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bent one
Senior Member
posted 09-23-2005 09:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bent one     Edit/Delete Message
I've been wondering if there were people who chiefly made siege engines? or where they just regular people with different skills who when the need arose could build the things? What I want to figure out is whether or not there was a siege workshop kind of like there were armour workshops?

posted 09-24-2005 01:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Maria   Click Here to Email Maria     Edit/Delete Message
I'm not sure about this one, but I have a feeling there were specialist, really famous ones, who were called to give a hand (they were well payed). I guess one would have been enough, to tell the others what to do, how to organize. Workshops... hm, you could call them that, but not as the armour workshop. I mean, they were building armours all the time. For siege engines, you had to start when you were sure there was going to be a siege. You can have an armour around all the time, saying "oh, I don't know when I'm gonna need it" but try the same thing with a siege engine, neighbours might get suspicious...

bent one
Senior Member
posted 09-25-2005 09:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bent one     Edit/Delete Message
Oh... I see. That could be an intimidation game you'd use against possible besiegers or for that castle across the way that you don't like.

i guess that you wouldn't need the engines very often so I don't think that they would just sit in a building until you needed them I remember reading that a single french trebuchet had some 20 cartloads of wood. It sounds like these things consumed alot of resources to build.

i wonder how they transported them? in sections perhaps to be assembled when they reached their destinations? How long would it take to set them up at a siege?

posted 09-25-2005 11:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fierce_maiden   Click Here to Email fierce_maiden     Edit/Delete Message
They had engineers who would set up siege tents and build siege engines. I read some on how castles where built to benefit those living inside during warfare, the spiral staircase etc. Did you know that a castle in France was taken over because the enemy crawled up the latrine! Yuck!!

Senior Member
posted 12-05-2005 11:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Steve-O-Gerst   Click Here to Email Steve-O-Gerst     Edit/Delete Message
I don't remember where I heard about it, but I seem to recall that most times, the invading army would arrive, and set up a shop to start making their siege engines. I believe metal components were sometimes brought over, but most timber would have been locally obtained. Lugging all that lumber around while living off the land would probably bog you down enormously, unless it could be made to serve as wagons, or something. Since the main purpose of such engines was to attack other castles, and transporting was a major issue, large stocks of the devices themselves were not commonly kept.

Siege engines were mostly designed to smash down the castle walls. It would generally have been preferrable to take a castle without damaging it, since that would allow you to foritfy it for your own purposes more quickly. Somewhat like sappers, who dug up to the walls, and made sections collapse, siege engines might have been more of a last resort for attackers.

Defenders usually did not have thick walls to contend with, so most of their siege engines were designed to harm people. Devices to launch a lot of arrows at once were popular, as were devices to hurl smaller stones, feces, etc. I understand that hot sand made a great defensive weapon. Hard to get it off, it works into the armor, and chafes you, or maybe even limits the armor's mobility. Cross-bows might be considered siege weapons, and their long reloading time made them most effective from inside a castle wall.

posted 12-14-2005 02:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Glaive     Edit/Delete Message
Fortunately we do have alot of records on this subject.The manufacutre of siege engines was usually a team effort,carpenter made the wooden parts or the engines themselves,blacksmiths generally made their metal triggers and masons made the stone balls they generally shot.English "engineers" working trebuckets and such were generally carpenters and archers too and had to make,shoot and repare the engins in the field and maybe defend them with bows too.The engines themselves were often prebuilt and carted to the site where they were assembled.We've records of king John doing this with mangons(mangonels).

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