Medieval Warfare and Weaponry

By: Hallie, Mac, Sam and Erica

Medieval Weapons

The medieval era was a very violent and devastating which the castles were constructed to be the power bases and lands were invaded for the purpose of extending or ruling the kingdoms. As a result, the threat of dispute and war prevailed for a long time, which presented the need for weapons. Weaponry skills became necessary, which played a vital role in medieval life. The weapons of this era may seem to be low-tech today, but in their days, they were considered as the state-of-the-art gears to decide the fate of kingdoms and countries.

The Top 10 Medieval Weapons (10-1)

10. Pike. A Pike is a long pole with a spearhead at the end.

9. Long Bow. A long bow was a bow and arrow type weapon that would be used to shoot up to 400 yards.

8. Broadsword. A broadsword is a sword about 3-4 feet long.

7. Mail. A mail was the same thing as a sheild used for blocking arrows and thrashing swords.

6. Plate Armor. Plate Armor is what is used for body protection.

5. War Hammer. A war hammer was a long pole with a weight or spike at the end.

4. Battering Ram. A Battering Ram was used to break barriers and doors and walls.

3. Catapult. A catapult was used to sling big heavy balls far distances.

2. Cannon. A cannon was used to shoot things with the use of gunpowder.

1. Hellburner. A hellburner is a floating bomb

The Sword

There are three main parts to the sword. The blade, handle, and handguard. Swords were usually made from all iron, but the handle and handguard can be made from wood. The sword was made by forging a piece of melted iron into a blade shape. then a handle was added onto it. finally, it was sharpened with a stone to make the blade very sharp.

Horse Armor

There are 5 parts of a horses armor. A bard is a complete set of armor. A crinet is defense for the horses neck. Cropper is a defensive armor covering the horses rump. Flanchard is a piece of plate armor attached to the saddle the protects the flank. A Shaffron is a piece of armor that covers the head and face of a horse. A petrayal is armor that protects a horses chest.

Arming Sword

The Arming Sword is sometimes called a knight's or knightly sword. A knight and his sword were inseparable. The swords would sometimes have sacred and meaningful words inscribed into the blade. Arming swords were carried by knights and soldiers during the middle ages (approximately 500 AD-1500 AD). Swords would get passed down through generations and it is possible that the same arming sword would be used by an entire family. Arming Swords were symbols of rank and nobility, badges of honor, and a message to all that the bearer was both a gentleman and warrior, and that he could save your soul or take it in an instant. Arming Swords in warfare were used mostly as backup weapons for lances and much larger battle swords. The knight would draw this sword when dismounted or when his other weapons were lost or broken. Arming Swords were often used in hand-to-hand combat and in smaller scale combat. These swords ranged in length but they were generally 38 inches or so.

Medieval Short Bow and Arrow

The Medieval Short Bow and arrow was the most common of all weapons - they were cheap to make. Medieval Short Bow Archers were viewed as the lowest of all fighting men. The bow was constructed in two parts. A strip of flexible material, such as wood, was linked at the two ends with a cord, or string, to form a tension to shoot the arrow. Most bows were made from yew but ash, hazel and elm were also used. The string of the bow was made from hemp because it was the strongest and least elastic fiber available. The string was then soaked in glue as some protection against moisture. The arrow was a straight shaft with a sharp point on one end and had feathers attached to the other end.

Medival Warfare

Warfare was very important during the Middle Ages. During the Early Medieval Times, war was fought on the field with horses and soldiers. As castles appeared, besieging a castle was much more common. During the Late Middle Ages siege was, according to historians, a hundred times more frequent than open battles.

Siege Warfare

In the Medieval period besieging armies used a big variety of siege engines including scaling ladders, battering rams, siege towers and different types of catapults. Attackers would try to get over the walls using scaling ladders, siege towers called belfries, and grapples. Or they could try to get through the doors using a battering ram, or through the walls using heavy artillery. They might try tunneling under the walls to gain access, but more often they would try to do anything they could to bring the walls down. In a siege, one army typically attacks an enemy within either a castle or a fortified town. Medieval towns were generally surrounded by defensive walls, just like castles. Attackers had to get through 2 obstacles; the city walls and the castle walls. Attackers had many techniques that they could use. Some specific techniques include:

*Breaching the walls or doorways- Attackers would use weapons to get through walls.

*Tunneling under the walls- Attackers would build mines, either to gain access to the interior or to undermine and collapse the defensive walls.

*Getting over the walls- Attackers would use scaling ladders and siege engines such as large mobile wooden towers known as belfries.

*A Fifth Column- Inducing someone on the inside to assist the attackers, either by bribery or exploiting divided loyalties.

*Biological Warfare- Medieval besiegers were known to project diseased animals into fortifications with the deliberate intention of spreading disease.

Battle of Hastings

The first battle that became most famous was the Battle of Hastings. The Battle of Hastings was between the Normans and the English on October14th, 1066 in the north of Hastings where the Anglo Saxons were defeated by the Normans to rule over England.

The Battle of Spanish Armada

This was a famous battle fought in the 16th century by King Philip II of Spain for marching into Elizabethan England. However, Philip was defeated in this war, which was fought in 1588. Philip had given instructions to construct a big and expensive fleet of ships to carry more soldiers and supplies as well as to manage the narrow seas between Flanders and England. The battle took place at several places, like in the English Channel, the seas around the West and North of Scotland, the North Sea, the West of Ireland, and the Orkneys.

Medieval Weapons

Bladed Hand Weapons


Arming Swords

Broad Swords


Long Sword

Daggers & Knives





Blunt Hand Weapons

Clubs and Maces


Holy Water Sprinklers


War Hammers

Horsemen's Picks




Winged Spears








Danish Axes





Becs de Corbin

Ranged Weapons.



Bows, Longbows




Hand Cannons


Artillery: Pierriers - Sone throwers

Traction Trebuchets

Counterweight Trebuchets

Onagers and Mangonels

Ballistas and Springalds

Artillery Cannons :



Other Siege Weapons

Siege Towers (Belfries, Belfrois)

Battering Rams

Cats and Weasels

Chemical, Biological and Psychological Weapons