Skip to main content

New Haynes manual examines brutal art of siege warfare

30th January 2018:
Dr Chris McNab
Tuesday, 16 January, 2018


30 January 2018: A new manual from publisher Haynes provides a fascinating, in-depth guide to one of the most demanding forms of combat in military history – siege warfare.

The Siege Warfare Operations Manual, published in February 2018, explains the tactics and technologies of siege warfare for both attackers and defenders, from ancient times to the beginning of the gunpowder age.

The manual is authored by Dr Chris McNab, a military historian who has published more than 100 books on topics ranging from the Roman Army to 20th Century warfare.

Adopting Haynes’ famous practical style, the book uses specially commissioned artworks and diagrams to help reveal the techniques behind the weaponry, defences and tactical structures used by both sides.

Mighty siege engines – including torsion artillery, trebuchets, battering rams and siege towers – are closely examined, and illustrated in fine detail.

The book discusses the complexities of underground and overground assault, specifically escalade, undermining and sapping, and what happened after a besieging army forced a breach. It also investigates the formalities and deceits of non-martial options – the subtle arts of negotiation, spying and infiltration.


Content from the manual includes:

  • Specially commissioned artworks of siege engines from pre-Roman to late Medieval times, including battering rams, catapults, and siege towers
  • An examination of the successes and failures of some of the world’s most famous sieges, including those of Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar
  • An exploration of assault tactics as well as the logistics of maintaining a siege, together with behind-the-scenes strategies such as undermining and espionage


Author Chris McNab said: “One of the most fascinating aspects of siege warfare is that, despite the breadth of the period and the numerous places across the world it occurred in, the essential tactics for settling or surviving a siege remained remarkably constant. The focus on one fixed location meant that sieges were brutal wars of attrition, often lasting years, marked by highs and lows for both sides.  

“This book provides both the historical context in which these many battles occurred, as well as a practical guide to exactly how they were fought. It places the reader both inside the fortress – looking out at the fearsome troops and weapons approaching, as well as outside – surrounding the target and pondering just how its formidable defences could be breached.”


The Siege Warfare Operations Manual is priced at £22.99 and is available from The book number is H6146. The ISBN is 9781785211461. It is published in February 2018.


About the author 

Dr Chris McNab specializes in military history and military technology. To date he has published more than 100 books, including A History of the World in 100 Weapons (2011), Deadly Force (2009), The Roman Army: The Greatest War Machine of the Ancient World (2012), and The Soldier (2016). He has also written extensively for major encyclopedia series, magazines and newspapers. He lives in South Wales, UK.

The information on this page is supplied courtesy of Haynes Publishing, please credit accordingly if you intend to use it. For more information or to request a review copy please contact:

Max Hammond at McCann PR on +44(0)117 921 8143 or
Eleanor James at McCann PR on +44(0)117 921 8135 or
Emillie Forrest-Jones on +44(0)117 921 8129 or
or email Haynes PR

To request a review copy or high-res images contact McCann PR


Haynes Publishing has been the world's leading publisher of illustrated workshop car manuals and motorcycle manuals since 1965. In that time Haynes has evolved and so have its Manuals to now include a wide range of automotive, sport, leisure, military and lifestyle subjects. Haynes also has licenses to publish Manuals with NASA, the Royal Navy, the Royal Air Force, Star Wars, Star Trek and others. Haynes publishing also offers its more recent car and motorcycle manuals through online subscription, Manuals Online was launched in 2010 and offers colour imagery, video and is accessible through computer or tablet via an internet connection. Sparkford, Yeovil, Somerset BA22 7JJ. Telephone: 01963 440635 Fax: 01963 440001 E-mail: