Sunday, 7 May 2017

Fort Gertrude, the Second!

Act II

The assault column breaks into three elements. Orders are shouted, and the grenadiers wheel to the right. To cries of 'Attack!' and 'What did he say? Does anyone here speak German?'' the Bachscuttelers reach into their haversacks and hurl their grenades, and many also their bagged lunch. (Below) Then, with bayonets fixed, they assault the bastion to their front. In the meantime, the musketeers divide into two columns and attempt to cross the Fenwickian earthworks further along the line. The grenadiers initially are driven back, but their superior quality allows them to reform and attack again. In the fort itself, Captain Dreihumpe attempts to get his artillery crew to man their piece, on the reasonable basis that the lack of a cannon is likely to reduce the damage caused by the fort's artillery fire. Grumbling, the artillerymen shuffle forwards with all the enthusiasm of men invited to sit upon an exploding commode.

'Bah - they're throwing grenades; and also, who has
gherkins with their lunch?'

(Below) After a desperate fight, the Bachscuttel grenadiers drive back the defending Fenwickians. The latter fall back, yielding the bastion to the attackers. The attackers haul themselves over the undulating bulk of the bastion, a task as exhausting as trying to turn over King Wilhelm in bed when he's snoring. The Fenwickian artillerymen have continued their excruciatingly slow journey to their gun, slowed, no doubt, by discussion of vexing philosophical questions and also by their pathological fear of violence (especially when it looks like it's going to be inflicted upon them.)

(Below) The grenadiers maintain their momentum and charge again, driving their adversaries into the fort. Meanwhile, the columns of Gelderland musketeers swarm across the walls. One lead company makes a daring attack on the artillerymen. The artillerymen make an attempt to withdraw but, in keeping with the general tone of the Fenwickian performance thus far, Lady Luck not only laughs at them, but also gives them a particularly painful wedgie. The artillerymen are caught fleeing, and, without their cannon, are forced to try and hold off the Gelderland bayonets with whatever weapons are to hand. An exploding commode actually would likely be more dangerous to the enemy than the bratwursts that they wave timidly at the advancing Gelderland infantry. The one-sided nature of the ensuing combat demonstrates conclusively why it is that artillery perform best when they are actually equipped with cannon.

(Below) After another vigorous bout of fisticuffs, the grenadiers succeed yet again in defeating the garrison musketeers. The Fenwickians retire in a state of dazed confusion as serious as if they had been subject to some variety of surprise trigonometry examination. The callow fellows rout  into another bastion, seeking the nearest sedan chair that will take them away from this battle. The exhausted grenadiers give a rousing cheer, surveying that particular kind of military aftermath that comes when tightly packed enemy bodies are subjected to an attack by sharp bayonets, exploding grenades, and unadventurous packed lunches. The grenadiers have covered themselves in glory - if glory, that is, is made up primarily of intestines, brain matter, and exploded cheese sandwiches.

(Below) Now, only Captain Dreihumpe remains to resist the Gelderland interlopers, and the latter push forwards intent upon laying their hands upon him. Dreihumpe, though, is no mewling poltroon; honour, bravery, and and a large measure of really poor judgement cause him to continue his resistance to the last. Calmly, he targets the approaching mass of enemy musketeers and fires: a musketeer spins to the ground with a groan. The Gelderlanders halt, unsure. The shot, bizarrely, appears to have emanated from the area of the captain's groin. The troops waver, their limited imaginations conjuring all kinds of unpleasantness - what if all of the captain's appendages are as deadly accurate with a firearm? And, given that he appears to be deadly with unexpectedly random parts of his anatomy, what might happen when he actually fires a pistol with his hands?

'An excellent weapon, captain.'

One of the musketeers, braver than most (and also consequently the least popular), stands forth and challenges Dreihumpe.
'Come not between a Gelderland soldier and his prey,' he says, 'or he will take thee in thy place and carry thee to the houses of lamentation which, if they aren't quite as frightening on the name suggests, are still enough to put the willies up you. Sorry, I mean "thee"; or "thy." Or whatever.'
'No,' replies Dreihumpe, stoutly. 'Here I stand and here I shall remain - none shall pass!'
The musketeer looks confused. 'But there are no nuns here. Why the special focus on nuns?'
'I don't know,' says another. 'Perhaps he had a bad experience with one?'
'Or perhaps, ' adds another, 'it's actually penguins that he doesn't like but he just confuses them with nuns?'
'That's probably it,' they nod. Ignoring Dreihumpe's protests, they surge forwards. Before the captain can reload whatever part of his body he intends to fire next, he is bundled the ground and captured. The fort is taken!

At this point, dear reader, it is as well to shift our contemplation of the battle from the fort towards the nearby crossroads: there, the Empire of Fenwick's schitzkrieg reaches new lows ...


  1. Ahem, well, looks like the fort got taken...but what of the critical crossroads?

  2. We shall see. It's fair to say that, if you like stirring Fenwickian victories full of manly combat and displays of sharp military acumen, then it's probably best to look away now ...