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Brutal Battering Rams

Brutal Battering Rams
Battering rams were one of the most common pieces of siege equipment from antiquity right through to the Middle Ages, often granting offensive forces access to an enemy’s fortified stronghold or city. A typical battering ram consisted of a rectangular wheeled frame from which a large tree trunk was slung via ropes or chains. The suspended trunk would then be rocked backwards and forwards within the frame until it swung with great force. By placing an obstacle – such as a wooden gate – in the ram’s path, it could transfer a vast amount of energy into the target, often shattering the defence.

However, for a ram to get up to speed, a team of soldiers was required to first place it in position and also control its swinging – both of which are difficult when under fi re by ranged weapons. To counter this, battering rams often featured triangular wooden coverings stretched with wet animal hides. This shielding not only protected the soldiers from direct missile strikes but also the risk of fi re, with the hides extinguishing any flaming arrows.
Brutal Battering Rams, Trebuchet, Ballista, Tower

The age of the battering ram came to a close largely due to the proliferation of gunpowder and explosives in the late-Middle Ages, with army sappers using these incendiary devices to bring down gates and walls much faster.
What other weapons were used in siege warfare?

One of the most useful siege weapons ever to be created, the catapult-style trebuchet allowed an army to bombard a city’s walls and interior buildings with huge stones, flaming balls of earth and even dead animals (the latter spreading disease and panic throughout the inhabitants). On the downside, trebuchets required a large team to operate effectively.

A large missile-throwing weapon, the ballista was an excellent choice when you wanted to disrupt infantry columns. Developed first by the Ancient Greeks, the ballista worked via torsion springs, with huge wooden spikes propelled at great speed when released over large distances. The ballista would be scaled down over the centuries until eventually it could be handheld.

A simple yet devastatingly effective siege weapon if used correctly, the tower was literally a mobile wooden turret on wheels that enabled troops to scale enemy walls in relative safety. After climbing up through the shielded internal cavity, soldiers would then be released with the dropping of a small drawbridge, enabling them to charge over enemy battlements.