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1274.—Moveable Towers of Archers, Cannon, etc. more
(Royal MS. 14 Edw. IV)
A few words by way of appendage to this part of our subject may here be devoted to the subject of our engravings, representing the storming of a fort (Fig. 1251), the siege of a town (Fig. 1252), and the chief machines used on such occasions, namely, the breaching and the moveable towers (Figs. 1253 and 1274). Cannon we see were now [14th Century] in constant use. The art of attacking fortified places was greatly advanced by the English during the period under review, as the French had found to their cost when Henry V. was among them. Every town that he attacked he took; a fact that forms a striking contrast to the state of things but a few years before, when, for instance, Edward III. was kept for a whole twelvemonth before Calais, wasting his resources and losing his temper. Henry’s engineers, it appears, drew their lines of contravallation and circumvallation, approached by entrenchments, ran their secret mine through the bowels of the earth, battered the walls with rams as well as artillery, showered darts, stones, and bullets over the ramparts and their defenders.” (p. 382)
Here we see the moveable tower, or siege tower, on wheels, with a large array of planks mounted as a shield to deflect arrows or other missiles; soldiers fire cannon and arrows at the town walls, which, like those of a castle, are castellated to provide battlements. In the distance we see the spires of a medieval cathedral, as well as turrets and towers of a castle.