As the UK celebrates Bonfire Night on November 5 and dazzling explosions fill the night skies, join us for a journey into the history of gunpowder and its less festive uses in warfare.

There are few things more devastating in battle than the use of explosive warfare. The thunderous boom of an exploding bomb or ear-shattering blast of a claymore are just a couple of the sounds you don’t want to hear when you’re in battle. Explosives can turn the tide of a skirmish in seconds, either by obliterating enemy defences or the enemies themselves…

So how did these destructive incendiary devices come to be? While accurate records on when explosives (or gunpowder) were first invented are too old to be sourced, we can certainly look to Tang Dynasty-era China (618 to 907 AD) for a clue. Not only is this the auspicious period that inspired Season VIII: Dynasty, it was also when several pioneering discoveries were made — including that of gunpowder.

A mixture of saltpeter (potassium nitrate), sulfur, and charcoal combined resulted in a fearsome flash, which Chinese monks realised could be used for making fireworks and crafting signals before it was ever even considered to be used to harm.

That wouldn’t last long however, as explosive bombs were used in many conflicts soon after, most notably the “thunder-crash bombs” of the Jin Dynasty naval battle against the Mongols in 1231. The History of Jin (a historical Chinese text) reports that the defenders of the Mongol invasion used the iron-contained bombs to fend off their attackers, and the noise of the explosion was “like thunder, audible for more than thirty miles”. The damage caused by the bombs was extensive, describing that “vegetation was scorched and blasted by the heat. When hit, even iron armour was quite pierced through."

Just as ancient warriors could repel their foes with incendiary devices, so too can your forces in Conqueror’s Blade. The Shenji Grenadiers possess the same power as their bomb-toting real-life counterparts, throwing grenades that not only displace, but damage enemies. This elite Unit is available to unlock now via Unit Challenges, and you may find them to be your last line of defence against the Tyrant.