Scenario - March 2014

Western(esse) Martial Arts / Numenorean Martial Arts....

Combat and self-defense in Middle-earth

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Scenario - March 2014

Postby Greg » Sun Mar 02, 2014 11:20 pm

You are a party of 6. You can pick and choose what each party member is armed with, but you are limited to ONLY ONE of the following, per member, no limit on each toolset within the party, so you can't have an Archer who carries a Spear, etc. They're committed to whichever option you stick them with.

a) One 6' Longbow, and ten arrows; points can be whatever, within reason and the machinations of Men.
b) One Arming Sword and a 2' Diameter Wooden Round Shield with a Round Steel Central Boss (No Spiked Targes, etc.)
c) One 7' Spear and a 6" utility Seax

You find yourselves positioned by a large rocky outcrop on the shore of the arm of a lake. A party of orcs is en route to your position, their number UNKNOWN. You have been instructed to defend the beach against their landing at all costs. If they make the shore, fine...but they can't go far beyond that/escape, so you may choose to engage them exclusively on land if that be your preference. All that you know of their numbers is that they are divided among three watercraft of unknown size. The Orcs approach from the East, and will be beaching at the straight Western Shore shown near the center, a little south of the inlet at the bend in the watercourse.

Your job, as far as this thread is concerned, is to plan your defense, drawn in paint if necessary/you'd like, and display how you would best make use of your limited numbers to do as much damage as possible to a larger force using the tools at your disposal, in the face of a no-win scenario. You have 12 hours' notice, are not within reach of additional reinforcements or tools, but you have 20-30' of rope, and the means to cut timber if you'd like to build a bit...but bear in mind the terrain below, and understand the limitations of the timber displayed. 90% of the trees on screen are oaks, and what isn't trees is a mix of sagebrush and tall, dry grasses. This is a real location in the United States, so the scale in the bottom right is accurate. The brown bare patch at left-center is the rocky outcrop, and slopes smoothly on the southeastern side, but on the northwest side, which is somewhat shadowed, is actually a good 90' tall...just hard to tell from an aerial view. All shorelines slope to the water, varying from one foot of elevation gained every twenty feet from the water, to one foot every three feet from the edge.


Commence shenanigans.
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Re: Scenario - March 2014

Postby Peter Remling » Mon Mar 03, 2014 2:44 am

First each member of the party has the full compliment of weapons offered.

We gather all the deadfall, sagebrush and dried grasses we can find. Weave the dry grasses and sagebrush around pieces of deadfall apprxly 2-3' long. The 2 best archers will take all the arrows from all the other members. The two archers will relinquish their spears to the other members.

The two archers will stay up of the outcrop and shoot down at the orcs as their boats get within firing range. They also have a small fire going in a firepit and a stack of the woven deadfall/grasses/sagebrush for throwing down on the boats.

The other four will down where the orcs are to land with additional piles of the deadfall/grasses/sagebrush. The two with the longest reach will have the spears and the other two will throw the lite brush and eventually use their swords for thrusting.

The group of four will also have a semi circle of brush on the beach and as the Orcs advance they will retreat toward the outcrop, drawing the orcs they can light the semicircle of brush as a delaying tactic. Once the orcs get within range of the two archers, the archers will change to drop burning debris down once they have run out of arrows.

Hopefully at least one of the boats will catch fire before it reaches the beach and a good portion of the orcs will be shot by the archers.

That's about the best I can come up with.
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Re: Scenario - March 2014

Postby Odigan » Mon Mar 03, 2014 4:29 am

Given the intelligence provided, I would divide my forces into thirds. Two groups of longbowmen of two each (AA), one pair on the shore opposite (across the river) and another pair just north of the inlet of the anticipated landing site. The third pair remains ashore and will keep to the high ground, one armed with a spear, the other with sword and shield (SS).

Preparation will involve establishing an extensive "minefield" of Punji pits and man-traps (in yellow) within the perimeter of the woods at the edge of the landing site. Just beyond this dry grasses and brush will be collected (in red). If time permits, a second line of traps may be emplaced beyond this.

There will be no firing upon the landing craft until they've made the beach, and left to believe they will be met unopposed – if we're lucky they'll collect there and wait for everyone to get ashore before proceeding, which would be the optimum time to loose. The enfilade of fire from the opposite shores will (it is hoped) then drive the enemy into the cover of the woods, where they will be maimed and impeded by the traps. Conditions permitting, the brush can be set alight to slow or halt their advance deeper into the woods and keep them near the shore where they can be fired upon. Stragglers making it through or caught in traps to be dispatched by the shore party.

Once the archers have exhausted their arrows, they may choose to make their way across the river (or flank around to the West), possibly allowing them to set the landing craft adrift or inoperable if given the opportunity. Discarded arms should be available for their use for continued suppression.

With the limited number of personnel available, the only reasonable course is to keep the numerically superior force disorganized (which shouldn't be too hard... they're Orcs), and pick them off piecemeal. Keeping all six men together won't make much difference if it's a head-to-head fight, so better to multiply the perception of threat and hope for the best.
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Re: Scenario - March 2014

Postby Greg » Mon Mar 10, 2014 12:50 am

I felt that three archers, two spearmen, and one with a sword would be my preferred armament, for starters.

I intended to post two archers north, across the inlet, to hail fire in on the landing party after they became comfortable on the bank, and use that to lure them into the cover of the woods directly before them. At this point, a large tangle of dry bushes, wood, and grasses would be lit, hopefully enclosing them and allowing for surgical strikes with bows and occasional hand-to-hand encounters as dumber orcs attempted to brave the flames, etc. The Spears would essentially be for plugging up these holes, and the swordsman a backup for them should any get through and attempt to turn around and assert the spearmen from behind.

Looking back, I'm a bit more partial to Odigan's layout of pit traps prior to a fire line, as it provides a more hands-free approach to reducing some initial numbers drastically.

Any other thoughts?
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Re: Scenario - March 2014

Postby Arbellason » Tue Mar 18, 2014 6:13 pm

First The archers would have gathered a good amount of burnable materials to make fire arrows and the Spearman and swordsman would get a good layout of the beach and take up a good defensive position in the treeline. The archers would wait until the boats were in range then let loose enough arrows to make about 7 per boat Ideally the boats would catch on fire and drown the orcs and if any survived the archers would use the rest of the arrows to pick them off. The spearman and swordsman are just a precaution if the orcs where to get to land.
For some reason it wouldn't let me upload a picture of the plan :shock:
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Re: Scenario - March 2014

Postby robinhoodsghost » Sun Mar 30, 2014 7:12 pm

I would arm four archers with bows and arrows, these archers would be broke into 2 seperate locations in the highest points possible near the waters edge & they would stay concealed, with instructions to to engage the enemy when they are in the unboarding the boats, making that awkward transition from boat to shore. They would be told to make each shot count, no out of range long shots.

I would arm two rangers with sheild and sword to protect each group of archers.

The 12 hours prior would be used to prepare, by taking the rope and building dead falls, pit falls and snares, to help prevent flanking from the enemy. Each archer would be given a fire hardened oak spear, made from an oak sapling, for when his arrows ran out.

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Re: Scenario - March 2014

Postby Beornmann » Sun Jan 11, 2015 1:05 am

Scenario - March 2014

1 x The Archer with 10 arrows
2 x Spearmen
3 x Swordsmen
---The Pair (1 x Spear and 1 x Sword)
---The Trio (1 x Spear and 2 x Swords)
* The conundrum for me in this scenario is the lack of weapon diversity and the unknown enemy strength. I would think rangers would have multiple weapons, i.e. bow & spear, bow & sword, or spear & sword. Since we are limited on weapons carried and a low ammo count, I opted for more melee weapons.
* Sun Tzu’s energy management and organization of rank and file leads me to “One man is a single; two, a pair; three, a trio. A pair and a trio make a five, which is a squad.”

Fire Arrows: I think the flaming arrows and setting-the-boats-on-fire tactic is very sketchy. I want it to work and would employ this, but I have no experience, so cannot speak with authority and only speculate. With the limited ammo, the chance of hitting a moving boat and catching the wood on fire is too low compared to sticking them in orc-flesh for some damage. I don’t thing a boat will sink from the fire damage.
Flaming fire arrow test
How To Make Auto-Igniting Steel Wool Fire Arrows -modern battery used
Fire Arrows! - Video 25 – medieval
How To Make A Explosive / Flaming Arrow
How to make a flaming arrow

Conducting this defense is problematic; same as the issues I raised in another conversation regarding primitive ambushes. We associate range and damage with modern firearms and explosives, none of which we have available. We do not have the opening volley for producing massive casualties.

1. Establish brush barricade and abatises to channelize enemy movement to off-set our low numbers. We need to create one-on-one scenarios and delays through small opening.
2. Then, emplace booby traps, spiked-boulder swing, more booby traps, even more traps, and trip ropes, and punji stakes. I am biased towards caltrops in the defense, but these are not included in the scenario.
3. Gravity induced traps, such as rolling log or boulder cribs, and spiked-log swings.
*** This is a lot of work and I’m not sure how much one could do in 12 hours. Priority of work is in order of above.

The kill zone is a triangle pointing west, with the base of the triangle on the shoreline.

Archer positions up along the ridge, at the point of the triangle, which looks to be approximately 250 feet from the shoreline. . The Archer’s signal to commence firing is when the first boat hits the shore. At this point the ships are not moving and the crews are still packed together before they disembark and spread out on land. He fires only at densely packed crews on beached ships, switching to others as need, to maximize chance to hit targets. Next, if they spread out quickly, archers fire upon high-value targets, such as leaders or champions. His firing should draw orc forces to begin advancing up the sides to attack the threat.

The Trio, positioned on the northern tree line/ridge in a hide position, attack their weapon-side flank. When the forces turn to attack them, The Pair, positioned on the southern tree line/ridge, attack their rear.

After the archer expends all their ammo, he’ll trip the rolling logs, spiked log swings, and boulder-roll traps, as needed and opportunistic, careful not to hit friendly forces.

Since the scenario description is a DIP-mission, is gets bloody and not very promising. The rangers would need to stand their ground at some point. I would prefer a baited pursuit, hit-n-run tactic, allowing the orcs to continue chasing one group, while other engage, then melt away, to re-engage when the other group attacks, keeping the orcs running around chasing ghosts, like Rambo and the Sheriff’s men.
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