- -15% attritional losses when under siege
For defenders, sieges were terrible times. Starvation was a constant threat: the food within the walls was all there was until the siege was over. Those who could not fight were made to leave, preferably before the siege began, so food supplies lasted longer.
At the Battle of Alesia in 52BC the decision to expel women and children from the fortifications was made too late. Throwing out non-combatants meant more food for the fighters, but the Romans did not allow the refugees to pass through their lines. The women and children starved in the no-man’s land between the two armies. Their agonies were watched, from the safety of the walls, by their own menfolk.