Roman caltrop at the Westphalian Museum of Archeology (German: Westfälisches Museum für Archäologie), Herne, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

A caltrop (also known as caltrap, galtrop, cheval trap, galthrap,[1] galtrap, calthrop, jackrock or crow's foot[2][3]) is an area denial weapon made up of two or more sharp nails or spines arranged in such a manner that one of them always points upward from a stable base (for example, a tetrahedron). Historically, caltrops were part of defences that served to slow the advance of troops, especially horses, chariots, and war elephants, and were particularly effective against the soft feet of camels.[4] In modern times, caltrops are effective when used against wheeled vehicles with pneumatic tires.

  1. ^ Burke, John (1846). A Genealogical and Heraldic Dictionary of the Landed Gentry of Great Britain and Ireland. Henry Colburn. p. 672.
  2. ^ Mahan, D.H. (1867). An Elementary Course of Military Engineering – Part I: Field Fortification, Military Mining and Siege Operations. John Wiley & Son. p. 76.
  3. ^ Battle of Alesia (Caesar's conquest of Gaul in 52 BC)), Battlefield Detectives program, (2006), rebroadcast: 2008-09-08 on History Channel International (13;00-14:00 hrs EDST); Note: No mention of name caltrop at all, but illustrated and given as battle key to defend Roman lines of circumvallation per recent digs evidence.
  4. ^ Rawlinson, George. The Seven Great Monarchies Of The Ancient Eastern World, Vol 6. (of 7): Parthia.