Siege Weapons and a Super Cannon!


Alex Wright, Journalist

In ancient times, invaders could just go into a village and ransack it. The villagers probably got tired of this, so they built a wall to keep out invaders. The invaders still really wanted to ransack the village, and thus the idea of siege weapons. 


The battering ram is a good example, and one of the earliest ones. The whole idea was to break down the gates, as they were the weakest parts of the wall because they needed to open and shut. They varied in complexity from just soldiers carrying a long, thick pole, and slamming it against the gate. to a cart with a mechanism to swing it.


Although the ram was good, it was easily destroyed by archers. The invaders needed a better way to get in, and thus the siege tower. It was more or less a ladder, but a tower. They would wheel it up to the wall and climb up the ladders in the tower. The tower worked great, but they could be killed as soon as they got on the wall, as they were weak while climbing up the tower, as their hands needed to be on the ladder.


Someone had the bright idea to throw rocks. Rock warfare had been around since man, as slingers or even just a caveman who knew how to throw something, could wield a deadly weapon. So one day they made a machine that could throw a ton of rocks, called a catapult. They would wind the arm down and restrain it with a rope, so it was struggling to spring up and throw the rocks. They would cut the rope, and the payload would go flying, destroying anything that dared stand in it’s way, such as a wall. 


From there, the simple idea of a catapult, as in throwing a heavy object to destroy walls, would evolve and change over time. A direct upgrade to the catapult would be a trebuchet.  A heavier object would fall down, causing the payload to sling towards its target. Another similar weapon was the Ballista. While this was different in it didn’t fire rocks, it would fire a massive arrow, and was more or less a giant crossbow, which mostly saw use as a sentry. And finally, with the advent of gunpowder, the Bombard(aka cannon)! Gunpowder in the cannon exploded, causing the cannonball to zoom towards its target.


Of course, we can’t talk about cannons without talking about the ultimate bombard, The Ottoman Super Cannon. This cannon, used in the Siege of Constantinople, measured about 27 feet in length(about 4 humans!) It fired pure marble rock at its enemy, such as the Impenetrable Theodosian Walls of Constantinople. Despite all this, it was mostly used to scare the enemy, as it reloaded too slow to be an effective weapon. Still though, it was a marvel of engineering, as this was 1453. 


Siege Weapons have come a long way since those ancient days of the battering ram, but they are now obsolete. Modern Firepower is so strong that walls are absolutely useless, and thus something to break said walls is also useless. The concept of a siege is also obsolete, as siege positions cannot be held for long due to Modern Firepower. Still, though, we can see remnants of siege weapons’ influence, as we wouldn’t have had beautiful towering walls that we can marvel at today without a need to build them.