Medieval Battle

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At last the BBC has picked this up! Cheers to my sisters in arms who are kicking arse and taking names internationally. This doco covers a few of the great women in this fast-growing sport of full-contact, armoured medieval battle, including several close friends. Fight on, all!

No one ever expects a lefty 😜.

I’m a mediocre swordswoman (would prefer a poleaxe, really) but the left handedness almost always catches people off guard. Taken this week at Swordcraft LARP in Melbourne, Australia by @theprohobby.

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My favourite part about LARP will always be the live action. When I’m in that moment of battle, I can’t even explain the freedom it gives me. This battle game is where my LARP life started, 3 years ago, and it’s probably what I will always enjoy the most about this crazy, amazing hobby.

Photographs by J&J Photogtaphs. 💕💕
Aka, @forgedinfoamtemperedlikesteel

Swordcraft LARP battle game.
Melbourne, Australia.
3-Feb-2017.

The battle of Vitkov Hill - stand of the 100

The Battle of Vítkov Hill was a part of the Hussite Wars, where the Holy Roman Empire and various Papal forces sought to crush the proto-Protestant followers of reformer Jan Hus. The battle pitted four thousand knights commanded by Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor against just a hundred Hussites under command of Jan Žižka. Vítkov Hill was located on the edge of the city of Prague and the battle occurred in a vineyard established by Sigismund’s father, Charles IV. The battle ended with a decisive Hussite victory.

On 1 March 1420, Pope Martin V published a papal bull in which he ordered that Sigismund and all Eastern princes had to organize a crusade against the Hussite followers of the reformers John Hus, John Wycliffe and other “heretics.” A crusader force moved to recapture Hussite-controlled Prague.

The siege began on 12 June. The crusaders’ forces, in the opinions of the chroniclers, consisted of 100-200 thousand soldiers. In the opinions of modern historians they probably had 3-4 thousand. One of the most important points in the fortifications of Prague was Vítkov Hill. The fortifications on this hill secured roads on the crusaders’ supply lines. The fortifications themselves were made from timber but they were consolidated with a stone and clay wall and with moats. On the southern part of the hill there was a standing tower, the northern part was secured by a steep cliff. The fortifications were said to be defended by 26 men and three women, though in the opinion of J. Durdik, it was probably about 60 soldiers. On 13 July, the Crusader’s cavalry crossed the river Vltava and began to mount repeated attacks, all of which were resisted. On 14 July, Hussite relief troops surprised the knights through the vineyards on the southern side of the hill on which the battle was fought. The violent attack forced the crusaders down the steep northern cliff. Panic spread among the crusaders, which made them rout the field. During the retreat, many knights drowned in the Vltava. 

In honour of this battle, Vítkov Hill was renamed Žižkov after Jan Žižka, the commander of its defenders. As a consequence of the Hussite victory on Vítkov, the crusaders lost any hope of starving the city into submission and their army disintegrated. The National Monument exists today on the hill and as of 2003 local officials have been attempting to replant the vineyard. Ultimately the Hussites were victorious, and the Hussite church became free from Papal control.

Another Swordcraft Quest week has come to an end. Each Quest the event becomes a day longer, and this is the first time I have LARPed for a whole week, Sunday to Sunday. It was an incredible week of roleplay and combat. I made countless new friends both in character and out. Melodia has become very dear to my heart, and being able to do her justice this week was excellent beyond words. I’m still in the Quest recovery stages and feel like I’m lacking in brain power, but I wouldn’t trade this week for a thing.
This photo was taken during the closing proceedings after the final battle, which we won. Ours is now the first faction to achieve back to back victories at Swordcraft quest.

Now get ready for the influx of photos and videos!

Photo by Portrait Photography, Melbourne.
Swordcraft Autumn Quest, 2017.

Three Reasons Why Your Army Should be Armed With Spears in Your Medieval Fantasy Setting.

You often see armies in medieval fantasy settings all charging at each other out of formation with swords and it makes me cringe. Nobody did that–they all used polearms–and there’s reasons why.

1. Polearms are cheap: A spear is just a long stick with a knife on the end. It doesn’t take very much steel to make one and if the shaft breaks you can just reuse the spear tip easily by attaching it to another shaft. Nearly every every other polearm in existence is some variation of the simple spear and they all pretty much work this way. You could arm an army with spears cheaper and more quickly than with swords.

2. Polearms are effective in combat: Whether in a tight formation or not, having a longer weapon(to a certain upper limit of course) than your enemy is an advantage. He’s in your ‘danger zone’ before you’re in his ‘danger zone’. You can stab him before you yourself are even threatened, so usually armies sprang for the longest weapons available: Polearms. 

3. Polearms are easy: Anyone can pick up a spear and learn to use it with some effectiveness within a few days; all you do is hold it in front of you and move it back and forth. An army training to use spears are going to be combat-ready months before an army training to use anything else, and you really don’t want your enemy’s army to be ready before you are, so most armies will go with the fastest, easiest possible thing. Also, there’s no shame in using an “easy” weapon. If a single mistake could literally get you killed, wouldn’t you want to be carrying the weapon that gives you the largest possible margin for error? In real warfare, easier is better, which is why militarizes switched to muskets even when the longbow was better in every way except for the time it took to master.

This isn’t to say that shorter weapons weren’t used or weren’t effective, because they were, but they were often carried as backup weapons in case your spear broke or you lost it or something, or if you wanted to travel alone through a dangerous area and didn’t want to carry around a cumbersome spear or something. 

If we’re to use a modern analogy, a spear is your assault rifle and a sword/handaxe/mace is your pistol.