Blog Post 3
Battering rams were a very common and simple way of breaching a castle wall. These weapons came in a variety of different forms and sizes. They could be something as simple as a fallen tree that people carried and smashed against a wall or door. It could also be much more elaborate and have a wheeled base with a roof over head. They were one of the most famous siege weapons used in the Middle Ages.
Battering rams had been around for centuries but were very prolific during the Middle Ages. They were so common because they were so easy to make and use but could still effective. Battering Rams were made out of large tree trunks. They could simply be carried by a group of men or they could build a more complicated version with wheels and a suspended log.
The most basic form of a battering ram is one where an attacking army simply cut a large tree down and use it do knock down an enemies wall. They don’t do anything to the log to make it easier to slam the wall or gate with but just simply carry it as is. These types of battering rams could be useful but only if the other army didn’t have any defenses or were completely unaware of what was going on.
To make these weapons more effective and useable. Attacking armies would build something much more elaborate like the one illustrated above. These were stronger, more effective, and provided protection from enemy defenses such as arrows. These kind of battering rams were built on a car type of structure. They would put them on wheels so that they could be pushed up to the wall. They had a roof to protect them from enemy arrows and other flying or falling objects. The fallen log would be suspended from the roof so that the men didn’t have to carry the weight of the log. This also made them more accurate in their ramming abilities as well because they could hit the exact same part of the wall every time. They would add a metal cap on the end of the log that was pointed so that they could do more damage to the wall. They would usually cover the structure in wet animal hides too so that it would be a little more fire resistant.
These battering rams did have their weaknesses however. For one, they were not very effective against reinforced stone walls. They were mainly used on wooden walls or gates which we much weaker. They were also susceptible to fires even with animal hides. They also required a lot of time to be spent at the wall where it was most dangerous. It would take many repeated attempts to break down a wall or gate which meant that the men would be they ramming the wall for a long time. So they defendants had a long time to try and find a way to stop them like by dropping a large boulder on them or something.
Battering Ram. 17 July 2012. 29 November 2016. <http://www.ancientfortresses.org/battering-ram.htm>.
Battering Rams. 19 March 2009. 22 November 2016. <http://medieval.stormthecastle.com/armorypages/battering_rams.htm>.
Bradbury, Jim. The Medieval Siege. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 1992.