Woods Battle Provides Ambiance
Taranach the Terrible is finished off by a horde of children Tuesday
in the children’s water battle.
Photo by Master Phillip the Pilgrim
Woods Battle Provides Ambiance
By Syr Kyppyn Kirkcaldy
The Woods Battle has a long history of being the greatest and worst battle at Pennsic. When you ask the average fighter on the street you tend to get an answer one way or another. Why?
The Woods provides the ambiance that some like—fighting among the trees, allowing fighters to strategize guerrilla tactics in an environment that our ancestors fought in so long ago. The old Woods Battle site had been used for so many years, the damage to the forest was evident from anyone who walked there. The underbrush couldn’t grow and long-term damage to the ecosystem was beginning to deteriorate the site. So a few years ago, a new Woods Battle site was designated for combat.
This year, the entire site (approximately 1,000 by 1,000 feet) was available to the troops. Two resurrection points were given to each side and the 90-minute battle for 7 banners began with the shot of the canon.
Master Feral, Warlord for the East, gave me his plan of action for the East: “Our battle plan was conceived and run by Atlantia. The East army sent in light, fast units of soldiers who coordinated on the right side with Æthelmearc and took the closest banner quickly. We took banner number 6 and felt the Midrealm Army would get banner 7. The Midrealm fought valiantly against overwhelming numbers. The Midrealm and their allies may have actually killed more East forces, but we had more numbers to resurrect faster. Northern Army controlled banner 3 & 4, kept the corridor open. Ealdormere did a fantastic job and were fleet of foot as they gained the banners for the East.”
Lady Signy from Atlantia was assigned as a runner. She shared with me her thoughts on the battle, “The battle went very well. The banners and resurrection points were spread out and really used the space in the woods.”
Sir Cedric from the Incipient Canton of Wyndriche marshaled the battle. “I witnessed heroic deeds on both sides. Courtesy was given from both sides when needed. The fighting was very clean.”
I caught General Fargthen coming out of the woods and he was very complimentary of House Darkmoon and their effort in the woods. I met with the Darkmoon commander, Sir Gerwulf. He had this to say about the Woods Battle: “We were way outnumbered. The command and control of our unit was very good. Count Savaric was leading our division and we fought over banner 4 against long skirmish lines. Eventually, because of the numbers we were double-enveloped and overrun. Other factors included the ground being very uneven and all of the bees in the woods. The numbers were telling.”
Sir Elizabeth from Ealdormere echoed Gerwulf’s comments. “The Midrealm being so vastly outnumbered is not good for anybody.” This was a common theme of the day from everyone I interviewed. Sir Osric of the Midrealm told me, “The Midrealm were heroes and fought hard. The side on banner 1 got pushed back and Darkmoon fought to keep control. The Woods marshals were awesome and the fighting was clean.”
Sir Michael au Cluin from Midrealm described the effort of the small Midrealm forces as, “Whereever they [Midrealm] went, pain followed.” Sir Alonzio from Æthelmearc wanted to go on record to say that he did not like fighting in the new woods.” The underbrush and uneven ground contributed to injuries and problems today. Count Lutr had a fallen log pin his leg, and thankfully the graciousness and cooperation of the East side allowed him to free himself before any injury could happen. I liked the old woods much better.”
In the end, the East Kingdom controlled all 7 banners when the 90-minute canon sounded off. When I asked Master Feral, Warlord of the East Kingdom, to tell me who he thought stood above and beyond on the field today, he told me, “The heroes of the day are the Midrealm Army. Units like Darkmoon, Darkyard, and the Kingdom of Lochac did a great job banging against our units and holding them up, but the numbers were just too overwhelming.” Lord Vey of the incipient Barony of Endeweard told me he had a great time. The feelings on both sides seemed to be a mix of happiness and frustration. Other fighters used the words “target rich environment.” It remains to be seen if the rest of the war can be more evenly matched, as both sides have told me that a fair, even-odds fight is a good fight. A good fight is what every SCA warrior wants the most.