Calontir Knight Remembers Pennsic 32 Battles

Sir Kirk FitzDavid of the Kingdom of Calontir shares a Knight's-eye view of the Pennsic 32 battles. Sir Kirk FitzDavid writes:

Calontir had about 170 people in camp, including about 50 fighters. We were camped in the usual spot on the plains. The weather was two kinds of bad: The whole first week and first part of the second was rainy. It got so bad that the parking lot was closed for about 48 hours. I am ashamed to say that a few Calontirans were among the many people too lazy to move their cars to the lot after it opened back up on Wednesday. (This is not including the folks like Asa Lufa who let us use their trucks to carry weapons, armor, and waterbearing supplies to the battlefields.) On Tuesday, it got hot and humid. Upper 80's with high humidity and no wind is a real drain, though it did dry out the roads.

The fighting went pretty well. Calontir was allied with the East, who had a strong numerical advantage for the woods battle and the two castle battle. In the woods, Calontir lined up along the lower spruce line with Ealdormere and some others. Ealdormere advanced to find that a Midrealm unit had seized the banner in the area, and they spread out to engage the Midrealmers and their mercenaries. Calontir then advanced, stretching the Ealdormerian line down hill, and we looped around the open Midrealm flank. This caused the Midrealm line (primarily made up of a mercenary unit called Iron Lance) to evaporate in a few minutes. The Midrealm had left a Duke with the banner in a small thicket, and it took a few minutes to find him. Prince Kennedy of Ealdormere (sorry Hereward, if the Irish are going to be that casual about spelling, I'm going phonetic) killed the Duke and handed the banner to General Hirsch, who led us back to a rear position. Most of Calontir stood as banner guard, with the rest going out as squads to fight. The Midrealm was so outnumbered the banner was never threatened, and the East won with all three banners.

The next two battles were the castle assaults. As planned, the East defended on Tuesday and the Midrealm on Wednesday. In these assaults, the defenders had no resurrections and the attackers had unlimited resurrections. The side taking the castle fastest would win the war point. I think the designers expected the battles to last a couple of hours, but instead the Midrealm smashed its way into the castle at the northwest (haybale) gate in only 33 minutes. In this battle, Calontir helped guard the main castle gate, and threw back at least a score of charges with only minor losses. However, most of us had to turn and fight off the Midrealmers penetrating from behind us. The next day, we drew the uphill, northeast haybale gate to attack. The Midrealm packed it tight with troops, while Aethelmearc [sic, even if it isn't Irish], Ealdormere, and we attacked. Because of the tight schedule, we just tried to force our way in. We got almost nowhere, and only the first few ranks even got engaged. Meanwhile, the East threw two-thirds of their troops through the northwest gate, and blew through the Midrealm position with relative ease. The castle fell in less than 20 minutes (including holds) for another Eastern victory.

Thursday was the bridge battles. 5 bridges, 3 battles, 30 minutes each. Victory was to go to the side controlling three bridge centers in two of the three battles. Only the third battle had missiles. General Hirsch was given command of the entire Eastern side, with Sir Semjaka in command of our bridge (the southernmost of the five). Again, Calontir was paired with Ealdormere, aided by a small Caidan contingent and some Eastern reserves. We faced a mix of Midrealm units, including our buddies the Midlanders.

In the first battle, Ealdormere went out first as a unit. The Midrealm attacked them hard, and drove them most of the way back, taking over 2/3 of the bridge. Ealdormere kept good order, and bled the Midrealm white before starting a counter attack. Here is where better tactics turned the tide. The Midrealm fed in successive units, one after the other, apparently without withdrawing the survivors. This exhausted all their forces, and gave them a jumble of units without cohesive leadership when the counterattack came. Ealdormere kept their fighting households distinct, leaving them a few fresh units to start the counter attack. On our side, we fed in reinforcements as attack columns. Caid's 14 fighters made an excellent column push, giving us the momentum, as did at least one small Eastern unit. Finally, Calontir took over, completely replacing Ealdormere with a column charge up the right side that pushed the Midrealm back to the end of the bridge and gave us room to spread across the front. Then we kept up our momemtum, driving off the end of the bridge and sweeping on to the end of the second bridge. On this bridge, the Midrealm Darkmoon household had been holding a clinic on standard shieldwall tactics, keeping much larger Eastern units at bay until their shields were used up. Hirsch threw the Eastern reserves over our bridge to exploit the breakout, and these some of these units helped us wipe out the second bridge while Calontir, the Ealdormere survivors, and the rest of the Easterners pressed on to pocket the remaining bridges.

In the second battle, we mixed in Ealdormere with the Calontir forces. In both battles we set up two shield lines, and experienced and a less experienced one. The second battle, the less experienced line took the lead, and withstood some hard pounding before getting whittled away. I was the only really experienced scutum in the bunch, and was the only one to survive the early bleeding when I managed to bail out after my scutum was hooked over. When I got to the back, Semjaka had the battle well in hand, alternating pulse charges with spear duels to bleed the Midrealm down and drive them toward the end of the bridge. When we had them down to maybe 4 ranks deep, I suggested to Semjaka that we get reinforcements and blow the Midrealmers off the bridge. He agreed, and sent me to Hirsch to get some troops. Hirsch was already getting the East's Bloodguard into motion, and we opened up a wide hole on the left for Bloodguard to push. When they moved up, Calontir attacked and surged to the edge of the bridge. A hold was called to clear the dead, which left the Midrealm with a one-deep line. At the lay-on, a new charge by the Bloodguard and Calontir scattered the Midrealmers into little packets which were easily overcome (I killed four myself with just a single-sword), and once again the other bridges fell from behind.

I don't remember much about the third battle. I went out with my javelins, thowing four and hitting with none before getting speared early. Michael Nimandous managed to kill five guys with javelins while throwing from about the fifth rank, though. I believe our bridge again fell first.

We had a friendship bridge battle next with Calontir and recruited friends (Ealdormerians, Outlanders, Drachenwalders, Stahlgeist, and a few others) versus the Midrealm. The Midrealm initially did better, putting up an excellent spear line which bled down our front spears and didn't allow us to get the front scutums stabilized with proper artillery support. We had a jumble of units behind the line, and no organized pulse unit handy. Count Fernando and I had formed the right spear door, so we weren't down with the main line. Being the handiest troops, Fernando and I led a pulse charge with two allied shieldmen, smacking into the Midrealm spear line. All four of us were killed, but we were well supported, took more than our numbers, and gave the front line a chance to get stable and step up. The stability was needed, because the Midrealm launched charge after charge with their superior numbers, driving us to near the back of the bridge. But they bled themselves out doing it. The spear line, led by Sir Richard and our friends Duke Prothel and Sir Cragon, never broke and always killed the best. Stahlgeist and the Ealdormerians started a counterattack which rolled up the Midrealmers, and the final few Midrealmers were killed in single combat. (Note: Stahlgeist is a Midrealm household that Sir Sheridan won as ransom for this battle by capturing King Pieter during the previous day's friendship battle.)

Friday was the field battles. The East had won the castle battles, so started up on the hill. They had a commanding numerical advantage. We attacked down the hill, sweeping through a couple of units (including, I think, the Meridians), and looped around to be in at the end. With such an easy victory, and with the war already decided, King Valens got King Darius' OK to switch sides. This led to two battles where we walked up hill, attacked, got pocketed, and were wiped out. I will let others provide more details. Rory Primus and I charged, penetrated, and died side by side in both battles.

There was one other thing which came out of this battle (at least, I think it was Friday and not Thursday). Apparently, the Princess of Atlantia had promised to supply waterbearers for the day's fighting. Unfortunately, she wasn't able to come through. The Calontir waterbearers, though, threw themselves into the gap and ensured things got done. The princess apparently decided that this earned us the Atlantian army for next Gulf Wars--they will be fighting with us on whatever side we're on. Who says logistics don't win battles? :-)

As usual, the soup kitchen was superb, with soup, water, PBJ sandwiches, jerky, and other stuff, ready on time every day.

At war court on Friday night, the East presented Their Majesties with a Pennsic 32 campaign banner, with a "Bridge Battle" ribbon on it.

The party went well. It was run as a joint effort with Meridies, and held in a couple of A&S tents since there wasn't room in either camp. After a couple of hours of good food, beer, and light entertainment (including scutum races), many of us adjourned to the Royal Pavilion for the "cool people" post revel with plenty of good singing.

Finally, if you listen to NPR, see if Sir Rolf and I show up. We were interviewed for about 5 minutes before the field battles. The reporter wanted to know if we really preferred to switch sides to get a better fight, even if that meant almost a certain loss. (Let me know when it airs if you hear the Pennsic story, so I can look it up on their website if I miss it.)

Castle Battle Part II

The wall that you were unable to break was the mercenary wall of the castle. The first half of the battle, it was held by Iron Lance, while the Roughneck shield wall prevented missle attacks. The later part of the battle, it was the Roughneck shield wall holding the position, while Teaghlach, The Band of the Red Hand, Shadow Legion and the Var were keeping the wall standing and causing the casualities that you felt. Being in that wall, I must thank and congratulate your crew on a well fought battle. The honour and integrity shown on both sides made that a terrific fight, and I look forward to meeting you on the field again.