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The Eleventh Year

Caid Rebellion -- Rieslingshire
May 15, 1976

Held on a field East of Fresno, CA. At opening court King Paul gave Awards of Arms to Charles of Dublin, Charles de Pouen, Guy Marchand de Montvert, and Robear du Bois. The forces of Caid, led by Prince Gregory of York, formed themselves at the bridge. King Paul led the Northern forces toward the bridge and demanded that Caid yield. When this was refused he ordered the attack. After a long and bloody hour of fighting the bridge was taken at last.

Of the fifty fighters that the kingdom army had started with and the thirty seven that Caid had begun with, all that was left were two Kingdom fighters as had happened before at the last rebellion. Once again one of them was Sir William the Lucky, holding the Kingdom Banner. Then the forces of Caid formed themselves into a line in a nearby field. The kingdom forces also formed a line and charged. King Paul led the massed Dukes and senior knights in a charge around the right flank that broke through and surrounded the Caid forces. They were soon killed to the last man. After another pause the forces of Caid made a last stand at a castle near the bridge (made of bales of hay). The kingdom forces advanced from two sides behind shield walls and engulfed the castle. Thus the kingdom forces emerged victorious.

[Once again one of them was Sir William the Lucky, holding the Kingdom Banner.] “Unlike the previous year, both sides brought disciplined, formed-as-units troops as well as the usual warrior types to the rebellion. Caid continued its pattern from the first rebellion with excellent team coordination. The Royalists countered with (1) superior numbers (rumor had it that Caid hoped to field at least 80 fighters ... the Earl Marshal panicked the Mists into scrounging up 65), (2)equality in pole weapons (including formed units such as the Golden Rivers Glaives) and at least two trained shield wall units using scutum (30"x42" rectangular) shields (Southern Shores and Rieslingshire).
     “The bridge battle was as bad as described, the only reason that some of us are still breathing is John ap Griffith's ability to shout "HOLD!" loud enough to halt aircraft overhead in their flight.
     [They were soon killed to the last man.] “This recounting actually glosses over some rather good tactics Caid formed up with a solid mixed battle line anchored with steady experienced fighters on their right (WK left) flank and a mobile reserve stationed behind their left. The Crown forces countered with an almost identical line formation, the difference being that the close reserve on the left was composed of junior knights and senior squires. King Paul held a strategic reserve of nearly a dozen Royal Peers and very senior knights around him on the slope above the battle lines. When the lines engaged and Caid tried a single envelopment to their left, he led us down the hill in a counter-envelopment that wound up (about the time of another of John's [no one could see or breathe] "Holds!") sandwiching the remaining Caidan forces against the remnants of our left flank from behind).
     [Thus the kingdom forces emerged victorious.] “The castle battle was quicker but just as uncomfortable as the bridge. This time, through the evening after the fighting, we all stayed in camp together and partied and re-hashed the action.
     “If Jon can relay this to Brian, he can give us his recounting of things in the field battle, where he was one of the experienced fighters holding our left flank. (His story of watching the dust settle and realizing that they were facing TWO ranks of fighters still sticks in my mind.)” – Kevin Peregrynne

“This is the article I wrote for the Crown Prints, shortly after the event. I am glad Fredrick found it as I had forgotten writing it. I will add a bit more detail at the end.

On the 15th of May Rebel Forces under Prince Gregory of York marched into Rieslingshire, hoping to crush the Loyalist Forces before the rest of King Paul's army arrived. Had the Rebels arrived a day sooner, they might have succeeded, but Paul arrived the night before with a large army. Although Caid mustered a record 36 fighters, King Paul's army totaled 52 fighters, 6 of whom were Dukes. Cleverly observing that he was outnumbered, Gregory, aided by the noted Rebel, Baron Sir Hugh the Undecided, chose to defend a bridge just south of Rieslingshire. Much to the Rebel's concern, the King's army slowly advanced behind a shied wall, over the top of which a vast array of pole arms protruded. Despite the North's large numbers and shield wall, the fight was long, hot, fiercely contested, hot, dusty, and hot. After more than an hour of fighting 2 Loyalist fighters had uncontested control of the bridge. However, by the time Paul's army had licked its wounds and began to march South, Gregory & Hugh had rallied 29 Rebels to meet Paul's army in the open field. The King faced the main Rebel line with his unbelted fighters & shield wall, then led all six Dukes plus other knights in an attack on the Rebel left, which gave ground and was overrun. Meanwhile the main line was cut down one by one from the left. The surviving Rebel forces finding themselves surrounded, charged through the Loyalist main line and rallied into a small group, which was promptly butchered by King Paul's army. Paul's army then spent so much time celebrating their victory that Gregory & Hugh were able to rally about 25 survivors at a nearby castle. As soon as King Paul noticed this last act of defiance, he marshalled his army and sent them over the battlements behind their shield wall, where their mass was sufficient to push many defenders off the battlements into the courtyard below. The question of rebellion having been definitively settled beyond any reasonable doubt (for this year, anyway), the populace returned to camp to bathe in the stream, have dinner & sing around a campfire. A small pack of die~hard crazies fought challenges Sunday morning presumably having found parts of their bodies that were neither sore nor bruised. P.SAt Opening Court, Awards of Arms were given to Charles of Dublin, Charles de Rouen, Guy Marchand de Montvert & Robear du Bois. Robear du Bois (Bob Wood)
     Baron Fredrick of Woodlyn
     aka Woody Hendrick
“Kevin's comment about a rumored Caid Army of 80 is due to a phone call our ever-helpful principality seneschal, Fiona MacGregor. We had recently held a fighting practice for the war, with a turnout of over 25 fighters, a very large number then. There were also an unusually large number of noncombatants at this practice, which was what lead to Fiona telling someone in the Bay area that we must have had 80 people at our last fighting practice. She thought it was good psychological warfare, not realizing she was setting up Caid for its worst defeat in a field. We had never seen a shield wall before, and it seemed that there was no end to it or the polearms behind it. I only remember one incident from this battle. I was fighting from the hay bales that made up the right side of the bridge and trying, without success, to kill a fighter in a red helmet who was being very effective with his spear. He finally stepped back from the battle line to rest, and turned to talk to the man next to him. He was near the end of the shield wall, and I knew if I could get 6 feet closer I could kill him, so I threw myself down on my knees and left hand, thrusting with my right and hitting him in the side of the head. I managed to crawl back into our lines without being hit, I think due to the protection of the Western shield wall. This was a very hot and dusty fight, and the bodies were left where they fell until almost the end, when they were allowed to get up and leave. I commanded the left flank unit in the field battle, with Sir Thomas the Merciless, Maihee MacFergie, Patrick of Innisfree and two others (possibly Guy de Montfort and Oberon). We saw an incredible number of white belts lined up opposite us, so we took a position wide on the flank, to give room to maneuver. After the battle Paul told Martin that he decided that Houghton didn't have enough men to envelope the main line and deal with the flank unit, so we had cooked our own goose by starting so far from the line. Paul lead his formidable group against us, and there was nothing we could do but fall back till we reached the flank of the line. Once we stopped to fight it was over in seconds. William the Lucky knocked me over (so I would leave Paul alone he said later), and I crawled back to where I could stand up safely, and found I was now almost behind our right flank, and that Maihee was the only man left facing Paul and his host. Houghton's group had killed almost half the line, and Paul's group was now directly behind and within 10 or 15 feet of the rest of the line. Fortunately a hold was called at this point, and we could see our position was hopeless. When they called lay-on, I charged through the Western left flank, aiming for a polearm's man who promptly disappeared. The next few fighters I saw were Caidan, other men who had broken through the line so they could live for another 5 or 10 seconds before being hunted down and slaughtered. Kevin came charging along, and I sidestepped him, but couldn't avoid James Greyhelm who was close behind him. James' second blow was a wrap, which killed me. I think Martin was the last man standing from Caid, which, of course, attracted the attention of a lot of people. Not the sort of attention one really seeks. The tactics, organization and execution of the Western Army were flawless. The castle battle seemed like a futile exercise. There was no way to stop the West after the field battle. The shield wall negated the advantage the haybale walls gave, and the length of wall was too long to defend against odds of almost 2 to 1. You learn more by losing a war, and Caid would learn a lot from this war. We had a lot of fun (well, most of it was fun), and looked forward to the next rebellion. Unfortunately some people thought we were serious about it being a rebellion, and this would be the last war to be called a rebellion.” – Robear du Bois
“I remember that blow! But what I mostly remember was the huge grin on Robear's face- probably because I wasn't some huge dude with glaive or something, and didn't hit him too hard ... That was a really righteously cool war.” – James Greyhelm

[About the Rieslingshire Shield Wall.] “This new SCA tactic came about because of two influences in Riesling society. 1st the movie ZULU, a favorite of the group, inspired us to develop group tactics. 2nd Mistress Amanda of Cawdor was writing her first novel and it had a Roman theme. So we were inspired to develop group tactics and the roman infantry weapons and tactics we adopted seemed to work best for a group with mixed levels of fighting skills and experiences. Along with the large scutums the shield men were armed with short swords with thrusting tips. Duke Douglas because of his height directed the troops from behind the wall with his pole arm. Sir Ian, Sir Lodbrog, and I were the fire brigade in case anyone broke through the line.
     [About the 2nd CAID Rebellion Bridge Battle.] “We had been practicing for months, since we had gotten word that CAID would be there in mass. It was decided to use two large fighters Olaf the Medi-Ogre, and a non-Rieslinger, Warren the Strange in the front line to bust open a Killing Zone. Instead, they both died immediately and formed an impenetrable wall between the two forces. Since we were trying out the rule of not removing the dead, except for emergencies, they stayed there forming the base for an ever-enlarging mass of bodies. One of my clearest memories of this battle was of Robear and Sir Hugh standing on the hay bales that formed the bridge walls and slamming the front loyalist lines with bee hive pole arms. These large pole arms had a large ball-like end and were used in a full 180 degree arc. When I stepped back out of the line for a breather my knuckles were bleeding through hockey gloves and a shield from their blows. It was because of this battle that the swing of pole arms was limited.” – Rand of Dunbar

“I think the decisive factor that caused me to promulgate the 90 degree restriction was still photos of this battle that clearly showed the heads of the mauls trailing the users' hand grip by at least 30 degrees of arc. The leverage exerted was scary.” – Kevin Peregrynne

Description of this event, © Copyright 1980 by William R. Keyes (Wilhelm von Schlüssel)
This is from The History of the West Kingdom, Volume 1 (the only volume produced). When reading this text, please keep in mind the following disclaimer:

Disclaimer: This history may have errors in it, as much of the detail is “remembered” history, or as one of the cover pages of the original type-written manuscript states “The material within is derived from the information printed in The Crown Prints and in The Page, and from the memories of the participants.” The original document was typed on onion-skin paper, with hand-written notes (often in the margins). All attempts have been made to reconcile the notes with the original document.

Annotations, when they are added, are from The Annotated History of the West, Volume 1, which is the same text as Master Wilhelm's mentioned above, with commentary from members of the SCA who were active at the time of the event, and are added to help clarify questions and expand on what happened and why. This volume is copyright © Ken Mayer (Hirsch von Henford).

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