WR - War Commands & Melee Tactics Part I

Michael and Tiffany Geisendorff crator at mail.swbell.net
Mon Feb 22 13:09:47 PST 1999

Here is a list of commands that are currently being used in our
Kingdom/Region.  I hope this might clarify some of the commands.  As
always, any questions or comments are welcomed.  If youwant to email us
personally, the address is aaron-brita at usa.net.

Thank you,
Lady Brita MacGregor
Western Regional Warlord

Ansteorran and/or Western Region Commands
    (Most of this is from Duke Kein's Melee Tactics Essay,
    but things that I have added concerning regional commands
    will be marked with an *)

   Form up means to get into your positions quickly and efficiently. In
general, form up will be a row of shieldman, with basket hilt spacing
between them, then a row of polearms.

   Dress the line means get the shield wall in shape. If you are a line
shieldman, you should look right to see that you have the proper spacing
between you and the next fighter, then look left to make sure your buddy
is doing the same. If you are behind the line, you should assist the
line shieldmen in doing this in whatever fashion seems appropriate
(remember they are your
   You should dress the line after any maneuver, whether told to or not.

    When dressing the line, always look to the right shieldman for the
correct position.

   Advance means "Go." Walk forward in a normal fashion. It is important
to "dress your line" while advancing. Do not stop until you are given
the command "Stop". Walk over or around obstacles while maintaining your
speed. It is very important to maintain your speed while approaching the
enemy. Many units slow down when they enter spear range. This is
foolish. The enemy spears have more time to do their work. You should
quickly  get so close that the enemy shieldmen are protecting you from
the enemy spearmen. If line shieldmen slow down on approaching the
enemy, it is usually very inconvenient for the friendly spearmen because
they have to step over the corpses of their line shield companions to
engage the enemy. If no order to stop is given, after you engage the
enemy, you should attempt to continue at the same speed over your

   Advance to engage means advance (as above) until your shieldmen are
engaged with the enemy shield to shield, then stop and fight.

   Advance by step means to take one step forward. The command should be
given as follows. "Advance by step!"..... everyone waits...... "Step!"
..... everyone steps. Further "Step"
commands can be given without the preparation command.

   Double time means "advance" as above except at a trot.

   Triple time means "advance" as above except at a jog.

   Same as triple time, but faster and meaner.

  Same as "advance by step" except backwards.

   The commander calling this command should be on the left flank of the
shield wall. All fighters in the unit should pivot 90 degrees left where
they stand . They should then follow the person in front of them
closely. The commander should lead the unit where he wants them to be
then stop. When the unit stops all fighters should pivot 90 degrees back

   Same as "Single file left", but to the right.

   The formation moves to the left without turning or breaking their

   Same as "Slide Left" but right. Do I need to tell you this?

   Advance at an angle to the left. Make it a 45 degree angle unless the
commander tells you otherwise.  He should try not to make it too
complicated as few soldiers bring protractors onto the field with them.

   Same as "Angle Left" but right. I am going to assume that you know
this now.

   This command is used when the wall is about to be flanked. It must be
executed quickly and accurately. When this command is given, the
shieldman on the right flank pivots slowly to his left. The shieldman on
the left flank runs backward on a curve that is the circumference of a
circle that has a radius of the length of the shield wall. Every other
shieldman moves backward at an appropriate speed to keep a line
formation between the two flank shields. Spears and poles move backwards
behind that line. Reserve shields move to the left flank and support.
Continue this movement until the commander says "Stop". I hope this
explanation is clear and no one has to get out a geometry textbook to
figure it out.

   Same as refuse the left, except from the right.

    When this command is given, the shieldman on the right flank pivots
forward slowly to his left. The shieldman on the left flank runs forward
on a curve that is the circumference of a circle that has a radius of
the length of the shield wall. Every other shieldman moves forward at an
appropriate speed to keep a line formation between the two flank
shields. Continue this
movement until the commander says "Stop".

    Same as wheel left, except from the right.

    Sir Aaron has created this command from one used in the Outlands.
It is used for specific situations and involves a row of shields
followed by a row of polearms.  When the command is given, the shields
advance about 3 steps and engage the enemy, screaming and acting like
they are going to push right through, but they only advance to engage.
Then, throw about 2-3 blows, cover and step back to where they were
before advancing, but allowing for the polearms to slide pass them.
Then, the polearms throw a couple of shots and slide back behind the
shieldman. This usually makes the enemy cover-up and brace for an
attack, then when it gets quiet, they raise up to have polearms popping
them in the face.

   This command is used after your unit has engaged the enemy, when your
unit has scattered into individual fights or smaller units. Upon hearing
this command a fighter should disengage from whatever engagement he may
be in and form up with his buddies in Plan Alpha* in front of whoever is
calling the command.  He/she should also begin shouting "regroup". This
command, quickly followed, can win a battle for you. If your unit is a
UNIT when the bad guys are a scattered mob, you can take advantage of
their confusion and destroy them.

RETREAT (When in Plan Beta - explained later)
   This command addresses the problem of an enemy charge when your unit
is in Plan Beta. The command should be given as "Retreat one two". One
the word "retreat" the spears and poles in the front line have to take
two steps back and to the right. On "two" the shields in the front line
take one step back while the shields in the back line take one step
forward. This puts your unit into Plan Alpha one step back from where
their original line was. This takes practice.

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