During Medieval times, Europe was constantly engaged in battle. The need for strong military and warfare strategies was great.
In Medieval Europe, there were four types of soldiers on the battlefield:
Foot soldiers were usually peasants forced to fight by their lords. They had little to no training. Mercenary warriors were talented and experienced men who were paid for their service. As early as the 12th century, Europe was already using vast numbers of mercenary warriors in their army. These skilled and obedient men were usually sold to the highest bidder.
Life on the move for soldiers was tough and uncomfortable. Soldiers were only allowed to bring a few personal belongings, their equipment, and their military outfit with them as they traveled. Every day, they would walk a minimum of six miles a day. A meal, let alone a hot one, was extremely rare. Even when food and supplies were available, the amounts were meager.
foot soldier outfit in the late 15th century------buckler (a type of shield used to deflect attacks)------ knight armor------simple metal sword
For protection in times of war, the Europeans built walls, citadels, forts, and sometimes castles around central important cities. These cities needed a good source of water in case of a blockade. Underground tunnels were commonly used to transport water into the city, communicate, and hold storage items. Before the invention of gun powder was discovered, the attacking city usually had the disadvantage against the defensive protecting side.
The Europeans based their battle styles on that of the Germans, who based their methods on those of the Romans. The Europeans learned to use:
Surprisingly, these few adjustments made a difference in the outcome of war every time.
Sieges were a form of battle. One strategy was to guard the fort, blocking all exits, while the people inside starved or suffered from a plague. This was easy, but could take months. The defendants would have to exhaust their supplies first. Meanwhile, however, the enemy would need to provide for themselves, which could be costly. If not prepared correctly, this plan could result in death on the attacking side.
Another strategy in a siege was to surround the fort and slowly destroy it piece by piece. Since forts were well built, it was dangerous for the attacker to actually invade all at one; there would be many deaths. Instead, the attackers would catapult the walls and tunnels, assault the fort with arrows and fire, and send small groups of men to fight at a time, but even this method was not usually successful.
Torture was pretty common in Medieval Europe. The torture methods used were harsh and extremely painful. They were used for extracting information and killing or humiliating the subject. They were also used as amusement to the people or punishment of crime. Some of these tortures included the Chair of Torture, flagellation, and the Brank. The Chair of Torture consisted of a heated chair with up to 1,500 sharp spikes. The subject was tied to the chair and was slowly impaled and burned. This method was used to kill or get information from the victim. Flagellation, also known as whipping, was a favorite in Medieval times. It was mostly used as punishment, but could sometimes result in death. In flagellation, the subject was tied to a pole and whipped repeatedly across his bare skin. Another form of torture was the Brank. The Brank was a metal cage for the head. If people gossiped, the Brank was placed on their head to show everybody of their misdeed. The Brank was device worn for life, and it usually contained a spike that drilled into one's skull whenever the subject talked.
Horses were very popular in medieval times, not only in Europe. The horses used during this period were noticeably smaller than normal. They were separated into four different categories:
Horses were used for war, agriculture, and transport. War horses were more expensive and prized than riding, cart, and pack horses. The Europeans were especially known for using Stallions in war, for their breed is generally more aggressive. However, in battle, the stallions often fought each other.