Brilliant Military Theorist Invents New ‘Rabble of a Thousand Dudes Fighting Each Other One-on-One’ Strategy
‘Tis called ‘innovation’
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In a move which may give His Majesty’s forces a stark advantage over His enemies in future wars, brilliant military theorist Thurstam Skjöldurhead hath developed an innovative new form of battle he calls the “Rabble of a Thousand Dudes Fighting Each Other One-on-One” strategy.
“The days of so-called ‘coordination’ and ‘planning’ and ‘any sense of coherent organization’ are a thing of the past,” spake Skjöldurhead. “The way of the future is a chaotic mess of knights charging forward into the fray and slashing randomly at whomsoever happens to be nearby.”
Skjöldurhead says the tactic becomes even more unstoppable when each warrior serendipitously meets head-to-head with his arch enemy and spends the majority of the battle locked in single combat, oblivious to developments elsewhere in the foray.
Despite its auspicious potential, early attempts to put the tactic to real world use have thus far proven inconclusive.
“Skjöldurhead’s ideas were combat tested in the recent battle of Bog Gulch, but we shan’t know for sure whether they were a success until we receive reports from the field,” spake Lord Marshal Chariulf Girthbraith. “Come to think of it, we haven’t heard reports from the field in many months and nobody has returned yet.
“No matter. I’m sure they’re fine.”
Criticks of the approach argue that utterly arbitrary and disorganized violence is a less than ideal way to secure victory, especially against an enemy who has in no way agreed to participate in such randomness.
“Clearly the future of war is not thousands of dudes fighting each other one-on-one, but hordes of thousands of dudes charging across an open field and smashing into each other in unison,” spake Lord Commander Jan von Jansonsonson, a critick of the tactic. “‘Tis more tactically sound, and much more fun to watch from the safety of a nearby hillock.”
For his part, Skjöldurhead admits his strategy is still in a developmental stage. He plans to refine it, he says, once he has seen a few hundred people die pointlessly whilst testing it out.
“We can always throw in a troll or two, or an arrow hitting somebody in the chest, for cinematic effect. Some of those details will be worked out in beta,” spake he. “We mostly use peasants for the testing phase anyway, so not really a big deal if they die.”
Addendum: Fighting Blind
In 1346 King John of Bohemia was 50 years old, and had been blind for a decade.
That didn’t stop him from fighting on the front lines (on the French side) at the Battle of Crécy during the Hundred Years’ War. After multiple bloody engagements in which the French knights were repeatedly driven back by the English, John the Blind refused to retreat. Instead, he sallied forth — blindly — into the fray, impelling his men:
Sirs, ye are my men, my companions and friends in this journey: I require you bring me so far forward, that I may strike one stroke with my sword.
Thus, his men all tied their horses to his, and they charged into battle together, whereupon John did, in fact, “strake a stroke with his sword” before he and his men predictably were all killed.
…they adventured themselves so forward, that they were there all slain, and the next day they were found in the place about the king, and all their horses tied each to other.
A contemporary Czech chronicler claims that John initiated the charge after the French had already retreated, in a tragic attempt to retain some semblance of chivalry for his side. Before the final assault John said to his men, according to Beneš Krabice z Veitmile:
Far be it from the king of Bohemia to flee, but lead me there, where the greatest noise of the conflict prevails, may the Lord be with us. Let us fear nothing, only guard my son carefully.
Following his death, John the Blind’s heroic if shortsighted actions were greatly respected by those on both sides of the conflict. His bones bounced around Europe for a few centuries before getting wrapped up in a political conflict between Luxembourg, Prussia, and Belgium in the 1800s. As he was originally from Luxembourg, by this time he had become a Luxembourgish national hero. In 1945 or 1946, the Luxembourg government repatriated his bones from Germany to Luxembourg in what at least one website calls a “cloak and dagger” operation.
Maybe that means they stole his bones from Germany in the chaos following World War II? I couldn’t find any details on the operation, but he’s in Luxembourg now.
From Jean Froissart’s Chronicles, https://ehistory.osu.edu/books/froissart/0104
Beneš Krabice z Veitmile, Chronicle of the Chruch of Prague. The only version I could find online is in Latin on a Czech website that looks like it hasn’t been updated since the ‘90s. I used Google Translate to translate it into English. http://www.clavmon.cz/clavis/FRRB/chronica/CRONICA%20ECCLESIAE%20PRAGENSIS.htm