If you want to WOW the audience then you have scripted- 'left flank goes down hill most fight till hit and die' (Hastings 2006) It looked awesome but most reenactors don't like playing dead for an hour
One idea, especially for cramped battlefields (Tewkes last year e.g.) is send out lines of soldiers and hold back 1/2 the force in reserve. The fighters engage till they get a good hit and go down or fight till they disengage.
Corpses stay behind. Reserves advance through first force and one side steps 'carefully
' over fallen to meet opposition, after they do same some wounded can be collected on their return and 'treated' or return to service.
Advantages of this are:- less packed in so less risky (so many 'friendly butt' hits last year!), also if it's less packed it's safer to die (less chance of trampling!).
Slightly more clashes in total plus, more water breaks.
Easier for commanders and H+S to see what's going on.
Far too often fighters ignore hits IMHO this is down to commanders and group training- if one of my guys starts ignoring hits he faces banning from shows. The fact is this is such a critical issue that I take that line- having watched displays where people fight till their tired and should by rights go home in a bucket I can definately say it looks totally pants and has been compared by MOPs to Wrestling! (wont name events though!)
Of course armour makes a big difference but remember a good hit with a poleaxe/ bill will still shatter bones!
Don't forget- if someone has the grace to go down at the appropriate time treat them nicely! If you can, take the time to cut their throat (whilst saying cheers and checking their comfy
) and search for their loot (just don't wander off with it!
Now projectile weapons! (My the fun we had forming a que for that hand gunner last year!
Bombardments often occur between or before engagements so no-one notices if you get back up before the off- they definitely do notice when no-one is going down.
Again over to commanders- if there is a cannon opposite you encourage 3/4 of your soldiers to throw themselves to the ground when it fires- it's fun and looks good!
Similar for hand guns except obviously individuals. As for arrows- if they go near you you can always fall over and get back up later.
It's the details which make it real- watching 2 compnies of musketeers last year firing volley after volley at each other before marching off (no casualties!) left me nearly crying