Monday, 19 December 2016

Leipflute, the Final!

Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All on the Plains of Leipflute
Rode the twelve hundred.
“Forward, across the stream!
Charge for the flank!” he said.
Across the Plains of Leipflute
Rode the twelve hundred.

Their enemy was undismayed
“Marvellous! The fools have strayed!”
Barry-Eylund thought he knew
"Rentall has blundered.
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die.
Into the Stream of Death
Ride the twelve hundred.
The mad bastards."

Woods to right of them,
Table-edge to left of them,
Two streams in front of them
They panicked and chundered;
But 'Find the Way' twice they played
Across the stream twice they wade
And upon the enemy flank
Were the gallant twelve hundred.

Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All on the Plains of Leipflute
Rode the twelve hundred
'Look, there's an open flank!'
Forward, their rear to spank!'
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of hell
Flowed the twelve hundred.

Foot to right of them,
Table-edge to the left of them,
Horse to the front of them,
Forward they thundered;
"Dammit their reserves are here
And line the stream, we're done I fear!"
Into the charge they went
The trembling twelve hundred

Flashed all their buttocks bare,
Flashed in this sad affair
All turned to runners there,
Retreating in chaos, while
All the world wondered.
Wreathed in the musket smoke
Right in the stream they broke;
Vulgarian horsemen
Reeled from the sabre stroke
Shattered and sundered.
Then they fell back, but not
Not the twelve hundred.

Boos to right of them,
Jeers to left of them,
Enemy behind them
While Rentall wondered;
Stormed at with shot and shell,
While horse and hero fell.
They hadn't fought so well
Came through the jaws of Death,
Back from the mouth of hell,
All that was left of them,
Left of twelve hundred.
Which was about 1,198 of them.

When can their glory fade?
'About now' their general said
All Vulgaria wondered
What difference it made
How they had badly strayed
Ignoble twelve hundred!

'Well, dish ish very dishappointing,' says Rentall ruefully, watching as Tripodi's cavalry fall back from the left flank. As the Vulgarian horse retreat, there is more bad news as the Lord Grand Prior's Regiment breaks under enemy artillery fire. General van Rentall though is an experienced soldier and refuses to panic. The Bachscuttelers are badly positioned for a meaningful counter-attack, and conditions are propitious for a measured withdrawal from the battle. Rentall's system of depot battalions will easily make good the losses in his army, and some of his infantry seem to have learned quite a lot just by watching the fighting. One fly in the ointment is that Giovanni di Tripodi decides that a command position in the Vulgarian army is less rewarding than he had hoped; and so he quits, citing irreconcilable differences with everyone in the Voivodate's military.
Rentall rides to his infantry as the retreat is sounded: he shouts encouragingly -  'Fear not, my brave men: for in dis firsht battle you have acquitted yourshelves well!'
The troops look initially confused, some saying: 'There has certainly been a battle; but no one has fitted any shelves.'
Luckily, Baron Tostov comes to the rescue, and as the Bachscuttlers watch the Vulgarian army march from Leipflute they can hear them shouting a defiant 'Gottle of geer! Gottle of geer!'

1 comment:

  1. Well, I say, sir! A poetic battle report! Leipflute shall ever be remembered through your lyrical ballading, sir!