Castle Siege Weapons

The construction of 'Mighty Stone Castles' for defence and strategic purposes across Europe saw the need for sophisticated Castle Siege Weapons to Conquer them!

Siege weapons with the power to defeat these Great Structures - *Ballista *Mangonel *Battering Rams *Trebuchets *Catapults and Siege Towers were all used to breach the Castles walls and Gatehouse defences*

Ballista Siege Weapon

Ballista

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 >>

Battering Ram

Battering Ram 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 Weapon

Mangonel Siege Weapon

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 >>

Siege Attack Weapons List

Medieval Castles were attacked by a variety of ingenious siege weapons that became more advanced as the medieval period progressed

Read more about the Siege Attack Weapons List >>

Siege Towers

Siege Tower

Medieval siege towers were usually large wooden structures of the same height as Castle walls. Read more about the Siege Towers >>

Trebuchet Siege Weapon

Trebuchet Siege Weapon

Trebuchets were like giant mechanised slings with incredible destructive power against medieval castles. Read more about the Trebuchet Siege Weapon >>

Warwolf

Warwulf Siege Engine

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 >>


Castle Siege Weapon List

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 medieval times included – *Ballista *Mangonel *Battering Ram *Trebuchet *Catapult *Siege Tower

A Trebuchet Catapult Siege Attack on a Castle


Ballista *Catapult 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 medieval times.

Ballista Siege Weapon

Ballista Siege Weapon used in ancient times


Mangonel *Catapult Siege Weapon

The Mangonel was another popular castle siege weapon that was quite similar to a catapult and was used to fire heavy projectiles from a large bucket attached to it.

Mangonel Siege Weapon

Mangonel Siege Weapons outside castle grounds used to attack medieval castle walls

It had an advantage over other catapults in that its design was simpler and thus it could be constructed easily. However, the Mangonel was not as accurate in hitting its target as a Ballista. Just like a Ballista, it was used in the ancient world but became more famous during medieval times.

Mangonel Catapult Origins

The Roman Onager was an early Mangonel Catapults used by Roman Soldiers


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.

Battering Ram Siege Weapon

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. The 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.

Battering Ram Front

Image shows battering ram from the front

*Castle moats, especially if the castle had a drawbridge were a very effective defense against battering rams.


Trebuchet *Catapult Type Siege Weapon

Various other kinds of castle siege weapons were also prevalent during medieval times. For instance, the Trebuchet siege Weapon was not very different from a catapult *Main difference the larger Trebuchet can throw heavy projectiles.

Trebuchet Siege Weapons

Example of a Medieval siege weapon – Trebuchet Siege Weapons

The trebuchet was mainly used to throw heavy stones at the outer walls and Gatehouses of the Castles to demolish them.

Trebuchet Siege Weapon

See The detail of this medieval Trebuchet Siege Weapon


Catapult Siege Weapon

Catapults were effective weapons during a Castle Siege attack, to break down walls, throw burning missiles, rotting carcasses, even excrement and garbage*

Types of Catapults

*The most powerful Catapults were the mangonel and trebuchet siege weapons

Mangonel Siege Weapon

Mangonel Siege Weapons outside castle grounds used to attack medieval castle walls

Mangonel Catapults were also known as the ‘traction trebuchet’ could throw heavy objects for considerable distances *Distinctive with an arm with a large bowl shape at the end *Because of its power heavy stones could be thrown – but also rotting bodies and excrement!

Trebuchet

A trebuchet could be described as a counterweight throwing engine, a kind of giant wooden sling that was mechanized. The Trebuchet has its origins in the sling that originated in ancient China but its exact date of origin is unclear.

The Trebuchet was a very powerful siege weapon that could throw very large and heavy stones some distance *Famously the legendary Warwolf was the biggest Trebuchet ever to be built in history and used during the Scottish Wars of Independence. It was built on the orders of King Edward in 1304 as he laid siege to the Stirling Castle in Scotland.

Trebuchet Siege Weapon

The Image gives you an idea of the size of a Trebuchet Siege Weapon

Onager

Mangonels were also considered to be Onagers in some circumstances, the Onager siege weapons were created before the later superior Mangonel and launched projectiles from a sling.


Castle Siege Tower

The Castle Siege Tower was constructed from wood, siege towers were designed to align with the top of an enemy’s Castle walls and give attacking soldiers a way to breach the Castles walls or target battlement areas under protection.

Siege Tower and Battering Ram

Siege tower with additional weapons etc

Siege towers had small wheels that would enable them to be pushed close to castles walls, multiple siege towers could be used to overwhelm a castle’s defenses and they could also be used against damaged areas of the castle’s main walls or towers.

Roman Siege Tower

Roman Siege Tower

*Castle moats, especially if the castle had a drawbridge were a very effective defense against siege towers.


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.

Famous Castle Sieges

Famous Castle Sieges

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 ancient times. Their use, however, became particularly widespread during medieval times when a large number of castles were built.


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