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Author Topic: And you thought the Helstorm was odd ...  (Read 1194 times)

Offline Padre

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And you thought the Helstorm was odd ...
« on: May 14, 2017, 05:02:16 PM »
During my arcane researches for pursuits both professional and hobby-tastic, I have encountered a few oddities over the years. Today I discovered an engine of war which reminded me very much of the Empire’s infamous Helstorm Rocket Battery, and thought I ought to present it here to you my fellow Empire generals.

It appears upon page 132 of Bishop John Wilkins treatise entitled ‘Mathematical Magick, or, the WONDERS That may be Performed by Mechanical Geometry in two Books: Concerning Mechanical  Powers, Motions. Being one of the most Easie, Pleasant, Useful (and yet most neglected) part of MATHEMATICS Not before treated of in this Language.’

After considering the amazing feats performed by ‘that famous engineer’ Archimedes in ancient times, utilising war machines of incredible strength and effectiveness to destroy an entire war fleet at the siege of Syracuse, it moved onto chapter XVIII, concerning the ‘Catapulte, or Engines for Arrows’, and revealed this marvellous, mechanical monstrosity …



I can see exactly what is meant to happen here, but have to admit that I had my doubts about the practicality of such an engine, thinking that the tensions required and shock delivered in use might be asking a little too much of the material construction, and that even should it hold itself together then the arrows might most likely simply be shattered by the impact of the bent board.

BUT upon reading the bishop’s words, I did start to wonder whether I should think twice before adopting such an incredulous and dismissive attitude. After all, he wasn’t explaining but rather ‘explicating’, which sounds to be a much more acceptable process. For a start, many authors have described said marvellous engines, and one such, Polybius, ‘is an Author noted to be very grave and serious in his discourse; [who]does solemnly promise in one place that he will relate nothing but what either he himself was an eye-witness of, or else what he had received from those that were so’ … and that he was himself born ‘not above thirty years after the siege of Syracuse.’ Still, being of a most sceptical mind, such as is the modern way, I remained unconvinced that Archimedes could indeed be so ’extraordinarily subtil [sic] and ingenious above the common sort of men.’

Reading on, however, I was astonished to learn that such engines might hurl ‘enormes’ (milstones) or ‘sepulchrales’ (tombstones), and that the author Athenaeus mentioned a ballista that could throw weights of 3 talents (360 lbs), while Archimedes apparently cast a stone onto one of Marcellus’ ships weighing 10 talents (that’s a whopping 1200 lbs). Could it be true, I thought? Yet even while reeling from the mental imagery of such a feat, only a few lines later I learned that despite a cannon royal (the biggest ‘modern’ artillery piece) shooting no more than a 64 lb roundshot, the Turks at Constantinople – and this on the word of no less than an archbishop – did use a gunpowder piece that launched a shot of equal weight to that claimed for Archimedes! Of course, I was less surprised to read that such a mighty cannon required 150 yoke of oxen to haul it!

And yet, still I doubted, for I am a cautious fellow not known for rash decisions or silly pronouncements. Not me, not never, no way. Then … only one chapter later I was astonished to read the following:

Concerning ‘Catapulte’ launching spears: ‘they did carry with so great a force … (saith Ammianus) … that the weapons discharged from them were sometimes (if you can believe it) set on fire by the swiftness of their motion.’ I believe it, my Lord bishop. I believe it.

Furthermore: ’Tis related of the Turkish bow that it can strike an arrow through a piece of steel or brass two inches thick.’ … whether shot … ’vertically, horizontally or transversally’

And, if your stomach can take it, at the siege of Jotapata, ’A great bellied woman walking about the city on the daytime, had her child struck out of her womb, and carried half a furlong from her. A soldier standing by his Captain Josephus, on the wall, had his head struck off by another stone sent from these Roman engines, and his brains carried three furlongs off.”

Arrows bursting into flame from the heat created by their sheer velocity, and brains cast not one, not two, but three furlongs away! And here I was thinking I had been playing a fantasy wargame all these years!
« Last Edit: May 14, 2017, 05:11:06 PM by Padre »
To see some of my stuff with the pictures re-included go to http://forum.oldhammer.org.uk/ and to see my slowly growing website/blog which will have a lot of stuff in eventually, see www.bigsmallworlds.com

Offline Artobans Ghost

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Re: And you thought the Helstorm was odd ...
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2017, 05:44:36 PM »
Quote Padre : And yet, still I doubted, for I am a cautious fellow not known for rash decisions or silly pronouncements. Not me, not never, no way

 :::cheers::: :::cheers:::

And :
Arrows bursting into flame from the heat created by their sheer velocity, and brains cast not one, not two, but three furlongs away! And here I was thinking I had been playing a fantasy wargame all these years!

 :icon_lol: :biggriin:

Excellent bit of history Padre! Most remarkable
Mathi Alfblut Feb 4,2017
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Offline Konrad von Richtmark

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Re: And you thought the Helstorm was odd ...
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2017, 08:48:14 PM »
Glorious Altaic composite bow, laminated over a million times, finest bow known to mankind, can penetrate tank armour! Get rekt, weeaboo katana fanboys!  :-D
The only good thing about 7th ed heads is that they look particularly inbred and superstitious which is perfect for Stirlanders

Offline Xathrodox86

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Re: And you thought the Helstorm was odd ...
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2017, 01:22:13 PM »
Can you imagine how useful that'd be against the Orcs or Skaven? :ph34r:
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Offline Konrad von Richtmark

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Re: And you thought the Helstorm was odd ...
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2017, 03:40:52 PM »
I'm thinking that anything that thing could do, one could simply do better by having an array of nine crossbows, whose strings would all be pulled back simultaneously by a plate with one hook and rope attaching to each string. Pulling that master-plate back would require something like a harnessed train of oxen, but it might be doable.
The only good thing about 7th ed heads is that they look particularly inbred and superstitious which is perfect for Stirlanders

Offline scrubber

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Re: And you thought the Helstorm was odd ...
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2017, 09:34:21 PM »
I still want to built the multi arrow firing machine that the Brits used to defend the castle gates in the film "The Messenger". Think Altdorf engineers or Dwarves would be able to make such a machine.

Offline Xathrodox86

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Re: And you thought the Helstorm was odd ...
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2017, 11:00:59 AM »
I always liked how WFB was a great setting for introducing various, crazy engineering stuff into your games. So far we had:

- Multi-barreled, rotary cannons

- Katyusha-like rocket launchers

- Mortars

- Cannons the size of longhouses (Ulric's Fury!)

- Flamecannons for Dwarves!

- Dwarf cannons, shooting coned-like, modern ammunition

- Repeating rifles for Chaos Dwarves

- Miniguns (Skaven!)

- Flamethrowers (also Skaven!)

- Homing pigeons, straight from Worms

- Hand-held grenade launchers, utilised by our cavalry

- Sniper rifles, created by Hochlanders, perfected by engineers from Nuln

- Repeating pistols and rifles for the Empire

And my favorite thing - self-aware cannons, shooting souls and running around, causing mischief.

I only wish for hand-held helstorm rockets. :biggriin:
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Offline Warlord

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Re: And you thought the Helstorm was odd ...
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2017, 02:23:51 AM »
Chaos Dwarves have also had Blunderbusses, single rocket launchers, earthshaker cannons, and shoulder mounted rocket launchers.
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Offline Xathrodox86

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Re: And you thought the Helstorm was odd ...
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2017, 08:18:16 AM »
Chaos Dwarves have also had Blunderbusses, single rocket launchers, earthshaker cannons, and shoulder mounted rocket launchers.

In one of my WFRP games, the PC's were involved in theft of hand-held rocket launcher plans form the Imperial Gunnery School, for the College of Engineering. Nothing like a good dose of industrial espionage. ;)

I also forgot about the venerable Steam Tanks of da Miragliano and the Marienburg Land Ship from Tamurkhan FW book. Chaos Dwarves also have trains and train-mounted mortars. Skaven have subway system in Skavenblight.
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Offline Padre

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Re: And you thought the Helstorm was odd ...
« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2017, 07:27:21 PM »
I love the fact that because it is the Warhammer world, then alchemy (actually magical, alchemy) and other magic, as well as strange substances like warpstone, mithric steel and such like, or even fantastical beasts, can be used to bridge any percieved gap between what would work in the real world and the crazy model you've just planted on the gaming table! I've had great fun over the years scratchbuilding warp-lightning steam cannons, doomwheels, steamtanks, scraplaunchers, pump-wagons etc etc.

Here's another illustration from Bishop Wilkin's book - a land chariot. It's an 'improved' version of those he says employed in China and Holland using ordinary sort of sails. This one, as you can see, would allow you to move directly into the wind. Not just 'close hauled', as a sailor would say, or 'on a bowline' 6 to 4 points (67.5 to 45 degrees) off, but straight into it!



To see some of my stuff with the pictures re-included go to http://forum.oldhammer.org.uk/ and to see my slowly growing website/blog which will have a lot of stuff in eventually, see www.bigsmallworlds.com

Offline Padre

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Re: And you thought the Helstorm was odd ...
« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2017, 08:12:12 PM »
You'll never guess what someone on another forum found! Only the multi arrow spanky shooter in action!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bW8QRgYcLRs&feature=youtu.be

See 5.40 and 7.00

Kapow!

At least now I know the thing works in CGI land.
To see some of my stuff with the pictures re-included go to http://forum.oldhammer.org.uk/ and to see my slowly growing website/blog which will have a lot of stuff in eventually, see www.bigsmallworlds.com

Offline Artobans Ghost

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Re: And you thought the Helstorm was odd ...
« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2017, 08:43:49 PM »
Damn Padre! I ended up watching most of that lol.
Mathi Alfblut Feb 4,2017
Simple, You gut the bastard with your sword, the viking way.
Questions?

Mathi Alfblut Dec 9,2017
Get a binge of Yule ale, roasted boar and some proper axes and we will ALL be happy again!

Offline Padre

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Re: And you thought the Helstorm was odd ...
« Reply #12 on: May 18, 2017, 08:51:22 PM »
Damn Padre! I ended up watching most of that lol.

Hope you enjoyed it. I want to find the full film now.
To see some of my stuff with the pictures re-included go to http://forum.oldhammer.org.uk/ and to see my slowly growing website/blog which will have a lot of stuff in eventually, see www.bigsmallworlds.com

Offline Xathrodox86

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Re: And you thought the Helstorm was odd ...
« Reply #13 on: May 19, 2017, 08:37:00 AM »
Damn Padre! I ended up watching most of that lol.

Hope you enjoyed it. I want to find the full film now.

That was glorious. These machines were brutal! :ph34r:
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Offline commandant

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Re: And you thought the Helstorm was odd ...
« Reply #14 on: May 22, 2017, 01:51:29 PM »
What movie is that?

Offline Xathrodox86

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Re: And you thought the Helstorm was odd ...
« Reply #15 on: May 24, 2017, 01:06:17 PM »
What movie is that?

Baahubali: The Beginning
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Offline GamesPoet

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Re: And you thought the Helstorm was odd ...
« Reply #16 on: May 27, 2017, 12:27:01 AM »
Can"t see the video currently.  :icon_sad:
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Offline Xathrodox86

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Re: And you thought the Helstorm was odd ...
« Reply #17 on: May 29, 2017, 11:19:10 AM »
Shitty quality, but better this than nothing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTzYG2RwuOs
Check out my wargaming blog "It always rains in Nuln". Reviews, rants and a robust dose of wargaming and RPG fun guaranteed. ;)

http://italwaysrainsinnuln.blogspot.com/

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Gneisenau