Military History Books
by Harold A. Skaarup   
Castles and Fortresses

Burg Eltz, near the Mosel River, Germany, left, and Durer's Knight, right.  Artwork and photographs are by the author.

Medieval Castles and Fortresses

Burg Eltz, near the Mosel River Germany.  Of more than 500 castles in the Rhineland Palatinate region this is one of only three to have survived the many wars and destruction in the region mostly intact since the 11th century.  It is a good walk to get to, up and down a number of hills and forest tracks through a beautiful area and a breathtaking view of the castle.  Of the hundreds examined while researching material for the book "Siegecraft", this one, in the author's opinion, is the most interesting of them all.

Schloss Rhein Pfalz, on the Rhine River, Germany.

Gutenfels Castle on the Rhine River, Germany.

Rheinpfalz castle on the Rhine River.  There is a plaque marking this as site General Blucher crossed the ice-covered river with his army during the Napoleonic Wars before 1815.

Wartburg castle overlooking the town of Eisenach in the state of Thuringia, Germany.

Burg Gleichen, Thuringia, Germany.

Burg Muhlberg, Thuringia, Germany.

Schloss Hohenzollern, Germany.

Schloss Heidelberg, Germany, as it might have looked before its destruction.

Schloss Neuschwanstein, Germany.

Schloss Lichtenstein, Germany.

Haut Koenigsburg, France.


The Marksburg Castle on the Rhine River and is also one of the three with its original elements intact from the 11th century.  It has an extensive collection of medieval artifacts, and is the repository of castle museum books and documents for most of Germany.

Burg Rheinstein on the Rhine River was one of the best restored castles.  Our family first visited this one in 1960, and it is still well maintained.  The castle has an excellent collection of medieval artifacts, fine gardens and steep walks.

Bernkastel-Kues castle on the Mosel River.

Burg Thurant on the Mosel River, Germany.

Cochem castle on the Mosel River, Germany.

Burg Maus on the Rhine River, Germany.

Most Canadians who lived in Lahr, Germany, home of Canadian Forces Europe Headquarters and 4 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group until 1993, will be familiar with the 12th century castle nearby named Hohen Geroldseck, and a secondary castle overlooking it, Schloss Lutzelhardt.

Lutzelhardt castle, remaining ruins, just above the village of Reichenbach, Germany.

Storchenturm, the only remaining tower of four that formed the corners of the 11th century medieval castle that Lahr was built around.

Schonburg castle on the Rhine River, Germany.

The remains of Rheinfels, once the largest castle on the Rhine River, Germany.

If you would like to learn more about castles and sieges have a look here:

It has been said that the taking of a fortress depends primarily on the making of a good plan to take it, and the proper implementation and application of the resources to make the plan work. Long before a fortress has been besieged and conquered, it has to have been outthought before it can be outfought. This book outlines some of the more successfully thought out sieges, and demonstrates why it is that no fortress is impregnable.

A siege can be described as an assault on an opposing force attempting to defend itself from behind a position of some strength. Whenever the pendulum of technology swings against the "status quo," the defenders of a fortification have usually been compelled to surrender. We must stay ahead of the pendulum, and not be out-thought long before we are out-fought, for, as it will be shown in this book, "no fortress is impregnable."

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