Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Hednitz, the Third!

Caught by the rapid advance of the Nabstrian army, the situation for the Vulgarians looks dark. Dark, of course, is a relative concept. The Vulgarian general Herz van Rentall's position is certainly not as dark as a priest's socks, for example.* However, it is certainly sufficiently gloomy that it could be described as "tenebrous;" except that if one did describe it thus, everyone in Rentall's headquarters would nod sagely and say "indeed; yes; quite so; I was about to make the very same comment myself" whilst also being entirely unsure about whether that meant things were very dark, or quite undark, or French. So, whilst the exact darkness of the Vulgarian position might actually lie at some point between "caliginous" and "crepuscular," most of Rentall's staff officers would probably just characterise the Vulgarian position in terms similar to that of Rentall's General of Infantry, Duke Walter Neucheim:
'We're screwed like Archimedes!' shouts the Duke wildly, above the sound of musketry.
Rentall points calmly at his advancing troops. 'Wait,' he says, 'It ish too early to panic, my good duke - let ush shee what now transhpires .'

(Above) The two generals eye each other from their respective hills. The Vulgarian infantry utilise combined movement to bring together their two infantry forces into a single line. This seems to have an immediate invigorating effect upon the Vulgarian fighting spirit. The left-most Nabstrian infantry regiment is composed of raw recruits and is already in some disorder. In front of them, the Vulgarian Regiment Blasco level their muskets and fire a tremendous volley. (Below) The Nabstrian regiment collapses so spectacularly that many in the adjacent units are injured by fragments. All that remains are corpses, abandoned muskets, and some extensive staining that will be very difficult to get out of the grass.

The Nabstrians strike back quickly, however. Flanking the Vulgarian left, a series of heavy volleys pours into the defending troops. The Osterburg Cuirassiers, hit in the rear, are utterly destroyed. The two left-most Vulgarian regiments, Count Orlok's and the Grand Prior's, are also driven from the field.
'Exshellent,' says Rentall, surveying the situation.
'Excellent?' asks Neucheim incredulously. 'Our army is being crushed by these effective if predictable Nabstrian tactics. We must surely retire and save the army!'
Rentall shrugs. 'But none of da troopsh dat we have losht seem to have been very popular,' he replies. 'And our morale ish shtill quite good. Alsho, all da losses can be made good by our depots. I would prefer to shee dis ash an opportunity: we have shlimmed down our forces, making dem more lean and efficient.'
Neucheim grimaces. 'Well, general, if by "lean and efficient" you mean "dead" then I can say wholeheartedly that our army is becoming one of the most economical forces in Mittelheim.'

(Below) The Vulgarian left has been shattered utterly. Yet (below, at the top) the three remaining Vulgarian infantry regiments continue their assault! The Regiment Blasco launches an attack on the raw troops of Nabstrian Infanterie Regiment No.3. Terrified by the relentless advance of the Vulgarian enemy, and unsettled by the sharpness of their archaic pikes and the luxuriance of their wigs, the conscripts shrink back. After a short and unsuccessful attempt to coax their testicles back out of their bodies, the Nabstrians break and flee.

From his vantage point close by, Stumpe sees an opportunity. Though the Regiment Blasco has succeeded in driving Infanterie Regiment No. 3 from the field, it is obvious that the Vulgarian regiment is in perilous disorder: their ranks are ragged; cohesion has been lost; and some of the men are already packing for the journey home. 
'See, Saxe!' says Stumpe, pointing, 'Now is our opportunity to crush this unwelcome Vulgarian show of spirit!'
'Yes, yes, my good capt ... I mean general,' agrees de Saxe vigorously. 'Now is the time to commit the elephants.'
Stumpe pauses. 'Or alternatively,' he says, 'we might order forward Infanterie Regiment No. 6. Though they too are raw troops, the Vulgarians cannot take any more disorder. Victory is guaranteed!'
'Yes, yes!' nods Saxe in complete agreement, 'very wise. Save the elephants for later.'
Saxe sends a courier immediately to the Sixth Infantry ordering an immediate charge!

In the chaos of battle, the Inhaber of Infanterie Regiment No. 6, Colonel Josef Karl von Hanua-Brancau peers wildly at the scrap of paper with his orders on it. 'God's toenails,' he curses, passing the sheet to his aide-de-campe, 'what on earth does that say?'
'Tsk, tsk - it's difficult to say, sir' replies the officer, 'The general should really practice his script. Is that an "n" or an "r:"?'
Hanua-Brancau curses again, 'So are we being ordered to charge or to change? Are we to crush the Vulgarians to our front or dress for dinner?'
'Perhaps, sir, the safest thing would be to do both?'
'Good thinking, my fine fellow - issue the orders to the men!'

(Above) 'Um,' says de Saxe, 'Why is that regiment getting undressed?'
Saxe face palms himself. 'What? What? Still ...' he says looking at the developing attack, 'see how the freshness of their new undergarments has inspired them! See how they hurl themselves at the foe! See how the Vulgarians push some of the smaller of their number onto the bayonets of our troops and then run off! Hurrah! Hurrah! Victory! Victory! 

(Above) The battle seems now effectively to be over. Only two Vulgarian infantry regiments remain and two of cavalry. The latter, however, are deployed in a fashion known as 'The Brave Sir Robin' i.e. they are facing away from the enemy, primed for a really quite rapid bout of buggering off and running away. At this point, the Nabstrians have lost only two regiments of infantry, whilst Vulgaria has lost three regiments of infantry and one of cavalry.
In the Vulgarian headquarters, Duke Neucheim assesses the situation with hs characterisitc sang froid. 'General, could I be the first to say "Aaaah! We're all going to die! Retreat! Flee! Surrender! Collaborate!"' 
Rentall regards the battlefield with equanimity. 'Never fear, Neucheim,' he says, 'I've been in tighter spotsh dan dis. Actually, I've been in tighter tightsh. I have a plan ...'

* Which, as we know Dougal, are actually black, whereas everything else that is nominally black is just very, very, very dark blue.


  1. I think you'll find that Priest socks are actually black - unlike other black socks...

    1. Dammit, sir, for your Ted-shaming of me! Of course, you are right; and I have amended the historical record accordingly.