The easiest way to capture a medieval castle

In the Middle Ages, it was common to bribe defenders of fortresses (castle) who were not prepared to fight. Method of capturing a castle in the Middle Ages Cамый простой способ захвата средневекового замка

Since time immemorial, people have understood that in addition to survival, it is important to protect their works and lives from possible attacks from neighbors. This idea prompted them to create fortifications and walls that could protect their territory.

First, a person settles near a natural barrier, then on a higher hill, and, ultimately, comes to the creation of fortifications, which reached their peak precisely in the Middle Ages.

When it came time to build walls, the most common practice was to create earthen mounds. However, this structure did not withstand bad weather for long and collapsed over time. To solve this problem, earthworks began to be reinforced with stones and logs, which led to the appearance of the first stone walls. In ancient times, the most inventive and wealthy people surrounded their cities with huge stone walls. The Romans were leaders in this matter and built the first city defensive wall, which survives to this day and is called the “Servian Wall” or “Murus Servii Tullii”. It was built in 390 BC. after the Gauls invaded Rome. The Romans built various types of fortifications, including stone walls around major cities, earthen and wooden forts for legions, and border fortifications in dangerous areas. Assault means were developed, such as battering machines, wheeled towers, galleries and battering rams. However, Rome fell and the Middle Ages began.

Early Middle Ages

In the period after the fall of the Roman Empire, Europe significantly degraded in terms of construction, including the construction of fortifications. Although Byzantium continued to make high-quality fortifications, the eastern part of the empire did not see the construction of new fortresses in the following centuries. In Europe, on the other hand, fortification went back several centuries. However, against the backdrop of the extremely stressful and fun life in the early medieval period, European inhabitants realized the need to create ramparts, ditches and walls to protect themselves from the Franks, Vikings and other invasions. Although at first the fortifications were primitive and consisted of wooden palisades, over time they became increasingly complex and even switched to stone structures. As a result, Europe began to be richly equipped with fortifications and protected its inhabitants.

Wooden castles

It is important to note that even defending a wooden fortification in the right place poses a serious challenge to enemy troops, even if they are well trained and properly motivated.

The Middle Ages was an extremely competitive period, where skill in fortress building competed with skill in siege and attack. However, in the early years of the Middle Ages, sieges were ineffective, and defeating an enemy hidden behind walls was almost impossible. Carrying out a long siege and a long war was always a challenge, as the besiegers began to get bored and scattered, suffering from disease and lack of food.

Storming the castle was also an undesirable option. Although it was possible to overcome the defenses of the fortress with the help of a ladder or a breakthrough in the stockade, the defenders never looked at this resignedly and always did everything possible to make life difficult for the attackers. As a rule, during assaults, losses could reach up to half the army, which by medieval standards was a complete failure.

However, there was one drawback to the wooden castle – the material from which it was made. Several fires at the foot of the palisade could incinerate the entire structure in a matter of days. That is why our ancestors decided to build fortresses from stone; they were more effective and reliable.

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One castle is good, but double is better

A castle is something much more complex than it might seem at first glance. Fortification is a science thought out to the smallest detail. Even in ancient times, it was clear to the ancestors that the walls needed to be covered with wooden galleries to protect them from enemy arrows. However, the walls are not the most important thing in a fortress. The main thing is its towers, located so as to create cross sectors of fire. Inside the towers, those behind the loopholes were virtually invulnerable, and the towers themselves made it possible to flood enemies going to attack with arrows. In addition, the towers were fortresses within the fortress. The siege of a fortress tower was much more complicated than a simple fortified courtyard, and could drag on for many hours or even days. The defenders could easily hide on other floors and continue to fire methodically from the loopholes, which made breaking into the tower a very difficult task.

Note that in Europe, with the advent of firearms, the defenders of fortress towers took additional measures to protect the fortifications. They made a powder magazine on the tower, which could be used in case of an enemy attack. However, if the situation became extremely tense and the defenders realized that they were unable to repel the attack, they could bombard the tower with explosives along with the enemies storming it. This was a last resort, used only as a last resort and required enormous courage and determination on the part of the defenders.

Стены и ворота замка касл мэн

Castle walls and gates

The wall has always been one of the most vulnerable places in the fortress, which could be broken with battering guns. But even the fall of the fortress wall did not guarantee victory for the attackers. A safe and sure way to destroy a fortification was to dig under soft soil. However, the defenders were not fools and they had enough time to leave the wall and create a barricade behind the place where the wall would collapse. This method has saved castles from falling more than once. Also in the castles there were means against undermining, for example, anti-mine galleries, where the defenders could listen to the sounds of undermining and, if suspicion arose, create a barricade-pocket at the top.

The gates were also a very vulnerable place for fortresses and castles. That is why in the Middle Ages their defense was a priority. Well-defended gates always had a drawbridge and a falling portcullis. More importantly, however, elaborate castles had multiple entrances. If the enemy managed to break through one gate, this did not greatly affect the defense of the entire castle. The corridor between the two gates was called the “death zone” because the defenders fired at the soldiers who got there from all sides. If the last gate was under threat of capture, the defenders already had to build a barricade.

The easiest way to capture a medieval castle

The besiegers always had the advantage of initiating combat in places convenient to them, while the defenders could use their knowledge of the terrain and missile launchers to defend themselves. However, the accuracy of Medieval throwing artillery was low, so castle garrisons tried to target the area in advance. Also, the defenders used other methods of defense, such as night forays into the enemy camp or flooding the water ditch, which could create additional problems for the attackers.

Even a small Medieval castle could become a big problem for an attacking army. Leaving it unsupervised is extremely risky, as the garrison may begin to partisan and rob its enemy. On the other hand, a siege of a fortress can drag on for months, and an attack is a lottery that requires the use of special engineering mechanisms. However, there was one weapon that could defeat any fortress – money. In the Middle Ages, it was common to bribe defenders of fortresses who were not prepared to fight. Some fortresses were so impregnable that the attackers immediately had to pay huge sums of money to the garrison to ensure that the castle did not participate in a further war.

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Additionally, through this link, you can find a wealth of fascinating information about the Middle Ages and medieval castles.