Sunday, February 9, 2014

April Fools Day

'Ah, motherland', sighed Dietrich von Spülge, looking out to his family estate near the river. He was more than contended with himself: he had beaten the Flossians out of the town and was close to retake Grübsheim and, essentially, end the war while the old Hohenspitz got bogged down in the south.
'Any news of the 1st Brigade?', he asked his aide, but the man just shook his head. 'No, sir, and none from the Princeps.' 'All right. The staff meeting is due this afternoon, Franz, so please look after the dinner. You may find quality red wine in the cellar, had the scoundrels not sacked it.' 'As far as I know, sir, the Flossians respected the civil authority here and did not loot the houses.' 'At least that is what they say now that they are captured. How are their wounded, by the way?' 'The officers are fine, the rank and file not so much. We haven't got enough surgeons.' ''Tis true, my man. Well, send a second errand to the forts nearby and ask for help.' 
As von Spülge told this, the aide knew the Brigade won't be moving for quite a while. On the staff meeting, von Spülge will tell his officers that he wishes to wait: wait for the Flossians to reinforce and rebuild the walls of Grübsheim. 

Erik von Südflosse knocked on the door of the Princeps' main office room. 'Come in!' coughed the head of the state, then sipped some tea from his large mug. 'Blasted hay-fever. What are your intentions, Chancellor?'
'Your Highness. I have, by the reports of my... informators, come to the conclusion that General von Spülge will not be as effective on the North as is expected. Misunderstand me not, he is a great warrior, it seems, but not suitable for leading a brigade.'
'What led you to this conclusion?'
'After beating the Flossians out of his estate, he did not pursue nor march to retake our lost fief of Grübsheim. Grübsheim is strategically important, as it forms the bridgehead on the Grühne.'
'So he did win after all, but how are your subordinates so quick to tell you all this?'
'I have my means and so do you, Your Highness.'
'You wish to suggest something.'
'You know me too well, my Princeps. I propose either the relief of von Spülge as brigade commander or the setting up of a third brigade and joining forces with him.'
'Who would be eligible to lead a brigade?'
'We cannot take commanders from the 1st, Your Highness. Neither can we appoint the old Colonel Spilsske from the 2nd brigade, for he is only a Lieutenant Colonel, although highly trained and experienced. Colonel von Paulitz had died in the charge of his Hussars, so we have Oberst von Kahlen as a sole hope within the Brigade.'
'This implies you have thought of outsiders as well.'
'I have thought of you, Your Highness. It would certainly boost morale and the necessary actions shall be made under your direct control. While you take the lead, you can appoint von Spülge to raise a third brigade and judge him fit when he is done without doing his honor any major harm.'
'It will be so, then. Prepare a pair of my best horses and a dozen of my Guard for the journey.'
'As you wish, Your Highness. Leave the matters of the state for me while you are away.'
'Do you wish to come?'
'I judge myself more fit to fumble with documents and numbers.'
'And spies who are faster than wind. I'll need you there, prepare a horse for yourself too. We'll be done with this war in a month, for this is the most serious threat to the state at present.'
'As you command, my Princeps.'

'No! There will be no cavalry charge against the village!', cried General von Hohenspitz, facing two of his cavalry commanders, Colonels Schalwerden and von Petzger. 'This is a pitched battle, and so we will do everything by the book: may the foe be proven a fool on April Fools Day or not. They have known we would be here for a day; they knew which direction were we coming from; and I will not risk a single branch, especially not in favor of the others. What would the Jäger and the pioneers think? These are but odd jobs for the Brigade, judging by the report of your men, Petzger. So let each and every arm try its strength and believe itself useful for the sake of us all. Understood?'
'Sir', nodded the two cavalrymen. The General gave them the order of the battle.

Bishop Michheim was still considering his options. He could disengage and retreat to any of the three forts nearby. Going to Grübsburg on the North would be a risky move as von Hohenspitz could reach his marching armies. He could take a stand then retreat to Waldhoffen in the nearby woods.
The closest fortifications of Strutzenheim had only nine companies of infantry for defense. The Bishop was not sure to dare leave them to their fate.
'Orders, sir?', the commander of the 1st Landwehr regiment asked him. 'We take battle, but be very cautious and don't push too far. We're only here to delay them.'

Thus it dawned on the battle of Strutzenheim.

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