A note on ‘Brandtschatzung’

By Rob Morgan

The bi-annual journal War & Society (ISSN 0729-2473) is published by the Australian University of New South Wales’ Department of History, and so may not be familiar to many Pike & Shot period-oriented readers in the northern hemisphere. However, since the first volume was issued in 1983, it has proved its worth to historians and researchers in many periods, not least the early modern. Or Renaissance, as we used to call it then!

A colleague’s use of a War & Society reference led me to two articles of value to the English Civil War and 30YW war gamer. In Volume 2, No. 2, published a long way back, in September 1984, Stephen Porter published “The Fire-Raid in the English Civil War” (pp 27-40), an account of the development of the “burning money,” or Brandtschatzun” concept of extorting finance from towns and villages by soldiers, literally a protection racket on a military scale. Porter suggests this was a money spinning 30YW idea brought home by some of the 4,000 Britons serving in the Spanish army in Flanders in the 1630s! The author provides a number of examples of what might be identified as two quite distinct forms of “raid” that took place in the wars; burning and plunder went hand in hand, naturally.

This is a very valuable short account, and a feature of the Civil Wars in Britain and Ireland which Porter identifies as being a major cause behind the growth of the extensive “Clubmen” movement, local anti-everybody on the King’s or Parliament’s side, a force often neglected on the table-top, but one which could be utilised in a solo game with ease. The article is supported by some 50 adequate and interesting references.

Volume 4, No 1, in May 1986, contains a “knock-on article,” developed from Porter. “Contribution and Assessment” deals with financial exactions during the wars, and is written by Marilyn Bennett (pp 1-12).

Possibly more useful to campaign organisers than to one-off gamers, and an article worth reading in conjunction with Brandschatzung, in my opinion, a device useful to know about! An army which has made a killing, or acquired a pile of loot may be less reluctant to fight before it needs to. Just a thought.

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