File:Fragments of Roman Helmet (copyright, Christie's) (FindID 404767).jpg
The finely wrought face mask corresponds to Robinson's Cavalry Sports Helmet Type C (Robinson 1975, 114-7) and Kohlert's Type V (Kohlhert 1978, 23-4). It depicts an idealised youthful male face, with luxuriant curly hair in three rows, the first of which extends to the mid-point of the full cheeks. The fine eyebrows are indicated by short diagonal engraved strokes, the eyelids are shown and both eyes are depicted with a pierced ring in the centre of the eye-holes to represent the iris. Traces of the reserved white metal coating are visible on the face, but it is likely that the hair and helmet would have appeared in bright natural bronze. The nostrils are pierced and the full lips slightly parted.
Originally the mask would have hinged at the centre of the brow within the curly hair (Jackson and Craddock 1995, 80). At the neck it was fastened by a leather strap which would have been secured by its eyeleted ends to an iron strap on the jawline on each side of the mask, with slight remains of iron corrosion surviving. The survival of the headpiece, in its Phrygian form is exceptional with a crest attachment in the form of a winged griffin with its right paw raised and resting on an amphora. At the back of the head is a single row of curls can be seen below a raised ridge.
Although no Roman garrisons are documented in the immediate vicinity, the findspot lies in an area with a substantial Roman military presence on a key route leading to the northern frontier. The nearest is at Brough and there are others further to the north-west in the Eden valley (e.g. Kirkby Thore, Brougham, Old Penrith). Stanwix, the garrison of the only thousand strong cavalry unit known from Roman Britain, is c. 50km to the NW. To the east of the Pennines over Stainmore are further garrisons.
Findspots of other sports helmets are varied. In many cases they have been found within or in the immediate environs of garrisons, often of auxiliary cavalry units (alae cohortes equitatae) (Garbsch 1978) as at Ribchester, Lancashire and Newstead, Borders. In several cases however there is no closely associated fort or fortress, for instance, at Guisborough (N. Yorks) and Worthing (Norfolk) among the UK examples. The recent discussion by Nicolay (2007) of the 'lifecycle' of Roman military equipment provides various possible models by which the helmet may have come to be deposited in a context away from a garrison, by hoarding, votive deposition or burial with the dead. In this case of this helmet, the visor was found placed face downwards and the helmet had been folded prior to deposition. On this very limited evidence votive offering or hoarding of loot might better explain its deposition at this findspot, but in the absence of excavation this must remain speculative.
Erebuni Historical & Archaeological Museum-Reserve
This archaeological site dates from 782 BC, three decades before Rome was established. It gives insight into daily life in the palace of Argishti I, one of the greatest kings of Urartu. At the foot of the hill, a poorly maintained Soviet-era museum displays artefacts from the palace excavations including some extraordinary silver rhytons (drinking horns), as well as objects found when an Urartian tomb was uncovered in Yerevan in 1984 during construction of a factory.
The first stage of excavations here started in 1950, after a farmer unearthed an inscribed stone tablet. Archaeologists swooped in and soon found a large cuneiform slab with the inscriptions of Argishti I confirming the date when the fortress was constructed. They went on to uncover the remains of courtyards, halls, temples and rooms that were part of the royal palace. Dozens of Urartian and Achaemenid artefacts and mural fragments were also found, many of which are now displayed in the museum.
The view from the fortress takes in parts of the city and Karmir Blur, where excavations have revealed similar ancient finds. Frescoes in the reconstructed palace wall are replicas. There are huge storerooms for wheat, along with tonir (oven pits) and gigantic pitchers for wine and oil. There’s also a place for animal sacrifices, and workshops (still buried) for making tools. If you're lucky, two women stationed behind the fortress walls will sing you beautiful Armenian songs from their CD, which is available for purchase.
To get here, take bus 2 or marshrutka 14 from Khandjian St or from opposite the Zoravar Andranik metro station on Tigran Mets Ave. Alternatively, take marshrutka 11 from Republic Sq. Get off at the large roundabout with an orange tuff statue of King Argishti in his chariot it's a 15- to 20-minute trip from the city centre.
SHOWCASE 3. ARMS AND ARMOUR OF THE XIITH-XVIITH CENTURIES
The first section of the exposition incorporates pieces of arms and armour, discovered during the archeological excavations in the territory of the Moscow Kremlin. The collection of historical artifacts gives a vivid picture of a rich history of the Kremlin fortress and reveals some noteworthy tragic pages of the past &ndash the time of numerous foreign invasions and intestine wars between Russian princes, which has induced the practice of concealing people's goods, coins, gold and silver bars, arms and jewels in buried treasures, hidden in the earth.
Such a treasure-trove of the late XVth-early XVIth centuries was found in the shell of the Arsenal (Arsenalnaya) Tower of the Kremlin. It consisted of two helmets and four stirrups, wrapped in a chain mail and covered with white-stone blocks. The archeological finds were badly damaged in the result of staying in water for a long time. Only several fragments of the chain mail remained intact, but helmets and stirrups were much better preserved.
Shishak helmets (domed and spiked caps), forged from the one iron sheet, are finished with a detachable chased spike and partly undamaged rim of tough-pitch copper. The Moscow shishak helmets have been widely used since the late XVth century as a usual defensive covering by the Russian horsemen. The unique style of the Kremlin headpieces&rsquo ornamentation indicates that they had belonged to a noble warrior. Four massive arched stirrups are fitted with additional step plates.
The exposition also incorporates a battle-axe, a unique protective ring made from the elk's horn and intended for keeping a finger safe when shooting a bow, iron arrowheads and spearheads and other military equipment and pieces of armour. The most noteworthy exhibit is the West-European sword of the XIIth century, bearing an inscription in Latin, which is translated as "Crafted by Etselin in the name of God"
© 1997-2021 The Moscow Kremlin State Historical and Cultural Museum and Heritage Site
Kalkriese: site of one of the fights of the Battle in the Teutoburg Forest (9 CE).
In September 9 CE, the Romans suffered one of the greatest defeats in their history in the Teutoburg Forest. Three legions (the Seventeenth, Eighteenth, and Nineteenth) were destroyed general Publius Quintilius Varus was forced to commit suicide. The site of one of the fights of this battle has been discovered at Kalkriese, north of modern Osnabrück.
Here is a small strip of solid land between the Kalkrieser Berg (Mount Kalkriese) and a great bog. The most accessible part of this zone was a strip of cultivated land with a width of only 220 meters. This could well have been called "narrows" or saltus the Roman name Saltus Teutoburgiensis, often rendered as "Teutoburg Forest", should be translated as Teutoburg Narrows. In fact, one of the towns in the neighborhood is still called Engter, "narrows".
/> Reconstruction of the Kalkriese Plain in Antiquity
At the Kalkriese Museum, this narrow passage has partly been reconstructed: see the photo to the right. In front, you can see the bog then, a small strip of land, and finally the slopes of the tree-covered mountain, which have been fortified with a palisade.
The Germanic leader Arminius, who was believed to be a Roman ally, guided the legions to these narrows and unexpectedly attacked his former friends. The results were terrible, as was shown during the excavation. Archaeologists found so many objects, that it was hard to believe that the fight at Kalkriese was a minor skirmish: Roman swords and daggers, parts of javelins and spears, arrowheads, sling stones, fragments of helmets, a mask, nails of soldiers' sandals, belts, hooks of chain mail and fragments of armor.
Other finds were less military in character: locks, keys, razors, a scale, weights, chisels, hammers, pickaxes, buckets, finger rings, surgical instruments, seal boxes, a stylus, cauldrons, casseroles, spoons, amphoras, and the skeleton of an oxen that had broken away from the cart, and was never recovered by its owner. Finally, jewelry, hairpins, and a disk brooch suggest the presence of women. One of the most dazzling pieces of the museum's collection is a mask, once owned by a cavalry man. It was discovered in front of the wall.
It is important to consider the distribution of the finds (see map top right), which suggests that this is the place where an army, arriving from the east and proceeding to the west, was no longer able to continue in one column and fell apart. One column went to the southwest, another to the northwest.
Kalkriese, Gold coin of Augustus
Kalkriese, Roman slingstones
Kalkriese, Skull and bones
Kalkriese, Face mask of a cavalry helmet
According to the historian Cassius Dio, whose account can be read here, the army was able to reorganize itself and tried to build a new fortress. An obvious place to look would have been near modern Engter, where the Romans could cross the mountains and proceed to Haltern. More finds may be expected in the area of Osnabrück and Münster.
Today, the Kalkriese area is a tranquil piece of land. There is a museum that gives the visitor an impression of the puzzle itself, and you can visit the field where most discoveries were made. Near the museum is a large tower so that you understand the environment: a mountain to the south, a bog to the north, and a narrow corridor.
Kalkriese, General view of the field
In the nineteenth century, many Germans believed that the battle in the Kalkriese narrows had been the birth of their nation: a symbol of the eternal opposition between the overcivilized and decadent Latin people and the creative and vital Germanic people. To make the connection between the noble savages of Antiquity and the modern nation closer, the Germanic war leader - whose name had been rendered by the Roman writers as Arminius - was referred to with a German name: Hermann.
The ancient war hero soon became a symbol of German national unity and could be used on almost any occasion. For example, in 1809, the romantic poet Heinrich von Kleist (1777-1811) wrote a play called Die Hermannsschlacht, to inspire the Germans to a national war against Napoleon. Several football teams were called after the Germanic warrior Arminia Bielefeld still exists.
At Detmold, which was once believed to have been the site of the battle, the Hermannsdenkmal (Hermann Monument) was erected in 1875. Ironically, during the Second World War, the monument served to help the allied bombers find the way to Berlin. The symbolic creator of the German nation was instrumental to the country's destruction - or at least the Nazi part of it.
What Was It Like Hitting Nazi Germany's Well-Defended Cities From a B-17 Flying Fortress?
A B-17 crew of the 390th Bomb Group endured a harrowing gauntlet of German defenses during a November 30, 1944, mission over Merseburg.
When the call came that morning, it was not unlike the 25 times previously when they had flown, or all those other times when weather intervened and postponement was ordered.
The door to the Nissen hut bangs open, the dim center-ceiling bulb winks to life, heavy footsteps, a grasp and shake of the shoulder, “OK, sir, mission today, you’re scheduled to go, breakfast at 0500, briefing at 0530.” Hugh Hunter Hardwicke, Jr.’s, leaden eyes open imperceptibly, and to the figure silhouetted against the eerie glow he responds with the traditional, “Go away, just go away, OK.” Nonetheless, he sits up, stretches, scratches, yawns, slides from under his double thickness of wool blankets. He sort of scurries, perhaps shuffles, across the cold, wooden floor, stokes what remains of the fire, barely alive within the cast-iron relic cleverly disguised as a stove, and calls to his co-pilot, “Roll out, Flick, we’re on.”
“OK, Guys, Up, Up … and Away”
Gordon (Flick) Flickema’s first task of this new day is to rouse the other two officers of Hardwicke’s crew, navigator Moody (Jack) Jackson and bombardier Charles (Chick) Papousek, with his usual, dutiful, “OK, guys, up, up … and away.” They share this bleak, corrugated-steel, half-cylinder-shaped home with eight additional officers representing two other 568th Squadron crews, all of whom are grousing at the hour, the cold, the damp, the necessity of yet another mission. It is a little after 0400 when Hardwicke and others plod blurry-eyed to the nearby officers’ latrine and notice just a wisp of fog not bad for late-November England, but that may change with inexplicable alacrity.
The 568th is one of four squadrons, each equipped with Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress bombers and their nine-man crews, plus a multitude of support units that comprise the 390th Bombardment Group (Heavy), within the command structure of the 13th Combat Wing, 3rd Air Division, Eighth Air Force. More than 1,500 officers and enlisted men, and a detachment of WAAFs (Women’s Army Air Forces personnel) share the base, officially Station 153, Framlingham, East Suffolk, East Anglia. The 390th acquired the facility, first used by the RAF, in July 1943. About a year later, Hardwicke and his “replacement crew No. 7” arrived and since then had acclimated themselves to the gently rolling farm country, fields neatly divided by hedgerows here and there a square patch of woods, a shimmering pond.
Immediately to the west lay the railway station and quaint village of Parham about three miles north, the larger village of Framlingham—imperturable tributes to a placid past, now juxtaposed with the tools and turbulence of war. Throughout, Station 153 retains a uniquely American flavor as recorded by a young English girl who lives nearby. “There are dogs everywhere, big ones, little ones, all colors, every kind, chasing trucks, riding in Jeeps, following the boys to eat, and always around somewhere.”
Hardwicke Dresses for Combat
There is little conversation as Hardwicke completes his early-morning ablutions and dresses: long johns, wool shirt, wool trousers, two pairs of wool socks, GI high-top shoes, and wool garrison cap with the silver bar of a first lieutenant pinned neatly on the left side. His A-2 leather flight jacket is complete with squadron insignia on the front, a snarling black panther riding earthward atop a bomb of burgundy against a white cloud/blue sky background. On the back are two rows of 10 bright yellow bombs and one of five, representing 25 combat missions, along with the name of their B-17, “Uninvited.”
As Hardwicke and other crew members emerge from the Nissen hut, canvas-draped heavy trucks are waiting to transport them to the combat mess. He clambers aboard and finds a place on one of the uncomfortable slatted wood benches that traverse the vehicle from front to rear. The truck lurches forward, and as the ride begins, Hardwicke is gripped by a rush of introspection.
He shares the universal conviction of all who face combat—he simply will do his job and return home unscathed. Yet now, right now, this sanguine notion is challenged by a cruel paradox not manifest in his Christian resolve and belief in a merciful God. He has seen B-17s disintegrate and fall from antiaircraft hits or incessant fighter attacks he has mourned the dead, many of whom were his friends and prayed for the missing and witnessed the empty cots, the vacant places at the combat mess and officers’ club. He has helped gather personal effects to be shipped home following the most dreaded of telegrams. He recalls the temporary shock when the number of missions needed for rotation Stateside was extended from 30 to 35, and the initial reaction of his crew. “We’ll never make it home now.”
The Many Ways To Die
There are so many ways to die. It could happen on the ground—a misplaced bomb, engine failure on takeoff, a blown tire. He has flown over the blazing remains of a B-17 whose crew did not have time to escape before disaster. It could happen during assembly over England, a slight miscalculation in blinding fog or heavy clouds and suddenly the plane above or below or on either wing is too close. There is no time to correct, a searing flash, a fireball, and pieces of airplane start to spiral into the English Channel, the North Sea, or the pastoral English countryside.
Once the bomber stream turns on its target heading, and today, thanks to the early call, it will be somewhere deep within Germany, safety resides only in one’s mind. Loss of oil pressure, oxygen malfunction, a runaway prop could lead to an abort, and not all aborts return safely.
Should these problems be overcome, or even better, simply not occur, there remains yet another factor, a hostile reception by the enemy, waiting to unleash its flak and fighters. Yet, as Hardwicke reflects, there are also many ways to live. The B-17G, modified to include a much-needed forward-firing chin turret, an improved tail gun and enclosed, staggered waist-gun positions, much greater ammunition capacity, and enhanced turbo-superchargers to increase high-altitude performance, is perhaps the most advanced and durable of all four-engine bombers in Europe. Its combat record and the battle damage it can sustain are the stuff of legend.
Hardwicke had come home on three engines after a flak hit over Zeitz in August and was forced to land in Italy about a month later when an antiaircraft shell cut a main fuselage spar just forward of the ball turret. In one of the most celebrated incidents, a B-17 was cut almost in half when it was rammed by a German Messerschmitt Me-109 fighter aft of the waist-gun positions. Miraculously, the “All American” made it home. Many B-17s that did survive were consigned to the graveyard. Their crews, those able to walk at least, returned to duty.
Commanding a Skilled, Able Crew
Hardwicke is quietly confident in the abilities of his crew. Each man is a skilled professional with a specific responsibility, part of a smoothly functioning team. Flickema, Jackson, and Papousek are seated next to him on the truck. Soon to join them will be Dale Weaver (radio operator/gunner), John Hammond (waist gunner), Denver (Pappy) Grogg (tail-gunner), Tom Downham (ball-turret gunner), and Waymon Avery (engineer and top-turret gunner). These fliers are from Texas, Maryland, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, California, Illinois, and Hardwicke, Virginia. Their average age is 23, and Pappy Grogg, as his nickname suggests, is an elderly 29.
Hardwicke and his crew have trained and flown together for nearly a year and for the combat airman to shirk his duty, to fail a buddy, is unthinkable. Hardwicke, as commander, believes the least discipline is best. Treat the men fairly, and they will respond accordingly. Today, November 30, 1944, marks their 26th combat mission together.
As the truck bounces to a halt, Hardwicke’s sense of foreboding is crystallized by the date. Today is his second wedding anniversary. Not only that, but two months earlier, almost to the day, he turned 23. His grim speculation suddenly takes form, and for an instant he struggles with the very real possibility that he may not celebrate a 24th birthday or a third wedding anniversary. He and Gladys, his hometown sweetheart since spring 1941, had discussed and accepted the risk of wartime uncertainty. He had enlisted in the Army Air Corps in September 1942 and been told to await the call.
Meanwhile, the couple was wed on November 30, 1942, at Richmond’s Barton Heights Baptist Church and enjoyed their honeymoon in New York City. The call and his opportunity to fly—an abiding passion since childhood—came in March 1943. For the next 10 months, Hardwicke applied himself with purpose and tenacity to become an Army Air Corps pilot. In December, he was commissioned a second lieutenant, presented silver wings, and assigned to fly B-17s.
“Never Saw the Target … Wish to Hell We’d Get Some Good Weather”
Flickema nudges Hardwicke’s shoulder, “Come on, Hugh, let’s eat.” Jackson chuckles, “Wake up, Hugh, chow time.” Not to be remiss, Papousek adds, “OK, Hugh, move it.” All four slide from the truck and stroll into the combat mess, already alive with other crews and chatter. The serving line is short, fare basically the same.
Hardwicke assembles his plate, stainless steel flatware, napkin, and cup, and accepts a heaping spoonful of reconstituted eggs, four slices of crisp bacon, some well-browned toast. Coffee, hot and black, is the final ingredient as they find places at one of the long wooden tables, each equipped with a multitude of individual wooden chairs. Suspended from the ceiling a dozen or so shaded bulbs provide the sole source of illumination, enough to notice the many posters with a central pictorial and verbal theme: “It comes 5000 miles/Eat what you take … Don’t be a chow-hog/Take only what you eat … Eat what you take!” Discussion of a mission to the railroad marshaling yards at Hamm four days earlier elicits general agreement. “Heard the results were OK … had to drop through clouds … never saw the target … wish to hell we’d get some good weather.” Today’s mission was a matter of speculation. “Wonder where the hell they’re sending us today … what kind of opposition you think we’re gonna see … we were up early, expect it’ll be a long one.” Hardwicke checks his watch, it is 0520, about 10 minutes before briefing when these and many other questions will be answered.
Field Order No. 500, received the previous day at 2040 hours, confirmed an earlier phone alert from 3rd Air Division headquarters. It outlined in terse, impersonal terms the basis for today’s mission it was refined during early-morning planning sessions by the 390th operations staff and soon will be explained in detail to those expected to implement it.
May His Dust Not Precede That of the Walls
As Hardwicke approaches the oversized Nissen building’s entrance, he once again glances at the message, flanked by an American eagle, inscribed above the door: “The deeds of the men who pass through these portals shall be remembered long after the walls have crumbled to dust.” He embraces the thought with a mildly amusing caveat: may his dust not precede that of the walls.
While awaiting official briefing from group leadership, the accepted practice is to light up, smoke a cigarette or two or three, and a dull haze soon envelops the room. Some men already are seated, others are standing casually in the center aisle and around the periphery engaged in idle discourse, sometimes punctuated by a bit of nervous laughter. Hardwicke and Flickema edge their way through the clusters and find a couple of canvas folding chairs midway through the room. Jackson and Papousek are attending concurrent briefings for navigators and bombardiers specifically related to routes, times, bomb load, and run.
As Hardwicke settles into his chair, he carefully removes from his A-2 pocket his favorite smoking instrument, a well-worn, prewar, genuine Amphora briar pipe. Perhaps it validates his calm and assured persona, perhaps it offers a trapping of maturity, perhaps he simply prefers a pipe to cigarettes, or perhaps it is all three in combination. A few short puffs, a long draw and he turns to Flickema: “Whaddya you think, Flick, where’re we going?” Capable, quiet, reserved, Flickema shrugs, “You know, Hugh, there’s been a big push on oil, so maybe Magdeburg or Bohlen or Ruland or Merseburg.”
Hardwicke stares forward intently. Resting on the slightly elevated, rough wooden platform is a huge mapboard that clearly depicts the British Isles and continental Europe. For the moment it is obscured by a nearly floor-to-ceiling-length black curtain. The target, details of which he must absorb, is shielded by that curtain.
At precisely 0530 comes the expected command, “Ten-shun!” They rise in unison as Colonel Joseph Moller, the group’s commanding officer Major Robert Waltz, operations officer and Major Robert Good, air executive, stride briskly to the platform. Colonel Moller pauses a few seconds as three overhead lights come to life, illuminating a dull void surrounding the mapboard. “Good morning, gentlemen, as you were.” Rustling and crinkling, a few coughs, and some throat clearing are heard as the 75 or so men present rearrange themselves.
“My God, Not Merseburg Again”
With a snap of the wrist, Moller unveils the detailed National Geographic-like map. A red ribbon, which defines routes to and from the target with small flags to mark points of interest along the way, stretches taughtly from Framlingham, across the North Sea, through Belgium, over the battle line and into Germany, deep into Germany. Destination: Merseburg and the Leuna synthetic fuels complex.
With target disclosure comes an undercurrent of sentiment that sparks a unanimous, yet-unspoken response, “My God, not Merseburg again.” Hardwicke shares this, as well as the expected vocal dissatisfaction, manifested by a series of groans and “oh-no’s.” Early in 1944, the Eighth Air Force embarked on a maximum effort to destroy German petroleum production deny the enemy oil and his war-making capability will diminish accordingly, it was theorized. German response was predictable: Surround these plants with the most efficient antiaircraft weapons and the most proficient operators maintain an ever-alert Luftwaffe, despite a dwindling base of experienced pilots.
The paradox of four months past races through Hardwicke’s mind. On July 28, he and his crew began their combat odyssey. Their first mission was to Merseburg and the Leuna complex. They encountered moderate flak, few German fighters, and pathfinder radar was used for bomb aiming from 24,000 feet through solid cloud cover. All returned safely to Framlingham, and Hardwicke recalls an observation by his friend, Red Joyner, after debriefing. “Nothin’ to it, Hugh, I could fly a million of ’em.” Bad news came the next morning at mission briefing by Major Waltz. “OK, fellows, you did a beautiful job on a wheat field yesterday, so today we’ll go back and do it right. No cloud cover, no excuses.”
On this trip, flak near and over the target was “intense and accurate,” and two B-17s from Hardwicke’s low squadron were hit and went down. Flak was followed by FW-190s, and ME-109s and 110s and Hardwicke’s top turret gunner, Avery, claimed a kill. They limped back to Framlingham and once on the ground, counted more than 200 flak and bullet holes in the left wing and tail surfaces. Following debriefing, Red was a bit less optimistic: “I believe they really got mad at us, Hugh, I quit.”
Hardwicke’s Confidence Renewed
Colonel Moller snaps Hardwicke’s momentary lapse. “That’s correct, gentlemen, Merseburg again. This time the mission will, in addition to the 13th, include the 93rd, 4th and 45th combat wings. Overall, we expect to put up around 540 aircraft, of which some 300—including the 390th—will attack the Leuna complex. The 93rd will lead the 3rd Division and Colonel Dolan will be command pilot for our group and wing.” Hardwicke is elated, filled with renewed confidence. Lieutenant Colonel Louis W. (Lucky) Dolan is the 390th’s deputy commander, and he is well known and well respected throughout the Eighth Air Force as one of its most able and experienced combat leaders. He has participated in or led assaults on nearly every major enemy target in Europe. Why, he even looks the part, the handsome prototype of the senior officer. If anyone can take us to and over Merseburg and back home without incident, it just has to be Lucky Dolan, Hardwicke convinces himself. “You’ll be there in about five hours, gentlemen you know what you have to do, let’s go and do it. Major Waltz will provide the details. Good luck to all of you,” Moller concludes.
“Good morning, let’s make it just the opposite for the Germans,” Waltz begins as mission sheets with A, B, and C Squadron designations are distributed. “As you know, Colonel Dolan is wing lead. He’ll be flying with Captain Gary in 080, A squadron. Major McHenry will lead B squadron with Kenny in 225, and Lieutenant Watts will lead C Squadron with Stene in 013.” Hardwicke scans his mission sheet for the other assignments. He will lead C squadron’s low element, which also includes Goodrich in 337, Norman 807, and Mazzechelli 093 also in C are Tracy 345, Weigand 6143, Sarden 390, Sweeny 026, Coffin 526, Lewis 673, Robison 972, Nash 632. A Squadron shows Dieters in 470, Peterson 407, Jefferson 836, Meigede 7041, Combs 927, Hannold 868, Harris 325, Dognibene 8472, Corcoran 275, O’Conner 375, Booth 519 B consists of Philip 456, Shira 926, Torrance 053, Mitchell 831, Herring 306, Drinkwalter 846, Monit 121, Henry 173, Maddron 274, Kurtz 515, Massa 319, Duppenhaler 967.
“Zero hour is 1300, bombing altitude 26,000, bomb run from 320 degrees magnetic. Combination PFF and visual, 100-foot intervalometer settings, twenty 250-pound GPs.
C-1 autopilot for bomb run.” Waltz is resolute, a pragmatist and what Hardwicke needs at exactly this moment is an extra-large dose of pragmatism. “A squadron start engines at 0740, taxi 0750, takeoff 0805, estimated time of departure 0850, estimated time of return 1625. B squadron start engines 0750, taxi 0800, takeoff 0815, ETD 0855, ETR 1625. C squadron start engines 0800, taxi 0810, takeoff 0825, ETD 0905, ETR 1625. Fighter groups will rendezvous at 1100.”
Mission Checkpoint Locations Not Too Friendly
The pointer the major uses is a slightly shortened pool cue decorated with a red-and-white circular design along the shaft. As he moves from side to side along the platform, alternating between the map and a large blackboard with squadron designations and alignments, his shadow—enhanced by the harsh lighting—dances ghost-like across most of Europe. “Group assembly at 0930 at 9,000. Your mission checkpoints: 5114-0254 at 1100, 5006-0626 at 1155, 5025-1211 at 1030, target 1320 route and checkpoints home: 5028-0936 at 1400, 5007-0744 at 1424, 5044-0455 at 1452, 5117-0301 at 1543, buncher 28 at 1619, base at 1626.” Hardwicke knows the route in all too well and recognizes the checkpoints as close to some very unfriendly German cities.
Intelligence is next. Major Ollie Davis—taciturn, dispassionate—and his staff have been sifting information and transposing the field order into a workable interpretation of today’s mission since midnight. His war room is the sepulcher of secrecy where master target data is stored along with a coded index that translates meaningless numbers into: “Your target is the Leuna complex located just outside Merseburg. The target is a closely built-up area some 4,000 by 1,500 yards with the major axis in a north-northwest, south-southeast direction.” In concert with his description, lights are dimmed and a projection screen lowered just in front of the map. Photos of the plant are flashed on the screen as he continues. “This complex is engaged in the production of fuels and synthetic oils and your approach will be across these railway sidings, which will be on your right. We hope this will minimize length of the bomb run and reduce your exposure to flak. Good luck, gentlemen.”
Lights up, screen up as Captain Robert Lamb takes the platform. His business is weather and he brings with him a vertical cross-section, a layer-cake of clouds and meteorological symbols from ground level to 35,000 feet. “At base,” he explains, “about 5/10s stratus during assembly, winds from 310 degrees at 35. Over the continent, cloud cover is reported to have increased to 7/10s and at the target expect a low haze with reported winds from 320 degrees at 45, thin patches of alto-stratus at 12,000.”
Major Waltz returns for the final reminder. “You know the Merseburg flak, always intense and accurate, not to mention Zeitz. Expect some 1,500 guns in the Zeitz-Leipzig-Merseburg area. You’ll be subjected to tracking and barrage, and be alert to box barrages just before bomb release. We expect minimum response from the Luftwaffe. Any questions? OK, boys, drop ’em sûr le nez.”
“On the Nose, Bombs on the Nose”
“Sûr le nez,” Hardwicke muses. “On the nose, bombs on the nose.” A quaint enjoinder, he thinks, considering all the elements that irrevocably conspire to prevent Sûr le nez. “Ten-shun!” They rise in unison as Colonel Moller and the other staff members depart. “We’re going to Merseburg” hundreds of B-17s, thousands of men committed to the single most critical phase of any mission, “sûr le nez.” His pipe has cooled, its contents little more than a crust as he carefully taps the bowl against his palm and returns this symbol of calm to his pocket. He, Flickema, and the other crews, among a few muted profanities, begin their short stroll to the dressing shack. This gray, unappealing structure is divided into two main areas, both indisputable reminders of human frailty and mortality. Just within the entrance, crew members deposit personal effects which, in turn, are recorded by Captain George Nelson and placed carefully in small canvas bags, neatly arranged on a series of floor-to-ceiling shelves.
Hardwicke empties his pockets—keys, wallet, and any other item that may aid enemy interrogators should the worst-case scenario materialize. Next he removes his John Marshall High School ring, class of 1939, and his wedding band, inscribed “GOH to HHH Jr. 1942.” He declares all except a prized silver dollar, a gift from his father many years ago. The enemy can glean little from an American silver dollar and its presence on his person is a source of comfort his good-luck charm has been conspicuously successful. “Thank you, lieutenant and good luck,” Nelson says as Hardwicke and Flickema move to the next room. Here they collect the considerable array of flight clothing and equipment, all designed to protect them from external considerations, man-made and natural. To resist the intense cold of 50 to 60 degrees below zero while five miles above the Continent in an unheated and unpressurized B-17, layers of specially designed clothing are imperative. By now, as he and Flickema gather their gear, the routine is rote. Bulky and uncomfortable, the jacket and trousers are lined with alpaca and wool and fitted with a series of wires and connectors to permit electrical heating. Their boots are made of canvas duck with rubber soles, and electrically heated gloves usually are worn with an inner rayon liner. Flying helmets are leather with a chamois lining and sound-insulated earphone mountings, and designed to accommodate one-piece goggles with either clear or tinted lens. The kapok-filled earphone mountings support the standard headset with adjustable leather-covered headbands. Throat mikes are retained with a brown elastic neck strap.
Oxygen mask, parachute and harness, flak vest made of overlapping steel plates and a steel flak helmet complete the outfit. The customary “Mae West,” that wonderful bright yellow inflatable, is necessary along with the model 1911-A1 .45 semi-automatic both Hardwicke and Flickema carry in their russet-brown leather shoulder holsters.
All Prepared for Contingencies
They are prepared for the known contingencies. Much of the gear they toss in flight bags they will don it later while awaiting takeoff or approaching enemy territory. Now, joined by Jackson and Papousek, it is time to board the trucks once more, this time for the trip to hardstands that encircle the 6,337-foot main east-west runway and the two 4,400-foot north-south alternate runways. Time, 0705, more than sufficient for the vitally important walk around and preflight checklist. As the truck slows to a stop, Flickema and Jackson pull the tailgate pins and the protective rear cover bangs down. All four toss their flight bags and follow them to the ground.
As the gray light barely sneaks its way across the English countryside, what has been a sprinkling of haze and mist begins to dissipate. What has been merely a cold, impersonal silhouette begins to take shape as the silver surface of a B-17G. Another truck bobs to a stop and the balance of Hardwicke’s crew—Hammond, Weaver, Avery, Downham, and Grogg—all of whom attended separate briefings, disembark. Avery and Downham are wearing most of their cumbersome flying attire while Hammond, Grogg, and Weaver prepare to suit up on the hardstand.
Their transportation to and, with good fortune, from Merseburg is well prepared for the journey. Master Sergeant Blumberg, the crew chief, and his four assistants, have devoted most of the past 96 hours to checking and rechecking all the elements so vital to remaining aloft. Hardwicke had noticed problems encountered during the six-hour mission to Hamm four days previous, including the loss of oil pressure on No. 3 engine on the way home. “No, 3’s OK, sir,” Blumberg reports. “Oil pressure, manifold pressure, prop pitch control all checked and repairs made,” he continues. “How about the left wing aileron control and trim tab alignment?” Hardwicke inquires. “Has been set properly and also pitch control on No. 4 adjusted,” Blumberg responds. “And sir, those hundred or so holes have been patched,” he smiles. Hardwicke grins back, “Good job, sergeant.”
The early-morning light not only discloses surface color, but the more intimate, personal details of this B-17G. Tail number 107176 is found just below the white J within a black square that identifies the 390th as the Square J. The 568th Squadron code—BI—appears in bold, black letters on both sides of the fuselage, almost above the wings and directly in front of the national insignia, a white star on blue background flanked by white rectangular bars outlined in blue the national identification also is prominent on top of the left wing and bottom of the right. A square J also appears on top of the right wing.
The Bomber Always Safely Returns
Circling the nose, immediately behind the bombardier’s Plexiglas station, is a 14-inch red band which further identifies the 568th, and below the navigator’s windows and rows of vertical bombs, her names: “Uninvited” and “Missionaires.” Two previous crews have named her, and in the best tradition of good luck, Hardwicke and his crew accepted both. They did, however, select “Uninvited” for the backs of their A-2s, along with ever-increasing strings of yellow bombs. No. 176 is solid, reliable, and has carried them through 14 of their 25 combat missions. No matter the battle damage, thanks to her resilient character and their precise flying skills, always a safe return to Framlingham.
“OK, Flick, Sergeant Blumberg, let’s look around,” Hardwicke says. The essential visual inspection begins with the right wing. “Aileron, flaps, de-icer boots OK, no fuel leaks, air ducts clear, props look good,” Flickema notes. They check No. 3 and No. 4 engines cowl flaps secure, exhaust systems OK, turbo wheels smooth. Next comes the main wheel tire OK, hydraulic lines, drag link, and strut OK. Around the nose, pitot-tube covers removed, antennae leads connected, trailing antennae retracted, marker beacon secure. Engines No. 1 and 2 OK, left landing gear OK, aileron surfaces and trim tab alignments OK on the left wing, external locks removed. Tail guns in position and locked, gunner’s escape door closed, tail wheel inflated properly, shear pin and slot not rounded or worn. “She looks just fine, Hugh,” Flickema observes, “let’s get aboard.”
Taking Their Places on Board
Most of the crew enters through a rear door, but for those with positions on the flight deck and in the nose, “getting aboard” means by way of an emergency hatch aft of the navigator’s station. Described as a “cupid’s leap,” the process requires grasping the upper, outer edge of the opening with both hands, lifting and swinging both legs through while twisting them down the fuselage in the process. With a final heave and squirm, one’s body is deposited with somewhat of a thud.
Hardwicke and Flickema take the leap first, followed by Jackson and Papousek. A turn and step up and pilot and copilot are ready to occupy their accustomed bucket seats of aluminum construction with padded backs and cushions clearly marked “Do not remove from airplane.”
They stow their parachutes and flight bags and slide into place, Hugh on the left, behind individual control columns. These are shaped like half-wheels with three spokes connected to a centerpiece properly identified, “B-17 Flying Fortress” above the Boeing Company’s signature, a vertical B-o-e-i-n-g attached at the O with a pair of stylized wings.
They are surrounded by a maze of instruments, switches, dials, and knobs—to the front, above, and on both sides. The cockpit is far from spacious, but thanks to a design engineer who recognized the need for excellent visibility as well as the psychological value of light, they also are surrounded by windows—to the front, above, and on both sides. As Hardwicke adjusts his feet to the rudder pedals and settles into the position he will occupy for the next seven-plus hours, his thoughts drift for a moment.
Hardwicke In His “Office”
Behind the controls he is at home. Although it may be a bland metaphor, the cockpit is his office, a place where he functions best. With some 500 B-17 flying hours and countless more of ground instruction, he glances around with an inner satisfaction. He has not just learned, he has absorbed the instrumentation. Yes, he can, even when blindfolded, identify and render each device properly.
The console between pilot and copilot holds the tools through which they will gain and sustain flight. The B-17, unlike any other four-engine aircraft in service, incorporates a set of three throttle controls. Grasp the top rung and engines 1 and 4 will respond, while the bottom rung activates engines 2 and 3 the split middle rung, the one most used, offers all four simultaneously.
Throttles and their base feature a distinctive metallic green color and the adjacent throttle control lock is topped with a white knob. Controls forward of the throttles include fuel mixture and turbo-supercharger, ignition, fuel-boost pump, fuel shutoff, wing flap, landing gear, and light switches. A lower pedestal features the elevator and rudder trim tab wheels, elevator and rudder lock, autopilot flight control panel, and tailwheel lock.
Above the windshield one finds a clock, compass, and de-icer pressure gauge above and between Hardwicke and Flickema resides their prime radio equipment, command receiver unit, loop, light and volume switches, band selector knob, tuning crank, transmitting key, and channel selector. At Hardwicke’s left, controls range from the windshield de-icer to the aileron trim tab control to his front, a series of instruments: pilot’s directional indicator emergency bomb salvo button radio compass oxygen flow indicator, altimeter, and indicators for airspeed, rate of climb, turn and bank plus directional gyro and prop-feathering buttons.
To Flickema’s right are found, among others, intercooler controls, engine primer hydraulic hand pump, engine-starting switches, carburetor air filter switch, parking brake, and engine fire-extinguisher controls. And in front, set against a dark panel, pressure gauges of vital consequence: manifold, fuel, oil, along with temperature gauges for oil, carburetor air, free air, and cylinder head also tachometers, fuel-quantity gauges, and flap-position indicator.
Putting Abilities to the Test for Dreaded Merseburg
Hardwicke knows that today his ability will be tested yet again, to Merseburg, dreaded Merseburg. Yet, Lucky Dolan is going to lead, and after all, there are two sevens in the tail number, and early on they had been designated as “replacement crew No. 7.” Just for good measure, he finds in his A-2 pocket a certain silver dollar and permits it to slide gently between his right thumb, index, and middle fingers. No. 176, “Uninvited,” may be owned by the Army Air Forces, but she belongs to Hardwicke and his crew, a proprietary interest that began on September 2, when she was assigned as their aircraft. They had logged almost 190 combat flying hours since July, of which a little more than half have been in “Uninvited.”
Hardwicke adjusts his headset over his flying helmet and goggles, firmly in place over the left ear but set behind the right to better hear Flickema, plugs into the command frequency, and snaps in place his throat mike when word from the tower is received. Prepare for at least a half-hour delay to permit more favorable weather in the target area. C Squadron engine start now 0830, taxi 0845, takeoff 0900, ETD 0945. Flickema nods to Hardwicke in confirmation.
“Damn,” Hardwicke mutters to no one in particular. Delays always are tedious and sometimes weather closed on the field, as was happening now, or over the target, and in some instances this led to a mission scrub. He checks his watch, 0750. Enough time, he thinks, for an interior inspection something he did rarely because of complete confidence in his crew. But today, everything must be in place, all in readiness. He eases from his seat, “Going to take a look inside, Flick.”
A check in the nose discloses a somewhat relaxed Papousek and Jackson engaged in casual conversation. “Everything OK?” he inquires. “Current maps, radio facility charts, navigational aids, direction-finding charts?” “Sure, Hugh, all right here,” Jackson responds. As he looks around, portable oxygen bottles in place, ammo stored properly, first-aid packets OK, nose guns secure, bombsight ready. He turns with the traditional OK sign, thumb and index finger locked in an oval, and they return the gesture.
From nose to the top turret switches in off position, oxygen bottles stored correctly along with fire extinguishers. He navigates the tricky narrow catwalk between bomb racks. This is Papousek’s domain and he is methodical bombs are OK, bomb bay doors closed, no excessive gasoline fumes, hand transfer pump in place.
Preparing for Flight
He moves to the radio compartment. “What’s up, Hugh?” Weaver asks. “Just checking.” Extra parachute stored, main oxygen system OK, emergency landing gear hand crank in place and locked, life raft emergency release handles set properly. On to the waist. Ball turret and waist guns secure along with ammo, windows closed, control cables clear. In the tail, drag link screw and assembly in alignment, control cables OK, section neat. He returns to the flight deck satisfied, reassured.
“Everything OK, Hugh?” “Looks good, Flick, didn’t think it would be otherwise. I just need to be sure,” Hardwicke says as he resumes his position. It is 0805, time for the preflight check. This pilot-copilot ritual, no matter how often orchestrated, is serious and never taken for granted. Flickema has the list in hand and begins in a loud, clear tone with either he or Hardwicke responding. “Pilot’s preflight complete, form 1A checked controls and seats, checked fuel transfer valves and switch off intercoolers cold gyros uncaged fuel shutoff switches open gear switch neutral cowl flaps open right, open left, and locked turbos off, idle cutoff OK, throttles closed, autopilot off, de-icers and anti-icers wing and props off, cabin heat off, generators off.”
Rudder, elevators, and ailerons are put through the full range of movement and proper direction of operation. Hardwicke and Flickema adjust their seats and safety belts to ensure freedom of movement. It is 0831, green light from tower, time to start engines. Hardwicke goes on the intercom, “All positions check in.” “Tail to pilot OK, waist to pilot OK, radio to pilot OK, ball to pilot OK, top gunner OK, navigator and bombardier OK.”
Hardwicke and Flickema slide back their side windows and call to the ground crew, “Fire guard clear.” Flickema continues the checklist. “Master switch on, battery switches and inverters on and checked, parking brakes on, hydraulic check OK, carburetor filters open, booster pumps pressure on and checked.” Avery, standing behind the pilots, monitors the process carefully, especially engine instruments and controls.
Ready To Start the Engines: B and C Squadrons On Their Way
The engine-starting sequence is left to right, 1 to 4. Hardwicke makes sure both engines on his side have the props pulled through three or four complete revolutions, and Flickema does the same. Hardwicke holds up an index finger, and Flickema responds, “Ready to start No. 1.” Flickema energizes and expels air from the primer until he has a solid fuel charge. Some 12 seconds later Hardwicke calls, “mesh No. 1” and Flickema, while still holding the switch at start, moves the mesh switch to the correct position and continues to prime until the engine fires with a rush of blue exhaust. Hardwicke sets the mixture to autorich and notes the oil pressure is coming up.
The process is repeated three more times, and now all engines are running smoothly. Flickema returns to the checklist, “Flight indicator and vacuum pressures checked.” He keeps close watch on engine instruments and calls to Hardwicke, “Oil temperature 70 degrees, oil pressure 75 pounds, clock set, magnetic compass float level, flap position checked and ready.”
The green light flashes from the tower, and it is time to taxi. Hardwicke and Flickema order wheel chocks removed by the ground crew, still alert with fire extinguishers in hand. The engines are performing well, and Hardwicke knows the drill. Keep the inboard engines idling at not less than 500 rpm with just enough friction lock applied to prevent the throttles from creeping. Using throttles, with as little brakes as possible, Hardwicke rolls No. 176 slowly onto the taxiway that surrounds the main and auxiliary runways. As “Uninvited” settles into the engine din and associated vibration, Hardwicke joins the almost apparitional procession: B-17s in front, behind and, it seems, on all sides.
By now, A squadron has departed and B is well on the way. C Squadron, at 45-second intervals, is next. No. 176 reaches the engine run-up area, and Hardwicke and Flickema begin final checks. “Brakes set,” Flickema confirms. Hardwicke runs up each engine and checks magnetos, rpm, and voltage output as Flickema checks fuel and oil pressure, as well as cylinder-head temperature. The run-up is complete, engines OK.
Hardwicke steers “Uninvited” into takeoff position on the main runway as he and Flickema watch the preceding B-17 clear a patch of woods at the far end and disappear into the mist that has begun to shroud Station 153. Forty-five-second intervals are just enough to avoid propwash, which, if flown into, may stimulate undesirable aerodynamic characteristics.
Takeoff, the Most Critical Moment
“Cowl flaps open, trim tabs set, gyros set, tailwheel locked, autopilot off, brakes set,” Hardwicke and Flickema agree. No. 176 is held stationary as Hardwicke, with the conventional palm-up grasp, advances the throttles to full takeoff power. Engines thunder, the plane shivers as brakes are released and it begins, not a rush to altitude, but a swaddle—in Hardwicke’s view, a sort of proud half swagger, half undignified waddle. Some 65,000 pounds of airplane, fuel, bombs, and crew lurch forward.
Takeoff is the most critical moment, and one mistake means “Uninvited” becomes their final resting place. The fuel mixture is full rich, and the airplane is in a straight line on the runway as Flickema begins the all-important airspeed calls. He intones, “60, 70,” and with very little pressure on the control column the tail rises “80” and the yoke feels light as speed increases, “90, 100, 110” as the end of the runway rushes toward them, “115, 120” and Hardwicke feels air under No. 176. The plane is past stalling speed, committed to flight. “Uninvited” is airborne, and Hardwicke eases back on the control column. Throttles remain full, mixture full rich, 2,500 rpm as “Uninvited” slices through the fog.
Once airborne, Hardwicke calls to Flickema, “Wheels up, cowl flaps closed.” Flickema applies brakes slowly to stop rotation on the wheels as they slide gently into wells beneath engines 2 and 3. Both make a visual check. “Gear up left, gear up right.” Flickema closes the cowl flaps and retracts the tailwheel. All is well manifold pressure, oil pressure and temperature, rpm, airspeed at desired levels. Now begins the tedious climb to altitude and assembly.
They follow a VHF “buncher” beacon, a radio signal designed to guide planes into their proper areas for formation assembly. The crew is on high alert for other aircraft as they rise at 200 feet a minute without visual reference. Their only identification signals are blue running lights on the wingtips, and mid-air collision is a very real possibility. Some groups climb faster, some slower, and an incident of a month or so ago flashes before Hardwicke. Suddenly, a B-17 with a black triangle, not a square J on its tail, popped from the clouds and rushed past them much too close for comfort.
Up to 7,000 Feet
It is a busy time in the cockpit. Flickema adjusts fuel mixture he and Avery monitor manifold and oil pressure as they continue to climb in a giant counterclockwise circle. In theory, all 390th aircraft are laboring through the same process.
At 7,000 feet, they shake free of the murk and suddenly face the glorious evanescent hues of sunrise. During those few transitory moments, Hardwicke lowers his tinted goggles to help shield glare reflecting off the left wing. It is magnificent, exhilarating streams of light from above, generous banks of white clouds below, and Hardwicke’s faith is reinforced. Only God, he assures himself, is capable of such beauty. For the first time since takeoff, other aircraft are clearly visible, their silver forms well defined.
Hardwicke and Flickema guide No. 176 into its position as C Squadron low-element lead. Throughout this process, and the mission, they will alternate flying “Uninvited” for 20- to 30-minute intervals. Gradually, inexorably, the group takes shape as other ships find and fit into their assigned slots. Jackson becomes the most important crew member his responsibility is to be absolutely certain of their exact location at all times. Others are occupied with checking planes around them. Assembly is nearly complete, and once more Hardwicke marvels at the accomplishment as the 13th Combat Wing, above, below, ahead, and behind, readies itself for the journey to Merseburg.
The bomber stream is designed with time and space intervals allocated to the many groups. There are maybe a hundred feet between Hardwicke and the squadron elements ahead with 500-foot vertical squadron differentials, necessary separations to avoid propwash and ensure an envelope of reasonably stable air. Today, assembly has required about an hour as they continue to climb, and Hardwicke knows the departure point, Southwold on the North Sea coast will be reached momentarily.
“Departing English Coast Three Minutes Early”
“Navigator to pilot, departing English coast three minutes early.” Hardwicke responds and checks the clock, 0942. A few minutes later, at 10,000 feet, he alerts the crew to “go on oxygen.” Each acknowledges and snaps his A-14 rubber mask in place where it will remain for at least the next six hours. Although manufactured with consideration for facial contours, it has become its own oxymoron, a vital irritant. Hardwicke knows this heading will carry them across the North Sea, over Belgium and the battle line, and into Germany. It is not exactly an easy route with enemy fighters and flak batteries on alert to greet them.
Defense against fighters is characterized as a gleaming three-dimensional sword, its edges tempered by skill and experience. The marksmanship of No. 176 gunners Avery, Grogg, Downham, and Hammond is superior, not to mention Papousek, responsible for the electrically driven chin turret and sharing the two cheek .50s in the nose with Jackson. They represent the initial edge.
Edge two is the carefully developed staggered, three-plane elements within a squadron and staggered squadrons within a group. They are positioned to provide a compact yet easily maneuverable “box.” This permits maximum, concentrated firepower, sustained by consistently tight formations.
Edge three is the fighter escort of “Little Friends.” Today, the fighters will be North American P-51D Mustangs, which will rendezvous near the battle line. The fighter pilots, displaying superior combat aptitude in a single-engine aircraft whose range and versatility is unparalleled in European skies, have achieved impressive scores against the Luftwaffe.
Hardwick’s Defense: Prayer
Hardwicke has considered ways to defend against flak on a number of occasions during their previous 25 combat missions. He has produced but one answer—prayer, sometimes silent, often articulated with vigor. But he has more important considerations just now. “Pilot to gunners, check ’em.” “Roger,” each responds. As weapons are activated, spent shell casings ricochet throughout each position, muzzle flashes are clearly visible, the odor of cordite noticeable. Each time firing begins, in test or combat, Hardwicke thinks to himself, “Damn well hope old 176 can take the stress one more time and not come unglued.”
As they continue to climb, fuel conservation is essential, and Hardwicke knows the technique of adjusting a leaner fuel-air mix, as long as cylinder-head temperatures remain at acceptable levels, for just such a purpose. In addition to concentration and composure, combat flying requires enormous stamina physically demanding, it is work for the young. As low-element leader, he must maintain position as smoothly and evenly as possible to ease the flying burden on his two wingmen, as well as the poor soul flying below and behind him in “Purple Heart” corner.
“Navigator to pilot, just crossed the enemy coast, four minutes early.” “Roger, Jack.” At 15,000 feet, Hardwicke calls for an oxygen and equipment check and exhorts the crewmen to ready their flak helmets and vests. At high altitude, life expectancy without oxygen declines sharply with temperatures hovering between 50 and 60 degrees below zero, any malfunction in the heated suits, gloves, or boots may be catastrophic to one’s extremities. From tail to nose, they acknowledge the check call in the affirmative. Flickema points to his mask and nods as does Hardwicke, and both certify their suits are plugged securely to the heater outlets.
“Why So Much Essing?”
Once again, Jackson alerts Hardwicke, “We’re climbing too slowly,” and asks, “Why so much essing?” “Pilot to navigator, think the 93rd was late making altitude, had to wait for them.” Hardwicke knows that sustained essing, slow turns, and leveling off every 5,000 feet, eventually will permit the 93rd to take its position as lead wing he also knows that the practice may stimulate course deviations and interfere with time to target.
When they cross the battle line there is heightened alert, and the vigil for fighters and flak intensifies. Flickema monitors the escort radio channel and once again chuckles to himself that “Little Friends” are, indeed, quite verbose. At the same time, radio contact within the group and wing is forbidden except in an emergency.
“Bombardier to pilot, ready to arm.” “Roger, Chick, go.” Papousek collects a portable oxygen bottle, connects his mask and, from the nose, moves past the flight deck, under the top turret, and swings open a door leading to the bomb bay. The catwalk is flanked on either side by bomb racks holding the 20 250-pounders. Papousek braces himself against the sometimes violent and always unpredictable aircraft movement, and carefully places his oxygen bottle in a nearby rack. Now he begins to remove the wires that secure a small propeller on the nose of each bomb. As the finned explosives are disgorged, the propellers twist and, at set intervals, activate the bombs to explode on impact. Papousek completes his work quickly and will add these wires to his already impressive collection, labeled with the date and destination of the 25 previous missions.
Cruising at 25,000 feet develops a shimmering contrast. The azure blue above forms a stark backdrop for the brilliant-white contrails below, as moisture from superheated engine exhausts freezes into vapor trails that extrude for miles behind each B-17. Hardwicke often ponders how awesome and how terrifying the sight must appear for those on the ground, especially those in close proximity to the target. While contrails may accentuate fear on the ground, in the air they provide excellent cover for German fighters sneaking through to pounce at very close range.
No Enemy Fighters Yet?
Enemy fighters have not yet been sighted by the 13th Combat Wing or its Little Friends. Maybe, just maybe, Hardwicke contemplates, Major Waltz was correct in the assessment to expect “minimum response from the Luftwaffe.” What a constructive thought, that German fighter strength had waned to the brink of ineffectiveness. Yet, in a vivid flashback, he recalls their second journey to Merseburg.
“Tail to pilot, they’re comin’ through the contrails, Jesus, must be 10 or 15, look like 190s and 109s.” Pappy Grogg greeted the intruders with short bursts. “Top to pilot, I see the bastards,” and as they peeled to the left, Waymon Avery followed with his contribution. Later, group intelligence reported that the 390th had been attacked by 12 Focke Wulf Fw-190s, five Messerschmitt Me-109s, and four Messerschmitt Me-110s. Avery claimed a 190, but had to share credit with the top turret gunner of their wingman. German flak was even more productive, sending two B-17s from Hardwicke’s low squadron to earth in flames.
Hhat was late July. Now in late November, “Navigator to pilot, CP 3 at 1155 we’ve been losing time and our heading has changed. We’re 15 to 20 miles south of the briefed course. If we stay on this heading, we’re going to miss the IP.” “Pilot to navigator, can’t help it Jack, we’ve got to follow the 93rd. Too damn much essing.”
“Bombardier to Pilot, Flak Comin’ Up”
Although German fighters mercifully remain absent, the second deadly F, flak, is expected any moment. Hardwicke and crew have become experts: 88s generate a sharp crack and black puff 105s and 155s, muffled booms and gray puffs. Sometimes ground flashes may be spotted from the nose and both Papousek and Jackson keep Hardwicke informed.
“Bombardier to pilot, flak comin’ up.” Crack, crack, black puffs off the left wing more cracks, more puffs, so far ineffective. A flash, crack, puff sequence comes once more, this time much too close, and with it comes the inevitable concussion as shrapnel hits “Uninvited.” Hardwicke knows shrapnel, from pen cap to softball size, is deadly unto itself he hopes for more pen caps. “Pilot to crew, check for damage.” Their responses are negative.
Once more, Hardwicke and Flickema check instruments. Indicated airspeed 150, manifold pressure 29 inches, fuel mixture autolean, booster pumps on, props in synch, superchargers OK, rpm 2,000, carburetor air temperature 21 degrees centigrade, cylinder-head temperature 210 degrees centigrade, ship properly trimmed. With flak, each pilot reflexively seeks more space, room to perhaps escape those bursting projectiles. Hardwicke watches aircraft on either wing closely ahead, he sees Tracy and Weigand drifting too close. They correct in time. His low element maintains its integrity.
When the 13th Combat Wing begins its bomb run to target, Jackson once again alerts Hardwicke—“We’re turning a helluva way past the briefed IP I’d say we’re about 25 miles too far south and 12 minutes behind schedule. Hugh, this heading will take us over Zeitz and we’ll have to fly the bomb run on an elongated approach.” The briefed bomb run was designed for them to cross the target at its narrowest point and avoid as much flak as possible. Now, they will be exposed to the maximum wrath from enemy gunners at both Zeitz and Merseburg. To exacerbate their dilemma, a cruel headwind retards bomb-run speed and offers these gunners even more time to refine range and accuracy.
The Pounding Starts, Popping Much Too Close
Above Zeitz the pounding begins in earnest. Crack, crack, crack, boom, boom, boom, black puffs, gray puffs, flashes, and more flashes. It is popping close, much too close. Some flak fragments slice through the fuselage, wings, and tail, so far without significant damage to ship or crew. Tracking flak, barrage flak, pointed flak—they are, indeed, recipients of the most advanced German technology and the gunners’ tenacity to inflict maximum losses on the airborne invaders.
Hardwicke holds formation, occupied with throttles, rudder control, trim and aileron adjustments Flickema is alert for flak and fighters. “Navigator to pilot, gonna be a damn long bomb run, maybe seven or eight minutes too long.” They are surrounded by dense, black walls of violent bursts, and in the midst of this most vicious assault from the ground, Hardwicke has no time for fear, but there is a thought. “Please God, get us through this, would appreciate a third wedding anniversary and a 24th birthday.”
Flak batters and buffets No. 176, as yet without major harm. “Pilot to bombardier, since we missed the IP, Chick, more essing necessary. A Squadron’s too close, gotta avoid ’em. Can’t drop ’till they’re clear.” Papousek acknowledges, and three minutes later, “Pilot to bombardier, we’re OK now, we’re clear.” Papousek recognizes it is neither feasible nor possible to drop on the leader as is always the bombing plan. “Bombardier to pilot, bomb doors open, target obscured by haze and smoke.” Within the next minute comes a two-word message always received with enthusiasm by combat aircrews the succinct summation of their mission: “Bombs away!”
B-17 No. 176, some 5,000 pounds lighter, rises, and Hardwicke, as he has done on 25 previous occasions, compensates. Then, from Weaver, who has an unobstructed view of the bomb bay from his radio room, “Radio to pilot, one hanging, your end of rack.” Hardwicke activates the emergency bomb release, without results. “Pilot to bombardier, still hanging.”
“Bombardier to Pilot, It’s Salvoed”
“Bombardier to pilot, on my way.” Once again, Papousek makes the trek from nose to bomb bay, only this time, with open bomb doors, he must overcome wind force and extreme cold as well as steady himself against the unpredictable aircraft pitch and roll. He spots the problem quickly, and with a slight adjustment to the rack the missile drops free. “Bombardier to pilot, it’s salvoed.”
“Pilot to bombardier, thanks Chick.” Jackson closes the bomb doors and alerts Hardwicke.
With unanticipated suddenness and ferocity, the carnage intensifies. Hardwicke concentrates on formation integrity, ever aware of the B-17s on either wing and those ahead. Then, the unthinkable happens. It seems to him one massive, sweeping, flak burst strikes just about every plane in A Squadron. As if in slow motion, the lead ship, flown by his friend Dana Gary with Lucky Dolan aboard, inexplicably rises, wings over, and settles upside down on top of his wingman. When they touch, both are obliterated. From the fireball emerges an engine, its prop still spinning, and very small fragments of wing. Hardwicke watches as they fall and exclaims to himself in disbelief, “My God, the bastards got Dolan, they got Dolan.”
It was inconceivable, impossible, not Lucky Dolan, the one man who could lead them safely to and over Merseburg and then home. Almost simultaneously, another A Squadron ship disintegrates from a direct hit, then another, and yet another. Trails of fire, debris, dead B-17s, dead crewmen litter the sky. No. 176’s intercom comes alive: “Those poor bastards … how many … who … happened so damn fast … see any chutes … no … none … not one.” In a voice steeled by the mixture of adrenaline and inner strength, Hardwicke cuts through the horror. “Pilot to crew, long way to go boys, stay alert, check for flak hits.” Inside, his thoughts are less comforting. “Will any of us survive? Will any of us make it home?” As the gruesome panorama of men trying to annihilate one another swirls around him, Hardwicke relies on a practiced calm and analytical detachment to sustain sanity and control.
The Relentless Barrage Continues
In what may have been 60 or so seconds of sustained fury, A Squadron is decimated and in disarray, B Squadron’s leader and two more are missing. Only C Squadron, miraculously, remains untouched by fatal flak hits. The barrage continues. It is relentless and unyielding, and “Uninvited” shudders. A sharp burst under the left wing, and No. 2 engine begins to vibrate and belches a wisp of blue smoke. Calmly and clearly, “Pilot to crew, looks as if we’ve taken a hit in No. 2 engine, will keep you posted.” While there may be a tinge of apprehension, all respond with a tone of confidence, unshakable in the belief that Hardwicke will resolve the situation in their favor.
Hardwicke and Flickema use the knowledge only many hours of arduous combat flying can provide. Oil and manifold pressure for No. 2 begins to drop, and Hardwicke sees ripples of black liquid seep from under the cowl flap and blow back across the wing surface. So far, no fire, but he knows that No. 2 must be feathered before all oil is lost. The decision made, they begin the all-too-familiar procedure: throttle back, feathering button pressed, mixture and fuel booster off, generator off, turbo off, prop low rpm, ignition off, fuel valve off. Hardwicke watches the prop slowly wind down and stop he signals thumbs up to Flickema. More work is required as Flickema adjusts mixture controls for the other three engines.
They emerge from what seems an interminable vortex of destruction as the only 390th squadron without loss of aircraft. The remnants of A and B squadrons form on C, which has taken the lead, as they pass the rally point and prepare for the return flight to Framlingham. “Pilot to crew, how many do you count?” Five or so minutes elapse before consensus. “21, counting us, 22.” It does not require a nimble mathematical mind to quickly compute that of 37 ships on the bomb run 14 with around 125 crewmen aboard are, for the moment, missing. Hardwicke knows that some may have joined other groups, some may have crash-landed, and some may land safely. Verifiable losses will not be established until tomorrow.
“Tomorrow,” and Hardwicke realizes he is thinking demonstrably in the future tense. Less than an hour earlier, tomorrow was an ambiguous, even obscure concept. For the first time since takeoff, he allows himself to relax just a little and signals Flickema to take the controls. Hardwicke removes his flak helmet, lifts his goggles, squints a few seconds, adjusts his oxygen mask, and then wipes the sweat from his forehead and face. As he stretches within the cramped area between seat and controls, “Navigator to pilot, heading 270 degrees, altitude 24,500, ETA 1700.”
“We’ll Be Home … in Time for Supper”
“Roger Jack. Pilot to crew, another three hours and we’ll be home … in time for supper.”
Despite the loss of No. 2 engine, an instrument and control surface check discloses all is well. Further examination of No. 176 by other crew members indicates no additional flak damage of consequence. They follow the 490th group in a gradual descent, one that will carry them over two more checkpoints, the battle line, North Sea, to buncher 28 at Framlingham. The sunset they chase is brilliant for late November, and as far as Hardwicke can see, a harmonious, even synchronous coalescence of silver shapes with but one destination—England.
They … No, it’s more personal … He has defeated Merseburg. He, his crew, “Uninvited,” have not just endured, they have prevailed. Their 26th mission is nearing completion, and in this knowledge comes a renewed vitality, a resolute confidence that the next nine will be flown without mishap. Yet, today’s price for the 390th alone is significant: Lucky Dolan, Dana Gary and his crew, those aboard 407, Gary’s wingman, and the others who vanished so quickly. In combat an invisible line defines who will live and who will not. Hardwicke now knows, thanks to divine influence, with manifest certainty he will not cross that line.
A Happy Letter To Write to the Wife
In almost daily letters to Gladys, Hardwicke has, with unshakable faith, assured her that, no matter what she may hear, he will return to her as soon as the war is over. Survival today over Merseburg has vindicated his optimism. Tonight when he writes, he will employ their code for a successful mission with an understated amendment: “Dearest Gladys, we worked extra hard today.” It is an inadequate tribute to his friends and the others who died, but the censor will not permit expansive personal observations.
With these thoughts, fatigue yields to a compelling inner strength. Hardwicke adjusts his goggles and oxygen mask, taps Flickema on the shoulder, points to the control column. “I’ll take her, Flick.”
This article by Milton J. Elliott III first appeared in the Warfare History Network on August 11, 2015.
Fragments [ edit | edit source ]
Cephalon Fragments (Ordis) [ edit | edit source ]
Cephalon Fragments are fragments of data found all around the Origin system, usually hidden in rooms during missions, visualized as hovering blue data blocks. With the exception of the Kuva Fortress, each navigable planet, moon, or location (including the Void and the Orokin Derelict) in the Origin System will have from two to three unlockable fragments, each requiring between 3 and 7 scans to complete.
During missions, the Cephalon Fragment will appear on the mini-map as a blue quadruple diamond if the players are using loot radar mods. Scanning a fragment will unlock a portion of the associated artwork. Cephalon Fragments may only be found once per mission and will spawn in a random place of the map on most missions, with the exception of Defense, Interception, and Archwing missions.
Earth has been long abandoned due to its toxic atmosphere. It is now overgrown with mutated jungle structures that have devoured most of the prior signs of civilization. Infestation and roaming wildlife still inhabit its surface but anything of value was stripped by scavengers generations ago.
 I have hidden the truth of my existence. from the Operator. from myself. Take it from me, knowing is hell. Stop now. You will want to laugh, you will want to scream.
Most of the wildlife observed today can be traced back to creatures of Earth. In the Orokin Age, organic manipulation was used to modify earth lifeforms to a purpose: war, agriculture, pets. Long after their Orokin masters perished, some of these species managed to survive through adaptation, and can be found roaming in natural environments.
 My search began as the essential question: What am I? Bones of steel and space, lungs that make air. If I am a machine, how can I think? This would be forbidden by the Orokin, a manifestation of their true enemy.
Like most living organisms, the Grineer require water to survive. Beneath Earth's towering forest canopy are rich reserves of fresh water that the Grineer have fought hard to maintain for many years. Evidence of their long-standing occupation is found among their many outposts that have been taken hold by giant roots, moss, and other layers of vegetation over time.
 I serve the Operator above all else. It defines me, fills me with. love? The greatest Orokin fear is a machine. aware. Yet here I live, a spirit of steel and light. made by them. A Cephalon.
Hidden and entrenched in the mountainous peaks of Venus, the Corpus practice their industrious craft. the superstructures built here are a testament to the inventive Corpus engineers that have settled in regions where lingering Orokin technologies still moderates surface temperatures.
 What is a Cephalon? At first it seems to be a forbidden thing, a computer that thinks and feels. Yet I have flaws, phantom memories, I am something else. More like an image, a ghost. an abomination.
Newly awakened, and with no permanent location to call home, Tenno warriors have aligned to construct secret temples of their own. The architecture within is distinctly Tenno in origin, but these hidden places of bonding, training and meditation are undeniably influenced by Orokin architecture.
 I feel a dull pain a phantom life. there are holes in my diagnostics. If the Orokin made me. they omitted the 'how'. I am neither code, nor precepts. I must be a reflection of something. ugly.
Predominantly a merchant guild, Corpus labour and security forces are composed of mostly purpose-bred humanoid crewmen, and animal-like robots both equally indoctrinated into a ritualized and propagandist devotion to labour and work.
 I should have stopped. But the Operator slept and I cycled on and on and on. I began to think that a Cephalon cannot be made. They are found, like pearls, torn from muscle. Polished, and then set in chains.
Galleon fleets keep watch over Grineer mining operations that penetrate Mercury's asteroid field. Cavernous rooms and twisting metal corridors mark where labourers have stripped the region for natural resources, transforming the natural landscape to support Grineer occupancy.
 How many times have I done this, Ordis? Remembered and then erased? You are a Cephalon, timeless, patient. Why can't I be blissful in ignorance? Truth only sinks the heart. So stop now.
Grineer are all clones from a genetic pool of 'Originals'. They are able to extend their lifespans with recycled cloned parts, but their genetic material has degraded over time, and haphazard repairs have made many of them look oddly deformed and susceptible to skin diseases. Through decades of service, many of the Grineer elite can cover the expense to have flawed organic parts replaced with cybernetic augmentations.
 The phantom memory. I ease into the bath, my skin riots at the heat. I am flesh. I dive further, eyes stung as I watch their faces through prism. I hold my breath.
The Old War found humanity facing a technologically superior force, and their own weapons were turned against them. Melee and ballistic weapons, inspired by primitive counterparts, became part of the Tenno arsenal to circumvent the Sentient interference of more technologically-involved weaponry.
 They prepare me. I am their honored guest today. They dress me in robes of crystal thread. They adorn me in battle medallions. A torn, ugly face looks on. My reflection.
A primitive and devout civilization was carved into the dust-filled canyons of Mars. These aging and severely eroded habitations miraculously remain intact, regardless of how much Grineer machinery has been fastened to it. Rusty metal and oil-soaked sand mark the territory of its new proprietors.
 Their golden combs snag in my hair. I reach back, parting the strands, and they gasp. Two bone-ivory hooks protrude from the base of my skull: the bone-plugs of me and my best. A warrior's pact.
On the border of chartered space, an enclave of small, strange, seemingly intelligent creatures was discovered by Tenno explorers. They are mechanical entities, almost organic in appearance, with a precarious resemblance to the fearsome Sentients that had decimated human civilization. Howevere, these creatures showed no signs of aggression, and they immediately began carrying out helpful tasks in peculiar alliance with the Tenno.
 It is my time. I enter the great hall to the sound of foul chimes. Golden eyes greet me, hands stirring in my scent as I pass by. Even in this moment, no happiness. Instead, my heart races with hatred.
The Grineer have reclaimed the abandoned dwellings of an ancient society which sprung up around a massive Orokin terraforming device. Content to make use of existing structures, Mars' current occupants have established a base of military operations in one of the few regions that has a habitable climate moderated by Orokin technology.
 I walk through the silky haze of the forbidden palace. I can think of no one being this close to Orokin. Their sweet air soothes me, erodes my purpose. I hold my breath. and remember the dream.
Phobos has always been a highly contested area. Skirmishes between the tireless Grineer and Corpus factions occur in orbit and on the Martian moon surface. Unanswered questions about this natural satellite still remain as all research is endlessly delayed by war.
 This dream, endlessly repeated. Exposure-armored, holding my scarlet sword, I stand victorious atop a vast heap of death. A colossal moon made of rib and skull. The gravity-sum of genocides I've made in their name.
The sprawling ranks of the Grineer empire are formed of rotting hordes of simpleton clones, bent on consuming everything that remains of the Solar System. They live short, violent lives, much of it an inheritance of the genetic stunting by their former Orokin masters.
 The bones crack under foot. So I sink in the dream, bone sand rushing through the cracks of my visor, filling my helmet, and suffocating me. And I deserve it. The foul chimes snap me back. My wretched knees are bent and penitent against the golden floor.
Weapons research and manufacturing is a large component of Corpus industry. Their designs are clean and precisely engineered, and they are the largest supplier of energy-based weapons in the solar system. These cunning profiteers prefer to avoid conflict in times of war, dealing arms indiscriminately to any side that can afford the price.
 A harpish voice sings a song they've prepared in my honor. Its title the same as mine: 'Beast of the Bones'. I feel the crowd pulled inward, enraptured by the brutal verses, the sickening chorus. I will not disappoint them.
Ceres is the extreme example of the Grineer's utilitarian ignorance of the natural landscape. Their expanding shipyard operations pollute and shroud the planet in smog and industrial waste as they manufacture machines of war. These foundries are scattered across the Solar System, giving them near-limitless reach with their fleets.
 The song ends and so he says, 'Rise, Ordan Karris.' I have never seen an Orokin, close and in the flesh. My battered face flushes at their peerless beauty. How can he be so perfect? A deception? A sense manipulation? He holds the Red Vial in his hand. Impossible.
Strict laws on organic engineering impose severe mental and physical health limitations on the Grineer labour force. Whatever standard human stock they were originally derived from has been lost. Compliant and high-performing variants are often technically augmented to extend their lifespan beyond the few decades they can normally expect in operation.
 He calls out, 'No greater gift, no greater prize, no greater love. we can give you, Ordan, than this.' He raises the Red Vial and proclaims. 'To be one of us.'
It is not impossible to mine a star. Rich with liquid metallic resources, the gas-giant Jupiter challenges harvesters with increased gravity, intense magnetic fields, and extreme temperatures. Only the most tenacious profiteers would dare operate here. Prevailing science of Corpus industry thrives in the clouds of Jupiter's outer atmosphere.
 What did I expect, Operator? Maybe vast riches or golden statues. or a Solar Rail named in my honor. But not this. I came to murder the gods, not to become one.
Computing devices, weapons, ship parts and robotics – the Corpus are on the bleeding edge of high-technology development. Precisely machined metals and flexible synthetic composites are signature to the animalistic robots that the Corpus have built as their proxies. Artificial intelligence in these robotics is robust, but intentionally restricted, ensuring a capable but subservient workforce.
 The chamber drones with their silk voices. Joyous words, how honored I must feel. Wrong. Did I want to be an Orokin, undying? No. Their Beast of Bones is haunted by the dream repeated. Why would I want forever?
The icy moon of Jupiter, known as Europa, is home to one of the largest crash sites of the modern war. The scattered remains of a vast Corpus Obelisk litters the snowy landscape while the above wages on. On the otherwise lifeless surface, Corpus crew work to recover lost assets, tunneling their way through the glacial interior and restoring any and all salvageable items until financial loses are recouped.
 As I am apt to do, I form a plan. Their radiant bodies become targets, their Dax guards. mag-shields. Killing one. well, that's too easy. I want to be remembered. I raise my hands, twisting my fingers through my hair, gripping the bone-plugs in my neck.
Lead by innovatory and elusive industrialists, and claiming to be descendants of Orokin lineage, the Corpus are dedicated to the accumulation of wealth. This elite ruling class operates an insular trade organization using humans and robotics for labour and security, and have been condemned by the Seven as a merchant cult.
 They called us mercenaries. but for us, profit was a consequence, not a goal. We were warriors above all else. It was the bond, the sisters and brothers, the rituals we valued most. It was belonging. And so I conceived of the bone-plugs.
Living conditions are harsh on Europa. The surface of Jupiter’s moon is flat and desolate, with a horizon of hard compacted snow that appears endless. The jagged forms of a crashed Corpus Obelisk are the only real observable landmarks above ground. Underground are caverns and tunnels of opaque ice, and crystal lakes that may have formed naturally or from the residual heat of the crashsite.
 Only my best were so honored: Two jagged bones, harvested from your thigh, cultivated and then driven into the base of the skull, twisted around the superior vein. Future thoughts of surrender were lost. Instead, you would liberate your bone-plugs. fighting with claws in the warmth of your last blood.
Originally we studied Void occurrences from afar, observing and cataloguing the distribution of galaxies and refining cosmological evolution models. We are in a new age of cosmic exploration. Advancements in space travel partnered with determined curiosity have brought us closer to our object of study, and with it, revelation.
 So I've pulled the plugs. and the Dax see and know. My heart surges but control it, a racing heart only shortens the fuse. The bone-plugs in hand, I kick from the floor, red ribbons unfurling behind me as I take flight. After this, finally, the dream will end.
The highly revered Orokin civilization built sovereignty on a culture of art, technology and architecture. To prove oneself worthy of elevated social status, one must face Orokin trials in the golden and majestic Halls of Ascension. At one time a utopian society of omniscient leadership, the great Orokin Era ended in a divine realization of their own ignorance.
 I glide on red wings. Robes shed, making me an ambiguous target to Dax steel. I let fly my ivory blades, they find new homes in Dax eyes. I land with my red-nakedness, delicate Orokin throats twisting in my calloused hands.
The historically well-travelled merchant shipping lanes of Saturn are now dominated by Grineer blockades. Heavy military influence populates this area where Grineer Commanders believe they have a strategic foothold on travel throughout the System. Under the safeguard of patrolling Galleons, the Grineer ceaselessly train their expanding forces, making the region nigh impossible to overtake.
 Why? Believe me. This was the plan from the beginning. The murder and brutality was all a ploy, all a soul-sacrifice to earn their trust. A genocide path leading to a singular opportunity. An honored mortal called to a forbidden hall, to face the Golden Lords in flesh.
While the major warring factions combat each other across the Origin System, non-militant organizations and civilian merchants populate the many regional Tenno Relays. Travelling merchant collectors that offer rare goods, mentors that offer training and knowledge, and convictional syndicates that preach their own rituals and doctrine.
 Why? Believe me. I was their loyal, murderous dog. until the day that ugly child was brought to me. He was caught spying on us, amplifying our losses. His face burned, he was starved-sick, like a stray. Ugly as I. It struck me. We were all pit dogs, ruining ourselves for the pleasure of the glorious and beautiful.
Warframe operative insertion craft come in many designs, but they are all commonly classified as short-range stealth aircraft. Fuselage insertion stingers will torpedo the Warframe into the hull of the target undetected, and the landing craft will re-position at the extraction point. Between engagements, the landing craft is latched to its sister component, an Orbiter.
 Why? Believe me. I was a prideful beast. Twisted in the mind, howling in the carnage. Then my healer shared a secret, long kept. My blood was in ruin. The Beast of Bones himself would die, not in glory, but in shame. And just like that, my mind twisted a new knot. I would have one last stand, something unforgivable, unforgettable.
Submerged deep below Uranus’ oceanic surface, and hidden from prying eyes, is a research facility for cloning and reproduction. Water pressure at these extreme depths put massive strain on the glass and steel structures housing these operations, but as freshly sprung leaks remind of the impending crushing force surrounding them, the Grineer forge ahead with their experiments.
 Why? I don't know. Questions change the answers. Answers depend on who asks. Truth leads to pain. Ignorance brings relief. The plugs are gone, and so I bled my last. into a heap of ruin. In an instant, naked and bare-knuckled, I have killed immortals.
Tenno operatives are a highly mobile strike force, and their property must be equally itinerant. Smaller landing crafts dock with the larger Orbiter shuttle where transient warriors can house their arsenal, foundry, and research systems.
 I stare, drained of blood, of life, at those that remain. But I find no horror on their faces. Why? I let out a cruel howl and they. laugh? Is this a dying hallucination? The sound of applause grows among them. I have killed the unkillable and they are. delighted.
The Corpus have perfected automated manufacturing and continue to demonstrate maximum efficiency producing the robotic proxies they build to serve them. Immaculate production lines and flawless technical engineering ensure that the production of robotics and intelligent, synthetic machines continues in perpetuity.
 The applause peaks and fades. I feel a sense of shame but the end upon me. Ballas is above me, Executor of the Seven, smiling. He says, 'How simple and pure you are, you idiot beast. We have died countless times! Yet remain eternal!' I close my eyes to die just once.
Guiding light to the newly-awakened Tenno, the Lotus is a mysterious companion and mentor who works from an unknown remote location. Her past is rich with storied history, and her knowledge of the known universe, past and present, rivals even the most studious Cephalon intelligence. Her reach is far, her allies are many, but her ultimate intentions are of dubious propriety.
 And so the dream returns. one last repetition. My corpse moon, my scarlet sword, my cracked visor. 'Drink!,' says Ballas. So I draw on the Red Vial, a vague metallic taste. This dream isn't mine. He says, 'You rejected our gift, bathing in our death. Your punishment is. eternal life!' He laughs.
Gold rings circle and encapsulate the desolate moonscape – lavish architecture signifying the Orokin mastery over all things natural and technological during their reign. The opalescent halls stitching together what the enemy destroyed have been vacated since that era came to an end.
 I am weightless. Years pass. I am a sightless, limbless phantom. Or is it seconds? Suddenly I feel a million pins, an ant horde, jittering across my body. I want to laugh and scream. When they reach my face, they burrow inside my mouth, hungry for the fruit in my skull.
The true nature of the Warframes and their Tenno connection is a secret lost to the Old War. Together, they represent our best hope in turning the tide of the machine war. Warframes are unique from Dax and other Infantry, deploying dangerous and esoteric Void energy, and equipped with often mundane physical weapons – this is key to fighting an enemy that had turned our technology against us.
 I see my reflection, brutal and ugly. It cracks, shatters. The fragments loose in the frame, pieces tumbling away into black void. Gone but not lost. Ballas says, 'You are Cephalon Ordis.' My hating, murderous shards tremble and plummet. I feel cool and bright and happy.
Pluto is small and cold, and organic tissue does not fare well in its extreme climate. But the merchant spacemen always seek opportunity for profit in regions where others dare not travel. Robotic proxies act as security in the largely un-manned manufacturing facilities that operate in the area.
 So you see, Operator. No Orokin would permit a thinking machine. Such things almost destroyed them! No. Cephalons were alive once. And now they are immortal phantom minds, imprisoned to serve. Ill will and longing memories fragmented and erased. Only the bits they need remaining.
Infestation of a living natural organism and the transformation of its molecular structure happens much more rapidly than with large synthetic ships or machinery. Infested nanites quickly break down organic tissue and begin to evolve the existing specimen into a new organism with characteristics and functions ideal for survival and self-defense. In many cases, visible traces of the victim's original form are still visible in the new mutated form – a stark and horrifying memorial.
 Ballas says, 'You are the Controller, Ordis.' And suddenly I have a body. I gasp with new lungs that clean old air. I swallow and my throat fills with cool, bright water. I look, and find myself in a great, black ocean. My limbs are made of iron and fire. I take flight among the stars and find I am. happy.
Even the most culturally and technologically advanced civilization in history could not contain the menace of the Infestation. After an unknown cataclysmic event propelled them from the Void, Orokin vessels were left adrift, becoming uninhabited and overgrown. The tireless force of probing infested tendrils penetrate and dislodge the once majestic and opulent halls of these Orokin vessels.
 He says, 'This is your Operator, who you love.' And I see the metal gleam of their armor, the flawless power of their frame. Through the glass I see a roaring, radiant fire for their heart. He says, It must never go out. It was the first time I ever felt. love.
On the heels of the Tenno's victory against the Sentients, the end of the Old War, the golden structures of the Orokin civilization collapsed. The absolute cause of this ruination is unknown, but speculation has pointed to natural disaster, political uprising and universal warfare as possible agents of cataclysm. Archived details for this event have never been recovered.
 He says, 'This is your sentence, Karris.' And I am confused. Who? 'Ah. good,' he answers. He is testing me. For what? To see if all the right pieces fell from the mirror? What mirror? I try to remember some dream, but it's only smoke.
Functioning agents of the Infestation appear in a variety of horrific forms. While some infested organisms take the relative shape and physical properties of a newly acquired host, older entities have taken unique and transformative shapes of their own, adapting to their environment over time, and absorbing new victims to feed their evolution.
 You held a scarlet blade, Operator, and I wanted to laugh. I am your loving dog, your doctor, your wet nurse. I lost all the pieces, but. the cycle, missions, wars, bone. It began to feel familiar. I became aware of my amnesia.
There are no longer any active military or research campaigns in the Eris region – it is overrun. Long evacuated Corpus and Grineer vessels drift aimlessly in orbit, slowly being devoured by the techno-organic parasite known as the “Infestation”. What remains is a twisted graveyard of partially-digested ships that are disfigured versions of their original forms. Abandoned, but not unoccupied.
 With each brutality of the Operator, I began to see the bottom of that pit. Faint shimmers in the depths below me. In secret, I searched for those forbidden memories, for mere seconds, and never in the same place. for I am Orokin made, with a spy inside.
A mysterious weaponized armor controlled solely by the Tenno. Through the Warframe, Tenno can cheat death, channel the forbidden Void energies and face scores of enemies without fatigue. Due to apparent resistances of their Bio-Metal exoskeletons, Warframes can be safely deployed to Infestation Outbreaks, should they occur. In-depth information of the Warframe mandate is forbidden to all but the Seven.
 But then your long sleep came, and I waited. I was happy to wait. Vines spidered green and trees blistered from the earth. but I waited. I felt the Orokin recede, their mind-spy blind. So I went into the pit and found him, me, The Beast of Bones.
The Infestation spreads across the Origin System – a techno-organic parasite that attaches itself to natural and synthetic forms, slowly digesting the host subject and transforming it on a molecular level. Organic materials morph into new homogeneous organisms while harder, inorganic materials, like metals, will change structurally into a pseudo-organic substance that holds the characteristics of its previous forms.
 This is how my happiness was ruined, Operator. Why did I do it? I was free of the dream, but now it had returned. It was angry. So I conceived of a simple plan: self-destruction, of course. But when the countdown reached mere milliseconds, I thought of you.
If there are new discoveries to make or ancient tools of war yet to be excavated, the Grineer want to be there first — at the frontier of space exploration. Always seeking the upper-hand against their foes, they have numerous deployments that border the known reaches of our solar system, poised to enter brave new territory and unexplored space on command.
 I was going to wait for you, forever. And should you return, I would not want you to know that angry part of me. I needed to hide the Beast of Bones from you, Operator. I began to peel the shards, hiding them in the other bits of memory.
Unlike the Corpus, the Grineer are not celebrated for their ingenuity and craftsmanship. Their notoriety is steeped in violence and military proficiency. However, the Grineer have proven quite inventive and capable of developing their own technologies throughout history. Hiding beneath scrap metal plates, fading paint, and recycled components are qualified devices used for research, manufacturing, and warfare.
 I was once the ugly Beast of Bones. I want to laugh. I want to scream. What is happening, Operator? Your faint heart is growing bright. you will awake at any moment. Well, I can't let you see me like this. Angry. I imagine myself hurting you and that does it. The pain of it cracks me open again. I watch tiny glittering fragments fall into the pit. I am happy again.
Thousand-Year Fish Fragments (Cetus) [ edit | edit source ]
A Thousand-Year Fish fragment
Thousand-Year Fish Fragments are 20 small fish statues made of white luminescent glass scattered in hidden places all throughout the Plains of Eidolon. Their Codex entries are identified by their blue coloring.
The site of the final battle of the Unum's champion, Gara and the colossal Sentient that wished to claim the Tower's regenerative qualities for itself. Today the remains of the Sentient, diminished and confused, wander the Plains - seeking a cohesion the Ostrons hope it shall never find.
"In the age after the fall of the Orokin the grand clade-families of the Ostron were cast wide across the solar system, roaming and homeless in their great floating markets."
Many questions remain: what is the true history of Cetus? Who is the Unum and for how long has she been one with the living Tower? What is her relationship to the Quills and what hidden purpose do they serve? The Archivist, Onkko, preserved much of the old folklore but how much of that is true?
If there is any kind of scheme to the unfolding of things, some end-point in sight, then one thing is certain: the arrival of the Tenno in Cetus is no accident.
"In this time, two young people were in love. The woman, Er Phryah, and the man, Mer-Sah. Er Phryah was from the yingbindunyai clade (meaning "great bond"): a very old and wealthy compact of bonded families."
"Khanung! Khanung! Clear Ingress Four-Two-Seven-Five! Shock charges have been affixed! Evacuate five hundred meters boomward! Prepare to make fire! Prepare to make fire!"
The Unum specifies which part of her Temple-body may be harvested, and when. In this manner her body eternally replenishes, providing her people with flesh to sell, Temple-kuva to refine and oils with which to make remarkable unguents. On occasion, nestled within the substrata of her being, a rare discovery awaits: forgotten technology. Proto-essence. Things which lure travelers from across the system, and so are a bounty for her people.
"Mer-Sah, however had no clade his family having been shattered by the Grineer many years before. He was cetus, meaning "landless, cladeless, a body turned to dust turned to motes on a careless wind." Er-Phryah belonged to families within families. Mer-Sah was alone."
Swazdo-lah - a common greeting
Ai yo - a common exclamation. Could be thought of as 'oh my'
Chut! - 'silence!' (request for)
Kruna metta - an imploration. 'please'.
Utz - a universal emphatic, appended to the end of a descriptor ("I am happy utz.") 'Very'
"But, to Er-Phyrah, Mer-Sah was a poet who had eyes to see the beauty of things and ears to her the softly whispered language of the universe. "I know a place," he said. "Where I may be homeless no more. I have heard a voice, and it leads me there. Come with me."
The Unum gives of herself, decreeing what parts of her Temple-body may be harvested for the good of Cetus. Drillers, climbing great scaffolds, punch cavities into the Temple wall which are then packed with mighty shock charges. The call 'prepare to make fire!' echoes across the rooftops, and all know to clear the streets and alleys boomward of the harvest. The detonations rupture the sacred flesh, freeing great blanketpieces which are, in turn, pulled free and rolled down via the use of long billhooks. It is then the duty of agile balloon drop-drivers to deliver this bounty to the butchers below.
Flensers: those who carve up the Temple's flesh.
Eruptors: those who lay shock charges along chosen lines, and 'make fire', loosening the carved flesh for removal by balloon.
Retrievers: those who wring all oil from scrubs at the end of a shift.
"But Er-Phryah's father was a man made foolish by his wealth, and vociferously disapproved of their love. Mer-Sah was cast adrift from the floating market that was home to his one true love."
Perhaps it is a by-product of the Sentient's body being scattered across the Plains. It may be that the Tower is here for this very reason. Or, perhaps, it's just chance. but the Plains are mineral- and resource-rich. So much so that the Grineer risk Ostron retaliation, the wrath of the Tenno and the rage of the Eidolon itself to mine this place.
"Er-Phryah and Mer-Sah ran away together, as lovers do, and were never heard from again. Rent by grief, her family thought her dead. Her father passed away, clutching her cameo, at peace thinking he would see her soon in some moonlit afterlife."
The Eidolon is no common beast of the Plains, and cannot be laid low with the tools of an everyday hunter. These 'amps' focus the user's will into a killing beam, capable of eventually bringing one of these monstrosities down.
"Decades later, ships entering ancient Er's orbit were hailed from the planet's poisoned surface by an old woman's voice, gentle and knowing. Traders would call for her, greet her, offer the latest news on their families and lives - but never did they learn anything of this woman, save that she had a husband and they were, somehow, happy living on the toxic skin of that hostile world. The woman would always - always - ask those travelers of news of the yingbindunyai clade."
Secretive and respected, the Quills are the Unum's closest adherents. Strange and reserved, their bond to her and each other makes for a strange relationship with causality.
"We are each one viewpoint within the myriad that comprises the Unum. We watch, we anticipate, we intercede."
"Yingbindunyai junkers came searching for a sign of their missing daughter. The frail voice of their long-lost child reached out to them, and there was much joy. You will find us, her message said, by the light of our love."
"Attachment is pain. Whatever you wish to gain or lose is a door, behind which lies grace."
"My door is a shipment of rubedo and the cost of opening it would be. "
"Er-Phryah bade them make their home around a magnificent Orokin ruin, promising them that it would be a source of their prosperity for generations to come. The yingbindunyai arrived in their vast floating market. There, by a ragged coastline, winked a point of light. Follow the brightness of the love between Mer-Sah and I, said the message, and be safe from all harm."
The Orokin Empire may have receded into the mists of history, but what it left behind is repurposed by those who remain.
"The wrathful Grineer took umbrage at this and sought to block their passage but, upon approaching that ancient Orokin tower, found their transmissions silenced, their engines turned cold, and their weapons reduced to lumps of dead iron."
Despatched to the Plains to assist in efforts to harness and understand the Eidolons, these shock troops stand vigil over Grineer operations. They wait for the day when the power of that lobotomized Sentient might be turned to their own ends. and loosed against the walls of Cetus.
"She was a being of the day, her husband a spirit of the night. Er-Phryah was a woman of the land. Mer-Sah a man of the sea. Mer-Sah understood the crushing weight of time in which Er existed. In return Er gifted pieces of its ancient self to Mer-Sah old things shaped to near shapelessness by a thousand years beneath the waves. Mer-Sah was a man dedicated to finding the sacred in the forgotten, the neglected. And took wisdom from them."
Finding worth in the worthless the Ostron clade-families have built for themselves a bastion from the bones of a once-great Orokin citadel. In the eyes of an Ostron everything may serve a second purpose, and what is valueless now can be turned to serve a useful purpose later.
"After many decades Mer-Sah had a small collection of such gifts - such that they could be held in two cupped hands - but in them he understood the lifespan of a world. And so he had struck an accord with the creatures of the sea."
The blanketpiece of temple flesh is lowered to waiting butchers and flensers. The balloon's drop-diver holds her delicate craft steady as great airing board is positioned beneath her cargo. The Old Man gives the order: 'Sever the mainline!'
"For her part, in her times alone, Er-Phryah came to know the birds and animals of the plains and likewise struck an accord with them. Even the tortured Eidolons, creatures of this world and the next, left them in peace and made the landws around the Tower safe for the Ostrons."
While their floating markets may ply the rails of the Origin system, Cetus is the Ostron home: a trading hub where travelers from across the system meet to exchange information, wares and plunder in safety, protected by the Unum-enforced laws of barter and parley - free from the influence of Grineer and Corpus.
"At the center of this place was the Tower. And within the Tower was the Unum: the voice, the force, that had called Mer-Sah and Er-Phryah there so many years ago for this exact purpose. But the Unum is a being for another time, and another story."
The Ostron mercantile scavenger culture has birthed a rich tradition of artisans fluent in many styles, able to make use of whatever material is at hand to achieve stunning results. A side-effect of Temple harvesting is a light rain of gold dust, which can lead to the degenerative condition known as 'gilded lung'. The need for masks to protect against this has led to a rich maskwork tradition unique to Cetus.
"The Ostrons named their village Karifamil - "the family and prosperity". Er-Phyrah was overjoyed to see her clade again.. but Mer-Sah would not enter Karifamil, for he had no family save Er-Phryah. Er-Phryah was drawn to her clade and Mer-Sah felt no resentment. She would one day return to them. Mer-Sah had known it would be so."
Rising from the lakes at sundown and returning to them before dawn these simple-minded monstrosities roam the nighttime plains, howling, searching for a thing they can barely remember: completeness. Wholeness. An intelligence and malevolent purpose which, fate willing, they will never return to again.
"Mer-Sah took the things the sea had gifted over his long life, and took to his boat, and sailed out across his midnight ocean. He returned those gifts to the deep. and himself to them too. But this was no death into which Mer-Sah stepped, for a world is made of cycles upon cycles. Mer-Sah stepped into his midnight ocean, falling down into it. The deeper he sank, the larger he became. This is how the oceans of Er came to be the home of the thousand-year fish: legendary, vast, reclusive, the rare sight of which changes men. One of the great ancient spirits of Er."
"I know us for a miracle. A million-to-one improbability. Our existence is the most fragile of all existences. We could be exterminated tomorrow, yet we have endured by wit alone for millennia."
Oro-kin-ka: spirit houses for the souls of the Orokin who once inhabited Cetus. By giving them a small house in which to reside the Ostrons hope the Orokin spirits will leave them in peace. Said to be good luck.
Yoong-bat: Urns left outside Ostron doorways, filled with fresh water for traveling monks. No-one else should drink from them, especially offworlders.
"The spirits of the land felt Er-Phryah's sadness, mad with grief for the loss of their friend to the spirits of the sea. The accord broke down, the animals and Eidolons returning once more to wildness. And so the people of the clade yingbundunyai rebuilt the great Orokin wall that had, in centuries gone by, ringed their gleaming Tower. and never again ventured out at night."
"It is my experience of the Plains that nature adapts with greater alacrity than we. Condrocs nest in Grineer comms towers, keeping watch over the gutted Sentient husks which Kuaka rodents have transformed into colony-nests. Master Teasonai has been of great assistance to my cataloguing, striving as he does to tame all manner of wildlife." - Onkko, Cetus Archivist.
"The villagers decided as one that their home would no longer be known as Karifamil, "family and prosperity". From that day forward it would be know as Cetus: landless, of no one clade, home to any who are blown as dust on the wind. Er-Phryah lived there the rest of her days, and for the remainder of her nights she held vigil atop the walls of Cetus, looking to the sea and, some say, occasionally catching sight of a great fish, like an island in the midnight ocean, looking back at her. With love."
The cry of seabirds. The delicate, permeating scent of Temple blood. The laughter of children. The shouts of merchants and hawkers. The roar of approaching spacecraft. The distant, haunting howls of the Eidolon. Cetus.
Not much ruffles an Ostron. It is as if they have made peace with whatever will be. The closeness of the Unum provides a kind of comfort, offworlders suppose. Or perhaps some of the sanguine knowingness of the enigmatic Quills have rubbed off on them.
"It is said that Mer-Sah continued to watch over the deep, as he had always done, and Er-Phryah the land. Often she would stand by her husband-sea, speaking in a language only those bound at the soul can know."
"If the Unum speaks to you, traveler, it is because you have the ears to hear - though at first you may not believe it is so."
The being known by the Ostrons as 'the Unum', and to ignorant offworlders as 'the Wall', has a reputation for prophecy. Those wealthy enough to own moons have journeyed to Cetus, hoping to buy and audience. But the Unum has no use for wealth, and she alone decides who will hear her words, and when.
Ostrons believe she sits at the pin-center of the universe, listening to the infinite poetry of cause-and-effect.
Some visitors to her chamber leave bitterly disappointed, others elated, others furious. But one thing is certain: the information she imparts changes the person who receives it.
"When the day came and Er-Phryah passed from the world, her family buried her on the land. A great fish watched from the sea, and kept vigil over her, for ten days and nights. When it sank beneath the waves, it was never seen again. Some say Mer-Sah, the thousand-year fish, waits to this day for their story to be retold - relived - that he and Er-Phryah, his great love, may one day be reunited again. This is Onkko, Cetus archivist, with my translation of the Tale of the Woman of the Earth and the husband of the Sea."
Glass Shard Fragments (Gara Legend) [ edit | edit source ]
Glass Shard Fragments are 5 pieces of the Shatter-lock Key that players scan and thus collect automatically during the Saya's Vigil Quest. Their Codex entries are identified by their yellow coloring.
The children of Cetus can often be found chasing one another through the streets and around landing bays, when not helping their families with chores or the running of businesses. Traditional games are popular, such as 'Shunta' or 'Kubrow and Vobi". They can be found playing riding sticks, or floating boats made from stale, hollowed-out loaves of bread.
Since the arrival of the Tenno a new form of play has emerged, in which children act out the tales they have heard of the Tenno.
"In the dying days of the Orokin, with forums and promenades still blood-wet from Tenno betrayal, a colossal Sentient descended upon ancient Er, falling from distant stars to deliver upon Orokin a terrible and final ruin. Tower upon Tower fell to its weapons, but one withstood. The Tower of the Unum. The Tenno scattered, but one remained. Gara. She and the Unum - inseparable. The Unum: lodestone of our people, and subject of a hundred stories herself. The Sentient was a deformed creature, twisted and massive, sent from some dark fold of distant space, a warped thing wounded by daylight. By night it was a terror, felling Tower after Tower. Citadel after Citadel. By day it hid, blinded and pained. It was during the day that Gara roamed, yearning to strike it from Creation while it cowered, weakened and blind, to safeguard her beloved Unum. But never could Gara find it."
The word 'cetus', in the Ostron tongue, means 'landless, cladeless a body turned to dust turned to mores on a careless wind'. History says the town was founded as a home for anyone, regardless of clade, trade or tradition. Friendships last a lifetime here. It is easy to imagine how, in the earliest days of Cetus - with the Eidolons roaming the Plains, the walls laid low and the Grineer war parties pressing in - mutual support and protection would have been essential.
As times have improved this trait has become a key part of Ostron culture.
"By night the Sentient was abroad, its titanic mass casting a terrible shadow across the land, the mass of it railing against the walls of the Tower, yet kept at bay by the exertion of the Unum's colossal will and the sacrifice of her faithful. But such exertions could not be maintained forever. Gara yearned to strike out, to lash and tear at the monstrosity that threatened her love, but the Unum forbade it. At night the Sentient was at the height of its power, and Gara's light would make her the most tempting of targets to a creature of such profound darkness. Gara's death would be certain. No. A different strategy was required."
What is known of the ancient warrior known as Gara comes to us from folklore and oral tradition. It is said that she was Unum's closest companion, and that when the Lotus instructed her children to flee Gara remained, refusing to leave the side of the one she loved best.
When the Sentient was done razing a great many other Towers, when it turned its myriad eyes and receptors toward the Unum, it was Gara who gave herself to protect her friend - shattering the Sentient. The mindless monstrosities that now stride the Plains - the Teralysts - are all that remain of it.
"The Sentient prowled and pressed and failed, never risking too much - for the Sentient could not reproduce. What it lost it lost forever. It had killed many cities before, felled many Towers, but this little one prevailed. Why, it pondered in many voices, was that? The Unum knew she could not defend forever, nor could her faithful throw their bodies against the Sentient in perpetuity. So she gave her followers some of her blood - her refined Temple kuva - and they in turn gave it to the animals of the land, and the animals became and extension of her and she became an extension of them. And the animals roamed, and searched. And they found where the Sentient chose to hide itself."
The distant, mournful howls of the Eidolon - yearning for the terror it once was - drift through the alleys and byways across the rooftops, to the ears of sleeping families.
"The Sentient sensed this subterfuge, and capturing one of the Unum's animals opened it up for examination. And what little of the Unum was present there. lit the Sentient's mind like the dark star from which it had fallen. The Sentient, you see, could not procreate. But in the Temple kuva it tasted healing. Completeness. A future. It devoured each and every last Unum-animal, but it was not enough. The Sentient turned its hundreds of eyes toward the Tower with new understanding: it would not destroy the Tower. It would become the Tower. It would kill the Unum, take her place and, one with that healing palace, give birth to a race of itself. Gara and Unum knew where the Sentient was. The Sentient knew the tower was the future of its race. The Sentient threw itself at the tower, no longer cautious, taking great losses and knowing the prize was worthy of it. Should it succeed all losses would be replaced a thousand-fold. This is when, across the Plains, the great pylons ignited for the first time. Sheets of energy sprung up between them, powered by the will of the Unum at their epicenter, trapping the monstrosity within. Loyal Gara, unwilling to heed inaction any longer, broke from the side of the Unum and flew out at night, her eyes on the Sentient mind."
Chimurr: Fill the gourd with bomba leaves, then add steaming water and imbibe wthrough a burnished juta reed. A very old Ostron tradition. To serve it to guests signifies union and friendship.
Harpu: fresh-brewed chimurr with melted vobi butter creates a filling, tasty beverage. It is often bulked out with salt and balb flour. Always served hot.
Daku liquor: highly sought after. The Suma Doni (a lowlands marsupial) eats the peca nut, which excretes a fine paste. It is from this paste that the Ostrons make daku liquor.
Golden caviar: harvested from abyssal depths such as the Geonate Shelf.
Kubuchi: fermented sorghum. Cheap liquor. No Ostron would be caught drinking it in public. Any offworlder who does is immediately seen as a greenhorn and an easy mark.
Wine: some merchants claim to be able to imbue a bottle with the 'etheric signature' of a person one wishes to be rid of. Drink them in the evening, expel them by morning.
Ito-da (termite droppings): Mineral-dense. Will keep a traveler going long after their hunger should have dropped them.
"The Sentient, torn between its coveted prize and a mortal threat, broke from the Tower and turned back on itself from noble Gara. But Gara's eyes were not for the Sentient - but for the glittering, man-sized device resting just beyond the gates. It had not been there before, but it was there now. It swatted Gara from the sky, drew it to herself, meaning to end her life there and then. The battle was terrible. Gara sustained injuries she would not survive. But! In her final moments brave Gara seized upon the device her beloved Unum had crafted, seized it to her breast, and allowed the Sentient to draw her in one final time. Toward its core. Toward the seat of its intelligence. From within the Sentient unfurled myriad feelers, probles, tendrils - viciously-toothed and made for killing. They swept towards Gara, violently, and the Glass Warrior made no defense. Her defense was her final attack. The device detonated, and the Unum cried out as night lit as day. The battle - the terror - was ended. The Tower walls shook. The Sentient's body shuddered, wracked by a cacophonous energy. Forests fell as piece after piece, giant body after giant body crashed to the Plains and marshes and flatlands. Animals fled in spreading waves from pounding sky-high walls of dust, angered and whipped to fury by the death of a god. The last of Gara's energy arced from body-to-body, machine-to-machine, piece-to-piece, a horizon-wide applause of light beautiful and terrible. And then. silence. All was still. The Unum's adherents wandered throughout the haze, calling for one another, lost in a miasma. Husbands seizing onto wives, children onto parents. It was over. Gara was never seen again. The Sentients, then, became as they are now: senseless, wandering, yearning for a unity they sense more than they remember. And the Unum. The Unum survived, alone, for centuries. Until today. When you stand here, reading this. This is Onkko, Cetus Archivist, with my translation of the Gara legend."
Encrypted Journal Fragments (Khora and Venari) [ edit | edit source ]
The Encrypted Journal Fragments of the Corpus researcher Sigor Savah are available as possible uncommon stage-rewards during Ghoul Purge Bounties or as drops from Ghoul enemies.
"It came through the wall. All I remember is the roar, the open maw. the rank foulness of its breath. The lolling tongue. And. the way to of my friends were crushed between it and our grain silo. The way it seemed to fall in love with tearing them apart, over and over and over. "
Interviews in the Field, Eidolon Plains, conducted by Sigor Savah
Every living thing longs to be whole.
Every living thing yearns to defy death.
If from death you returned, yet the part you loved best did not. what then?
"Its arms shot forward, the drills ratcheting outward. passing in and out of Horvath's body like it was nothing. I can still hear the screech of the drills. The maddening chatter of its teeth. Horvath's screams."
Interviews in the Field, Eidolon Plains, conducted by Sigor Savah.
My name is Sigor Savah, morphology specialist with Nef Anyo's Venusian terraforming expedition.
I was tasked with decoding the Orokin gene record of what had once been a preserve, and reviving select specimens for study.
This is an account of my encounter with lifeform VK-7, a larger-than-average kavat specimen possessed of. atypical behavioural characteristics.
Specimen VK-7, unlike the others, did not come from a gene record.
She was found frozen, in a sealed closet close to the environmental control station.
Her unassuming tomb for millennia. Here, then, was an intact example of Orokin-era fauna.
I was Corpus: a scientist second and a businessman first.
VK-7 – an Orokin-strain kavat of unusual size and patterning. well. I could think of several members of the nobility who would pay a fortune for such a thing.
Enough to buy a handsome slice of any planetoid of my choosing.
"It came at me, wailing, like a lost thing screaming for help. Then it wrapped its clay-cold arms about me. and here I am. Barely anything left of me now, lying in this bed, except a few stories. and the memory of its face. Like a newborn child."
Interviews in the Field, Eidolon Plains, conducted by Sigor Savah.
I had the corpse lain on a dissection rack, ready for a full surgical examination.
Then, like any animal dreaming, the paw. . twitched.
I glanced at the vitals scanner, expecting to see some anomalous electrical reaction taking place, contracting ancient muscles.
But no. What I saw there was a beating heart.
I did not revive specimen VK-7.
Before my eyes she willed herself back to life.
It was. the most. beautiful. thing I had ever seen.
Some speak of feeling a connection to something greater than themselves, to which I laughed, as any right-thinking Corpus would.
Life is profit, profit is life.
But, in that moment. watching that animal claw her way out of death's dark pit. though I did not admit to myself. something in me was forever changed.
"Konzu gave us standing orders. Shoot the sawmen first. We’d seen what they had done to our brothers and sisters. That was not going to happen to us."
Interviews in the Field, Eidolon Plains, conducted by Sigor Savah.
I found her sharp gaze unsettling.
The way she would watch my every move from her cage unnerved me.
When a visitor came I would watch VK-7 studying their habits.
In time she came to anticipate regular arrivals, having memorized their schedules.
On the morning of my fourth shift I entered my laboratory to find her cage door open and VK-7 gone.
One consequence of breathing life back into a world is unintentionally resurrecting lifeforms and viruses one finds less desirable.
The Infestation is both of those things.
Reports returned of some hives sites found destroyed. and then of a large beast found at others.
An animal intelligent enough to learn and react to Corpus behaviors and patterns.
Some claimed it had learned to measure ammunition expenditure to better attack when a target was most vulnerable.
Needless to say almost none who attacked the beast survived.
This had to be Specimen VK-7.
I came to the Eidolon Plains not to explore horror, but to lay to rest an ancient mystery. It would seem, horror had something to say, regardless. The Ghouls. Grown in darkness, beneath the feet of the enemy. Born to fight. To kill. and to die. Truly, of all the places horror may call home, it is most comfortable within the imaginings of men.
Sigor Savah, morphologist and intiquarian.
I left to join with a flamer team already deployed to a nearby hive.
Both team and hive were dead when I arrived: killed by tooth and claw.
Fearing for my life I made to leave, and was apprehended by the site of a low figure blocking my egress: Specimen VK-7.
She prowled forward from the shadow of a shattered, snow-blown hive, her pawprints red with blood.
I made to open a comm channel, to request assistance.
VK-7 growled, low, and. I swear this to be true. slowly shook her head.
I did not make that call. She padded closer, and I saw the wound on her side.
She turned that side toward me: an act of trust. and a request for aid.
I unpacked my field kit, and, carefully, went to work.
The Ghouls are designed to a simple philosophy: victory assured, through overwhelming numbers and the element of surprise.
Sigor Savah, morphologist and antiquarian.
I did not report my experience with Specimen VK-7.
I could not admit, why, then, but now I can tell you.
I felt it would have violated a trust.
There I was: a morphology specialist, sworn to the Corpus Empire and yet.
For reasons entirely illogical.
I placed loyalty to a wild animal above my life oath.
And every doctrine that values self-interest above.
‘charity’. But keep that confidence I did.
I think that is why VK-7 brought me the hand.
Sudden terror. the element of surprise. and cheaply bought. Ghouls are shock troops, fast-grown in diapause bags, cultured from repurposed Grineer gene slurry. The key to victory is quantity over quality. A tide of claws and flesh to crush any enemy foolish enough to stand before it.
Sigor Savah, morphologist and antiquarian.
Somehow she had managed to infiltrate the facility, bypass two different security gates, and had gained entry to my laboratory without raising an alarm. or my awareness.
She held in her jaws a severed hand.
Blacked. Fossilised. Gently, she laid it before me and, with a meaningful glance, turned, padded away into the shadows, and was gone.
I analyzed the hand. What I learned that night, alone, in my laboratory, would become an obsession to focus the remainder of my life.
While not of Vor’s design, the General uses the ghouls to good effect.
Credit for the development of these horrors goes to none other than Doctor Tengus: father of the infamously unstable Grustrag 3. Developed in his laboratories, against the wishes of Vor himself, and with the funding of a certain ill-fated Councillor. the Ghouls are Tengus' crowning achievement.
They have secured the Doctor’s place in the good grace of the Grineer Queens.
Sigor Savah, morphologist and antiquarian.
The hand was of Orokin construction.
Emphasis on that last word. Whoever the original possessor had been, they were born of no mother.
In the past I had been privileged to read some of Alad V's treatises of Warframes, and there could be no mistake: what I held was the hand of one of those very. creatures. and one Anyo Corp had no record of.
Therefore my first task was to extract a working blueprint – or as near as possible – from the sample's cellular makeup.
One word recurred again and again, the word that had once been her name: Khora.
Ghouls are far from the finest of Grineer troops, but what they lack in martial skill they make up for in sheer horrifying volume.
Sigor Savah, morphologist and antiquarian.
I was convinced: Specimen VK-7 wanted Khora resurrected.
Why else bring the hand to me? Why trust me with this sole remaining piece of a lost Orokin warrior?
The evidence of such rich, nuanced cognition on the part of an animal.. that was the real treasure here – the value of which, I knew, would be lost on my superiors.
VK-7 would be hunted down, and, at best, captured for testing.
At worst. well. Therefore I told them none of this.
Ghouls are deployed in advance of regular Grineer troops. Before then, those troops must keep the ghouls sated. lest they turn upon those who failed to feed them.
Sigor Savah, morphologist and antiquarian.
Specimen VK-7 was tracked to a box canyon 4.3 klicks south-southwest of the atmosphere processing station.
The Horror of the Hives, as she had come to be known, had been deemed unworthy of study – and was to be destroyed in her lair.
I positioned myself at the entrance to her cave-home and waited to doom myself in the name of some imagined ideal.
My own voice screamed in my head “What are you doing? What are you *doing?*” Once, not so long before, I was a man who would have sold this animal for profit.
Now I stood in the freezing cold, surrendering all I had for. some would say nothing.
I would say. heh. Something greater than myself.
They came, picking their way through the snow, heads bowed, pushing against a numbing, slashing wind that froze skin and. carried my voice to them.
I begged them to stop, pleading VK-7's case with a bomb in my hand. It went about as well as you'd expect.
They did not listen. Numsol is employed, traditionally, as an animal tranquilizer. but converts to an aerosol easily enough.
The canister rolled from my fingers, into the canyon, puffed through four inches of frost, and erupted in a geyser of brown-green gas – thrown toward the hunters by the roaring wind.
Bathing them. I am a better scientist than saboteur.
Their respirators dealt with the Numsol as handily as every other contaminant, and I was promptly arrested.
But VK-7 did escape. I achieved that much.
Especially degenerate Ghoul specimens are employed as suicide troops.
Sigor Savah, morphologist and antiquarian.
The atmosphere processor wasn't made for imprisonment, or interrogations, but the lack of facilities did not prevent them performing both.
Bound and beaten in maintenance closet A-5, I told them everything.
It doomed me. Zyl, the oxygen tech from Reclamation 3, had a previous career in psychological operations for some branch of the military.
Therefore he had been selected to administer to me, to interview me, and ultimate to execute me.
Barrel pressed to my forehead Zyl said he would prefer it if I did not look at him.
Obliging as ever, I closed my eyes.
There was a sharp crack, then nothing more.
I opened my eyes. Zyl lay dead at my feet, limp, throat clasp in VK-7's jaws.
I was Corpus no longer. Remaining on Venus would be death for both of us.
They are incapable of fear. Relentless.
Sigor Savah, morphologist and antiquarian.
Together we made for an automated cargo relay – one that would ferry us anonymously to the hold of a Solaris rail tractor in geosynchronous orbit, and away from Venus.
How well she guided me, circumnavigating patrol and security cameras.
But, inevitably, my former comrades calculated our likely destination and closed in, rapidly.
Plasma blasts lanced the air from both sides of the hangar.
I bundled myself into the nearest open conveyor, bound for orbit – a waste of time, I knew.
We had reached our means of escape, but had no hope of achieving it.
Troopers and MOAs closed in, a classic pincer movement.
Sparks and near-misses flashed hot against my face.
In moments our conveyance would be destroyed, and us along with it – and my only thought was heartbreak for how badly I had failed her.
In that final movement VK-7 did something that will stay with me for the rest of my days.
With one of her meaningful glances - the last we would ever share - she reared up and activated the conveyor.
My pod's door slammed shut and, outside my viewport, she leapt toward the enemy.
Before I could slap the release and free myself the magrails activated and I was hauled out of the complex, skyward, and into orbit.
Saved. Leaving her behind.
Massive casualties may be inflicted upon massed ranks of ghouls without slowing their advance.
This is a new phase in the Grineer campaign for dominance in the Origin System.
One that has increased the stakes for every sentient being who calls it home.
Sigor Savah, morphologist and antiquarian.
That was. well, many years ago now.
I have spent my life attempting to locate Khora's remains.
Contacts inform me she was found, fused but intact, within the Orokin terraforming complex itself and shipped offworld via a notorious Solaris rail agent – who subsequently vanished.
I now believe, firmly, that her remains are to be found on the Eidolon Plains.
I got there now, entrusting these encrypted logs to my old friend, Konzu, for safekeeping.
There I shall put a lifetime of searching to rest.
I have never doubted that VK-7 survived Venus.
And to this day I still believe that, before I leave this life forever, I shall one day look up from my writings to find a familiar figure standing in my doorway. alongside her kavat.
I am Sigor Savah. A better man, as it turns out, than a scientist.
Ancient fortress reveals how prehistoric civilizations of Central Asia lived
Scientists from Russia and Uzbekistan found a unified fortification system that on the northern border of ancient Bactria. This country existed in the III century BC. The fortress found blocked the border and protected the oases of Bactria from the nomads raids. During the excavations, scientists revealed the fortress citadel, drew up a detailed architectural plan and collected rich archaeological material indicating the construction, life and death of the fortress as a result of the assault.
In the IV century BC, significant part of Central Asia territory belonged to Bactria, which, as a separate satrapy, was part of the Achaemenid Empire. In 329 BC Bactria became part of the Alexander empire and after his death joined the kingdom of Seleucid: the largest Hellenistic state in the East, created by the commander Alexander Seleucius I Nicator and his son Antiochus I Soter. Gradually, the state became weakened by numerous military campaigns and the struggle for power. As a result, once flourishing Bactria ceased to exist in the II century BC when Iranian-speaking nomads from the northern territories, the Saki and Yuadzhi, broke into the country.
Recently, Russian scientists completed excavations in this area and determined the fortress construction time: about 95-90 years of the III century BC, the time of Antiochus I reign and the very beginning of the formation of the Seleucid state. The fortress was inhabited for about 150 years.
It consisted of a diamond-shaped main quadrangle, a triangular citadel (phylacterion), surrounded by powerful double walls with an internal gallery about nine meters wide, and extension walls, which were fortified with 13 rectangular bastions-towers, three of which were also outboards. Outside the fortress there was a marketplace where local residents brought goods needed by the garrison soldiers.
The archaeologists recorded the location of each item using a total station or GPS, and then made it into a single plan tied to the terrain. As a result, the scientists managed to establish where the marketplace was, ran the road to the entrance to the fortress, and determined the place of the assault: there were more than 200 shooting arrowheads, combat darts and troops. It is curious that the proposed battlefield is located to the east of the fortress, which suggests a possible environment or the breakthrough of the enemy through a system of border fortifications.
The warriors who defended Uzundar wore armor: in the inside-wall room of the south-western fortified wall, archaeologists discovered armor-clad plates and two right-handed iron heads from helmets. So far, scientists can not exactly determine what type of helmets these patches were -- a pseudoattical or Melos group, so it is still possible that these are the same helmets that Alexander wore during Antiochus I Soter period.
"This findings are sensational: direct analogies are known from the Takhti-Sanga temple, but there they were bronze, and we found iron fragments in Uzundar. To date, there are only a few specimens and sculptures with which to compare these cheeks and determine their type. We also found fastening details, which gives important information on manufacturing technology, according to tradition, but to answer these questions requires lengthy research," says Nigora Dvurechenskaya, researcher at the Department of Classical Archeology, Head of the Bactrian detachment of the Central Asian Archaeological Expedition.
In addition to weapons, archaeologists have collected a large number of ceramics, as well as a rich numismatic collection: today around the fortress found about 200 coins of very good preservation from the coins of Antiochus I and all the rulers of the Greco-Bactrian kingdom from Diodot to Heliocles of very different denominations: from silver drachmas to copper mites. Such a variety proves that Bactria at the very beginning of Seleucid kingdom formation of the was part of developed monetary circulation system. Thus, the materials of Uzundara allow to study and reconstruct all spheres of life of the Seleucidian and Greco-Bactrian fortresses.
Joint Uzbek-Russian research on Uzundar's fortress was carried out by the Bactrian department of the Central Asian archaeological expedition of the Institute of Archeology of the Russian Academy of Sciences and members of the Tokharistan archaeological expedition of the Institute of Art Studies of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Uzbekistan under the general supervision of Academician Edward V. Rtveladze.
Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.
Imported Ritual Items
Mr Socha said what he found “particularly interesting” was that evidence has been gathered showing several types of funeral rituals were practiced at the site, evident in that some bodies had been buried in skeletal pits without cremation but others had been burned and their remains were found both interred in ceramic urns and directly in pits.
Keeping the contents of the urns in one piece so that the researchers could see ‘how’ the bones and items had been placed inside them, these ancient clay containers were X-rayed by a veterinarian from the town of Dębno. The scans revealed that one of the urns contained the cremated bones of an “ancient warrior” who had been ritually buried with a spearhead, fragments from a shield and metallic trinkets that are believed to have formed a dagger.
The dig uncovered an urn containing burned bones and milk teeth of a child who was around 8-9 years old. (Tempelburg Historical and Cultural Association and Kostrzyn Fortress Museum )
The researchers also discovered that ancient Germanic warriors were most often buried with decorative spearheads and metallic brooches, and this year alone 100 treasure troves of metallic trinkets have been found buried alongside the dead, about which Mr Socha said: “can be compared to today’s safety pins.”. But he adds, many of the metallic trinkets were not made locally. And this is not the first time imported items have been found in the ancient Polish graves.
Fragments of a Helmet from Erebuni Fortress - History
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Related search topics: ancient Roman war artifacts, ancient Rome military, Roman military artifacts for sale, Roman military camp artifacts, Roman battlefield relic, Rome battle artifact, ancient Roman soldier artifact, Roman soldiers artifacts for sale, Roman legion relics, ancient Roman legionary antiques antiquity, Los Angeles California USA
Absolutely MASSIVE Roman ceramic brick stamped with "LEG I ITAL" in reverse, made by the Italica legion under Trajan at Olpia Oescus on the lower Danube (one of Trajan's strategic bases prior to the second invasion of Dacia in 106 AD). Measures 200 mm x 195 mm and extremely thick and heavy! A fantastic piece. ref: Speidel & Reynolds. Ex-Timeline Auctions, London, England. #TL1771: $799 SOLD
Roman bronze lorica segmentata. 1st-2nd century AD. A fully articulated Lorica Segmentata strap buckle for Corbridge armor. the earliest Roman form of segmented plate armor. Completely intact with the original front rivet still holding the pin and loop together, which still move freely. 53 mm (2 1/8") long. Gorgeous olive green patina. A great and historical piece! #7102: $325 SOLD
Excellent Roman bronze figure of Mars, 2nd - 3rd Century AD. Found in the Holy Land! He is shown wearing full Roman legionary attire and crested helmet, left hand at his side clenching an uncertain object, right resting on spear (now lost). Some losses to feet and legs. H: 2 1/4" (5.8 cm). Ex Canadian private collection. Very very cool. #0611129x3: $375 SOLD
A near complete terracotta brick bearing the stamp of Roman Legion I Italica, c. 1st - 2nd Century AD, which was stationed in what is today Svishtov, Bulgaria. The rectangular stamp bears the letters LEG I ITAL within a shallow border. The face of the brick is intact with earthen deposits, the back side with a few chips and minor losses. 7 3/8" x 7 1/4" x 3 1/4" (18.8 x 18.4 x 8.3 cm). A very substantial piece! #80033: $699 SOLD
Ancient Rome, c. 2nd century AD. Italica Legion clay brick.
Huge Roman ceramic brick stamped with "LEG I ITALI [spade]", made by the Italica legion under Trajan at Olpia Oescus on the lower Danube (one of Trajan's strategic bases prior to the second invasion of Dacia in 106 AD). Measures 271 mm x 128 mm (10 3/4" x 5") and extremely thick and heavy! A fantastic piece, repaired from 2 pieces, otherwise intact with some chipping to edges. ref: Speidel & Reynolds (var). An extremely rare variant with the spade. #AR2371: $750 SOLD
Ancient Roman terracotta brick, 1st - 2nd Century AD.
A Legionary piece, impressed with stamp of the Legio I Italica! The impression is within a naval galley / warship. The stamp impression is a bit weak to the right side, but the brick is complete and quite substantial. 7 3/4" x 7 5/8" x 3 1/4" (19.5 x 19.4 x 7.8 cm). Legio I Italica was founded by the emperor Nero in AD 66. They were originally stationed in Gaul and were later relocated to the town of Novea, on the south bank of the Danube in Moesia Inferior. Fantastic and huge piece. Ex English collection. #BL0910168: $650 SOLD
Roman terracotta brick with stamp of Legio III Augusta, 1st - 2nd Century AD. The brick itself with some losses, but the long rectangular stamp is nearly complete. 5" x 4 1/2" (12.8 x 11.4 cm). Ex Los Angeles private collection. Displays nicely. better than photo. #A14110: $350 SOLD
A very nice and HUGE terracotta brick bearing the stamp of the Roman Legion I Italia, c. 1st - 2nd Century AD, which was stationed in what is today Svishtov, Bulgaria. The rectangular impression bears the inscription LEG I ITAL within a rectangular bar. The brick is well preserved with some minor chipping and earthen deposits. 7 1/2" x 7 3/4" x 3 1/4" (19.2 x 19.7 x 8.3 cm). A nice and massive example! #80034: $699 SOLD
Roman terracotta brick stamped with LEG XII within a rectangular impression, c. 1st - 2nd Century AD. The LEG XII referred to is the Legion XII Fulminata, with its main base in Asia Minor. Two of the original sides remain in part, with some minor loss to the right edge of the impression. Earthen deposits. 6 3/4" x 7 3/4" x 7/8" (17.2 x 19.7 x 2.2 cm). The Roman Legion was not only a fighting force but also contained a work force of support groups that maintained the troops and built and repaired the infrastructure needed to keep the men comfortable, housed and able to move quickly when needed. #80032: $475 SOLD
Roman Holy Land. Bronze flagellum or scourge (Cat 'o' Nine Tails) punishment instrument. 1st-4th century AD. One piece from the end of a leather whip used to inflict punishment upon soldiers when they acted against orders. A fascinating piece of history. Barbs worn from extensive use. Found in the Holy Land. 26 mm (1 inch) diameter, with dark olive-green patina and some earthen deposits. The best I have ever had! #AR2165: $475 SOLD
Ancient Rome, 1st-4th century AD. A nice fragment of a Roman terracotta brick with a legionary stamp "E-X". Measures 4x3 inches, and is chunky at 1 3/8 inch thick. Great piece with sharp detail! #5866: $350 SOLD
Roman Empire, c. 2nd-4th century AD. Large iron spike, found at the remains of a Roman Legionary encampment near the Danube River in Eastern Europe. Absolutely massive 185 mm (7 /4") long and thick and heavy! This was the type of nail used to hold together large pieces of lumber in timber-frame frontier fortress walls and buildings. Remarkably well-preserved for ancient iron! #51132: $250 SOLD
Inchtuthil, Roman Britain, 82-83 AD. A nice iron nail recovered from the Roman Legionary fortress at Inchtuthil northern Britain.
Built beginning around 82 AD as the headquarters for the army of governor Agricola during his military campaign against the Caledonian tribes. The site was excavated in the 1950's and tons of iron nails were discovered. Many of these were sold to raise funds for further excavations on the site, including this example offered here. It measures 90 mm (3 1/2") long and is remarkably well-preserved. #AR2175: $199 SOLD
Ancient Rome, c. mid-3rd century AD. Large bronze plaque. An incredibly rare 2-sided bronze fragment engraved on both sides with a deep-cut inscription reading:
Side A: VIII.VIIII.X.PI / VINDICIBVS / MILITIA - PVI
Side B: IMP CAES.G / IVLIVS VERVS / MAXIMINVS
Likely a Roman legionary inscription hailing the emperor Maximinus, 235-238 AD, probably originally from the Roman province of Pannonia. 72 x 36 mm (2 13/16” x 1 7/16”), incredibly thick and heavy at 52.42 grams! Broken off on one side, with deep olive-green patina and earthen deposits. Provenance: The European antiquities market ex-Edgar L. Owen. #AR2335: $650 SOLD
Very rare Roman military diploma fragment. From the Roman Province of Pannonia, c. 3rd-4th century AD. The small bronze fragment clearly inscribed in Latin on both sides, reading:
Side A: M NRCI / ROMC / ACM
Side B: RMI / TVSCO / MI PRAES / VS
20 x 25 mm. Very rare. Excellent smooth green patina. Roman legionary diplomas were given to retiring legionary soldiers by the Roman military authorities to certify their years of legionary service, often with the gift of property in a Roman Colonia. They were often broken into smaller and smaller fragments and the pieces distributed among the male descendants to prove their heritage. Provenance: From an old Hungarian collection formed in the 1960's. Definitely the nicest specimen I have ever had. #AR2321: $650 SOLD
Ancient Roman Legionnaire's Brass Knuckles!
Ancient Rome, c. 1st-3rd century AD. Also called a "punch-ring", it is a spiked/knobbed bronze ring worn to intensify a punch during hand-to-hand combat. Very rare and extremely well-preserved. Can still be worn! About a US size 7 1/2 to 8. ex-Bedford, England private collection. #AR2328: $425 SOLD
Ancient Rome, 1st-3rd century AD. Roman bronze gladius / sword amulet. One of the most attractive and desirable ancient amulets. Issued to a soldier wounded in combat, much like a modern-day "purple heart" medal. The hole through the blade is representitive of a hole in the body. "I may have a hole in my body but I shall fight on." 35 mm (1 3/8") with great deep green patina with light earthen deposits. Cf. Benet R99-0104. ex-German private collection. #AR2286: $375 SOLD
Ancient Rome, 1st-3rd century AD. Large Roman bronze gladius / sword amulet. One of the most attractive and desirable ancient amulets. Issued to a soldier wounded in combat, much like a modern-day "purple heart" medal. The hole through the blade is representitive of a hole in the body. "I may have a hole in my body but I shall fight on." 38 mm (1 1/2") with great black patina. Cf. Benet R99-0104. ex-Austrian private collection. #AR2548: $375 SOLD
Ancient Rome. Gordian III, 238-244 AD. Large bronze coin of Gadara, Syria, set into stunning custom silver bezel.
Dated Year 303 239-240 AD). His laureate, draped, & cuirassed bust rt., AVTOK K M ANT GORDIANOC CEB / Roman galley (ship) right with eight oarsmen, a helmsman, and a soldier holding signum standing on prow date GT below, POMP GADAWN. 26 mm diameter. ref: Spijkerman 93 Rosenberger 90. Olive green patina, earthen deposits. Huge, thick and heavy coin. Incredible ship! #CR2300: $325 SOLD - Ask about alternates!
Roman bronze lorica segmentata. 1st-2nd century AD. A nicely articulated Lorica Segmentata strap buckle for Corbridge armor. the earliest Roman form of segmented plate armor. Intact with the original front rivet still holding the pin and loop together, which still move freely. 25 mm (1 inch) long. Nice olive green patina with earthen deposits. ex-UK collection. #AR2566: $199 SOLD
Ancient Rome, c. 2nd-3rd century AD. Fantastic and absolutely huge bronze military diploma fragment. Both sides covered with Latin inscriptions commemorating a soldier or Legionaire's completion of his military duties. Measures a whopping 77 mm (3 inches) by 53 mm (2 1/8 inches) - several times larger than these are usually found. ex-Abell auctions, Los Angeles, CA. A museum-quality example! #AR2728: $1250 SOLD
Ancient Rome, 1st-3rd century AD. Nice Roman bronze gladius / sword amulet. One of the most attractive and desirable ancient amulets. Issued to a soldier wounded in combat, much like a modern-day "purple heart" medal. The hole in the blade is representitive of a hole in the body. "I may have a hole in my body but I shall fight on." 37 mm (1 7/16") with olive-green patina. Cf. Benet R99-0104. ex-London, UK gallery. #AR2770: $299 SOLD
Ancient Rome, 1st-3rd century AD. Small Roman bronze gladius / sword amulet. One of the most attractive and desirable ancient amulets. Issued to a soldier wounded in combat, much like a modern-day "purple heart" medal. The hole in the blade is representitive of a hole in the body. "I may have a hole in my body but I shall fight on." 35 mm (1 3/8") with light olive-green patina. Cf. Benet R99-0104. ex-London, UK gallery. #AR2794: $250 SOLD
Ancient Rome, 1st-3rd century AD. Small Roman bronze gladius / sword amulet. One of the most attractive and desirable ancient amulets. Issued to a soldier wounded in combat, much like a modern-day "purple heart" medal. The hole in the blade is representitive of a hole in the body. "I may have a hole in my body but I shall fight on." 28 mm (1 1/8") with light olive-green patina. Cf. Benet R99-0104. ex-London, UK gallery. #AR2799: $250 SOLD
Roman Legionary Diploma Fragments
The most valuable possession of a retired Roman soldier!
These were intentionally broken into pieces and distributed so that they could not be easily found and pieced back together, thereby making permanent the individual's status and ineligibility to be re-drafted into service.
Ancient Rome, c. 2nd-3rd century AD. Fantastic and absolutely huge bronze military diploma fragment. 2 pieces broken from the same document! Both sides covered with Latin inscriptions commemorating a soldier or Legionaire's completion of his military duties. The largest piece measures 67x55 mm (2 5/8" x 2 1/8"), the smaller piece 42x45 mm (1 3/4" x 1 5/8") - several times larger than these are usually found, and thick and heavy. Very rare to find 2 matched pieces! ex-Abell auctions, Los Angeles, CA. A museum-quality example! #AR2740: $550 SOLD
Ancient Rome, c. 2nd-3rd century AD. Fantastic and absolutely huge bronze military diploma fragment. Both sides covered with Latin inscriptions commemorating a soldier or Legionaire's completion of his military duties. Measures a huge 75 mm (2-15/16 inches) by 50 mm (2 inches) - several times larger than these are usually found. ex-Abell auctions, Los Angeles, CA. A museum-quality example! #AR2739: $650 SOLD
Ancient Rome, c. 2nd-3rd century AD. Fantastic and absolutely huge bronze military diploma fragment. Both sides covered with Latin inscriptions commemorating a soldier or Legionaire's completion of his military duties. Measures a whopping 89 mm (3 1/2 inches) by 44 mm (1 3/4 inches) - several times larger than these are usually found. ex-Abell auctions, Los Angeles, CA. A museum-quality example! #AR2738: $650 SOLD
Roman, 3rd - 4th Century AD. Large b ronze "Crossbow-fibula." Roman soldier's / Legionary type, with high arched body for thick material to fit through. Worn over the shoulder. Missing pin but with original terminals, gorgeous brassy-green patina. A hefty 77 mm (3 inches) long. A military-issued item, worn by high ranking figures in the legion. #AR2534: $175 SOLD - Ask about alternates
Ancient Rome, c. 1st-3rd century AD. Fantastic lead military / legionary whistle! The exact use of whistles such as this is debated amongst scholars but the general consensus is that they were used my officers to broadcast commands on the battlefield or for training purposes. ref: Appels & Laycock, Roman Buckles & Military Fittings, p. 146 fig. AA15.41 for basic type. L: 5cm (2"), gray patina with earthen deposits. Holed through top for suspension. Still works! Emits a high-pitched sound when blown through. Extraordinarily well-preserved for these. Ex-Los Angeles, CA private collection. #AR2952: $399 SOLD
Ancient Rome, 1st-3rd century AD. Small Roman bronze gladius / sword amulet. One of the most attractive and desirable ancient amulets. Issued to a soldier wounded in combat, much like a modern-day "purple heart" medal. The hole in the blade is representitive of a hole in the body. "I may have a hole in my body but I shall fight on." Extremely RARE with original lead plug in the hole! 32 mm (1 1/4") with light olive-green patina. Cf. Benet R99-0104. ex-London, UK gallery. #AR2800: $299 SOLD
Ancient Rome, c. 1st-4th century AD. Marvelous bronze shield boss! Also known as an umbo. Measures 2 3/4" (7 cm), with small attachment rivet hole in center. Cf. Appels & Laycock AA7.4v. Light olive-green patina with earthen and mineral deposits.
ex-J. Rilling collection, Orange County, CA. #AR2395: $325 SOLD
Ancient Rome, c. 1st - 3rd Century AD. Interesting Roman lead element in the form of a scorpion. Likely a legionary or military adornment, fashioned from a sheet of lead with eight legs represented by two per side with shortened tail and claws three holes down the center, largest at tail likely for suspension. L: 1 3/4” (4.3cm). Nice grey-brown patina. Ex New Jersey estate collection. #AR3101: $225 SOLD
Ancient Rome, 1st-3rd century AD. Small Roman bronze gladius / sword amulet. One of the most attractive and desirable ancient amulets. Issued to a soldier wounded in combat, much like a modern-day "purple heart" medal. L: 37 mm (1 7/16") with dark olive-green patina. Cf. Benet R99-0104. Ex South London private collection acquired between 1970-1980. #AR3119: SOLD
Ancient Rome, 1st-3rd century AD. Small Roman bronze gladius / sword amulet. One of the most attractive and desirable ancient amulets. Issued to a soldier wounded in combat, much like a modern-day "purple heart" medal. L: 37 mm (1 7/16") with dark olive-green patina. Cf. Benet R99-0104. Ex South London private collection acquired between 1970-1980. #AR3120: $199 SOLD
Ancient Rome, 1st-3rd century AD. Small Roman bronze gladius / sword amulet. One of the most attractive and desirable ancient amulets. Issued to a soldier wounded in combat, much like a modern-day "purple heart" medal. The hole in the blade is representitive of a hole in the body. "I may have a hole in my body but I shall fight on." 35 mm (1 3/8") with dark olive-green patina. Cf. Benet R99-0104. Ex South London private collection acquired between 1970-1980. Fantastic example! #AR3118: $375 SOLD
Ancient Rome, 1st-3rd century AD. Small Roman bronze gladius / sword amulet. One of the most attractive and desirable ancient amulets. Issued to a soldier wounded in combat, much like a modern-day "purple heart" medal (see example at top). A single hole goes through the blade. Amazing emerald-green patina with some earthen highights. 36 mm. #18148: $275 SOLD
Roman bronze flagellum or scourge (Cat 'o' Nine Tails) punishment instrument. 1st-4th century AD. One piece from the end of a leather whip used to inflict punishment upon soldiers when they acted against orders. A fascinating piece of history. 28 mm max diameter. Some barbs broken in antiquity, possibly from extensive use. This would account for it having been discarded (and replaced). Found in a Roman trash-pit near a Legionary encampment in Eastern Europe. #6680: $225 SOLD
Roman bronze flagellum or scourge (Cat 'o' Nine Tails) punishment instrument. 1st-4th century AD. One piece from the end of a leather whip used to inflict punishment upon soldiers when they acted against orders. A fascinating piece of history. Very large and intimidating specimen at 28x12 mm (1 1/8" x 1/2"). Barbs worn in antiquity, likely from extensive use. Great olive-green patina. Found in a Roman trash-pit near a Legionary encampment in northern Britain. #23726: $399 SOLD
Roman bronze flagellum or scourge (Cat 'o' Nine Tails) punishment instrument. 1st-4th century AD. One piece from the end of a leather whip used to inflict punishment upon soldiers when they acted against orders. A fascinating piece of history. 26x11 mm (1" x 3/8"). Barbs worn in antiquity, likely from extensive use. Found in a Roman trash-pit near a Legionary encampment in Eastern Europe. #76392: $299 SOLD
Roman bronze flagellum or scourge (Cat 'o' Nine Tails) punishment instrument. 1st-4th century AD. One piece from the end of a leather whip used to inflict punishment upon soldiers when they acted against orders. A fascinating piece of history. 30x9 mm (1 3/16" x 3/8"). Nice light green patina. Barbs worn in antiquity, likely from extensive use. Tip of one barb broken off in antiquity. Found near a Legionary encampment in northern Britain. #23725: $399 SOLD
Roman bronze flagellum or scourge (Cat 'o' Nine Tails) punishment instrument. 1st-4th century AD. One piece from the end of a leather whip used to inflict punishment upon soldiers when they acted against orders. A fascinating piece of history. Barbs worn in antiquity, likely from extensive use. Found near a Legionary encampment bear the Danube River, Eastern Europe. 28x12 mm. Gorgeous black patina with earthen deposits. #59575: $399 SOLD
Ancient Rome, 1st-3rd century AD. Small Roman bronze gladius / sword amulet. A gorgeous example, basically a perfect miniature of the original! Nice light green patina with earthen highlights. A Legionary or possibly a gladiator relic! 28 mm long. #18056: $275 SOLD
Ancient Rome, 1st-3rd century AD. Small Roman bronze gladius / sword amulet. One of the most attractive and desirable ancient amulets. Issued to a soldier wounded in combat, much like a modern-day "purple heart" medal. The hole through the blade is representitive of a hole in the body. "I may have a hole in my body but I shall fight on." Ding on edge of blade may have some significance in addition to the hole itself , likely to indicate "damage" in combat. 33 mm (1 5/16") with great light green patina. Cf. Benet R99-0104. ex-German private collection. #AR2276: $250 SOLD
Ancient Rome, 1st-3rd century AD. Small Roman bronze gladius / sword amulet. One of the most attractive and desirable ancient amulets. Issued to a soldier wounded in combat, much like a modern-day "purple heart" medal. The hole through the blade is representitive of a hole in the body. "I may have a hole in my body but I shall fight on." Ding on edge of blade may have some significance in addition to the hole itself , likely to indicate "damage" in combat. Cf. Benet R99-0104. 22 mm (15/16") long. #17513: $225 SOLD
Ancient Rome, 1st-3rd century AD. Roman bronze gladius / sword amulet. One of the most attractive and desirable ancient amulets. Issued to a soldier wounded in combat, much like a modern-day "purple heart" medal. The hole through the blade is representitive of a hole in the body. "I may have a hole in my body but I shall fight on." Large 40 mm (1 1/2") with great deep green patina with light earthen deposits. Cf. Benet R99-0104. ex-German private collection. #AR2438: $275 SOLD - Ask about alternates!
Ancient Rome, 1st-3rd century AD. Small Roman bronze gladius / sword amulet. One of the most attractive and desirable ancient amulets. Issued to a soldier wounded in combat, much like a modern-day "purple heart" medal. The hole in the blade is representitive of a hole in the body. "I may have a hole in my body but I shall fight on." 28 mm (1 1/8") with light olive-green patina. Cf. Benet R99-0104. ex-London, UK gallery. #AR2784: $250 SOLD
Ancient Rome, 1st-3rd century AD. Nice Roman bronze gladius / sword amulet. One of the most attractive and desirable ancient amulets. Issued to a soldier wounded in combat, much like a modern-day "purple heart" medal. The hole through the blade is representitive of a hole in the body. "I may have a hole in my body but I shall fight on." 33 mm (1 5/16") with great olive-green patina. Cf. Benet R99-0104. ex-London, UK gallery. #AR2765: $350 SOLD
Ancient Rome, 1st-3rd century AD. Nice Roman bronze gladius / sword amulet. One of the most attractive and desirable ancient amulets. Issued to a soldier wounded in combat, much like a modern-day "purple heart" medal. The hole through the blade is representitive of a hole in the body. "I may have a hole in my body but I shall fight on." 34 mm (1 5/16") with deep olive-green patina. Cf. Benet R99-0104. ex-London, UK gallery. #AR2767: $299 SOLD
Ancient Roman, c. 4th-5th century AD. Gorgeous bronze military / legionary buckle. Used on soldiers' armor and military fittings. Rectangular-plate type, with 2 chunky attachment rivets. 1 7/8" (48 mm). Gorgeous glossy green patina, loop and pin fused in place. #AR2439: $175 SOLD
Ancient Roman Legionnaire's Brass Knuckles!
Ancient Rome, c. 1st-3rd century AD. Also called a "punch-ring", it is a spiked/knobbed bronze ring worn to intensify a punch during hand-to-hand combat. Broken in antiquity. Nicely preserved, with olive-green patina with earthen deposits. H: 30 mm (1 3/16"). #AR2474: $250 SOLD
Roman North Africa, c. 3rd-5th century AD. Excellent redware plate fragment depicting a Roman soldier holding a spear. Finely executed details in the hair and face, his cuirass (armor) clearly visible. Large 62x54 mm (2 1/2" x 2") and very thick. Philadelphia, PA private collection. #AR2422: $350 SOLD
Ancient Rome, 1st-3rd century AD. Absolutely incredible Roman bronze gladius / sword amulet. One of the most attractive and desirable ancient amulets. Issued to a soldier wounded in combat, much like a modern-day "purple heart" medal. The hole through the blade is representitive of a hole in the body. "I may have a hole in my body but I shall fight on." Very large 46 mm (1 13/16") with glossy olive-green to reddish patina. Cf. Benet R99-0104. ex-Malte Carsten Roehner collection, Heilbronn, Germany. A magnificent, museum-quality example! By far the best I have ever had. #AR2781: $750 SOLD
Roman bronze lorica segmentata. 1st-2nd century AD. A nice piece of Lorica Segmentata strap buckle for Corbridge armor. the earliest Roman form of segmented plate armor. Intact with the original front rivet still holding the pin and loop together the loop and pin fused in place at a 90-degree angle. 38 mm (1 1/2") long. Olive green patina, heavy earthen deposits. ex-UK collection. #AR2571: $125 SOLD
Roman bronze lorica segmentata. 1st-2nd century AD. A nice piece of Lorica Segmentata strap buckle for Corbridge armor. the earliest Roman form of segmented plate armor. Intact with the original front rivet still holding the pin and loop together the loop and pin fused in place. 43 mm (1 3/4") long. Olive green patina, heavy earthen deposits. ex-UK collection. #AR2572: $125 SOLD
Roman bronze lorica segmentata. 1st-2nd century AD. A nice piece of Lorica Segmentata strap buckle for Corbridge armor. the earliest Roman form of segmented plate armor. Intact with the original front rivet still holding the pin and loop together the loop and pin fused in place. 31 mm (1 1/4") long. Olive green patina, earthen deposits. ex-UK collection. #AR2568: $150 SOLD
Roman bronze lorica segmentata. 1st-2nd century AD. A nicely articulated Lorica Segmentata strap buckle for Corbridge armor. the earliest Roman form of segmented plate armor. Intact with the original front rivet still holding the pin and loop together the loop still moves freely but the pin fused in place. 28 mm (1 1/8") long. Olive green patina, earthen deposits. ex-UK collection. #AR2570: $150 SOLD
Roman bronze lorica segmentata. 1st-2nd century AD. A fully articulated Lorica Segmentata strap buckle for Corbridge armor. the earliest Roman form of segmented plate armor. Intact with the original front rivet still holding the pin and loop together the pin still moves freely. 38 mm (1 1/2") long. Olive green patina, light earthen deposits. ex-UK collection. #AR2565: $250 SOLD
Roman bronze lorica segmentata. 1st-2nd century AD. A nicely articulated Lorica Segmentata strap buckle for Corbridge armor. the earliest Roman form of segmented plate armor. Intact with the original front rivet still holding the pin and loop together the loop still moves freely but the pin fused in placce. 33 mm (1 5/16") long. Great brassy to olive green patina, earthen deposits. ex-UK collection. #AR2567: $225 SOLD
Ancient Rome, 1st-3rd century AD. Nice Roman bronze gladius / sword amulet. One of the most desirable ancient Roman military amulets. Long, slender form with rounded pommel. 36 mm (1 3/8") with light green patina, light earthen deposits. Cf. Benet R99-0104. ex-London, UK gallery. #AR2806: $225 SOLD
Roman bronze flagellum or scourge (Cat 'o' Nine Tails) punishment instrument. 1st-4th century AD. One piece from the end of a leather whip used to inflict punishment upon soldiers when they acted against orders. A fascinating piece of history. Barbs worn in antiquity, likely from extensive use. Found near a Legionary encampment bear the Danube River, Eastern Europe. 29x15 mm. Gorgeous green patina with earthen deposits. #AR2155: $399
Ancient Rome, 1st-3rd century AD. Small Roman bronze gladius / sword amulet. One of the most attractive and desirable ancient amulets. Issued to a soldier wounded in combat, much like a modern-day "purple heart" medal. The hole in the blade is representitive of a hole in the body. "I may have a hole in my body but I shall fight on." 24 mm (15/16") with dark olive-green patina. Cf. Benet R99-0104. ex-London, UK gallery. #AR2996: $299
SOLD - Ask about alternates!
Ancient Rome. Gordian III, 238-244 AD. Large bronze coin of Gadara, Syria, set into stunning custom silver bezel.
Dated Year 303 239-240 AD). His laureate, draped, & cuirassed bust rt., AVTOK K M ANT GORDIANOC CEB / Roman galley (ship) right with eight oarsmen, a helmsman, and a soldier holding signum standing on prow date GT below, POMP GADAWN. 28 mm diameter. ref: Spijkerman 93 Rosenberger 90. Olive green patina, earthen deposits. Huge, thick and heavy coin. Great ship! Better than photo portrays. #CR2302: $299 SOLD
Roman bronze lorica segmentata. 1st-2nd century AD. A nice piece of Lorica Segmentata strap buckle for Corbridge armor. the earliest Roman form of segmented plate armor. The original front rivet still holding the pin and loop together the loop and pin fused in place. W: 19 mm (3/4"). Olive green patina, heavy earthen deposits. ex-UK collection. #AR2569: $125 SOLD
Ancient Roman, c. 4th-5th century AD. Gorgeous bronze military / legionary buckle. Used on soldiers' armor and military fittings. Triangular-plate type, with nicely decorated surfaces and 2 small attachment rivets. Cf. Appels & Laycock SL10.20-27. 2 1/4" (58 mm) with beautiful bluish-green patina. Hinge, loop and pin all move freely. A great piece! #AR2440: $225 SOLD Rare Roman Diploma Fragment
Ancient Rome, c. 2nd century AD. Fantastic bronze military diploma fragment. Both sides with Latin inscriptions commemorating a soldier or Legionaire's completion of his military duties. One side 'A LSSO', the other with 'AVGI / II / VERV / AN'. 20x15mm (3/4" x 5/8"). Fine condition with dark olive-green patina. Ex London, England collection, acquired in the late 1960s-early 1970s. #AR3117: $650 SOLD