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Royal Army of Caid

War College - Care and Feeding of a Warband

By Master Gulliver Blackrune

With thanks to Kyr Yarislav the Persistent.


Contents

Esprit de Corps

Unit Organization
Colors and Display
Fighting Practices
Be Active
Legend Building
Mundane Activities
Fund Raising

Drills

Drills for all Units
Six Terms
Drills for Line Units
Drills for Skirmish Units
Fighting Katas for Single and Florentine forms


Esprit de Corps

Esprit de Corps: The selfless and often enthusiastic and jealous devotion of the members of a group or association of persons to the group and its purposes.
-- Websterís 3rd New International Dictionary

Esprit de Corps is the most essential element of between war activities. Any commander will tell you that Morale wins battles. Anything that binds a unit together should be considered. It is the dedication to and pride for the group that makes a rabble of soldiers into an efficient fight company.

What follows is a brief commentary on each of these elements designed to increase Warband pride and efficiency.

Unit Organization

It is vitally important to a unit that it maintains the cohesion of it command structure. Sometimes people join then fade away. Sergeants and lieutenants, and even commanders will become inactive from time to time. After every war the unit is likely to experience some degree of apathy.

Get Past It.

A unit should have a number of reliable or Core members that the troopers know and respect. Whatever structure is chosen for the unit must be maintained from war to war. Regular unit meetings should to be held at least once between each war. Means for electing officers, promotions and communication need to be established.

Colors and Display

These are vital for building camaraderie and group identity. Time spent between the wars putting these together is well spent.

Tabards and shields, emblazoned with the groupís device, look good, give the unit a uniform look on the field, and helps unit cohesion on the field.

The unit should have one really good banner for public events. Unit signifiers like the roman eagles. Something the unit can put pride in. Add a ribbon or something to it for each war to begin developing a unit history. This is involved with legend building.

Another element of display between wars is Unit Awards. Usually the unit founders design these. This is a way to recognize achievement of many types. Blackrune has a Mug of Valor and a Mug of Service. The names of the recipients are etched on them. In general only those people whose names are on the mugs may drink from them.

Bonding is important. A unit should develop some symbol of membership to encourage camaraderie. Blackrune has Household rings that are symbols of Household membership. Sietch Persistent has red and white hats. Many units have members carry favors recognizing membership. Several units have a common ale horn that is passed around the fire. All are good.

Fighting Practices

Fighting practices should be at least twice a month if not on a regular day every week. If a regular fighting practice is going on in the local area, attend it. Have your unit show up in force at least once a month for regular war practice. If the unit is a new, contact the Praetorium to determine which brigade you are fighting in and attend the practices of the other units within the brigade. There are several Kingdom War Practices every year. Attend them in force. There are several events each year that lend themselves to group fighting.

Be Active

Attend events and do things there. Have group lunches. Active participation in regular events, between wars, helps increase name recognition of the group and device recognition on the field. Encourage your fighters to fight in lists and issue challenges. This is the best way to learn. Attend the practices of the other units in the brigadeís fighting practices.

If your allies know who you are they are more likely to respond to your need on the field and not attack you accidentally.

Hold office and be active in your local area. A reputation for service to the kingdom goes along way toward building respect for the unit.

Workshops

Workshops are good for increasing the efficiency, appearance, and visibility of your unit.

Armor workshops are for arming new fighters, repairing armor, and upgrading armor towards periodness.

Woodwork workshops are for building chairs, tables and other wood products.

Costume workshops are for sewing tabards, tents costumes and other group and individual items.

Legend Building

This means the process of building a history. Stories and songs about the unitís activities on the field, group persona, or territorial area can build pride. As time goes on these songs will become treasured parts of the unitís history. Songs like "Freesword for Blackrune" and "Rhino Land" are examples.

Mundane Activities

These can make massively increase the esprit de corps of the unit. Parties are good, especially for a new unit so members can get to know each other. Movie night, beach trips or camping trips.

Camping trips are especially good. Find a good campsite with plenty of room. Fight during the day. Sing at night. Tell stories.

Fund Raising

Money is a fact of life. It is the lifeblood of any organization. As such it will be needed. There are numerous ways to raise money. Each unit should have a treasurer whose responsibility it is to keep the groupís bank account. Be cautious about financial arrangements because this can get sticky from time to time.

Passing the hat is a common way to raise money. It is slow but steady.

Yard Sales are great ways to raise money if you can get people to donate their junk to the cause. Make sure they take back anything not sold unless you like to store there junk for them.

Contact the local territorial group and see if they mind if you raise money by selling lemonade or coffee at events. They may or may not let you do this.

Some units sponsor a merchantís booth selling a variety of goods. If the unit has a merchant member than this can work out. Otherwise you are forcing several members to spend their wartime sitting in Merchantís Row.

Drills

By Kyr Yarislav the Persistent and Master Gulliver Blackrune

Drills for all units

Unit drills are very import for unit efficiency. A unit that does not practice regularly is dog meat on the field. A unit that is comprised of fighters who rely on fighting ability alone is not as useful on the field as a unit of beginners who follow their training.

It is also a good morale builder.

The main distinction is unit designation. Is the unit is a Line Unit or a Skirmish Unit. Cross training is a good idea too. If a Warband has skirmish and line elements it is vital that they practice these drills in conjunction with each other.

Other sections of the War College cover these drills more fully. Refer to those documents for full details.

Six Terms

Closed Order: Shield edges are locked and over lapping.

Open Order: 2í or so between each shield edge

Skirmish Order: about 4í or 6í between each fighter.

March Time: A slow, determined walk.

Double Time: a slow jog about twice the speed of a march.

Charge: Running speed while staying in sink with your sword-bothers.

Drills for Line Units

Marching: A simple drill, better when conducted through trees, playground equipment, park benches as well as the flats. This is fairly dull but it is essential. Any future exercises will rely on this drill. This drill can be done in Closed, Open, and Skirmish orders. There are several modifiers on the march, both order and time, as well as oblique, wings and other movement variations.

Charge/Reform/Stop Charge Drill: The levy marches, then charges at an arbitrary point, regroups on command then brace to resist a charge. This drill can be done in Closed, Open, and Skirmish orders.

Shieldwall/Ground/Withdraw Drill: Used to practice covering each other as the unit withdraws. Good on broken terrain this drill can be done in Closed, Open, and Skirmish orders.

Pulse Charge Drill: The levy marches then makes a fast charge, a designated number of steps, stops, retreats and reforms. This is good for frightening poleman. This drill is best done in closed order. It can be done in the others but remember that poleman are frequently much better fighters than the average shieldman. They may stand and slug it out.

Door Drill: The levy must prepare for this extremely useful action. The unit is in closed order. Two shields fold back and fighters behind the lines charge out and attack. The door closes behind them. When they are done they will retreat, usually quickly, which ever shieldman are directly behind the retreating fighters must door for them. This is a closed order drill.

Resist Missile Fire Drill: the levy simply takes all manner of fire, advancing standing, returning fire.

Polearms Drill: shieldmen form one line, poles another, with neither advancing, but the poles doing their work, practicing against a wall, the shieldmen learning not to peek and die.

Bridge Drill: designate a bridge, slug it out. Alternate who advances and who retreats.

Shield-Pass Drill: In full armor, all shieldmen form a line. One man runs down the line, hitting his shield against the other shields, the stationary men doing their best to resist his efforts. When he gets to the end of the line, the next man goes down the line after him. This teaches you how to hit a wall or resist.

March and Replace Drill: The levy marches forward. At some point a man is designated dead and must fall out. The shield line reforms or reinforced from the reserves. It is very important to learn this well since it is common for fighters on the advance to fall to archery or pole fire.

Melee Meat-grinder: 3 fighters hold the field against 3 others; injuries are cumulative. No weapons can be changed.

Form Column / Form Wall: This exercise trains a unit to change formation from advancing wall to advancing or charging column. The unit, in any order, advance steadily. At the command Form Column of 3 (or 2, 4 etc.) the unit begins to split into groups of 3 and stacks these triplets on the march. This will change a wall of 15 fighters with 9 support weapons to a 3 wide column of 8 ranks. Great for penetrating enemy lines. If another unit is available practice charging the unit and penetrating it. Then, on the march, at the command Form Wall, the unit stretches out to reform the shield wall.

This is a very impressive maneuver when done on the field of war. It is worth doing well. Practice it when on the march. When on the field, and a long way from combat, it is a good maneuver to practice to show your Warband skills.

Drills for Skirmish Units

Break Right/ Break Left Drill: This drill is for charging around a line unit and flanking an enemy to their rear. This can cause an enemy unit to break.

Wide Right/Wide Left Drill: A skirmish unit leaves the rear of a line unit and goes wide to the side. This forces the enemy to act cautiously, assign troops to defend or to retreat.

Door Drill: This is the companion drill for the Line Units. Here the skirmishers call door, charge out, engage the enemy, retreat, and pass the shield line. Generally when retreating the skirmishers are running backward.

Pursuit: One of the skirmishers duty is to hunt down stragglers, lone "COWBOY" fighters, killing the wounded, or broken units. Never leave a wounded foe behind you. In this drill the skirmish units run from one point to another in succession, imitating changing targets.

Flank Strike: This drill practices a skirmish unit hitting a unit's flank when it is in contact with an allied unit. The Line unit splits in two simulating two units in conflict. The skirmish unit leaves the reserve area and rolls directly around the edge of the oppose unit.

Return to Reserve Drill. This drill is performed immediately after several other drills. It is the action of a skirmish unit returning to the protection of the Line Unitís reserve area.

Katas for Single Weapon and Florentine Forms

By Kyr Yarislav the Persistent

Descriptions of Strikes:

FLAT SNAP: rotating the shoulders and hips, this goes straight to the head or body.

RISING SNAP: related to #1 but looks like it is dropping, then suddenly rises to strike the head.

FALLING SNAP: the reverse of #2, falling to hit the leg.

BULLWHIP: also called a vertical snap, it is a vertical blow thrown straight down at the upper body, getting power by being pulled back at the same time.

BACKHAND: this is a recovery shot, thrown by twisting the shoulders and hips as one pulls the blow backóa horizontal bullwhip.

FLAT WRAP: this is thrown with the back edge or top of blade, the blade and wrist turning over halfway in flight.

FALLING WRAP: same as #6, but takes the leg.

VERTICAL WRAP: see t6, but this is thrown to get over a shield.

RISER: same as #8 in reverse, a timing shot.

WRIST FLICK: this changes the side of the body attacked by rotating the wrist quickly. It is not a power shot, but a quick one.

WAVY SNAP: this blow is aimed at one side of the body (as in right or left) but turns over in mid-flight to attack the other side.

OVERHEAD/CROSSOVER: this is a blow begun from behind the shoulder with the thumb down and comes over your own head, thrown almost as a backhand.

SLOT SHOT: thrown as a snap, this impacts in the funnel or slot created by an opponent's helm and shield. A fast, powerful blow.

REVERSE SLOT SHOT: virtually identical to #13, but this is thrown somewhat as an overhead/crossover and is used by offhand fighters.

OFFSPEED-SNAP instead of throwing the shot as quickly as you can, this blow begins and hesitates at the shoulder, then continues, causing your opponent to block and drop his guard too early.

PUNCH thrown as a snap without flexing the wrist and using the half of the blade nearest the hilt, for up-close work.

Katas

KATA ONE

Rising snap.

Wrist flick to far side of head.

Wrist flick to near side of head.

Crossover to far leg, stepping to that side.

Riser to head.

Bullwhip to head/shoulder area.

Wrist flick to far side of head.

Stepping around to near side, flat wrap.

Continue stepping past flat snap to body,

Crossover to inside of near leg.

Wavy snap to far side of head.

Flat snap to near side of head.

KATA TWO

Falling snap to leg.

Flat snap to head.

Bullwhip.

Crossover to leg.

Snap to leg.

Wrist flick to far side of head.

Flat snap to near side of head.

Wrist flick to far side of head.

Snap to leg.

Wrist flick to far side of head.

Wrap to leg (falling wrap).

Bullwhip.

KATA THREE

Snap to leg.-

Bullwhip.

Snap to leg.

Vertical wrap to head.

Bullwhip.

Wavy snap to far side of head.

Flat snap to near side of head.

Bullwhip.

Rising snap.

Wavy snap to far side of head.

Snap to leg.

Bullwhip.

KATA FOUR

Flat snap to head.

Wrist flick to far side of head

Wrist flick to near side of head.

Wrist flick to far side of head, continue stepping around

Falling wrap to leg.

Bullwhip.

Falling wrap to leg.

Crossover to far site of head.

Rising snap to near side of head.

Wavy snap to far side of heat.

Step close, body wrap, step through.

KATE FIVE

Bullwhip.

Bullwhip.

Rising snap to near site of head.

Wrist flick to far aide of head.

Snap to hear side of head.

Rising snap.

Bullwhip.

Vertical wrap to head.

KATA SIX

Falling snap to leg.

Crossover shot to leg.

Snap to leg.

Bullwhip.

Snap to head.

Wrist flick to far site of head.

Bullwhip.

Step in and throw wrap to body.

KATA SEVEN

Slot shot to head/face.

Crossover shot to leg.

Riser to be d.

Slot shot to head.

wrist flick to far side of head.

Bullwhip.

Wrap to leg.

Bullwhip.

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