic of war — they had to withstand a long siege. The supplies, access to a water source, a rigid distribution system of food is only part of the conditions that are allowed to be under siege over the years. But to wait out the winter easier in the fortress than outside. Therefore, not every commander was hesitant for a long siege, some prefer an open and honest regarding the assault, which could not pass without a siege.

1. Siege tower

manygoodtips.com_20.06.2016_deSRtEIbrlvkfImposing structure which allowed the fastest way at successful coincidence of circumstances to climb the walls. Also siege tower served as a cover from enemy arrows, and was a kind of platform from which archers could attack enemies on the walls. Did siege towers made of wood that seems rash will break out like a match. But the tower is always covered with nonflammable material like the hides of cattle, which had to be fresh, is sometimes used for these purposes, the metal sheets.

The tower moved on wheels using draft animals or by manual traction. Such a tower could accommodate up to 200 people, not counting the additional siege weapons mounted on its levels. But this is the giants, an example of which can be a siege tower Heliopolis («conqueror of cities«), which was used by Macedonian troops at the siege of Rhodes in the year 305 BC. She was the height of 45 meters and width 20 meters. Because of its bulkiness were collected directly before the siege. Leopolis had 9 levels on which were placed two hundred archers. But it was a monster, glorified in legends, which was used to assault one of the most fortified cities of antiquity. Normal siege towers were, of course, much less.With the onset of the first siege towers, which was built by the genius of Carthage, and before the age of gunpowder the design of these siege weapons has undergone several changes, but the essence has always remained the same. What time for together gave rise to the same problem: siege tower became helpless when the surface was fairly smooth. The same Leopolis was useless during the siege of Rhodes, as the defenders have guessed that flood the space in front of the wall, and the tower in the end is banal stuck. The last siege tower was not archers, and artillery, they were called the battery towers, but their performance often is subjected to doubt.

2. Catapult

manygoodtips.com_20.06.2016_ovNPrtMTNYDIGWho does not know the catapult? The sort of thing that sends rocks like a slingshot, smashing the wall to pieces. Immediately a picture popped into my head, right? And now forget about it, because a real catapult looks very different way. All in terminological inaccuracies, which from some strange reason impressed the Chairman of the modern generation.

The Great Hercules! That’s the end of valor!

– the words of the Spartan king Archidom at the sight of catapults Real catapult is a simple streamit and always was streamed, which works on the principle of torsion of the action. In other words, the catapult is a heavy crossbow and nothing more. Designs were many, but, anyway, the name of this siege weapons testified primarily about the principle. The invention of the catapult attributed to Dionysius I, tyrant of Syracuse, who gathered the coolest artisans of the city and encouraged them to create technological weapons that will destroy enemies in horror. So they made him a catapult that helped destroy the fleet of Carthage, when he dared to attack Syracuse.

Used the catapult against the people and infantry, and siege weapons. For the past have used arrows, and stones, and the similarity of nuclei. Extremely important was the psychological factor of attack of the catapults, because the penetrating ability of long and heavy arrows launched from these weapons was so great that the projectile could penetrate a wrought metal shield and enter the body half its length, breaking through armor.

Machine at a given signal they began to hurl arrows of the Scythians, galloping on horseback along the shore. Some were wounded; one arrow punched through the shield and armour, and he fell from his horse. The Scythians were afraid of the arrows flying at such a great distance, and the fact that the hero killed them, and departed a little from the shore.

3. The onagers

manygoodtips.com_20.06.2016_mk8l52a97lQ3VThat onagers are often confused with a catapult, and that is the instrument listed the most popular among all. While popularly it is only in our popular culture for the onagers used rarely.

This machine is called a tormentum, because the voltage is achieved by twisting (torquere) — a Scorpion because it has a protruding tip; the latest time I gave it the name of onager, because the wild Asses pursued in the hunt, kicking back, throwing a stone that strikes them {283} the Breasts of their pursuers, or breaking the bones of the skull, raskazhut head.

– late Roman officer and historian Ammianus Marcellinus –the Mechanism of the onager was a torsion that it was done by a weapon similar to a sling mounted. I had to turn the lever to the shoulder fell down. He put a stone or metal projectile, and then released the lever that led to the shot. Most onagers used against infantry and not buildings. Since they were not designed to conduct hinged fire — the trajectory of the projectile was grazing. Thus, they were used in the defense of fortresses, but not in the siege. For siege need was the ballista, shooting from a higher angle.

4. Trebuchet

manygoodtips.com_20.06.2016_czF2QzAjUtgACThrowing a crushing machine that uses the principle of gravity operation, that allows you to throw very heavy projectiles, causing serious harm to the walls. Despite the appearance of this siege machine, the design is quite simple: on a stable frame is attached to the lever and the two arms (short and long). Long is a rope saddle for shells, and the shorter the counterweight. As the counterweight could even use the corpses.

Exactly who invented the trebuchet, no one knows. There are written records that such machine is found in China in the 5th century BC. But a more serious source can be called a work of Archbishop John of Thessalonica «Miracles of Saint Demetrios», which describes the invasion of the Avars and Slavs and deposition of Thessaloniki. The attackers, according to this work, for the day has produced from 50 to 150 «vices», which are then left on the battlefield, not counting guns special value. It is believed that «defects» were borrowed through the Turks of the Chinese. They were subsequently adopted by the Byzantines. Well, when Byzantium went into decline, and the kingdoms of Western Europe had consolidated its power and became the center of engineering, trebuchets moved to the Western Europeans.

For a long time trebuchets were the most effective weapon of assault in the feudal wars of Europe. Their design is much improved, got more appropriate proportions, more powerful battering characteristics, however, since the XIV century, during the hundred years war, the efficiency of the trebuchet was reduced. It was clear even before the advent of gunpowder weapons. It was in the new types of fortifications, which perfectly withstand the strength and power of the projectiles fired from this famous campmate. Well, when there was a gun, meaning trebuchet have disappeared altogether.

The last known use of the trebuchet in the fighting occurred at the battle of Cortez with the Aztecs in 1521. Then Cortez didn’t want to waste powder, therefore, ordered the creation of the trebuchet that could hurl stones weighing 11 pounds. This was a bad idea: one of the shells flew straight up and destroyed the machine itself.

5. Taran

manygoodtips.com_20.06.2016_YNfPhUyslTXG8The battering RAM, which is a beam, the end of which is provided with iron or bronze tip. Design may vary. A simple battering RAM equipped with side handles, which must be held in the soldiers. But there are structures-pendulums, such rams operate automatically, which significantly eases the assault of the fortress.

Looked like a sheep at a new gate

– a saying, which is obliged, according to one version, their origin battering RAM –the battering RAM — an ancient invention, which was known to the Assyrians. The Romans themselves credited with the invention of Taran the Carthaginians. With it were destroyed the walls of Cadiz the pearl of the Iberian Peninsula. Rams are often placed in a design, which is known under the name «turtle». It was made of wood, which fastened the skins of bulls. This canopy is well protected from arrows, stones and hot oil, which resembled the besiegers from the walls. The Romans began to use a battering RAM during the Second Punic war, during the siege of Syracuse. Historical documents indicate that one of the two rams required for their movement around 6000 legionaries. Imagine the scale!