SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
In western Europe the many wars between 1460 to 1630 led to a radical change in the techniques of siege warfare with the development in the 16 c of more efficient field artillery and improved fortifications of towns and castles. This affected both the attackers and the defenders and was due to the improvements in gunpowder technology and the design of field weapons such as wheeled cannons which fired cast-iron balls and the low velocity, high trajectory anti-personnel mortars and howitzers. In defence, fortifications were made stronger with walls strengthened by ramparts, embrasures, and projecting bastions. The siege artillerymen protected themselves with gabions, wicker cages filled with earth. Entrenchment, by means of a system of trenches dug parallel to the defences, also provided protection for the attackers on approaching the walls.
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