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> Lady Havoc
Madame Belphoebe de Givet & Signore Marcellus Capoziello da Napoli
Ponte Alto (Northern VA)
belfebe AT yahoo.com
The Lady Havoc began as one of Mungoe's early machines (the Mark II, to be exact). The Ballista Babes and Bob (BBB), who were planning on constructing one, obtained the original pieces from Lord Mungoe McKlintchey, which got them happily started. She has since undergone a dramatic makeover, and all that is left of her original self are the metal bits in the tension box.
Kingdom War Practice 2002:
The Lady Havoc's first official appearance was at the 2002 Pre-Pennsic Kingdom War Practice. On that occasion, the BBB discovered that using nylon cord in the tension box was not a good idea. In hot weather, nylon goes soft and there is no way to tension it properly. As a result, the bolts never flew more than a mere 20 feet, a far cry from the 40 yards which is the minimum legal distance for a combat siege engine. To make matters worse, the pine arm and base fell apart. (Pictures to follow)
Undaunted, the BBB went back to the drawing board and rebuilt the base and arm of the Lady Havoc in red oak. The new base also sported a mechanism that allowed the arm to go up and down as well as pivot left and right, which is a wonderful thing to have when you are aiming at various angles. They also replaced the nylon cording with sisal rope, which is not only impervious to heat, but when wet it tightens even more thus lending more tension to the box and allowing the bolts to fly higher and farther.
Armed with enthusiasm and a re-vamped machine, the BBB headed up for Pennsic XXXI, where they were able to hold their own and make a difference at the Hadrian's Wall Battle. There the Atlantian Siege Engineers were able to take advantage of having similarly constructed machines. When a ballista bolt took out the Lady Havoc, Lord Mungoe's ballista (the Mark III), which had been taken out of battle because of a broken arm, was able to replace it with one of the Lady Havoc's and resume the fighting.
Regrettably, at the time the Bridge Battle took place, some marshals showed up 10 minutes before the battle and informed the Atlantian Engineers that all their ammo had failed. According to them the bolts needed anti-bounceback devices such as the ones used for combat archery. [Later on, a Marshals Court was held and the marshals were informed that their complaint had been unfounded. The ammo did not need any ABD's, and it had been perfectly legal all the time.] At any rate, an "assembly line" comprised of engineers and volunteers was quickly put together in order to modify as much ammo as possible, so it could be used on the field. This allowed Lord Mungoe to have the necessary ammo to roll up his Mark III all the way up to the bridge and scare the bejeezus out of the enemy troops. Regrettably, both the Lady Havoc and the Mark III were taken out of the battle shortly thereafter with mechanical failures. But the impression (and a bit of Pennsic history) had already been made.
The Lady Havoc is still in the process of modification. Wood and steel wheels (originally from an Amish buggy) that Marcellus picked up at a flea market in Pennsylvania have replaced her old plywood wheels, and her pine tension box has been rebuilt out of red oak. Her base is also in the process of replacement and the BBB cannot wait to take her out on the field again.
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