Chapter 118 Anti-Personnel Defensive Structures
Kayla who had finished preparing the ingredients for the Golden Pillow stuffing had just welcomed the 3 ladies that were assigned to Gwen to look for the green and yellow bamboo for the building materials, forage the nearby land for edibles and also seeds, roots and stalks to cultivate into the farmlands.
When Gwen arrived with the ladies on 2 wagons that were drawn by Sir Resolute and Sir Victory, she excitedly waved back and showed a large wild boar piglet above her head.
There was not one, not two but 5 of these wild boar piglets that had been arrowed down by Gwen. Later, the huntress informed that these wild boar piglets were left defenceless since both its parents had sacrificed itself to the citizens of Gracehaven some time back.
"Hah...we are going to have baby soft ribs this time..." I shouted in glee and was pinched by Heather who was beside me, trying hard to control my demeanour as a royal or simply stopping me from making a mockery out of my childish remarks...!
"You had been always thinking about ribs and spines. Are those really good to eat in the long run? What I mean is that they are just bones and have little nutritional value." Heather nudged me as she was wondering why I prefer to choose those parts besides the meat."
"Also, I could share it with Sir Blackie, am I right? Hahaha...what I can't chew I would pass it to it. The rest of the meat could be shared with the citizens, there's no need to save those meat except for the ingredients of some of the bread that Marcel had ordered."
I simply remarked to Heather and Sir Blackie heard its name being called, looked up at me, barked once and wagged its tail while positioning itself as if it was ready to pounce on me." Yes, boy... Ribs and spine just for you and me. Hehehe." and with that Sir Blackie gave another bark and wagged its tail furiously.
The 3 ladies that had followed Gwen deep in the forest to harvest those green and yellow bamboos were fellow hunter-gatherers and they had brought back their fair shares of edible plants with them.
There was a basket of hibiscus flowers and the hunter-gatherers informed us that these could be turned to make tea when boiled down fresh or dried. There were also lots of mulberry seeds and stalks that could be replanted.
As what we know, the mulberry leaves could be eaten as a salad while the seeds, once it turns reddish-black would be sweet, eaten in its own. There's another type of plants that were brought in with light purplish flowers called rosebay willowherb.
The shoots and young leaves of the rosebay willowherb plant can be eaten raw, in salads, sautéed or steamed as you would do with asparagus. Leaves and unopened buds also can be picked and used before the blossoms develop.
Fortunately, coupled with the experience of these hunter-gatherers, Gwen, Kayla as well as Heather and Crystal had discovered more than 62 herbs and edible plants that grow abundantly around a 5-mile radius of the village.
"Sir, we had scourge the lands and discovered that these herbs and plants would be beneficial for the citizens of Gracehaven and we wished to have a simple plot to recultivate these so we do not have to venture deep into the forest to look for more of the herbs and plants to supply the infirmary as well as our daily needs." the wife of MacDonough revealed her intentions after she had introduced these herbs and plants with Kayla and the rest.
"Very well then, as this would be for the betterment and wellbeing of our citizens, please make do with new farmland for the plants that had recently procured by you and the rest of the ladies."
"There's farmland where I had initially set up during the first few days being here before, it had about more than 10 types of vegetable patches. Kayla would be making another 60 rows of 30 feet beside it to continue planting the rest of the vegetables that we had recently gotten from the merchant."
"You could plant the herbs and medicinal plants beside the farmlands. Our Secretary here would be able to assist in getting some men in moving the defensive structures further out and remove the defensive traps underwater accordingly."
"Thank you, sir, would the farmlands be in the way of the felling of trees over yonder?" a Mackenzie pointed out as the borders of the village had expanded due to the addition of the herbal farmlands which I reassured her that changes could be made to accommodate the felling of trees and the setting up of the new herbal farmlands.
Noting the change of the borders, I pointed to Eagle that the borders of the residential areas to be moved accordingly to match the borders and asked him if this would be a good idea.
"Well, since we have intended to match the borders of the residential lots to the farmlands, the original 5x4 lots for residential could be extended to become 5x8 on that particular lot. The total number of residential lots would jump to be 120. The residential lots on that part could extend no further because of the burial grounds."
"Would Public Works Minister Frank be informed of the changes so he would assign the production of the prefabricated building structures accordingly?" Eagle questioned and I nodded my head apprehensively.
"Also, as you can see, Sir, that side of residential lots would have three 2x2 farmlands while this side would have five 2x2 farmlands. This gives a total of 32 farmlands with a coverage of 28,800 square feet of crops every harvest...!"
"I would also suggest that there should be another bridge platform from that end of the village border across the riverbank. Not that close to the defensive structures or borders but in between the last 2x2 farmlands would be ideal."
"That would be great Eagle. At least the citizens would be looking forward to advancement in this village. Hmm, 120 residential lots, you say? At the moment we only had filled 25 or so right out of the present 48? So what would you suggest?" I inquired Eagle since there would be a lot of empty houses meant to be occupied in the future.
"Not to worry sir, those empty houses would be filled with straws as it would be placed near the borders and that would be our second borderline defence. Furthermore, I would like to discuss with you some defensive structures that I may have in mind that you would help to improvise. Eagle began to produce a draft drawing with lots of 'X' on them.
It was a top-down view of a new defensive structure Eagle had in mind and after a series of questions and answers that exchanged during the meet, I finally understood that these defensive structures were actually anti-personnel and anti-cavalry.
It was somewhat like the design of the booby traps that were laid underwater to trap those unsuspecting wild game that happens to cross the river and got impaled instead. I looked at the drawings and the more I looked at it, I felt that the designs could be improved.
"Come, let's go to the bamboo production area. We going to build ourselves a prototype of what you had shown me and from there we could improvise on it."
I ushered Eagle and some of his 'engineers' to gather at the bamboo production area where we used scraps of bamboo to construct the idea based on the drawing that Eagle had brought along.
It was rather crude but it looked workable. There were bamboo strips that were joined together to make several 'X' that had a few mock-up sharpened bamboo stakes at the end. It was half a foot in length, not so much to impale someone but surely good enough to stop them in their tracks.
The problem is that the structure was rigid and there was no way for one to store it aside and deploy it when the need arises. Besides, these defensive structures were immobile and had to be fixed on the ground.
"Ben...! Could you come here and help us a bit? You are good in your furniture making right, I wonder if you could make this collapsible and be extended when one needs to be utilised." I greeted Ben who was heading to the bamboo production area to make rounds and to ensure the citizens have taken their meal breaks accordingly.
He sauntered over and looked at the diagram, then looked at the contraption that we had made on the ground." Sir, you wanted to make this mobile right? So when the time comes to use, you could just mobilise it am I right to point that out? So, Eagle, this won't necessarily be the whole length but could be attached to make it into one long piece, right?"
Ben, Eagle and the rest looked on at the contraption on the ground and after a lot of fiddling, sawing, boring holes and inserting sharpened half foot stakes and making the prototypes into 3 sets of functioning anti-personnel and anti-cavalry defensive structures, a new borderline defensive system was created and born...!
When these anti-personnel defensive structures were not in use, the cross-sections of the structure would be closed and the joints and midsection of the 'X' that were previously bored holes in them were secured by knots of tweed rope. Each structure had 10 of these 'X' and there were 3 of these structures built.
Ben then showed an anchor that was at the end of the closed 'X' with at least 5 of these sharpened stakes on each frame. Another structure was then placed before the one that had been anchored and a piece rope was looped to the first structure and the third structure was once again secured by looping a rope to the second structure.
This created a daisy chain when the ends were pulled and then secured at the end of the structure. "Here, hold on to this end. Imagine you are setting this trap before a burning house and there are 3 of you set this up on either direction. Go on, walk and pull this along with you and secure the other end with an anchor."
Ben instructed the young scout and as he pulled the anti-personnel defensive structure behind him, the first structure stretched and formed a perfect diamond on the ground, and thus continues with the second and third one.
"Pull a bit more, make it tight along the ground and close up this diamond shape," I instructed and the scout pulled tight and the diamond shape did become more stretched, thus making the space in between smaller and the spikes to be more closer.
"There's no point in making an anti-personnel defensive structure where one could play hopscotch and leap from within the space to another right?" the moment I remarked on that, everyone laughed since it was rather casual for me when comes to voicing my inner thoughts aloud.
"It would be good if this was being made from cast iron since it requires zero maintenance. But this would do just fine at the moment. Would there be another expedition to head back to Darlington or maybe Gillman to gather up some more weapons and metals to turn those into these instead?" I raised a suggestion as it would be beneficial for the anti-personnel defensive structures to be made of iron and be beneficial in the long run instead.
"Not to mention Darlington, Sir, there are a few small villages that are worth to take a peek while heading back from there. If I am not wrong, there's Pickhill, Anderby, Streetlam and East Cowton that dots along the main trade path heading to Darlington." Eagle merely stated the facts on these used to be villages that may not have escaped the path of the rebels' massacre.
"Oh, I didn't know there are a few more villages from Darlington to here. Alright, it's worth to take a look and see to it if you could pick out some survivors along the way. It's been 4 long months, I am sure some people who escaped may have returned to rebuild their homes." I thanked Eagle for his help and information.
"Great job Ben, we could have got the whole idea to work if not because of you. Remember to recap whatever we had planned earlier, Sir, in our nightly conference. It pays to have everything recorded and in ink so we could reflect back what we had not accomplished."
Eagle flashed me a great smile with a big thumbs up as he excused himself and the men to take gather around and discuss on the improvisation of the new anti-personnel and anti-cavalry defensive structures.
Hi Guys, just a bit of sharing. The anti-personnel defensive structures are what you would commonly see when the traffic police set up speed traps and humps to stop these road menace.
Although it may look alike and may even functions alike too, these middle ages anti-personnel defensive structures were indeed made of bamboo.
Use of bamboo stakes would equivalent to punji sticks. It won't kill but it would hurt like hell and infection would lead to amputation. *chop chop*
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