Carriage Balistae (Eastern Roman Empire)
Carriage Balistae (Eastern Roman Empire)
Appears in Rome: Total War: Barbarian Invasion
Belongs to Eastern Roman Empire
Type Missile Cavalry; Chariots; Artilery
Weapon(s) Balistae
Soldiers in each unit 12
Attack skill 4 (Melee); 21 (Missile)
Charge bonus 5
Hitpoints 1
Armor 3
Defense skill 5
Shield bonus 0
Special abilities Effective against armour; Long range missiles; Can't hide
Cost 740

Carriage Balistae are small artilery pieces carried on the back of carts into battle. They can be moved relatively quickly to a crisis point to put down heavy missile fire on enemy troops, then mooved back out of trouble if necessary.

Like other Balistae, these carry bolts that can easily pass right through a man. While they might look like oversized crossbows, the working principles are different. The two arms of each ballista are threaded through ropes made from animal sinew. When these sinews are twisted into ropes they act as springs, so pulling back the arms works against the sinew, producing the energy needed to fling a large bolt towards the target. Care has to be taken to make sure the sinew ropes are equally tensioned otherwise the ballista breaks, injuring anyone standing nearby. Mounting a ballista upon a cart is merely an imrpovement in mobility for the weapon.

Vegitius wrote about the use of carriage balistae in his classic treatise on Roman warfare, seeing them as a valuable asset for any army commander.