Roman Scorpio-Ballista in use during the late 1700’s

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    Oliver Shankland

    I’ve have a certain theory.

    While thinking about battle tactics of the American Revolution (especially artillery) I had a thought.

    Why didn’t the respective armies of the era use weapons such as the Roman Scorpio?

    I think these weapons would be hugely effective on the battlefields of the time as the Scorpio had a very long range and shot a huge iron headed wooden bolt.
    Surely a unit of these weapons in capable hands could decimate a company of aproaching line infantry. as the Scorpio was relatively light it could be moved to safety very quickly if it came under threat I.e cavalry charge. It could also be realoded very quickly putting a lot of heavy bolts down range.

    What are your thoughts on this subject and do you think this would be inpractical / ineffective etc?



    Interesting thought. Something like a roman scorpio would be less expensive to produce, material more readily available, and easier to move than artillery. These could all be positives.

    Maybe the choice to focus on heavy artillery was accuracy. While not totally precise, it could often be aimed and distance controlled by powder charge and angle. And the balls can bounce down the field once they impact the ground, offering additional potential for damage.

    However, the scorpio idea gets me thinking about archers too, and what a regiment of archers could do by raining arrows down, or flaming arrows. I’m sure others could share reasons why that might be impractical, though it’s interesting to think about.

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