Friday, 14 April 2017
Details Of War
In Chapter Eleven, p. 293, eight hundred archers shoot two hundred arrows per second. In less than a minute, ten thousand arrows are aimed at one hundred attacking men and their horses. Some of the remnant are shot in the back as they retreat.
In Chapter Seventeen, p. 461, nine hundred "kiltie" archers shoot a hundred and thirty thousand arrows in ten minutes at a thousand Portlander men advancing shoulder to shoulder. In fact, their commander, the Marchwarden, sent the infantry in first "'...to soak up arrows.'" (p. 463) Thinking that the kilties are now short of ammunition, he leads a cavalry charge and the enemy indeed retreats. Breaking through two fences, the cavalry charge into long steel points while nine hundred enemy bowmen, no longer retreating and not short of ammunition, resume shooting at close range. The Marchwarden takes an arrow in the eye.
I said here that Poul Anderson describes space combat as if from experience. SM Stirling seems to have experienced medieval warfare. He tells us that it is difficult to get dried and set blood out of fine machining or a scabbard. I believe it.