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8-08-2015, 16:01

Scaling the Walls

The final assault on the castle usually depended on breaching the walls, but it could also be achieved by simply climbing the wall. Scaling ladders and ropes might be used beside or in place of siege towers. Attached by grappling hooks to the walls, they could be countered by men at the top of the wall who pushed the ladders off with poles, or cut the ropes, or simply chopped off the hands of those climbing when they reached the top of the walls. Ladders might be brought up to the wall in pieces, as was the plan in a sneak attack on Edinburgh Castle in the eighteenth century. This attack failed when one of the men failed to show up with his section of the ladder. The plotters tried to scale the wall anyway by using the sections they did have, but their ladder did not reach the top of the wall. Such demonstrations of human frailty and incompetence balance tales of daring and skill.