Medieval Siege Tactics

Medieval Siege Tactics

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Credit: SHEILA TERRY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Protective measures protect the gunners and troops of the besieging army in this 14th century siege of a fortress. This illustration is based on a description given in a medieval military handbook, “The Deeds and Arms of War” published anonymously in 1410 by the Italian-French author Christine de Pisan (c. 1364-1480). As of necessity, the two siege cannons (bombards) were located close to the walls, bringing the siege artillerymen under fire from the defenders on the walls. The cannons were shielded from projectiles by timber panels which could be swung out of the way. Either side of the cannon on the left are two gabions - wicker cages filled with earth to act as an embrasure. The gunners fire the weapons from trenches alongside. Meanwhile, a row of infantrymen take cover in a parallel trench before storming the walls following the opening cannonade.

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Keywords: 1410, 14th century, besiege, bombard, cannonade, cannons, christine de pisan, embrasure, gabion, gunners, italian-french, medieval, military handbook, protection, protective, shielding, siege, strategy, tactics, trench, trench warfare

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