Rules of engagement

General

The battles of Mästerby and Wisby have never been reenacted this way before 2011. If we are going to pull it off in 2013, we need hundreds of participants with the right kind of gear – and we expect that all participants acquire the equipment necessary to be a part of this project. No person under the age of 18 may participate in battle.

These rules will be subject to some change.

We would like to point out that although the weapons used will be blunted, injuries are always a risk. Do not participate in the battles if you do not wish to put yourself at risk. Everyone participating in the battles does so at their own risk. Neither Battle of Wisby nor their partners may be held responsible for any injuries occurring during the event.

Battlefield organization

The two armies will be put together in May. With the aid of the photos submitted by our participants, we will divide the fighters into a Danish side and a Gotlandian side. You can read more about the battles under [About the battles > Mästerby or Visby].

The Gotlanders

This army will be put together according to medieval Gotlandian organization: A group or a person is put into a “Socken”. A number of those (“Socknar”) make a “Ting”. The “Tingen” form a “Setting” and two or three of those (“Settingar”) form the Gotlandian army, supported by light infantry, crossbowmen and other units.

The Danes

The Danish force is commanded by the Danish King, Valdemar Atterdag, his son Prince Christopher and his foremost knights: the Duke of Saxonia, Claus Limbek, Henning Podebusk and Valdemar Sappi.

Individuals and groups will be put together in units of different sizes, until they form a company. These companies will be lead by Valdemar’s trusted knights. The companies are reinforced by light infantry and horsemen.

Inspection

All fighters will be inspected. This is done because we would like to know how many fighters are attending in the end, that they have got all information they need and that their equipment is approved. Times for inspection will be posted later.

All participating fighters must attend battle practice at the time of inspection.

Battle rehearsal

The entire battle of Wisby will be rehearsed on the 14th of august. Exact time will be posted.

Categories

There will be a number of different categories of people on the battlefield.

Fleeing civilians (14th century clothing/equipment)
Will never engage in actual combat.

Light infantry (helmet)
Couriers, crossbowmen, bowmen, water carriers and soldiers participating as extras.

Horsemen (14th century clothing/equipment)
Danish cavalry plus Gotlandian soldiers riding to the battlefield.

Heavy infantry (helmet, gauntlets, weapons approved for fighting)
Participants engaging in actual combat.

Crew
Responsible for security and service to the audience.

Fleeing civilians

This group of participants will never be in any kind of fight. Participants could be women, men and children. This category exists to show that everybody is effected in an armed conflict. The fleeing civilians will leave the battlefield before the actual fighting beings.

Light infantry

Crossbowmen, bowmen, couriers, water carriers and soldiers participating as extras.This category will never be in any direct fight.

As a soldier participating as an extra you will make the battle appear more realistic by adding more people to the battlefield. You can portray anything from a peasant soldier with a spear to a cap-a-pie-armored nobleman.

Crossbowmen

According to Swedish law, it is prohibited to use crossbows against humans, even with blunted arrows. Because of this, crossbowmen will only fire towards areas unoccupied by people. If you are interested in participating with a crossbow, please contact: thomas@battleofwisby.com

Bowmen

– Bowmen can fire only when ordered to, and only at targets specified by the unit leader.
– Bowmen will fire at the same time, unit-wise. The opponents targeted must know that they are being fired upon, and when this happens.
– It is forbidden to fire at opponents engaged in close combat.
– Arrows must have good quality rubber blunts, that must not be placed over any kind of metal head.
– All arrows must be inspected by an official inspector prior to the battle. Arrows must be inspected continuously by the shooter and the unit leader to make sure that no cracks or damage has occurred to the rubber blunt. If the arrow is damaged it must be broken or put away.
– The arrows of a bowman must be marked with a personal mark – otherwise it will be impossible to tell which arrow belongs to which shooter when the battle is over.
– It is forbidden to fire at opponents not wearing armor. All targets must wear at least chainmail or a gambeson.

Clout shooting
Arrows must be fired at an angle of at least 45°. The average firing distance during the battles will be 100 m.

Direct shooting
Shooters allowed to fire directly at opponents need to pass a special shooting test.

Horsemen

Both sides will have horsemen. When you apply for the event, tell us which side you would rather fight on. We will do our best to meet your request, based on your skills, your horse and your equipment.

The Gotlandian cavalry

The horsemen on the Gotlandian side consists of Gotland locals arriving to the battlefield on horseback. When they have arrived, they dismount, and the horses will be taken to a safe area.

The Danish cavalry

The Danish cavalry will be divided into two groups. One of them will act as King Valdemar’s body guard, a unit that will ride behind the actual fighting zone. The other unit will be more involved in the battle, by riding in high speed along secured lanes in the battlefield, to show the effect of cavalry charges.

Heavy infantry

The participants in this category will take active part in the fighting.
– You may NOT engage non-combatants, light infantry or horsemen, unless specifically ordered to, and unless you have practiced this beforehand.

General battle rules

– The basic attitude in these fights should be that the fighting should be SAFE and FUN, both for audience and fighters.
The attitude is very important – the will to win no matter what will hurt people, and if that happens, you are in the wrong! All injuries and incidents will be investigated. After the fight, our aim is that everyone shall feel that the battle has been safe enough, and not too hard.
– The battles will be “semi-coordinated”. This means that troop movement and arrow shooting is coordinated, but the actual battle between the units will be “free”. If you fail to show respect and care for your opponents you may be banned from the field.
– Obey orders without question, and do not leave your unit without letting your unit commander know. This is important, as arrows will be fired at different areas, and cavalry units will charge the field. Your group leader needs to know exactly where you are to avoid injuries. If you fail to follow the orders of your commander, you may be banned from the field.
– Non-combatants, horsemen and light infantry may not engage in close combat with anyone. If you find yourself in a situation where this could be the case, heavy infantry units may make a mock “cut down”, where they pretend to cut their targets down. No physical contact whatsoever is allowed, neither with body nor weapons.
– All weapons (including knives) must follow the weapons regulation stated by the Battle of Wisby crew.
– It is absolutely forbidden to consume alcohol the same day as a fight or a practice fight (from 00:00 o’clock until the fight is finished).
– When arrows are being fired at your unit, your commander will shout ”Pilar!/Arrows!”. When this command is issued, look down into the ground. If you have a shield, raise it. Do not look up until the order ”Pilar slut/No more arrows” is issued. Never look up at falling arrows!

-You are not allowed to fight with your visor down against opponents with open helmets. A lot of people will have open helmets, and if all visors are up, visibility will improve greatly. Furthermore, you will probably be a bit more careful when engaging your opponents. All put together, this means a safer fight.
– If somebody shouts STOPP or HOLD, all fighting in the concerned units must stop. If an injury has occurred, shout ”Sjukvårdare!/Medic!” or ”Skadad!/Wounded!”. Never shout these words if there isn’t an actual injury.
– Take care not to step on fallen fighters.

Using your body when fighting

You may not take hold of an opponent’s weapon if it doesn’t have a wooden shaft. You may push or trip your opponent if this is done in a controlled, safe way.

The force of blows and thrusts

You blows should only be hard enough for your opponent to register them, and never so hard that there is any risk of wounding your opponent. You may not use any force against unarmored body parts, but if your opponent wears a gambeson or chainmail, you may use moderate force. You may hit harder only when your opponent wears plate or the like.

Allowed target areas

Thrusts

– The points of weapons used for thrusting must always be pointed downwards. When you thrust, you are only allowed to hit the torso below the V that is formed from shoulders to chest.
– Thrusts against neck or throat, hands, joints, groin and feet are forbidden. An accidental hit in these areas will not count as a hit.
– A thrust should be made horizontally or downwards – never upwards.
– Try not to hit the upper half of a shield – the weapon might glance and hit your opponent’s face.

Blows

– The whole body below the neck is considered a valid target area – again, except for neck or throat, hands, joints, groin and feet, which are off-limits. An accidental hit at these areas will not count as a hit.
– The head is considered an invalid target area by default, but may be allowed as a valid target provided that:
* Your opponent’s helmet is designed in such a way, and the angle of your blow is carried out in such a way, that there is no risk that the blow glances off the helmet and hits neck, throat or face.
* Even if your opponent takes a step back or turns his head, you would still hit the head.

Rules for specific weapons

Two-handed cutting weapons

– Take specific care not to use too much force with these.

Daggers/clubs

– Never use these weapons with force – it might severely injure your opponent.

Axe

– You are not allowed to use your axe to grapple clothing, armor or body. If your weapon gets tangled by accident, you must let go of it to avoid injury.

Taking a hit

Depending on what armor you wear, you have a different number of hit points. A soldier wearing only gauntlets and a helmet has only one point. If a fighter wears more armor, he will obtain more hit points. The exact amount of hit points will be notified later, but the maximum will range from 3-5 points.

A person equipped with the following will receive the maximum amount of hit points:
– Legs: Chainmail, splinted leg protection or plate legs.
– Body: Chainmail PLUS coat-of-plates.
– Arms: Chainmail.
– Head: Bascinet with aventail.
– Hands: Plate gauntlets with collar.

Even if you have additional armor compared to the above, you won’t get any bonus on your hit points.

Every hit you take spends one of your hit points. A hit by an arrow spends one point, although ricocheting arrows don’t.
If you withdraw from battle and are well out of harm’s way for 30 seconds (count to 60) all your hit points are restored.

If all your hit points are spent, you will “die” or get “mortally wounded”. We encourage you to act as if you were really dying. Screams and general theatrical behavior is a great plus and will be appreciated by everyone, your fellow fighters and audience alike!

If you “die” among other fighters, protect your head and lie on one side. Do not fall on anybody else’s upper body or head. If you have “died” or if you are “severely wounded”, you will remain on the battlefield until the battle is over, unless someone carries you off the field or you get a order to be ”alive” again.

If too few people in a unit “die”, the unit commander may order people to do so, to make the fight more realistic.

Measures taken if injury should occur

Immediate measures

– Make all fighting in the immediate vicinity of the injured person cease by shouting ”STOP/HOLD”.
– Make room.
– Perform first aid.
– Decide if you need to call a medic to your location, or if the wounded is fit to walk by himself to the nearest medic.
– If medics are needed, shout ”MEDIC”, and make sure that your unit commander is aware of what is happening.
– When the wounded is moved off the field, he must always be accompanied by a comrade. The unit commander must be informed about who is leaving, which type of injury has occurred, and whether the wounded is fit to walk.
– The overall battlefield commander must be notified as soon as possible.

Investigation following injury or incident

“Incident” means a situation that might have led to injury, but fortunately did not.

After the battle, there will be a follow-up on what happened. When someone is wounded, it is crucial that the person responsible is identified. The overall battlefield commander will appoint three people to perform the investigation.
These three will interview people who saw what happened, including of course the people directly involved.
The investigators will then present a written report. It must contain:

– Who was put in danger/wounded?
– Who was responsible?
– What happened?
– Why did it happen? I.e. was it an accident or did somebody act carelessly?

The overall battlefield commander will then decide the consequences, which may be any of the following:

– None.
– A warning.
– Battle practice with inspectors.
– The person responsible for the incident may not take part in any fighting for the rest of the event.
– The person responsible for the incident may never again take part in fighting among the groups following these rules.

/ Thomas Neijman, overall battlefield commander.