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Author Topic:   artillery comparisons
bent one
Senior Member
posted 08-12-2005 01:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bent one     Edit/Delete Message
do you think that old siege artillery was specialized like our modern artillery? I was watching some stuff of TV that showed Romans fighting a british rebellion with small anti-personnel ballista type weapons. could these be the ancestor of weapons like the colonial swivel gun or the modern tripod mounted machine guns.

when you think about other bigger pieces of artillery used in the middle ages the trebuchet reminds me of mortars, because they are often depicted throwing large buckets filled with explosives or incindiery mixtures over walls, not at walls.

back to the romans again, what about the onager? it was a torsion type weapon that fired projectiles in a more or less straight line to batter down walls. similar to what cannons did and now like bunker piercing missles

I can't think of anything like a howitzer. but I'm sure they had something that resembled it.
I think that the purpose of the weapons did not change but the technology behind how they work changed.

can anybody think of other weapons that were used in and before the middle ages that have modern parallels today?

posted 08-12-2005 02:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Peter   Click Here to Email Peter     Edit/Delete Message
Tell you what o' Bent One.
I'll run this question of yours off, then send it down to my mate in South Wales. I just don't know enough about the subject to given a real opinion on it.
I'll try and do the one you also posted in the 'Solar' for you.
Wish the hell he was on line.

bent one
Senior Member
posted 08-12-2005 08:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bent one     Edit/Delete Message
thanks peter!

I think that the flamethrower has some strong relation to the "greek fire" weapon. wasn't the mixture even sprayed on enemy war vessels?
that would mean that they had figured out a way to pressurize things. I wish we could find out how the old civilizations achieved the technologies to build such weapons.

posted 08-13-2005 12:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Maria   Click Here to Email Maria     Edit/Delete Message
How about throwing dead cows over the walls?Along with pestilence? Talk about bio-weapons...

bent one
Senior Member
posted 08-13-2005 07:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bent one     Edit/Delete Message
Yes! excellent! I didn't think of that.

How many sieges are there that used this form of biological warfare? do you think that there was a use of gas or perhaps smoke to confuse or force out enemies? I heard that incindiery mixes often had all kind of things added into them to make them smelly like animal feces and sulpher.

i remember that american colonists fought the indians by using common european diseases like small pox. another example of bio-war

bent one
Senior Member
posted 08-13-2005 07:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bent one     Edit/Delete Message
And there was also physcological warfare such as throwing heads over walls.

bent one
Senior Member
posted 09-01-2005 02:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bent one     Edit/Delete Message
Roman stimuli were like primitive forms of modern land mines. they were a spear head kind of thing attatched to a wooden stake driven into the ground. The book I have says that they usually did not kill you but seriously wounded a soldier while if used in thick groupings an already lame soldier could fall onto them.

Senior Member
posted 09-01-2005 03:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Merlin   Click Here to Email Merlin     Edit/Delete Message
Maria: As far as I know, not only dead animals were thrown over the walls, but also living ones. This was to show to the enemy outside that the food in the castle or town under siege was enough to hold out for a very long time (even if it wasn't so)...

bent one
Senior Member
posted 09-03-2005 10:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bent one     Edit/Delete Message
that sounds like a dangerous bluff!
Did it work?

Senior Member
posted 01-01-2006 10:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Steve-O-Gerst   Click Here to Email Steve-O-Gerst     Edit/Delete Message
Speaking of bio warfare, don't forget the use of excrement. Gotta dump it somewhere. Some claim that it was generally dumped in the moat... An excellent example of bio warfare. Of course, in battles, I have heard rumors that it would have been launched at the enemy, and why not? After all, it's about the only thing you can be sure of having too much around during a battle.

Speaking of landmines, there's always the caltrops. They had the same purpose: break up the advancing enemies. A knight on horseback has some similarities to a tank.

Many have claimed that the pike was the predecessor of the bayonnette. Archers would be surrounded with pikemen. Once the bayonette was attached to the gun, both battle tactics were combined.

Let us also not forget the crossbow bolts. With their armor piercing qualities, they resemble modern jacketed ammunition. I guess that comparison might be stretched a little, to liken the longbow to a machine gun, with it's rapid fire rate. That's stretching things quite a bit though.

There was also chemical warfare. Smelly gasses from the smoke might be quite real. Rumors of boiling oil may have been highly exaggerated, but sand probably was in abundance. It's not exactly a chemical, but pouring that on the enemy would leave them very itchy. I may have read something about the use of onions. A sort of tear gas?

I know of a REAL chemical weapon, but it's not medieval. In the american southwest, the indians would hole up in circular religious structures known as "Kivas" Invading forces would raid the villages, take all the dried peppers, light them on fire, and throw them into the kivas. Voilla! ancient pepper spray.

bent one
Senior Member
posted 01-07-2006 07:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bent one     Edit/Delete Message

I don't know about the use of poo in the way described. might have been done though. I understand that longbow users didn't just stick the arrows they were about to use in the ground for convinience it was also to make the wounds the arrows gave more prone to infection.

This isn't too medieval but the punji sticks in vietnam were similar to stimuli and I know that they were defecated and urinated upon to cause bad infections to those who were unfortunate enough to step on them.

Still a lot of awesome stuff about pepper sprays. I have heard of japanese people in the medievel era used things called metsubishi. which were either hollowed eggs or a whistle like box that was used to blind opponents. Makes you wonder about similar kinds of non lethal or weapons meant to disable and not kill.

Senior Member
posted 01-09-2006 11:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Steve-O-Gerst   Click Here to Email Steve-O-Gerst     Edit/Delete Message
I suppose the use of feces may get somewhat exaggerated by our modern scholars.

Good mention of the arrows! I hadn't thought of that.

I'm surprised that urine would be used to cause infections. It contains a lot of ammonia, and can virtually be used as bleach. Some people even claim it has antiseptic qualities. (I've been told it's good for curing athlete's foot, and preventing syphilis, when used externally.) Of course, you should take any cures that involve bodily fluids with a grain of salt.

Oh, Oh! I thought of another weapon! In the castles, they would use a sort of board to launch a whole lot of arrows at once. Not very accurate, but it was probably rather useful against a large mass of enemies... Can anyone say shotgun?

MMM, In the "Life inside a castle" We're discussing the military applications of armored dogs...Where do you suppose that would fit in?

[This message has been edited by Steve-O-Gerst (edited 01-09-2006).]

bent one
Senior Member
posted 01-10-2006 02:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bent one     Edit/Delete Message
yes, I've seen that arrow launcher before...
we don't know exctly what their called but the book I read called them "Spring engines" because they used a piece of springy wood to smack the butts of spears or arrows. from what I've seen of the reproductions of these weapons they didn't seem to work to well. Same book had a chinese repeating crossbow. You know I'm going to the library today I'll get the title for you if you want it.

as for wardogs my dad loves mastiffs. he says at one time they were bred for war. In fact he tells me that they were used for a short time in WWI but the machine guns didn't do to well for them. They were also unpopular because they ate as much as a man did. Mom says she'll never allow him to get one but he still dreams about them.

Senior Member
posted 01-11-2006 12:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Steve-O-Gerst   Click Here to Email Steve-O-Gerst     Edit/Delete Message
Hmm. Didn't know they ate so much.

I hear they sometimes used "Guard" geese. Not much use against a war, but the archers needed feathers anyway.

bent one
Senior Member
posted 01-11-2006 11:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for bent one     Edit/Delete Message
well think about how big they are. I'm 5' 10" and a full grown mastiff's shoulders come up to my waist and his head could come to my shoulder. they're huge animals. If one were to put it's paws on my shoulders it would be over my head. They were bred as war dogs that means they had to be able to take down a warrior. If one were trained to kill and was wearing even a little armor I would be very afraid to meet that animal in combat.

posted 01-18-2006 08:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SwordOfErin   Click Here to Email SwordOfErin     Edit/Delete Message
About the gaurd geese: they honk. LOUD. They can also bite. They aren't going to chase of an entire army for you, but they probably would be able to tell if somebody's sneaking up- and a big enough group (flock? gaggle?) of them might even drive one or two hapless trespassers off.

Senior Member
posted 01-19-2006 01:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Steve-O-Gerst   Click Here to Email Steve-O-Gerst     Edit/Delete Message
Gaggle. Geese come in gaggles, and yes, they're not much when the war itself starts, but they'd probably serve as a pretty decent alarm, and, depending where they're nesting, they could be extremely viscious against a man, or perhaps even a small group.

posted 01-20-2006 01:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Maria   Click Here to Email Maria     Edit/Delete Message
The story with the geese comes, if I'm not mistaken, from a roman legend.

"A fierce, wild people from the north, called the Gauls, suddenly attacked Rome. Outlandish in speech and dress and huge in stature, these savage warriors spread terror throughout Italy. They defeated the Roman army, destroyed the city, and massacred all who could not escape.

According to stories later told in Rome, however, the Gauls could not capture the Capitol, which was held by some brave Roman soldiers. Once they nearly succeeded. A daring messenger had managed to climb up the steep side of the Capitoline Hill to bring news to the garrison. The Gauls saw his footprints and planned to take the garrison by surprise. At dead of night they stealthily made their way up the steep path, each man, by means of his weapons, helping to draw up the one following.

No one saw them. But just as they were near the top, the sacred geese which were kept in the temple of Juno cackled. A strong Roman captain, named Marcus Manlius, was awakened just in time. He rushed to the head of the path, slew a huge Gaul who was scrambling up, and hurled another down headlong upon his comrades. Other Romans sprang to his aid, and thus "the geese saved Rome."

[This message has been edited by Maria (edited 01-20-2006).]

bent one
Senior Member
posted 01-23-2006 05:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bent one     Edit/Delete Message
that's kinda funny "watch geese" I wouldn't doubt it though from what I've seen of them they can be rather vicious.

posted 01-25-2006 05:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Maria   Click Here to Email Maria     Edit/Delete Message
Noisy, not vicious. It's not like they can bite hard.

Senior Member
posted 01-26-2006 05:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Steve-O-Gerst   Click Here to Email Steve-O-Gerst     Edit/Delete Message
They don't bite hard? Ever been bitten?

Ever tried to steal their eggs? One goose may not bite hard, but several of them at the same time could more than make up for that.

Of course, in medieval times, the gees were supposed to be nasty, it's quite possible that they were harrassed enough to get mean.

posted 01-27-2006 06:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Maria   Click Here to Email Maria     Edit/Delete Message
I spent more than one holiday in the country-side. If I was to handle awards for nastiness and ferocity, the geese would never even make the top ten. Use them for giving the alarm if you want, but not for attaking. Oh, and there is a trick. Geese tend to get scared if you go at them with a stick. Even a child could drive them away.

posted 08-02-2007 06:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ricky     Edit/Delete Message
The real nasty chemical warfare agent was quicklime - chucking the powder at an army would blind them. It was most notably used by the English in a naval battle with the French.

All times are PT (US)

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