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Sports Science:  Ray Lewis Vs. Battering Ram
Sports Science: Ray Lewis Vs. Battering Ram
Published: 2009/11/28
Channel: rockboy1138
A 50 LB Battering Ram is No Match for the OnGARD Security Door Brace
A 50 LB Battering Ram is No Match for the OnGARD Security Door Brace
Published: 2014/02/27
Channel: OnGARD Home Security Products
6 Second Tactical APB Battering Ram Breaching
6 Second Tactical APB Battering Ram Breaching
Published: 2010/04/25
Channel: 6SecondTactical
Battering Ram - Black Label Society
Battering Ram - Black Label Society
Published: 2009/02/25
Channel: Sean Rossick
SAXON - Battering Ram (Official Video)
SAXON - Battering Ram (Official Video)
Published: 2015/07/31
Channel: Silver Lining Music
Battering Ram Cam - Crime blitz continues across Sandwell
Battering Ram Cam - Crime blitz continues across Sandwell
Published: 2015/05/01
Channel: West Midlands Police
Battering Ram Feature - Multi-Force Forcible Entry Door Simulator
Battering Ram Feature - Multi-Force Forcible Entry Door Simulator
Published: 2016/05/11
Channel: Dave Collado
NEW TROOP x48 OVERKILL!! | Clash Of Clans | ALL BATTERING RAMS
NEW TROOP x48 OVERKILL!! | Clash Of Clans | ALL BATTERING RAMS
Published: 2017/08/04
Channel: Godson - Clash of clans - Clash royale
Lakewood SRT SWAT Special Response Team Training Bearcat Battering Ram   The Lakewood Scoop
Lakewood SRT SWAT Special Response Team Training Bearcat Battering Ram The Lakewood Scoop
Published: 2013/11/29
Channel: thelakewoodscoop
Tactical Battering Ram build and test
Tactical Battering Ram build and test
Published: 2016/09/17
Channel: Ironclad Industries
Battering Ram
Battering Ram
Published: 2017/10/20
Channel: Black Label Society - Topic
Battering Ram
Battering Ram
Published: 2016/04/08
Channel: Black Label Society - Topic
Battering Ram
Battering Ram
Published: 2017/10/19
Channel: Black Label Society - Topic
The Pack A.D. - Battering Ram [Official Music Video]
The Pack A.D. - Battering Ram [Official Music Video]
Published: 2013/08/27
Channel: ThePackad
Battle Castle: host Dan Snow feels the power of Malbork Castle
Battle Castle: host Dan Snow feels the power of Malbork Castle's battering ram
Published: 2012/03/05
Channel: Battle Castle
Physics Siege Engines System - Battering ram
Physics Siege Engines System - Battering ram
Published: 2016/11/13
Channel: Vision of the World
Iron Savior-Battering Ram
Iron Savior-Battering Ram
Published: 2008/01/04
Channel: mashinaria
Battering Ram - West Clare Jig - Jim Wards Jig
Battering Ram - West Clare Jig - Jim Wards Jig
Published: 2012/11/06
Channel: CQLProductionsMusic
Police fails to batter down door, then asks to be let in by suspect
Police fails to batter down door, then asks to be let in by suspect
Published: 2014/01/30
Channel: HFraguas
Saxon - Battering Ram Full HD 1080
Saxon - Battering Ram Full HD 1080
Published: 2015/10/21
Channel: Musicc Booster
The Troll with the battering ram on it
The Troll with the battering ram on it's head.
Published: 2015/01/11
Channel: Daniel Roberts
Human battering ram charges into ice blocks for world record attempt - Guinness World Records
Human battering ram charges into ice blocks for world record attempt - Guinness World Records
Published: 2017/03/03
Channel: Guinness World Records
Paratech
Paratech's Modular Battering Ram (MBR)
Published: 2011/02/11
Channel: paratechinc
WIE FUNKTIONIERT BATTERING RAM? | ShellShock Live #419 | [HD+]
WIE FUNKTIONIERT BATTERING RAM? | ShellShock Live #419 | [HD+]
Published: 2017/10/17
Channel: Der Michi
Skya
Skya's Battering Ram | DINOTRUX
Published: 2016/04/06
Channel: DreamWorksTV
Battering Ram
Battering Ram
Published: 2016/09/24
Channel: REPENT
Scrap Mechanic! - BATTERING RAM CHALLENGE! Vs AshDubh - [#20] | Gameplay |
Scrap Mechanic! - BATTERING RAM CHALLENGE! Vs AshDubh - [#20] | Gameplay |
Published: 2016/04/19
Channel: iBallisticSquid
Irish Rebel Songs by The Battering Ram -
Irish Rebel Songs by The Battering Ram - 'British Army'
Published: 2016/06/12
Channel: theworldmusicplanet
Angry Woman Becomes a Human Battering Ram | The Jeremy Kyle Show
Angry Woman Becomes a Human Battering Ram | The Jeremy Kyle Show
Published: 2015/10/15
Channel: The Jeremy Kyle Show
Medieval Engineers - Trebuchet, Scattershot, Battering Ram!
Medieval Engineers - Trebuchet, Scattershot, Battering Ram!
Published: 2015/02/14
Channel: Etalyx
Door Reinforcement Kit That Can Stand Up To a Battering Ram!
Door Reinforcement Kit That Can Stand Up To a Battering Ram!
Published: 2017/05/04
Channel: myproductreviews1
Workshop Item Demonstration: Battering Ram
Workshop Item Demonstration: Battering Ram
Published: 2015/10/02
Channel: Karma Charger
The Battering Ram — The Foggy Dew
The Battering Ram — The Foggy Dew
Published: 2017/02/16
Channel: Darcio Rundvalt
The BATTERING RAM! | The END of FRIENDSHIPS (Shellshock Live w/ Friends)
The BATTERING RAM! | The END of FRIENDSHIPS (Shellshock Live w/ Friends)
Published: 2017/04/07
Channel: CriousGamers (Chilled Chaos)
BATTERING RAM - Crash of Cars
BATTERING RAM - Crash of Cars
Published: 2017/07/14
Channel: Casual Mobile Gaming
Battering Ram - Tim Timebomb and Friends
Battering Ram - Tim Timebomb and Friends
Published: 2013/01/11
Channel: Tim Timebomb
battering ram
battering ram
Published: 2016/11/20
Channel: jarekwally
Medieval Engineers - The Battering Ram!
Medieval Engineers - The Battering Ram!
Published: 2015/02/22
Channel: TheGrumpySpanner
Human Battering Ram | Car Stunt Fail
Human Battering Ram | Car Stunt Fail
Published: 2015/07/24
Channel: JukinVideo
SAXON - Battering Ram (EPK)
SAXON - Battering Ram (EPK)
Published: 2015/10/14
Channel: Silver Lining Music
Rancid - Battering Ram
Rancid - Battering Ram
Published: 2010/06/22
Channel: NixGut14
SAXON - Battering Ram (Live In Munich 2015)
SAXON - Battering Ram (Live In Munich 2015)
Published: 2016/10/10
Channel: Silver Lining Music
ROLLING BATTERING RAM From 2 Dollar Store Wood Kits (DM
ROLLING BATTERING RAM From 2 Dollar Store Wood Kits (DM's Craft #140)
Published: 2015/11/23
Channel: TheDMsCraft
Rancid - Battering Ram
Rancid - Battering Ram
Published: 2010/07/23
Channel: JourneyToTheEnd666
Battering Ram (Jig)
Battering Ram (Jig)
Published: 2013/10/13
Channel: The Whistler
The Battering Ram Off-Ride HD Busch Gardens Williamsburg
The Battering Ram Off-Ride HD Busch Gardens Williamsburg
Published: 2013/08/27
Channel: Coaster Studios
[Killing Floor 2] SWAT - Battering Ram in a nutshell
[Killing Floor 2] SWAT - Battering Ram in a nutshell
Published: 2016/08/25
Channel: GeneralMcBadass
Irish Rebel Songs The Battering Ram -
Irish Rebel Songs The Battering Ram - 'General Munro' Irish Folk
Published: 2013/04/15
Channel: theworldmusicplanet
Minecraft Tutorial: Medieval Battering Ram!
Minecraft Tutorial: Medieval Battering Ram!
Published: 2015/08/21
Channel: Jeracraft
Battering Ram
Battering Ram
Published: 2015/06/26
Channel: Wisdom in Golf Premium
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WIKIPEDIA ARTICLE

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Medieval battering ram in Italy.
Replica battering ram at Baba Vida, Vidin, Bulgaria
An Assyrian battering ram attacking an enemy city.
Replica battering ram at Château des Baux, France.

A battering ram is a siege engine that originated in ancient times and designed to break open the masonry walls of fortifications or splinter their wooden gates.

In its simplest form, a battering ram is just a large, heavy log carried by several people and propelled with force against an obstacle; the ram would be sufficient to damage the target if the log were massive enough and/or it were moved quickly enough (that is, if it had enough momentum). Later rams encased the log in an arrow-proof, fire-resistant canopy mounted on wheels. Inside the canopy, the log was swung from suspensory chains or ropes.

Rams proved effective weapons of war because old fashioned wall-building materials such as stone and brick were weak in tension, and therefore prone to cracking when impacted with force. With repeated blows, the cracks would grow steadily until a hole was created. Eventually, a breach would appear in the fabric of the wall—enabling armed attackers to force their way through the gap and engage the inhabitants of the citadel.

The introduction in the later Middle Ages of siege cannons, which harnessed the explosive power of gunpowder to propel weighty stone or iron balls against fortified obstacles, spelled the end of battering rams and other traditional siege weapons. Smaller, hand-held versions of battering rams are still used today by law enforcement officers and military personnel to bash open locked doors.

Design[edit]

During the Iron Age, in the ancient Middle East and Mediterranean, the battering ram's log was slung from a wheeled frame by ropes or chains so that it could be made more massive and be more easily bashed against its target. Frequently, the ram's point would be reinforced with a metal head or cap while vulnerable parts of the shaft were bound with strengthening metal bands. Vitruvius details in his text On Architecture that Ceras the Carthaginian was the first to make a ram with a wooden base with wheels and a wooden superstructure. Within this the ram was hung so that it could be used against the wall. This structure moved so slowly, however, that he called it the testudo (the Latin word for "tortoise").[1]

Another type of ram was one that maintained the normal shape and structure, but the support beams were instead made of saplings that were lashed together. The frame was then covered in hides as normal to defend from fire. The only solid beam present was the actual ram that was hung from the frame. The frame itself was so light that it could be carried on the shoulders of the men transporting the ram, and the same men could beat the ram against the wall when they reached it.[2]

Many battering rams possessed curved or slanted wooden roofs and side-screens covered in protective materials, usually fresh wet hides, presumably skinned from animals eaten by the besiegers. These hide canopies stopped the ram from being set on fire. They also safeguarded the operators of the ram against arrow and spear volleys launched from above.

A well-known image of an Assyrian battering ram depicts how sophisticated attacking and defensive practices had become by the 9th century BC. The defenders of a town wall are trying to set the ram alight with torches and have also put a chain under it. The attackers are trying to pull on the chain to free the ram, while the aforementioned wet hides on the canopy provide protection against the flames.

The first confirmed employment of rams in the Occident happened from 503 to 502 BC when Opiter Verginius became consul of the Romans during the fight against Aurunci people:

Soldier in a first line followed Opiter Verginius, next to them, there were battering-rams (vinea) which were used for war

— Livy, Ab urbe condita, History of Rome, Book II, Chapter 17

Second appeared in 427 BC, when the Spartans besieged Plataea.[3] The first use of rams within the actual Mediterranean Basin, featuring in this case the simultaneous employment of siege towers to shelter the rammers from attack, occurred on the island of Sicily in 409 BC, at the Selinus siege.[4]

Defenders manning castles, forts or bastions would sometimes try to foil battering rams by dropping obstacles in front of the ram, such as a large sack of sawdust, just before the ram's head struck a wall or gate, or by using grappling hooks to immobilize the ram's log. Alternatively, the ram could be set ablaze, doused in fire-heated sand, pounded by boulders dropped from battlements or invested by a rapid sally of troops.

Some battering rams were not slung from ropes or chains, but were instead supported by rollers. This allowed the ram to achieve a greater speed before striking its target, making it more destructive. Such a ram, as used by Alexander the Great, is described by the writer Vitruvius.

Alternatives to the battering ram included the drill, the sapper's mouse, the pick, the siege hook, and the hunting ram. These devices were smaller than a ram and could be used in confined spaces.

Famous sieges[edit]

Battering rams had an important effect on the evolution of defensive walls, which were constructed ever more ingeniously in a bid to nullify the effects of siege engines. Historical instances of the usage of battering rams in sieges of major cities include:

There is a popular myth in Gloucester that the famous children's rhyme, Humpty Dumpty, is about a battering ram used in the siege of Gloucester in 1643, during the English Civil War. However, the story is almost certainly untrue; during the siege, which lasted only one month, no battering rams were used, although many cannons were. The idea seems to have originated in a spoof history essay by Professor David Daube written for The Oxford Magazine in 1956, which was widely believed despite obvious improbabilities (e.g., planning to cross River Severn by running the ram down a hill at speed, although the river is about 30 m (100 feet) wide at this point).

A capped ram is a battering ram that has an accessory at the head (usually made of iron or steel and sometimes punningly shaped into the head and horns of an ovine ram) to do more damage to a building. It was much more effective at destroying enemy walls and buildings than an uncapped ram but was heavier to carry.

Use in mining[edit]

Pliny the Elder in his Naturalis Historia describes a battering ram used in mining, where hard rock needed to be broken down to release the ore. The pole possessed a metal tip weighing 150 pounds, so the whole device will have weighed at least twice as much in order to preserve its balance. Whether or not it was supported by being suspended with ropes from a frame remains unknown, but very likely given its total weight. Such devices were used during coal mining in the 19th century in Great Britain before the widespread use of explosives, which were expensive and dangerous to use in practice.

Modern use[edit]

A modern battering ram.

Battering rams still have a use in modern times. SWAT teams and other police forces often employ small, one-man or two-man metal rams for forcing open locked portals or effecting a door breaching. Modern battering rams sometimes incorporate a cylinder, along the length of which a piston fires automatically upon striking a hard object, thus enhancing the momentum of the impact significantly.[5]

In fiction[edit]

In The Lord of the Rings, an enchanted battering ram named Grond was used to assault the Great Gate of Minas Tirith. It was 150 feet long and capped with an iron wolf's head.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Humphrey, John W. Oleson, John P. Sherwood, Andrew N. "Greek and Roman Technology: A Sourcebook". Routledge, 1998, p. 565.
  2. ^ Humphrey, John W. Oleson, John P. Sherwood, Andrew N. "Greek and Roman Technology: A Sourcebook". Routledge, 1998, p. 566.
  3. ^ Tucidides, II, 76.
  4. ^ Diodorus the Siculus, XIII, 43-62.
  5. ^ USUS20090199613A1 US Abandoned US20090199613A1, "Battering ram" 

External links[edit]

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