sábado, 16 de abril de 2011


The springald might look like a bit like a bunk-bed but medieval soldiers took it very seriously indeed. These ‘terrible machines of war’, as one historian described them, ‘shot huge missiles which no armour could resist’.
A close relative of the crossbow, the springald was the most powerful weapon of its type in the middle ages. The slow rate of fire – it can take two minutes to make ready - is made up for with ferocious power and lethal accuracy. When wound up and ready to shoot, the massive force held in the frame of the springald is released by the tug of a cord. A springald could easily drive a 4ft bolt straight through the body of a man and out the other side. In fact, in 1304 one is known to have impaled four or five men at once!

In 1313 when trouble was brewing, as it often did, between the king and the barons, five springalds were made to be mounted on the roof of St Thomas’s Tower to defend the Tower of London. With a reputed maximum range of a quarter of a mile, but more often operating at close range for greater precision, these deadly weapons put anyone approaching the Tower in serious trouble.

Source: http://www.hrp.org.uk/TowerOfLondon





Medieval cannon / Cañon medieval

Gunpowder weapons were the 'leading edge' of technology in the late medieval era. Gunpowder weapons took two forms: artillery, and hand-held guns. The two systems were employed tactically in sieges and battles, and in offense and defense operations. All forms of gunpowder weapons relied on chemical and metal-working advancements of the time, and their effective exploitation in warfare relied upon new thinking of the military commanders.

For some time, there appears not to have been a distinction between artillery pieces, operated by a crew, and smaller weapons capable of being operated by an individual. Even though there have been a few examples of images and even hand-held weapons found from the earliest times, the emphasis was on developing the cannon to blast holes in walls or to shatter fortress gates by what would be considered an 'artillery' role, and complementary to what non-gunpowder siege engines had been doing for centuries. Handguns were complementary to other missile weapons, mainly the crossbow. Initially, the awkwardness in firing handguns limited their use as a 'marksman's' missile weapon, but they had a role, when employed in numbers, to deliver suppressive and harassment fire.

The earliest employment of gunpowder weapons may not have been recorded, as such incidents in battle were most likely experiments. The first few reports of guns in chronicles are often questioned. Modern scholars distinguish between combustible objects being hurled from non-gunpowder machines, and the actual use of gunpowder as an explosive to propel objects from a gun. Many of the early accounts lack sufficient precision to make a reliable determination if a 'true' gunpowder weapon were being described. The earliest reliable reports of guns suggest that their use had been ongoing. Initially guns were most used in sieges, in which they did not become decisive until the late part of the Hundred Years' War. Early gunpowder weapons were awkward in open battles. They were first effectively used during the battles of The Hussite Wars (1419-34). Though they were present on many battlefields, beginning in the late fourteenth century, guns' first effective employment [distinctly contributing to the conduct of the battle] in the Hundred Years' War was at Formigny (1450). At Castillon (1453) guns were a major factor in deciding the outcome of the battle.

The use of gunpowder weapons in the Hundred Years' War did not produce a revolution in tactics, but it did spur the technological development and logistical support systems for such. In the war, guns were used along with the older non-gunpowder weapons. The introduction of gunpowder weapons was an evolutionary process that required progress in technology and in understanding of commanders (the best of whom were not the traditional knight, or noble men-at-arms, who were the main subjects of the contemporary chronicles).

Source: http://xenophongroup.com/montjoie/gp_wpns.htm

This is a fully functional scale model, I'm going to record a movie to show you all how it works.

viernes, 15 de abril de 2011

Miniature La Pierrière

The term 'pierrière' was also use as a generic expression for stone-throwing engines of any kind. The general convention is to use the term for the more simple forms. They generally operated on a rotating-beam and weight-assisted [bricole] principle -- the arm rotating about a pivot supported on an upright pole-frame-- and were traction-operated by men pulling on one end of the launcing arm. No doubt, these were the first rotating-beam engines. However, they remained in the artillery inventory along with the more robust, larger 'trébuchets' (with the heavy punch) as these smaller machines were highly portable. They had the advantage of a rapid rate of fire, and remained valuable in a fire-supressing role -- against the crews of the larger artillery pieces.

source: http://xenophongroup.com/montjoie/ngp_arty.htm

viernes, 8 de abril de 2011

Roman gladius sword / Espada Gladius Romana

Gladius (Latin: glădĭus) was the Roman word for sword, and is used to represent the primary sword of Ancient Rome soldiers. Early ancient Roman swords were similar to those used by the Greeks. From the 3rd century BC, the Romans adopted swords similar to those used by the Celtiberians and others during the early part of the conquest of Hispania. This sword was known as the Gladius Hispaniensis, or "Hispanic Sword". It was thought that they were similar to the later Mainz types, but the evidence now suggests otherwise. Rather, these early blades followed a slightly different pattern, being longer and narrower, and were probably those that Polybius[3] considered good for both cut and thrust. Later Gladii are referred to as the Mainz, Fulham, and Pompeii types. In the late Roman period, Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus refers to swords called semispathae (or semispathia) and spathae, for both of wich he appears to consider gladius an appropriate term.

A fully-equipped Roman legionary was armed with a shield (scutum), several javelins (pila), a sword (gladius), often a dagger (pugio), and perhaps darts (plumbatae). Conventionally, the javelins would be thrown to disable shields of enemies before engaging the enemy, at which point the gladius would be drawn. The soldier generally led with his shield and thrust with his sword. All types of gladius appear to have also been suitable for cutting and chopping motions as well as for thrusting. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gladius

Los gladios romanos fueron adaptados de las cortas espadas usadas por los mercenarios celtíberos (gladius hispaniensis) al servicio de Aníbal durante las Guerras Púnicas. Éstas eran del tipo de las denominadas «falcatas» ibéricas o de las espadas "de antenas" celtíberas; muy prácticas para los ataques de iniciativa, ya que al ser cortas y ligeras se podía lanzar un ataque con gran rapidez, en especial estocadas, para lo que tenían una larga punta. También podían usarse dando tajos, lo cual muchas veces no servía de mucho, ya que el enemigo podía llevar una cota de malla; por si se daba el caso de que tuvieran que dar un tajo, tenían doble filo. Las espadas originales hispanas estaban medidas para cada persona y hechas de hierro de alta calidad, que se trataba de una manera especial que daba como resultado muy buenas armas. El fin del uso de esta eficaz arma, considerada como la mejor espada que jamás haya existido desde el punto de vista práctico y estratégico y la que más muertes provocó en la antigüedad, fue marcado por el Medio Imperio (a partir de la época de Cómodo). El gladius constituyó una mejora de la falcata por el cambio de metal, que la hacía más ligera. El gladio estaba diseñado para ataques rápidos de estocada. Esto era muy práctico, ya que el legionario romano que llevaba la espada se resguardaba tras un scutum; una vez que el enemigo descargaba inútilmente su golpe sobre el escudo o armadura del romano, o se disponía a hacerlo, el romano lanzaba una rápida estocada con su ágil gladius, y así apuñalaba y mataba al contrincante. El gladius fue sustituido por la spatha, copiada de los bárbaros germánicos.

Basically I used the next elements to make my gladius sword: Hammer, anvil, rotary tool, wood, glue, varnish, and a piece of iron.

This rotary tool is hand-made

My birthplace Guanajuto Mexico

Warwick castle England. All pics by Gary Hodgkinson

Royal Museum, Belgium. All pics by Everaert