Pennsic XXI Bridge Battle

Hay Bales of Death

Pennsic XXI Bridge Battle

I have read the renditions of the bridge battle here and in the Daily Tidings. They all seem to report a long slow battle with lots of inaction. Well, that wasn't the battle I was in.

I was in command of the middle bridge with the Calontir Wall, *VERY ABLY* well supported by spears from the Outlands and Caid. (they are great spear fighters!) We fought continuously for the entire battle with no breaks other than holds for dead.

At the gun we took only 6inchs of the bridge figuring on a all out charge from the East (usually they send the Tucux or Trimeirions at us in a all out charge right off.) But this time they send a shield heavy unit to stand toe to toe with use. This forced us to take the entire length of the bridge under fire. The unit we faced seemed to be a batch of small units with a few big guns for leavening. One unit had 5 large wooden/flat/ scutums painted white, they did very well for a long time.

The battle became a shield wall duel. The Calontir wall advanced on their knees at a constant if slow pace. (I spent a lot of the battle on my knees shouting orders at the buttoned up primaries.) Those facing us got to see a constant rotation of tired shield men under fire. (We leave the shield in place and put in new fighters as the old get tired. Primary scutum work is *very* hard and exhausting work.) By moving forward we were in constant spear range with the East.

One thing we did we never had to do before was clearing dead from in front of the wall so we could advance. When a dead fighter was in front of the wall, stopping it, we would lift the bottom of our wall , grab them and pull them through. many an Eastern fighter got to see the inside of the shield wall this year. (They seemed very stunned that they had been 'sucked in'. We would make sure they were OK, give them some water, and send them on their way.)

At the hour mark my right legging broke so I went to our dead to get one of theirs. At that time we had lost 8 fighters (half to marshals, about 40% of our losses were to the hay bales of death. many of our fighters died for touching a hay bale.)

I sent two charges (flying columns) in to break up the east. The first was a household in black and white checkered tabards. Their attack got us about 20 foot of the bridge when the Wall advance with it. I also got my only personal kills of the battle then. The 5 large white scutums were down to 3 and our spear fighters were too close to kill them. The eastern pole fighters had backed off the scutum fighters so that they were unsupported. I picked up a sword, fought most of the battle with 'army' as my only weapon, walked up to them and clubbed them in the head unopposed. The eastern spear fighters watched a single sword fighter walk up and club three guys who had been protecting them for over an hour. Shameful.

Early in the battle Master Kobayashi Yutaka and his neat spear showed up. (I applaud Master Kobayashi and his initiative. He is trying to beat the Wall fair and square. Not by rules manipulation.) It would have been very effective, IF, I had not targeted him with a dozen Caidian and Outlandish spear fighters. He was hit in the arm shortly, not through any lack of skill but through overwhelming firepower.

The third unit that we faced was the Norselanders with large round shields. They had a two tiered shield wall. The rounds left lots of holes that our spears quickly converted into dead Norselanders. They had the right idea, just the wrong equipment.

The second flying column did not do as well as the first. The East saw it coming and half of it was killed by marshals.

Just as we had started a final push a long hold was called on our bridge. We never found out why. The hold was maintained until the left bridge had broken out. (we would have been the first bridge to break out if not for the unexplained hold.)

After break out 3 Eastern fights were left behind on our bridge in the over run. We allowed them their feet and then single combat for the bridge. One of them, a duke, killed 6 of us before falling himself.

We lost less than half our forces and were constantly fighting the whole 2 hours.

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