Sunday, February 24, 2008

Von Dornfeld Casts the Dice

NIEDERSOHREN, Aug. 16--By 9:00 a.m. the fog had dispersed, as von Dornfeld had predicted. Von Fischbach sent riders back to the main body to report the sighting of the Waldrecker supply column, just now departing Niedersohren, and the presence of four companies of Waldrecker, a squadron of dragoons and a company of hussars--as had been expected--and an unwelcome surprise: a battery of battalion guns, unlimbered and bearing down on the crossroads just outside of town.

"They clearly were tipped to our presence, although we had no contacts all morning," von Fischbach wrote in his hastily scribbled report. "The Waldrecker foot have positioned themselves behind a stand of trees, just to the left of the road--ready to mask the guns if we advance too precipitately, but sheltered themselves from any guns we might have brought along. The light horse are currently covering the bridge over the Rohrbach, but are capable of a swift advance down the Hohenstraße if our approach is discovered too soon.

Von Dornfeld weighed the intelligence a moment, and then ordered the courier to return to von Fischbach. "Tell him we attack immediately. He is to bring both squadrons of his command down the road towards Niedersohren and form line just outside artillery range. We will be right behind, and he will cover our formation into line directly behind him. Once in line the Kürassiere are to engage and destroy the Waldrecker light horse and then secure the convoy. We will advance to engage the Waldrecker foot and hold the crossroads until the wagons are turned about, and then we will fall back with the captured wagons. Hang the Waldrecker guns; the die is cast."

NEXT: The Dragoner Attack!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Von Kostenwand Dragoner

KOGNAT, Aug. 16--The 2nd Dragoner of the Herzogerheer, the von Kostenwand Regiment, is commanded day-to-day by the mercurial Oberst Bruno Freiherr von Scheurebe. With an established strength of approximately 750 men, the regiment has since the start of von Scheurebe's command lagged considerably understrength, as both the Inhaber and the Oberst have demonstrated a marked reluctance to press appropriations for the regiment to maintain sufficient remounts for the complete establishment.

Garrisoned during peacetime along the Kernerfluss outside Kognat, the regiment benefits from the plentiful fodder available from local hayfields long accustomed to provisioning the stud farms of the Bishops of Kognat. The local surplus, though, is viewed by the Inhaber mostly as an opportunity to obtain adequate fodder at bargain rates, rather than as an opportunity to feed and exercise the horses of the regiment more fully.

The uniform of the regiment was redesigned to its current green justaucorps upon von Kostenwand's nomination as Inhaber to take advantage of a bulk-order discount negotiated by Hoffaktor Weißenheimer for uniforms for both the von Kostenwand and von Schirnhausen regiments, with the turnbacks and linings, acquired after hard bargaining for seconds from the provisioner of the von Bacharach regiment, a paler shade of blue than seen in the infantry due to the poorer dye fixation of the discounted seconds.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Morning over the Hochwald

NORTH OF SPAWNHEIM, Aug. 16--Oberst von Dornfeld's aides de camp, riding beside him in the middle of the infantry column double-timing along the Höhenstraße, marked with nervous high spirits the passage of the miles over the Hochwald into Waldreck. Von Dornfeld himself shared to some extent the exhiliration of his staff, alternately whistling the theme of the overture to Antigono or humming tunelessly as their horses marked time in the pauses in reports and dictation to his staff. By 8:30 a.m., the staff party reached the crest of the Hochwald, permitting a panoramic view of the Rohrbach valley, still clad in the morning mists, stretching out beneath them.

Maj. Rutger Freiherr von Fischbach had separated his Leib-Kürassiere squadrons into their constituent Zügen to serve as scouting parties, along with Corp. Becker's patrol from the von Schirnhausen Dragoner, three Zügen riding a league or so ahead under von Fischbach's personal command, two to the forward flanks of the column, two to the rear, and one Zug remaining with von Dornfeld as a bodyguard and dispatch riders.

Von Fischbach's Kürassiere had reported no contact with Waldrecker forces all morning, and now, with Niedersohren and the Kirchschloßweg lying just beyond the shallow Rohrbach traced by the treeline in the valley below, von Dornfeld ordered the infantry column to halt to await von Fischbach's reconaissance report upon reaching the outskirts of the village. It had been expected that the Waldrecker supply convoy would itself have already departed Niedersohren, continuing on its way toward Kirchschloß, but until the Waldrecker hussars and dragoons were accounted for, von Dornfeld knew better than to march his column blindly down into the misty valley below. Another half hour should burn off the remaining mist and give plenty of time to organise his column for the swift occupation of Niedersohren.

But where were the Waldrecker horse?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Waldrecker Horse Guards

The Waldrecker Horse Guards, until recently commanded by the Generalmajor of Horse, the late Götz Graf von Sickingen, are the senior regiment of horse within the Waldreckerheer, and function both as the personal bodyguard of Prinz Friedrich von Waldreck and the heavy horse regiment of the army. Upon von Sickingen's still-mysterious assassination somewhere on the Moselweg outside Bruttig, Prinz Friedrich assumed personal command of the regiment, although day-to-day command rests, as it had largely during the command of von Sickingen, with Oberstleutnant Georg Rottenfels.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Holding Spawnheim

SPAWNHEIM, Aug. 16--Feldwebel Peter Blasius, changing the sentries about the redoubt as the sun set into the gathering mists about the Hochwald, received last for the day the report of Corporal Ernst Collet, commanding the afternoon watch posted at the crumbling, ruined southwest tower looking down the Kognat Road, from the top of which tower lookouts could see as far as the ruins of Spawnheim Abbey, nearly two leagues distant. Corporal Collet reported that, while no sign of the Waldreckerheer had been detected, two of his men had been injured establishing the lookout atop the ruined tower when an unexpected shift in the tower's seemingly stable remaining masonry caused the collapse of a considerable section of the tower into the courtyard below.

Villagers impressed from the village to assist in freeing the trapped men insisted that the accident was in fact an ill omen, and refused under any threat to stay till sundown to complete the cleanup, leaving as soon as the last man had been freed. Signing against the evil eye, they retreated back down the track to the village at the crossroads in a tight clump over an hour before the parish churchbell distantly tolled vespers into the gathering fog.

Feldwebel Blasius, while disinclined to indulge in the stories the men muttered amongst themselves of the mediaeval feuds, black sorcery and witch hunts darkening the repute of the long-mouldering Counts of Spawnheim-Obersayn, was forced to concede that the sickly, blighted trees around the ruins indeed gave the castle an ill-favoured appearance, even in the full daylight. The loneliness of the ruins with the mists descending about them gave the air a heaviness which seemed to swallow up the sounds of the 150 or so men in his company left behind to hold the redoubt while the rest of the battalion double-timed over the Hochwald in pursuit of the Waldrecker supply convoy. He preferred not to reflect on the aspect the ruins would have tonight, in the nearly moonless night completely shrouded in the full weight of the mists, electing instead to focus on noting the names of the injured men in his muster rollbook and then walking down to double check the battalion guns before nightfall.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Waldrecker Foot

The Waldreckerheer includes three regiments of foot, of two battalions each. Pictured from left to right are the uniforms of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Regiments of Foot of the Waldreckerheer. It is known that one battalion of each regiment is currently present at the investment of Festung Dolmen, while the precise whereabouts of the other battalions are uncertain.

Credit for the illustrations is by special arrangement with the good offices of Herren Linienblatt of Tipplebruder, purveyor of fine uniform templates to the best courts of Christendom and the other courts of Europe.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Wagons Ho!

NIEDERSOHREN, Aug. 16--As the supply convoy readies to depart Niedersohren continuing its procession to the north, Oberst Baron von Dahlberg, commanding the 3rd Regiment of the Waldrecker Foot and responsible for the overall security of the convoy, assigns a company from his regiment and the local milita company to stand guard over the hogs and cattle being driven along with the convoy, having through hard experience found such "double entry bookkeeping" to be the best way to prevent the dwindling of livestock accompanying the battalion.