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Essay/Term paper: Ned kelly- castles

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Humanities

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This is a brief paragraph or two on each of the major siege

weapons. For the not just the besiegers but also the

defenders. Please note most of these weapons were not

used alone and often had many different versions of the

same weapon. KNIGHT At age seven a son of a noble

family was sent to a nobleman or lord, often who was a

relative. Here he was a page and taught how to ride a

horse, and his manners. At the age of fourteen he was

apprenticed to a knight. As the squire to the knight he

would take care of his horse, help him put the knights

armor on and keep it clean. In turn he was taught how to

use a bow, carve meat, and other knightly skills. The squire

would have to go into battle with the knight to help him

when he was wounded or unhorsed. If the squire was

successful he would be knighted at the age of 21. When

there wasn't a war going on knight would have to practice,

practice, and practice some more. They would wrestle,

fight with blunt swords, do acrobatics, and also do sports

like javelin and putting which is throwing a heavy stone as

far as you can. Experienced knights would participate in

tournaments held by the king. The winner would usually just

get bragging rights and sometimes a sum of money. The

most common event was jousting. Jousting is a sport where

to fully armored knights ride at each other on horses while

aiming a long wooden lance at the each other. With speeds

reaching 60 miles per hour sometimes there could be fatal

accidents. If the person was knocked off the other was

victorious. CATAPULTS The catapult, was invented by

the Romans, and plays a large role in the siege of any

castle. Besiegers could fire 100-200 pound stones up to

1,000 feet. The catapult was used to destroy buildings and

walls inside and outside of the castle walls, it could also

destroy an enemies moral by throwing severed heads of

comrades, they could spread disease by throwing shit and

dead animals in, and they could destroy wooden building

by throwing bundles of fire in. Earlier models just used a

large weight on one end of a pivoting arm. The arm was

pulled back the missile was placed and then let go. The

weight went down the arm went up and good-bye missile.

Another later model gained its power from a tightly wound

skein of rope, hair, and skin. the skeins were twisted

incredibly tight and then had a wooden arm up to sixty feet

long placed in between them. The arm was pulled back

using pulleys and rope the missile was placed in the wood

cup and then the arm was released. The arm sprang to a 90

degree angle where it was stopped by a large padded

piece of wood. The arm was then brought back down

again and fired again. CROSSBOW The crossbow is an

incredibly powerful weapon in the arsenal of any army. A

well aimed shot could kill a person even if they were

wearing armor! It did however take a long time to reload

this made it and ideal weapon for defenders of a castle.

While reloading defenders could hide behind battlements

where they wouldn't get shot. Sometimes a crossbowmen

would have an assistant to reload while they were aiming

another crossbow. Besiegers after a while built small

movable shields where bowmen could reload. The

crossbow gained its power from a tight cord was pulled

back over a small bump, the bolt was then placed in a little

crevice and when the trigger was pulled the bolt would go

flying. The bolt was a small foot long arrow with a four

sided iron tip. When reloading the crossbow you would

have to put your foot in the stirrup and pull back the cord

some crossbows were too taught so a windlass and pulley

were needed. BALLISTA The ballista was like a much

larger version of the crossbow used by besiegers. The

ballista used by the ancient Greeks was and anti-personnel

weapon. It was placed outside the city doors to discourage

sorties, when defenders rush out for a counterattack.

SIEGE TOWERS Sometimes if other methods had failed

an attacker would have to build large siege towers. Siege

towers were wooden structures on wheels that were just

taller than the castle wall itself. The tower had a large

drawbridge type thing that lowered at wall level. When the

drawbridge was lowered attackers rushed in. The tower

had arrow slits so attacking archers could pick off

defenders. The tower ran the risk of being burned from fire

arrows so besiegers placed animal hides on the side to

deflect arrows. If a castle had a ditch surrounding it the

ditch had to be blocked with wood and dirt then rolled up

next to the wall. Sometimes if a castle had a body of water

surrounding it siege towers had to be placed on boats then

ferried across. If siege towers were not available scaling

ladders had to be used scaling ladders however could be

throne off and rocks and boiling water could be tossed at

men on them. RAM A ram was used to actually break

down a wall or door. A ram was usually one or more trees

that had a metal tip on the end was either held by people or

swung on chains while inside a small penthouse. The ram

could break down the wall and when it did besiegers

stormed in. This was dangerous work for the people since

stones and arrows were flying down onto them. They then

built wooden penthouses to deflect those and keep them

safe. Defenders would toss mattresses to cushion the

blows. MACHICOLATIONS Machicolations were pieces

of the castle that jutted out from the top of walls that aloud

defenders to throw rocks, boiling water, and other

offensive substances down on the people below. Versions

of machicolations have been incorporated into castles all

over Europe. One in most usually found in the gate house

are "murder holes" they are little holes in the ceiling where

defenders throw all sorts of things down on attackers.

TUNNELING Tunneling was one of the techniques used

by besiegers only if they planned for a long and hard battle.

They didn't use it very much because of expense. When

they would do it they dug under one of the towers and set

up shoring. When they had dug far enough under they put

twigs and flammable substances then burn it all. If it

worked properly the tunnel would cave in and the tower

would crumble to pieces. Defenders to counter act this

would either put out large puddles of water so that any

tunneling would create ripples then they could counter dig

and have an underground fight, or they could just have a

moat which would make digging hard and dangerous.  

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