Medieval War
What kind of battles work really well? How do you write war scenes? Ancient tactics, weapons, among anything else you could want! Share tips and ideas.
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Heatless Flame
Okay, so I'm writing a fantasy war story. What kind of tactics could I use? Generally good commanders use every element to their advantage, especially landscape. Do n ot deploy twenty heavy cavalry units to flank the enemy in a DESERT! Won't work. Archers in the back. Pikemen in the front. Feel free to add tips!
11/18/2006 #1
This topic could fill a library. In fact, the study of war does fill quite a few. This really should address questions one-on-one. PS. don't fight in a desert!
11/28/2006 #2
Jave Harron
Generally speaking, there's 2 views of fantasy medieval warfare. One is historically inspired. That means people march in lines (only way to ensure everyone is there in an age without radios), attack with bows, arrows, swords, polearms, and the like. Polearms would be great against larger creatures, or at least a unit of armored pikemen fighting them. The other is modern inspired, with magic supplanting technology. Magic can be used as artillery, communications, and supply lines. A single summoner or necromancer may be able to conjure up a whole army of magical creatures or undead. Likewise, spells can be used to disguise armies with magical invisibility, allow instant communications, teleport vast distances, and blast cities into nothingness. Likewise, magical creatures like dragons or griffins can supply air support. Sea serpents can be used as submarines. Fish-men can be used as marines to sneak aboard and steal enemy ships in port at night. Even with less magic, it would still excel in a guerrilla war. Perhaps a fantasy guerrilla army can be cell-based, with a summoner protected by a variety of defenders. The summoner is adept at conjuring monsters or spells to attack the occupying army's camps at night, then vanishing before they can do anything. A single cell-based revolt also makes it harder for the bad guys to rat out the whole resistance movement if one cell is captured/killed. Likewise, magical scrying might be able to find rebels more efficiently. Likewise, do not discount supply lines and logistics. Tactics and battle are only one half the war. Supply lines are an often underestimated part of a battle. Without water in a desert, an army will thirst. Without coats in the winter, they'll freeze. Without arrows, archers are useless. Perhaps wizards need some gems or other trickets for their powers to work. With summoning and magic, logistics is easier, as you can just conjure them out of nothing. Likewise, long supply trains would be inviting targets for guerrillas like I mention above. Those are two views of warfare, and perhaps you are in the center somewhere.
12/5/2006 #3
dbz 77
[q]Okay, so I'm writing a fantasy war story. What kind of tactics could I use? Generally good commanders use every element to their advantage, especially landscape. Do n ot deploy twenty heavy cavalry units to flank the enemy in a DESERT! Won't work. Archers in the back. Pikemen in the front. Feel free to add tips![/q] Does your story include cannon? (Cannons were used in Europe during the fourteenth century A.D.)If so, cannons can blast apart walls or enemy formations. Even if the combatants do not have access to cannons, mangonels can be used fore field artillery support or as siege weapons against heavy fortification. And of course, if the combatants in your story are assaulting a fortification, nothing beats a trebuchet. Artillery, of course, has to be protected by swordsmen and pikemen from flank attacks. Michael
12/5/2006 #4
the best thing to do is to write when you are mad to the point of breaking something or biting someone head off. That way you are in the mood to fight and so these ideas pop in your head and you don't mind killing people in your book. Also by the time the war or battle is over your anger is pretty much gone. This helped me write the best battle ever!!! then again it could be in my name? Laugh Always, Lusts for Battle
12/12/2006 #5
I would separate medieval soldier types thusly: Auxillary: The guys in the middle of the bunch. probably unarmored, have a shield (maybe) and a club/axe. They are the ones standing behind the stock inf. Defenders: Heavy defenders of positions, leadership, and possibly artillery or camp. Partial plate armor or mail and either sword and shield or maybe a halberd or glaive. Shock Inf: front line offensive foot soldiers, run into battle and clear out the first stock inf. Their goal is to punch holes in the enemies defenses. Armed with devistating weapons and light armor, ie. a doppelhander and leather vest. Storm Inf: follow the shock inf with the intent to wipe out the rest of the front line. They get in behind the pikes by following the shock and then go laterally to take out the rest of the pikes. Usually well armed and armored; probably a partial plate armor or mail, a long sword/axe/mace, and a round shield. Stock Inf: front line defensive foot soldiers, stand on guard usually packed tightly with highly defensive weapons like pikes. A formation of pikemen is called a phalanx. Light Inf: follow-up offensive, take out the rest of the squabble. usually lightly armored (leather) and armed with spears, axes, etc. Foot Archers: Lightly armed, have a bow or crossbow, ranged attack, usually stand behind allies while firing. (includes gunners) Cav Archers: Archers who get in close, shoot at the unprepared/important targets and get out. lightly armored. Lancers: light cavalry, armed with spears or possibly swords. their job is to get in fast or flank the enemy and get to their soft spots. Also, to fight other cavalry. Heavy Cav: heavily armed and armored. Full plate or mail, sword/axe/mace. Used like a hammer, to smash into something going upwards of 20mph with hooves pounding and steel flashing. Siege corps: run cannon and machines designed to take down or infiltrate a stronghold. ie. bombard cannon, trebuchet, catapult, siege tower, etc. Artillary corps: run cannon and machines designed to take out the enemy troops. ie. culverin cannon, ballistae, magonel Support: cooks, smiths, and carpenters Leadership: king, lord, captain, knight, etc.
12/12/2006 #6
Edron the Blue
I like battles with lots of different races duking it out. Also, other stuff needs to be going on during the battle. Those sneaky types don't just sit around and watch/hide. My only major, huge LotR-esque battle that I have in mind for Book II thus far consists of half a province worth of humans freshly transformed into magical constructs. They are badly outnumbered and the Empire and they allies go into battle confidently. Unfortunately, they were only a distraction. The real goal of the imprisoned villain was to give his necromancer enough time to sneak into the prison and supplant his diminished power enough to summon his Pit Oracles (evil fallen gods), Mala-Garm and Avis-Bvelg to come rescue him and crush the Imperial forces. He escapes, the troops are devastated and the story kicks off in full swing from there.
12/21/2006 #7
Hmmm... These evil gods seem to always be trapped and some evil person has to summon them out. How did all of them get that way? Answer: I don't know, but my main story is about someone who has to go around and lock the demons away for the first time. It's sad to think that all my character's hard work will someday be undone by an evil sorcerer. Oh well, at least we know that there will be some hero to lock the bad guys away again. \\// Atheneon
1/4/2007 #8
Johnathan Johnson
Don't focus too much on details through the whole war scene. Try to focus more on the moves and getting as much in as you can in a very understandable yet quick rate. This pumps people up without boring them with details.
2/12/2007 #9
I am a fairly new member, anyone can you tell me how to post stories. I know this sounds dumb but please
6/23/2007 #10
Heatless Flame
I sent you a PM regarding this, please PM for any further questions.
6/25/2007 #11
i have medevil weponds and could use some technique of these weaponds it's found at Also i have a question how to you edit alredy submitted chapters. Because i would like to add and fix my chapter one.
8/28/2007 #12
awilla the hun
I am compelled to answer this forum because my story is going to be largely based around soldiers (my main characters are conscripts) and warfare. On one side, we have the People's Republic of Rakarskia, a revolutionary human power with a standing army of flintlock musket and bayonet men, rifle armed skirmishers and snipers, plate armoured grenadier assault troops, various types of cavalry (from the light dragoons to heavy curasseurs) as well as heavy artillery. Whilst comparatively slow moving, the Rakarskian army marches into battle to the thunder of cannon fire, the rattle of musket and rifle volleys and the thunder of hooves. And on the other, the barbarian confederacy, the more stereotypical of the two factions. Tolkeinesque. Where they lack the raw firepower of the Rakarskians (and they do lack it. They have no blackpowder), they make up for in magic and speed. Why have heavy, oxen towed cannon of trebuchets when you can blow the wall down with one ferocious magical blast? And those muskets are going to be of little use when the cavalry hit that well ordered line. Admittedly, those musketeers would probably form square to deflect the horsemen. But the confederacy is a grand military alliance, and so have literally millions of men to hurly at the Rakarskian lines. Full scale battles between these powers are thankfully rare, but are shockingly bloody. Ideas for tactics? Oh, and change chapters by clicking the edit story button. It works on Fanfiction.
10/20/2007 #13
Jaded Aegis
i find wars are a bit hard to write, because you have to write aLOT but that could be me, I try to write animal/adventure stories. -------- War is a fun thing- A flaming log here, a trebuchet there, if I were to write a war, I might "invent" something based on already known technologies. Some races, such as dwarves, have their own style of battle. Dwarves, prefer 2-handed axes, and they chop anything that comes near their massive mountain of mining operations. if anyone here has played WoW go to Ironforge. I don't know a GW equivalent becuz I jsut started GW but anyway-- Guess what I'm trying to say is- some races have their own style of battle, others refer to history, and some -like gnomes- refer to incomprehensibly complex technologies. so, play to your species strengths. I g2g someone needs this computer lol
1/17/2008 #14
In an attack on an urban setting(Like a fortified city) in the days before cannons and explosives, there are quite a few tactics one would employ: 1. Siege. Simply have your army cut off all supplies to the city, and wait for them to either starve or give up. This is the most obvious and arguably most effective if you have dominance over the area. It's also a good one to write, as siege battles that either go into passes or fight in the streets are entertaining to read. 2. Infiltration. Have an elite sabeteur slip into the city and wreak havoc on important buildings like water distributing facilities and temples to break enemy morale and halt production. 3. A "French Dig". These are commonly done just before a battle takes place in an extremely well fortified position. Soldiers first dig tunnels below the walls of the enemy city, then place wooden supports below it as they expand below the base of the wall. Once a sizeable portion of the wall has been dug under, oil or another such tinder is laid around the wooden supports that hold the wall up. The tinder is lit, burning up the supports and forcing the wall to collapse under its own weight.
3/5/2008 #15
Azar Shamira Malak

I love writing battle scenes! The best way I write them is by placing myself in my characters shoes. Imagaing how to move, what chocies seem best, how quickly.

Use the surrondings! Like if it is in a forest, shoot from the trees, and dodge, and hide. Use rivers, and lakes to trap, or flee, or confuse the enemy. You can also easily outflank the enemy in certain situations, if you use the enviroment properly, and can use the enemies weakness of not knowing the land too! Also use spooky surrondings to scare the enemy. Psychological warfare was huge during the medieval period. For instance the Vikings painted their shields a certain way, like an optical illusion so that the people attacking them would hit the weak spots.

Tar, straw, catapults, equals great balls of fire that can cause huge amounts of destruction! Because of certain surrondings, fighting styles, and living situations, the culture would also be affected. So make sure the people from your story, match up to the culture, and surrondings. For instance, Dont have a nomadic tribe of people that usualy fight on horseback, and not have the women know how to ride, or fight.

Also dont forget about the falcons, hawks, and dogs. Falcons, and hawks make excellent hunters, as well as delivering messages, and or knowing where the enemy is. Same for dogs, but can also use them for attacking.

Biological warfare was also huge, especally during seiges. Nothing stops a seige more then the town that is under seige dies from a diease. (the morguls were thought to introduce the black plauge into europe, by catipulting their dead comrades who had the plague into a castle near the black sea. The people who fled from the castle, were said to board ships bound to Italy, and Europe.)

Its really fun to act out the different scenes, and learning more about combat, and how they did it back then.

8/11/2008 #16
Azar Shamira Malak

like my other post. Flanking, alot of it! And as for the Rakarskia, use what the native americans did with the french in the french and indian war. Use guerrila warfare. Because by the sounds of it, the Tolkeinsque, sound alot like the British Empire, and they proboly fought with "rules", or in lines and bright red uniforms, when the indians, and french picked them off behind the trees. Also it sounds like you may not want so much open field, march, line battles. Maybe some ambushes, some inflitrating, and so forth might be better for the Rakarskia. Like and underground work.

The flintlock musket and bayonet men might also want to fight when the air isnt so wet, so it would be eaiser to fire. So maybe more picking and choosing their battles. I dont know. Its your story, but if you have any more questions, I would happy to help!

8/11/2008 #17

I'm afriad I must disagree with you Azar on the point that a woman may not know how to ride or fight. Sure that's the way it was in most cultures, but there were some where the women were the warriors. In a fantasy you can decide what the culture is like, and if the author wants the women to be able to fight than so be it. As this is a thread on tactics, I believe we should keep culture out of it as much as possible, unless it directly interferes with military tactics.

1/7/2009 #18
Azar Shamira Malak

I think you missed my point. I said, dont have the nomadic tribes, or people not usually fighting on horseback, and not having the women know how to ride or fight. What I meant by that was in most nomadic tribes, the women had to know how to ride and fight, as there culture and lifestyle demanded it to be. So it would not be right if the women didnt know how too.

But I have to disagree on the fact about the culture. The culture is REALLY important, especially when it comes to the warfare. The moguls used the first calvery in history, and used it very succesful against the roman empire because the culture, and tactics of the roman empire did not use horses as well, or as much as the moguls. The reason why most women did not fight in the ancient greek empires was because their culture did not let them. The women in Japan had to learn to fight when there men were away for months to years at a time in warfare. Again their culture had demanded it of them.

The crusades is a huge example of two cultures clashing together. The Europeans have never seen the middle eastern culture, nor their warfare before. The swords, the calvery, the different tactics like flanking and even the open feild battles where extremly different then the ones in the Europe. After the first cursade, the Europeans had to adapt the fighting ways, and the armor of the Middle easterns, as the Europeans were not used to the desert, basicly roasting in their plate armor compared to the light armor of the middle easterns.

Culture is the making of human beings in order to survive. It is a formula, or system that a certain group of people form in order to survive. And to say that culture and warfare is not directly intergrated is to say that the thumb is not part of the human body.

Im not trying to be mean, and if I sound like it I am reaaaaallllly sorry! As a fellow writer I just want to tell you this since I dont want any of your work, or anyone elses work to be completly bashed! In order to write, you need to know what you are writing about. Reserch is very important, and if you have anything to discount me on any of this, I greatly encourage you to tell me this! I am not looking for aurguments, just comparing ideas and learning more information.

Again I am sorry if I sounded mean in any way, I did not intend it to be!!!!

1/7/2009 #19

I don't think your being mean for the record. This is simply a mature debate. And I also misread what you had brinted about women and I apologize.

However, as for culture and warfare, I am fully aware that they are linked in many many ways. However, what I was talking about specifically was tactics. Tactics may be different between some cultures, but at the same time they are not. Greeks, Romans and Dark Ages Britain all had different cultures, yet they all used a very similar tactic for their infantry which was the phalanx, turtle or spearwall which are all different names for what is essentially the same thing.

Even as you said, in the Crusades the Europeans adopted many tactics from the Middle Easterns to be able to fight them on their own turf. While their tactics had been very different due to environment, they adapted despite it being tactics used from a different culture.

Tactics, while linked to culture, are not hand in hand like warfare itself. I also meant that culture should not be discussed unless it has a direct impact on the tactics used by the forces in whatever story you should be writing.

1/7/2009 #20
dbz 77

However, as for culture and warfare, I am fully aware that they are linked in many many ways. However, what I was talking about specifically was tactics. Tactics may be different between some cultures, but at the same time they are not. Greeks, Romans and Dark Ages Britain all had different cultures, yet they all used a very similar tactic for their infantry which was the phalanx, turtle or spearwall which are all different names for what is essentially the same thing.

Which does make sense. Cultures which use ineffective tactics tend to lose wars.

Look at the Japanese campaign in New Guinea for an example.


1/8/2009 #21

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6/11/2010 #22

Ok, so, what you need to do is:

1: Go to document manager. Click on the "edit" button.


3: Go to "my stories", then click on content/chapters, and delete your current chapter one, then add the new one.

7/13/2010 #23
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