Siege weapons and defense weapons in ancient China

Dec 2011
3,492
Mountains and Jungles of Southern China
Here is the siege ladder cart, another commonly used ancient Chinese siege weapon. It's Chinese name is "雲梯", literally translated as "cloud ladder".




Legend states that the "cloud ladder" was invented in the Spring and Autumn period by the famous carpenter of the Lu kingdom named Gongshu Ban (公輸班), commonly known as Lu Ban (鲁班).

During the Tang and Song dynasties, the cloud ladder received several modifications. The main ladder was fixed on a six-wheeled cart, and a foldable subsidiary ladder was subsequently added on top of the main ladder.

The siege ladder cart became obsolete in Ming Dynasty due to the introduction of cannons and other firearms.
 

Thegn Ansgar

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
5,637
Canada
Here is the siege ladder cart, another commonly used ancient Chinese siege weapon. It's Chinese name is "雲梯", literally translated as "cloud ladder".




Legend states that the "cloud ladder" was invented in the Spring and Autumn period by the famous carpenter of the Lu kingdom named Gongshu Ban (公輸班), commonly known as Lu Ban (鲁班).

During the Tang and Song dynasties, the cloud ladder received several modifications. The main ladder was fixed on a six-wheeled cart, and a foldable subsidiary ladder was subsequently added on top of the main ladder.

The siege ladder cart became obsolete in Ming Dynasty due to the introduction of cannons and other firearms.

And the significant of this scaling ladder that makes it superior to other scaling ladders, is the fact that it cannot easily be knocked down or away from the walls by simply pushing it.
 

HackneyedScribe

Ad Honorem
Feb 2011
6,494
Earliest depiction of a siege ladder from ~Spring&Autumn era, but unfortunately this doesn't show much:



Also notice how the pikes are held overhand. The arrows are stuck into the ground like what the British Longbowmen did, which increases the chance of infection when the arrow draws blood.
 
Jun 2013
5
Vietnam



Reconnoitre is important both in modern and in ancient warfares. Before a siege begins, generals need to know the terrains around the enemy city and the structures inside the city.

In ancient times, there were no radars and no planes, so it seemed that ancient people didn't have any tools for reconnoitre. Well, that's not true, because the ancient Chinese came up with this bizarre-looking cart, and it was specifically designed for reconnoitre.

This cart was called "Chao Che", literally means "Nest Cart". It was a huge eight-wheeled cart mounted with two tall wooden poles. A small wooden house was attached between the poles, and it served as a belvedere. A pulley would pull the house up and down. The house could contain two soldiers, and these soldiers would hide in this house to observe the situation inside the enemy city, hence this reconnoitre cart had to be taller than the walls of ancient Chinese cities.

This kind of reconnoitre cart probably appeared during Tang Dynasty.
I've read mentions about this in Three Kingdoms Romance. It was a war between Cao Cao and Yuan Shao. Cao Cao made these and looked all over Yuan Shao's camp. Yuan Shao order someone (I forgot him) to make catapults to break these. It was the first mention of catapults in Chinese literature.
 
Jun 2013
5
Vietnam
In ancient China, nunchuks and flails were also used for defending city walls. Flails were originally agricultural tools, but later they were modified to be used for defending city walls. The defenders would wield the flail to hit the head of climbing enemy soldiers.

Here is a Chinese three-section flail:

can you repost this? the link is dead... and many others too. Thanks :D
 

HackneyedScribe

Ad Honorem
Feb 2011
6,494
I've read mentions about this in Three Kingdoms Romance. It was a war between Cao Cao and Yuan Shao. Cao Cao made these and looked all over Yuan Shao's camp. Yuan Shao order someone (I forgot him) to make catapults to break these. It was the first mention of catapults in Chinese literature.
You have it the other way around. Yuan Shao built archery towers around Cao Cao's camp, so that archers could constantly harass Cao Cao's army with arrows (So these weren't nest carts as nest carts have no direct offensive purpose. ). Cao Cao built catapults to destroy the towers.

Plus the first mention of trebuchets came in the Mozi (400-300 BC), which is at least 500 years before Cao Cao. The Mozi also mentioned building ballistas as a counter to the nest cart.
 
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kazeuma

Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
2,371
There was also the "fire wolves". It was an easy concept, take a dog / wolf wrap it in small leather armor lined with gunpowder, the dog / wolf would be sent into the enemy....

And...

Well, it combined the power of a trained attack dog with a suicide bomber vest.
 
Dec 2011
3,492
Mountains and Jungles of Southern China
There was also the "fire wolves". It was an easy concept, take a dog / wolf wrap it in small leather armor lined with gunpowder, the dog / wolf would be sent into the enemy....

And...

Well, it combined the power of a trained attack dog with a suicide bomber vest.
Really? I have never heard that the ancient Chinese used the fire wolves, but I know that they used fire oxens.
 
May 2019
2
Europe
A similar ancient Chinese weapon used for similar purposes was called Ye Cha Lei (夜叉擂), or the Malevolent Wood (correct me if my translation is wrong). Here is a picture of the Malevolent Wood and the Wolf Teeth Striker (the left one is the Malevolent Wood, and the right one is the Wolf Teeth Striker):



As you can see, the Malevolent Wood is basically a large cylindrical hardwood with many spikes on its sides. It would be devastating if the climbing enemy soldiers were hit by these spiky weapons.

Hello,

I'm sorry for bringing this old thread up, but I have one question. I was watching Korean movie The Great Battle. At some point in the movie they are using Malevolent Wood and Wolf Teeth Striker defensive weapons. In the movie the Wolf Teeth Striker looks the same as the right one on the picture that purakjelia posted. But the Malevolent Wood is not like the left one, but it is a hanging rock.

I attached screenshot from movie. I don't understand Korean so maybe the English translation (subtitles) is not correct, but can someone tell me if this hanging rock device you can see on the screenshot in red circle, has an English name? Or is it also called Malevolent Wood?

1.png
 
Jul 2014
1,613
world
Hello,

I'm sorry for bringing this old thread up, but I have one question. I was watching Korean movie The Great Battle. At some point in the movie they are using Malevolent Wood and Wolf Teeth Striker defensive weapons. In the movie the Wolf Teeth Striker looks the same as the right one on the picture that purakjelia posted. But the Malevolent Wood is not like the left one, but it is a hanging rock.

I attached screenshot from movie. I don't understand Korean so maybe the English translation (subtitles) is not correct, but can someone tell me if this hanging rock device you can see on the screenshot in red circle, has an English name? Or is it also called Malevolent Wood?

View attachment 20032
We have some stone piercing arrows here. Why cant movies anywhere get anything right ?