Osprey Elite 28 : Medieval Siege Warfare
During the Middle Ages siege warfare played a vital role in military strategy. Sieges were far more numerous than pitched battles, ranging from small-scale affairs against palisaded earthworks to full-scale assaults on vast strongholds. Though a battle tends to be remembered, it was a dangerous gamble which could lead to the loss of large numbers of troops vital to a campaign. Prudent commanders were reluctant to throw caution to the winds unless there was good cause. In terms of defence, castles were a much better option. Castles controlled the countryside around them; they provided bases from which, particularly in the feudal era, squadrons of knights could ride out to attack an enemy. If an invader chose to bypass such a stronghold he left himself open to constant harassment, and to a threat hanging over his lines of communication and supply. Further, castles were often situated on roads or rivers and frequently near junctions; therefore if an invading body was of inadequate strength it was forced to give such strongholds a wide berth, leading to major inconvenience and loss of time. Needless to say, the art of siege warfare assumed a unique importance to both invader and defender alike. Christopher Gravett explores the different aspects of medieval siege warfare, from chivalrous formalities to 'surprise and treachery', in a text backed by numerous illustrations including 12 full page colour plates by Richard Hook.
- Castles and Fortified Towns
- Setting a Siege
- Siege Techniques and Engines
- The Plates