2007 Road Reports


Pennsic XXXVI, Cooper's Lake Campground, PA, August 2007,Field Battle: There were 4 ballistae in the field battle on the Midrealm side.  After the layon, they quickly got left behind the rest of the troops.  The East stayed on their side of the battlefield and the Midrealm forces had to advance towards them.  The forces quickly began to swirl until it was difficult to tell who was on which side at long range.  I suspect that our siege engines hit more friendly troops than opponents.
Pennsic XXXVI, Cooper's Lake Campground, PA, August 2007,Woods Battle:

There were two Doc Mo type ballistae brought into the woods battle this year
on the Midrealm side.  One was "Da Big Shoota" from the Middle Marches
(Ohio).  The other was the Varg ballista of House Varg (viking ship coat of
arms) from Donnershofen (Traverse City, MI ).

Da Big Shoota did not have fins on their ballista bolts which also still
had tennis ball tips.  The Varg ballista had pool noodle tips and fins.

Both ballistae had to be carried up the hill and part way through the woods.
They were both ordered up to the front line which was pretty stationary for
the first 60 minutes of the battle.  The opposing front line was 20 or 30
yards away.

Both ballistae ran out of ammo after about 45 minutes.  They both had around
30 bolts with them.  They were unable to glean ammo because it was picked up
and carried away by their opponents.  Unfortunately, the ammo was frequently carried by
dead fighters some of whom had just been shot with it.  After a half hour
the marshals were informed over radio that dead were not allowed to glean

The ballista bolts without finns did not score many hits.  There was only
one good hit that I saw: a combat archer got hit in the face grill at 20
yards.  This hit raised a lot of applause from the Midrealm side.  In order
to aim this ballista, the siege engineers had to move the stand.  This made
it difficult to target opponents through the trees.  I was a siege marshal
in this battle and this is the ballista that I was stationed at.

The Varg ballista was more effective.  It has a swivel mount making it much
easier to aim through the trees.  They were stationed about 20 yards from
their opponents and scored 17 hits.  This is the one that must have been
shooting at the banner guard because after they shot someone, another
fighter would step into the same spot.  The bolts they were using had pool
noodle tips and fletching.

After an hour, the lines started to clash a lot, but by then the ballistae
had been pulled back because they were out of ammo.

One problem I saw in the woods battle was the fact that friendly fighters
frequently encroached within 5 feet of the ballista while it was being
operated.  I had to warn them back several times.  This is likely to be a
problem when siege engines are used in the front lines.

The woods were wet from rain the night before the battle, but this didn't
seem to cause a problem with footing.  The air was humid, but only about 80
degrees.  The Varg crew had a very good time.  I told the others that they
needed fletching.

The crew members of Da Big Shoota were both killed at least once by combat archery.  Other authorized siege engineers promptly took their place. 

I'm not a big fan of siege engines in the woods.  Although this didn't happen, it looked like the siege engines could easily be overrun by combat.  I prefer to have the siege engines off to the side and away from most of the troops.  It's best not to use these weapons in a big crowd because the five foot clearance rule gets infringed on.  I would rather have some siege engine competition shoot on the battlefield at the same time as the woods battle.

Pennsic XXXVI, Cooper's Lake Campground, PA, August 2007,Great Wall Battle:  The great wall of China was simulated with hay bales.  The wall was 18 feet wide with three towers on it.  Banners were in the towers and control of the banners determined the victory conditions.  The siege engines could not come closer than 40 yards to the wall.  This meant that they couldn't shoot each other.  The siege engines could shoot onto the wall, but not through the sides of the tower.  Since there were only two places where troops could get onto the wall, the siege engines ranged in on those places.

The most important combat was for the towers, but since the siege engines could not shoot into the towers, they couldn't hit the front lines.  Instead they shot the troops on the wall, but these were not on the front line.  This was a resurrection battle so all the troops who were shot shortly returned to the wall.  Since the siege engines couldn't move the front lines or attrition the troops, they had little effect. 

Defense dominated this battle.  The towers never fell to my knowledge.  The side that took them first, held onto them.  The East took two towers at the start of the battle and eventually won.  The battle lasted only about 45 minutes and was then stopped due to lightning.  It rained in every battle at Pennsic this year.

The Midrealm had 17 siege engines in this battle and the East Kingdom had 3.  Despite this overwhelming siege superiority, the Midrealm still lost.  However, the siege engineers had a great time in this battle.  They had a target rich environment and got plenty of kills. 

I remember Bone Grinder Bill and Thorvald of House Shadowclan high fiving each other and bonking helms after a good hit.  I saw Quinn's ballista, Widow Maker, shoot three ballista bolts right over the Midrelm front line and drop them into the East front line 10 feet further.  Two fighters were taken out by this volley.  I remember looking across the field at the Pentamere ballista corps and seeing a volley of 8 bolts take off at the same time.  It must be very encouraging to know that such is on your side.

I had made the claim the day before that our siege engines could shoot over our troops at 40 yards and hit the opponents right in front of them.  In fact, I made this claim in the Kingdom level commanders meeting where I wasn't supposed to be in the first place.  I was glad to see that our siege engineers came through and there was very little friendly fire. 

Pennsic XXXVI, Cooper's Lake Campground, PA, August 2007,Fort Battle:  This was the friendship battle, so the East Kingdom and the Midrealm were on the same side.  In the first battle they held the fort, in the second they attacked it.  The attackers could resurect, but the defenders couldn't.  The side which took the fort the fastest won.

Once again there was a moat assumed to be around the fort, but with ground within 9 feet of the fort.  There was a causeway about 30 yards long crossing the moat before the gate.  There were breeches on the sides of the fort, so the fighters walked along the 9 foot wide ground near the wall around to the breeches.  There was no combat archery or siege on the Eastern breech because of the proximity to the road. 

There were about 20 siege engines in this battle with about half on each side.  I think that siege helped the Midrealm and East Kingdom win this battle because we got a lot of kills when attacking.  The defenders did not get to resurrect, so kills by the attackers are much more important than kills by the defenders.  The defenders had to block the breech and the gate.  Once our siege engines ranged in on the defenders at the breech and the gate, we got a lot of kills.

For Morgan of House Ironwolf, a Pennsic newbie, this was his first battle at Pennsic.  He used one of my ballistae, the Cormac built by Doc Mo.  With it Morgan was able to take out a trebuchet crew on the other side at 60 yards.  This made his day.

Siege of Talonvale, July 2007, Jackson, MI: I brought a ballista, Doc Mo brought one, and Jean Paul brought Dragonmaster.  Two people were authorized.
Baron Wars, May 2007, Fort Meigs, Ohio: I showed up with my two ballistae, the Cormac and the Osis.  From the Middle Marches came Da Big Shoota and Baron Alexander's ballista.  Several authorizations were done. 
Val Day, Feb 10 2007, Kalamazoo, MI:  I didn't think there would be any siege activities at Val Day since it's a mid-winter indoor event, and there wasn't.  However, there was a Doc Mo sighting.  He doesn't come to an event unless he has a purpose.  I found out what that purpose was when I saw a brand new Arbalest in the A & S room.  It was state-of-the-art with rollers, elevation crank, and steel rimmed wooden wheels, but it wasn't finished with varnish or paint which I thought was odd with our weather being what it is.   Later I found out that Kyf, the lady who bought the ballista, was going to have the frame carved and some nose art done.  It's about time the Midrealm got some more siege engines that look as cool as Litch or Fenris or Raven.  Kyf said that she named her ballista after Zuulie, an extremely aggressive cat.  I told her about SiegeTheDay and encouraged her to visit the site.