This is a post about the SCA Event Gulf Wars. Feel free to see what that’s all about here: http://www.gulfwars.org/
On Wednesday there were two war points for rapier: the field battle (three scenarios) and the ravine battle (one scenario). Earlier in the week I had been appointed the General of the Eastern Rapier Army (all 7 of us, woot!) by Duke Edward. The East fought on the side of Trimaris. The Trimarian general, Don John, informed the rest of us leaders (the generals, and other interested marshals who showed up at the meeting on Tuesday… I think, since I couldn’t figure out some of them) that he was going to let other generals lead three of the four battles, and that since the ravine was his favorite, he would keep that one. He assigned the first two field battles to generals of larger armies and was looking for a third. Frankly, I really really wanted it, but since I commanded such a small group, I didn’t want to speak up. Someone else did, but he was Trimarian himself, so to my relief, I could then speak up and say that I’d take the command post, but that I’d be happy to consult with the Trimarian. He introduced himself as the Don of Funny Ideas (or something like that – it wasn’t quite “bad ideas” but something more amusing) and I agreed that since our side was likely to win the first two scenarios, that I’d be happy to take his suggestions under advisement.
It’s useful to note that the people in charge knew him, but to them I was a completely unknown quantity.
Wednesday morning came around, and we started the field battle. We won the first scenario, though not by as wide a margin as I would have expected. I led my small band and those within earshot. I was super-proud of all of our Eastern fighters. They listened but also used their excellent instincts to fill in where they were needed.
The second scenario was supposed to play out much like the first. However, the high command call for a “push” came too early. I was told to push my part of the line. I admit, I obeyed and called on my section to push. It went against my instinct and the mistake was obvious very quickly. But it was too late. We pushed before we had decimated the other side sufficiently, and as a result our line got separated and we lost.
The commanders reconvened to discuss the third fight. I started to lay out my thoughts when the Don of Funny Ideas (I apologize again for forgetting his name, and the much snappier descriptor he provided of himself) showed up. As I had promised, I turned to him for his input, but his eyes grew wide and he said “no, we lost the last one, my ideas aren’t what you want”. So I turned back to the rest of the commanders and laid out my thoughts. Don John thought we had moved too slowly initially (hence the call to “push”, which in the second scenario came after the lines had engaged) and he thought our line should engage the opposing force about 2/3 down the field. He had a good point, as there were a couple clumps of bushes way out there that we could use to our advantage to break their line at. I told him “to get the line to move quickly, pick out your most nimble fencers and tell them to get out in front”. He was concerned that it would just end up sending a few people to get killed. I was confident that the entire mass would move faster, and additionally it would slow the opposing force. I had one runner in my little band, and quickly the other commanders came up with nearly a dozen names of others who fit the bill. So we dispersed, passed out the plan across the line, and set up. When Lay On was called, our dozen or so runners took off at a jog (yes, the 100 mph blur is Duke Edward in a jog – I suspect if he ran he’d alter the earth’s rotation). As I expected, it caused others to try to keep up. It must have looked amazing from a bird’s eye view – a dozen points leaving the line, pulling the crowd with them into a crown-shaped attack force. A photographer captured that moment, for a small band of fencers from our side:
I must admit, I didn’t expect them to be quite that fast, and I hoofed my way down the field to stay with them. Our runners stopped just short of the designated spot and so it only took a few exhortations of “forward, 5 more feet!” to get them into the ideal position. The other line hadn’t fully engaged us, so this last short push was easy to accomplish. We had them right where we wanted them. We were able to break their line across the trees, and wrap in a few strategic spots. It ended quickly, and our side won.