What People (Like Me) Are Thinking About on Wednesdays

How about… attacking a castle with your bare hands?

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  1. Anna

     /  September 12, 2007

    That is totally wrong, and strangely appropriate…And why does he seems to familiar???
    Maybe I just need more coffee…

  2. That. Was. Kewl.

    I checked out their website — looking forward to other video bits from ’em.

  3. Anna

     /  September 12, 2007

    Yep, we used to play the same game at every castle we visited with some of my weirder archeologist friends…An especially fond memory of mine is a trip with the Castrum Bene asociation in Hungary where we did this with about 30 archeologists, art historians and historians, most of whom were over forty…they were the most enthusiastic to point out the murder holes and the defensively curving walls and pathways, of course, grinning like little kids as they said: “And then, the defenders took the pitch from the stores we know they had from this charter on the inventory of the castle in 1315, and made these cloth and straw bundles–interesting that we have those showing in the same room with the pitch in the inventory–and they just went ‘plop’ on the attackers’heads…”

  4. Mike

     /  September 12, 2007

    I can totally relate to that. When going to the many WWII battlesites I would get this totally nasty grin when I was in a position that was just SO perfect for an anti-tank gun or a tank or a bazooka (etc.) and imagining what it would have done to the other side.

    Then I would do the same thing in Iraq and it wasn’t quite so much fun. The more removed from an event you are the more entertainment value it can have in some cases. So while Kursk would be a laugh riot for me now, there is no way in hell I would want to participate.

  5. No question.

  6. Now I *really* want to build a castle!

  7. They are supremely cool in a pre-artillery ultimate protection kind of way…

  8. Alex

     /  September 13, 2007

    I can sort of relate and sort of not. When I was a kid in Germany (ages 4 to 8) I visited many many castles throughout West Germany, Austria, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, and France. Some of them were ruins, but some of them were in much better shape.

    Two of them I remember explicitly as very dumb ones to attack.
    The first was Neuschwanstein in Bavaria. To get up to this castle you had to take a small VW van up to the top, and it was a 40 degree incline most of the way up, swerving back and forth on the way up. The uphill battle to get to this thing would have nightmarish at best.

    The second was Festung Hohensalzburg, High Salzburg Fortress. The long long winding spiral road to the top that was bristling with gatehouses, towers/parapets, murder holes, and crossfire galleries was impressive to say the least to a 7 year old. I took us forever to walk up to the castle, do the tour, and walk back down – all day if I remember correctly.
    Of course, being a kid, the other thing I remember was that it snowed the day before and someone had made some small snow bunnies on one of the parapet walls which my sister and I thought was great and asked our parents to take a picture of.

  9. “They are supremely cool in a pre-artillery ultimate protection kind of way…”

    This reminds me of the book World War Z, an account from survivors of a zombie onslaught in the near future. In the book there is a story of how Windsor Castle became the last safe place in England from zombies. While the zombies were difficult to kill, they couldn’t break through the stone fortifications of a castle, and so castles became again the last safe place for the civilized man.

  10. Anna

     /  September 13, 2007

    Yep. If you have a real castle, that is…Steph, maybe we really have to talk about that castle building project…:-)

  11. Mike

     /  September 13, 2007

    Ooooooooo, sounds fun. But lets make sure the walls are strong enough to mount cannons on…

  12. Anna

     /  September 13, 2007

    Okay, you’ll be in charge of that part of the project then…

  13. Mike

     /  September 14, 2007

    Cool, when do we start? And what era cannons do we want?

  14. Anna

     /  September 14, 2007

    Hmm..if I have my way we build one to reflect border castles form the Ottoman war-era Hungary, which were essentially medieval castles re-done to handle artillery with extra gun towers and eathworks etc. built adjacent to the medieval walls. There is one in Wesntern Hungary that’s so tiny you can fit it onto out house lot yet it stopped the full Imperial Army of Suleyman the Magnificent before he could get to Vienna…he died at that siege ( I suspect he got a stroke from exasperation over the delay). I’ll see if I can get some images/layout.:-)

  15. Let me tell you, when you see Kosszeg(sp), your first impression is always “THAT stopped Suleyman!?”

  16. Anna

     /  September 14, 2007

    And If I learn how to type fast without less mis-strokes…::sigh:: I realy need to edit my comments before sending.
    But Koszeg is rather um…small?

  17. Alex

     /  September 14, 2007

    Did the location of Koszeg help defeat Suleyman?

    I remember a small castle on an island in the middle of the Rhine river (it’s still there) that was used to collect tolls and limit river traffic for quite a long time. It looked like more of a grand house with a small tower and a few battlements, but according to the tour guides it did a very good job enforcing the taxes and securing river traffic.

  18. Nah, man, it’s in the middle of some flipping fields. There’s a stream nearby with a little bitty bridge, the kind of stuff you put on postcards. It’s almost unbelievable seeing it from the outside.

  19. Mike

     /  September 14, 2007

    I heard that the reason why old Sully went after it was that the lord of the place had made a very personal and public insult against him and he wanted to pay him back. Could be a legend, but whatever it was it stopped him.

    It sounds like the great “rise” off of Sword Beach in Normandy. The Germans had a antitank gun on it and the British got the hell shot out of them until a Brigader General personnally led a bayonnet charge at overran it. There was a big reunion thing 20 years later and everyone was all hyped up to see it…

    and the rise was exactly 4 feet higher than everything around it. Even the vets were saying “damn, how did it seem so high back then?” You just can never tell with terrain and things during war.

  20. The garrison commander (a Croat whose name I forget) DID in fact make some choice insults… but Suleyman couldn’t bypass it. You don’t need a lecture from me on defense-in-depth, but that’s precisely how Vienna managed to survive: every #$^ spring they had to form up in Istanbul, and every $%*& summer they had to fight their $#%^ way through the #$%#-$^&%-^*&(*%-^((-*-% Hungarians in order to try to get at the Austrians.

  21. Anna

     /  September 14, 2007

    Yep, one big, frustrated Ottoman army, reaching their soggy, rain-filled end of action radius right at the gates of the tiny castle of Koszeg, with Captain Jurisich standing on the wall saying: “It’s been lovely for these weeks with you chaps…Oh, you mean you really want to go home now? Well, I guess we can let you to put a single flag up the wall and let ten of your soldiers parade around next to it so your army thinks you got the place and then go home for next year…yep, we can do that.” And the Austrian Emperor named him his High COmmander of the border forces not long after this, then he was ordered to Vienna to be special secret adviser to him. They guy was smart.

  22. Mike

     /  September 15, 2007

    Heh, nothing succeeds like success.

  23. Steph

     /  September 17, 2007

    Sounds beyond cool!!

  24. Thanks for picking up on the video! I’ve had fun reading your castley discussion – there are a few there I need to visit!

    But Alex, Neuschwannstein never had a defensive function – it was a folly (decorative purposes only) built in the 1800s. Salzburg, now, is a very different kettle of fish…




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