Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Waldrecker Forces Occupy Dolmen

Declaring that "the spread of Hunsrucker unrest into the territories rightfully appertaining to the serene majesty of Waldreck must be strangled in its crib," Fürst Friedrich von Waldreck today ordered his troops to occupy the disputed Lordship of Dolmen, declaring martial law throughout the province and ordering his forces to secure the town of Dolmen and the lightly garrisoned fortress.

Waldrecker cavalry forces bearing the black lion banner of Waldreck raced across the frontier today, seizing bridges and crossroads, while at least two regiments of infantry, the von Sickingen and von Kreuznicht regiments being confirmed, mustered and marched close behind, leading many observers to conclude that the mobilisation orders must have been dispatched days ago. Communications with Festung Dolmen, garrisoned by two companies of the vom und zum Riesling infantry regiment, have been cut off, and it is unknown as of press time whether the garrison holds out against this surprise attack.

The Lordship of Dolmen, an exclave historically held in fief by the Bishops of Kognat, but whose passage to the Dukes of Pfalz-Kognat-Obersayn with the secularised territories of the Bishopric was not explicitly granted in the imperial edict creating the duchy in the reign of Kaiser Leopold, sits on the north bank of the Mosel, over 40 miles from the main territory of the Duchy of Pfalz-Kognat-Obersayn, and is known chiefly for its pottery and earthenware industry, which Duke Ignaz has, in recent years, been attempting to develop to a Saxon quality of chinaware.

The Lordship was created originally in the reign of the Elector Palatine Friedrich III as partial compensation to Ulrich Fugger for the fabulous bequest of his personal library to the Biblioteka Palatina. Upon the extinction of the Protestant branch of the Fuggers, the Fugger family pledged the fief to the Church, donating it to the Bishops of Kognat, shortly before the secularisation of the bishopric in the Peace of Westphalia. The last Bishop of Kognat during the Thirty Years' War, though, was a Waldrecker on his mother's side, and the Waldreck family has persisted in its claim to the lands since that time.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Sifting through the Rubble

Three days have now passed since the arrival of the new Herzoger artillery regiment, and two days since the fateful order, given by the Duke himself, to "clear the rabble from every back alley and close of the city," yet the accounts of events leading up to the Great Riot remain as conflicted and confused as the event itself. While the grapeshot of the artillery and resolute advance of the von Bernkastel and von Bacharach grenadiers swiftly cleared away the barricades which the rioters had erected about the perimeter of the Warrens and the Glazierquartier, and broke the back of the main body of rioters, the city remains under curfew and scattered incidents of violent resistance to the Duke's men are still reported.

While the bodies of rioters swing in mute testimony to the predominant restoration of order from each piling of the Kernerfluss Bridge, piecing together the exact trajectory of the events which led to those executions remains difficult. Chancellor Schirnhausen has ordered a special Chamber of Inquiry with summary powers to investigate and root out the malcontents responsible for the late conflagration, but as of press time the identities of the ultimately responsible parties are still being determined. It is alleged by captured participants that the initial riot in the Spandowerplatz was in fact orchestrated by a cabal of journeymen working through the craft guilds, who seized upon the suppression of the scurrilous version of Miss Sara Sampson as a pretext to strike out at unpopular leaders of the guilds and force the restoration of the city's self-rule under their own unprincipled leadership.

The masters of the major craft guilds have in fact been most cooperative in dispatching of the ringleaders of the uprising, identifying the troublemakers associated with their organisations, and assisting the provost-marshals in the apprehension and interrogation of suspects. While the city remains under martial law, with the assistance of the guildmasters it is expected that most of the insurrectionists will be ferreted out of their suspected lairs along the waterfront in short order.

Uniforming the Recruits

To continue from the previous posts on outfitting new recruits into the Herzogerheer, we'll first do some clean-up from the texturising of the bases, and fill in any gaps from the slots on the base we missed with the first coat of sand.

Finishing that, we are still confronted with a flat white figure with little contrast between the raised and lowered parts of the figure. We'll begin by enhancing that shading significantly with a wash of grey paint--I'm using one of GW's newish foundation paints--Dheneb Stone. These paints give excellent coverage, but tend to separate, so we begin with a shake-up.

Putting shading on first does three things: 1) It increases contrast, making it easier to see and pick out details as painting proceeds; 2) It provides a dark undertone in recesses, accomplishing the first shading undertone achieved by priming black, but without the headache of attempting to paint yellow or red over black primer; and 3) It gives gives a darker background for areas to be painted metal, which can be a little too shiny with a pure white undercoat. To enhance the contrast, and encourage the pigment to settle in the recesses of the figure, I thin the paint with flow enhancer to make my wash. In my experience, the biggest mistake I made as a beginning painter is not thinning my paints sufficiently--starting with a wash makes this especially important going forward to not obliterate the established shading.

This company of grenadiers gives a blurry impression of what this accomplishes. The two figures nearest the camera are unwashed--the blank whiteness makes picking out detail difficult, while the two in back have had their detail greatly enhanced by the additional shading. This will be fundamental to later painting, since these troops are going to be modeled on a white, Habsburg, scheme. We'll build up thin layers of white, from khaki, to unbleached titanium, to bleached titanium over the underlying shading.

Another blurry shot, unfortunately, but it shows the first, khaki, layer on the figures tunic, along with the first layer on the hat and exposed flesh. My technique is to work first dark to light, and then inside out, so anything darker than flesh adjacent to exposed flesh gets done before the flesh tone.

The cannoneers take a similar approach, but after the shading wash we follow up with a brown ink wash for the tunics--this is basically all the artillery uniform needs, except to pick out the lanyards, slings and pouches in a moderately contrasting leather tone.

Infantry Units Reuniformed

In the aftermath of the carnage of the pacification of Hunsruck and the accompanying fire which occasioned the unfortunate cessation of publication of the Hunsrucker Allgemeine Zeitung these past days, new uniforms for all infantry regiments have been bespoken. The new standards will be as follows:

Infanterie Regiment vom und zum Riesling

Infanterie Regiment von Bernkastel

Infanterie Regiment von Bacharach

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

French Forces on the Move

Höxter--Our correspondents in Westphalia inform us that the main French army under his grace Marshal Louis Charles d'Estrees has indeed crossed the Weser into Hanover proper and seeks to engage the Hanoverian Army of Observation. The impact of the consequent diminishment of French forces between the Rhine and Weser on the ongoing unrest in the Palatinate remains to be determined.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Prinz von Waldreck Protests Spread of Unrest

A visibly disturbed Prinz von Waldreck, addressing the gathering of notables come to pay condolences, angrily denounced the failure of Duke Ignaz von Pfaltz-Kognat-Obersayn to arrest the spread of the civil disturbances which have wracked the duchy for the last three days to which unrest the Prinz attributed the mysterious shooting death of his trusted adjutant and nephew, Graf Götz von Sickingen, whose badly mangled body was discovered outside the gates to Schloß Bruttig, dragged there by his stirrup by his prized charger, Concorde. The body of the Graf, upon examination, was found to have been shot twice, once in the shoulder, and once in the thigh. Mercifully, it is believed, the Graf likely bled to death and sustained the subsequent disfiguring injuries post-mortem in being dragged several miles back to Schloß Bruttig by his horse.

The Prinz, in addition to offering a reward of 500 pfalzthalers for the apprehension of the responsible party, has also ordered his troops onto their highest state of alert, cancelling all leaves and recalling all military personnel from their peacetime dispositions.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Infantry Battalions Reach Strife-Torn City

The main body of the von Bernkastel and von Bacharach infantry regiments arrived on the outskirts of riot-plagued Hunsruck today and encamped on opposite sides of the Kernerfluss, awaiting further orders pending the return of the Duke. The steady stream of wealthier burghers moving their families and valuables from the city continued, though, and reports from inside the city indicated that disorder and fires continued to plague most neighbourhoods.

At the request of the burgomeister, the von Bernkastel grenadiers and two companies of musketeers ventured into the city to secure the court administration buildings within the city, but met considerable resistance from the rioters. Volley fire was required on several occasions, and a bayonet charge by the soot-and-grime-covered grenadiers proved necessary to expel the rioters from the chancery [pictured, right].

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Mustering in Recruits to the Artillery and Infantry Part III

The crucial element of drill instruction is breaking the recruit down into his most basic element and then rebuilding him into the soldier he can become. Here we see the soldiers being clipped from their framework for individual attention.

It is at this point that each individual element of the army, soldier, cannon and horse must be examined and every detectable imperfection removed.

Reduced to his basic form, and freed of flaws, the soldier must then be built back up. We begin this at the base, bonding him to his support with the strongest possible join.

This particular bond is binary, using an epoxy and hardener in equal amounts. The 30 minute epoxy permits maximum fiddling time to ensure the individually based soldiers rank up properly.

One by one, each soldier to be based is dipped in the epoxy and affixed to his base.

The vom und zum Riesling infantry regiment begins to take shape.

Planning to use the troops with the promising Tricorne Wars rules, we then group the individual soldiers into companies using 1½" square sabots cut from plasticard. Ultimately, we'll mount metallic paper on the sabots and magnets under the soldier bases, but for now we'll secure them with bluetack.

Texturising the bases is an extremely subjective area. I paint a bit of white glue (many people say PVA--polyvinylacrylic--but the white glue one typically buys at the normal discount store is not strictly speaking PVA) with a wet brush, and dip the base in fine sand (I use sandblasting quartz) to break up the smoothness of the plastic base and give more of an impression of earth and ground--later on we'll paint and flock the base as well.

We form the men one more time for review with the texturising complete, and dismiss them for retreat and the night.

Mustering in Recruits to the Artillery and Infantry Part II

As evening approaches, the men are mustered on the parade ground for review. Their drill instructors regard them sardonically. In past years, most of these men would have proven completely unsuited to the call of Mars; their uniforms shed like peeling paint upon the first encounter with the enemy. As a consequence, many, perhaps even most, generals have come to speak with contempt of such malleable recruits.

These drill instructors, however, have new technologies at their disposal, which allow them to bond these men to a military polish for lifetime service. Increasingly well-known, such tools as this plastic primer have allowed the fine detail and realistic proportions of such recruits to gain increasing respect.

With grim purpose, the drill instructors set to bonding these men to their undercoats.

The observant student of the art will note that the individuals have not been removed from their initial framework. This is so that the undercoat may be more uniformly applied by rotating the entire battalion of recruits on its frame while being undercoated.

While the men accustom themselves to their basecoat, their boots are piled before them on the parade ground, and cleaned and degreased as were the men before. The boots are separated into bases for each man and readied for issuance.

Mustering in Recruits to the Artillery and Infantry Part I

As the Sara Sampson riots enter their second day in the seething streets of Hunsruck, a grim urgency catalyses the drillmasters of the vom und zum Riesling regiment, and of the Herzoger Artillery regiment as they muster in their new recruits.

With the dismissal of the Krantz Stahlwerke appeal, the new guns arriving from Bünde are unpacked and readied for their new gunners, as well.

The first order of business in forming these raw misfits into men capable of defending the honour of His Grace is stripping them of their disreputable civilian aura and attire. Removed from their civilian habits, they are exposed as the raw matter of future greatness.

Personal hygiene amongst the new recruits is often lamentably lacking, and a good scrubbing is usually necessary as part of the degreasing and delousing protocol introduced into the army by the Duke's new technical counselor. Note the use of a soft bristle brush with a suitable degreasing agent, such as dishwashing soap.

Properly rid of the ordure of their industrisal and mercantile past, the men take a quick rinse in the bracing waters of the Kernerfluss.

A quick march back to the barracks, and the men are permitted to refresh themselves and dry their kit.

Then, issued their bedrolls, they are allowed to recover their bearings before moving to the next step of their indoctrination.

Friday, July 20, 2007

"Sara Sampson" Riot Sweeps Hunsruck

A mob gathered at the public burning of the confiscated scripts of the Hunsrucker Opera Company's cancelled performance of Lessing's "Miss Sara Sampson" this evening angrily confronted the Duke's Chief Censor, Hermann Blaustift, as he attempted to carry out the ordered burning, pelting him with turnips and rotten eggs. When ordered to desist by Oberst Otto Freiherr von Thurgau, commander of the Leib-Kurassier providing security for the event with a troop of heavy horse, the mob instead began hurling cobblestones and roofing tiles at the Kurassiers as well, prompting Oberst von Thurgau to order the mob to disperse.

Emboldened, rather than cowed by the Freiherr's command, the mob began to move carts and wagons toward the square, blocking most of the main streets to the square. Observing the deterioration of the situation, the Oberst formed his troop into line, and ordered the men to present their sabres and again ordered the crowd to disperse. The crowd drew back a bit at that, but a chant of "Miststück Marwood, Miststück Marwood," spread through the mob, renewing their ardour and the hail of vegetables. The mob and the kurassiers thus confronted each other for nearly an hour, until the crowd, drinking freely throughout the standoff, began to hurl lighted brands from fires lit amongst it.

The spinning, flaming debris began to agitate the kurassiers' mounts, and Oberst von Thurgau gave a third and final order to disperse, met with a redoubled hail of vegetables, obscenity and detritus, a flaming barrelstave of which struck Oberst von Thurgau's horse, causing it to rear violently and throw him to the cobblestones below. Momentarily stunned, Oberst von Thurgau lay prone on the square, motionless. Accounts vary as to the exact sequence of events following, but as the mob surged forward to get a better view of the discomfitted Oberst, one of his officers seems to have ordered a warning shot from the troop, which panicked the crowd and resulted in a stampede towards the exit avenues from the square, most of which had already been blocked by the makeshift barricades erected earlier.

Redirected by these obstacles, the panicked crowd turned back towards the Opera House end of the square, the only end not barricaded, because of its proximity to the original position of the kurassiers, and began to rush towards the kurassiers and the open streets behind them. Confronted by the surging mass of humanity coming towards them and the confusion of attending to their fallen commanders, the kurassiers wavered until someone along the line shouted "Save the Oberst!" and spurred his mount forward. The wedge of kurassiers launched itself forward in reflexive solidarity, and collided with the wave of hysterical burghers rushing towards it. In the ensuing mayhem, scores, perhaps hundreds of townspeople were trampled, either by the kurassiers' mounts or by other members of the mob, and dozens more were cut down by the kurassiers' sabres as they formed up around their fallen Oberst and restored him to his mount as his recollected his faculties.

Absent an organised pursuit by the kurassiers, the mob spread out across the city from the Spandowerplatz, breaking windows and looting shops across Hunsruck as the breakdown of order fed upon itself, spreading into the blighted neighbourhoods with the word of the discomfiture of the commander of the Duke's kurassiers sparking further opportunistic violence and looting. As night fell, much of the Glazierquartier, the workingmen's neighbourhood around the glassworks was in flames, and law abiding townspeople bolted their doors and shuttered their windows as drunken hooligans roamed the streets.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Duke Bespeaks Prinzessin's Landau

The Duke and his family departed from Schloß Johannisberg this evening escorted by a squadron of Von Schirnhausen's dragoons en route to a series of interviews with carriage-builders in Landau, in order to select suitable equipage for the Prinzessin Sophie-Vittoria on the event of her debut this coming Feast of the Assumption.

Generalquartiermeister Releases Revised Table of Ranks

Generalmajor Gerhard Graf vom un zum Riesling today authorised publication of the following revised table of ranks and precedence for His Grace's armed forces:

Generalmajor Gerhard Graf vom und zum Riesling, Generalquartiermeister

Oberst Otto Freiherr von Thurgau, Generalinspekteur der Kavallerie
Leib- Kurassier; 3 squadrons, established strength 515 men

Oberst Jakob Freiherr von Silvaner
Von Schirnhausen (1st) Dragonen; 4 squadrons, established strength 745 men

Oberst Bruno Freiherr von Scheurebe
Von Kostenwand (2nd) Dragonen; 4 squadrons, established strength 745 men

Oberst Heinz Graf von Trollinger, Generalinspekteur der Infanterie
Vom und zum Riesling (1st) Infanterie: One Battalion—Five companies musketeers, one company grenadiers; established strength 810 men.

Oberst Josef-Maria Freiherr von Spätburgund
Von Bernkastel (2nd) Regiment Infanterie: One Battalion—Five companies musketeers, one company grenadiers; established strength 810 men.

Oberst Hermann Baron von Dornfeld
Von Bacharach (3rd) Regiment Infanterie: One Battalion—Five companies musketeers, one company grenadiers; established strength 810 men.

Oberst Leopold von Rebholz, Generalinspekteur der Artillerie
Herzoger Artillery Regiment, established strength 625 men
2 batteries 6-pounders
2 batteries 3-pounders

Kapellmeister Found Drowned

The body of Hofkapellmeister Dietrich Volker was recovered last night from the Ducal Snuff Millworks on the Kernerfluss. The preliminary cause of death has been ruled drowning, although the damage the body sustained in its passage through the mill race and wheels makes further investigation necessary to establish the definitive cause.

Herr Volker was well-known for his enjoyment of snuff and other epicurean indulgences, but his motive for entering onto the grounds of the Snuffmill after business hours remains unclear. Personal effects recovered with the body, consisting only of the remains of Herr Volker's leather satchel, containing scoring materials and a half-eaten lunch of herring and figs, provide little insight either.

A requiem mass will be held at the Sankt Cäcilia-Kirche in Hunsruck on Saturday.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Subversive Drama Suppressed

The presentation of the latest drama by Lessing at the Hunsrucker Opera House, scheduled to open this Friday, has been suppressed due to subversive editing by unknown parties of the text previously approved by the Chief Censor, Hermann Blaustift of the Ministry of Posts. All copies of the edited script, bearing the printer's marks of the Waldreck publishing house of Herren Sturm und Drang, have been confiscated from the cast, the Opera House staff, and the local booksellers registered to trade in scripts and pamphlets and will be burned at the Spandowerplatz in front of the Opera House on Friday at the time originally scheduled for the play's debut.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Prinzessin's Debut Takes Shape; New Remount Programme Launched

As preparations for Prinzessin Sophie-Vittoria's debut ball at the ducal palace of Schloß Johannisberg begin to become visible with the pavilions and trellises being erected all along the parterre, plans for her international debut throughout the courts of Europe are taking shape as well. The Prinzessin is renowned for her acomplishments with the harpsichord, watercolours and lacework, as well as her mastery of the chaconne, the gavotte and the French historical past tense. In person the Prinzessin, portrayed with her mother at left, stands just over 16 hands, and is well known for her good temper, great endurance, fine head, well-formed neck, strong back, and well-ribbed toning.

IN related news, Monsignor Chiaroscuro, Tutor and Confessor to the Ducal Household, announced today that Oberst Otto Freiherr von Thurgau, commander of His Grace's Leib-Kurassier regiment and Generalinspekteur der Kavallerie, will serve as commander of the Prinzessin's honour guard throughout her tour of the courts of Europe, in which rôle he will also pursue negotiations with his military peers at those courts for new sires for the ducal cavalry remount programme just launched by the Quartermaster-General. Oberst von Thurgau will especially seeking new hotbloods to spark the existing Ardennes breeding stock, which has proven to be susceptible to softness due to an ill-advised admixture of draft coldbloods in earlier generations. Oberst von Thurgau has expressed especial interest therefore in debuts at the Scandalusian, Gallian and Britannian courts.