What is the purpose of a ballista? When is it better than a catapult?

What is the purpose of a ballista? When is it better than a catapult?

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  1. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    What is the purpose of a mortar? When is it better than a howitzer?

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      fpbp

      A Ballista IS a catapult you fricking moron, 'Catapulta' was the generic name for siege engines and Ballista specifically referred to stone throwers.

      >Ballista specifically referred to stone throwers
      moron alert

      In simple terms
      A. It could break enemy formation, which was important because armies or elements of armies would often spend hours in standoff behind their shield walls before a battle.
      B. It was important in defending forts, because it could smash a turtle formation or the shielding over a ram.
      C. It scared the frick out of everyone, making even commanders and officers who could afford heavy armour look cowardly. Nobody was marshalling troops from the front if the enemy had a balista.
      D. It countered knights with lances, heavy shields, any other stupid expensive toy an enemy might wheel at your formation.

      The Romans only carried a few of them, they were sort of meta weapon existing less because it was needed and more to stop the enemy adopting certain tactics

      >A
      >B
      yes
      >C
      debatable, because ballistae were far better employed in "browning" the enemy ie firing at a mass of assembled men, rather than aiming at a point target like a commander; it didn't have the requisite accuracy
      >D
      debatable because the Romans didn't have to fight any knights with heavy armour

      https://i.imgur.com/ZhuiXiJ.jpg

      Trebuchet refers to a specific type of medieval counterweight-operated catapult.
      Ballistae that the Roman built may remble crossbows but they work differently. A crossbow (or any bow for that matter) works by bending the limbs, a torsion catapult like a Roman ballista has its limbs embedded in a rope coil that is tightened as the limbs (who don't bend in any appreciable way) are drawn back. Romans used ballistae to launch both bolts as well as round stones.
      The Romans also had other types of catapults, see for example ant-picrelated. An onager with only one, big torsion coil and one limb or throwing arm. It works the same way as a medieval trebuchet: it's a giant staff-sling. The throwing arm swings the pouch suspended on a hook at its end and flings whatever was in the pouch forwards. Their only difference is (in addition to size) how the throwing arm is moved; torsion vs. counterweight.

      effortpost

  2. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Are you moronic or do you just pretend for the lulz?

  3. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    A Ballista IS a catapult you fricking moron, 'Catapulta' was the generic name for siege engines and Ballista specifically referred to stone throwers.

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      >Ballista specifically referred to stone throwers
      false. catapult and ballista are the greek and latin names for the same thing. pic related, it's a the head of a roman ballista bolt embedded in a skeleton

  4. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    same use as a cannon before a cannon existed
    /thread

  5. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    What you're thinking of as a Catapult had absolutely piss for range.

  6. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    I think you mean "trebuchet". Ballistae are basically giant crossbows, and are used in a similar fashion: they throw a very big arrow a fairly long distance, with enough power to penetrate most forms of contemporary armor (and do massive impact damage if they fail to penetrate). They're not common, because they're heavy and bulky in an age of most gear being transported by foot, but there are occasions like the Roman Scorpion where they see reasonably common use as a semi-portable field artillery piece.

    Trebuchets are siege weapons, and generally purpose-built on site, then dismantled when the siege ends. Portable siege artillery doesn't really become a thing until cannon metallurgy improves their power/weight enough that they can be put on wheels and brought on campaign, with field artillery requiring even *better* metallurgy that takes a few more centuries.

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      Ballista could also be made to fire round projectiles.

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      Trebuchet refers to a specific type of medieval counterweight-operated catapult.
      Ballistae that the Roman built may remble crossbows but they work differently. A crossbow (or any bow for that matter) works by bending the limbs, a torsion catapult like a Roman ballista has its limbs embedded in a rope coil that is tightened as the limbs (who don't bend in any appreciable way) are drawn back. Romans used ballistae to launch both bolts as well as round stones.
      The Romans also had other types of catapults, see for example ant-picrelated. An onager with only one, big torsion coil and one limb or throwing arm. It works the same way as a medieval trebuchet: it's a giant staff-sling. The throwing arm swings the pouch suspended on a hook at its end and flings whatever was in the pouch forwards. Their only difference is (in addition to size) how the throwing arm is moved; torsion vs. counterweight.

  7. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    In simple terms
    A. It could break enemy formation, which was important because armies or elements of armies would often spend hours in standoff behind their shield walls before a battle.
    B. It was important in defending forts, because it could smash a turtle formation or the shielding over a ram.
    C. It scared the frick out of everyone, making even commanders and officers who could afford heavy armour look cowardly. Nobody was marshalling troops from the front if the enemy had a balista.
    D. It countered knights with lances, heavy shields, any other stupid expensive toy an enemy might wheel at your formation.

    The Romans only carried a few of them, they were sort of meta weapon existing less because it was needed and more to stop the enemy adopting certain tactics

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      >It countered knights with lances, heavy shields, any other stupid expensive toy an enemy might wheel at your formation.
      It really didn't.

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      moron.

  8. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    >why not a catapult
    Balista could be very small, because the force of the arms was symmetrical it could be quiet light. Effectively it was crew served. The power of one of these is terrifying even for the user. They were also very accurate, it was entirely viable to fire at a single enemy and the ammo was cheap enough that there was really nothing that wasn't worth firing at.
    The rock wasn't just cheaper than the bolt, it was ballistically stable at any weight and could bounce through enemy ranks breaking the legs of six different guys. Though it's sectional density was lower it would have been harder to bring to a dead stop

    A catapult was so powrrfull that it took ten men to crew, and was an enormous liability because of how long it took to move. It was also seriously limited in the angle at which it could fire properly.
    The catapult was really just a seige weapon, used to demolish gates and walls an enemy thought they could hide behind forever.

    • 3 weeks ago
      Anonymous

      >t. slept through history class, and is proud of it.

  9. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Another notable feature of the Balista was that it was often mounted on ships, and was a deadly Naval weapon. Catapults were often mounted on ships as well but performed poorly as they couldn't really be stabilised on a moving ship.
    Balista were mounted on chariots, carts, siege towers (to great effect).

    Some were powerful enough to throw a 60kg stone, some had a range of more than a mile. Scary today, godlike at the time. The Romans took Greek engineering and created weapons that had godlike power, the Roman legion could build a fort overnight, throw stones into a town a mile away, had armour no bronze spear could penetrate.
    If you were a barbarian, you'd think your town was under attack by giants, wizards and ghosts.

  10. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Ballista ARE catapults.

  11. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Ballista were more precise. Depending on how consistent the ammo was you could hit the same section of wall shot after shot. For most pre-gunpowder artillery you were lucky to hit the same castle shot after shot.

  12. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Its for sieges primarily used on top of fortifications

  13. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    its for a use that never existed. back in roman times they were afraid of mythology and thought giants and orcs were real so they made weapons to fight them

  14. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    It’s a siege crossbow. They were mounted primarily on towers and have great range. Not quite a trebuchet, but they fire flatter and that can be important. It can do some damage to enemy siege weapons or knights or tents or random dickbags from out of the range of archers.

  15. 3 weeks ago
    Anonymous

    Without having any definitive proof, I speculate that they would be more accurate for anti-personnel uses. If you're besieging a position that doesn't have them, you could put one of these things up on a mount higher than the walls and prevent enemy troops from occupying the part you're trying to attack. This theory hinges on it being more accurate than a bucket and throwing arm type catapult, but I think it would be.

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