Sunday, September 21, 2014

Fun and Hijinks with the Gunpowder Plot

Posted by Ranillon on 4. December 2010 15:07

Okay, so this is only slightly related to what I've been talking about concerning the history and tactics of the English Civil War, but this BBC video is so entertaining and hilarious I just had to post it.

The video above is a BBC production dealing with the famous Gunpowder Plot ("Remember, remember the Fifth of November..."), but in a highly enjoyable and comical fashion.  It gets all the basic facts right so it's also educational.

For those that don't know, the Gunpowder Plot was an attempt by a band of disgruntled Catholics to literally blow up the government.  The plan was to place 36 barrels of gunpowder under the House of Lords in London and set it off at the start of parliament when pretty much anyone who was anyone would be in attendance.  This included the king at the time, James I (or VI of Scotland -- he was the first joint king of England and Scotland together) who was the father of Charles I, the king during the English Civil War over thirty years later.  It also included Henry, James' heir at the time (he would die seven years later, thus leaving Charles as the next king), most of the important religious and noble people of the time, and even the soon-to-be-eternally-famous Francis Bacon (who was to be there hoping for a job). 

Incredibly, the plotters managed to rent the storage area under the House of Lords (as the show points out, that is kind of like Al Queda renting the basement of the White House) and then over the process of months bring in the gunpowder.  They got within a half day of theoretically carrying out their plan before the authorities swooped in and arrested Guy Fawkes, the explosives expert who was waiting around the storage area with the gunpowder the night before parliament so as to set the fuse the next morning.  However, someone had previously warned a Catholic noble who was planning on attending the opening that it would be better if he was someplace else that day.  He in turn informed the king.  So, the government had been on the lookout for the plotters for at least a few weeks beforehand (it is suspected that the plot was allowed to progress as far as it did so as to draw out all the conspirators). 

In the end those involved in the plot were hunted down and captured, except for two (including the mastermind) who died during a confrontation with the king's troops.  The others were condemned to a traitor's death -- hung, drawn, and quartered.  The hanging part was meant to only reduce someone to the point of near death without causing it so that he'd still be around for the part where his executioners cut him apart piece-by-piece.  However, Guy Fawkes -- the only conspirator that most anyone remembers by name -- "cheated" the system by throwing himself off the scaffold and breaking his neck.

New Warlord Thirty Years War Miniatures

Posted by Ranillon on 27. November 2010 22:23

Warlord Games -- which is my favorite for historical miniatures (since GW doesn't directly make any) -- is continuing to produce more minis for their Pike and Shotte line.  Here are probably the two most famous generals on each side (Clicking takes you to the appropriate Warlord webpage) --

Albrecht von Wallenstein (1583-1634) was for a time the supreme command of the Imperial (Holy Roman Empire)/Catholic forces and led them to a number of successes.  However, things in the end did not turn out all that well for him.  One, when he drew the suspicion of the Emperor the latter had him assassinated.  Two, he has been mostly overshadowed by the next model (well, the guy he represents)...

Gustavus Adolphus (1611-1632) is easily the most well-known figure of the era -- and is, assuming they known anything about the subject, probably the only person most people have heard about from the war.  He was the man who turned Sweden into one of the "Great Powers" of Europe (where it would stay for another eighty or so years) and is credited with a number of military innovations.  His intervention in the Thirty Years War also saved the Protestant side from probable complete defeat.  He died leading cavalry during the Battle of Lutzen and is the only Swedish monarch to have ever earned the title of "the Great."

Apocalypse Week at GW

Posted by Ranillon on 9. November 2010 17:46


Games Workship Online is doing an "Apocalypse Week" and since I love the game I figured I would post the link.   Today -- technically the second day -- they are featuring a huge and spectacular Blood Ravens army.

Witchfate Tor -- Tower of Sorcery

Posted by Ranillon on 26. October 2010 15:36

Okay, this was just too nifty to pass up reporting -- the new "Witchfate Tor -- Tower of Sorcery" terrain model up for pre-order at GW's website.

The thing is modular with four different levels (counting the top roof) which you can disassemble into different levels.  You may be able to mix and match the levels to some extent.  It is a multipart plastic set needing to be both constructed and painted, but the only indication is the little Multi-Part Plastic Kit logo to one side.  Take that away and you might be tempted to think it is a done deal -- just unwrap and use.  After all, other terrain companies offer such "open and done" models.  Makes you wonder why they leave you confused over this.

Regardless, it is clearly an impressive model suitable for any fantasy setting using models, not just Warhammer.  I will certainly take a closer look when it comes out in November.

Warlord Games Comes Out with Thirty Years War Box Sets

Posted by Ranillon on 22. October 2010 20:24

Just so we here at 40KOrigins labs can occasionally talk about products from makers besides GW here are some pictures of the new range of historical Thirty Years War box sets/models from Warlord Games.  In truth, they are just the same as the English Civil War sets we've already been talking about, but with a few different metal models and historically accurate paper flags.  Point is that you can use a Pike and Shotte army in a ECW and Thirty Years War setting -- using the same Warhammer Historical rules, of course.

Just for those who don't know -- the Thirty Years War took place primarily in what is now Germany (at the time it was a huge collection of different sized states bound together by a common culture and nominal loyalty to the Holy Roman Empire) between Catholic and Protestant sides.  While religion did obviously play a big role behind the conflict it was also a struggle to see who would be the dominant political force in the area -- Would the Catholic Holy Roman Emperor (a.k.a. ruler of Austria) grab back true control of Germany or would Germany remain a collection of competing small nations?  The conflict took approximately thirty years (hence the name) and was devastating to many parts of the region.


Click to Biggie Size Images

Yes, what you just read is correct -- during the 17th Century Sweden was one of the great powers of Europe and stayed that way until the early 18th century when Russia took their place.  It was the intervention of Sweden under the King Gustav II Adolf the Great during a critical part of the war that saved the Protestant side from defeat.

The primary force on the Catholic side was the Holy Roman Empire -- whose power was based around the Emperor's direct control of Austria and related territories.


Again, Click to See Bigger

It should be noted that over the course of the war most every power in Europe got involved in one way or the other, although to what degree could vary greatly.  Nor did a nation's participation necessarily match their religious preference.  For instance, even as the French crushed organized Protestantism in their own country (although arguably mostly to secure absolute rule of the king) they primarily fought against Austria in order to limit its power.

See, that is why I like historical gaming -- it allows you an excuse to learn about vitally important periods of time -- events that lead directly to the world we live in now -- which you'd otherwise never know about!