historical warfare

Two Views Of Fantasy Warfare...

The D&D game is clearly rooted in the medieval warfare tradition. 

Soldiers wear chain-mail or plate armor, and they wield weapons such as swords and bows. 

Knights gallop across the battlefield on horses, and catapults bombard castle walls. 

Yet, the presence of fantastic creatures and magic supports a more modern kind of warfare, in which flying creatures provide air support, soldiers use camouflage or magic to hide themselves from enemies, and spells that affect a large area can devastate clusters of troops. 

It’s useful to think of D&D warfare as a continuum with historical medieval warfare on one end and modern warfare on the other end. 

Before you take your D&D game to the battlefield, decide where on that continuum you want your battles to be.

Keep reading

anonymous asked:

How viable are non-magical flaming weapons? Like, coating the sword with a flammable substance and then setting it on fire. Would the trouble be worth it for the increased damage? Would they be more dangerous for the yielder? Would the fire negatively affect the blade?

No. At least not, that example. Also flaming arrows are out. The physics involved mean they either self-extinguish on launch, or they’ll ignite the user (I don’t remember which, and I kinda think it’s the former.)

That said, there are a lot of historical and modern military applications for flame.

The modern examples that come immediately to mind are napalm, dragon’s breath shells, and Molotov cocktails.

Napalm is, basically, jellied gasoline. It will burn, it will stick when it lands, and it will keep burning. Set something on fire and watch it melt. Napalm is, quite frankly, pretty terrifying stuff, and while the exact chemical formula is recent, the concept of launching burning liquids at people is not, going all the way back to Greek Fire. No one is exactly sure what Greek Fire was, but it would burn, could be lobbed onto ships or people you didn’t like, while burning, and would not stop burning once it arrived.

Molotov Cocktails are a medium ground here. You load a bottle up with alcohol, use an alcohol soaked rag as a fuse, light, and throw. There’s a little bit more going on here though. Alcohol solutions are only directly flammable if they’re more than 50% alcohol by volume. Most hard liquor is around 80 proof (40%), but, the vapors put off by the solution are still flammable (down to around 20%, if I remember correctly). So you can use a bottle of vodka as an improvised incendiary device. (Fair warning, it’s been a long time since I took a chemistry class, so those exact percentages may be a bit off.)

In spite of being named after a Russian Revolutionary, the idea of setting something on fire and chucking it someplace is not a new concept.

I know you can launch flaming payloads with a trebuchet, put them roughly where you want them, and set the area on fire. I’m not 100% sure of the military history, but it was used for centuries. Anything that will break apart on impact will spread the flame over a decent area and get a good blaze going.

Hot shots originally referred to cannonballs that were preheated before firing, with the intention of it igniting enemy structures or ships. This isn’t something we still think about (outside of the term “hotshot” seeping into idiomatic usage), but it did work, apparently.

The modern equivalent would be incendiary ammunition. There’s a lot of variety here, and they range from phosphorous rounds, which will ignite on contact with moisture, including the moisture in the air, to dragon’s breath shells which eject a mixture of highly flammable metals, such as magnesium, or potassium, which will ignite on contact with moisture.

Phosphorous was also a popular component for incendiary grenades, mortars, and other explosives. For example, one of the US military’s versions of a Molotov in WWII was produced by dissolving phosphorous and rubber (as a thickener) in gasoline). This mixture would self ignite on contact with the atmosphere (when the glass broke).

One variant of modern incendiary grenades use a Thermite variant (called thermate) to eject molten iron on detonation.

So far as it goes, most flare guns fire a 12 gauge shotgun shell. While the plastic ones won’t survive trying to put a conventional shell down range, the flare shell itself can result in horrific, and fatal, burns.

If you want a melee weapon to set someone on fire, you might be able to achieve that safely by heating the blade or using something like a thermal lance. The problem with simply coating a sword with oil and lighting it up is, they tend to drip. And, when you’re swinging the sword around, you’ll end up with burning oil getting splashed everywhere, including on the user. This is, “a very bad thing.”

Of course, shoving a torch in someone’s face is also a very bad thing, for them, and fits the definition provided.

So, the short answer is, yes there are a lot of real applications for setting someone on fire, especially when they’re all the way over there and walking is too much effort. Setting your own sword on fire is not a great idea, however.


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From Swiss pikemen to Swedish mobile artillery

The impact of gunpowder in combat formations and battlefield tactics in Europe

The Swiss Pike Phalanx became a popular formation around 1500, or so. Prior to that, medieval and renaissance armies (especially in central Europe) focused primarily on heavy cavalry and elite infantry. These usually consisted of nobles, and were supplemented by poorly armed peasant levies. Think Battle of Agincourt here, elite semi-noble and noble French troops against English peasants and nobles.

The Swiss relied on citizen armies, all armed to an adequate standard. And to maintain relevance on a battlefield dominated by heavy cavalry, the Swiss implemented a heavily modified version of Alexander’s Phalanx. By mixing in long-reaching melee units, the Swiss Phalanx was more maneuverable, more sturdy, and all around better than either Alexander’s armies, or the infantry forces which had preceded them. Especially in France, Swiss mercenaries plied their trade and dominated all comers for decades.

However, they were challenged by German mercenaries, who initially copied their style. The German Landsknecht was essentially a heavily modified version of the Swiss Phalanx. One of the major, early, innovations of the Landsknecht was the introduction of several different kinds of long, reaching weapons, including the famous Zweihander two-handed sword. These weapons, in either Swiss or German employ, were used to cut down attackers before they broke the Phalanx, as well as cut the heads off of the enemy phalanx before launching their own assault. The Germans increased the ratio of pike to other weapons, and made their formations more versatile.

However the crucial innovation, and the one which would spell the end for the dominance of the Swiss, was the Landsknecht’s willingness to accept gunpowder weapons into their forces. Early in the 15th and early 16th centuries, during the hay-day of the Swiss, gunpowder weapons were expensive and rare. Thus, the Swiss incorporated very little of this new technology. But the Landsknecht, iterating on the Swiss design, incorporated these new weapons on a much larger scale. They might have between 15-25% gunpowder troops, which far outnumbered the Swiss. This allowed the Landsknecht to harry, demoralise, disrupt, and weaken the opposition well before they could respond (especially if it was a Swiss unit facing them!). Yet the Swiss never really integrated gunpowder weaponry on the same scale as the Landsknecht. Part of it was that the two forces rarely met in battle, and part was that the Landsknecht quickly proved themselves the superior style of mercenary. Only France, due to the preferable terms the Swiss offered the French king, really clung to the older model of army, and with poor result! In the few occasions where Swiss and German met, the Landsknecht regularly proved their superiority, especially in terms of firepower.

However, by the late 16th century, both the Swiss and the Landsknecht would find themselves outclassed by a new formation, the Spanish abomination.

In many regards, the Tercio is weird. For most of human history, armies lined up in a roughly linear fashion to fight each other. The lines might look different, be different sizes, and have a different organisation, but the linearity of war has been relatively constant. The Tercio, on the other hand, rejected that. The Spanish formed their phalanxes into giant squares, surrounded by musketeers. Anywhere from 3-5000 men made up the formation in its initial incarnation, and three or four of these Tercios (as one block was called) would form a wedge or diamond on the battlefield. It would go forth, and smash huge holes in the enemy formation, while maintaining a steady stream of fire against all comers.

The Tercio had several advantages, which made it useful across the Habsburg domains (Spain and Germany mostly, though the Tercio would eventually travel to Eastern Europe and elsewhere). Firstly, the Tercio was easy to command. With all those men, packed tightly into a huge square, orders could be easily communicated. Next, the Tercio concentrated a huge number of men in one spot. At any given time, the Tercio could be confident that it could bring more men to bear than an enemy, arrayed in the classic linear fashion. Further, the Tercio (ideally) maintained a constant volley of fire whenever it moved against the enemy. Within that belt of musketeers, the men were arranged roughly into lines, or waves. As the Tercio entered weapon range, the first line would fire their weapons, then move rearward. The second line would fire, and also move rearward. The rear lines would reload, and when their turn came, also fire. Theoretically, this meant that the Tercio would always be shooting, and wearing down the enemy.

But the Tercio too had many problems. Its movements were sluggish, and clumsy. 3000 men are hard to move around, especially when the musketeers were performing their evolutions. And with precious few officers to control the chaos, even veteran musketeers found the Tercio difficult to handle. Further, when moving to the attack and defence, the pikemen of the Tercio had to somehow switch places with the squishy musketmen on the outside. Especially on the attack, when the pikemen had to leave their cocoon and push forward, those manoeuvres sowed chaos and confusion in friendly ranks. Further, because the Tercio was so big, the men in the center and rear were often deaf and dumb to pressing danger. Rather than run, they blindly pushed forward against the front ranks, who had no choice but to press on. In the early days, this made the Tercio seem invincible; this dynamic meant that the Tercios almost never routed. But too, this was a doubled edged sword. At Rocroi, the Tercios should have retreated when they had the chance. Instead, they were annihilated. And on the subject of men in the back pushing, the men behind the first few ranks almost never saw any action. Other than pushing forward, many of the Pikemen of the Tercio rarely contributed to the outcome of the battle. Unlike in a classically linear formation, the Tercio locked men away in tight blocks. It was a hugely inefficient formation.

Only the Spanish really ever employed the Tercio to its maximum effect. But, by the Thirty Years War and the Dutch Revolt, many European powers had solved the Tercio problem, and had again iterated with new tactics.

During the Dutch War, the Dutch found themselves fighting the Spanish Tercio. But they had a problem, many of the Catholics living in Southern Holland (modern Belgium) didn’t want to fight with Protestants, against their trading partners, at the risk of having their farms and estates burned. That left the Dutch without aristocrats, and in 16th century terms, that meant no officers! (Traditionally, the nobility served as the kings officer corps. They were appointed based on wealth and power, not merit. The Dutch had no king, and the nobles abandoned them. That meant William the Silent had to adopt a new kind of army to fight the Spanish).

If the Swiss solved the cavalry problem by harkening back to Alexander, then William the Silent went back to Caesar for his inspiration. The Dutch formed their army around citizen soldiers which were organised into centuries and cohorts, later companies and brigades. Each unit was organised in a standard fashion, and had a standard complement. That meant a general could always know exactly what 2 brigades meant, it was x number of pikes and x number of guns, and that helped the Dutch standardise their army.

In terms of unit composition, the Dutch also radically increased the numbers of muskets v. pikes, to perhaps 30-40% of their army. They arranged these units in a roughly Roman formation (that classic checkerboard), with each brigade alternating:

Pike-Shot(gun)-Pike-Shot-Pike-Shot, etc.

In combat, the musketeers would soften the enemy up (either on the offensive or defensive) while the Pikes would manoeuvre into position. At the critical moment, the pikes would rush forward and attack the enemy, or defend the musketeers (who would retreat and seek a new firing position).

But the innovation was incomplete. It would take a Swede, Gustavus Adolphus, to carry the new formation into its final form. Prior to 1630 and Sweden’s entry into the Thirty Years War, Adolphus had waged a long war against Poland. Poland fought wars radically differently than the central and western Europeans: they relied more on peasant levies, pure pike armies, and the legendary heavy cavalrymen, the Winged Hussar.  In Germany and France, the Swiss and Landsknecht had killed the heavy, lance-armed, cavalry which had dominated the in the renaissance. Instead, cavalry fought much like musketeers did in the Tercio.

The Caracole manoeuvre had cavalry charge the enemy and, at the last second, fire a pistol or carbine before turning away and riding back to the rear to reload. Both complicated and ineffective, the weapons of the time, fired from horseback, simply could not reliably produce the damage and confusion required to break an enemy. But the charge of a Hussar, with their heavy wooden lance, could do just that. Adolphus adopted the Hussar, and used it as his corps of decision. When he was ready to end a battle, he would launch his Hussars at the enemies’ weakest point, where they would have the worst possible chance of stopping the heavy cavalry. And, once broken in one spot, the enemy army often quit the field in whole cloth.

Adolphuses other innovation was much simpler. He designed and employed a series of light artillery pieces, and gave them to his individual brigades. While they were inaccurate and often inefficient, no other army had given control of the precious artillery pieces to smaller units before. The Adolphan brigades thus had a lot more firepower than their opponents did, and the Tercios did.

Adolphus brought his new army into the field against the Austrians, who had adopted Spain’s Tercio. But the Austrians had never mastered it, and found themselves repeatedly checked and defeated by Adolphus. It signalled a paradigm shift, and many European armies (especially among the protestants) adopted the new style. Even France switched to this new model. And at Rocroi, when the veteran Spaniards met the new French armies in battle, the Tercio was finally broken, and the cream of the Spanish army was laid to waste. This new model would persist, with some modification, into the reign of Louis XIV.

The central concepts, heavy cavalry, brigadisation, and a mixture of pike and shot, would be adhered to until after the War of the League of Augsburg, when socket bayonets replaced the Pike. Yet, even before then the ratio of Guns to pikes continued to expand. During Adolphus’ lifetime, his army likely grew to around 50-60% guns. By the W. O.T. League of Augsburg, that ratio was around 75%. And obviously, by the W. O. Spanish Succession, just a few years later, that ratio had grown to nearly 90-100% (with the bayonet). 

This is the general flow of battlefield tactics in the Early Modern Period. The real secret to warfare during the 16-18th century was the gun. Each formation successively brought more firepower to bear than the last one. Guns were useful in many situations, both on the attack and the defence, but the Pike was only useful as a weapon of last resort (ie, close-in fighting) and as a last shock action to cement a victory and route the enemy. The formations which brought more gunpowder to bear did better than those that incorporated less. And this arms race would continue into the early 1700s, when armies finally adopted the socket bayonet, which turned guns into makeshift pikes, and finally made armies 100% gunpowder affairs.

Russell Weigley, Age of Battles
Frank Tallett, War and Society in Early Modern Europe
William McNeill, The Pursuit of Power
Peter Paret, Makers of Modern Strategy from Machiavelli to the Nuclear Age
David Chandler, Oxford History of the British Army

rogue-rook  asked:

someone asked you earlier what time of day did the battle of the blackwater take place, which got me thinking there's probably pros and cons of time of day right? renly and stannis' battle that didn't happen was supposed to take place at dawn for the sun advantage, but there's gotta be a stealth advantage to a night battle, yeah? what's the real world medieval analogue to this question

There is a stealth advantage, definitely, although there’s a tradeoff in that it’s extremely difficult to coordinate the movement of military units at night and it’s very easy to get lost. 

The best historical example of this is the NIght Attack at Târgovişte, masterminded by none other than Vlad Tepes, aka Vlad the Impaler, aka Vlad Dracula. 

While formally a subject of the Ottoman Empire - Vlad had been a hostage of the Sultan growing up, had sought refuge in the Empire when his father had been murdered by a usurper, and had twice been backed by the Sultan in invasions of Wallachia to take back the throne - Vlad didn’t want to pay taxes to the Sultan, especially the tax on non-Muslim citizens of the Empire, and rather fancied the idea of ruling Bulgaria, and decided to ram the point home by having tens of thousands of Turks impaled on spikes when he invaded said kingdom.

This naturally angered Mehmed II, who decided to invade Wallachia and annex it to the Ottoman Empire outright - no more half-measures of coddling the local aristos. The war between Vlad and the Ottomans was a brutal counter-insurgency campaign, with the Ottoman’s superior heavy infantry and artillery slowly grinding its way through Wallachian territory while Vlad’s cavalry ambushed them and then retreated, poisoned the wells and food and evacuated the population and livestock, and sent people suffering from tuberculosis, syphilis, and the bubonic plague into the Turkish camp to infect them. 

The Night Attack came at the the regional capital of Târgovişte, where the Ottomans were enamped waiting to besiege the city. According to one source, Vlad actually disguised himself as a Turk and walked into the camp looking for the Sultan’s tent - while there, he learned that Mehmet had ordered his soldiers to remain in their tents. Vlad then launched a series of night attacks aimed at killing or capturing the Sultan himself, but got the wrong tent. A chaotic, bloody brawl ensued, and although the Ottoman army was not dislodged and the Wallachians had to withdraw, the combination of casualties and low morale took its toll, and the Turks soon withdrew from Wallachia, although notably both sides would declare victory. 

Moral of the story: do not pick a fight with Vlad Tepes unless you’re ready to fight dirty. 


The Mongol hordes and their empire 

The Mongol empire was only 700,000 metres short of being the biggest empire the world has ever seen or will continue to see. It stands as the second biggest empire in the world. When you consider the first biggest was a bunch of well trained dudes with rifles (British) and the mongols were a army of horse riding nomads with swords. They did well for themselves 

The Mongol hordes began from the unicification of all the mongolian tribes under the leadership of Genghis Khan who was proclaimed Great Khan in 1206. Genghis khan was one of the most ruthless leaders in history. He led genius invasions into china and the surrounding areas however this millitary skill was nothing compared to his brutality. Victories were often followed by wholesale slaughter of the civilian population. Genghis intended to butcher so many civilians that the enemy in the next battle would be too scared to fight them. This worked and armies were fleeing from the battlefield before the battle had even begun. By the great khans death, the mongol empire had taken China, Korea, Afghanistan, Pakistan and krygistan. 

well the mongols were lightning fast warriors who awalys rode horseback. They would attack and leave as soon as they arrived. The empire managed to incorporate archers on horseback and they’re light armour made them fast when attacking cities. The Mongols did not settle or organise government. They lived in tents and slept from place to place gathering supplies. Their need to not gather supplies made them even faster. 

When Genghis died his empire was divided into 4 khanates with each one being given to his sons. The Mongol machine kept on rolling into russia. 

Keep in mind nor hitler or napoleon managed to conquer russia. 

the mongols did

The Mongols elected Ogedei Khan as their new great khan and like the cool aid man he burst onto the scene in europe invading the baltic states. However when he died. His son was chosen as his sucessor. He suffered the first mongol defeat ever and he reigned for only 8 uears before kublai khan won the throne. A desecendant from a rival mongol family. Kublai khan managed to keep the other families following his orders. By the time he died, the empire had broken into four who each pursued their own interests. 

The empire had completley fractured and dissolved and china would rise again. In its wake. 

anonymous asked:

Have you ever done an in depth post on knife fighting and/or knife combatives?

Dagger fighting, yes, I have a Masterpost.

But if you say “knife fighting” and think of this

…then I got significantly less. (Daggers saw a lot of use in warfare, and historical fencing manuals often included sections on them, so there’s material to draw from. But actual knife fighting was not what the upper classes were trained to do. A knife is not primarily a weapon, it’s a tool that can be used as a weapon. So knife fights involved people who, broadly speaking, didn’t carry swords, wouldn’t read a manual even if they knew how to read, and didn’t hire fencing masters. It totally happened, but in another world than the one where the manuals - and their readers - circulated.)

So the Dagger Fighting Masterpost is not completely irrelevant, but the closest to what you’re looking for is, I think, @howtofightwrite’s post on Knife Combat. You can also take a look at Knife-fighting: Italian Traditions.

And I am very much open to suggestions.

“The first battle at the erecting of Yoshinaka’s standard in Shimano”, (c.1834), Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1798-1861)

Unrealistic depictions of women warriors are nothing new. On the right, you can see Tomoe Gozen about to kill her enemy, clad in nothing but kimonos in the midst of the battle. In the background, there is another female warrior in a similar attire, attacking her foe with a naginata. 

alaeevolare  asked:

Hello! I was wondering, what are the differences between modern HEMA and how it was used in actual combat? Mainly in how it is/was taught, the way that techniques are/were used, small battles/skirmishes and fully fledged battles. I'm currently drawing from my own experiences with HEMA (longsword) and I know it's different but I'm not sure what all of those differences are, much less how to write them. Thank you!

Honestly, the best advice I have for that is slogging through the treatises from the masters on Wikitenaur or other sites/books that let you get it direct from the horse’s mouth (as it were). If you’re not a trained scholar or used to going through language from a century ago, much less several, I can see how parsing that might be a little difficult.

The second thing to do is study the historical period in which you want to write your fiction or, if writing fantasy, whatever is adjacent. When you want to write any kind of combat scenario, studying the culture is necessary. Whether that’s one you created yourself or history itself.

You’ve got better access to the HEMA community than Starke or I do and that springboard will make it easier to find what you’re looking for. It’s important to remember that what you’re practicing right now is what we conventionally term a “dead martial art”. Like aikido and several other martial arts now enjoying a popular resurgence, the current version did not really exist in the last century. Combat in Europe moved very quickly, rapid advancement lead to many old weapons being discarded that were no longer usable. German fencing was the only form of longsword fencing to survive, and it too is weighed down by rules unnecessary to the time when the longsword was a battlefield choice. Luckily for you, because HEMA itself is so new in its reconstruction, you’re actually far closer to the source material used to revive it than you might suspect.

If you haven’t broached this subject with your instructor, you should. They might know, or know somebody who knows something that can point you in a better direction. They work with the people who work with the people who are theorizing on the past and how to bring this piece of history back to life.

The other thing you need to do is study history. One of the things we do have a lot of surviving records of are historical battles. Lots, and lots, and lots of records.

Pick your medieval historical figure. Pick a period in history. And get to work.

Also, read Sun Tzu. If there is one great historical text for understanding warfare, it’s Sun Tzu’s The Art of War.

Battles are really broken down by three groups:




I’d throw in strategy and tactics but those are under the culture header. To write battles, you need both an understanding of historical warfare and the ability to contextualize those decisions so you can have your characters make new ones. This means figuring out not just the thought processes of the people of history (theorized by gaining a better grasp of their circumstances), but also how your own characters think in relation to the world’s they live in.

Unless you’re writing historical fiction, you can’t just copy the battles from history wholesale. You have to learn how the decisions were made. This is why I recommend looking at the above groups.


Who they are as a people, their history, who they are descended from, how they see themselves, their commander’s experience with warfare, what kind of armies do they possess (if any at all), how does that work, how do they form supply lines, how do they pay for it, all that annoying bureaucratic minutia which will kill your brain but must be figured out. War is about troop movements. You’ve got to get them from Point A to Point B somehow, you’ve got ensure their fed, and if they’ve got mounts or armor all that has to come from somewhere. War is an expensive endeavor. Someone is paying for it. Where does the money come from, where does it go, and who is getting paid?

This is why strategy and tactics land under the cultural header, the more you dig into history the more you’ll find different cultures through different eras approached these problems differently. They also had different tools at their disposal which brings us to…


Technology encompasses your weapons, your armor, and, well, everything else that came to mind. Much as you need to know where your soldiers come from, you also need to know what tools they have at their disposal. If they haven’t mastered metalwork and smithing then they can’t have armor and the type of metal they work with defines what kind of armor they create. If they haven’t developed saddles then they don’t have mounted cavalry, if they haven’t figured out how to use horses to pull things then chances are they don’t have cavalry in the form of chariots either.

The same is true of the bow and every other kind of weapon available. Your tools define crucial parts of your tactics and strategy. They define what is available to use and what is available instructs us on how we fight. As the options narrow and you find your historical period, the tools will be easier to come by. Then, you’ll be able to envisage the battles better.

Warfare is complicated, but at its base is the element of rock, paper, scissors. You develop B, so I come up with X, to counter B, and then you develop Y to counter X. It is all about trying to develop new ways to counter the available options.

You brought foot soldiers to the battle, I guess this is what you’ll choose so I array my soldiers at your front and position cavalry behind to break your lines from the side or rear. You use pikes, position your soldiers in columns in order to break my cavalry’s charge or bring a cavalry of your own (or both). I position archers to bombard your lines with a barrage, and so on.

If you really have trouble with the concept then I recommend trying some good war games like Mount and Blade or the Total War series that help you see the battlefield visually and get some practice in arranging your troops.

However, in order to sell your tactics, you need…


What kind of environment are you fighting in? What is your target? What natural impediments are in the way? You can study Hannibal’s battle tactics against the Romans all you like, but if you ignore the fact that most of his elephants died on the march through the mountains then you’ll miss a crucial element to why he lost.















The conditions you fight in can make or break. Terrain defines how the troops are arranged. If you’re fighting on foreign soil then it can be the difference as to whether your tools will be of any use to you.

Some of it is flat out just luck.

The best way to learn to write battles is learning to think like a commander, and then follow that up with every other member of the army.

When it comes to historical fiction, I always recommend Sharon Kay Penman’s novels. They’re well regarded and well researched, providing some human context to what will inevitably be the dry reading of historical texts.


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“One may find wisdom, Ser Gilberto said, in viewing the Moslems as equals in all things. Holy men of the cloth speaketh ill of the Mauri, yes, because they are hostile invaders and heathen enemies of the Faith. Yet, clergymen need never face them in combat. In the midst of war, he said, one finds a heathen as deadly as any man, just as clever, just as afraid. The Berber knights, like any warrior, are men. They bleed and sweat, scream in pain, long for loved ones, and can strike you down like chaff should you lack respect for their steel.
These words stained Silo’s memory, and they would save his life one day. For, in after-years, what he found most shocking of the Mohammedan peoples, was how alike they were to those of Christian lands.”
– Jay Valdez

anonymous asked:

Hi! Long time fan. Quick question, what's the difference between a castle and a citadel?

Hi! Glad you’ve been enjoying the work. 

Good question!

Citadel is a word that’s used in a slightly confusing fashion when it comes to fortification. For example, citadel can mean a fortress attached to a city (whereas a castle may or may not be attached to a city) that forms the inner defenses, to which an army could retreat to if the city walls fell. 

However, a citadel can also be used to describe a part of a castle: another layer of walls between the outer walls and the inner keep. This is, however, a more rare use of the term. 

Lufa boys

The indigenous population of the world’s second largest island is one of the most heterogeneous in the world. The harsh terrain and historic inter-tribal warfare has led to village isolation and the proliferation of distinct languages. A number of different groups are scattered across the highland plateau.

Lufa is a town in the Eastern highlands at the foot of Mount Michel with a population under 1000. Their tradition and culture has been strongly influenced over decades by Western society from evangelist missionaries to Facebook, but traditions and customs remain strong.

Location: Lufa, Goroka, Papua New Guinea

Photography: Jimmy Nelson


Hello and welcome to @its-spelled-maille, a multi-mod blog dedicated to armor and weapons ranging from the earliest records to about the first World War.

Our goal is to be a free and accessible resource for writers and artists who have any interest in producing historically accurate and/or realistic works, to educate anyone willing to listen on relatively unknown facets of historical warfare, to dispel frequently perpetuated myths about historical peoples and their technology, and to critique popular works of fiction on their portrayal of historical weapons and armor. 

What we do: 

>Make original informational posts about historical weapons and armor(so far, we’re focusing on armor, but that doesn’t mean that there won’t be weapon posts in the future.).

>Answer asks about the function, usage, time period, construction, nomenclature, effectiveness, etc. etc. of historical armor and weapons, as well as whatever else you can think to ask us on the subject. If we don’t know the answer right away, we will research it and get back to you.

>Answer asks about the historical accuracy and realism in works of fiction with regard to weapons and armor.

>Politely and constructively critique the practicality of armor and weapons in art you submit to us.

>Critique the portrayal of historical armor and weapons in popular works of fiction.

>Correct any flagrantly wrong informational posts we see floating around that are relevant to the subject of historical weapons and armor.

What we won’t do:

>Attack and tear down works of fiction that are obviously trying not to be serious, realistic, or historically accurate in their portrayal of armor and weapons. 

>Mock you for drawing or otherwise portraying historical weapons and armor inaccurately, especially if you didn’t know better and are coming to us for help to improve the realism and historical accuracy of your work.

>Tell you that you have to make everything realistic and historically accurate in your fictional work, unless you are advertising your work as realistic and historically accurate.

Submission Info:

When you submit a piece of art to us, or describe a character in an ask, try to give us as much contextual information as possible so that we can make informed critiques. Context is very important to armor and weapon design. 

If you’re submitting somebody else’s art, include a source, and preferably get the artist’s permission first. 

No NSFW imagery. 

No hateful imagery.


Our queue autoposts twice a day, plus we post actively whenever we are available to do so. If the queue gets backed up too far, we will set it to autopost more than twice a day. 

The mods and their specialities: 

Sallet: HEMA. Knowledgeable mostly about general 15th Century European arms and armor.

Armet: HEMA. A medieval archaeologist specializing in warfare, particularly of the 14th and 15th centuries, with limited knowledge of arms and armor of eastern Asia, the middle east, Africa, and the Americas.

Burgonet: Freelance artist. Knowledgeable about a wide variety of arms and armor from the middle ages to the second industrial revolution in the scope of using it for concept art.

Bascinet: SCA/HEMA/Kenjuitsu. Blacksmith who works on armor. Knowledgeable about transitional/early plate armor and general 14th century arms/armor.

Close-helm: HEMA/SCA. Wears a 15th century Italian kit regularly for re-enactment, studies focus mostly on late period Europe, and the ottoman/byzantine empires with some knowledge on viking and pre-germanic tribes.