⌚ Summary: Gunpowder Revolutionized Medieval Warfare

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Summary: Gunpowder Revolutionized Medieval Warfare



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Suddenly the written word was no longer limited to those who could write; it was now accessible to everyone because production could be increased dramatically. Although paper had been invented in China, it was altered to be made suitable for the printing press. Although lenses had been used in the past it is safe to say that the techniques and understanding that are used today in modern optometry were developed by individuals from the Middle Ages. Weighing scales are also another Middle Ages invention that perhaps we take for granted in the modern age. Weighing scales are believed to have been invented in , and these scales could be used to improve trade and cooking, as well as other things.

Artesian wells helped to improve the distribution of water in the Middle Ages. Quarantine may not be an invention as such, but it is an important concept that we use in modern medicine that came from the Middle Ages. Perhaps one of the most inspiration men from the Middle Ages is the incredibly talented genius that was Leonardo Da Vinci. In Da Vinci designed the first ever parachute, and seven years later, still fascinated with the concept of flight, he began to seriously consider the physics behind flying machines.

If no other turbulence, war is just a fine way of creating change, right? No mention of how many inventions were supressed, how much progress from the ages before was just annihilated by those in power in the middle ages. The middle ages since the 7th century were a step back for society until the 16th century. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Machine Guns were another weapon used in World War 1. The American Hiram Maxim had invented the gun that bore his name in The British machine gun was the Vickers machine gun, which could shoot bullets per. A catapult can launch a projectile into a thick, brick wall, destroying it to get to the enemies. A diagram is also shown in the article, stating what parts are called on the catapult.

A lot more information can be found about what types of catapults specialize in, and how they all work in this. The invention of rockets is totally linked with the invention of 'black powder '. Most historians of technology credit the Chinese with its discovery. They form their belief on studies of Chinese writings or on the notebooks of early Europeans who settled in or made frequent visits to China to learn about its history and civilization. It is possible that, during the tenth century, black powder was first constituted from its primary ingredients of charcoal, sulphur, and saltpeter.

However this does not mean that it was instantly used to propel rockets. In early thirteenth century, powder propelled fire arrows had become quite common. The Chinese depend on this type of technological development to generate incendiary projectiles of many types, explosive grenades and most probably cannons to repulse their enemies. One such weapon was the 'basket of fire ' or, as per Chinese translations, the 'arrows like flying leopards '. The 0. Another weapon which was known as 'arrow as a flying sabre ', could be fired from …show more content… D. From the beginning of the eighteenth century, Europe became seriously interested in the probability of using the rocket itself as a weapon of war and not just to use other weapons.

Before that, rockets were used only in pyrotechnic exhibits. The inducement for the more hostile use of rockets came not from within the European continent but from far-away India, whose leaders had built up a unit of rocketeers and used rockets successfully against the British in the late eighteenth century. His engineers built a causeway that was originally 60 m ft wide and reached the range of his torsion-powered artillery, while his soldiers pushed siege towers housing stone throwers and light catapults to bombard the city walls. Most conquerors before him had found Tyre , a Phoenician island-city about 1 km from the mainland, impregnable.

The Macedonians built a mole , a raised spit of earth across the water, by piling stones up on a natural land bridge that extended underwater to the island, and although the Tyrians rallied by sending a fire ship to destroy the towers, and captured the mole in a swarming frenzy, the city eventually fell to the Macedonians after a seven-month siege. In complete contrast to Tyre, Sogdian Rock was captured by stealthy attack. Alexander used commando-like tactics to scale the cliffs and capture the high ground, and the demoralized defenders surrendered. The importance of siege warfare in the ancient period should not be underestimated.

One of the contributing causes of Hannibal 's inability to defeat Rome was his lack of siege engines , thus, while he was able to defeat Roman armies in the field, he was unable to capture Rome itself. The legionary armies of the Roman Republic and Empire are noted as being particularly skilled and determined in siege warfare. An astonishing number and variety of sieges, for example, formed the core of Julius Caesar 's mid-1st-century BC conquest of Gaul modern France. The inner circumvallation, 16 km 10 mi , held in Vercingetorix 's forces, while the outer contravallation kept relief from reaching them.

The Romans held the ground in between the two walls. The besieged Gauls, facing starvation, eventually surrendered after their relief force met defeat against Caesar's auxiliary cavalry. The Sicarii Zealots who defended Masada in AD 73 were defeated by the Roman legions, who built a ramp m high up to the fortress's west wall. During the Roman-Persian Wars , siege warfare was extensively being used by both sides.

The early Muslims, led by the Islamic prophet Muhammad , made extensive use of sieges during military campaigns. The first use was during the Invasion of Banu Qaynuqa. A Muslim killed a Jew in retaliation, and the Jews in turn killed the Muslim man. This escalated to a chain of revenge killings, and enmity grew between Muslims and the Banu Qaynuqa, leading to the siege of their fortress. The second siege was during the Invasion of Banu Nadir.

According to The Sealed Nectar , the siege did not last long; the Banu Nadir Jews willingly offered to comply with the Muhammad's order and leave Madinah. Their caravan counted loaded camels, including their chiefs, Huyai bin Akhtab, and Salam bin Abi Al-Huqaiq, who left for Khaibar, whereas another party shifted to Syria. Muhammad seized their weapons, land, houses, and wealth. Amongst the other booty he managed to capture, there were 50 armours, 50 helmets, and swords. This booty was exclusively Muhammad's because no fighting was involved in capturing it.

He divided the booty at his own discretion among the early Emigrants and two poor Helpers, Abu Dujana and Suhail bin Haneef. Even if they could not enter some of the more well-fortified cities, they used innovative battle tactics to grab hold of the land and the people:. Another Mongol tactic was to use catapults to launch corpses of plague victims into besieged cities. The disease-carrying fleas from the bodies would then infest the city, and the plague would spread, allowing the city to be easily captured, although this transmission mechanism was not known at the time.

In , the bodies of Mongol warriors of the Golden Horde who had died of plague were thrown over the walls of the besieged Crimean city of Kaffa now Feodosiya. It has been speculated that this operation may have been responsible for the advent of the Black Death in Europe. On the first night while laying siege to a city, the leader of the Mongol forces would lead from a white tent : if the city surrendered, all would be spared. On the second day, he would use a red tent: if the city surrendered, the men would all be killed, but the rest would be spared. On the third day, he would use a black tent: no quarter would be given. However, the Chinese were not completely defenseless, and from AD until , the Southern Song Chinese held out against the enormous barrage of Mongol attacks.

Much of this success in defense lay in the world's first use of gunpowder i. The Chinese of the Song period also discovered the explosive potential of packing hollowed cannonball shells with gunpowder. Written later around in the Huo Long Jing , this manuscript of Jiao Yu recorded an earlier Song-era cast-iron cannon known as the 'flying-cloud thunderclap eruptor' fei yun pi-li pao. The manuscript stated that Wade—Giles spelling :.

The shells phao are made of cast iron, as large as a bowl and shaped like a ball. Inside they contain half a pound of 'magic' gunpowder shen huo. They are sent flying towards the enemy camp from an eruptor mu phao ; and when they get there a sound like a thunder-clap is heard, and flashes of light appear. If ten of these shells are fired successfully into the enemy camp, the whole place will be set ablaze During the Ming Dynasty AD — , the Chinese were very concerned with city planning in regards to gunpowder warfare. The site for constructing the walls and the thickness of the walls in Beijing's Forbidden City were favoured by the Chinese Yongle Emperor r.

For more, see Technology of the Song dynasty. The introduction of gunpowder and the use of cannons brought about a new age in siege warfare. Cannons were first used in Song dynasty China during the early 13th century, but did not become significant weapons for another years or so. In early decades, cannons could do little against strong castles and fortresses, providing little more than smoke and fire. By the 16th century, however, they were an essential and regularized part of any campaigning army, or castle's defences. The greatest advantage of cannons over other siege weapons was the ability to fire a heavier projectile, farther, faster, and more often than previous weapons. They could also fire projectiles in a straight line, so that they could destroy the bases of high walls.

Thus, 'old fashioned' walls — that is, high and, relatively, thin — were excellent targets, and, over time, easily demolished. In , the great walls of Constantinople , the capital of the Byzantine Empire , were broken through in just six weeks by the 62 cannons of Mehmed II 's army. However, new fortifications, designed to withstand gunpowder weapons, were soon constructed throughout Europe. During the Renaissance and the early modern period , siege warfare continued to dominate the conduct of the European wars. Once siege guns were developed, the techniques for assaulting a town or fortress became well known and ritualized. The attacking army would surround a town.

Then the town would be asked to surrender. If they did not comply, the besieging army would surround the town with temporary fortifications to stop sallies from the stronghold or relief getting in. The attackers would next build a length of trenches parallel to the defences these are known as the "First parallel" and just out of range of the defending artillery. They would dig a trench known as a Forward towards the town in a zigzag pattern so that it could not be enfiladed by defending fire.

Once they were within artillery range, they would dig another parallel the Second Parallel trench and fortify it with gun emplacements. This technique is commonly called entrenchment. If necessary, using the first artillery fire for cover, the forces conducting the siege would repeat the process until they placed their guns close enough to be laid aimed accurately to make a breach in the fortifications.

In order to allow the forlorn hope and support troops to get close enough to exploit the breach, more zigzag trenches could be dug even closer to the walls, with more parallel trenches to protect and conceal the attacking troops. After each step in the process, the besiegers would ask the besieged to surrender. If the forlorn hope stormed the breach successfully, the defenders could expect no mercy. The castles that in earlier years had been formidable obstacles were easily breached by the new weapons. For example, in Spain, the newly equipped army of Ferdinand and Isabella was able to conquer Moorish strongholds in Granada in — that had held out for centuries before the invention of cannons.

In the early 15th century, Italian architect Leon Battista Alberti wrote a treatise entitled De Re aedificatoria , which theorized methods of building fortifications capable of withstanding the new guns. He proposed that walls be "built in uneven lines, like the teeth of a saw". He proposed star-shaped fortresses with low, thick walls. However, few rulers paid any attention to his theories. A few towns in Italy began building in the new style late in the s, but it was only with the French invasion of the Italian peninsula in — that the new fortifications were built on a large scale.

As a result, he could defeat virtually any city or state, no matter how well defended. In a panic, military strategy was completely rethought throughout the Italian states of the time, with a strong emphasis on the new fortifications that could withstand a modern siege. The most effective way to protect walls against cannonfire proved to be depth increasing the width of the defences and angles ensuring that attackers could only fire on walls at an oblique angle, not square on. Initially, walls were lowered and backed, in front and behind, with earth. Towers were reformed into triangular bastions. Star-shaped fortresses surrounding towns and even cities with outlying defences proved very difficult to capture, even for a well-equipped army.

During World War II, trace italienne fortresses could still present a formidable challenge, for example, in the last days of World War II, during the Battle in Berlin , that saw some of the heaviest urban fighting of the war, the Soviets did not attempt to storm the Spandau Citadel built between and , but chose to invest it and negotiate its surrender. However, the cost of building such vast modern fortifications was incredibly high, and was often too much for individual cities to undertake. Many were bankrupted in the process of building them; others, such as Siena , spent so much money on fortifications that they were unable to maintain their armies properly, and so lost their wars anyway.

Nonetheless, innumerable large and impressive fortresses were built throughout northern Italy in the first decades of the 16th century to resist repeated French invasions that became known as the Italian Wars. Many stand to this day. In the s and '40s, the new style of fortification began to spread out of Italy into the rest of Europe, particularly to France, the Netherlands, and Spain. Italian engineers were in enormous demand throughout Europe, especially in war-torn areas such as the Netherlands, which became dotted by towns encircled in modern fortifications. The densely populated areas of Northern Italy and the United Provinces the Netherlands were infamous for their high degree of fortification of cities. It made campaigns in these areas very hard to successfully conduct, considering even minor cities had to be captured by siege within the span of the campaigning season.

In the Dutch case, the possibility of flooding large parts of the land provided an additional obstacle to besiegers, for example at the siege of Leiden. For many years, defensive and offensive tactics were well balanced, leading to protracted and costly wars such as Europe had never known, involving more and more planning and government involvement. The new fortresses ensured that war rarely extended beyond a series of sieges. Because the new fortresses could easily hold 10, men, an attacking army could not ignore a powerfully fortified position without serious risk of counterattack.

As a result, virtually all towns had to be taken, and that was usually a long, drawn-out affair, potentially lasting from several months to years, while the members of the town were starved to death. Most battles in this period were between besieging armies and relief columns sent to rescue the besieged. At the end of the 17th century, two influential military engineers, the French Marshal Vauban and the Dutch military engineer Menno van Coehoorn , developed modern fortification to its pinnacle, refining siege warfare without fundamentally altering it: ditches would be dug; walls would be protected by glacis ; and bastions would enfilade an attacker.

Both engineers developed their ideas independently, but came to similar general rules regarding defensive construction and offensive action against fortifications. Both were skilled in conducting sieges and defences themselves. Before Vauban and Van Coehoorn, sieges had been somewhat slapdash operations. Vauban and Van Coehoorn refined besieging to a science with a methodical process that, if uninterrupted, would break even the strongest fortifications.

Examples of their styles of fortifications are Arras Vauban and the no-longer-existent fortress of Bergen op Zoom Van Coehoorn. The main differences between the two lay in the difference in terrain on which Vauban and Van Coehoorn constructed their defences: Vauban in the sometimes more hilly and mountainous terrain of France, Van Coehoorn in the flat and floodable lowlands of the Netherlands.

Planning and maintaining a siege is just as difficult as fending one off. A besieging army must be prepared to repel both sorties from the besieged area and also any attack that may try to relieve the defenders. It was thus usual to construct lines of trenches and defenses facing in both directions. The outermost lines, known as the lines of contravallation , would surround the entire besieging army and protect it from attackers. This would be the first construction effort of a besieging army, built soon after a fortress or city had been invested.

A line of circumvallation would also be constructed, facing in towards the besieged area, to protect against sorties by the defenders and to prevent the besieged from escaping. The next line, which Vauban usually placed at about meters from the target, would contain the main batteries of heavy cannons so that they could hit the target without being vulnerable themselves. Once this line was established, work crews would move forward, creating another line at meters. This line contained smaller guns. The final line would be constructed only 30 to 60 meters from the fortress.

This line would contain the mortars and would act as a staging area for attack parties once the walls were breached. Van Coehoorn developed a small and easily movable mortar named the coehorn , variations of which were used in sieges until the 19th century. It would also be from this line that miners working to undermine the fortress would operate. The trenches connecting the various lines of the besiegers could not be built perpendicular to the walls of the fortress, as the defenders would have a clear line of fire along the whole trench.

Thus, these lines known as saps needed to be sharply jagged. Another element of a fortress was the citadel. Usually, a citadel was a "mini fortress" within the larger fortress, sometimes designed as a reduit , but more often as a means of protecting the garrison from potential revolt in the city. The citadel was used in wartime and peacetime to keep the residents of the city in line. As in ages past, most sieges were decided with very little fighting between the opposing armies.

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