Friday 22 September 2023

Groeninghumpe, the Third!

Bulbous orders his irregular troops to advance. On the Zentan right wing, the Zentan light cavalry pass through the palace sipahis and begin to move towards the Wurstburp cavalry. In screening his best troops with his dross and making it impossible for the former to make a useful contribution to the battle, Bulbous is, of course, following one of the key principles of Zentan warfare.

(Below) The Zentan irregular infantry shamble towards their adversaries. As they advance, they leave behind their artillery support, another key principle of Zentan warfare. As their Zentan adversaries get nearer, the Wurstburp artillery begin a cannonade, which, in relation to its effectiveness at causing casualties, is rather like a lemonade, but less refreshing.

(Above, top left) As the irregulars advance, the janissaries are left behind. As previous experience has shown, the Zentan view on war is that no great advantage can be had from committing one's decent troops to a fight. The janissaries hang around, catching up on their ironing and pursuing their hobbies. One of the units has already been promoted to elite status through these activities, and a few more well creased pantaloons will no doubt see the other also elevated to this august station.

(Below) In his position between both cavalry and infantry, Unpronunski is able to see in the distance the advancing line of enemy troops. Prince Karl is with him, and they exchange concerned views on the developing character of this battle.
'We should charge!' cries the prince. 'My Scottish blood demands it!'
'But you're not Scottish', replies the general tartly. 'You're from Wurstburp: you're German. You're about as Jacobite as a deep-fried strudel'.
'But I identify as Jacobite', cries Karl.
Unpronunski blows an undiplomatic raspberry. 'We must bide our time, Prince Karl. We must pick exactly the right moment before springing forward with the sword!'
'When will that be?'
'Well, I was hoping that your military experience would be useful in helping to answer that question. Do you have a plan?'
'I could get the cook to rustle something up, I suppose. But I'm not sure if he has any eggs ...'
'That's a flan, my prince. I can see that I am going to have to use some of my own initiative here'.

(Below) The likely development of this battle is clear from its early stages. With the Zentan line extending beyond the Wurstburp left, it seems likely that the Wurstburp cavalry might soon have Zentan irregulars lapping at their flanks: an unpleasant experience by any civilised standards.

(Above) Moreover, at that point in the centre where the irregular cavalry and foot meet, Bulbous may well be able to apply some combined arms attack against the Wurstburp horse. This kind of militarily effective coordination is largely unheard of in Zentan military practice, and so one reason it might fail is that the shock of doing it might require some of the Zentans to lie down for a rest. Bulbous moves his headquarters up. With his artillery and regular troops kept to the rear, the Zentan plan seems to rely entirely on their irregulars to carry the main weight of the fight. To those with any experience in modern warfare, the chances of the success of this approach might seem lower than a limbo-dancing sausage dog ...


  1. Ha - love the confusion between a flan and a plan. :-) Your prose never fails to amuse...