Wall of Swords

The purpose of the Wall of Swords lesson is to learn how to implement the Wall of Swords tactic to defend a choke point against a larger force.

For Teachers

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Wall of Swords

The Wall of Swords is an Order of the Rose creation, designed to be a barrier. It’s typically used on bridges or in corridor fighting due to the finite amount of space and maneuverability. 

The idea is by having some fighters kneel (typically with short swords) and other fighters stand between them (typically with long swords), you create a double layer of swords. 

The kneeling fighters focus on defending the wall and keeping the opponents’ blades busy or attacking legs and arms. The standing fighters focus on picking off enemies who get too close to the Wall.

Basic Wall of Swords Setup
Two common situations while performing a Wall of Swords

Basic Wall of Swords Setup

Have fighters sit or kneel in a line until the available space is filled. Afterwards, have the remaining fighters place their lead foot between a pair of kneeling fighters. This is important because it allows the standing fighters the maximum amount of range while remaining in a position to defend the kneeling teammates. If there are any remaining members of your team who are unable to fit in the Wall of Swords, they should wait and fill in spaces as they happen.

Performing a Wall of Swords

The Wall of Swords is a Defensive tactic that is useful against a Falling Wedge and Rush Attacks because of the kneeling fencers who are in the way. After setting up a Wall of Swords, the main goal is to let your enemy come to you. Reckless Cowboys should not be part of a Wall of Swords. Each fencer is waiting for an opponent to get too close and will either be attacked from below or attacked from above. Any gaps that form should be filled in quickly by teammates who are standing by.

Situation 1

The enemy is focusing on the kneeling fighter. As they strike at a kneeling fighter, either standing fighter should be waiting to reach out and kill them. The kneeling fighter will be focused on defending himself and blocking the incoming blade which will leave the enemy open for the standing fighters.

Situation 2

The enemy fighter is focusing on the standing fighter. The kneeling fighter’s responsibility is to defend his teammate, so he should either intercept the incoming blade with his own or strike at his opponent’s outstretched arm or leg.

Attacking a Wall of Swords

Similar to a Kill Pocket, your goal is to pick apart the Wall quickly and push through the Wall before the enemy can regroup. This can happen through a committed effort to press your opponent’s and kill as you can in a short period of time. When that opportunity arises, you should be able to push through and kill any remaining opponents left in the Wall of Swords.

Teacher Resources

Explain

Explain the following parts of performing a Wall of Swords. Emphasize that the Wall of Swords tactic requires a very narrow space and is most effective in a corridor or on a bridge.

  • How to setup a Wall of Swords
  • How to perform a Wall of Swords
  • How to attack a Wall of Swords

Demonstrate

Demonstrate the basic setup of a Wall of Swords. Point out how to address the line and keep everyone in the Wall of Swords effective. Demonstrate what to look for when faced with a Wall of Swords and how find its weak points.

Guide

After demonstrating, form a Wall of Swords with the assistance from several Swordsmen, depending on the number of students. Utilize the following drill to practice:

Wall of Swords Drill

Working as a group, the students will form a Wall of Swords along a bridge or corridor and defend a point against an opposing army. The opposing army should perform a basic push against the Wall of Swords while the students defend. After the students successfully defend the point, address the line and then switch roles.

Enable

At this stage, each Novice should be able to recognize and participate in a Wall of Swords on their own. Run through the following challenge before finishing:

Wall of Swords Challenge (Facing the Wall of Swords)

Working as a group, the students should form a Wall of Swords, facing a group of Swordsmen. The students will attempt to defend a point with a Wall of Swords while the Swordsmen attempt to break through their line. After the students are successful, switch roles and have the students attempt to break through a Wall of Swords, while the Swordsmen attempt a Wall of Swords.

Journal Prompt

How does the Wall of Swords differ from a Kill Pocket and where do you feel most effective?

Ready to move on?

You’ve completed the Wall of Swords lesson! Let’s continue on to your final Novice lesson: Basics of Command.