Medieval times in Europe saw extensive construction of castles for defence and strategic purposes. Thus various castle siege weapons were developed by the invading armies in order to conquer the castles. These siege weapons were not always successful but nonetheless played a very important role in the battle and were central to the fall of the medieval castle.
The ballista was very important siege weapon that could launch multiple arrows at once. The ballista siege weapon was so effective that it was used by both attacking and defending soldiers in Castle siege warfare. Read more about the Ballista Siege Weapon >>
The Battering ram was used to literally batter down the vulnerable parts of a medieval castle. Some battering rams had covers that protected soldiers from the enemy fire coming from the castle. Read more about the Battering Ram >>
Mangonel Siege weapons were a specialised type of large medieval catapult weapon that were used by medieval armies to hurl giant rocks and other projectiles at the castle walls they were attacking. Read more about the Mangonel Siege Weapon >>
Medieval siege towers were usually large wooden structures of the same height as Castle walls. From the top of the medieval siege tower soldiers could attack the top of the enemies Castle walls across a wooden platform. Read more about the Siege Towers >>
The medieval siege engine known as the Warwolf or Warwulf was a medieval marvel of it's time due to it's enormous size and incredible power to destroy stone castles. Read more about the Warwolf >>
Types of Castle Siege Weapons
Various types of castle siege weapons were developed over the centuries. Advanced engineering techniques were used in some of them while others were relatively simple.
Some of the most popular castle siege weapons used during the medieval times included the Ballista, Mangonel, battering rams, catapults, siege towers, and Trebuchets.
Ballista – Castle Siege Weapon
The Ballista was one of the most important castle siege weapons whose shape was similar to that of a large crossbow. It worked on the same principle that a dart-throwing machine works, only on a much larger scale.
Heavy bolts, darts, and pieces of iron could be aimed at the castle with a Ballista. It was used in the ancient world as well but became widely popular during the medieval times.
Mangonel – Castle Siege Weapon
The Mangonel was another popular castle siege weapon which was quite similar to a catapult and was used to fire heavy projectiles from a large bucket attached to it.
It had an advantage over other catapults that its design was simpler and thus it could be constructed easily. However, the Mangonel was not as accurate in hitting it’s target as a Ballista. Just like a Ballista, it was used in the ancient world but became more famous during medieval times.
Battering Ram – Castle Siege Weapons
Among the most common form of castle siege weapons were battering rams which could be made into various sizes and shapes. For instance, there were simple log battering rams, battering rams with flat heads, battering rams with iron or bronze heads, battering rams with actual ram’s style head, and others.
Sometimes a roof was used on the battering ram in order to protect the soldiers from incoming enemy missiles. This roof was called a penthouse. Use of battering rams was quite popular because they were very simple to construct and easy to operate. However, they could only be used once the castle gate had been approached.
Other Kinds of Castle Siege Weapons
Various other kinds of castle siege weapons were also prevalent during the medieval times. For instance, there was a Trebuchet which was not very different from a catapult.
It was mainly used to throw heavy stones and rocks at the castle gate and walls to demolish them. Similarly, another castle siege weapon was called a siege tower which was mainly constructed to protect soldiers and ladders while approaching the castle walls.
Castle Siege Weapons Summary
Castle siege weapons played a very important role in conquering a medieval castle. Without these weapons, it was almost unthinkable to defeat the army within the castle.
Thus, over the centuries, various new castle siege weapons were constructed with sophisticated techniques, although many of these castle siege weapons were also prevalent in the ancient times. Their use, however, became particularly widespread during the medieval times when large number of castles was built.