Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Prologue to Battle






The color party snapped to attention as the mounted officers approached. Near the back of the group of officers a figure, conspicuous as the only one in jäger green among the sea of blue, could not help but notice the ill-fitting uniforms on the musketeers, or the lack of any trace of a beard on most of their faces, except on those who sported gray mustaches.

As the brightly-garbed general in the lead returned the regiment’s salute, Lieutenant von Bellem turned to the dour jäger officer. The lieutenant’s red facings matched those of the regiment. “They are quite a sight, are they not Herr Major? Fine! Simply fine!”

“Indeed, quite a sight lieutenant. How many marched with you this morning?”

“We mustered 474 as we left the camp, Herr Major. Over four hundred muskets marching at our Landgraf’s call!”

Norris, as personal aide to Landgraf Bogart, made a quick comparison: 474 men and boys of the Leib Regiment of Hesse-Fedora stood in ranks for their sovereign’s inspection instead of the 1,260 that the decree which created the regiment had called to the colors. And it was the same in the other regiments they had inspected in the cold light of the new day.

According to the paperwork which he sometimes helped his prince struggle to control, the Landgraviate’s army contained no less than 12,000 infantry, almost 2,500 cavalry, and a suite of 8 artillery pieces. But on this field at this moment there were less than 3,000 muskets, 500 sabers, and only 2 cannon. And of his beloved jägers, only Norris himself was present.

The lieutenant, oblivious to the major’s thoughts, went on. “It makes you proud to be a soldier. Just look major. Just look!” As he spoke, his arm waved across the field. Three other small regiments stood alongside the Leib. Dragoons and hussars sat their mounts opposite the infantry, having already been reviewed.

A different voice interrupted whatever Norris may have thought to reply. “Indeed it does, Lieutenant von Bellem. You shall remember this moment for the rest of your life.”

Von Bellem, flustered at the Landgraf’s attention and thrilled to be addressed by name, replied, “I will, my prince, I will!”

“Very good. Major, if I may have a moment of your time?” Turning, the Landgraf addressed the generals beside him. “General von Blaine, deploy your men as we discussed. General von Marlöwe, return to your troopers. I think our Habsburg friends await.”

As the generals and their aides rode away, Bogart again faced Norris. “Any new information?”

“None, sir. Hesse-Homburg does not appear to have received any more reinforcements. His force is almost—.” Norris bit off the end of the sentence.

“Is almost what, Norris?” Bogart asked tartly.

“--is almost as sorry as ours,” Norris finished.

Bogart’s mouth twitched. “Maybe. We’ve done well in the time we’ve had, but you can’t create an army overnight. We are fortunate that Hesse-Homburg and his Imperial leaders underestimate us. They’ve given him a handful of understrength battalions and squadrons to deal with us. Once we’ve seen them off, it will take time to put together a second expedition. By then, the rest of our army will be ready.”

“Assuming we don’t have some passing Gallian or Imperial general decide to win some favor with the Empress by stomping us into the ground.” Norris turned as a shout went up from the infantry. “It looks like your idea is well-timed, my prince.”

Marching down the road from Fedora was a new addition to the army. Sun glinted off polished muskets, fixed bayonets, and brazen mitres. The Landgraf had assembled the grenadier companies of the regiments together and formed these veteran soldiers into a single unit. Now it marched into position as the army’s reserve: fierce, proud, warlike. The recruits in the other ranks stood taller and threw their shoulders back.

Landgraf Bogart von Hesse-Fedora raised an eyebrow at Norris. “It’s a fine day Norris. You will remember this.”

12 comments:

Frank said...

Looking really good!!

I bet you are as pleased as punch having waded through that lot and I also bet that the long slog was worth every minute as you lined them all up :-)))

Well done sir, you are an inspiration!

Frank

Gallia said...

Maximum praise and glory to you Ed!
and a hearty ausgezeichnet (excellent) too. I am very impressed. RSMs are so beautiful, anatomically correct/handsome and economically efficient to boot. I have always found the Brusnswick Army of the SYW to be a favorite of mine. Plus one can probably do the whole Army since it its size is modest. Perfect for wargaming.

I have the von Zastrow Regiment made up of Garrison 25mms based for Ken Bunger's "Tricorne". I keep thinking I want to buy more Garrisons and double the 30 or so to 60 for BAR. But I'd have to shoot at 'em! I'll probably do this anyhow in 2008.

Well done. No very well done!
Now you can hop on a plane and fly to the big game on October 13th and bring your lads! Someday I hope.

Sincere Regards,
Bill Protz

Ed Youngstrom said...

Bill,

You are responsible for this, you know. You and Herr Alte Fritz.

First, I started this whole SYW craziness by reading various articles in the Journal of the Seven Years War Association. Then I fired off a couple emails to Herr Alte, who gave me some starters.

I also collected wildly for the last big game I planned to attend...your "SYW Floor Game" that sadly never came off. I still have your charts, which somehow seem vaguely familiar after buying BAR!

The imminent battle will use my collection for a solo run through of the BAR rules, followed by an attempt at a trial game at the club. Who knows, maybe I can get a few souls to build that one brigade like you say in the rules...

Thanks, both for your kind remarks and the inspiration over the years.

Ed

Herzog Ignaz said...

His grace Duke Ignaz von Pfalz-Kognat-Obersayn takes great interest in the movement of armed forces through the Nahe valley. While the current situation along the Mosel does not permit him to make a more active observation of those forces, rest assured that Duke will take all necessary measures to preserve the dignity of his title and the life and property of his subjects.

Cordially,
[signed]
Gottfried Graf von Schirnhausen
Chancellor to Duke Ignaz von Pfalz-Kognat-Obersayn

Ed Youngstrom said...

To Herr Gottfried Graf von Schirnhausen,

In the absence of Landgraf Bogey on the field of honor, I ask in his name that you please inform your master His Grace the Herzog that Hesse-Fedoran troops have at no time left the borders of the Landgrafschaft, and that in fact the Prince of Hesse-Homburg has violated our territory with units placed at his disposal by the Court of the Imperium.

Despatches have been received suggesting that a brigade-sized force of Imperials moved west from Homburg, entered Hesse-Fedora and seized two towns. This force is now approaching the famous position of the Konigstor, on the north bank of the Nahe.

A battle is almost certain to ensue, and I will endeavor to keep His Grace informed, assuming I am so directed by His Excellency Landgraf Bogart.


I have, sir, the honor to be, etc. etc.

Graf Peter von Lorre, Ambassador Extraordinaire of the court of Hesse-Fedora

Das Material dem Träume von gebildet werden.

Der Alte Fritz said...

Ed: what a great looking unit! You have reason to be proud of your accomplishment of painting your first big battalion. Once you have done one, the next couple of battalions don't seem so hard to do. I paint them in smaller batches of 15, 20 or 30 so that i don't feel overwhelmed by the 60+ size of the unit.

Those RSM figures are true classics and are timeless in their appearance. Congratulations.

Bluebear Jeff said...

Ed,

What a glorious-looking lot! They are very impressive. I'm glad that I've got a bunch of RSMs waiting to hit the painting table.


-- Jeff of Saxe-Bearstein

Stokes Schwartz said...

Hello Ed,

What a magnificent spectacle! Great work.

Best Regards,

Stokes

tidders said...

Very nice looking units, keep it up

-- Allan

abdul666 said...

Too impressive! Will the Homburgers be equal to them?

A J Matthews said...

Ed, that is an excellent array of troops! My own RSM95 order will be on its way soon, and I'm really looking forward to painting them after seeing your pictures.

Ed Youngstrom said...

Thanks for the compliments.

I had some unexpected expenses, so my next RSM order is delayed. :<

Hopefully, I will get the next turn or two in for the first battle this weekend.

Ed