The army of Alexander the Great successfully deployed siege towers in its attacks against fortifications.
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Important cities had already been surrounded by defensive walls in Ancient times. Anyone who wanted to attack such fortifications needed new devices, called siege engines, to break or circumvent the walls. Catapults were effective when attacking from a distance, but for the ultimate success, soldiers had to get close to the walls. Scaling ladders, battering rams and siege towers were used for this purpose. The first recorded users of siege towers were the Assyrians, later other nations, including the Macedonians, also deployed these in sieges.
The function of siege towers is to transport soldiers safely to the besieged site and then provide an effective means of attacking the walls. Siege towers were tall structures, consisting of several levels. They were usually built on chassis with wheels. Soldiers used internal ladders to climb the tower, then a drawbridge was dropped onto the wall. Troops could then rush onto the walls and into the castle or city. In order to protect the soldiers, siege towers were protected by walls on at least three sides.
Their main building material was wood, so the defenders of the besieged sites often tried to set the attacking siege towers on fire with burning arrows or incendiary projectiles. Therefore siege towers were usually covered with fireproof materials, for example, wet animal hides.