Monday, 2 August 2010

Reveries (2)

What happened to the other characters?

Colonel Dwizok or Oncle Piotr as he was known to young Friedrich had survived the wars only to die in an uprising against the Russian occupation.

Lieutenant Blanc Returned to France and was employed in the ministry of war up until the Peace of Amiens when he retired and opened a restaurant that has done well ever since.

On repatriation Captain Twyth returned to the hussars, rising to command of his regiment and then commanding a brigade. He was killed in Russia leading his cuirassiers at Borodino.

Baron Wilhelm fled to Austria after the French finally occupied the Frei Stadt. After the Austrian defeat in 1809 he moved to Prussia, helped with raising a Frundsberg Freikops in 1813 and then returned in 1814. He then settled into retirement at his manor at Altfeld just outside Sonnenbad.

Franz Ferdinand was demoted back to head of the serving staff with the return of the Pommaine nobility but was appointed burgermeister by the new Westphalian regime and somehow kept his position after the provinces moved into Prussian control.

As for the glorious volunteer Freihussaren and the others, who can say?

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Reveries

Friedrich awoke in the quiet of a classroom at the Kriegsakademie. That had been a boring lecture, no wonder he had fallen asleep. He would now get ribbed by the other cadets, served him right for spending most of last night at the Saracenerkopf with the serving maid. But what had made him remember all those stories his parents and grandfather had told him about the time of the French invasion?

Of course after the campaign his parents were married in the abbey in Sonnenbad. No one seemed to remember that father never denied the claims that he was a prince whereas in reality he was only a nephew of the Saxon Elector. He had gone on to serve in the Saxon armies through most of its campaigns, first alongside the Prussians in 1806 and then with the French through 1809 and 1812. He then changed sides and joined the Prussians in early 1813 and was now the general in charge of this district of the Prussian Rhine provinces.

He was never sure about his mother’s activities, but at times she disappeared for weeks before returning. He suspected that she was somehow involved in resistance to the French occupation.

As he grew older, “Uncle Hans” would appear from time to time and take him shooting in the woods and then entertain him with stories of past battles over the camp fire while their supper was cooking.

===============================
This ends my winter solo campaign, which took far longer than planned, it will restart again in the autumn. Thanks to all those who have followed the campaign and given feedback.

Will

Thursday, 29 July 2010

A strange conversation

As Friedrich led his men out to re-establish a picquet line he saw the Freishutze clustered around a barrel presumably of ale from the inn in Landsberg village. Spotting Ilse among them, he diverted his route slightly to pass by.

Friedrich rode up to Ilse, “Thanks for that shot, it certainly saved my life”

“Now we’re even and we’ve things to finish discussing”

“Ilse, this is not the time or place”

“Well…. I’m waiting for a proposal”

“I had to ask your father first”

“Pathetic excuse”

“So will you marry me Ilse”

“About time…. yes”

All the Freihussaren and Freishutze burst into loud cheers as Friedrich swept Ilse up onto his horse and kissed her.

Seamus O’Malley nudged Mariusz Kulenovich – “I know what’s that’s like” but Mariusz was busily counting the contents of a purse he had recovered from a French officer, it would more than cover his debts.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Victory

General Von Barner breathed a sigh of relief as he watched the French start to withdraw, it had been touch and go, but the late arrival of the French guns and the fortuitous explosion of a caisson had swung the balance. He had a feeling that the latter had not been a matter of luck and he would question someone later about it.

He then rode over to Colonels Meyer and Pringle. “Gentlemen, I believe we have won and saved Sonnenbad” “Colonel Pringle, your Militia fought well, they held the ground far longer than I thought possible. I see the Stockrad militia are still fairly fresh, could you order them to collect the wounded from the battlefield.” “Ah here are Majors Kummel and Von Wettin”…”Gentlemen congratulations, I’m glad to see we still have some cavalry left”

“My apologies sir, some of my Light Dragoons fled and caused a minor panic in Sonnenbad, but all is calm now” explained Major Kummel.

“Apology accepted Major, these things happen”.

“Colonel Meyer and Major Von Wettin can you establish picquets in case the French have a change of heart”

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

The benefits of firepower

The French artillery arrived at last and opened fire on the militia occupying the corner of the wall; unsurprisingly they fell back leaving Colonel Pringle the only defender for a moment. However the 1st Line Battalion had reformed and marched forward to fill the gap.

“Excellent, that’s what I want to see” exclaimed General Bercollin as his artillery shredded the defenders of the wall. “Just keep that up for a while then we’ll send the infantry forward and the cavalry can mop up afterwards".

“But sir, Major Brioche said that he doesn’t have a lot of ammunition left so if we fail we will have no reserve to cover our retreat” said Twyth.
“We won’t need to retreat, Ah here come the reserve ammunition, there will be no excuse” he watched a heavily laden caisson move up close to the gun line.

The General looked in horror as he saw the Representative en Mission Laine nearby lighting his pipe, quickly moving towards him, he shouted out “Representative Laine, please put that pipe out at once”

Laine looked up and at that moment a gunner opened the caisson lid.

Twyth watched as the caisson exploded and all the men around it were tossed aside in the blast. Rushing forward, Twyth found the general was badly wounded but still breathing.
“How is he Twyth?” asked Colonel Claret.

“Alive but unconscious sir”

“Right get him to the surgeon. We are going to withdraw while we can”

Under the watchful eyes of the Frundsbergers the French carefully disengaged and withdrew back to the Gottberg where they had started that morning.

Monday, 26 July 2010

The last gasp

Colonel Pringle breathed deeply then shouted “There’s nothing like the smell of gunpowder in the afternoon lads” then continuing “We’ve held them this far and it’s not long till nightfall” with a roar of “Frundsberg Forever” the remaining Frenchmen were driven back from the wall.

General Bercollin had already decided that his men needed to regroup again so the infantry fellback just out of musket range from the wall. At long last his artillery had arrived and they would surely pound the Frundsbergers into submission. On the right the French cavalry had cleared the field of the Frundsberg cavalry and could now sweep forward into Sonnenbad if he gave the order.

One squadron of Chevau-légers had even swept round behind the Landsberg village pursuing the routing Frundsberg cavalry.

General Von Barner recognised the risk to his rear and rode back to try and rally his cavalry, but just as he arrived both the Heavy Dragoons and Freihussaren halted and reformed facing the pursuing French cavalry. The Chevau-légers saw the opposition they had to face and wisely retreated back around the village.

Before returning to the wall, Von Barner managed to shout across to Fredrich “If we can hold them till nightfall then we’ll win”

Sunday, 25 July 2010

The pressure continues

Despite their set backs the French continued their attacks, the inevitable then occurred, first the remaining light Dragoons were routed and then finally the Heavy Dragoons and some of the French cavalry set off in pursuit. Luckily the Frundsberg Horse Artillery was now close to the field wall and the supporting fire from the militia there, and the Freishutze were safely holding the wall further down towards Landsberg village.

Shot flew thick and fast across the stone wall. The French were constantly pushing forward to find a weak point. Then suddenly the French infantry charged and pushed back the 2nd line battalion from the wall threatening a complete breakthrough. Colonel Meyer rushed up to rally his men and managed to prevent a rout.

Bitter fusillades continued and then the 1st line battalion devastated by the crossfire in its exposed corner of the wall fell back to reform. However the French point unit, the 1/23ieme DB de Ligne was exhausted and their commander decided to fall back behind the wall. Immediately before the other French units could exploit the position Colonel Pringle led two battalions of Militia forward to fill the gap.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

An all-out assault

At long last General Bercollin had his forces where he wanted them. He ordered the Infantry forward on his left to take the wall and, ignoring their mixed performance so far, the cavalry was sent forward to clear the right. Under pressure the Frundsberg line would crack somewhere.
On the left the French infantry were stalled again by the fire from the walls defenders.

On the right they were no more successful. One squadron of Chasseurs attacked the Heavy Dragoons and were ignominiously routed; the only success was that the Chevau-légers succeeded in routing one of the Light Dragoon squadrons. The weary Heavy Dragoons continued the combat with the other squadron of Chasseurs, but were forced to rally back.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Cavalry combat

Still eager for glory, the Heavy Dragoons quickly rallied and immediately charged the French Heavy Cavalry while they were still disorganised by the canister fire. They smashed into the heavier French cavalry at full speed, immediately routing them, then calmly reformed their ranks.

However once the two French dragoon squadrons had reformed and once their heavier comrades were out of the way they charged at the Heavy Dragoons. Their left hand squadron as expected took canister fire causing their charge to falter. The real shock was experienced by the right hand squadron as huge cannonballs unexpectedly ripped through their ranks. It was a stroke of luck that there was a clear line of fire from the village to the Dragoons and Jens and his seamen fired their siege guns as soon as they had a clear target. The dragoons involved routed almost immediately.

On the right two squadrons of Chevau-léger charged forward attempting to catch the Freishutz as they withdrew but the Freihussaren and the second squadron of Light Dragoons counter charged. The Light Dragoons succeeded in driving back the squadron facing them, but the Freihussaren were pushed back and broken. Assailed by two Frenchmen, Friedrich parried one thrust and then stabbed his sabre into his enemy’s chest, but turning, saw the other Frenchman’s sabre was swinging towards him when a shot rang out and the Frenchman fell in mid swing. Looking around Friedrich was convinced he saw Ilse calmly reloading a rifle. He spurred his horse onward to distance himself from the French and to try and rally his men.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Clash of the heavies

Before General Bercollin could rebalance his forces Colonel Letort had sent in his Dragoons and Heavy Cavalry to deal with their Frundsberg counterpart. At the same time Colonel Jolais made another push towards the wall.
Side by side a squadron of Dragoons and Heavy Cavalry sped towards the Heavy Dragoons. A swathe of canister swept through the Heavy Cavalry causing them to falter. The Frundsbergers counter-charged their French opponents on equal terms and after a confused melee both side fell back to reform. On the wall the French infantry met a hail of musketry and canister and Colonel Anjou decided to rally back.

Now back in his second line position, Friedrich looked across to the Freishutze on the extreme right flank, they were now extremely vulnerable as French cavalry continued to arrive on the plateau. He was even more concerned when he spotted Ilse in amongst them calmly loading and firing.

Ilse had left Jens as the guns arrived in the village of Landsberg and made her way to join the Freishutze. Spotting Hans’ pack mule she retrieved a rifle and a bag of cartridges and joined the firing line. Moments later came the command to withdraw as two squadrons of French light cavalry appeared over the crest.
A gruff voice announced "You shouldn't be here Miss"
Spitting a ball down the barrel Ilse replied "Yes Hans" and calmly rammed the ball home and primed the pan. "Now we had better withdraw before those cavalry come to get us"

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

A brief lull

The success of the Heavy Dragoons was loudly cheered by the infantry massed along the adjoining wall, but the cavalry had no time to waste celebrating as they had to reform ready to face the French who were spilling over the crest in ever increasing numbers.

From General Bercollin''s perspective the whole operation was becoming a mess. His subordinates had thrown their troops into action in an uncoordinated fashion as they arrived. At last they seemed to be getting a grip now that the whole army was assembled. Now all that was needed was a coordinated push now they had driven the enemy back from the crest. His feelings changed once he personally saw the situation on reaching the crest and viewing the Landsberg plateau. The Frundsbergers were drawn up in order and their left flank was firmly fixed behind a stone wall.

He needed to rebalance his forces to cope as he had too much infantry on his left and the cavalry on the right were incapable of tackling troops behind walls.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Crunch time

The French Hussars had obviously decided it was time to act on their left flank. One squadron readied to renew the struggle with the Freihussaren, while the other targeted the horse artillery. Luckily the horse gunners realised their peril in time and swung their guns round to meet the oncoming Hussars with a blast of canister. Every other unit that could see them also opened fire on the Hussars bringing their attempted charge to an end.


On the hillside, the French Heavy Cavalry and Dragoons formed up ready to attack the victorious Frundsberg cavalry, but before they could act the Frundsbergers disappeared back over the crest.

With the hussars faltering in their charge now was the moment for Friedrich and his Freihussaren to exploit their disorder. It was just as well Friedrich looked around before giving the order, because he saw the Heavy Dragoons heading at full pace into the flank of the hussars. One squadron bolted immediately, but other was trapped and after a futile attempt to defend themselves threw down their weapons and surrendered.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Hussars to the rescue?

It was only a matter of time before a square cracked under fire and it was the 2/56ieme DB de Ligne, who taking a chance rallied back in the shelter of the hill crest. Luckily it was at the same moment that the Hussars, seeing their compatriots fleeing from the hill top, charged over the crest. The right hand squadron met a hail of fire from a line of militia and artillery and came to an abrupt halt. The other charged straight into the 1st Light Dragoon squadron.

The Hussars smashed into the Light Dragoons, who were slow to react as they were preparing to charge the 2/56ieme DB de Ligne. The Light Dragoons routed and the Hussars pursued following up and heading towards the 1st Sonnenbad Militia Battalion, that General Von Barner was rallying. All was not lost as both the Heavy Dragoons and Freihussaren had moved up into supporting positions.

This was also the moment at which a gap appeared in the other French square. Both the Heavy Dragoons and the remaining Light Dragoon squadron attacked at once. Friedrich looked around at his men, his numbers had been made up with some recently trained Light Dragoons and he hoped they would perform as well as the rest of his now experience Freihussaren. At almost the same time as the rest of the cavalry they charged into the French Hussars. After a number of minutes of confused melee both sides rallied back to reform. At least he had bought enough time for Von Barner to reform the ranks of the militia. Looking to his right he could just see French bodies and the rest of the cavalry pursuing what must have been left of the French infantry, to his left he could still see fleeing militia and Light Dragoons.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

The Dragoons strike

Picking his moment Major Kummel launched the Light Dragoons forward, the 1st squadron headed straight for an infantry column, which fled back town the hill, while the 2nd squadron swept away some light infantry. Both squadrons then halted rather than continue after the fugitives.

The other French flank was also in trouble the sustained fire from the two militia battalions plus the foot artillery caused most of Colonel Jolais units to fall back out of musket range to reform and one detachment of light infantry that had been badly flayed by canister fire fled on down the hill.

This left the French with a very tenuous hold on the top of the hill, on the right only the 2/56ieme DB de Ligne remained and on the right the 3/17ieme DB Légère and a detachment of skirmishers. Both columns had no choice but to form into square to resist the cavalry, even though it left them vulnerable to the Frundsberg guns.

The good news was that the hussars had nearly reached their position and that the rest of the army was now working its way through the valley bottom.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Meeting at Trouds

Once again Ritter Hugo von Schwillensaufenstein had been sent off with urgent despatches. He was now in the headquarters of Brigadier Sir David Linienblatt of the Beerstein Foreign Legion in Trouds(#). After perusing the letters from General Von Barner, Sir David questioned Hugo carefully on the state of the roads between Traubs and Pappenheim or alternatively from Sonnenbad.

“So it seems if your General is successful he expects the French to retreat along the Stocwald altweg as the open ground will favour cavalry operations”

“Yes sir, and it’s only one days fast ride so they would be here within two days”

“Of course if we march that way we are liable to be attacked and defeated as the Legion is not strong enough to stand up against a whole French division, even if it has been defeated”

“Ohh, yes if you say so sir, I don’t know your exact strength, just what general Von Barner told me to say”

“He says I should wait here and act like a stopper in the bottle to prevent the French reaching the Rhine, is this true?”

“Well sir, from my observation, after the direct Pappenheim to Berlin road there is no easy way down the Stocwald escarpment until this point. If they abandon their wagons and guns they could do so, but not otherwise.

“OK thank you von Schwillensaufenstein. My despatch will inform your commander that we will do as requested, I trust he is confident on the result of the battle, otherwise our assistance will be delayed by at least two days”

# Trouds is the first major town north of Frundsberg in the Electorate of Glowstein and lies at the end of a long valley leading down from the Stocwald hills. It is renowned for its woollen mills.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Up the hill

Once the French broke cover they were subject to everything the Frundsbergers could throw at them, but they kept advancing up the slopes

All the while the French artillery deployed on the Gottberg endeavoured to provide covering fire, while the hussars trotted forward down the lane to be ready to support the infantry once they had cleared the crest.

The 1st and 2nd Sonnenbad Militia battalions had been positioned in the centre of the line and were the main targets of this French fire and were forced to fall back to reform. Recognising the danger of not maintaining formation Colonel Pringle ordered the rest of the formation to fall back from the crest line. The French cheered and surged forwards but were met with further volleys as they breasted the crest. Unnoticed Major Kummel brought forward the two squadrons of Light Dragoons in case of need.
The French drove forward shattering the Welle/Fromel select militia on the right and also the 1st Sonnenbad battalion. The 2nd Sonnenbad battalion was pushed back. However the Light Dragoons were ready for a counter strike.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Clearing the hedgerows

The Légère advanced cautiously ducking whenever they heard a shot and only a few bodies lay behind them on the slopes by the time they reached the first hedgerow. Obeying the shouts of their officers and NCOs they crossed the hedges into more open ground and advanced.

Casualties began to mount but they continued forwards. On the left they paused to fire, whereas on the right they charged the enemy hiding behind the hedgerows. In both cases the results were the same, the riflemen fled up the slopes towards their main line.

Colonel Anjou, was pleased, the enemy had been quickly cleared from their initial positions, but where was the rest of the army? Colonel Letort was equally anxious as he couldn’t launch his cavalry forward until the crest line of the ridge was cleared or at least checked for other surprises.

It was a while later that Colonel Jolais arrived with the 56ieme DB de Ligne. Immediately the four battalions available were sent forward. As they advanced the enemy guns opened fire, and as a round shot ploughed though his men, Colonel Jolais spotted markers that had been placed earlier by the enemy, presumably to mark the range. Luckily his men realised the benefit of speed and rapidly descended to the valley floor and crossed the hedge to join the Voltigeurs beyond.

Meanwhile, the whole of the artillery had arrived, and opened fire at extreme range and elevation at the Frundberg militia on the opposite hill.

Once in position on the valley floor Anjou and Jolais split the force between them Anjou took the left which was mainly légère backed up with a battalion of Ligne, whereas Jolais took his second and third battalions and some légère.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

The other side of the hill (2)

It turned out that Jens’ appearance was the result of a debate with General Wurst and Jens’ challenge that sailors could shift heavy guns where landlubbers failed. As a result General Wurst challenged him to move 4 siege guns to the top of the Landsberg. The first part was easy, just river transport upriver from Pappenheim to Sonnenbad. The move through the old streets was easy, but then the slope steepened for a long way.

The rational for Jens’ assertion was the regular use of winches and pulleys by sailors to move heavy objects carefully at minimal effort. His approach had been to establish winching points high up the slopes and move the guns up slowly using a pulley system, then repeat the same progressively higher. However, he had not expected this level of continual effort, but at least the road was already levelled. He had debated leaving two guns behind and continuing with only two, but decided that it was all or nothing.

Ilse listened to Jens’ story and decided that for her too, it was all or nothing and resolved to return to the battle.

On the French side of the hill Colonel Anjou had arrived with his 17ieme Demi-Brigade Légère and saw the problem even before Colonel Letort pointed it out. He deployed both of his first two battalions in skirmish order and kept the third back in reserve and sent them forward to clear the hedgerows.

Friday, 9 July 2010

The other side of the hill

As Ilse left the Landsberg, she alternately felt angry then worried. Why had she been sent away? Did the Baron really want to see her? What for? Who had she upset now? What might happen to Friedrich and her father?

She was so engrossed that she almost rode into a web of ropes stretching across the road and a shouted warning “Watch out miss” Dismounting and walking down the hill she met a large siege gun travelling slowly uphill pulled by the ropes. Shortly after she encountered two large groups of men either side of the road hauling on the ropes obviously pulling the gun up the steep slope of the Landsberg. As she passed she heard her name and turned to see Jens, her sister’s betrothed, hauling the ropes with the others.

“Jens, what is happening?”

“Isn’t it obvious? We are using a pulley system to move the guns to the top of the hill”

“I know it’s not far now, but the battle is about to start”

“Yes but we are working as hard as we can, some assistance would be useful as the men are tiring”

“I’ll find you some help” With that Ilse descended to the nearest houses and began banging on doors. This being one of the wealthy areas of Sonnenbad she was invariably met by a flunky, who she immediately informed that “The Baron needs your immediate assistance, inform your master to met me in the street and then get up the road to help the sailors with as many of the other servants as possible.”

Gradually a mass of people gathered in the road and some servants headed off up the hill. At least a start thought Ilse.

To calls of “What’s going on?”, “who are you?” and various other comments. Ilse projected her voice “Ladies and Gentlemen. On the authority of Baron Wilhelm I am asking for your assistance. Just up the hill are a number of guns that need to get to the top of the Landsberg”.

“The French won’t harm us we are no threat to them”

“Tell that to the inhabitants of Welle, Fromel and various other villages I have met. The French will pick your properties clean of anything of the slightest value”

“It might not work”

“Yes, but it’s worth making the effort to stop the French otherwise you’ll lose everything.”

There was a general murmur of assent, so Ilse continued “Ladies, can you please pass the message onto your neighbours. Gentlemen, please muster your servants and follow me.”

Within 30 minutes Ilse was back and the workforce on the ropes had been tripled.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Will they fight?

Following the Freihussaren breaking through the Chasseurs, the French cavalry rallied and set off in pursuit. At first it appeared that the Freihussaren were fleeing in the direction of Pappenheim, but they suddenly veered southward down into a dip. Following closely the French saw their chance, a bottleneck where a narrow lane passed through a hedged valley bottom. However as they rode up rifle fire commenced and they immediately pulled back up onto the crest. Similarly their opponents work their way up and onto the height on the opposite side of the valleys and disappear from view. At this point General Letort arrived.

Surveying the position he could see the Jaegers occupying the hedgerows and then behind them Frundsberg militia and artillery occupying the Landsberg opposite.

So where were the infantry this time would they arrive in time before the Frundsbergers slip away again?

Thursday, 17 June 2010

The plot thickens!

As Twyth walked away he almost ran into the Commissionaire.

“Ah Twyth, perhaps you can help as the General seems so busy”

“I have lots of work for the General, but if it is something simple?”

“Jean Claude has been killed, I’m sure someone has interfered with our wagon, can someone check”

“I’m sure I can arrange that sir, how did he die?”

“Near the wagon, he had just apprehended a woman when a hussar appeared and blew his brains out with a pistol. Then they rode off”

Very well sir, I will ask Captain Santerre of the engineers to have one of his men check the wagon for you.”

“And can you recommend a replacement for Jean Claude?”

“I’m sure if you ask around the various units you will find a willing volunteer”

“Thank you Twyth, you have been most helpful, unlike some around here”

With that the Commissionaire en Mission stalked off, allowing Twyth to breathe a sigh of relief.

Thinking again about the evidence, Twyth considered that the desire to sabotage the guillotine could indicate that the Frundsbergers feared that they would lose the battle?

=============================
There will now be a pause while I go off to the SOGG Big Game this weekend. Hopefully once I return I'll get chance to fight the battle of Landsberg.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

En Avant

Twyth, felt angry with himself, he should have expected the ambush, they had performed similar tricks before so he should have anticipated it. He saw that the rest of the cavalry had mounted up and was now in pursuit of those dammed Freihussaren. Riding back he saw General Bercollin in conference with the infantry colonels.

“Well Twyth, what do you think? I had just decided that our best option was to drive the canailles off the hill, when this attack forced the decision on me”

“Are you really sure sir, the land to the north is much better suited to cavalry action, and we could just be playing their game”

“No, Twyth, this is much the better direction to attack, once we have taken the Landsberg, Sonnenbad will be at our mercy”

At that moment a hussar rode up saluted and handed the general an officer’s sabretache “Colonel Letort’s complements sir, he thought you had better read the contents”

Taking the sabretache Bercollin opened it and pulled out a sheaf of papers “Bah it’s all in German, you read it Twyth”

“It’s mostly situation reports sir, except this letter ordering the Freihussaren to return at once to support the main army as their reinforcements have been delayed, signed by Von Barner who has been commanding the enemy so far”

“Excellent, that confirms what I thought; gentlemen get your men on the march we attack at once”

“It could still be a trick sir”

“No, we must act, our strength is declining every day while the enemy grows stronger, Gather as much intelligence as possible on the enemy position Twyth”

“Yes sir”

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

A proposition

Friedrich rode up to the General and then gently lowered Ilse, after a quick embrace Von Barner turned to Friedrich “Thanks for looking after my daughter”

“It was nothing sir, but we might have been in trouble if not for Hans”

“Ahhh, good, I’m glad he followed my instructions”

“Father!,”

“Oh yes, Ilse, I’m sure you tried to send him away. But the Baron wants to see you as soon as possible and Hans knows how precious you are to me. Now go and get a horse and ride immediately to Pappenheim.

Ilse, turned away and started walking towards the horse lines, but paused and turned “Thank you, Friedrich” then continued.

“Now young man, we have had glimpses of your Freihussaren over there, but they have moved out of sight again. Once they return I recommend that you move them into a position where they can support the rest of the cavalry, you’ll be under the command of Major Kummel again. Hopefully they’ll get chance to rest before they are in action again.”

Since he was sure Ilse was out of earshot Friedrich coughed and asked the question he had been debating all morning “Sir, would you permit me the honour of proposing marriage to your daughter”

“Young man, that is not a decision that I can make, Ilse is headstrong and nothing I can say will have any influence on her decision”

“But Sir, I’d still like the comfort that you had no objection”

“Von Wettin, you are an efficient officer with good prospects and Ilse seems happy in your company, on that basis I can have no objection. But be prepared for refusal”

Monday, 14 June 2010

Preparing for action

Once he was sure that the French had withdrawn Hans signalled to the rest of the jaegers to fallback to the ponies that were hidden slightly down the slope near a narrow lane. As there was only just enough ponies Ilse remained mounted on Friedrich’s horse. Once everyone was mounted, Hans led them cautiously downhill, then onto the Haubtstrasse and into Lamsdorf.

Calling out to ensure that they were not fired on they passed into the Lamsdorf defenses. Compared to the degree of activity yesterday, only a single battalion of Militia plus two guns was now in position. They were waved through and they then turned uphill towards the Landsberg.

They arrived on the summit and rode across the flat top to the northern end, passing the racecourse where Friedrich had spent many happy summer afternoons socialising and gambling moderately. He then pondered “Where are Marulaz and the rest of his men now?”

As they arrived toward the northern end they passed four battalions of line infantry drawn up in the second line and nearby two squadrons of light dragoons and one of heavy. Ahead he could see militia and artillery occupying the top of the northern slope.

Ilse tapped him on the shoulder, “There’s father” and pointed. Friedrich turned his horse and rode over. General Von Barner was walking along the militia line exchanging banter with the men.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

The Marsfeld raid (3)

The Freihussaren advanced again and the scattered French picquets quickly fell back before them. Calling the men to a halt, Otto looked across at Hans von Pilsner. It was just as well that they had agreed in advance who would take command if Friedrich was absent. Neither had a particular call on seniority since they had signed up with the volunteers at the same time and both respected the others competence. So in a bar one evening they had decided the matter on the toss of a coin. Rumour among the volunteers had claimed that they had pooled their money and the winner got the cash and the loser the command.

Lieutenant von Zendabrau had called a halt recognising the risks of pursuing the picquets and ordered the volunteers to reload all their weapons. Hans nodded his agreement, he still had to lose a sabretasche. Now fully, loaded they could see the French forming up in front of Marsfeld and the more cavalry returning from the south.

Suddenly Seamus O’Malley waved and pointed to the north. He had spotted French Chasseurs moving out to try cutting them off. Otto quickly shouted “Mariusz, sound The retire.” The volunteers calmly turned by threes and retired, but the French chasseurs were rapidly closing their escape route. Hearing the charge sounded the Freihussaren closed up and headed directly at the Chasseurs.

The impact of the charge meant that the Freihussaren burst straight through the Chasseurs scattering them as they were not expecting a move that quickly. In the pell mell melee that followed the Sabretasche was conveniently lost. Render Fhartz nearly stopped to retrieve it but spotted Hans shaking his head just in time, it was also fortunate as he hadn’t spotted a Chasseur coning from another angle so he manage to dodge his sabre thrust in time.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

The Marsfeld raid (2)

Looking around Friedrich was startled to see a large body of French cavalry moving towards him cutting off his retreat to the Landsberg. Ilse shouted “Head south towards Ostdorf”

It was easy to say, but with two riders Friedrich’s horse was rapidly being overhauled by the French hussars. He was also uncertain about the route he needed to take and he could easily end up caught on the steep wooded and rocky slopes.

He turned left past a clump for trees and realised that he was entering a dead end as walls ran around the field edge with slopes beyond. Handing Ilse his remaining pistol he drew his sword ready to fight to the death to protect her.

======================================

Twyth had caught sight of the fugitives and was convinced that it was his Bête Noire, that woman, shouting encouragement to the hussars he raced forward, he was sure that they wouldn’t escape.

However, a sudden fusillade of shots downed the leading riders and the rest pulled up. Twyth cursed “what are rifles doing this close to our camp”. Waving the hussars back he considered their next action.

=================================

The sudden volley of shots from the copse they had just past startled Friedrich and he was even more surprised to see Hans waving to him.

Friedrich rode over, but before Friedrich could thank Hans, Ilse exclaimed “I ordered you to return to my father!”

“Yes Miss, but he had ordered me to look after you and this was the best I could do”

Friedrich interrupted quickly “I think we all have things to sort out, but for the moment our best action is to rejoin the rest of the army.”

Friday, 11 June 2010

The Marsfeld raid (1)

Both Lieutenants burst forward with their men just after the clock sounded the half hour. The French were stunned and caught completely unawares so the first few minutes were easy with Frenchmen being cut down as they ran back to the village. However the resistance grew rapidly and to avoid unnecessary casualties, both led their men away from Marsfeld. As they left the French cavalry started to pursue but then broke off and headed southward instead.

Puzzled, and spotting each other the Lieutenants regrouped their forces.

“What do we do now?”

“That was just the duty squadron; we need to tempt the rest of their cavalry”

“Yes we need to return again, Mariusz can you play a tune to tempt them out?”

----------------------------------------------------------

Breathing a sigh of relief, Friedrich exited the confines of Marsfeld and stated to ride south then east. Thankfully the French weren’t following him, but recovering from the confusion of the raid and following the Freihussaren.

--------------------------------------------------------

Twyth emerged from his quarters to see one of those hated hussars ride past with a woman behind him. Grabbing the first available horse he mounted and followed them out of the village.

He then found the duty squadron of hussars just as they mounted up and followed the enemy cavalry. “Forget them” he shouted “follow me” and led them towards the fugitives”

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Into the French camp

Ilse wiped her knife clean after killing the two French sentries, for a moment she felt regret, but she carried on with her self appointed mission. She crept forward, keeping watch for any other sentries, but all seemed quiet in the pre-dawn light. The slight mist that had risen also helped.

It didn’t take long before she found the French wagon park, but it took a while before she found the wagon she was searching for and slipped the package carefully inside.

As she slipped away, she thought about the Commissionaire en Mission and wondered if anything else could be done to kill him. However she was suddenly seized from behind by the throat and a knife pressed against her jugular vein “Now my lovely, what were you up to?”
Ilse kept quiet, waiting for an opportunity to act. She could still reach her knife, but not quickly enough.

Suddenly the clock bell rang the half hour and her assailant loosened his grip, Ilse reached for her knife only to hear a shot and her assailant’s blood splattered all over her.
Looking in the direction of the shot she saw Friedrich mounting his horse and shouting “We need to get out of here now!”

As he rode past Friedrich grabbed Ilse and swept her up behind him and she saw French troops appearing from all directions. Luckily the French were confused by firing and shouting in all directions so they escaped from the wagon park unscathed.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Approaching the enemy

The move north was fairly uneventful, with a clear night navigation was relatively easy and the Freihussaren easily found the points where they would ascend the valleys onto the high slopes. Friedrich decided to accompany Lieutenant Hans von Pilsners troop to the north as it would have the greatest distance to travel. They clearly heard the church bell and it was agreed that the attack would take place at half past five in the morning.

Before moving out they checked that everything was secured so that nothing could accidentally make a noise. The horses hooves had been bound with rags and even their sabres were lashed to their saddles. About to give the order to continue Friedrich spotted that Mariusz still had his trumpet slung normally “We won’t be needing that today”. Once it was pointed out, Mariusz bound it firmly to his saddlebags.

As they moved off Friedrich hoped that Ilse would keep out of harms way. At least she had prepared a convincing looking letter that would be dropped in Lieutenant Otto von Zendabrau’s sabretasche at an appropriate moment.

As they arrived at the head of the valley, Friedrich heard the clock strike the quarter hour. But something didn’t seem quite right, turning to Von Pilsner he said “I’m going ahead to check, if I don’t return in time carry on without me.

He then led his horse cautiously up to the crest, through the faint early morning mist he could just see Marsfeld and also picquets posted around except nearby. Very odd he thought and leaving his hose tied he crept forward to the nearest wall and peered over. He quickly ducked back as he saw two bodies on the other side.

After checking all around, he looked again over the wall, and then opened a nearby gate so the Freihussaren could have easier access. As he was about to return to his horse he saw a figure in the distance creeping towards Marsfeld.

Otto von Zendabrau had had some problems ascending the valley as the stream bed was quite steep in places and was quite concerned when the clock struck the quarter hour, but immediately after Seamus O'Malley who was scouting ahead appeared and reported that they were almost in position.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Planning the raid (3)

Sometime later, Ilse stormed out from the tower, past the Freihussaren fuming in indignation only to run into Hans.

“Is everything in order Miss?”

Ilse paused, “Hans you are soaking wet and how did you get here?”

“Well Miss, it’s like this” and Hans explained the situation on the other side of the valley and how he had had to cross the river twice to get to her.

“Right Hans, I am supposed to escort the Freishutze back to our lines, I’ll now leave that up to you. I need to do something on my own first”

“Are you sure that’s wise Miss”

“Yes it’s what my father would want, and it’s an order Hans.

As dusk fell the Freihussaren headed north and Friedrich waved farewell to Ilse but received no response, leaving him to ponder their future.

Shortly after, Hans and the Freishutze headed south and then west towards their own lines.

Once she was sure that the Freishutze were well on their way, Ilse turned her horse and rode north.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Planning the raid (2)

“But how we ensure we attack at the same time” asked Otto.

“I could fire a shot but it would not be very reliable” answered Friedrich “Ilse, any ideas?”

“Yes, of course the church has a clock that sounds the hour and quarter hours”

“Right gentlemen, at the point we split the forces we will agree the time of attack, if one or other of you is not ready on time and I am not present I trust you to use your own judgement on what action to take.”

“I’ve an idea as well” stated Ilse “those smart folders you all carry”

“Sabretaches” answered Hans.

“Yes, one of those could be lost with instructions to return to Landsberg immediately as the position is too weak or needs reinforcement. Once the French found it, it would explain your action and also encourage them to attack”

“Excellent idea, Ilse, but how do were create such a convincing dispatch?”

“Simple, give me an hour and I’ll create something to convince the French”

“OK let’s do it as well. Now Ilse, once you have created a document I want you to lead the Frieshutze back to your father as they cannot participate in the raid and you can make sure that they are expecting the attack”

“No, I have other plans”

“Ilse………” Friedrich turned to the officers “Gentlemen if you would leave us”

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Planning the raid (1)

The two lieutenants were equally amazed by the view as they reached the top of the tower. After giving them time to appreciate the landscape and the enemy positions Friedrich opened out the map.

“Right gentlemen, as we can see the French can easily move up the hills to the village of Marsfeld that sits right on the road from Pappenheim to Berlin. Now with their Cavalry superiority they will be able to range at will over the whole area from Pappenheim in the west to Glowstein in the north and Vizes and beyond in the east. We need to convince them to attack where we are strongest. Ilse assures me that the back slopes of the Lansberg are defensible and that Colonel Von Barner would be prepared for such a move and hope that the French would commit to this”
Ilse spoke “The French are on the move just as expected”

They looked up to see the French columns gradually assembling and slowly heading north.
“Now my plan is that at dawn tomorrow we charge through their positions from the east and then head straight for the Landsberg. Hopefully we will draw the French cavalry after us and bring on an unplanned engagement on the slopes of the Landsberg.”

“Ilse from your knowledge is there anyway of approaching the village so we can create maximum surprise and therefore get away before the French can trap us.”

“Yes there are several wooded valleys coming from the east that you could use provided you put cloth on the horses hooves so they don’t make any noise moving on the stones. They are here” pointing at the map”

“Right Hans, Otto we’ll use these two emerging just to the north east and south east of the village. On a signal just ride round the village causing as much noise and confusion as possible and then head for the Landsberg. It should be easy to find, at first follow the Pappenheim road until it reaches the lip of the escarpment then turn south and follow the slope up the Landsberg.

Friday, 4 June 2010

A new appointment

“So who will take command of our forces?” asked Von Barner, trying to discover what was happening. “I assume I am to hand over to you sir” he addressed to the General.

“Oh no” he responded “much as I would relish the prospect but my body is now to old for the strain, I had decided to retire before the latest conflict started, but the Baron asked me to stay on in command”

“So will Colonel Meyer take command on arrival?”

“No, you will”

“But,…….Surely seniority is relevant?”

The Baron interjected “Colonel, or should you accept the offer General. We have observed your work managing our security service over the last ten years. Your position as a colonel was our method of confirming that you were still as capable as we believed you to be. On my recommendation seconded by General Wurst the Statrat has decided to appoint you as Army Commander.”

Recovering his wits, Von Barner responded “Yes but who will take on my current role?”

The Baron responded “We have someone in mind”

“But Otto von Stupenhagel is too old and I don’t know of any other man who could take over."

“Exactly, but he will be able to assist your successor!”

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

The Lamsdorf position

Colonel Von Barner was pleased to observe the growing number of French troops halted in front of his position. The village had been turned into a redoubt covered by the guns higher up the slopes. They had already fired a few shots when the French cavalry had strayed to close. Behind the village and its militia garrison were the two line battalions carefully out of the line of fire and behind them the heavy cavalry. He had already sent the light dragoons up and over the Landsberg to prepare for the expected French move.

However, if the French were quick then they could attack before Colonel Meyer’s men arrived to support the defence.

He looked back as the rumble of a carriage could be heard. It was the grand state carriage and riding alongside was Captain Stammpot immaculate as ever. So the General had arrived to take command. As the coach drew up Von Barner walked across and acknowledged a respectful salute from Stammpot. That puzzled him and then more so when both General Wurst and Baron Wilhelm descended from the coach.

Spotting the General descending from the coach the older members of the militia started up the chant “We want Wurst” soon to be joined by the rest of the militia who had heard the stories of how the General always looked after his troops rations.

The General gave the men a friendly wave and turned to the Colonel who was greeting the Baron.

“Gentlemen, welcome, please excuse my appearance, I have little chance to consider it over the last week”

The Baron responded “That is of little import, your efforts have been noted along with your achievement of delaying the French thus far”

“Sir you are too kind, I assume the General would like to be appraised of the position before taking full command”

”That is unnecessary; your reports are quite comprehensive as usual. We need to consider higher matters at this time” responded the Baron with affirmative nods from the General”

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

On the Braunturm

Friedrich returned to viewing the French position and tried to think of the options that they might consider and whether they could disrupt them in any way. Turning back to Ilse “is there any way around the position that the French could use?”

“Yes, they can simply march up the lanes through the orchards and vineyards onto the high ground. From there they can either take the Haubtstrasse direct to Pappenheim or Berlin, continue north along the Stocwold ridgeline towards Glowstein and back to the Rhine or attack the Landsberg position in the rear”

“Will your father prepared for such a move?”

“Yes, it is not such a strong position but he will be ready and he will get plenty of warning if the French move that way, I would think his greater concern is that the French will not attack as the ground to the north is far more open and suitable for cavalry”

“OK, I have an idea, if you are sure your father would like the French to attack”

“Yes, I’m sure, but what…”

Friedrich leaned over the tower and shouted “Otto, Hans come up at once I have an idea to discuss with you, and bring the maps”

Monday, 31 May 2010

Ostdorf

General Bercollin was annoyed, according to his maps it should have been a simple march into an undefended Sonnenbad. Yet here they were, the whole of the Frundsberg forces, defending the route into Sonnenbad. That his troops could break through he had no doubt, but at what cost?
Twyth coughed “They must have marched through the night to get in position before us”
“Yes but what are our options now, apart from a frontal attack?”

“Well sir, the Landsberg ahead of us is a spur of the Stocwold hills that are to the north of our position. I understand from the locals that there is a back way up the Landsberg from the north that is far less steep. It also has the benefit of positioning us on the direct road from Berlin to Pappenheim so we will have more options”.

“And our ammunition supply?”

“Still very limited sir, only enough for one days sustained fighting”

“Show me the map again” “Hmmm, we could also strike out towards Glowstein and the bank of the Rhine. Right issue the orders Twyth. We march on Marsfeld first thing tomorrow”

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Tailing the enemy

After releasing the militia at Bratfurt, Friedrich and Ilse rode after the French with their remaining forces, now less then fifty Friehussaren and a dozen Freishutze mounted on pit ponies. Despite their best efforts the French kept closed up giving no opening for an attack. There was a slight opportunity when the French were distracted by an attack across the Flussweih, but they were now more wary and realised their error in time.

By mid afternoon the next day the French had halted around Ostdorf, the point where the Flussweih stopped flowing northward and turned west. It was also only a few leagues from Sonnebad. Puzzled by the inactivity Ilse led the party back up through the woods emerging at an ancient tower. “It’s the Braunturm” she explained to Friedrich as they climbed the stairs “it was built in medieval times to provide a lookout over the Electorate.”

Emerging at the top Friedrich gasped at the view. Although the tower was surrounded by woods the top was well above the treetops. To the east there was a clear view across the plains of the Electorate, after all its position was just inside the border.

But it was the view to the west that was so useful. Immediately below them was a steep wooded slope running down to the Flussweih which flowed from the south into an enormous bowl and then flowed round it and exited eastwards. The spires of Sonnenbad could be seen in the distance. Entering the bowl from the north east was a small river with the Haupbtstrasse from Berlin. These joined with the Flussweih and the road from Bratfurt below them. To the north of the bowl was a range of hills with a significant ridge projecting almost to the river and creating a defile on the road to Sonnenbad.

“What’s the big hill called” asked Friedrich pointing.

“That’s the Landsberg” answered Ilse “My father must be occupying it and the village of Lamsdorf on the road and that is why the French have halted.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

The Klaveberg heights

As the light began to fade, Colonel Von Barner turned to Professor O’Griffin “Are you sure your cadets can cope?”

“Of course, and as I always lecture, if the enemy does attack this way they will just dissipate their effort. The Cadets will create plenty of activity and even our little parade cannon will be of use as a sound effect. However I am glad there will be a detachment of Frieshutze covering the crossing to give the French pause for thought.

The Colonel looked around, the last of his little army was forming up ready to march, they had to be in position to the east of Sonnenbad by first light. Hopefully Colonel Meyer’s men would arrive shortly after. From his position on the heights the dummy cannon looked quite false, but from the other side of the Flussweih he hoped the French would hesitate.

The Frundsbergers marched down from the Klaveberg and began crossing the old bridge into Flussweih. As night fell they continued marching north and east through the city. Part moved towards the Lamsdorf suburb, which was already being fortified by the local militia where the main Berlin to Sonnenbad road crossed the Lamsbach. The rest moved up onto the Landsberg that overlooked the road.

Von Barner considered his position. He still had two regular battalions, a company of Freishutze, a squadron of light dragoons and a horse battery. On arrival in Sonnenbad he had also found a squadron of heavy dragoons and a foot battery that had been sent from the garrison of Pappenheim. In addition he had two battalions of Sonnenbad militia and another couple of select militia from Welle, Fromel and Stockrad. With Colonel Meyer’s force of two battalions, a company of jaegers and squadron of light dragoons, they almost had parity in infantry with the French. Hopefully in the enclosed terrain the French cavalry advance would be nullified.

Of course once Colonel Meyer arrived he would take charge having greater seniority.

Friday, 28 May 2010

Through the Sallwald

At first the road from Bratfurt passed up over the open lands of Iserwald but then it started to descend again into the valley of the Flussweih and the same enclosed terrain that the French had experienced on their way from Welle. The ambush when it came was not unexpected and the Legere rapidly deployed into the woods either side of the roads to clear the way. The enemy fell back slowly to a mill by ford over the Flussweih.

Twyth rode up to General Bercollin, “This ford is not marked on our maps sir, and it bypasses the enemies’ Frishdorf position”

“Yes, but look at the terrain opposite with the slopes up to that hill. Yes the Klaveberg”

“But once over or round it we will be in Sonnenbad”

“But at what cost? And Sonnenbad is on the north of the river, Order Colonel Claret to act as if we are preparing to attack the position, the rest of the army will press on at all speed.
By evening the advance guard had driven the enemy picquets out of Ostdorf only 3 Leagues from Sonnenbad.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Welcome news

Shortly after dismissing Von Schwillensaufenstein, Colonel Von Barner was pleased to recognise a familiar figure riding into camp. “Welcome Hans, what news do you bring?”

Hans then explained the position of the Schnellkorps under Colonel Meyer. “They were leaving Bruckewasser at the same time as me this morning and they should be in Welle by now as the locals have put temporary bridges in place. I heard in Welle that a Polish battalion is helping with the repairs around Fromel while they wait for free transit to be arranged back to Poland. Now Colonel Meyer says he will march direct to Sonnenbad with all speed unless he has information to the contrary”

“Excellent and how strong is the Schnellkorps?”

“Only two battalions, a company of jaegers and squadron of light dragoons, apparently it was all the Austrians would release at the time. Colonel Meyer, thinks that it will be at least four days before any more reinforcements arrive. General Kraut promised to leave with the rest of the Frundsberg brigade two days after him whether or not the Austrians agree.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

The next steps

Twyth reported back to General Bercollin in Bratfurt “Citizen General I have to report that the rearguard has been wiped out”

“What?” he exploded, “yet more problems in this accused land. Did you hear about Captain Fitou?”

“Yes, and that the Chasseurs had very nearly caught up with those Freihussaren”

“Right Twyth, down to business, draft orders for an advance at all speed up the north bank of the Flussweih to Sonnenbad. Now we have gained enough supplies the army is to remain concentrated so we are less vulnerable to these insurgents, and I suspect that as we move into Iserwelt they will loose support.

===================================
Hugo von Schwillensaufenstein arrived at Colonel von Barners HQ for the second time that day.
“Well young fellow want do you have to report this time, I trust good news?”

“Sir, Major Von Wettin convinced the Polish troops comprising the French rearguard to surrender, no that’s not quite right, become neutral. He has offered to arrange free passage for them back to Poland and he trusts that this is acceptable.”

“Excellent, just what I want to hear. Now, the French are obviously moving into Iserwelt. So inform Major Von Wettin and my daughter that I will endeavour to cover Sonnenbad but I appreciate that the militias will not be able to act much further that Bratfurt so they should use their own judgement on what further action to take.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Another occupation?

Meanwhile in Bruckewasser, Sergeant Igel of the militia rushed in and shouted at Franz Ferdinand “The enemy are coming”

Franz paused a moment and then asked “Please be calm, who is approaching and from which direction”

The sergeant then explained with more care “The lads on the west gate have seen Frundsbergers in the distance. What should we do?”

Franz smiled “Why welcome them, of course, they must be part of the Imperial army, after all we are not at war with Frundsberg and both their and our forces are both part of the Imperial army.”

“But what should we do sir, should we close the gates?”

“Of course not, they will need to pass through on their way to attack the French and we shouldn’t delay them. Turn out the men; we should salute these brave warriors on their way.”
========================================================
Colonel Meyer pause as they came in sight of Bruckewasser and turned to Hans “Are you sure they will let us pass?”

“Yes, we have friends there, and we have this” Hans passed a carefully folded flag to the Colonel ”It’s the city flag that has been missing since the French occupation”

Turning to his assembled officers the Colonel called out “This is a friendly city, break out the Imperial flags and keep our own furled. I want a smart disciplined entry into a German city that has suffered French occupation”
==========================================
Preceded by their fife and drum corps playing a common Imperial marching tune the Frundsbergers marched into the city. At the gate the sentries saluted the officers smartly and were acknowledged. The column then made its way to the central square and assembled facing the city hall.

In front of the hall was drawn up a line of Militia, around the fringes of the square were a lot of sullen looking townsfolk, while on the stairs was presumably the burgermeiser plus some other locals. Once his troops were assembled Colonel Meyer called out “Thank you for letting us pass though your city, but I have one honour to perform first” he then dismounted and taking the flag from his saddlebag advanced towards the stairs.

At first the militia looked as if they would bar his way, but as they saw what he was carrying they fell back to let him pass. Approaching the burgermeister he saluted and handed over the flag “Sir your city’s honour is restored”

Franz responded “Thank you Colonel” then unfurled the flag and waved it so that everyone could see. The locals exploded with joy. Franz turned to the Colonel again “Your men are welcome colonel, thanks you for returning our flag” and winked.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Beckforf - the aftermath

Once Colonel Jolais men arrived, it was only a matter of minutes before the road was cleared and they could check on the rearguard. Twyth had heard quite intense firing and then all had gone quite. He feared the worst, but hope that perhaps the Poles had driven off their assailants who could not have been that numerous.

Along with the French troops they rode into an area covered with dead bodies both Frundsberg Militia and Poles with the latter in the majority. Obviously there were not enough bodies to account for the complete battalion, but nothing could be heard or seen.

=================================================
Captain Fitou was in hot pursuit, the Freihussaren had picked up the riflemen but with the extra burden they were sure to catch them. Ahead the rough track dipped into another hollow.

===================================================
Lieutenant von Zendabrau felt all was going well as they picked up the Freishutze and rode away from the approaching voltigeurs, but then French Chasseurs appeared and they were gaining rapidly.

Then at the bottom of a dip the mortar wagon became stuck in the mire of a small stream. “Grab that man” Otto shouted at Seamus “and leave the wagon”. O’Mally who was one of the few without a Freishutze doubled up rode swiftly over to the wagon. The bombardier was scrabbling madly in the back of the wagon and Seamus thought he would have to rescue him by force, but he looked up winked and said “wait a moment”. Just as the Chasseurs descended into the dip he climbed onto Seamus’s horse and they rode off. Luckily a couple of shots from the Freishutze deterred the leading Chasseurs from following too closely.

========================================
Captain Fitou waved his men onwards as he stopped to inspect their prize, that troublesome mortar. Moments later his men returned to find little left of their latest commander as the wagon had violently exploded.
---------------------------------------
Updates will be rather intermitant over the next couple of weeks as I will be away from a computer most of the time.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Trapped

Colonel Dwizok was increasingly exasperated with his treatment by the French. His troops had been split up and now his battalion that was part of the rearguard had just been deserted by the French Chasseurs in order to check on some disturbance further forward in the column.
Earlier, Ilse and Friedrich waited till the militia further ahead made plenty of noise as if attacking the column in strength. They then saw the French rearguard cavalry ride past at speed to investigate. As soon as they had passed by Ilse stood and waved to the foresters who cut several large trees to completely block the road.

As they rounded a bend in the road the Poles were met by a blast of musketry from all sides. Spotting enemy cavalry further ahead Colonel Dwizok and his officers rallied their men. Although they returned fire they were gradually forced back up a side valley.

Realising that they had little time available and that while the Poles maintained a resolute frontage there seemed little chance that they could be overwhelmed in time. Friedrich shouted to Ilse, “Give me something white I’m going to try something” He wondered if he could persuade the Poles to surrender before the rest of the French arrived. To his surprise Ilse pulled up her skirt and ripped off a large portion of her petticoat.. Grabbing it and placing it on the end of his sabre he rode forward shouting to the Militia to cease fire.

As he rode forward a Pole took aim, but an officer stepped forward and pushed the musket away.

“What do you want? My men will never surrender to their oppressors”

“Piotr, is that really you?”

“Yes. Aahh! Friedrich, what is a Saxon doing here?”

“I could ask the same, but I’m fighting for the liberty of these people”

“It’s unfortunate, my men are all Poles conscripted into the Prussian Army, but have deserted along with me to fight with the French to restore Polish freedom”

“I might be able to help, I’m sure I can arrange for you and your men to travel back through Saxon territory to what is left of Poland since the last partition.”

“As you are a related to my King and an old friend I accept your offer”

Turning to his men he shouted in Polish “We are going home, ground your weapons”

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

To the rescue?

General Bercollin heard the new of the latest attack with unusual calm and immediately began to give orders. “It’s as expected. They were bound to try again; they are trying to cover an attack from their regular forces at Frishdorf. Tell Colonel Letort to be ready with his heavy cavalry, the open ground between Beckdorf and Frishdorf is ideal for cavalry operations. Colonel Jolais should clear up the distraction and prepare to attack the flank of the enemy. Colonel Anjou will be ready in the centre. Colonel Claret will hold his position in and around Bratfurt”

“Twyth” he shouted “please go back and bring up the rearguard as soon as possible inform Colonel Jolais of his role and check that everything is under control to the west."

Twyth rode off, quickly he found Colonel Jolais who was content as his men had driven off the attack and accepted his new orders. “One squadron of Chasseurs is in hot pursuit” he exclaimed the other is waiting to act”

Twyth realised what this meant, there were no cavalry with the rearguard. He ordered the remaining squadron to accompany him back to the rearguard. He knew what they were thinking, but the situation changed as they turned a corner in the road and saw the way blocked by large trees. "Captain, send a man back immediately. Tell Colonel Jolais that our rearguard is trapped and I need a battalion to clear the road”

Captain Picard immediately complied and then suggested that the squadron sapeurs cleared the fallen trees. They got within 30 paces when both were hit by simultaneous rifles shots. Twyth knew that only the prompt arrival of Colonel Jolais men could save the Poles.

Monday, 3 May 2010

The trap closes

Shortly after decoy party left the rest of the Frundsberg forces moved out. They moved to a position near to the road west of Beckdorf. The foresters identified a suitable position where felling trees would block the road and then hid nearby. The road leading into the wood was watched by the two members of the Aufklarungskorps who would identify once the French rearguard was in sight. One would then inform Ilse and then move on to inform the decoy party to make their attack if she and Friederich decided that the rearguard looked vulnerable. The other would maintain position in case of any unexpected outcomes.

The warning arrived as the last of a large column of French infantry passed by. The rearguard consisted of two squadrons of Chasseurs and a battalion of infantry. Hearing the news the scout was sent on to order the decoy attack.

The French infantry marched away and a messenger slipped down to the foresters to make ready. A distant explosion was then heard and shortly after a French ADC galloped past. Five minutes later he returned accompanied by all the Chasseurs. A message was immediately sent to the foresters to block the road.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Another day, another mission

Lieutenant von Zendabrau had set out again just before first light to position themselves ready to attack the French when the time was right. In addition to his now depleted Freihussaren he had a detachment of Freishutze and the wagon with the mortar. They had left all but the bare essentials behind so that they could double up the Freishutze if necessary.

Arriving near Beckdorf, after evading a couple of French patrols, Otto identified a suitable position where they had a clear view of the road and where there was an unobstructed escape route. The morning passed slowly with large numbers of French passing along the road unaware of their presence. He passed some of the time talking to Alte Fritz the bombardier and debating how many shots he would discharge before they needed to withdraw.

Suddenly Max from the Aufklarungskorps pulled up (everyone seemed to be on first name terms now) and informed him that the rearguard had been sighted and to strike when ready.
Otto observed the column of French infantry and ordered the Freishutze into position on the wood edge. Once he could see they were ready and his hussars were all mounted he nodded to Fritz. A shell flew into the air descending close to the centre of the last battalion. It caused consternation but little other damage.

The French battalion 3/56ieme DB de Ligne rapidly deployed into line and their speed meant that the next round caused less casualties than if they had remained in column. Major Cornbineau ordered an immediate advance into the woods where the mortar was firing. Meanwhile, Colonel Jolais slightly further on, sent messengers in both directions calling for assistance as the insurgents were attacking again.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

French plans

Commissioner en Mission Laine was ecstatic, not only had executioner Van Damme survived the ambush and saved his device, but he had also found the missing part, which had apparently slipped beneath the driver’s seat. Having heard the good news, and berated Jean Claude for being so careless, he then rejoined the commander’s conference.

The officers were still involved in the classic officers’ game of who was to blame. Colonel Dvizok claimed his troops had been left unsupported, while Colonel Anjou said his men had marched at all speed to Fromel as requested and had responded with equal alacrity to the attack.

Captain Fitou of the Chasseurs, who had replaced the captured Major Absinthe stated that his men had arrived at the scene as soon as possible given their responsibilities for covering the whole of the French rearguard and maintaining a presence up on the Pidnem hills.

“Right citizens, enough of these recriminations” announced General Bercollin “we have to be aware that these Frundsbergers are cunning opponents and be very careful, Now, Twyth what information do we have as to their whereabouts?”

“Well sir, the main body seems to be positioned around Frishdorf on the direct road to Sonnenbad, but nothing is reported on the Iserwelt side of the Flussweih. As for the insurgents nothing is known except their last position to the north west of Fromel. We have plenty of patrols out, so we can be sure that they are still west of Fromel or north of Frischdorf."

"Right Citizens, here are our plans. We will drive up the right bank of the Flussweih to .Sonnenbad. Two squadrons of hussars will provide the advance guard leaving one squadron demonstrating in front of Frischdorf. They will be followed in order by the 23ieme DB de Ligne, the heavy cavalry, the 17ieme DB Légère with the remains of the baggage train, 56ieme DB de Ligne and finally the Poles and Chasseurs will provide the rearguard."

Colonel Dwizok shrugged, knowing his luck; the next attack would be on the rearguard.

Friday, 30 April 2010

Next Plans

As they regrouped in the high woods Ilse called a staff conference “Well gentlemen we did well today, but we need to continue the pressure to assist our compatriots to the north. Now before I ask for ideas, here is the situation as far as I know it.

Firstly the French have taken Fromel and also Bratfurt, this gives them the option of striking up either bank of the Flussweih. We have no definite information on which option they will choose, but my father’s forces will certainly delay any attempt to move up the left bank”

“OK, so today we have attacked the French on the march so they will improve their march discipline and not leave such large gaps between their units leaving them unsupported. We need a new trick to catch them unawares?”

“If I may” answered Friedrich “I don’t know the area but isn’t our problem the presence of the French cavalry, my men can help, but they will always outnumber us, unless we distract them away from where we strike”

Captain Olley waved and then spoke “We need to distract them in one direction and then strike at another point. Now look at the map, Beckdorf is where the road splits north to Sonnenbad and east to Bratfurt. But to the southwest it passes through dense woodland. We could ambush the French rearguard there, but only after distracting the French cavalry to a point beyond the ambush”

“Yes!” exclaimed Captain Von der Hyde. “we have quite a number of woodsmen in our ranks, we can fell trees to block to road and prevent the cavalry from returning”

After some debate a plan was agreed and the forces made an initial advance towards Berkdorf while there was still light and settled down in the neighbouring villages. Before departing Ilse wrote a quick despatch and passed it to Friedrich “Could one of your men deliver this to my father as I can’t spare either of our scouts, and thanks for your careful comments in the discussion, they need to believe that it’s their idea.

“Indeed, I’ll send young Hugo again, he certainly has a knack for finding his way around”

“Like their commander, thanks Friedrich”

Thursday, 29 April 2010

The battle on the road to Fromel (5)

Friedrich rode up to Lieutenant von Pilsner “Well Hans, it looks like we’ve got a problem, the odds don’t look good and we have to give the militia time to get back to the woods”
At that moment the full squadron of Chasseurs rode into view. Standing up in his saddle Friedrich called out “Right lads, let’s deal with them before they are fully deployed, Charge!!”

The Freihussaren gave a loud cheer and charged towards the French whose lead troop promptly countercharged. Both sides slowed before impact and the combat turned into a confused swordfight before both sides fell back to reform.

This is it thought Friedrich as the second troop wheeled into line alongside their comrades. However for some reason they hesitated (*) allowing the Freihussaren to withdraw a certain distance.
The French chasseurs advanced forward as a mass, obviously waiting for the right moment to strike. Meanwhile over in the east the rest of the Freihussaren retired while covering the retreat of the militia in the face of the building numbers of French infantry.

Ilse was with the bombardier “Are you sure this will work?”
“Yes Milady, I’ve not done this all my life to fail now. Then making a final check, he discharged the mortar. The wagon body rocked, but the shot flew high and true landing among the French Chasseurs, causing consternation just as they were about to charge.
Grasping the opportunity presented Friedrich ordered an immediate retreat back to the woods. He did this knowing that the Freishutze were already back in the woods and hopefully could cover his retreat.
----------------------
Note(*) both troops would charge on a roll of anything but a 1. They rolled two 1's so neither troop charged.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

The battle on the road to Fromel (4)

If it was not for the arrival of French reinforcements then it would have been a simple mopping up operation.
The eastern Freishutze detachment was the first to react to the threat even as the recall signal was sounded by Marulaz. He had been left with Ilse as Friedrich went to join his westernmost troop as soon as he heard the French cavalry was also arriving from that direction. The Freishutze quickly moved to a convenient hedgerow where they opened fire on the advancing French.

However the French kept on coming and charged the hedgerow. Wisely the Freishutze fell back, but only so far so they could continue to cover the retreat. Meanwhile Lieutenant von Zendabrau had seen the opportunity co can the French unawares while they where still in column. Swing out from behind the woods they charged for the nearest French column, only to recoil in the face of disciplined fire.

At the same time the Freishutze came under heavy fire as they were still in musket range and seeing the French already manoeuvring to flank them they fled back towards the shelter of the woods. This just left the Freihussaren to cover the retreat and luckily the French didn’t have any cavalry on this flank, although infantry continued to return from the east.
Meanwhile now safe from the attentions of the enemy, Major Kazinski began to rally his Poles.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

The battle on the road to Fromel (3)

With the breaking of the central French company the way was open and Major Grabner led his men forward, the French were now very vulnerable
Seeing the French is total disarray Friedrich ordered his men forward to cover their flanks but almost immediately a member of the Aufklarungskorps arrived from the east with the news that French troops were already returning and in some strength. Ilse paused and decided to wait for a moment, before sounding the recall

In the open ground Major Grabner saw his chance and sent his militia forward against the French, who despite their position behind the hedgerow were easily flanked by the central companies, some of whom who took delight in setting fire to the French baggage in passing.

The lead company then fled as they spotted the flanking manoeuvre. Almost at the same time another shell hit the rearguard company killing its commander and also causing a rout.

Monday, 26 April 2010

The battle on the road to Fromel (2)

Under the command of Major Kazinski the Polish second battalion marched along the road to Fromel unaware of the forces gathered in the woods to their north.



Meanwhile Friedrich was puzzling about what was the signal for the militia to attack the convoy, but then he heard a muffled explosion and something flew overhead and then landed squarely in the middle of a French company and exploded causing chaos.

At once the militia stormed forwards from their hiding places in the woods with two companies heading for the French centre and a company of each flank supported by a half company of Freishutze. Friedrich’s men were to keep hidden until needed as the French were bound to fall back into the tangled terrain south of the road if they saw cavalry.


The French companies wheeled into line intent on covering the wagons. For a while they firmly held their ground then the eastern company fell back behind a neighbouring hedge leaving some wagons exposed to fire. The rifles gradually picked off members of the baggage train causing them to ride south off the road in panic.

In the centre Major Grabner led his two companies forward in the face of heavy French fire. Although one company attacking frontally was stalled the other swung into the French flank precipitating a rout.

Over in the west the French rearguard was putting up a ferocious defense while gradually withdrawing towards the hedgerows. Nothing seemed to discomfort it, until the mortar found the range. At that point shells rained down on the company causing it to break.

Meanwhile Colonel Anjou had heard the sounds of battle and immediately reversed his order of march.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

The road to Fromel (1)

As the sky began to lighten the Frundsbergers began to move out of Hexengrube, their route was along the various tracks through the wooded slopes of the Pidnem hills. In front Feishutze and a couple of members of the aufklarungskorps checked the ground, but all was calm, even when they crossed the Welle to Pappenheim road. Ilse stayed behind at this point to make sure that all signs of their passing were hidden. After a couple of hours they arrived at a point overlooking the road from Welle to Fromel. It was still quiet and the troops settled down for a breakfast of bread and the local Hecdar cheese.

As the sun rose French cavalry appeared on the road below, checking that the route was clear. Ilse meanwhile was engaged in conversation with an old bombardier who had accompanied the force with an equally ancient cart.

Wondering what Ilse could possibly have to discuss with the old man, Friedrich was alerted as a large body of French cavalry passed along the road. There were both dragoons and heavy cavalry, so it was clear that the French effort was directed eastwards.

As Ilse joined him at the vantage point a large column of French infantry appeared marching either side of the road while artillery moved along the road itself. After 20 minutes a member of the Aufklarungskorps reported that gap had appeared and that the next part of the column was the baggage escorted by a battalion of infantry. Ilse sent messages to the various companies to make ready.

==========================

Genral Bercollin woke up refreshed, feeling that the campaign was at last under his control. After a substantial breakfast he left Welle with Twyth, passing the baggage train escorted by the Poles, then the Legere and finally caught up with the cavalry as they entered Fromel.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Assistance at last

As Hans rode south he hoped that it would not be too long before he encountered Imperial troops heading north to deal with the French river crossing. But as the leagues passed he began to despair of any assistance appearing to assist his homeland. Nearing the end of a long days ride he crested a rise to find himself suddenly surrounded by Frundsberg cavalry. Luckily he was recognised and immediately taken to see Colonel Meyer.

“That is excellent news” exclaimed the Colonel after Hans explained that the Bruckewasser bridge was intact. “However I’m not sure how far behind are the rest of the Imperial forces. I’ll send a courier back immediately. Do you think we’ll have any problem with the Pommaine forces reforming in Bruckewasser?”

“No sir, the man currently in charge is a friend of Frundsberg and will help us as much as possible; however the French have stripped the town and immediate area bare of supplies”

“Interesting, therefore we should get prepared for a couple of days of limited supplies before we advance tomorrow”

“Captain, send out patrols to the local communities offering cash payment for supplies delivered to our forces at Adsburg by 8 o’clock tomorrow morning or after that on the road to Bruckewasser.”

Captain Donop of the Light Dragoons saluted and went to organise the patrols, pleased to know that the French were not present and therefore that his patrols could therefore travel faster and cover more ground.

“Now I understand you are one of Major Von Barner’s men”

“With your pardon sir, the Major is now a Colonel commanding our forces against the French.
“That is good news, no wonder the French progress is so slow, you must tell as much as possible about what is happening”

------------------------

The troops would have a slightly easier easier day since Adsburg was only an hour’s march away and therefore have chance to recover from the last few days fast marching.