This article discusses how war kites have been used for observation, heavy lifting and psychological warfare.
Kites are not just toys or for recreation. From the earliest times kites have been used as weapons and tools of war.
In ancient Japan, kites were used for psychological warfare. Noise makers such as bells and gongs were hung from the kite which was then flown over an enemy encampment at night, frightening the soldiers who thought that they were being attacked by invisible evil spirits. There are also records of giant kites being used to lift archers into the air, to fire at enemy troops on the ground.
In Korea, medieval battles were coordinated with signal kites, which transmitted orders to the troops on the ground.
In Europe during the same period, kites were used as range finders during sieges. The kite would be flown to the target, perhaps a tower or battlement, and then allowed to crash. The length of the string was then measured and this gave the besiegers an accurate measurement of how far their siege catapults had to fire in order to hit their target.
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