A war wagon is any of several historical types of early fighting vehicle involving an armed or armored animal-drawn cart or wagon.
The Dongwu Che (Chinese: 洞屋车) "war wagon" was a mobile armored cart used in Ancient China from the 5th century BCE. It was used for the purpose of protecting warriors on the battlefield. The Chinese war wagon was a kind of mobile protective cart with a shed-like roof. It would serve to be rolled up to city fortifications to provide protection for sappers digging underneath to weaken a walls foundation. Other versions were later used as wagon trains to protect against cavalry charges and arrows during the Han Dynasty's campaigns against the Xiongnu steppe nomads. The early Chinese war wagon became the basis of technologies for the making of ancient Chinese south-pointing chariots.
A medieval European war wagon was developed in the Hussite Wars around 1420 by Hussite forces rebelling in Bohemia. It was a heavy wagon given protective sides with firing slits and heavy firepower from either a cannon or a force of hand-gunners, archers and crossbowmen, supported by infantry using spears, pikes and flails. Groups of them could form defensive works, but they also were used as hardpoints for formations or as firepower in pincer movements. This early use of gunpowder and innovative tactics helped a largely peasant infantry stave off attacks by the Holy Roman Empire's larger forces of mounted knights.
After the Hussite wars, they stayed in usage as the special tactical weapon of Bohemian mercenaries which prevailed against knights or foot soldiers. Its successful history came to an end, at least for large scale engagements, with the development of field-piece artillery: a battle wagon wall "fortress" of approximately 300 wagons was broken at the Battle of Wenzenbach September 12, 1504 by the culverines (early cannons) and muskets of the landsknecht regiment of G. Frundsberg.
- Haskew, Michael E; Jorgensen, Christer; McNab, Chris; Niderost, Eric (2008). Fighting Techniques of the Oriental World 1200-1860. Metro Books. p. 179. ISBN 978-1905704965.
- Lu, Yongxiang (2014). A History of Chinese Science and Technology. 3. Springer (published October 20, 2014). p. 516. ISBN 978-3662441626.
- Arnold, Thomas. ‘’The Renaissance at War’’. Cassell & Co. 2001. p. 82.
- Arnold, 82.
- Hussite War-wagons, presenting detailed information about the Hussites' most characteristic tactic, by Matthew Haywood
- General information regarding the Hussite forces
- Google Books The Hussite Wars 1419-36 by Stephen Turnbull
- Hussite Warwagon painting
- Hussite history summary
- Wargaming Hussite armies and tactics