How to improve battles?

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Simon Atford
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Trying to give water to prostrate persons

Post by Simon Atford »

Alan_F wrote:

At the same time somone lying on the deck could also be someone collapsed with heat exhaustion.


They could indeed be suffering from heat exhaustion but nearly drowning them by pouring water into their mouths whilst their flat out on the deck isn't going to help matters :!:

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Post by EmanwelOfGwent »

Think it was in this thread someone mentioned it, but there seem to be lots of outright deaths, and no mortally wounded writhing people.

Being wounded and on the way out would provide a nice oppertunity to have a drink before finally keeling over.

Of course the water bearers have to check on combatants (not acutally down them though), and it isn't too difficult to say "no thanks I'm happily dead" without the audience noticing.
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Post by temporary guy »

"and no mortally wounded writhing people."

I did this at rockingham and a St Johnner ran over to treat me, I had my eyes shut but perceived a shadow opened them and saw him, I had to ask him to go away.

But yes more writhing.
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Post by Gyrthofhwicce »

Use real weapons, proper sharps. we would only do it the once, but what a glorious battle it would make, one that would be sung about for years to come.
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Post by EmanwelOfGwent »

:shock:
Gyrthofhwicce wrote: one that would be sung about for years to come.


Who by? The dead ones or the survivors who get sent to Broadmoor? :D
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Post by Gyrthofhwicce »

EmanwelOfGwent wrote::shock:
Gyrthofhwicce wrote: one that would be sung about for years to come.


Who by? The dead ones or the survivors who get sent to Broadmoor? :D



Urm, hadn't thunk of that!
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Post by WorkMonkey »

EmanwelOfGwent wrote:Think it was in this thread someone mentioned it, but there seem to be lots of outright deaths, and no mortally wounded writhing people.

Being wounded and on the way out would provide a nice oppertunity to have a drink before finally keeling over.



Whenever I try to do a prolonged, elaborate death whoever hit me runs back and says "Oh my god are you ok!"
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Post by tonw »

When I've been a marshal or a watter carrier I go on with my rondel and make a show of actually robbing and finishing off the dead to make sure they arew dead only once did I put the cup with straw on the public side oh the laughs I got when he tilted his ehad to drink.
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Post by moosiemoosiegander »

O.K.

Another pet beef. When I have just done my very best to do a really extra heroic dramatic death on the crowd line, don't stroll over and shout 'eh love - do you want some water' 'come on love 'ave some water'




Having been a water carrier for many years, I just thought I'd come to our defence on that one! As has rightly been said, a person on the ground could indeed be hurt or have heat exaustion so we have to check (ok, we don't HAVE to check, but it's general good practice to see if the stricken are ok!) And the mount of people I've taken to first aiders over the years, I shudder to think. I personally tend not to yell at the person on the ground, but rather walk up to them and quietly ask if they need water and if they are ok.

We can always not go on, if you'd prefer? :P
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Post by m300572 »

Whenever I try to do a prolonged, elaborate death whoever hit me runs back and says "Oh my god are you ok!"


Maybe you should tip them the wink in some way - I usually go back, if a victim is stringing it out a bit, and finish them off for a bit of piece and quiet!!

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Post by Medicus Matt »

m300572 wrote:
Whenever I try to do a prolonged, elaborate death whoever hit me runs back and says "Oh my god are you ok!"


Maybe you should tip them the wink in some way - I usually go back, if a victim is stringing it out a bit, and finish them off for a bit of piece and quiet!!



Haha, I remember I did a very prolonged death at the end of a Regia show in Winchester...lots of rolling, groaning, screaming for a priest etc. Next thing I know I've got two water bearers standing over me, announcing that I'm badly dehydrated (I was bright red but then I was in full padding and mail and I'd just been fighting). I told them that I was fine and that I was just acting. They then told me that I wasn't okay, I was delerious and the next thing I know they've stopped the battle and were walking me off the field. I was not best pleased but you can't really lose your rag at people that are trying to help you so I went with them and had to suffer much p*ss-taking in the pub afterwards.

Never did it again in Regia.

Of course, sometimes it helps to let people know that you're going to be doing an elaborate death beforehand. We did a show at Old Sarum with Britannia where I was leading the Saxons in a raid on the British held fort.

We'd worked out a nice set piece 'death' where I was to shot in the face by the Britannia ballista. So, I had a ballista bolt up my sleeve and a blood bag in my hand and, as the crew fired I brought the shaft up to my face, screamed and burst the blood bag. Everyone turned around to see me staggering about, clutching the feathered shaft with blood pouring down my face. Very effective...shame I hadn't thought to tell my girlie who was fighting a few feet away. Oooooh, she wasn't best pleased with me.

Isn't it odd how violent people can be to their loved ones once the relief has kicked in? :oops:
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Post by Ian Macintyre »

Going back to an earlier point that has been touched on and yet then passed over.

You either have a strong unit command structure or you have a strong marshall structure. Both work well.

What does not work well is a weak unit command structure or a weak marshall structure. This happens for one of three reasons, crap people, not enough people or trying to have unit commanders AND marshalls running the battle.

This third point is one I have found is a problem in my brief stints as both commander and marshalls. People do not mind being told what to do. The problem is rather that they want to be told by one source that they know is in charge.

Let me give you and example. At Tewks last year I was a marshall. I ordered a unit to stand still and not come on the field. They initially ignored me, and then when I shouted "STAND BLOODY STILL" I got "We only take orders from our king"
The same battle showed me this is interesting detail. On the side away from the crowds you get the more "independently minded" groups such as my own who frankly don't have any unit cohesion. But are used to the Marshall concept. The other end its all bill units with strict commanders. And yet initially I found the independent groups easier to get to stop. Eventually I realised that I had to go up to some groups commanders and get them to pull the guys out. At this point the roles changed and they stopped much quicker.

My point is it needs to be ABSOLUTELY CLEAR who is in charge and what their role is. Especially for the lower downs who get left out.

One other point. If 500 people are taking part in the battle then 500 people should be issued with the full script. By the organisers. Not the 25 "commanders". I know its contraversial but delegating away this responsibility is a recipe for trouble in my view and frankly smacks of laziness.
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Post by tonw »

TO be honest Marshals should not be directing the battle unless there is a safety issue, the direction of the battle is a commanders thing

however if a marshal says stop you should stop

its a game of 2 halves one four sides
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Post by WorkMonkey »

Medicus Matt wrote:...shame I hadn't thought to tell my girlie who was fighting a few feet away. Oooooh, she wasn't best pleased with me.


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Post by EmanwelOfGwent »

Agree with tonw - though every battle seems to be different. There just aren't enough marshals - ever - to really run the battle. Plus groups will always have their own command structure, so why not use it...

I think its better that Marshals are a safety measure - then what they say has a certain urgency.
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Post by tonw »

Well I've always conducted myself while being a marshal as being there to

1.remove dangerous people from the field,
2.ensure the cannon lanes are clear
3.make sure horses have clear runs
4.ensure safe combat
5.ensure safe break away
6.ensure safe engaging

never have I conducted a battle as a marshal
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Post by Ian Macintyre »

tonw wrote:TO be honest Marshals should not be directing the battle unless there is a safety issue, the direction of the battle is a commanders thing

however if a marshal says stop you should stop

its a game of 2 halves one four sides


That is not always true. In some battles it is a commanders thing and in others a marshalls thing. Both work fine in my experience. So I see no reason to make a blanket statement that they should not be directing the battle.

Marshalls have several aspects going for them over commanders, such as percieved neutrality, being more recongnisable and able to give orders to any unit not just their own.

Commanders also works, if they have good communications and all have strong control over their units.

What does not work is if people do not know which it is, or decide that as they prefer the other way thats what they shall do anyway.
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Post by Ian Macintyre »

EmanwelOfGwent wrote:Agree with tonw - though every battle seems to be different. There just aren't enough marshals - ever - to really run the battle. Plus groups will always have their own command structure, so why not use it...

I think its better that Marshals are a safety measure - then what they say has a certain urgency.


Groups may not have their own strong command structure. Its rather dangerous to assume that they do. And you therefore are relying on assumed structures which if they do not exist rather knacker it all.

A lack of marshalls is something the organisers need to sort out I agree.
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Post by Borsch Monster »

Medicus Matt wrote:
m300572 wrote:
Whenever I try to do a prolonged, elaborate death whoever hit me runs back and says "Oh my god are you ok!"


Maybe you should tip them the wink in some way - I usually go back, if a victim is stringing it out a bit, and finish them off for a bit of piece and quiet!!



Haha, I remember I did a very prolonged death at the end of a Regia show in Winchester...lots of rolling, groaning, screaming for a priest etc. Next thing I know I've got two water bearers standing over me, announcing that I'm badly dehydrated (I was bright red but then I was in full padding and mail and I'd just been fighting). I told them that I was fine and that I was just acting. They then told me that I wasn't okay, I was delerious and the next thing I know they've stopped the battle and were walking me off the field. I was not best pleased but you can't really lose your rag at people that are trying to help you so I went with them and had to suffer much p*ss-taking in the pub afterwards.

Never did it again in Regia.


Yes, but you can refuse treatment. Legally they were treading on dangerous ground. First aiders aren't taught to diagnose delerium or any thing else apart from lack of conciousness or obvious trauma. Sadly many feel the need to go beyond what they are trained to do.

On the other hand there was the guy at a big ACW bash in the US who clutched his chest & fell to the ground & it was only later they discovered he wasn't playing dead but had suffered a heart failure. Whoops

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Post by moosiemoosiegander »

Personally, when water carrying I find a discreet 'You ok?' tends to work wonders. No answer and then further investigation is needed, blood trickling out accompanied by funny bubbling noises and a first aider is called! It's not hard to be discreet and still help out.

If you guys have this beef with water carriers not being discreet enough for you, then maybe bring it up at a commanders meeting (or other period equivalent) and spread the word, we're not psychic and getting yelled at by a person you're trying to help often offends!

And finally, just standing up for the (mainly) girls that carry water on the field, most of us aren't there for our health but so that the folk fighting don't drop down dead fer real!

Perhaps some sort of 'Water Carriers Code' is needed to iron these problems out?
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Post by Ian Macintyre »

People who think water carriers are great = hundreds of us
People who think they are useless = one bloke nobody listened to.

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Post by Borsch Monster »

moosiemoosiegander wrote:Personally, when water carrying I find a discreet 'You ok?' tends to work wonders. No answer and then further investigation is needed, blood trickling out accompanied by funny bubbling noises and a first aider is called! It's not hard to be discreet and still help out.

If you guys have this beef with water carriers not being discreet enough for you, then maybe bring it up at a commanders meeting (or other period equivalent) and spread the word, we're not psychic and getting yelled at by a person you're trying to help often offends!

And finally, just standing up for the (mainly) girls that carry water on the field, most of us aren't there for our health but so that the folk fighting don't drop down dead fer real!

Perhaps some sort of 'Water Carriers Code' is needed to iron these problems out?


Absolutely, Water carriers are essential. I think the problem here was that the water carriers didn't take the "victims" word for it.

The other issue is that precence of women on the battlefield is anachronistic. Not being a medieval type I don't know how many water carriers wear dresses at your events but having lots of women wandering around looks silly. The ECWS did away with the problem by the simple measure if making them dress as men. Surely it's not too difficult to disguise anyone under a gambeson & a helmet. Which are surely a good idea anyway if there are arrows flying about.

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Post by moosiemoosiegander »

In defence of women on the battlefield for the medieval period, women did used to go with their partners to war and on the whole the situation was generally more liberated as I am led to understand. Also, from a safety point of view, people in dresses are definitely and distinctively non-combatants and so fewer 'accidents' can occur.

Obviously, historical accuracy is a priority, but then so is the safety and wellbeing of the folk on the field. Most water-carriers in the WOTR period aren't 'designated water carriers' as such, but for the most part, well meaning folk who want to help out where they can by grabbing a helmet and a jug of water, not letting female water carriers go on without men's kit is slightly prohibitive with the way things work in this period at the moment.
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Post by craig1459 »

My wife water-carried at Blore last year but won't do it again as she didn't feel safe. All she had in addition to her normal "washer-woman" :twisted: outfit was a gunner's helmet. It has been said to me that the minimum standard to enter the Fed battlefield is helmet and jack. What's the score?
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Post by tonw »

For water carriers its a helmet as they should not be engaging in battle,

The helmet is to protect them from the stray arrow,

Though generally they should be out of the firing arc.

However there are small numbers would have been known to shoot at water carriers (we had a very nice Jim the Pot jug shot delibiratly) and there are some bill men who will attack when someone is taking on water Though thankfully they are becoming less due to the action taken by people after the battle(Forceful evictions are a grand thing)
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Post by Borsch Monster »

moosiemoosiegander wrote:In defence of women on the battlefield for the medieval period, women did used to go with their partners to war and on the whole the situation was generally more liberated as I am led to understand.


There's a big difference between going to the wars with your husband & being mixed in with the troops during the battle. The women would be at the rear with the baggage. This was true until well after the medieval period. Armies of the 30 years war often had a baggage train three or four times the size of the army.

moosiemoosiegander wrote:Also, from a safety point of view, people in dresses are definitely and distinctively non-combatants and so fewer 'accidents' can occur.


Anybody who goes onto a re-enactment battlefield is at risk. Water carriers are particularly vulnerable because they tend to be less experianced in spotting the dangers (whether it's cavalry or walking in front of the artillary) & they're not in formed units which are controlled by experianced officers. For those reasons we try to keep them together under the orders of a baggage master & close to their parent unit.

Maybe there could be some sort of sign to designate non-comatants? We use white sashes to denote first aiders.

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Post by Sal »

Having been a water carrier for a number of years, I thoroughly enjoy it :) However, I was used to being on the field as a combatant for a couple of years, so maybe that helped with the whole "feeling-safe" thing.

I think the responsibility for safety on the field rests with both water-carriers to be looking at what's going on around them and paying attention (not using it as an opportunity to have a chat with friends as I have seen on a few occassions) and to the people in charge of their units to give us some indication of when it is safe to go up to a block and let everyone have a drink. Communication is a wonderful thing, and it makes life much easier! On the whole, everyone is usually very polite and appreciative, even in the heat of battle!

Other than that, I've had great fun killing off the wounded and looting the bodies near the crowd line (whilst discretely checking on the health of those "dead" people). Wouldn't change my role for the world :lol: Craig - tell Sara to come water-carrying with us - it'll be fun :lol:
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Post by Sal »

Borsch Monster wrote:Maybe there could be some sort of sign to designate non-comatants? We use white sashes to denote first aiders.


The Early Medieval Alliance uses blue sashes to indicate non-combatants, and we're shortly going to be starting a group for registered first-aiders, who will have their own tabards. (Incidentally - anyone in the EMA that would like to be involved with this can PM me, and I'll stick you on the list of interested people). Not sure what other groups do though.

I agree that many non-coms don't appear to be aware of the dangers on the field, but equally I've been in situations where we've been treated "like a girly who doesn't know better" and been prevented from getting near people who need water. There has to be a balance between both sides - if you go on the field then you accept a certain level of risk, whether you are a combatant or a water carrier.
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Post by moosiemoosiegander »

Ok, WOTR is obviously a lot more liberated than other periods by letting female women of the opposite sex carry water onto the battlefield! Personally, I am happy with the look of the thing - woman hanging about at the back to water anyone who needs it, and it is a system that works well. And yes, at the bigger battles like Tewkesbury the water carriers to have sashes but accident still do happen, especially when the red mist settles, as it were.

Yes, Tonw is entirely right also in that there is no way that water carriers should in any way engage in the battle itself, and it only takes a little common sense to figure out why, but there are some folk out there who try and engage when the opposition are being watered. I had a jug smashed by a guy with a sword the other year, Tonw, so I feel your pain.

The crux of it is, where do we draw the line between historical accuracy and necessity? Surely water carriers in dresses are better than no water carriers at all? And there would be an awful lot less people carrying water if male kit was compulsory, I myself couldn't afford two lots of kit, and with most of the big stuff such as Tewkesbury, Bosworth and Berkeley happening in the July/August period, we need all the bodies we can get onto the field. Also, in the defence of most water carriers in our period, we tend to hang around at the rear and wait for the lines to drop back before we move in rather than wandering about like rogue satellites, snd in fact, a lot of people tend to stick to their own groups and wait for the nod from the group commander before going in to water people. By the sound of things, the situation on a WOTR battlefield sounds a lot different to an ECW battlefield and so logically, what works and what does not is by no means set across the board.

And contravertially, if a woman went with her husband (or whatever), why would she not try and be in a situation where she could be of some help? *waits for the flames to start*
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Post by Ian Macintyre »

I think wearing protective kit other than a helmet would be counter-productive as it would lead to more confusion with the actual combatants. Sashes etc are less easy to spot through a visor than the fact that its somebody in civies.

My advise to my sister when she did it was not to stand near the combat line but at least 10 metres back from the line. Her own safety is paramount. During the gaps in combat people should go to her. As unit commander I was always ordering my chaps back to get a drink. (having had heat exhaustion at least once I am very wary of it)

plus. Is it that anachronistic? Really? I'd love to know how water was distributed to troops in the late medieval period. Perhaps we can go with that instead!
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