Everything I Know About Business I Learned In The SCA, Part 2: Squad Leader

HERE THEY COME! (This is a still from “Pennsic XL Shield Charge” on Vimeo. Thanks to Combat Camera Corps for sharing.)

Lessons For The Squad Leader

Spears Kill Shields, Shields Keep Spears Alive

SCA combat has evolved over the years into a relatively stable combined-arms approach. A wall of Shields (each of whom is also carrying a sword, but in melee a Shield’s primary job is to stay alive and block). Behind that, a row of Polearms with six-to-seven-foot weapons, protecting the Shields and taking the occasional smash at each other; and behind that, the nine-foot long Spears, thrusting through the gaps to kill whoever they can.

Let the Funny Weapons Be Funny

I have done a disservice to some fighters, however, having left out the ‘funny weapons’—two-sword, single-sword, greatsword. In single combat, these are fearsome weapons forms, heavy on offense if a bit short on defense. In melee, those skilled enough to survive while wielding these weapons become specialists—harriers, who charge ahead and disrupt enemy plans; skirmishers who waylay warriors found out of position; or free agents who act to counter the opposition’s specialists.

There are only two tactics: flanking, and surprise

Tactics are for people who can think. When you’re wearing twenty pounds of iron and leather, have been hit on the head repeatedly, and are awash in enough adrenaline to be running in heavy armor at full speed in the hot August sun across a Pennsylvanian campground, chances are you’re not going to think well.

I believe this battle plan is called “GET ‘EM!”

Celebrate the Little Things

This is one of my most important Life Lessons, and I learnt it the hard way.

Skill matters — but so do numbers

One of the more terrifying moments I had fighting came on a Bridge battle. In these battles, three narrow “bridges” are set up, delineated by hay bales, and the armies start off on opposite sides. At various points in the battle, a timeout is called and living fighters near the center of each bridge are counted; control of the bridges earns points, and overall points wins the battle.

A pig-faced bascinet is the perfect helm for the person at the tip of your boar-snout charge



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Alex Feinman

Alex Feinman

Obligate infovore. All posts made with 100% recycled electrons, sustainably crafted by artisanal artisans. He/him/his.