Discover The Powerful Dulle Griet Cannon

Key Point: Dulle Griet was a medieval supergun, famous for its massive size and use in artillery warfare during the late 15th century.

In this article, we will be exploring a fearsome cannon used in the late medieval period. The Dulle Griet. What was this cannon? Where does it come from and what’s with its funny name? Join me as I answer these questions and more in this article.

But, let’s start off easy … So, what was the Dulle Griet?

Dulle Griet, also known as “Mad Meg,” was an imposing cannon that emerged during the late medieval period. It weighed over 10 tons and measured around 5 meters in length making it a powerful weapon to use against one’s enemies.

That was the short intro. So now, let’s move on by exploring the physical characteristics of the Dulle Griet in a little more detail.

Physical Characteristics Of Dulle Griet

Dulle Griet was an enormous cannon. It measured approximately 5 meters in length and weighed over 10 tons. It was constructed using a combination of iron and bronze. This ensured durability and enhanced its firing capabilities. The cannon featured intricate engravings and decorations, showcasing the artistic craftsmanship of the time. But its main selling point was its size … that alone was enough to instill fear in the hearts of enemies.

Caliber Projectiles Fired By Dulle Griet

Dulle Griet utilized large caliber iron balls, measuring around 60 centimeters in diameter. These formidable projectiles were designed to cause devastating damage upon impact. With its immense power, Dulle Griet could launch these projectiles over considerable distances. With records indicating it could be used effectively at distances of several hundred yards.

Now, that we covered the projectiles it used, it’s also worth mentioning where Dulle Griet was used and the profound effect it had on the course of events.

Historical Usage Of Dulle Griet

Dulle Griet saw action in various famous battles of its time, such as the Siege of Oudenaarde in 1452 and the Siege of Neuss in 1475. Its presence on the battlefield often tipped the scales in favor of the side wielding this formidable cannon. It also led to fortifications having to be extra fortified.

Now, let’s check out how Dulle Griet was employed in warfare …

The Tactics Behind Its Use

Dulle Griet was primarily employed as a siege weapon against fortifications. Its immense power and long-range capability made it a formidable asset for besieging fortified structures. The cannon would be strategically positioned on fortified walls or bastions, from where it could deliver devastating blows to enemy strongholds, breaching walls and causing destruction.

So, while Dulle Griet was not specifically designed as an anti-infantry weapon, the projectiles it fired, such as cannonballs or stone shot, could cause collateral damage and casualties among infantry caught within the blast radius.

But again, its primary purpose was to batter and breach fortifications rather than engage in direct combat with enemy troops on the open field.

During the assault phase of a siege, Dulle Griet would be used to soften the enemy’s defenses, create breaches, and disrupt their formations. This would provide an advantage for the attacking forces to breach the fortifications and engage in close-quarters combat with the defenders.

So, given how powerful this weapon was … why did it fall out of use?

Its Downfall

As defensive structures/fortifications improved, the effectiveness of traditional cannons like Dulle Griet diminished. These upgraded fortifications were just better equipped to withstand the impact of cannonballs and required more specialized siege tactics.

Furthermore, the development of more mobile and versatile artillery pieces played a role in the decline of massive cannons like Dulle Griet. That is because smaller and more maneuverable cannons, such as field artillery and lighter siege guns, became more prevalent on the battlefield. These cannons offered better mobility, allowing armies to quickly reposition their artillery and adapt to changing circumstances.

Also, the increased use of firearms by infantry had an impact on the role of cannons like Dulle Griet. As firearms became more effective and widespread, infantry units gained more firepower, reducing the reliance on large cannons for direct fire support.

Another additional factor contributing to the fall from use was the cost and logistical challenges associated with operating and maintaining such massive cannons. Dulle Griet required significant resources and manpower for transport, ammunition, and crew. As military strategies evolved, the costs and efforts involved in maintaining these behemoth cannons became less justifiable.

Over time, these collective factors led to the gradual phasing out of cannons like Dulle Griet from active military use. They were replaced by more advanced artillery systems that better suited the changing needs and demands of warfare.

In Conclusion

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. I hope you learned a thing or two. And if you wish you can continue learning about the history of cannon by taking a look at the Lantaka bamboo cannon on this page.

Take care!


“Artillery: A History” by John Norris