Monday, 31 May 2010


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


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.