Tag: Writing

  • Man of War – Excerpt No. 214

    They lobbed another ten iron balls down the hill. While not intentional, their detonation coincided with that of the mortars. The impact at this range sent a shockwave washing over him, and earth to tremble below his feet.

    There were another two rounds at his feet, but they were out of time. He picked up both, judged the distances and dropped the one with the longest fuse. There were risks, but they would not win without putting his life on the line.

    The thunderous sound of horses at full gallop reminded him of heavy hail hitting a stone wall. He knew his men, and they trusted him, so every single one stood fast as the enemy barreled down on them.

    Spanish cavalry converging on a group of French soldiers. Background and clothes appropriate for 16th century France.

    Disclaimer: This excerpt from Man of War is currently in development. There may be typos, errors, omissions, inconsistencies and so forth.


  • Man of War – Excerpt No. 213

    Without waiting for the blast, he grabbed another mortar with a shorter fuse. By the time he gripped it in his hands, two blasts registered. Fuses were notoriously inaccurate, but his men might have picked up the wrong one by mistake.

    Five seconds later the rest blew, creating off a wall of shrapnel that caught horses in their blast. I can hear horses and men screaming in agony.

    The barrage of lobbed mortar rounds served as a signal to resume the heavy mortar strikes. This time both launchers were fired in near synchronicity. The risk was high for his men, if they failed to dampen the barrel well enough, the powder could ignite as they loaded the weapon. If that happens, so be itThey’ll hold their head up high when they meet Saint Peter.

    Soldiers firing mortars from a town. Background and clothes appropriate for 16th century France.

    Disclaimer: This excerpt from Man of War is currently in development. There may be typos, errors, omissions, inconsistencies and so forth.


  • Man of War – Excerpt No. 212

    Just as suddenly, he sheathed his blade and reached for a large iron ball and a stick near his feet. The latter was wrapped with fusing that burned brightly. Everyone repeated his motions, doing so without verbal commands to further prevent the enemy discerning what was going on.

    He raised the stick up high, sending wisps of smoke sailing through the air, which was joined by nine other streams. He lit the fuse of a small mortar round and lobbed it down the hill. Ten iron shells filled with black powder were sent rolling down the hill.

    Ten large black bombs with fuses rolling down a hill. Background and clothes appropriate for 16th century France.

    Disclaimer: This excerpt from Man of War is currently in development. There may be typos, errors, omissions, inconsistencies and so forth.


  • Man of War – Excerpt No. 211

    Marc watched on as the horses gained ground. Once the riders were two-thirds up the hill, the remaining sharpshooters fired from the rear. One was struck by musket fire from the Spanish infantry, while the other escaped by using the obstacles. He would rejoin the town’s defenders circling to the back of town.

    Behind him the sounds of musket fire subsided. Given more time a messenger might have delivered the news, but they were out of time. 

    Cornay motioned to the rider to head back. He turned around and rode hard towards the city, stopping only to warn his replacement to follow him back into town. Within a couple of minutes this would be the front line.

    The mortars went quiet, permitting the men a brief respite from the barrage. Let them taste victory on the tips of their tongues.

    Cavalry racing up a hill. Background and clothes appropriate for 16th century France.

    Disclaimer: This excerpt from Man of War is currently in development. There may be typos, errors, omissions, inconsistencies and so forth.


  • Man of War – Excerpt No. 210

    Another four made it up to the crest and went on to reinforce the positions at the edge of town. Their chase was called off as two horses and their riders fell into a concealed pit. Marc knew that neither man nor their horses would be coming back up alive.

    Another two of his men found refuge within the trenches. While not ideal, they would remain concealed and strike when the opportunity struck, or paid the ultimate price of king and country.

    Given the heavy losses, the cavalry rejoined with those moving up on his left. Even combined they were less than half their original number. Marc noticed a few stallions retreating into the woods, riderless, likely in some vain attempt to jump a Frisian horse.

    His men already exceeded his expectations, but they were still heavily outnumbered. Heading the combined wave was El Comandante himself. The man didn’t dare to lead the main charge himself.

    Soldier in a trench on a hill, killed by a musket shot in the back. Background and clothing appropriate to the 16th Century France.

    Disclaimer: This excerpt from Man of War is currently in development. There may be typos, errors, omissions, inconsistencies and so forth.


  • Man of War – Excerpt No. 209

    As the left wing broke up to deal with the threat, another volley came, much quicker than even experienced soldiers could manage. Marc made sure excess muskets were left loaded and left in the trenches. When another mortar crashed to the ground, the men left their trenches with both muskets in their hands. 

    Marc’s heart was racing, because there was nothing he could do to help his men. Even with a mortar going off, two were cut down before reaching cover.

    The contents of his stomach soured and his jaw muscles bulged until his teeth strained. He wanted very much to send everything he had at those bastards, but needed to wait. They’ll live to rue this day

    Another four made it up to the crest and went on to reinforce the positions at the edge of town. Their chase was called off as two horses and their riders fell into a concealed pit. Marc knew that neither man nor their horses would be coming back up alive.

    Soldiers running away as cavalry approaches. Background and clothing appropriate to the 16th Century France.

    Disclaimer: This excerpt from Man of War is currently in development. There may be typos, errors, omissions, inconsistencies and so forth.


  • Man of War – Excerpt No. 208

    Before the cavalry reached the mid-way point, a mortar struck. It was an airburst which rained fire and metal fragments over the battlefield. This time a serious number of soldiers were left behind, soaking the soil in their blood.

    As the wind swept in over the fields, he picked up the acrid scent of brimstone. In spite of the smoke burning his nostrils, sulphur was an old friend, and neither him nor his men outwardly reacted to it. They stood there stoically, as smoke rolled over them, taunting their opponent.

    The group of horsemen on his right shot past the Spanish infantry, racing up the hill. Without being promoted eight Frenchmen popped out of their trenches and fired a volley. Three horses crashed to the ground,with riders being sent overtop. Another rider was pinned beneath the dead weight of his mount.

    Spanish soldiers dead after a blast, their blood soaking the soil. Background and clothing appropriate to the 16th Century France.

    Disclaimer: This excerpt from Man of War is currently in development. There may be typos, errors, omissions, inconsistencies and so forth.


  • Man of War – Excerpt No. 207

    While mortars were invaluable as weapons of terror, they had a limited amount of powder and shells. Doctrine called to use them sparingly, but Marc had no intention of leaving anything for the Spanish to use against a potential counter-attack. I’m not the one that has to pay to replenish the stocks

    As the infantry broke into a run, the heavy cavalry broke from the treeline and immediately split up into two groups. Doctrine called for them to circle around Marc’s position, and attack his flanks. If they timed it right, the infantry and cavalry would strike at the same time, forcing Marc to defend himself from three sides. It’s a good thing the hill is littered with traps… 

    There came the sounds of musket fire from the town. Marc assumed that a smaller team composed primarily of cavalry circled around with plans to attack from the rear. Fortunately Marc had planned for this and his men were ready and were putting up a heavy resistance.

    Since horses would not risk jumping over the wooden barriers, they would have to engage on foot. Sėez will see that they are torn to shreds if they try.

    Soldiers firing muskets from behind a barricade in a small town. Background and clothing appropriate to the 16th Century France.

    Disclaimer: This excerpt from Man of War is currently in development. There may be typos, errors, omissions, inconsistencies and so forth.


  • Man of War – Excerpt No. 206

    “The fuse was too long,” Marc said. 

    The Adjutant broke rank and relayed the message to a volunteer from the town on horseback. When he ran off to relay the message, another man crossed his path to replace the messenger.

    By the time smoke and dust cleared from the mortar, the men who fired from the trenches were already in position higher up the hill. Their orders were simple: strike, run, and find cover within the next trench. That tactic won’t work for long… 

    In accordance with his orders, a second mortar was launched almost exactly two minutes after the first exploded. Both teams were provided with hourglasses. They would alternate firing their mortars until Marc altered the order.

    Horseman riding at a gallop while approaching a town. Background and clothing appropriate to the 16th Century France.

    Disclaimer: This excerpt from Man of War is currently in development. There may be typos, errors, omissions, inconsistencies and so forth.


  • Man of War – Excerpt No. 205

    Several distinctive cracks reached him after three Spaniards fell where they once stood. Before the enemy could respond, the mortar came down; making a sound of dull drumming combined with whistling from its lit fuse.

    Marc watched as it flew overhead, and buried itself into the hillside. Three seconds later, the steel casing packed with black powder blew, sending dirt, rock and shrapnel everywhere. Had it been a direct hit, the mortar would have decimated the ranks, as it stood, an additional three fell, two of which managed to stand up.

    “The fuse was too long,” Marc said.

    Large mortar going off with Spanish troops marching towards the blast. Background and clothing appropriate to the 16th Century France.

    Disclaimer: This excerpt from Man of War is currently in development. There may be typos, errors, omissions, inconsistencies and so forth.


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