Both offensive and defense weapons have existed throughout the history of weapons. Defense-related equipment spans much beyond armor, which is often the first thing that comes to mind when we think of defensive weapons. The gatehouse, which was the greatest point of defense in ancient castles, was equipped with a wide variety of weapons.
Even without a fortress, people could protect themselves in a variety of ways. Both commerce caravans and knights sent on missions needed to be defended. Using traps was just as important as using one’s own weapons and ammunition.
What is a Caltrop?
Anyone who has ever seen Indiana Jones or Tomb Raider has likely seen some really creative traps in action. Even if such were Hollywood creations, they at least had some foundation in truth. Even if they weren’t as sophisticated as the ones we see in movies, traps were often included into the designs of ancient tombs.
That kind of thing only occurs in movies; I’ve never heard of an archeological team needing to defend itself from living stone figurines. However, traps do exist and have for many years. A pit with stakes at the bottom is a very basic concept that has been around for ages. The pit worked well for both capturing animals to consume and capturing adversaries. Stakes at the bottom only served to boost its efficacy since they may harm or kill anybody who fell into it. Even during the Vietnam War, such pits were used.
The caltrop is yet another powerful defense tool that is still relevant. The caltrop has four spikes that are 120 degrees apart and were first used to break up cavalry assaults. No matter which direction they fall, there will always be a spike sticking up since they have been sharpened and connected together in this manner. A horse would get severely injured if it were to foot on the point.
At the Battle of Gaugamela in 331 BC, caltrops were first used. Between King Darius III of the Persians and Alexander the Great and his Macedonian army, this was the pivotal conflict. The vast Persian Empire was vanquished by Alexander in this conflict, and he went on to rule all of Asia. Both the Japanese, who used caltrops under the name makibishi, and the ancient Romans were known to utilize them.
What are the uses of caltrops?
Caltrops might be thrown into the fray to be used after being brought into combat. The caltrops may be thrown in front of a group of merchants if they wanted to quickly set up a defensive stance to fend off cavalry. They might be used in an army to defend the flanks against horse attacks.
The US Office of Strategic Services employs caltrop
Caltrops were a very efficient weapon that the Romans could employ against chariots. Chariots required very flat and smooth terrain to function, which is not often recognized. A single stone might spill it and make it unusable in a combat if it came into contact with the wheel of a swiftly moving chariot. Similarly, all it needed was for one horse’s paw to be hurt for the chariot to be eliminated from the fray. Knowing this, the Romans would disperse caltrops over smooth, flat regions that chariots would utilize as an entry route, destroying them with one of the most basic weapons available.
The Romans and the Russians both employed barbed spikes, although the majority of caltrops had smooth ones. By making the horse that trod on it difficult to recover and necessitating its death, this would enhance the harm.
Russian caltrop, by Gaius Cornelius
Even in World War II, the Office of Strategic Services employed caltrops as a specialized weapon. These were given out to partisans in Europe, and they were fashioned of hollow spikes that would let air out of tires that were supposed to be self-sealing.
Caltrops as a Survival Tool
Caltrops are still valuable now, just as they were back in the Middle Ages. Although it is against the law to place booby traps around your house, I highly doubt that anybody will abide by this rule if you need to protect your property after a tragedy.
SafetyFirst – Safety Products told us that caltrops may be placed in this situation behind windows, within fences that you don’t want people to climb over, and wherever else you would want to prevent people from walking without paying a charge. Of course, this would take a lot of caltrops, but it would be a good defense to remain hidden in the grass. A person would walk with a limp for about a week even if they may not become permanently disabled.
If your community is working together for self-defense, you might also use caltrops to block off your street. For automobiles that managed to get past your first barrier, they would act as an efficient secondary barrier, flattening their tires so you could grab the passengers.
The important thing here is to create a belt of caltrops that is deep and thick enough that no one could just walk over it. It will prevent the caltrops from sinking into the ground when trodden on if your yard has firm ground.
Making Caltrops at Home
If you have a grinder and a welder, making your own caltrops is quite simple. I’ve created these in the past using only 20 penny nails. I opted for that size since it is both longer and thicker than the more popular 16-penny size.
Start by using the grinder to remove the nail heads. Next, make another point on the cut-off end even sharper. If you can, make both of those points somewhat sharper than they were originally so they can easily pass through the bottoms of shoes.
The nails are then bent at an angle of 110 degrees. Then, at the bend, two nails are nested together such that the concave sides are facing one another, and the four points are all pointing in the direction of the four axes that are present in every caltrop. You’ll always be able to follow these instructions after you’ve seen one.
Now you know what caltrops are all about. In today’s world, people use caltrops mainly for road safety and other related purposes. If there is a similar need, you may think about getting caltrops that you need as well.