Osprey’s book on siege weapons does it’s intended job of introducing the subject, but that’s about it. Sam Thompson’s gouache illustrations show a nice variety of specific examples of machines, but the rest of the book tends to be unspecific and feels lost in the weeds.

Now the main culprit for this is just the lack of real evidence. The book spends a lot of time looking at various terms used in manuscripts, and is good for showing region variations, but since most times its just the term with no description, it’s nearly impossible to know how technically precise any of these authors are, and therefore more than the most vague generalities. Since this was a New Vanguard book, I was wanting a fairly detailed physical analysis and description of the parts, but it just doesn’t exist here. The main chapter on throwing machines is nicely divided up into sections on the basic types, and gives some indication of when certain types were known to be in use in various parts of Europe, though a timeline for the major pieces of evidence would have helped there too.

That said,the 585-1385 time period fits with the dates of the first and last solid examples that are given, though there’s nothing else to really give a reason to those 400 years. I think I’d much prefer a book more like the Elite-series one on Roman siege engineering, which went a lot more into how sieges were conducted.