The Stronghold: Warlords Fire Ox has been revealed as a brand-new unit in a press release. No, the "Fire Ox" is not some fancy name for a giant crossbow that shoots flaming arrows or something. It is literally an ox with explosives strapped to it, and that's not even the wildest part about this critter.
Take a look at this new trailer detailing siege weapons in Stronghold: Warlords to see the Fire Ox in action:
The Stronghold: Warlords Fire Ox is exactly what it looks like. These most ancient of madlads took an ox, strapped a couple of spears to it, and then added a pair of gunpowder barrels for good measure.
As they say, you can't lead a horse to water and make it drink. It's also pretty hard to get an ox to charge enemy fortifications, especially when it's carrying a couple of gunpowder barrels.
That's why they set the ox's tail on fire. Metal.
Yes, The Stronghold: Warlords Fire Ox was a Real Thing
You would be forgiven for thinking that the Fire Ox was some kind of cheat code or meme tossed into the game for funsies, but truth is often stranger than fiction. Yes, the Fire Ox was very much a real thing used in ancient warfare.
As the trailer notes, it was used in the Siege of De'An in China — and this wasn't the only time it was used, either.
[Tian Dan] is said to have broken the siege by taking a herd of 1,000 oxen, fitting sharp daggers on horns and reeds soaked in oil to their tails and sending them in the direction of the siege lines.
Chinese Walled Cities 221 BC - AD 1644, Pg. 46
Sending a bunch of ornery oxen with pointy things strapped to them must have been pretty devastating, and they eventually improved this horrifying siege weapon by also strapping some explosives to the ox's back.
As you might expect, the Stronghold: Warlords Fire Ox is highly vulnerable to archer fire, so you're going to have to be careful about how you use them. Or, you can roll like Tian Dan and just send a massive herd to overwhelm your opponent, I guess.
You'll be able to play with this wild new siege unit when Stronghold: Warlords launches on Steam sometime in 2020. In the meantime, you can add it to your wishlist on Steam.
What do you think of the Fire Ox? Do you think this was a truly effective weapon in its heydey? Let us know in the comments below!