enter preformatted text hereI am well aware that posting the same question on two S.E sites is a big no-no.
I hope that there is more leeway on meta and so I freely admit that this is a duplicate of my World Builder META question.
Feel free to tell me whether I ought to delete that one. I just hope for help.
Everything between "horizontal rules" is that question, I add a few notes afterwards.
So, my question Where and how do I build a castle? got closed.
Probably because it was thought to be a dupe of:
Build an impregnable fortress in the middle ages with modern technology - Nope, I do not want to use modern technology
How useful is an impregnable castle? - admittedly there is some overlap, but that is only a subset of what I want to ask. Also, I think that the answer has to be that if they were not useful they would not have been built in such profusion.
as pointed out in the comments, I asked several questions, not just one.
My aim is to understand how castles were planned and built, down to the last detail (books & URLS are very welcome).
To that end, I would like to propose a series of questions, and my question here is whether this would be acceptable.
Here are some topics, from the top of my head. I imagine that more may be added later and that answers may lead to further questions.
I have a vision of an epic question chain, lasting for months, maybe longer, with one focused question per week, building on previous answers, until we understand out castle in the minutest detail.
Feel free to add more questions, re-order them or just plain say this series of questions is off-topic or uninteresting.
how many will attack me? Probably based on medieval history. How large would armies have been? How many of them can attack me at once? There is not much having 300,000 warriors if there are only enough walls for only 1,000 to attack simultaneously. However, they will also need archers, siege canon, such as trebuchet, etc. Perhaps they work in shifts, relived as men get tired? Cavalry to quell the local populace and cut off supply lines? Medics, cooks, drovers, etc, etc? We probably don't need to consider the non-combatants (other than that they need supplies, and perhaps insomuch as anyone can swing a sword when attacked)
for how long must I withstand siege, if it comes to that, until an army is raised and help arrives? (since there are no standing armies). How long does it take to raise, arm & equip, train(?) enough to defeat the number of attackers from the first question? Hmm, how long can they besiege me, given an "average" supply chain (whatever that is)?
the purpose of my castle? I will state that, although comments might be welcome. It is a sally point for a garrison. If any army passes with X miles on either side, we can sally forth and assail them. It also forces any passing army to stop sand engage, since they will not want to leave a garrisoned castle at their rear. When they stop, either the castle can attack, or an allied army can attack the besiegers from the rear.
who else is in my castle, other than the garrison? I suspect that there will be a fixed number of some positions, such as the actual castle lord, and a variable number, based on the garrison size, of others, e.g cooks, medics, smiths, armorers, fletchers .... and probably more professions. How many people in total in the castle? (and, do I want to allot space for peasants from the surrounding countryside?)
what supplies do I need for all of these? Water, food (livestock (cattle, sheep, goats, chickens), grain, preserved foodstuffs? Water and fodder for the livestock? Do I slaughter & salt the livestock, except for necessary horses at the start of the siege?
which buildings are necessary for all of the above? I seek an exhaustive list, right down to the toilets, with sizes, and hopefully we can draw a floorplan. This gives us a feel for the necessary size of the castle. Let's start with HQ, armoury, medical bay, chapel(?), smithy, tanner(?), storage for food, water, animals, sleeping quarters, timber, leather, .... ?
where to site the castle? If we have free range, do we build on top of a hill? That's good to tire attackers, makes it difficult/impossible to bring up siege engines (towers, trebuchet, etc). If there is a rock base, they won't be able to tunnel and undermine the walls. But, a hill means very deep wells, possibly dug through rock, to have access to water. Unless we build near a river, but what are the pros/cons of that? Genghis Khan diverted a river to flood a city; could a similar approach undermine our walls?
given the approximate known size of the populace and buildings, we have the size of the inner walls. Do we only have one set, or is there a fallback a Bailey ? Or two, so that each can defend the other? How many ad why?
how height should the walls be, and how thick? If we accommodate some form of catapult, that might determine the thickness, as would the damage doable by attacking artillery ( I am going to say that there is no gunpowder). We may also want a certain number of rows of defenders on the walls, plus stores of ammunition, etc.
How many staircases lead up to the walls? Enclosed or open? How far apart? Do they need to built near to certain buildings, or vice versa?
If am not building on rock, how deep do the walls go beneath ground in order to prevent or hinder tunneling?
how may towers do I need in order to enfilade the attackers? How far apart are they? How tall? How many defending archers or other troops can be active at once (those little slit windows won't allow many archers per floor to fire at once)). Should they be as tall as the walls, or butt out at the top (with holes in the bottom)?
one entrance only? Easier to defend, but limits sally possibilities. The more entrances, the more flexibility, but the more attack points. How to construct the gates? Iron reinforced wood? Portcullis? One gate, or two, with murder holes between.
If on flat ground, do we need a moat? How wide, deep? Ditch or water filled? Stakes/caltrops at the bottom?
Errrm, that's probably enough to give a feel for it. I could write more, but may just bore you. I think that there is enough here to decide whether this could be a meaningful series of questions or not.
Comments, suggestions, criticism?
Notes & Clarifications That one was posted after my main site Where and how do I build a castle was - quite correctly closed.
This obviously cannot be a single question. It requires a series of questions, each building upon the answers of those previous.
So, (finally), my question to you is whether a series of detailed questions would be on-topic (probably) and welcome (this is where I am unsure).
[Update : moved here from my reply to @Mark's comment question]
I am purely interested in real world castles. I am currently living in the UK and am totally fascinated. I am happy to restrict it to a century or two in the UK. Also, any mention of gunpowder was only to say that I don't want my castle to have to defend against it.
I am a programmer by trade trade. We start with requirements : "withstand an army of X for a period of Y"; we go back & forth, asking questions of the intended end-user until we are certain that the requirements are complete and consistent. Then we proceed to the software architecture and review that until it fullis the requirements and is consistent.
Then, we start on the detailed design, which also requires a lot of review. in fact, the actual coding part of it takes only 10% or 15% of the total time. But, I digress. I can look at castles, as they exist now. I can infer - but I do not know, and I wish to know.
From the largest "how large a garrison do I need to withstand a force of X?" right down to "I notice that the fletchers are always built near to the privvies. I wonder why (invented example)".
I want to understand exactly how a castle was planned (the mechanics of the building interest me, personally, less). I want to get inside the minds of those who planned castles. There is no one book that I can find which does so. I am willing to spend 5 or 10 years researching and write it myself (to very little audience, no doubt), and here seems like a good start, before I dig into the tomes.