Medieval Warfare

Medieval warfare. Medieval battles and  siege weapons. Military strategy during medieval ages. Knight charge and tactics to defend castles and cities.

Medieval warfare

A number of war techniques of warfare evolved during the medieval years. Although the social order in Europe during that time period was unstable but still the warfare system was a lot stronger. Changes in the military practices in the middle age led to the development of this system.  When the barbarian kingdoms were made of the Roman Empire, then all the male adults at that time were treated equally in front of the law with the obligation of providing military service. This military obligation became a part of the force and it remained for centuries.

Medieval battle
During the middle ages, the role of the king was quite prominent. As per the feudal system, kings had the highest rank. The peasants used to give taxes to the landlord basically the knights and the lords used to give the taxes to the kings.  The role of the king in the warfare was significant too. The king used to lead his army into the battles and he was responsible for giving them wages. The lords used to provide armed support to the kings and in return the kings used to give them small kingdoms (fiefdoms) and wealth too.

Medieval battleIn most medieval battles, more soldiers were killed during the retreat than in battle, since mounted knights could quickly and easily dispatch the archers and infantry who were no longer protected by a line of pikes as they had been during the previous fighting.

Medieval Knights (heavy cavalry) were oftern the most decisive unit in the medieval battles. They were designed to charge, break enemylines and to quickly destroy paniced troops. However some strategies were disaster for the medieval knights. Scottish rebels successfully defeated English heavy cavalry by using pike formation, Hussite armies destroyed crusaders by wagoon fort combined with guns and artillery. Well organized English longbowmen were a total disaster for French knight during 100 years war.

One knight had a value of 7-10 infantry men. Discipline and chain of command known from modern armies was a huge problem for the medieval knights. It was difficult to keep the knight in a formation before battle and it was nearly impossible to command them after charge. Knights were motivated by booty and glory so they often acted on their own. It was not uncommon that several knights attacked enemy lines before battle even started. Medieval battles were pretty chaotic also because warriors dont used uniforms. Knights and their troops worn their own banners, colors and coat of arms, attacking their own side was logically not uncommon then.

Medieval siege
The armies during the warfare used to utilize a number of siege engines, siege towers and battering rams along with catapults for the combats. As per the siege techniques, mining was done in order to dig tunnels under walls and then they were collapsed for destroying the foundations of the walls. Lastly, they used to bore into the walls of the enemies.  As the walls of the castles were thick, this technique mostly was proved ineffective. These techniques were used by the Romans and reinvented my later medieval times. When the crusades came into rule, they gave a new foundation for the methods of warfare.  In order to repel fire, wet animal skins were used. Similar other warfare techniques were developed to protect people and defend from enemy attack.

Medieval siege weapons
Advancement in the siege prosecution leads to the development of a number of defensive counter measures. The trend of medieval fortification was quite flourished. These forts were made to save the public from dangerous attacks and sudden invasions of the enemies.

Chemical, biological and even psychological weapons were used during medieval sieges.
Greek fire was used to keep the attackers in distance from walls and castle gates but it was also used by attackers to burn castle or a city down.
Dead animals and even humans were thrown over the walls to bring epidemies, sources of water were often poisoned to destroy enemy camps before battle even started.
Captured enemies were often tortured and executed in front of walls to demoralize defenders. Defenders sometime used a dummies installed on wall to persuade attackers they have a huge manpower. They also threw the last pieces of food into the enemy lines to convince them their supplies are huge. This sometimes ended in attack or in withdrawal.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *