The longest sieges of fortresses

History 2023

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The longest sieges of fortresses
The longest sieges of fortresses
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The colossal walls of the historic mega-fortresses stand as they did thousands of years ago when they were built. Billions of tons of stone and clay all over the planet proudly remind of the mysterious past, of the past full of surprises, of the famous sieges of fortresses. Stories about the people who built them or tried to tear them down, about those who founded the countries and the world in which we live. To learn these stories, we will travel to a time when people fought and built to rule the world.

Confrontation between Romans and Gauls

In 55 B.C. e. the most famous Roman emperor, Julius Caesar, invaded foreign lands with 80,000-strong army of well-trained soldiers. He craved fame. Glory of the great Roman conqueror and money, booty. He commanded one of the finest armies to fight on the battlefield. But the Roman military had to face their worst enemies - the Gauls. It was an invincible enemy. Gauls are experienced military men. On the battlefield, they were worthy opponents of the Romans. For 6 years of bloody battles, neither side has won. Caesar's soldiers were exhausted, but still ready to fight to the death in battle with the enemy. The Gauls had a no less famous leader - Vercingetorig. He foughtnot because of slaves or booty, but for their native land. In 52, the Gauls united and gathered at the hilltop fortress of Alesia. Caesar's army surrounded the city. The future of Europe hung in the balance.

Romans and Gauls

Caesar's victory

Both armies were preparing for the decisive battle. Caesar had to take Alesia, otherwise everything he had achieved in the previous 6 years would have gone to waste. Caesar then made a decision unique in military history to lay down his arms. The Gauls were trapped in Alesia. The siege of the fortress began. To starve the enemy to death, Caesar ordered the construction of a fortified palisade and completely surrounded the city with it. 20 km of the palisade were built in 3 weeks. However, the Gauls managed to call for reinforcements from all over the country. To defend against them, Caesar had to build a second wall around the first and barricade himself between these two walls. From there, he could successfully repel attacks from outside and finish off enemies inside the fortress.

Vercingetorig, left without provisions and reinforcements, surrendered after 5 days. After such a victory, nothing could stop Caesar's ambitions. He became the dictator of Rome and founded the Roman Empire.

British fortress siege

5,000 km from this place is the fortress from which Great Britain began. Medieval Britain was a world of knights, violence and aggressive conquest through castles. The battlefield was Wales. Here the rebellious barons opposed King Edward I. Many participated in two wars - against the king and against other barons. One of them built the majestic Kenfig Castle. His name wasGilbert de Clare.

Britain was a very turbulent place at the time. Everyone tried to grab a piece of land. Gilbert de Clare was a powerful and influential baron. His worst enemy was his neighbor Llywelyn ap Gruffydd. Gilbert built a castle on Llywelyn's land. It was a castle with a moat, which did not allow to fit siege weapons. In addition, it was equipped with a drawbridge, which was set in motion at the slightest threat of attack. No siege of the fortress threatened the inhabitants. The people in the castle were completely safe. Nobody took Kenfig, he became a local landmark.

Fortress in the UK

Ivangorod fortress

Speaking of the great sieges of fortresses, one cannot fail to mention Ivangorodskaya. Having built St. Petersburg on the banks of the Neva, Peter the Great opened a window to Europe. But long before him, the sovereign of all Russia, Prince Ivan III, who brought the Russian lands together, was the first of the Russian rulers to cut, if not a window, then a reliable loophole to Europe. By his order, in 1492, the construction of a fortress began, which was popularly called the “City of a Horseskin”. In the summer of 1496, Ivangorod had to take the first blow - the Swedish army arrived on the Narova River on 70 boats. Ivangorod fought heroically, but the forces were unequal. After a long assault, the fortress fell. The Swedes ravaged the city and took away 300 captives. The failure forced Ivan III to fortify the city. Ivangorod residents were constantly ready for war. The feuds between the Russian fortress and Narva were constantly going on. In 1557, the Livonian Knights violated the peace and firedcity. In response, Narva was occupied by Russian troops for 10 years. After the Livonian Order entered into an alliance with Sweden, the Swedes became the main opponents of the Ivangorod fortress.

Ivangorod fortress

Siege of Szigetvar

Sieges and defenses of fortresses were at all times. One of the most significant events in medieval Europe was the siege of the Hungarian fortress of Szigetvar. In 1566, a large Turkish army approached its walls. The defenders of the fortress numbering a little more than 2 thousand soldiers flatly refused to surrender to the conquerors. The small fortress became the only obstacle on the way of the Turks to Vienna. The siege lasted a whole month. In the end, no more than 300 soldiers and their families survived. Then the soldiers were ordered to kill their wives and children so that they would not be captured by the enemy and would not suffer. The soldiers complied with the order and continued to fight to the last. The long siege of the fortress was finally over. The Ottoman army captured it, but lost more than 30 thousand soldiers in that battle. Exhausted warriors were forced to retreat and return home.

Siege of Szigetvar

Siege of Leningrad

This siege of the Russian fortress turned out to be one of the longest and most terrible confrontations. The fascist army could not immediately capture the city. As a result, Leningrad was surrounded, and a blockade began, which lasted 872 days.

Leningrad blockade

All this time, the inhabitants steadfastly endured all the hardships - cold, hunger and bombing. The only way of communication was the so-called Road of Life,through which clothes and food were delivered to the city.

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