[F]our of the heavy javelins came slanting in, punching through armor as if it were cloth, pinning men to horses and horses to the ground.
— S. M. Stirling, A Meeting in Corvallis
With a high rate of fire, and arned with nasty javelins which are more battering ram than arrow, Springalds are the penultimate anti-personnel siege artillery unit. While it is meant primarily to deal with units; it also does damage to buildings, its range and mediocre attack however mean that it is better off taking out enemy units instead.
The range of the Springald means that it will outclass any archers thrown at it, it has its own problems. Like all siege artillery units Springalds are vulnerable to attack when moving: they must be deployed in an area before they can fire their deadly salvos; therefore your Springalds must be well-defended when being moved from one area to another. The cost of a Springald is also an issue — they cost wealth instead of metal, and thus you will need a solid economy in order to field these lethal machines of mass destruction. Equally problematic is the fact that long-range siege weapons, such as the Trebuchet, work well against ballista-type machines such as the Springald. Trebuchets may suffer from poor accuracy, but they make up for it with immense range and attack, so an army facing Springalds might be well-advised to bring Trebuchets (or even Bombards) to destroy these machines before they unlease their deadly rain of missiles.
Using the same mechanical concept as a crossbow, the springald was a descendant of the ballista, a gigantic machine which was used to fire either large darts or, if large enough, round shot. Not much is known of the springald, but what few mediaeval sources that remain imply that it had a more sophisticated torsion system that woul have made it easier to wind aup nd fire.
- Siege machine with a high rate of fire, ideal as an anti-personnel unit, especially if attacking enemy units such as War Elephants, Archers or other siege units.
- This Is Personnel — Because the Springald's range and weaker attack make it less efficient at demolishing buildings, use Springalds to take out enemy units instead.
- Screening Process — Keep your Springalds well-defended when being moved from one area to another, and watch out for enemy siege weapons such as Trebuchets which can outrange them.
- At What Price Victory? — A Springald is a very costly weapon since it requires wealth to be constructed — keep this in mind if you plan to assemble a contingent of Springalds to fight for you.