Why did medieval armies always capture castles rather than bypass them?

A castle in medieval Europe was an almost impregnable fortification. Despite the fact that there was a relatively small garrison inside, the capture of such a defensive structure was given to the advancing army at the cost of huge losses.

The castle often stood on a hill, was surrounded by ditches, and from its walls arrows, stones, cannonballs, and even hot tar flowed onto the heads of the attackers. As a result, the best option to capture this structure was a siege.

It is worth noting that this tactic took quite a long time. After all, as mentioned above, the garrison inside the castle was small, and the supplies inside lasted for a long time. In addition, before the attack, the owners of the defensive structure expelled the “common people” from there so as not to waste food supplies on them.

For example, the siege of Candia on the island of Crete lasted 21 years, from 1648 to 1669. It was the longest in history. The Ottomans then lost 240 thousand people, but took the castle.

In this case, the question arises - why did medieval armies necessarily capture castles and not bypass them? After all, this way it was possible to avoid huge losses and preserve the army for a further offensive. There are three reasons for this.

Firstly, treasures, provisions, weapons and other valuables were usually stored in castles, which were promptly brought there in the event of a war. No invading army could refuse such trophies.

Secondly, castles were usually located in such a way as to be able to control the main roads. In other words, the garrison remaining inside the structure would certainly deprive the enemy of logistics if he advanced further without destroying it.

Finally, thirdly. The captured castle acted as an excellent defensive structure for the attackers themselves, in case something went wrong.

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  1. Kuramori Reika Offline Kuramori Reika
    Kuramori Reika (Kuramori Reika) 9 February 2024 10: 14
    The Ershvbolote YouTube channel gives a more detailed description of why in certain cases the castles were either captured or surrounded and moved on. There is also a description of the dangers of leaving certain garrisons of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the rear for the attackers. With figures for the consumption of shells, food and fuel.
    1. Kuramori Reika Offline Kuramori Reika
      Kuramori Reika (Kuramori Reika) 9 February 2024 10: 17
      Here is an analysis of the reasons for the capture of Mariupol, which was an example of a modern fortress and castle

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  3. RUR Offline RUR
    RUR 9 February 2024 11: 51
    Castle in medieval Europe

    - this is not relevant for the Turanian civilization, since there were no castles - the first, if viewed from the east, feudal castles - only appear on the territory of western Belarus and Ukraine, and then this is the Polish influence... There are a few castles in the Baltic states, mainly , not feudal, but more the role of fortresses played
  4. sannyhome Offline sannyhome
    sannyhome 9 February 2024 12: 20
    Because everything was delicious there. Who cares about a city or a village? What should I take there? Pots? Cows? Skins? And how long will the convoy be if the city is robbed? And a castle or palace - yes, there is gold, art, religious symbols, etc.
    The rest of the reasons are bullshit - roads can be built around them. Dig the castle with a moat so that they don’t climb and that’s it.
  5. Vladimir Tuzakov (Vladimir Tuzakov) 9 February 2024 12: 40
    Why did medieval armies always capture castles rather than bypass them?

    All the people from the surrounding region ran to the fortress, poor empty peasant huts remained all around, where there was nothing to profit from, and robbery in wars was the main incentive for the troops. Next, the whole question is how they captured it, if the fortress was powerful, they took it by starvation, if it was possible to take it, they tried it. With powerful troops, they blocked several state fortresses and prepared for the main battles. This is in the Middle Ages, in the Northern Military District, with today’s weapons and tactics, large cities and established fortresses should not be taken, it would be too bloody and time-consuming. The main thing is to achieve a moral turning point in the enemy troops, when victory is no longer possible, then the troops and garrisons will stop resisting. That is, the strategy of the general state of the state becomes the main thing. The beginning of the Northern Military District was similar to such a strategy, only an erroneous calculation of forces, means and tactics did not allow success. (So ​​the Wehrmacht defeated many different states, with pressure, achieving a quick turnaround in military companies). Only the RF Armed Forces continue to act in the Northern Military District without sufficient initiative and strength, are stretched thin and without pressure for victory, and the enemy resists without seeing his defeat. Conclusion: the strategy of the second stage of the SVO is not designed for a quick victory, but for other goals.
  6. Flight Offline Flight
    Flight (Von) 10 February 2024 17: 56
    Why did medieval armies always capture castles rather than bypass them?

    The answer to this was given by the Tatars under the leadership of the Mongols - the elite were hiding in the castles, which they successfully massacred by opening the locks of the yak crabs in the restaurant.
  7. Mongolor Offline Mongolor
    Mongolor (Michael) 15 February 2024 20: 32
    And the Huns bypassed the fortress. Represent feudal lord A and sits in the castle B and as a result the lords fight and the lads' forelocks are cracking like now with one military and special operation and instead of turning over the land and people, the lads go to hell, oh well, the Nazis and mercenaries and shiro-Svidomo those God ordered and they are being graved then some not Savchukovs but Ivanovs and Danilovs and Antonovs.....