We all hear about having a “Medieval Moment” at SCA events, and many of us have had the opportunity to experience one. During the bridge battles at Pennsic this year (AS LI), the entire Calon host got to experience one together.
Part of the strategy of the East Kingdom command this year was to change which bridge units were fighting on between each battle. This meant that Calontir got to face many different opponents, rather than the same one over and over. That made things more interesting, and as it turned out it was a Good Thing(tm).
When we fought on the uppermost wide bridge (bridge #2 for those of you who were lucky enough to be there), we faced Atlantia, or at least a part of Atlantia that included the Atlantian Combat Archers. The rules of the day were that the archers could not come on to the bridges, nor could they station themselves outside of the outermost edge of the wide bridge we were on. (This was to prevent arrows from going in to the crowds on either side.) This meant they were less able to snipe on the outer, wide bridges (like this one). The Atlantian Combat Archers took this in stride, and made the medieval choice.
As Calontir advanced across the bridge, the typical call of “arrow” rang out, warning the army of incoming fire. But as we got closer to the Atlantian end of the bridge, we no longer faced the occasional arrow fired by a sniper, but rather volleys of dozens of arrows at once, causing almost all the shieldmen to raise their shields to protect themselves and those around them. This was something we don’t normally face, and was very cool. But then to add to it, the troops facing us took that opportunity to charge, just as they should have!
They surprised us, killed a number, and pushed us back. It was the right tactic at the right time, and was also quite effective, once. The next time a volley came in (which was still very cool), our artillery was ready, and stopped the charge before it could have the same affect as the previous one. The archers continued to fire in volleys, keeping us on our toes, and it added a lot to the medieval feel of that battle.
After the last battle on Friday, We made an effort to seek out the command staff of the archers We faced on that bridge. Luckily, Baroness Cellach Mor of Ponte Alto was on the field. While expressing her low status in the command structure, she let Us know that it was the Atlantian Combat Archers that We faced. She also promised to pass Our words along to the archers and the troops they trained with.
There are two morals to this story:
- Training together is more effective than training alone.
- Medieval moments can happen at any time. Just keep your eyes (and mind) open to them.
— HRM Logan —
Illustration of the Battle of Barnet (14 April 1471) on the Ghent manuscript. Public domain in the US