Move Along Lil’ Doggie – Switching Teams and Siege Tactics

Friends recently I participated in a siege battle at Pennsic 47 and thought Id share a few observations

Anyone Home?: We were a few people short of fielding up to three engines. Luckily we were able to shuffle some people around, myself included, to get them fielded. The scenario dictated: once an engine was destroyed, or couldn’t be operated (too few engineers) that the engineers cannot move. Well then, OK! But if we are to keep and engine running, a ballista for instance would best be served by having 4 engineers so if one died, there is a replacement. Some people only want to fight with their unit. That’s OK as well, but if you’re open to moving, and you have more than enough people, consider moving to a new home for a bit. The greater glory and honor will be served in keeping your team alive as opposed to just your squad.

fig. 3,4Targets of Choice: In some cases, being smart about targeting helps. A larger hit zone, proximity, obstructions. But I want to talk specifically about unceremoniously ganging up on people. Referring to fig. 3,4 we can see the concept of ganging up on one or two targets. Thereby increasing the hit chance. This can take targets out more quickly and reduce the return fire. This combined with position, can be brutally effective.

fig.1,2Field Position: “Nobody move! Maybe they wont see us!”… and so it was. Not one engine moved. It seems to me that if there is one line facing another line, moving engines to increase the distance from opponents, while maintaining good distance to others whom your teammates are targeting is a good thing. Moving out of their range? Even better! Referring to fig. 3,4 we can see the concept. Move your engines if possible. During set up, engines that can’t move put them in a safer position. In this case we had an elevation advantage. If we had moved engines to the top of the hill, they’d have to shoot uphill effectively reducing their range. Then combine this with fire concentration… again, brutal.

Rules: There are rules, then there are scenario restrictions. This can be in the form of increased safety zones, etc. Now scenario or Kingdom rules can augment, but not replace, or reduce Society law (eg: reduce safety ranges). But important things to note are thing like, if a ballista bolt is moving, am I dead? According to Society rules, once a bolt touches the ground then hits you, you are not dead (section VI). This happened to my team.

Swords to Plowshares: It has happened before where as a combat archer, I have put my bow aside and stepped on to a siege team to keep the engine running. And vice versa. Being aware of your surroundings and communicating need can sway a battle BIG time.

Wrapping up: Not trying to write a novel, just a few observations from the field, and I hope it helps!


 

References: https://www.sca.org/officers/marshal/docs/siege/siege_engines_handbook.pdf

Published by

Cameron de Grey

Archery, Combat Archery, Leatherworking, Blacksmithing, Near Eastern Music, Bardics

We await your missive...