Friday, 3 September 2021

Sealed Knot Muster


Heading up to the Peak District for the Bank Holiday weekend we suddenly found ourselves driving through a huge ECW encampment. Apparently the Sealed Knot was having their largest muster for 18 months. Luckily the friends we were staying with were up for it, so the next day we returned at 2pm to see the battle.

I'm guessing there were around 2000 re-enactors involved, it certainly had scale. The commentary was really good and the battle well choreographed for the crowds. The commentator had to keep apologising for the fact that the soldiers were grinning not grimacing - it was their first time on the battlefield for ages!

I got lots of nice photos, of which a selection are below. Really want I wanted to do those was speak to the reenactors about how real ECW battles went down at the individual man level.

We know that real push-of-pike was nothing like this (but still quite impressive when one side topples over!), so its was great to chat to 4 or 5 of the reenactors to get their views. The main points were:

  • Units closed to 20-50m to fire their shot
  • If it was just pike vs pike they'd probably just stand and look at each other, neither wanting to go in 
  • Shot running out of ammo may have been the trigger for the melee
  • Once the advance to contact starts then just as I have in SLS/WDBTT it was often decided by resolve not fisticuffs, one side deciding it didn't want to stay to fight
  • When it came to push-of-pike it probably only lasted 30-60 seconds. Shot might have been firing or might just be careering into the melee. If push-of-pike is only brief makes no difference to the rules.
  • Once in melee pike probably drew their (useless?) swords. Using a 16' pike in a close-up melee is never going to work. They may have held their pike upright and then used their free hand for the sword - but that means their stuck to the spot and at risk of overbalancing. More like (my interpretation) they dropped their pike once the melee started and relied on the sword.
  • When the loser was obvious the loser would be most unlikely to take their pikes with them - which makes sense if they've dropped them for the melee. Most casualties in the battle came from the pursuit, and you can't run fast with a 16' pike!

So all that probably confirms my thoughts and I'll tweak WDBTT (We Die By These Things) accordingly.

Now for the photos..

The guy in the grey coat seemed to be one of the main choreographers

Even with this few people on a windy moorside smoke soon obscured views

Cavalry menaces pike

Each side had 3 or 4 guns

Flourishing the ensigns to taunt the enemy

The Kings Guard - an elite Sealed Knot unit

Nice muzzle flashes

A flash in the pan?

At least I know have a good set of images for any future ECW rules/scenario publication.

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