Siege towers were a special kind of medieval siege weapon whose main purpose was the transportation of attacking soldiers on to castle walls. For this purpose, the height of the siege tower was made roughly equal to the height of the castle wall.
Unlike other sophisticated medieval siege weapons, the siege towers were mostly constructed on the site of the siege.
Siege towers were extensively used during the medieval times but their actual use can be traced back to the ancient times when they were used by Assyrians as far back as the 9th century BC.
Subsequently, the siege towers were also used by ancient Greeks and Romans as well as in ancient China. However, the use of siege towers became widespread during the medieval times because of raging battles all over the continent.
The siege tower can be broadly defined as a specialised kind of siege engine whose main purpose is to protect the attacking soldiers and provide them a passage to breach the castle walls.
The siege tower would be brought close to the castle walls and soldiers inside the tower would try to climb the wall. This, however, was not easy because of the stiff resistance from the defending army.
A siege tower mostly had a rectangular shape with four wheels for easy transportation. The height could be either equal to the castle walls or slightly higher so that archers could stand on the tower and shoot arrows into the fortification.
Siege towers were made of wood and were thus inflammable. Due to this reason, they were often covered with animal skin or some kind of metal plate.
The siege tower could have steps or ladders inside, the soldiers would work their way up-to the top of the siege tower, once at the top of the siege tower a platform could be lowered to meet the top of the castle wall similar to a drawbridge (see images)
The soldiers could then dash across the wooden platform onto the battlements and walk ways of the castle walls, however this wasn’t so easy as defending soldiers were always ready and waiting to kill them.
A Siege tower was among those rare medieval siege weapons that were constructed on the site of the siege. They could house soldiers of all sorts including crossbowmen, swordsmen, pike men, and others.
The actual mechanism was just to push the tower, which moved on its wheels, and bring it as close to the castle walls as possible so that the soldiers inside the tower could climb the castle walls.
Siege towers were extensively used as medieval siege weapons. In the ancient world, the example of biggest siege towers used in battle are found in 305 BC when siege towers as high as 135 feet were used in the siege of Rhodes.
This siege tower was divided into nine stories and was manned by 200 soldiers. Siege towers could be moved to the most vulnerable location along the castle walls and operated from there. Larger siege towers usually also required rack and pinion to move effectively.
Siege towers were among the most effective and extensive used medieval siege weapons. These towers, unlike most other siege weapons such as catapults, were mostly made on the site of the siege and could be constructed into various sizes.
The siege tower was moved on wheels and could house soldiers of various types. The main purpose of the siege tower was to transport the soldiers on the castle walls and penetrate the defence.
We hope you enjoy reading this article on medieval siege towers, if you would like to learn more about other medieval siege weapons similar to siege towers we look at the links at the bottom of this medieval siege towers page which will give you some interesting articles to look at another siege weapons.