Ancient Siegecraft

Military engineers invented the techniques for overcoming the defenses of fortified cities. One of the earliest inventions was the battering ram, which dates from at least 2500 b. c. e. 15 By 2000 b. c. e. the battering ram was found in almost all armies of the ancient world. The Egyptians also invented the technique […]

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Fort Fisher Part I

The sea face of Fort Fisher. Wilmington was protected by a geography that made the city difficult to blockade and even more difficult to capture. It was removed some distance from the sea and occupied the eastern bank of the Cape Fear River 25 miles upriver from its mouth. A gauntlet of forts controlled access […]

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Breda 1636–1637

Map of the Siege of Breda by Johannes Blaeu. Twelve years after failing to prevent Spanish capture of Breda, Frederick Henry of Orange besieged the fortress-city, held by Gomar Fourdin, flooding the surrounding country and driving off a relief attempt by Spanish Governor Cardinal Infante Ferdinand. The Dutch captured starving Breda after more than a […]

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Plataea 428 BC

The long war was marked by cruelties and breaches of honor on both sides, particularly for the small states caught between the major powers in the conflict. One such example was Plataea, which the Spartans decided to attack in 428. This Athenian ally and small Boeotian citystate was of no strategic value and had done […]

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Rhodes 305–304 BC

The Helepolis at Rhodes Height: 130-140ft (40-43m) Base: 72ft (22m) square Armament: Lowest floor: 2×180 Iber (82kg) catapults; 1×60 Iber (27kg) catapult 1st floor: 3×60 Iber (27kg) catapults Next five floors: 2×30 Iber (14kg) catapults Top two floors: 2x dart-throwers. Construction: main beams are fir or pine, wheels and horizontals are oak. All major joints […]

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Siege of Mainz, (14 April-23 July 1793)

Following the victory at Valmy on 20 September 1792, the French seized the offensive. General Adam Philippe, comte de Custine’s Army of the Vosges captured Speyer, Worms, Mainz, and Frankfurt in barely a month, mainly because his otherwise easily panicked troops faced little opposition. The fortified city of Mainz, which capitulated on 21 October 1792, […]

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Siege of Savannah Part I

In 1778, the British captured the city of Savannah, Georgia. One year later, on September 16th, 1779, the Continental Army along with its French allies attempted to take back the city whose defense was commanded by General Augustine Prevost. Distrust between the allies led to lack of cooperation (General Benjamin Lincoln suspected that Comte d’Estaing […]

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Siege of Savannah Part II

BRITISH DISPOSITIONS With the excellent engineering services of James Moncrieff, Prevost had constructed a line of field fortifications in a rough half-circle to cover the land approaches to Savannah. The five-day bombardment had damaged many of the 430 houses in the town and had inflicted casualties among noncombatants, but the earthworks were virtually unscathed. Prevost […]

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The Battle of Sparta

Flamininus’ three main assaults. For four days the opposing forces limited themselves to skirmishes in front of the walls. When at some point the Spartans attempted to engage the Romans in proper combat, they were easily defeated and put to flight. Since the city walls still had gaps in several places, some of the Romans […]

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The Siege Of Raglan

The siege of Raglan had begun. The first task facing Parliament’s Colonel Thomas Morgan’s troops was to look to their own protection. To this end, they began building earthworks and digging trenches just as their Royalist opponents had done. Like trenches in the First World War, the two lines ended up very close to each […]

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