Siege

Depiction of the siege of Lisbon, 1147
Picture of the siege of Rancagua during the Chilean War of Independence
Assyrians using siege ladders in a relief of attack on an enemy town during the reign of Tiglath-Pileser III 720–738 BCE from his palace at Kalhu (Nimrud)
The Egyptian siege of Dapur in the 13th century BC, from Ramesseum, Thebes
Depiction of various siege machines in the mid-16th century
Medieval trebuchets could sling about two projectiles per hour at enemy positions.
Cahir Castle in Ireland was besieged and captured three times: in 1599 by the Earl of Essex, in 1647 by Lord Inchiquin, and in 1650 by Oliver Cromwell.
Roman siege machines
Chinese and Korean troops assault the Japanese forces of Hideyoshi in the siege of Ulsan Castle during the Imjin War (1592–1598).
Late 16th-century illustration of cannon with gabions
The siege of Candia, regarded as one of the longest sieges in history (1648–1669)
Vauban's star-shaped fortified city of Neuf-Brisach
The Battle of Vienna took place in 1683 after Vienna had been besieged by the Ottoman Empire for two months.
Storming of Redoubt#10 during the siege of Yorktown
British infantry attempt to scale the walls of Badajoz, Peninsular War, 1812
French Engineer Corps during the siege of Antwerp, 1832
This sepoy PoW shows the conditions of the garrison at Kut at the end of the siege in World War I.
The Skoda 305 mm Model 1911
Siege of Przemyśl
Map showing Axis encirclement during the siege of Leningrad (1942–1943)
French troops seeking cover in trenches, Dien Bien Phu, 1954
Sarajevo residents collecting firewood, winter of 1992–1993
Map of destroyed infrastructure following the Siege of Marawi, 2017
The conflagration of the Mount Carmel Center on the final day of the Waco siege

Military blockade of a city, or fortress, with the intent of conquering by attrition, or a well-prepared assault.

- Siege
Depiction of the siege of Lisbon, 1147

500 related topics

Relevance

Bronze cannon with inscription dated the 3rd year of the Zhiyuan era (1332) of the Yuan Dynasty (1271–1368); it was discovered at the Yunju Temple of Fangshan District, Beijing in 1935.

Cannon

Large-caliber gun classified as a type of artillery, and usually launches a projectile using explosive chemical propellant.

Large-caliber gun classified as a type of artillery, and usually launches a projectile using explosive chemical propellant.

Bronze cannon with inscription dated the 3rd year of the Zhiyuan era (1332) of the Yuan Dynasty (1271–1368); it was discovered at the Yunju Temple of Fangshan District, Beijing in 1935.
A bronze "thousand ball thunder cannon" from the Huolongjing.
Earliest picture of a European cannon, "De Nobilitatibus Sapientii Et Prudentiis Regum", Walter de Milemete, 1326
Western European handgun, 1380
The first Western image of a battle with cannon: the Siege of Orléans in 1429
Cannon from the 15th century at Šibenik city walls
The Dardanelles Gun, a 1464 Ottoman bombard
Malik E Maidan, a 16th-century cannon, was effectively used by the Deccan sultanates, and was the largest cannon operated during the Battle of Talikota.
250px
A cannon found from the Brantas river. Made of bronze, with a triangular embossed touch hole. The wooden parts were recently made for display.
Various 16th-century artillery pieces, including culverin, falconet and mortar
36-pounder long gun at the ready
Illustration by William Simpson shows action in a British artillery battery during the Crimean War with cannon firing and being loaded and men bringing in supplies.
A 3-inch Parrott rifle from the Battle of Chancellorsville
Armstrong gun deployed by Japan during the Boshin war (1868–69).
The 1870s de Bange 90 mm cannon on the yard of Eastern Finland military office in Mikkeli, South Savonia, Finland
Comparison of 1888 and 1913 German cannon
Royal Artillery howitzers at the Battle of the Somme
USS Iowa (BB-61) firing her 16 in guns
A large bore Maxim on USS Vixen (PY-4) c. 1898
Side elevation of a typical 18th-century cannon
The parts of a cannon described in John Roberts' The Compleat Cannoniere, London, 1652
Firing of a 6-pound cannon
The Tsar Cannon, the largest howitzer ever made, cast by Andrey Chokhov<ref>{{cite book|title=Guinness Rekordbok|year=1996|isbn=978-91-37-10723-3|page=204|language=sv|author=översättning och bearbetning: Folke Günther ... |publisher=Forum|location=Stockholm}}</ref>
Remains of a post-medieval cannon battery, mounted on a medieval town wall, although without carriages.
Contemporary illustration on how a cannon could be used with the aid of quadrants for improved precision.
The use of gabions with cannon was an important part in the attack and defence of fortifications.
Fort Bourtange, a bastion fort, was built with angles and sloped walls specifically to defend against cannon.
Westland C.O.W. Gun Fighter with 37mm C.O.W. gun mounted to fire upwards
Supermarine Spitfire with 20 mm cannon protruding from the leading edge of the wing
GSh-23 autocannon mounted on the underside of a Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23
The GAU-8/A Avenger rotary cannon, mounted in a Fairchild A-10 Thunderbolt II

Cannons featured prominently as siege weapons, and ever larger pieces appeared.

Castillo San Felipe de Barajas, Colombia. Cartagena's colonial walled city and fortress were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Fortification

Military construction or building designed for the defense of territories in warfare, and is also used to establish rule in a region during peacetime.

Military construction or building designed for the defense of territories in warfare, and is also used to establish rule in a region during peacetime.

Castillo San Felipe de Barajas, Colombia. Cartagena's colonial walled city and fortress were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Maiden Castle in 1935. The Iron Age hillfort was first built in 600 BC.
Early 20th century aerial photograph of the fortifications of Valletta, Malta which were built in the 16th and 17th centuries
Aerial photograph of Fort Vossegat, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
Small Chinese fort
Large Chinese fort
Han dynasty tomb brick showing gate towers
Han dynasty tomb brick showing watchtowers
Remains of a fortified village, Borġ in-Nadur, Malta. Borġ in-Nadur is a notable example of Bronze Age-fortifications.
Reconstructed walls of Bibracte, a Gaulish oppidum, showing the construction technique known as murus gallicus. Oppida were large fortified settlements used during the Iron Age.
Defensive wall of the ancient city of Dholavira, Gujarat 2600 BCE
The Great Wall of China near Jinshanling. The Great Wall was a series of fortifications built across the historical northern borders of China.
An American flag raised at the Fort Santiago, 1898. Fort Santiago was a citadel that was a part of the Intramuros, a walled city within Manilla.
Map of the defences available during the Battle of the Trench, 627. Muslim defenders repelled the Confederates using Medina's natural fortifications and makeshift trenches.
Medieval defensive walls and towers in Szprotawa, Poland, made of field stone and bog iron.
John Smith's 1624 map of the fortifications of the Castle Harbour Islands and St. George's Harbour in Bermuda. Construction beginning in 1612, these were the first stone fortifications, with the first coastal artillery batteries, built by England in the New World.
Table of a typical bastion fort, 1728. The development of bastion forts resulted from the increased use of cannons and firearms in the 14th century.
Suomenlinna, a sea fortress from 18th century in Helsinki, Finland
The ditch and counter scarp of Fort Delimara. Built in 1878, Delimara was built as a typical polygonal fort ditches and counter scarps made to be very deep, vertically sided, and cut directly into the rocks.
The tunnels of Fort de Mutzig, German fortifications built in 1893. By the 19th century, tunnels were used to connect blockhouses and firing points in the ditch to the fort.
Gun emplacement in Fort Campbell, built in the 1930s. Due to the threat of aerial warfare, the buildings were placed at a distance from each other, making it difficult to find from the air.
A GBU-24 missile hits the ground. The development of bunker busters, bombs designed to penetrate hardened targets buried underground, led to a decline in the use of fortifications.
Cheyenne Mountain Complex is an underground bunker used by North American Aerospace Defense Command. Cheyenne Mountain is an example of a mid-20th century fortification built deep in a mountain.
The Ozama Fortress in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic is recognized by UNESCO for being the oldest military construction of European origin in the Americas.

The art/science of laying siege to a fortification and of destroying it is commonly called siegecraft or siege warfare and is formally known as poliorcetics.

Scott's great snake, a cartoon map illustrating the Union blockade of the Confederacy during the American Civil War, known as the Anaconda Plan, illustrated by J.B. Elliott

Blockade

Act of actively preventing a country or region from receiving or sending out food, supplies, weapons, or communications, and sometimes people, by military force.

Act of actively preventing a country or region from receiving or sending out food, supplies, weapons, or communications, and sometimes people, by military force.

Scott's great snake, a cartoon map illustrating the Union blockade of the Confederacy during the American Civil War, known as the Anaconda Plan, illustrated by J.B. Elliott
C47s unloading at Tempelhof Airport in Berlin, part of the airlift of supplies which broke the Soviet Union's 1948 land blockade of West Berlin
In World War II, German U-boats attempted to stop ships carrying food, supplies and matériel from reaching the United Kingdom, an example of a distant blockade.
President Kennedy and his advisors discuss the Cuban Missile Crisis. Part of the US response to Soviet missiles being placed in Cuba was a naval blockade of the island.
30,000 at Greenham Common.
A Northern cartoonist ridicules the Union's initial attempts to blockade ports of the Confederacy in the American Civil War

It is also distinct from a siege in that a blockade is usually directed at an entire country or region, rather than a fortress or city and the objective may not always be to conquer the area.

Reconstructed section of the investment fortifications at Alesia

Investment (military)

Military process of surrounding an enemy fort with armed forces to prevent entry or escape.

Military process of surrounding an enemy fort with armed forces to prevent entry or escape.

Reconstructed section of the investment fortifications at Alesia
Schematic view of the circumvallation during the Siege of Groenlo in 1627

A contravallation is a line of fortifications, built by the attackers around the besieged fortification facing towards an enemy fort to protect the besiegers from sorties by its defenders and to enhance the blockade.

Replica battering ram at Château des Baux, France

Siege engine

Replica battering ram at Château des Baux, France
Siege engine in Assyrian relief of attack on an enemy town during the reign of Tiglath-Pileser III 743-720 BC from his palace at Kalhu (Nimrud)
Roman siege engines.
A stone-throwing machine set to defend a gate, in the fresco of Guidoriccio da Fogliano by Simone Martini (14th century).
The medieval Mons Meg with its 20" (50 cm) cannonballs
One of the super-heavy Karl-Gerät siege mortars used by the German army in World War II
A German Big Bertha howitzer being readied for firing

A siege engine is a device that is designed to break or circumvent heavy castle doors, thick city walls and other fortifications in siege warfare.

Soldiers of the Royal Artillery firing 105mm light howitzers during an exercise

Artillery

Class of heavy military ranged weapons that launch munitions far beyond the range and power of infantry firearms.

Class of heavy military ranged weapons that launch munitions far beyond the range and power of infantry firearms.

Soldiers of the Royal Artillery firing 105mm light howitzers during an exercise
French soldiers in the Franco-Prussian War 1870–71
British 64 Pounder Rifled Muzzle-Loaded (RML) Gun on a Moncrieff disappearing mount, at Scaur Hill Fort, Bermuda. This is a part of a fixed battery, meant to protect against over-land attack and to serve as coastal artillery.
7-person gun crew firing a US M777 Light Towed Howitzer, War in Afghanistan, 2009
A bronze "thousand ball thunder cannon" from the Huolongjing.
A depiction of an early vase-shaped cannon (shown here as the "Long-range Awe-inspiring Cannon"(威遠砲)) complete with a crude sight and an ignition port dated from around 1350 AD. The illustration is from the 14th century Ming Dynasty book Huolongjing.
French gunner in the 15th century, a 1904 illustration
First Battle of Panipat
Bullocks dragging siege-guns up hill during Akbar's Siege of Ranthambore
The Austrian Pumhart von Steyr, the earliest extant large-calibre gun
Three of the large Korean artillery, Chongtong in the Jinju National Museum. These cannons were made in the mid 16th century. The closest is a "Cheonja chongtong"(천자총통, 天字銃筒), the second is a "Jija chongtong"(지자총통, 地字銃筒), and the third is a "Hyeonja chongtong"(현자총통, 玄字銃筒).
Artillery with gabion fortification
The Tsar Cannon (caliber 890 mm), cast in 1586 in Moscow. It is the largest bombard in the world.
A 19th-century cannon, set in the wall of Acre to commemorate the city's resistance to the 1799 siege by Napoleon's troops.
Prussian artillery at the Battle of Langensalza (1866)
Armstrong gun deployed by Japan during the Boshin war (1868–69)
8-inch Armstrong gun during American Civil War, Fort Fisher, 1865
The French Canon de 75 modèle 1897, the first modern artillery piece
German 15cm field howitzers during World War I
M982 Excalibur guided artillery shell
M1156 Precision Guidance Kit can be added to unguided projectiles
Artillery can be used to fire nuclear warheads, as seen in this 1953 nuclear test.
152 mm howitzer D-20 during the Iran–Iraq War
Battleship ammunition: 16" artillery shells aboard a United States
Cyclone of the 320th French Artillery, in Hoogstade, Belgium, September 5, 1917
The Finnish Defence Forces using 130 mm Gun M-46 during a direct fire mission in a live fire exercise in 2010.
German Army PzH 2000 self-propelled artillery
Horse-drawn artillery
Man-pulled artillery
Australian gunners, wearing gas masks, operate a 9.2 in howitzer during World War I
Firing of an 18-pound gun, Louis-Philippe Crepin (1772–1851)
A British 60-pounder (5 in) gun at full recoil, in action during the Battle of Gallipoli, 1915. Photo by Ernest Brooks.
Two French Army Giat GCT 155mm (155 mm AUF1) Self-propelled Guns, 40th Regiment d' Artillerie, with IFOR markings are parked at Hekon base, near Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina, in support of Operation Joint Endeavor
A 155 mm artillery shell fired by a United States 11th Marine Regiment M-198 howitzer
USMC M-198 firing outside of Fallujah, Iraq in 2004
Modern artillery ammunition. Caliber 155 mm as used by the PzH 2000
Illustration of different trajectories used in MRSI: For any muzzle velocity there is a steeper (> 45°, solid line) and a lower (<45°, dashed line) trajectory. On these different trajectories, the shells have different flight times.
An artillery piece in the monument commemorating the 1864 Battle of Tupelo (American Civil War)

Early artillery development focused on the ability to breach defensive walls and fortifications during sieges, and led to heavy, fairly immobile siege engines.

Illustration of a ballista being loaded and drawn

Ballista

Ancient missile weapon that launched either bolts or stones at a distant target.

Ancient missile weapon that launched either bolts or stones at a distant target.

Illustration of a ballista being loaded and drawn
Reconstructed small Roman ballista
One talent ballista (26 kg weight projectile) was typical for Roman era ballista. The heaviest version ever made was built by Archimedes, and used stones up to three talents (78 kg).
Roman 'catapult-nest' on Trajan's Column
Ballista bolt heads
A four-wheeled carroballista drawn by armored horses, from an engraving illustrating a 1552 edition of the war-machine catalog De Rebus Bellicis (c. 400)
Roman cart-mounted carroballista
Reproductions of ancient Greek artillery, including catapults such as the polybolos (to the left in the foreground) and a large, early crossbow known as the gastraphetes (mounted on the wall in the background)
Metal components of the Ampurias Catapult, found in 1912 in the Neapolis of Ampurias
Metal components of a 4th-century ballista

Early versions projected heavy darts or spherical stone projectiles of various sizes for siege warfare.

12th century Siege of Lisbon with siege tower, trebuchets and mantlets.

Siege tower

Specialized siege engine, constructed to protect assailants and ladders while approaching the defensive walls of a fortification.

Specialized siege engine, constructed to protect assailants and ladders while approaching the defensive walls of a fortification.

12th century Siege of Lisbon with siege tower, trebuchets and mantlets.
Assyrian attack on a town with archers and a wheeled battering ram; Neo-Assyrian relief, North-West Palace of Nimrud (room B, panel 18); 865–860 BC
The remains of the Roman siege-ramp at Masada
Roman siege tower
Sketch of a medieval siege tower
Chinese siege tower
Medieval English siege tower

Used since the 11th century BC by the Babylonians and Assyrians in the ancient Near East, the 4th century BC in Europe and also in antiquity in the Far East, siege towers were of unwieldy dimensions and, like trebuchets, were therefore mostly constructed on site of the siege.

The Barbican in Kraków

Barbican

Fortified outpost or fortified gateway, such as at an outer defense perimeter of a city or castle, or any tower situated over a gate or bridge which was used for defensive purposes.

Fortified outpost or fortified gateway, such as at an outer defense perimeter of a city or castle, or any tower situated over a gate or bridge which was used for defensive purposes.

The Barbican in Kraków
The barbican of the White Tower in Nuremberg (reconstruction)

In the 15th century, with the improvement in siege tactics and artillery, barbicans lost their significance.

Portcullis at Cahir Castle in County Tipperary, Ireland.

Portcullis

Heavy vertically-closing gate typically found in medieval fortifications, consisting of a latticed grille made of wood, metal, or a combination of the two, which slides down grooves inset within each jamb of the gateway.

Heavy vertically-closing gate typically found in medieval fortifications, consisting of a latticed grille made of wood, metal, or a combination of the two, which slides down grooves inset within each jamb of the gateway.

Portcullis at Cahir Castle in County Tipperary, Ireland.
The inner portcullis of the Torre dell'Elefante in Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy.
Double portcullis gates at Petersberg Citadel, Erfurt
Beaufort Portcullis badge of the Tudors
The ensign of HM Customs & Excise

Portcullises fortified the entrances to many medieval castles, securely closing off the castle during time of attack or siege.