Stumbling towards victory

Early in the morning of 21 March 1918, General Erich von Ludendorff – thick-set, mustachioed, power-hungry – launched Germany’s last great onslaught of the First World War. In tactics that anticipated the Nazi blitzkrieg of 1940, Ludendorff funneled his most effective troops into spearhead units called storm troops that would penetrate deep into Allied defenses. Follow-up units would mop up any lingering resistance. A few short miles away, British and French troops huddled in their trenches and steeled themselves forRead more

Homage to Napoleon

The month of May marks the 197th anniversary of Napoleon’s death and an opportunity to look at a hidden gem in the Royal Armouries collection. In this blog post, Shannon Kee, placement student at the Royal Armouries Museum, explores the elaborately decorated percussion double-barrelled shotgun, which commemorates the return of Napoleon’s body to France in 1841 and pays homage to his lifetime and legacy. After his final defeat at the Battle of Waterloo Napoleon was exiled to the small island of St. Helena in theRead more

17th century Dutch cuirassier armour

In this monthly blog series, our collections team write about their Object of the Month, chosen from our collection. In this blog post, Assistant Curator of European Armour Keith Dowen explores the history behind our 17th century cuirassier armour. On Wednesday 23rd of May 1618 two Imperial Lords Regent, along with their secretary, were hurled out of the window of the council chamber of Prague’s castle by incensed members of the dissolved Bohemian Protestant Estates. This event, which became known as the ‘Defenestration of Prague’,Read more

Late Medieval Europe

This weekend (7 & 8 April) the Royal Armouries will be hosting a Wars of the Roses-themed weekend exploring the history of one of late medieval Europe’s most bloody conflicts. The Wars of the Roses were a series of bitter, bloody battles fought in England from 1455 – 1485. This thirty-year period of sporadic warfare and constant political intrigue between the House of Lancaster, the Red Rose, and the House of York, the White Rose, tore the kingdom apart. HereRead more

The Ii Naomasa Kabuto

In this monthly blog series, our collections team write about their Object of the Month, chosen from our collection. In this blog post, Assistant Curator Scot Hurst traces the fascinating history of the Ii Naomasa Kabuto. The Oriental Gallery of the Royal Armouries here in Leeds is home to a phenomenal collection of Japanese arms and armour. When faced with such a visually arresting display of brightly lacquered armour, moustachioed faceplates and gleaming blades, it is sometimes easy to overlook the moreRead more

The role of women in the First World War

This year marks both the centenary of the end of the First World War and of the passing of the Representation of the People Act, allowing some women the right to vote for the first time. Here we take a look at just a few of the remarkable images from our archives showing women at work on the Home Front and beyond, the images reveal the essential role women played in the war effort. The lives of many women changedRead more