Friday, 18 August 2017

Opportunity Flocks!

Being on his hands and knees bringing up his breakfast meant that our would-be poet wasn’t party to the countercharge of von Krütchwärmer’s Dragoons that saw off the remaining Gelderland horse (below).

Still groaning inconsolably Gangulphus also missed the menacing appearance of Gelderland Jägers who seemed poised to rush forward and wreak havoc with the tail end of the convoy but then another wave of nausea ensured he was unable to witness the stirring sight of the dragoons making pretty short work of them too.

Lightheaded, Gangulphus staggered to his feet and shakily began the sisyphean task of gathering his sheep into something approaching a flock. Just as he began to feel that he was getting somewhere they scattered yet again as he became aware of an ominous rumble. To his right across the fields a magnificent and terrifying sight hove into view as gaudily caparisoned Gelderland cavalry first trotted then cantered toward the head of the convoy where Fenwickian sergeants, red of face and loud of obscenity, desperately berated their men into some semblance of order with which to meet the onrush.

(Below) Our poet stood openmouthed at the magnificent, awful sight; surely nothing could stop the now galloping wall of horseflesh and metal from wreaking bloody death upon the hapless Imperial infantry?

 But Gangulphus had, unsurprisingly, overlooked the presence of Antondekk’s Jägers lining the hedge and despite their casual attitude to military discipline and personal hygiene their fire emptied a number of saddles as the cavalry swept past only to be met with a telling volley from the brown-pantalooned infantry to their front.

More saddles emptied, in fact enough that the Gelderlander cavalry decided that they weren’t really that interested in the convoy after all. As they departed the field the Fenwickians drew a sigh of relief, cleaned themselves up and Gangulphus began to ponder his own chances of making a similarly hasty retreat from the shepherding life when from behind came an ominous, loud and rasping shout of “You! Peasant! Get those bleedin’ sheep shifted sharpish!”

Sunday, 13 August 2017

From Sheared to Eternity!

From what Gangulphus could make of it from his brief acquaintance, military life seemed to consist of angry, shouty, red-faced men in various uniforms threatening to insert things ranging from boots to bayonets into him. Even as he considered that eternal truism of military life through the ages, he spied (below) another group of angry, shouty, red-faced men, this time on horses, approaching rapidly with the seeming intent to insert swords, many of them into himself and also into what, after three days, he was beginning to think of as “his” sheep. Gelderland hussars!

(Below) The Gelderlander hussars swept majestically from the hill, giving the Fenwickian dragoons scant time to react. The two dragoon squadrons formed line.

One squadron of enemy hussars was driven back but the other dealt with the Dragoons in short order and Gangulphus found himself (below), rake in hand deserted by his flocking sheep who’d bolted through the wagons and into the kitchen garden across the road.

Resigned to his fate the poor boy consoled himself that his breeches couldn’t smell any worse, and anyway he wouldn’t be around to make the comparison, when a sudden crashing volley from behind the hedge from the regular infantry served to drive the Gelderlanders back.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Get the Flock Outta Here!

After events at the battle of Putschdorf, we turn our attention, dear reader, to the goings-on in Grand Fenwick. Here, following the success of the forces of Gelderland in the storming of Fort Gertrude, we scrutinise now the Fenwickian attempts to strengthen the defences of Fort Pippin in the face of the looming threat from the armies of the Spasmodic Sanction ....

'A Rake's Progress'
(If 'progress' means being waved at the backsides of some sheep)

“You! Peasant!” Bawled a red-faced Fenwickian sergeant at a hapless looking fellow in a smock holding a rake. “Hmmm? Me, sir?” replied Gangulphus Schnittersplitte trying hard not to trip over the rake in his surprise. “Of course bleedin’ you, you bleedin' ‘orrible specimen! Get those bleedin’ sheep shifted sharpish or you’ll feel my bleedin’ boot so far up your bleedin’ jacksy you’ll be polishin’ it wiv your bleedin’ tonsils!” The words “I really shouldn’t be here you know” paused momentarily on the tip of Gangulphus’ tongue before retreating hastily as his brain took in the size of the sergeant’s feet. Instead he prodded hopefully at the sheep with his rake and said: “Get along there! Good sheep, erm, come by or something...” as the herd ambled it’s way a little further toward the waiting cooking pots of Fort Pippin some four miles up the road.

And he really shouldn’t have been there. Three days ago as an aspiring writer desperate to research the essential truth of Fenwickian peasant life Gangulphus had, in a fit of romanticism, exchanged clothes with a local shepherd. The next day he fell foul of Fenwick’s rather antiquated laws of serfdom when he not only failed to persuade the recalcitrant former shepherd to take back his smock and breeks, but was equally unable to convince the local authorities that he was anything but a peasant with ideas, some of them possibly dangerous, and all certainly well above his station. And now he found himself doing his best to shoo sheep up a dusty road as part of the Imperial attempt to strengthen the beleaguered garrison of Fort Pippin with a delivery of gunpowder, grain and fresh meat. The convoy of wagons was guarded by detachments of regular infantry at head and tail and flanked by further infantry and two squadrons of Pflöpwinckel’s Dragoons to the left whilst two platoons of Col Antondekk’s Jägers busily trampled the kitchen garden of the farm to the right of the column, scrumping turnips as they went.

'A field full of turnips.'
(Some of which are vegetables in the farm's garden.)

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Putschdorf, the Final!

In the battle of the flank movements, the Nabstrians are better positioned. (Below, at the top) Nabstrian musketry destroys one of the Rotenburg cavalry regiments; the musketeers then close up to the next in line, aiming their muskets at the horsemen's backs. In the musketry duel between the infantry, the Rotenburg fire fails to inflict significant damage, despite their notional capacity for lethal volleys.

Relentlessly, the Nabstrian attack presses on. Saxe-Peste has formed another line but it is now one unit thick – and the Nabstrians are still coming. (Below) Another Rotenburg cavalry unit routs. Rumpfler is now also able to bring more muskets to bear against the enemy infantry.

Nabstrian numbers and firepower are bound to make their presence felt. (Below) Nabstrian firepower, and dismal Rotenburg volleying, make the struggle an unequal one. A Rotenburg infantry battalion flees under enemy fire, leaving a gap in the line: is it the crack in a dam that is about to burst?
Saxe-Peste certainly thinks so…he has drunk such legendary quantities of Burgundy that his bladder is fit to burst – a bit like his army.

But Saxe-Peste isn’t finished yet. (Below) His infantry are now firing on the Nabstrian cavalry who sit mutely under fire, instead of bravely dashing themselves to pieces on the infantry’s bayonets.

(Above) But the damage inflicted upon the Nabstrian cavalry, alas, is not decisive. Nabstrian cavalry doctrine is at least specific on the importance in battle of facing towards the enemy! (Below)
Alas, Saxe-Peste’s gambit to draw the Nabstrian attention away to the centre of the field comes just too late. The relentless Nabstrian infantry have punched a whole clean through the Rotenburg flank, cutting down another fine Rotenburg cavalry and infantry regiment, and can now simply march down the open Rotenburg flank.

Like his bladder, Saxe-Peste's army has had enough! He has enough presence of mind to order a retreat for the latter before nipping off to relieve the former.  A close and hard-won battle... but in the end, Nabstria's general has won a decisive Nabstrian victory!

Hurrah for von Rumpfler!