Surprise! An Early Chapter before US Thanksgiving Holiday!
You did not expect me to go full battle-oriented chapter I appreciate several GA authors for their understanding of history and military tactics. I enjoy writers who create scenarios for sea battles and squad-based combat scenarios, but I seldom read anyone explore the gritty battles of defense and tactics that I displayed here. Outnumbered 3:1 on the battlefield with inferior firepower, most modern folks would consider this a lost cause, but it all depends on what opportunities you can generate. Troop morale is important, including giving a few teenagers some ale 😮 (If the youngest age of soldiers in medieval European battles was 12, let's not be prudish and deny these brave lads a drink). Also, medieval people were not stupid about their alcohol consumption as some authors and TV shows depict wanton drunken disorder among troops, you want your army to be well-fed with bread and fatty foods. Skillet bread and lard (pork fat) cooked mutton (lamb meat) would be common. Eli has a lot of knowledge in his head and understands the way to an army's loyalty is through the stomach.
The battle I cited as inspiration did occur in history, several of GA's Authors with historical backgrounds know the Siege of Vienna in 1529 was a major turning point in the 16th century. It showed the limits of gunpowder technology against a dedicated siege defense, the impressive durability of trench lines and traps (which would play roles up to World War I stalemate on the Western Front), and the forces were outnumbered 10:1 with the Ottoman Empire having won many battles and Europe's Christian forces on the brink of collapse. The victory at Vienna was implausible to outsiders, but the military tacticians learned many valuable lessons about defensive warfare in the age of gunpowder.
As for the trenches, if the opponents were armed with Blunderbusses aka primitive shotguns, then you want to limit their range and slow their advance. A direct charge against arrows could be countered with Mantlet, a mobile wooden wall carried by infantry to protect against arrows, but firing arrows and incendiary traps like gunpowder and combustible would cause your enemy's forces to fracture. Of course, the best way to counter people with trenches is to soften them up with artillery before an infantry assault.
On the other side, Eli developed the Stokes mortar, the famous British-designed mortar that we know as the first modern mortar during World War I. The fair folk technology level is equivalent to late 19th to early 20th century weaponry. Mortars are by nature cheaper than heavy artillery pieces like Howitzers and field artillery pieces, plus they're lightweight makes them a good support fire control weapon. Tactically, Eli is forming his future army under the principles of an agile fighting force to counter the more bulky mechanized units. This is why squad warfare became paramount in modern wars, rather than large scale collective group breakthrough tactics.
Additionally, he is championing the early development of a dedicated medical corp. These kinds of specialized troops would not see the battlefield until the 19th century in history. By introducing them so early, he wants to keep his more experienced troops alive and have an officer corps from the veterans. It's also useful to have medics to assist allied troops and civilians, with whom you are trying to gain favor.
The law of power from Robert Green is the 9th law “Win through actions, not through arguments”. One of the things that many writers including me do a lot is play the "Socrates" card of trying to convince people with arguments. The concept is best illustrated by Henry V's famous St. Crispin Day speech can best be compared to this rule. However, if your army was demoralized and unhappy, no pithy speech would be enough to get them to your side. The actual action of getting food and wine would lift the soldiers' spirits, while a sound tactical plan would improve the officers' hopes for victory.
My point here is to show a different way of dealing with problems.
1. Battlefield-wise, no one knows in history why Robert Kett gave up Mousehold Heath high ground for lower terrain in his final fight with John Dudley's army outside Norwich.
2. The longest effective range of Blunderbusses is 30 feet, based on the 19th-century model before the advent of breach-loaded shotguns.
3. Rockets were used to illuminate nighttime battlefields to allow artillery to properly target at night, along with continuing night ground assaults.
4. "Over the top" is a famous idiom that is synonymous with World War I. Since I wrote a battle in the trenches, it was my tip of the hat to folks in that bloody conflict.
As a Bonus for this chapter, I'm going to add some illustrations:
Here is John and his teenage friends going "Over the Top"
Here's a scene of the Earl's army being bombarded:
Edited by W_L