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General Organisation of the Order -- 9. Artillery Trains

by Bruce Heard

Siege weaponry generally consists of ballistae and blight belchers. The latter are heavy magical rods made of metal which can cause flesh and other organic materials to wither and die. Other siege weaponry is normally built on-site where needed.

A ballista crew consists of a sergeant skilled with artillery, and two pikemen to load and fire the javelins, guard the weapon, and handle the mules. The two crew, the javelins, spare parts, tools, and the ballista itself are carried on a wagon pulled by four mules. If necessary the ballista can be disassembled and carried on the mules along with supplies should the wagon need to be discarded (as may be the case with rough terrain).

The blight belcher crew consists of a Chaplain whose prayers are needed to fire the magical rod, two knights assigned to guard the weapon at all times, and two Serving Brethren help mount or dismount the five- foot-long, five-inch-diameter, metal rod. The weapon, its stand, and tools are transported inside a two-wheel case pulled by two horses. The Serving Brethren ride on the wooden case.

An artillery train is normally assigned to each Chapter, but may be repositioned elsewhere prior to a battle. An artillery train generally designates a unit of three ballista and one blight belcher, but it is sometimes reduced to a smaller detachment when some of the weapons remain behind with their original garrison. Knights Bachelor normally direct the fire from each artillery train, but otherwise take orders directly from the commander of the closest force (Vaward, Main Battle, or Rearward).