Friday, 18 January 2013

Merkovan Cossacks (2)

The meeting with Colonel Von Clemens was quite convivial and the Colonel had immediately arranged for a courier to inform Count Vladislav of the Hetman’s arrival

“ Hopefully he will inform us shortly of your role, it the meantime it would be helpful if you could patrol the Frundsberg border” he explained “we will of course organise sufficient rations for your men. Did you have any questions I could help you with?”

“Well, where exactly is the border?”

“if you look at this map, it runs along the ridgeline, but the road itself, the Altweg, is on the Frundsberg side of the border, in the winter it’s the only dry east-west route”

“And that large hill that rises over the plain, there seems to be something on top of it”

“Yes, we know of it, it is some sort of signalling station used by the Frundsbergers.  I should also warn you of one of the Frundsbergers favourite tricks, which is to lure you into an ambush, their patrols usually fall back past cover, which conceals jaegers backed up by militia”

“Now these militia, do they wear grey uniforms?”

“Yes, unlike the regulars who wear yellow, have you seen any?”

“Yes, I mean I have seen the Militia, but no regulars apart from their cavalry patrols”

“Hmm I wonder where they are?”

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Merkovan Cossacks (1)

As they rode back into Bruckewasser, Major Gripple heard how the Cossacks had trekked across Poland and Germany, the only difficult stages were those when they had to cross Prussian territory given their mutual dislike. It appeared that the Hetman was married to one of Count Vladislav’s sisters and had received a request from the Count for assistance.

“Since we didn’t have much to do as the Polish/Turkish border is quiet at the moment I decided to bring some of my men for some sport”

“And how did you come to cross Pommaine?” asked the Major.

“Well it wasn’t our intention, but we ran into a large force of Prussians and had to avoid them. We then ended up somewhere on the hills over there” pointing north."

“Hmm in Frundsberg, didn’t they attack you?”

“No not directly, we had a little bit of trouble at times with riflemen sniping at us and bridges being removed, but we seemed to be able to find a route here”

“Sounds like you were carefully shepherded out of their lands, your force could have been trapped and destroyed in those flat lands.  Ah here we are at the Commanders residence!”

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Unwelcome visitors (4)

While the major waited for his visitors to organise themselves he had a look around at his troops and the progress on the fortifications. The northern suburb of Bruckewasser was not normally defended, as the river provided a more than adequate defence in that direction. However the Colonel had decided to build some light fortifications there to prevent any surprise attack and to reduce interference with the river traffic. It would consist of a ditch backed by an earth rampart. A shambling figure now came into sight, Lieutenant Uston.

The sergeant had also spotted him and his heart sank. The Lieutenant would probably give a different reason for his absence and he would be in trouble. The Lieutenant climbed the earth bank behind the ditch, saw the Major and waved before tumbling into the ditch.

Just then the Major heard a cough. “We are ready now Major”

“Very good, please accompany me”

As the Major passed the sergeant he called out “When you are relieved tell Lieutenant Uston that I would very much like to see him”

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Unwelcome visitors (3)


Major Gripple didn’t like what he could see, a small force of his men was blocking the road, but beyond there must be well, there must be, over four hundred cavalry.  The good news was that they were not acting aggressively, but that could mean they might be about to summon the city to surrender.  Putting such thoughts to one side he rode up to meet the person who seemed to be in charge who was conversing with the sergeant of the guard, who looked up as he approached.

Passing the sergeant he asked “Where’s Lieutenant Uston?”

“At the latrine sir, it must have been something he ate”

Turning to the obviously foreign commander he stated “I am Major Gripple of the Von Clemens Regiment and I would be pleased to hear why you have entered Pommaine”

“I am Sergai Orlov, Hetman of the Merkovan Host and I have brought my Cossacks to assist Pommaine at the direct request of Count Vladislav,  I have a letter of introduction here” and handed over a letter.

Quickly studying the letter, the major confirmed “Yes it seems in order, but we were not warned of your approach.  Would you like to accompany me to see Colonel Von Clemens to discuss how we can assist you?  Oh and please bring a along some of your officers.”

“Very well.”  Turning to the rider next to him “Micha tell the men to wait here and send Alexandr to accompany me”

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Unwelcome Visitors (2)

The cavalry halted out of musket range and a small number approached the troops covering the road into the town. With fifty men behind him, Sergeant Schmidt felt confident that he could prevent a quick assault down the main road, but the fieldworks were incomplete and could be easily crossed as no abbattis was in place. All he could do was conduct a fighting withdrawal down the road to the bridge.

Trouble was they didn't look like Frundsberg or any other German cavalry, but Frundsberg did deal in mercenaries, so he couldn't be certain who they were. But they seemed to be dressed in all sorts of oddments without any obvious uniform. However the leader was more smartly dressed and rode up accompanied by a couple of other riders.

He spoke with a heavily accented voice “Good Morning Sergeant, are we in Pommaine?”

“Yes suur, can I ask your business, and can I see you Pass-porte” responded the Sergeant not at all sure how he should handle this.

“Ah yes, I have a letter here somewhere from Count Vladislav” and opened his saddlebag, then stopped and exclaimed. Micha! leave the soldiers alone”

 The Sergeant instinctively turned to where the leader was looking to see one of the riders returning one of his men’s hat on the end of his lance.

“I’m sorry about that Sergeant, now I see one of your officers has arrived”

Friday, 14 December 2012

Counting them all out


Meanwhile in a tavern in Pappenheim two gentlemen are discussing the parade

“Well how many did you count?”

“Ummm, about two thousand foot and five hundred horse”

“What do you mean about?” came a raised voice

“Keep calm, it was difficult to keep count, besides, someone might be listening”

“So my count was just over 1,800 foot and 460 horse, what did you actually count?”

“Well there were eight companies and assuming the ranks stayed six wide for the infantry and eight files that would make 1,920 men, plus officers, etc.  I think that makes two thousand foot more or less and similar for the cavalry”

“OK, lets go with your figures and explanation for our master, will you pass the message on this time?”

“Yes, but how do we get south to check what is really happening?”

“It’s all conveniently restricted because of so called bandits; I’ll try and find a way”

“Very good, I’ll leave to usual mark to indicate if we need to meet again.

After the gentlemen left the tavern, the father treating his daughter to a meal in a quiet corner asked “Well did you get a good look at them?”

“Yes father”

“Those are just the two spies we know of, and we know they use Frau Wurmser’s Academy as a post box, but we need to find out what happens to the letter after that.  So finish off your lunch and we’ll sort out what you might need”

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Unwelcome Visitors (1)

In Bruckewasser the atmosphere was quite different the gates were closed, the walls manned and the militia were being hastily mustered in the main square. The cause of their nervousness soon became apparent as a large mass of cavalry came into view.

Earlier, Sergeant Schmidt had been alerted by an observant sentry that cavalry were approaching the city and sent him back to warn the city. “But, what about the Lieutenant?”

 “Just get back and tell the Major to call out the guard, now get going” Turning around the Sergeant called out “Fall in and prepare for cavalry” his men quickly climbed out of the various ditches and ran for their piled arms, before assembling on the road behind him.

Seeing the various townsfolk stopping their work on the fortifications he shouted out “And you lot keep working, it’s nothing to worry about”

From behind he heard the question “Where’s Lieutenant Uston Sergeant?”

“Don’t you worry lad, he’s better off sleeping off his hangover” The Sergeant wasn't as sure when he looked out at the mass of cavalry that had appeared in front of them.