“With this comrade by our side, Hitler’s pic-a-nic basket won’t stand a chance!” (Image by Imperial War Museum; ‘POLISH FORCES DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR’, public domain)

Animals have been used in warfare ever since the first peoples learned how to domesticate them. Tales abound of knights riding armoured horses, war elephants smashing through lines of infantry, and Roman fire pigs causing precisely the sort of chaos you’d expect them to. However, industrialisation — and the advent of total war — has relegated most military animals to non-combat roles, being replaced by machines such as the tank. Dogs remain the chief exception, being used to this day for a variety of battlefield missions from guard duty to bomb disposal.

You would be forgiven for sprouting a confused…


DISCLAIMER: Interrupting UNC logging crews is likely to end in *at least* 32 tonnes of high-explosive death being rained down upon your head. Proceed with caution. (Image courtesy of the USAF and JASDF)

The United States is known worldwide for having the most powerful military forces on Earth, as confirmed by Global Firepower. Helping to compose the ‘big stick’ America wields are such war machines as the M1 Abrams main battle tank, the equally legendary AR-15 assault rifle, and the F-15 (which, by the way, is the world’s deadliest fighter jet). After the Second World War that helped cement the USA’s power, successive presidents have brought its full military might to help wipe out communists, military juntas and jihadists alike.

But there aren’t many who would have expected this sleeping titan to awaken…


Image lovingly borrowed from Ed Durotriges’ Pinterest page. Check it out!

Today, I come to you bearing something different — a history essay that isn’t necessarily war-related. Instead I want to share with you a piece I wrote a long time ago, back in my first year of studying for my degree (believe it or not, there was a time before COVID-19). In this piece, I ask and elaborate upon the simple question of what impact the Great British ethos of Empire had on the society of the nation itself, particularly focusing on the period between the First and Second World Wars.

But in order to do that, it is as…


“This is my rifle, this is my gun…”

Throughout the Second World War, Nazi Germany’s diverse collective of scientists and engineers devised many creative, destructive and sometimes downright wacky superweapons — wunderwaffen, or wonder weapons — they believed would tip the tide of the war into their favour. Unfortunately for the Nazis, few of these weapons were put to use. They have since been relegated to fictional universes like the Wolfenstein video games.

If the insidious creators of these monstrous engines of war had had their way, however, we Brits might well end up having sausage and sauerkraut instead of fish and chips for tea. …


Image lovingly sourced from National Interest: https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/meet-t-95-russian-super-tank-moscow-passed-big-mistake-81296

First things first, an explanation of just what a ‘derp tank’ actually is, for those of you who have never played World of Tanks. In the online computer game’s parlance, such a machine is armed with a devastatingly powerful main gun capable of obliterating any competition in a single shot. Its ease of use and tendency towards bringing about a rather unceremonious demise for any who fight against it have earned it the ‘derp’ moniker.

For the Object 195, also dubbed the T-95, such a moniker is rather apt. It would have been armed with a 152-millimetre high calibre 2A83…


Disclaimer: Using your comrade as a rifle rest may result in shoulder discomfort for all parties. (Image originally sourced from Russian Spring News.)

There’s an old phrase commonly associated with Texas: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. While axiomatic in just about every circumstance, it rarely applies to weapons, as warfare is in a constant state of evolution between defence and offence. The Second World War, for example, hasn’t raged for three quarters of a century, and now we’re fighting each other with weapon systems that Rommel, Patton and Zhukov could only have dreamed of getting their mitts on. (God help us all if they had.)

Nonetheless, there are many innovations from the war that have stood the test of time, most…


“Well, the Romans did ask for a helping hand…

If there’s anything that humanity does a stellar job at, it’s devising new and innovative methods of putting their fellow man six feet under. From slings loaded with stones to nuclear warheads, the militaries of the world have their jobs cut out for them when creating new weird and wonderful weapons to use against each other. Many such weapons are unique and entirely novel, such as unmanned fighter jets. Others are based upon older designs, such as the 155-millimetre howitzers that make up the mainstay of Western artillery batteries, and are upgraded accordingly.

It might surprise you to know, however…


By Søren Niedziella of Albion-Europe, Denmark — File:Albion_Turin_Medieval_Sword_1_(6092200595).jpg (cropped and resized), CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41840202

Just about everyone on planet Earth has heard of a sword — that is, the funny-looking metal stick with sharp edges, held by a handle and used to chop and/or stab at enemy soldiers until they stopped flailing about. Occasionally, they were used for bashing too. Throughout the countless wars fought during the course of human history, the sword has been a staple of nearly every fighting force since someone thought to found a civilisation on the banks of the Nile and Euphrates Rivers six and a half thousand years ago.

Thus in Ancient Sumer and Egypt was born the…


The weather outside is more frightful than usual. (image by Antonio J. Manzanedo)

Last week I showcased a short battle between an adult blue dragon and a hapless group of imaginary players — which resulted in the players being brutally slaughtered. Turns out throwing a giant, lightning-breathing flying desert lizard at them doesn’t end well. So in today’s session, I will be doing something totally different. Today I will throw a giant, ice-breathing flying snow lizard at another party.

But Harry, how does this lizard differ from the first lizard? For one, a white dragon lives in the opposite climate to its blue counterpart. Blues love deserts and badlands, while whites are most…


Flash before my eyes,
Now it’s time to die,
Burning in my brain,
I can feel the flames…

For those of you who’ve stuck around since the beginning, I’ve spoken at length about the fifth-edition Dungeons & Dragons campaign I’ve been running since the start of lockdown. It’s entitled The Draconomachy, being best described as a Theros-centred adaptation of 5E’s first official campaign, Tyranny of Dragons (with a healthy dose of 300 and Homeric literature to boot). As you can probably imagine from all of that, I’ve been throwing a lot of dragons at my party for them to fight — from the miserably-fated Derriphan to the thoroughly vile Zakharaea.

In the short term, there’ll be three more…

Harry Schofield

A Creative Writing and History graduate and amateur author with his head in the clouds.

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