Author Topic: Berserk and History  (Read 1019 times)

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Offline Vampire_Hunter_Bob

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Berserk and History
« on: March 28, 2017, 01:27:17 AM »
Hi all,

I came across a Vintage News article that reminded me of Berserk. The article talked about the Battle of Ramree Island, during World War 2. It was fought between the British and colonial India armies against the Imperial Japanese army. After recapturing the airstrip, the Imperial army fled into the swamp.

While hiding out in the swamp the Japanese were attacked:
One night the British soldiers reported hearing panicked screams and gunfire emanating from within the darkness of the swamp. They didnít know what exactly caused the shouts of terror they heard, but only that the Japanese troops were being ravaged by some evil menace.

Another account by the British naturalist Bruce Stanley Wright paints an even more horrifying image of the scene:
The scattered rifle shots in the pitch black swamp punctured by the screams of wounded men crushed in the jaws of huge reptiles, and the blurred worrying sound of spinning crocodiles made a cacophony of hell that has rarely been duplicated on earth. At dawn the vultures arrived to clean up what the crocodiles had left.... Of about one thousand Japanese soldiers that entered the swamps of Ramree, only about twenty were found alive.

The Japanese lost a total of 500 soldiers in the swamps, which, in the articles, gets attributed to the saltwater crocodiles. Realistically, the leading cause of death was most likely from disease, and then the crocodiles.

Not that Iím saying Berserk is directly inspired by this moment, but it does sound familiar to a number of horrifying moments that take place in Berserk.

Does anyone know of historical events that played a role in Berserk, or, at least, sounds like something from Berserk?


Offline Rodericus

Re: Berserk and History
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2017, 01:37:14 PM »

Does anyone know of historical events that played a role in Berserk, or, at least, sounds like something from Berserk?



As a matter of fact, yes; The Turkic and Mongol invasions of Europe are very similar to Kushan Empire's invasion of Midland and other other nations on the Continent. One particularly striking example was the tactic of using captured prisoners-of-war as an advance vanguard to bear the brunt of enemy armies' attacks while simultaneously shielding your own soldiers, thus in turn minimizing your own casualties. In real life, the Bulgars, Cumans, Tatars, Mongols and Ottoman Turks were especially infamous for using this tactic during their invasions of Europe. They would take (usually Slavic) POWs from Eastern European territories that they'd conquered earlier and (prodding them with spears and at a point of swords) they'd force those wretched slave POWs to march ahead of their own soldiers and used them as cannon fodder (arrow fodder?) to conquer even more territory. The famous medieval chronicler Matthew Paris recounts the 13th century Mongol-Tatar conquest of Kievan Rus and their devastation of Poland and Hungary as thus:

They razed cities to the ground, burnt woods, pulled down castles, tore up the farmlands and destroyed the gardens and massacred the citizens; if by chance they did spare any who begged for their lives, they compelled them, as slaves of the lowest order, to fight in front of them against their own kindred.

All of this is similar (if not outright identical) to the brutal tactics used by Ganishka's imperial army in their invasion and subsequent conquest and occupation of Midland as seen in volumes 22 and 23. In the latter volume, you can see Midland's army of resistance fighting and killing what they initially think are Kushan soldiers, only to realize that those men were actually citizens of the Midland and the other Holy See Alliance member-states. It is then revealed that it's a standard Kushanese tactic to use enemy POWs as human shields to minimize the losses of their own men. You can find more information in Timothy May's excellent "The Mongol Art of War" book

Hope that helps!!  :guts:

« Last Edit: June 12, 2017, 01:01:02 AM by Johnny Apples »