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”


“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 BĂȘte 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”