We’ve wrapped up our list of mythological creatures, but that doesn’t mean the Wednesday Wisdom is going to stop…
Instead, we’re taking on a new task: unique weaponry. It’s important to know the differences between your dirks and daggers, swords and scimitars. Even more so, about other styles of weapons used in battle…like this week. Let’s take you through history and inspire your fantasy, your historical plots…with what your characters should bring to the war table.
The picture doesn’t show much, but if you look close enough, you can make out a dozen ships. Well, that’s exactly what a hellburner was: a ship. Not a regular ship with a cool name, though; a ship used to cause a massive explosion, similar to what we would consider a nuclear weapon of our time.
Essentially, they were disguised as fire ships – ships set aflame and were set to drift using wind and tide. These have existed since the Greeks implemented its use in battle…around 400 BC. Hellburners came afterward…much farther. Hellburners were taken to the next level. They were set on fire, as mentioned to appear like fire ships, and were filled with gunpowder. Not just a few jugs. A massive amount of gunpowder. This is what would cause the destruction where there would be little to no survivors!
According to recorded history, hellburners were only used once. It was during the Siege of Antwerp in the 16th century. You read that right…16th century. In this situation, one of the hellburners had a mechanical timer which was set to run out and force the explosion once it was near the enemy. And it helped the users win the battle.
The main reason why this tactic was never used again was due to how much it cost to finance the hellburners. As it was mentioned earlier, a lot of gunpowder was used. Enough to protect an army or a full fleet. It was too much financially so this one explosion was the only one needed to make history.