Friday, June 16, 2017

A War Practice

On the Bellatrix Fighting School web site, Duke Paul states that his students used to alternate training. He was in the West Kingdom, which has three Crown Tourneys a year, in March, June, and October, and three Coronations in August, at 12th Night and at Beltane. (the August coronation has a name as well, Purgatorio). In between Coronations and Crowns, his students would fight with sword and shield, while in-between Crown and Coronation they would use other forms--usually two handed weapons.  I have done something similar in the past, and am doing so this year. In between Spring Crown and Pennsic I'm planning to concentrate on my spear and pole arm fighting. I only took a spear to war practice last Saturday.

Well, my weight is good. After that long sojourn to California I was worried that I'd put on weight, but I weigh 220 this morning, right where I normally sit and ten pounds more than I'd like to weigh. I've not missed a day of pushups and squats, but I haven't been doing as much walking. My steep count is way down.  However Wednesday I did a three mile run, Thursday I did a bike ride, and today I did yoga and clubs. The Yoga is particularly needed. I'm getting way too tight.

As I said, the only weapon I took to SRWC was a spear. I did ok with it, killed a few guys, got into a very nice duel on the bridge with Ogadai, who is an MoD and a great spearman. But I also missed a wide open shot on Russlan that would have been very advantageous had I hit him.

As with 100 Minutes War, the day starts out with a speed tourney among the unbelted fighters. The top two get to pick teams. Picks are made by units. There is a truth I've experienced here in the East, for years and years--if you're at a war practice, and Von Halstern and ICOD (who love to fight together) are on the opposite side, you are probably going to get rolled. We mostly got pounded like harp seals on our side. We didn't have much of a plan in the first two field battles. In the third one I offered Klaus a plan that worked. Sort of. Anyway, we won.

My knight, Alfrik Favnesbane, taught us tactics on a sand table. He was one of the big early war gamers back in the 70s. He helped design and game test D&D, and he was a very big player in Arafix ancients. Ours was a war band household, with unit structure and command structure that went through several evolutions. He taught us how to command on the field, but he taught us how to strategize on sand table. I got pretty good at command, and won a couple of awards for it--not to mention the West An Tir war when I was king (the thing of which I'm proudest from my reign). I only have a few things I like to do in a war-- 3/2 unit front, T formation with a sweep, form square (with a break out, a la Cyrus the Great), column charge--but my favorite thing is a piercing maneuver that Alfrik use to call a "flock of seagulls" because when done right the formation ends up looking like a flock of birds in flight, with a short and a long side, drafting off of one bird at the point. Basically, you put a heavy, slower moving unit on one flank, a slightly faster shock unit on the other, and next to that your best cowboy unit. Between the cowboys and the slower  unit (heavy infantry lets call them) you put everyone else. You don't keep a reserve. The Key is to charge. The army will get spread out a bit like a flock of birds with your cavalry unit at the point. The cowboy unit pierces the enemy formation, hopefully at a point between two units, and turns in, while the unit to their outside pins down whatever is there. The heavy infantry unit becomes the anvil to the cavalry's hammer. It relies on initiative and surprises people, since most SCA armies amble forward then try to sweep a flank. So, I I suggest  to our commander that he put Serpentius on the left flank, Northern Region on the right, Osterbleeken to their inside, everybody else in the middle, and to charge like that. Well, Osterbleeken and Northern Region switched positions, but otherwise it went as planned. We caught them flat footed and we won. This illustrates an important concept with which I was raised. No, not "go straight at em,": train all your unbelted fighters in tactics. Train on paper as well as on the field.

On the bridges we did much better. We and great spear work and made good pulse charges. Everything worked out fine. I got into some nice duels, but that was all. The heat HEAT was getting to me.

I sat out the capture the flag res battle.

Then we had knights vs everybody else. This started out with a 2-1 advantage for the unbelts, and increased as more of them came out of the woodwork to pound on us. These three battles were a lot of fun. Naturally, we lost all three. Treating them as champions battles, I borrowed a sword and shield, breaking lines and killing people. FUN!

The only only pickups I did were against Duke Brenan. He beat me two to one, but I did get a nice shield hook on him. My sword was heavy and hand no thrusting tip, and I ended up with a bit of tendonitis on top of some heat sickness.

There are 42 days until Pennsic. My next time in armor is likely to be NRWC.

No comments: