Intra-Kingdom War

From Originally published in BoP #1, just before the 1st War of the Lilies was actually held, by Earl Edward Cire of Greymoor. Republished in the Online Bird of Prey, Volume 2 (Beta Edition) 2001

This is the edited draft of a proposal to institute a regular intra-kingdom war within Calontir.  It is intended to define the type of battle, the participants, and the benefits from this event.  This proposal is the foundation upon which the War of the Lilies was built.



It is the opinion of the author that it would be desirable if more of our fighting population were exposed to “War-type” conflicts, than are able to travel to Pennsic, Estrella, or any of the more distantly located wars in the Society.  To this end, I propose that we hold a war in Calontir.

For a war one must have at least two sides, in order to have conflict.  One might ask, who would we fight?  I believe that it would not be in the best interest of our kingdom to do battle with any of our neighboring kingdoms on a regular basis.  I will address each of our neighboring kingdoms in turn with my reasons for not warring with them.



I believe that is is too soon, after recent departure from our parent kingdom, for Calontir to war with the Midrealm.  I believe that our relationship with the Middle is to tenuous to take the stresses of competition, and the possibility of “losing” by either side at this time.


In a war with Meridies logistics could pose real problems, for both kingdoms, with the border between the two kingdoms being small and the population range of the two kingdoms reaching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Plains (half way across the Continent!).  Also, the possible participation of significant numbers of Ansteorran and Midrealm fighters would cause difficulties with alliances; which are some of the same problems as experienced at Pennsic.


I believe that a war with Ansteorra could possibly damage our relationship of “brotherhood” and our recent years of “alliance.”  There is also the distinct possibility of Inter-kingdom events in the future, being altered from their original intent, or abandoned altogether.


Population and logistical problems, concerning 500 miles of basically unpopulated areas in western Kansas and Nebraska, combined with the same in eastern Colorado and Wyoming, make this a most unlikely prospect at this time.  Add to this the possible participation of Ansteorra, and a three kingdom war could develop; the inevitable outcome being two kingdoms against one, a delicate situation at best.



For this reason, I propose a friendly Intra-kingdom war in Calontir, utilizing our own melee conventions.  This would entail dividing the Kingdom so that two opposing armies could be formed.  There are ususally two methods employed in doing this, geographical, and “pick-up-sides.”  Both of these have disadvantages.  The geographical split can cause very real and long term divisions in the kingdom.  The “pick-up-sides” approach does not seem to have this problem, but there is seldom if any strategy and planning involved in these type of melees.



I propose we adopt the good points of both styles, in trying to divide the kingdom.  I propose that we randomly split the Royal Peers, Chivalry, and local groups into two basically even sides.  To promote a feudal feel to the war, squires would fight with their knights, cantons would fight with their baronies, and all “non-aligned” fighters would fight with their local group.  Each year, the sides would be randomly drawn anew.  This should help keep factionalism to a minimum.  And to promote strategy and planning, announce the next years alliances at the conclusion of the current year’s war.

Fighters from other kingdoms who wish to participate are welcome, and may choose which side the would like to fight with (as long as the sides don’t become too terribly uneven), for everyone will be fighting for Calontir.


The site for the war should be in the center of the Kingdom, in order to keep travel times to a minimum, and to promote attendance.  It should have a large central field bordered by woods.  This would be beneficial to field and woods type battles.  The site should also have generous space for camping and other activities.  The site should have running water, a kitchen facility, and a covered shelter area for holding courts and assorted activities.


The timing of the war is critical in an already crowded event schedule.  It should avoid conflicts with Crown Tournament, Coronation (although this might appeal to those wishing a battlefield coronation), university final exams (again, to promote attendance), and extreme weather.  I would propose late May or early June for these reasons.  There may be other times that are even better.


The two armies will have to be identifiable on the field.  I propose that we utilize the numerous falcon tabards in the kingdom, for one of the armies, and anything else worn as the opposing army.  This would give the effect of “shirts vs. skins” identification.  This also looks classier than sticking different colored tape on everyone’s helms.  For scenario purposes, let’s call the army in the falcon tabards the “Royalists,” and the other army the “Loyal Opposition.”


The individual who will be Sovereign at the war will command the Royalist army.  The Sovereign’s Successor (or if non, the previous Sovereign) will be the commander of the Loyal Opposition.


This war would not be divided into standard battles, rather it would be more of an all encompassing war, with the availability of field, bridge, woods, fortification, and other conflicts.  There will be two activities involved in the conducting of the war, archery and fighting, involving three war points.

Each team will have a fortification equipped with a banner to defend.  Each fortification will have a moat with one permanent bridge and one drawbridge.  The object of the war is to capture the opposing team’s banner and return it to your own fortification.  The fortifications may be stormed, sieged, or undermined, as stated in the conventions below.


There will be three war points associated in this war, defensive, offensive, and total kills. The team that successfully defends their banner will receive one war point.  The team that captures the banner of the opposing team will receive one war point.  And the team that kills the most fighters from the opposing side will receive one war point.





All fighters, except Royal Peers, Ruling Nobles, and members of the Chivalry, who are killed in combat, will report to the resurrection area to be registered as killed, they will then be allowed to re-enter the combat every fifteen minutes as resurrected fighters.  Royal Peers, Ruling Nobles, and members of the Chivalry who are “killed” are in effect taken captive.  They must report to the opposing team’s safe zone to be ransomed.


A team holding a Royal Peer, Ruling Noble, or member of the Chivalry, may send a herald to parley with the opposing team to determine ransom terms.  The terms of the ransom are up to the two negotiating commanders. Those fighters being held for ransom, may elect to be “insulted” if the ransom offer made by their team is too low, in their opinion, and change sides.  This is done to keep a fighter from being forgotten and left in captivity for the duration of the war.  If a captive fighter changes sides, and is subsequently killed, they are dead for the rest of the war.


A timed shoot will be held before the combat begins, at targets set at varying distances, and representing different classes of fighters.  There will be at least one target wearing a coronet and representing the Royal Peers and Ruling Nobles.  There will be at least one target wearing a white belt, representing the chivalry.  And there will be at least one target representing the rest of the fighters present.  All wounds sustained by the targets will be assigned to real fighters fo the appropriate class, in a random fashion.  These wounds will be retained for the start of the combat, and all kills will be recorded as if accomplished during combat.  The commander of each team will be exempt from this.


Only members of the Chivalry may ford the rivers or moats, and then only on their knees.  They may be attacked while fording.


Each Fortification will have a supply of provisions to last one hour.  Each half hour the marshalls will call a five minute rest hold, and during this hold will remove half hours worth of provisions from each fortification.  If a fortification runs out of provisions, all fighters in the area bounded by the moat are dead, and must report to the resurrection center.  Supplies of provisions may be obtained at the resurrection center and added to the supplies in the fortification while combat is engaged.  This necessitates keeping supply lines open, in order to hold defensively and enables a team to “starve” another team into submission.


Each fortification will have objects (such as hay bales) surrounding the walls of the fortification, which may be removed by the opposing team.  If a significant number of these objects are removed, that section of the wall is undermined, and the marshals will topple that section of the wall.  This allows for the functional use of sappers to gain entry into the fortification.


The commanders of the two teams may send heralds to parley for them during the battle.  Heralds must wear at least the minimum armor allowed for combat within Calontir, and are immune from attack, if they have a white diamond shape on their helms.  Heralds must wear tabards plainly marked with the crossed trumpets of the heralds office.


Each team will have a safe zone near the combat area, in which to keep prisoners held for ransom, and where fighters may go to rest and get water.  This area will be marked with list field ropes and no combat is allowed in or near them.  This is for safety reasons and the intent, not the letter of the law will prevail.  Shade will also be provided if possible.


This will be a time limit type of war. The time may be set in advance or the event, or it may be decided just prior to the start of the battle, by the two team commanders.  I would recommed that it be from two to four hours in duration, with five minute holds, every thirty minutes.  Other options may be experimented with, and prove to be better.



This proposal was the instrument that started the War of the Lilies.  It has been edited to some degree, to keep current with the information published in the MEWS.  This is being printed in this newsletter to inform Calontir’s fighting public how the War of the Lilies came to be.  As this is being printed before the war has occurred, the success of this project remains to be seen.  I invite you to share your ideas about this proposal and the war itself, in future issues of this newsletter.

An Early Article On Calon Shield Wall

From The Mews, February A.S. XVIII (1984), No. 51 by Master Pavel Yosefvich, republished in the Online Bird of Prey, Volume 2 (Beta Issue) 2001

From the Princess’s Champion,

Hello again. This, my second letter as Champion, is the proverbial killing of two birds with one stone. This is also my letter as secretary of the War College.

As the War at Thousand Hills and Pennsic have shown, shield walls are very potent weapons. Here are a few ideas that I’ve cooked up concerning the composition and techniques of use for the wall.


The need for a standard shield size and shape made itself known in both wars. Historically, armies that fought as units — not skirmishers such as the Vikings — have used standardized shields. Another case for standardization is the Ansteorrans; they have been making good walls with their huge, square barn doors for years now. The Greeks, Romans and Saxons all used a standard shield in their formations. We would do well to emulate them.

This is not to say that we should require all fighters to have the same equipment. We should be happy with every warm body we can get, no matter how armed. But we should encourage some standardization. The least painful way to do this is by forming special units.

The two standard shields I would like to see are: a 3′ by 4′ shield based on the V’tavia war-shield design (the V’tavia shield can be bought with everything but the edge padding for $30.00 from the V’tavia Armourers Guild); and a smaller square (testing will have to be done to see what size is best). With these two sizes of shields, we could set up a true shield wall.

Short mass weapons, medium broadswords, short stabbing swords and daggers should be the weapons of a shield wall. We could also accommodate special cases such as spear and shield in the smaller shield line, but the larger shields are more restricted.

Standardization will help in the planning of any campaign that the army of Calontir has to fight. The concept of special fighting units will help this standardization.

Techniques and Tactics

The first rank should be of large and, hopefully, standard shields; the second rank should contain the smaller shields and the artillery (pole arms, great swords and spears). The third and following ranks should be a mixture of reserves with shields near the outer edges so as to be able to meet a flanking movement. The last three ranks should be a shield wall in their own right. This is for an open field battle and could be modified for any given situation.

The first rank should have a left overlap with the shields to their sides. Most of our fighters are right-handed. A left overlap will keep all but a few spears and pole-arm thrusts from pushing through. Those that did would be coming at a steep angle and could then be grabbed and pulled by an alert fighter. They would also be coming to his front, not his undefended back. A left-handed fighter would be great on the left corner of the wall. The large shields should have a short stabbing sword or a lanyard mass-weapon-and-dagger combo. At Pennsic XII, some of the foes pushed their way into our line on their knees. Fire from above kept them busy defending themselves. Most of our front-rank fighters on their knees either didn’t have thrusting tips, or their weapons were too long. If they had been properly armed, they could just have stabbed the helpless foe. The large shields with mass weapons could have the weapons on lanyards with a dagger on the inside of their shields. A patch of Velcro on the inside of the shield and Velcro on the dagger could affix the dagger to the shield and allow the fighter to grab the dagger and put it back in a hurry. Mass weapons are aptly suited for knocking the hooked weapon off the top of a shield.

Second-rank shields should get as close as possible to the first rank, putting their weight against the back of the front shields and supporting them. They should also overlap the smaller shield over the top of the larger, forming a roof over the front rank. If the second shield is in a low crouch and leaning back a little, this makes pulling their shields almost impossible without getting zapped in return.

Artillery, with a 1′-1 1/2′ gap to work between second-rank shields, can work from a relatively safe place. As long as the wall is strong, they only have to worry about straight-in attacks, while still being able to fire angled shots at their opponents. When on the move, the artillery should keep their weapons out of sight so that the foe can’t get an idea of our numbers.

Special Units

As our cavalry has shown, a special unit with a purpose is effective. I propose a special shield unit called “THE WALL.” To be in this unit, a fighter must authorize in weapon and shield and dagger, must build or buy a standard shield, and must be willing to follow the orders of a loud-mouth SOB such as myself. As an incentive to join, I think a badge should be adopted, one for the small shield and one for the large shield. Also, the WALL fighters should be able to paint their shields in a special manner approved by the Prince/King himself. Special care should be taken to make the shields feel their true worth.

In service to Calontir

Pavel Y’sivch

NOTE: This article and many others are also available via Pav’s web page at

Melee Polearm, or You Can Club People and Chew Gum at the Same Time

Originally published in May of 1990 or 1991 by HG Valens of Flatrock, republished in the Online Bird of Prey, Volume 2 (Beta Edition)


Over the years, Calontir has developed a strong tradition of using polearms within our large melee formations, while many areas outside Calontir have some to rely upon units based around spears and shields.  For many parts of the Society, polearms have become a weapon system little different from the spear and employed in much the same manner, while Calontir reserves a very central place for this weapon system.

The basic wall-type fighting formations that we have developed and used with such success have created a nearly ideal fighting environment for our polearm fighters.  Behind the big shields they are much better protected than their opponents, and the usually defensive nature of our wall invites the enemy to press closer so closely as they attempt to overcome the wall that the medium and short-range abilities of the weapon are enhanced.  Amid the congestion of a charge, the danger from enemy spears is largely neutralized and the front rank of shield fighters is so hampered that the polearms often times enjoy a period of relative safety with a dozen or more targets within striking range.  (Observation and discussions with fighters leave me to believe that very few of our fighters are ever killed during enemy charges providing the shield wall remains intact.  Most losses are during medium and long range duels before and after charges.)

While our more mobile opponents can make good use of their spears by controlling the range of the battle, out spear fighters must remain with their unmoving shield wall and fight the enemy at the range of their choosing.  Our spear fighters are as skilled as those of our enemies, but they are severely limited by not being able to move during long range duels and by the congestion of the battle line as the enemy presses forward against our shield wall.  The spear, both ours and our enemy’s, have a wide and effective cone of attack at long range, but as range closes so does the arc of fire for a spear fighter, until at very close range, the spearman can only deal with threats directly to his front.

As the enemy presses forward into the six-foot zone in front of our shields, the poles come into effect.  With their overhead swings, the pole weapons have a long range of effective attacks despite the dense crush of the battle line.  Once the enemy rush has been stopped and the lead enemy fighters are crushed against our wall by those following, it is the polearm fighters who must generate the bulk of our offense.

While the enemy fighters are focused on what lies directly ahead, which will usually include one ore more of our spear points; the polearm fighters are still able to attack across a broad arc with great effectiveness. Their attacks most often come from the sides or above while the enemy has their shields locked in front of them as they press forward.

Since, for most of us, hitting people is so much more fun than crouching between the legs of a large unwashed fighter for a couple of hours behind a wall of shields, many of our shield fighters aspire to more from the ranks of shield wall to either spear or polearm as they gain experience.   The first step in this change is to learn to use the long weapons at local practices and regular events during the year.

(Melee polearm is an art form when performed by a group of fighters who are skilled with the weapon and working together.  Calontir is rich in good melee polearm fighters, so consult them for instruction and study their movements on the field whenever possible.)

As the fighters become more skilled with the long weapons and participate in more melees, they need to become aware of the aspects of being Calontir polearm fighters, which are different than simply swinging a large weapon with enthusiasm.  Our fighting system has developed around the leadership role of the polearm fighters, and new members to this group need to understand what is required of the position.  Sometimes these fighters have been termed “sergeants,” in an earlier time they were affectionately called “loud-mouthed SOBs.”  Whatever the name, they have come to be the core of our fighting formation.

In the closely packed bridge units the polearm fighters represent the leadership and flexibility which allows the unit to remain intact despite losses and a continually changing situation.  They provide the information to all the fighters around them and to the commander to the rear.  The information they generate should allow the shield fighters to brace themselves ahead of the next heavy charge or relax to save energy during the inactive moments. It should help the poles and spears identify important targets or threats on the other side, and keep army commanders informed about the status of the fighters.  When this basic structure function the unit and army commanders are free to deal with larger matters, like how the battle is going and what’s happening around us.

While the shield fighters stoically hold the wall together and endure the physical abuse of the front line without being able to take part in the fighting, and the spearmen happily generate offense from the relative safety of the third and forth ranks, the polearm fighters must remain flexible and active for the unit to function smoothly.

Within the framework of our shieldwall we expect every polearm fighter to not only be skilled with his weapon system but also willing to assume the role of sergeant within our command system.  The polearm fighter has been given a central position within the sub-units, which make up a shield wall or field formation.  As a result, for the unit to function well, the polearm fighter must assume leadership for his section of the line and coordinate it with the units around him, and the army as a whole.

With one to four shield fighters in front and one or more spearmen behind him, the polearm fighter must be willing and able to do more than just swing his weapon effectively. The shieldmen in close formation are blind as to what is going on around them and isolated from the command structure by the noise of the battlefield.  Most of the things they can do must be done slowly – up, down, march, turn, etc. – and need preparation before execution.  The polearm fighter must help direct his shieldmen as they move and to maintain their formation while moving or stationary.  The shields must be told what is going on around them and, whenever possible, what is about to happen.  The polearm fighter should relay commands from the rear to his shields and relay requests from his shield fighters to the rear.  Most important for the spirit of our army, when a shield fighter gets into trouble the polearm fighter must do everything possible to help him.  A polearm fighter who is perceived, as being “above” the level of his shieldmen will receive little support from the fighters around him and the unit will become a weak spot within our lines.

Whenever possible, a good polearm fighter will help his spearmen identify and eliminate potential threats on the other side of the line.  Combined attacks with the overhead threat of the polearm and the thrust of the spears can be a tremendously effective team.  The long weapons must function together and both fighters must realize “who has the shot” when dealing with enemy fighters.  Sometimes a polearm fighter will need to cover for the spearman while a long-range threat is dealt with, or the spearman should be blocking while the polearm is striking laterally down the line.  Communication between the two fighters is the key to working together effectively.

One of the important aspects of the Calontir fighting formation is the consistent rotation of fighters into and out of the front lines.  As a polearm fighter, whenever you step into the line, take a moment to assess the situation.  Check with the shield fighters, someone may have been asking for a replacement for several minutes and now is fast approaching exhaustion.  Know the names of your long weapon fighters around you and let them know you have joined them.  When possible, try to find out the general situation of the battle – are we getting ready to attack, awaiting a renewed attack, preparing to retreat or approaching desperation mode?

Another vital part of our unit philosophy is that within the army the skills required to be effective are not the same as those that make someone effective in individual combat.  Out best scutum and secondary shield fighters are not the sword and shield fighters who dominate the tourney field.   By the same token, the spear and polearm fighters who make the largest impact within our army may not be the people who are the most skilled with the individual weapons.  The Calontir army requires more than individual skill to function, it is our level of teamwork which makes us effective and gives us the ability to adapt to meet whatever new twist of the rules they devise.

Calontir has developed a very effective weapons mix behind our shield wall and with practice we can become even better.  We need to train our fighters to function at any position within our formations in order to grow in how we use the army.  From the commander to the newest fighter behind the shield wall, everyone should be familiar with the limitations and abilities of each position within our formation in order to better understand what we are capable of and what is not within our capabilities.

Staples of the Calontiri War Diet – Jenna’s Jerky

Article and Recipe by Mistress ‘Col. Jenna’ of Southwind, with foreward by Sir Halvgrim. Originally Published in the Bird of Prey Online, Volume 7 Jan-Mar 2003 Issue

I don’t know about you guys but when I am at war there is one food that seems to be the staple of my diet (I know there are others of you out there too!), Jenna’s Jerky.

In fact Jerky, Fighter Biscuits and Pop Tarts have gotten me thru more that one war when funds were low;) 

Now to be clear, I don’t mean I have lived off the Jerky she provides for the Army, I mean that I have used/tinkered with her recipe to make my own. If I can do it anyone can!  No real special packing and or storage methods are needed which is a real bonus IMO.  And i have even modified her original recipes and have come up with some real personal favorites that I could be glad to share with interested folks. (I personally like to substitute the Worcestershire sauce with A1 Bold and Spicy Steak Sauce in the Sex Red Wine recipe and my wife made a real good batch recently just using Italian dressing and a few spices, catch me at Estrella if you’d like to sample it;)!)

Anyway, for the past two weekends I (and the wife while I was at WWM) have been busy marinating and dehydrating so I wanted to include Jenna’s recipes just in case there is someone out there who reads this e-mag but didn’t know about Jenna’s online article.



Sex Red Wine Jerky*
the Calontir Army Standard
adapted from a recipe by Tamara Tysjachyvolosova 


When making jerky, obtain the leanest meat you can get your hands on, and cut it thin — 1/4” or less.  I have the luck that my butchers will slice it for me on their machine.  Slightly frozen meat is easier to cut thin, if you do not have a friendly butcher. (Keep your butcher friendly — bring them samples, and tip them occasionally.) Thinner slices dry crisper and keep longer, thicker slices are chewier but harder to dry properly and keep safely.  Tamara recommends brisket or flank cuts.  I use rump roast, and when I can eye of round.  For best preservation, trim off all the fat and ‘ooky bits’ you can, esp. if you are taking jerky to a hot war.  (I know only two people who like the flavour of rancid fat.)



The following marinade treats 3-5# sliced meat:


  • 1-1/2 cup (12 oz) soy sauce — I use low-salt

  • 1-1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce

  • 1-1/2 cup water, beer, or rich red wine — I use port

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1-1/2 teaspoons onion powder

  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke

  • 2 heaping teaspoons crushed red peppers


For tastiest results, mix the spices into the wine and steep for a week or so before using.


Put the meat in the marinade.  Cover, and refrigerate overnight.  As the spices may impart a flavour to plastic, watch what container you use.  I have a container that is used for nothing else.  Using paper towels or very clean cloth towels you don’t mind staining, blot the bejunders out of the meat strips — the dryer it is, the quicker it will dehydrate, and the less mess in your oven or dehydrator.  Lay the meat strips out on the racks, in a single layer with no overlaps.  Sprinkle with fresh black pepper if desired.


If you use an oven, line the bottom with foil or you will be very sorry.  Set the oven to 140 deg F.  Turn the jerky over every 2 hours.  It will take 8-12 hours total.


If you have a dehydrator, you will be much happier and make better jerky, as well as avoiding heating up the kitchen.  Set to 140 deg F and check every two hours.  If you have an air-circulating model you will not have to turn the jerky, and it will go much faster. 


The jerky is done when it turns very dark, oil beads up (on cheaper cuts), and it has a leathery flexibility that it will lose as it cools.  Gently blot the oil beads with a paper towel, and let cool before putting in a sealed bag or jar.  Keep out of excessive heat and light; do not refrigerate, as this will cause condensation when you take it out.  It should last 6 months but no one has ever managed to keep any around long enough to find that out!


One tip — beware of possible effects on pets and family members of the spices in the air.  They can be highly irritating to eyes and lungs if the jerky is spicy.  In the worst case scenario, my father once made a horribly spicy shrimp boil that hurt everyone’s eyes, and within 48 hours both our parakeet and my white mouse were dead.

Because a person newly or precariously on the wagon should not be offered anything made with alcohol or the flavor thereof, it is the our moral responsibility to make no more than 50% of the jerky with an alcohol-based marinade, and to offer an attractive alternative jerky at the same time as the alcohol-based jerky.  Because of this, and possible food allergies, the person handing out the jerky should announce what they have to offer.

The basis for this position on alcohol in food and the alcoholic is based on information from the University of Kansas Rainbow Alcohol and Drug Rehab Unit obtained in the late 1970’s, backed by two decades of personal experience.]

To make Lemonflepper Jerky, substitute 1-1/2 teaspoons of lemon pepper for the 2t crushed red peppers, and use water instead of red wine in the marinade.  This is the our non-alcoholic offering, for those who must or want to avoid even the flavour of alcohol, or who just like lemon pepper.

This and many other great tips for support of an SCA army can be found in Mistress Jenna’s article, “Running a Fighter-Support Field Kitchen” or by the name it has become more affectionately known by, “How to run a Soup

*‘sex’ refers to sextuple the original amount of pepper, ‘red’ refers to the type of pepper and the red wine