It’s Deadly At the Top — The Age Old Tradition of Executing Generals

Military History Now

North Korea’s new leader, Kim Jong Un, is cleaning house in the upper echelons of his army. The 29-year-old totalitarian dictator reportedly executed one of his most senior generals this past week for drinking alcohol, according to an article on the Daily Telegraph. The story reports that the Hermit Kingdom is still in a period of mourning following the death of the previous leader, Kim Jong Il. As such, the consumption of booze is prohibited. Astonishingly, the execution was carried out not by a firing squad but by a mortar crew. The disgraced army vice minister was ordered to be “obliterated” by a precision-fired mortar round. North Korea has a history of executing generals (and executing them in bizarre ways). In the late 1990s, a group of DPRK generals who were suspected of treason were doused with gasoline and burned alive before a capacity crowd at Pyongyang’s May Day…

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No horses, but two bayonets

Some WW1 Photographs...

The topic of the day was easily found, thanks to the last Obama-Romney debate. Unfortunately, I don’t think I have a pic of Doughboys on horses with a bayonet. But I got this nice studio portrait of two US soldiers with full equipment, .30-06 P17 Enfield rifles and their M1917 bayonets! The other kind of bayonet used by US Army during WW1 was the M1905 one, used for the M1903 Springfield rifle.

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Strike Hard Strike Sure – The RAF Bomber Command Memorial

The Forgotten Armies of the Western Front – 1914 to 1918

Military History Now

Eight million men in total fought in the British Army during the First World War. More than half of them (5 million) served in France and Flanders on the Western Front. [1] These men came from the U.K. as well as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India and even the West Indies. Another 8 million soldiers fought for France. [2] The United States sent 4.7 million to war with Germany in the last two years of the war [3] and as many as 11 million Germans fought in France and Belgium as well between 1914 and 1918. [4] Interestingly enough these weren’t the only nations’ armies to have taken part in the fighting there. There were other, smaller, often overlooked contingents to the Western Front that history has largely forgotten. Here are their stories.

When war between the powers of Europe erupted in the summer of 1914, Portugal…

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Late Medieval China

War Horses in Gas Masks 1918

Great War Photos

Gas was a weapon that will be forever associated with the Great War. First used at Ypres in April 1915, it caused many casualties among the front line troops. But gas did not just linger on the battlefield – it drifted. And in drifting it moved into areas that were used to bring up supplies and ammunition, and as the war progressed, these areas became often as much targeted as the front line.

As the majority of transport in every army during WW1 was horse or mule transport, then these animals became as much affected by the gas as their human masters. Just as gas masks were developed for the troops, masks were equally introduced for horses; this image shows a British soldier wearing a Small Box Respirator, introduced in 1916, checking the gas masks of two horses pulling a service wagon. Gas warfare was a bad enough experience for…

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For the Students of Military History



Conflict History

maps out wars and conflicts around the globe on a timeline from antiquity to the present day .  It lists the wars of the day on a global map that functions just like Mapquest or Google . You can zoom in on the terrain , get  satellite views and read details of the battles themselves as well as links to outside sources . Very Cool Stuff 

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September 28 1066 William the Conqueror invades England

Craig Hill Training Services

On September 28th 1066, claiming his right to the English throne, William, duke of Normandy, invaded England at Pevensey on Britain’s southeast coast. His subsequent defeat of King Harold II at the Battle of Hastings marked the beginning of a new era in British history.

William was the illegitimate son of Robert I, duke of Normandy, by his concubine Arlette, a tanner’s daughter from the town of Falaise. The duke, who had no other sons, designated William his heir, and with his death in 1035 William became duke of Normandy at age seven.

Rebellions were epidemic during the early years of his reign, and on several occasions the young duke narrowly escaped death. Many of his advisers did not.

By the time he was 20, William had become an able ruler and was backed by King Henry I of France. Henry later turned against him, but William survived…

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RAF Bomber Command and Strategic Bombing

Ahead of Their Time — Early Attempts at Modern Weaponry

Military History Now

Jan Zizka, a 15th century Czech military leader who led a rebellion against the powerful Catholic Church, was a brilliant commander in spite of being totally blind. Even with this considerable handicap, Zizka did have the vision to foresee the invention of the tank 500 years before the advent of modern armoured warfare. As reported previously on this very blog, as far back as the 1420s, Zizka came up with the idea of mounting archers, arquebuses and even cannons on armoured horse-drawn carts and rolling them into battle. He called his contraptions “wagon forts”. [1] Zizka wasn’t the only one from the distant pass to envision the weapons systems of modern times. There have been a number of military innovators throughout history who developed early versions of some of the more revolutionary fighting machines of today. Here are a few of these remarkable inventions.

Bombs Away
History records the…

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Diogo Gomes de Figueyredo’s Montante – Demonstrated by ModernSwordsman

Grauenwolf's Study of Western Martial Arts

These videos are an interpretation of Diogo Gomes de Figueyredo’s Memorial Of the Practice of the Montante. If you open the video on YouTube you can see the text of the lesson the presenter is working through. 

Purpleheart Armory sells wood and synthetic montantes. I cannot vouch for their quality.

Simple Rule 1


Simple Rule II

Simple Rule III

Simple Rule IV

Simple Rule V

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Don’t be Sloppy – Guardia Alta Edition

Grauenwolf's Study of Western Martial Arts

While researching for a class on Bolognese-Dardi terminology, I looked at this picture. I didn’t just see it, something about it caused me to actively look at it.


Notice how his blade is about 15 degrees from center. Now look at mine:


Pretty sloppy, isn’t it? For literally a decade I thought it was just laziness. But look at his quillions, they are traverse not forward. And his palm is turned forward so that the true edge is to the outside.

Look Good…

Marozzo isn’t just some random master at arms hired to teach peasant soldiers, he is a refined instructor of knights, noblemen, and the upper crust of merchant society. They come to him not just to learn how to use a sword, but how to look good doing so.

They don’t want to walk into a fight looking like they are already worn out. It is ok if…

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The Cutting Drill – Part 1

Ready, Set, Unsheathe

Do you know what the cutting drill is? I’ve thrown the name around in my posts maybe once or twice, but have actually neglected to clearly define it. In fact, I wasn’t even sure if I had described it on this blog at all. Apparently I have – sort of, anyway: Week 1 – Swords Are Heavy. About half-way through that post I start to describe the first version of the cutting drill I learned. Further into the beginner’s course this was expanded on and named the cutting drill (although we still only knew the first half of it). It is an exercise that, as the name implies, is for practicing your cutting technique. We usually spend at least a few minutes on it in the middle of every class.

The first half of the cutting drill can be summed up like this: cut down from the right, cut…

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The Cutting Drill – Part 2

Ready, Set, Unsheathe

As said in part 1, it’s time to go beyond the old “cut-cut-cut-cutting drill”. Since we happen to be three beginners and three experienced students, each beginner gets a sort-of personal instructor for this class. The first exercise we do is described below.

The defendant (me) takes the posta di finestraguard. It literally means “window guard”, and I guess I can see why.

This is a funny sort of guard. Instead of having your weight on your front foot you shift it on to your back foot (the right), but you keep facing forward. Your arms are crossed on the right side of your head and are holding the sword up in a horizontal position, so that the tip of your sword stares your opponent in the face. I’ve seen others use this guard, but this is the first time I try it. It takes a few moments…

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Fiore Longsword – Works of Richard Marsden

Discussion on Sturtzhauw, the plunging strike

Grauenwolf's Study of Western Martial Arts


Meyer often describes cuts that seem a lot more like plays to me and I believe the sturtzhauw is a two step attack rather than a strike you throw directly. The way I see it the sturtzhauw begins with a scheidelhauw thrown either as a feint or clearing stroke that is followed by a thrust or cut to the face using the short edge to wrap around the opponent’s blade. That’s probably clear as mud in text but it’s a simple, continuous motion when executed… too bad I don’t have a video. Meyer specifically says that the sturtzhauw is mostly used as an opener in both his longsword and dusack sections but it can work when the fur is flying too since the scheidelhauw can often be used as a parry and that will initiate the process.

The sturtzhauw is actually one of the techniques that makes me think…

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