ANST - War and Changes

Bob Kelley bkelley at
Tue Mar 20 15:50:59 PST 2001

Greetings to the list from Sir Emrys,
    Please allow me to add a few thoughts to this great discussion
concerning the recent events at Gulf War.
    I was also struck by one of the crossbow bolts fired by the opposing
forces during the ravine scenario.  As a spearman in this battle, I was
quite aware of the crossbowmen directly across the line.  While
supporting our shieldmen, a bolt struck my throat, just beneath the
lower helm edge.  Fortunately, I wear a heavy leather gorget backed by
one of those 1 and 1/2 inch thick medical collars.  The impact was
hard!  Sure, I've been hit harder (hopefully by accident) by a
fiberglass spear thrust, but in truth, this was the stoutest bolt "pop"
I have ever received.  Although uninjured, I jokingly asked my comrades
back at the resurrection point to see if the bolt head hadn't penetrated
my neck and wasn't protruding out the other side.  Grim-grin!
    As to the ballistas, I must echo the words of others that our
efforts could have benefited from more coordinated fire control.  Of
course, the opposing army is going to try to assemble outside of our
maximum siege engine range, as would we under similar circumstances.  We
must also keep in mind that our maximum range is limited to keep bolts
from straying into the audience.  While our ballistas had varying throw
capabilities, our crews were at least keeping the bulk of their infantry
away from the castle walls and probably taking many out of the fight.
Yes, fire coordination would prevent them from avoiding more than just
one incoming bolt.
    I am strongly in favor of continued use of the surgical tubing
powered ballista.  The two machines crafted in Bjornsborg were both easy
to fire, were of little operational danger to their crews, and suffered
no mechanical failures, except for one broken wheel axle.  The ballistas
were a joy to use and achieved a high rate of fire!  More importantly,
our two ballistas were crewed by relative newcomers to the heavy field.
One machine, headed by Baroness Brianna, was crewed entirely by valiant
ladies of this barony.  The other machine sponsored by the Baron, was
manned mostly by rapier fighters headed by Dona Isobel.  Many among
these two crews had never before been on the heavy field and were
instructed beforehand to immediately fall should the ballistas be
overrun.  These folks had a tremendous amount of fun and will never
forget their participation on behalf of this Kingdom.  They are "fired
up" and can't wait for next year!
    In that regard, I would like to express my appreciation to Earl
Drake (when as Crown) for issuing the royal edict mandating construction
of such siege engines following last year's Gulf War.  In so doing, not
only did our baronial members learn about ballista construction and use,
we were also able to offer another avenue of PARTICIPATION to others
unaccustomed to the battlefield!  These folks had fun and were valuable
additions to Ansteorra's war effort.  Earl Drake's edict helped to
reduce the opposing forces numerical advantage and was one of many
factors in our taking the castle.  And finally, what greater compliment
could our ballista crews have received than when the only survivor of an
opposing unit appeared at the castle wall, pointed at our ballistas and
said that his entire group had been eliminated by our ballista fire!
Next year, Bjornsborg plans to double its siege machines and augment our
crews with archery.

    The last questions I pose are these.  How many Ansteorrans did our
Kingdom actually muster for the ravine, field and castle battles?
Secondly, at the very end of  our storming of the castle, single combat
was offered to the last few survivors of the opposing force.  Did we
forget that we were also battling the clock?  While I applaud our spirit
of chivalry and am in no way critical of this gesture, did we, never the
less, let precious minutes slip away?  Yes, overall I too would choose
the chivalric gesture, but what should we have done considering our
battle against the clock?  Thoughts for next year!

You bet I'm proud of both our Barony and Kingdom!
Sir Emrys Shaunnon
Baron of Bjornsborg
Go to to perform mailing list tasks.

More information about the Ansteorra mailing list