Thursday, May 29, 2014

With a daring move, von Hohenspitz marches against the strengthened Landwehr in Liliensbad. The truth is that his supply lines are growing too long and he still does not wish to plunder the Flossian populace. A chance is present to beat the main Flossian force and coerce the Union to a treaty.

The Princeps evades the Grühne fort of Geistwold and marches inside the Böhnstadter borders of the left bank of the river. Elector von Presser is still two days' march from Grübsheim while the Principality may strike at it the next day. The Flossian brigade is moving very slowly, but they have met the messenger sent from Grübsheim. The Elector sent him back to inform the defenders that, when threatened by the Böhnstadter, they should retreat westwards and join forces with him.

Dietrich von Spülge decided to take the third fort in the Karrotenbad area while waiting for reinforcements. Neckersburg is defended by a battalion of border guards so it would be an easy job to capture.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Princeps Erhard Berthold musters his forming brigade after the capture of the two forts.

Thursday, May 22, 2014


The Grühne river flew softly in the night near the prisoners' camp near Willecheny, north of the village of Spülge. A company of militia watched over the captured Klaußstadt Brigade's men. The Flossian officers were offered separate quarters, and only Major Schilswig refused; he had been, against the advice of Elector Strutzenheim, conspiring to break out of the camp. Most of his own regiment - or what had remained of them - would follow him without doubt; however, he needed more than them to make his plan work.
Von Strutzenheim's wound healed well, so Schilswig visited him again in a fresh attempt to convince him of a breakout. - 'We are in no state to do that, Major', the elector said, 'and we have no horses and no weapons. An officer's sword is hardly enough for three hundred men.'
'We could subdue the guards; we could take our arms back; avoid that cursed von Spülge and get home through the river', the Major insisted.
'Do whatever you want, I will not stop you; but I will not help you either. This conversation is over.'

It was near midnight when most of the camp, crawling like a centipede, became awake. Silent shades crept upon the Böhnstadter sentries. However, they were cavalrymen and not jäger; a corporal stepped upon a dry branch and the Böhnstadter were alert. 'To arms! To arms!', shouted Major Schilswig, hoping to break through by sheer force. Muzzle flashes crashed through the darkness as a well-organized provisional platoon drew up in a shallow line at the end of the camp. 
The clash was confusing. Men were running up and down inside the camp, and most of the guards seemed totally lost after the first five minutes. 'Follow me, sir!', a sergeant from his own regiment yelled into Schilswig's ear. They staggered past a troop of Böhnstadter pinned in hand-to-hand combat by club-wielding cavalrymen, then happened upon the riverbank sooner than the Major expected. 'We must swim or they'll notice us', the sergeant said. 'Any good swimmers that can lead the way?' - and soon they disappeared into the night. Forty dragoons made it to the Flossian bank, and with a huge circle around the Böhnstadter camp started on their way to Grübsheim.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Campaign Diary, 3-4 April

The small fort of Spürsburg yielded to von Hohenspitz without a fight. Its defenders, four companies of militia were sent back towards Störkburg, a troop of Freelancers escorting them.

Süderwaldhoffen, the fortress where Bishop Michheim stopped his brigade, produced two battalions that joined the brigade in an attempt to fill its ranks after the losses at Strutzenheim. The bishop decided that the 1st Landwehr battalion will be merged to the other five, bringing up their numbers to 120 and leaving one battalion with 83 men. Although he is a commander limited in abilities, he recognized that even with these six and a half battalions he could not stand against Hohenspitz, and neither could he wage asymmetrical warfare due to his troops being untrained. He could gather the forces of nearby forts and also plead to a neighboring militia battalion to boost his power but this would take a few days and in that time von Hohenspitz would continue wreaking havoc in the countryside. Although the old general was civil with the populace so far, Michheim feared too much this would end. He had sent another messenger to the capital, even overestimating the Böhnstadter strength a little bit. Another party was sent to the closest fortifications to help him out with cannon and troops. This was, on the other hand, Elector Strutzenheim's territory, so he could not recruit new units for the brigade.

Elector von Presser gathered his household troops and mustered them. He had three under-manned battalions of jäger, three regular fusilier battalions, and two dragoon squadrons led by his nephew. However, he had no idea where to intervene, now that the news of the loss of Strutzenheim reached the capital.
(At this point, the Flossian high command has no idea that the Princeps himself is partaking in the war as the crew of the two forts are all taken prisoner.)

Lady Ingetora reached the Varangian border and has been greeted by a screen of reiters that took over her escort from the Böhnstadter dragoons. She was aiming for the capital without stopping.

Monday, May 19, 2014

In Hindsight...

I firmly believe that with my limited painting time and skills, it will be much more convenient (and less harsh to my purse) to use 6mm figures for the strategical gaming aspect. This also allows me to bulk up orders when starting my 6mm Poltava project (if that ever happens!).
I would also like to try Maurice with these figures, which means a different approach to basing, and a lot of plasticard. However, the physical rulebook with the cards is sort of pricey. 

The whole Böhnstadter army in 6mm (Baccus packs) would consist of 6 infantry packs (one grenadier, one fusilier, four musketeer), one or two command packs, three cannon packs, 3 dragoons, 3 cuirassiers, 2 hussars and 1 jäger, ending up to 120£ in price total. I imagine the Flossians would cost the same, which is still a moderate and achievable price if I divide my purchases over several months (or find a higher-end job for the summer).
It would also be a more feasible approach to fill the two opposing armies at a similar rate (e.g. buying units for both at the same time) so I could experiment with tabletop gaming. 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Sieges of Völgstserne and Vierlingspitze

Erik von Südflosse and the Princeps, with their small army, first arrived at the town of Völgstserne, which was defended by four infantry companies. The fortress was very old school and was furthermore protected by two howitzers. It had two gates, one on the northwest and one on the south.
These fortresses, on both sides of the frontier, usually serve as sentry posts and shelters for border guard or light cavalry units, thus they more often are in a bad state than not, not prepared to withstand any kind of siege where the enemy musters a force larger than two battalions.

The outflanking maneuver of the four companies.

The Princeps, with his mostly inexperienced regiment of foot, drew a line that ran from the southwest to the southeast diagonally to the walls. Then the three battalions each thinned their ranks, procuring three independent companies, which, together with the dismounted dragoon troop, were sent to the northern gate to force it open under the smoke of the two artillery pieces that began their work on the southern entrance. 
As the battering began, the Flossian companies were drawn around the southern gate, expecting the attack from there; leaving the northern one without defense. The four companies attacking it found little difficulty in their task. As soon as the southern gate let loose (it didn't take much effort) the attack has been launched from both ends. A shot from a loaded howitzer killed seven of the dragoons, while the battalion attacking from the south lost fifty men (most of them wounded) to enemy musket fire and the shot from the other howitzer. The defenders, however, soon yielded. The Princeps and the Karrotenbad regiment captured a howitzer and a five-pounder gun (the second howitzer being spiked by the Flossians), which was mounted on the second howitzer's carriage. It looked odd, but did the job.

Vierlingspitze, the target of the next day was a more freshly built point of the Flossian border defense, but it had been neglected by a series of commanders that ended up in the position due to incompetence or lack of prowess. It had also been defended by four companies, of which one was a Jäger and one a training company without firearms. These were stationed in the outer palisades, while the two regular companies sheltered inside the stone fort with two howitzers. 
The companies that formed the attack group yesterday were set up in a formation resembling a crescent moon to hug the walls. They unleashed the full force of their musket fire on the palisades. As casualties began mounting, the two companies asked the commander to enter the stone fort, which he denied. 'You will fight for the last man', he added. But the jäger and the greens did not want to sacrifice their lives so they yielded. A company of foot then destroyed the gate on the palisade, and a howitzer was dragged in. The prisoners of war showed the Princeps a small elevation that allowed the cannon to shoot inside the fortress.

The defences of Vierlingspitze, the north-western palisade being partly broken down.

The howitzer's crew first took out the ordnance inside the keep, then the three cannon bombarded it for an hour. The space inside was very narrow so the two infantry companies lost thirty-odd men. The few civilians that were tasked with keeping the palisade and the walls in shape pleaded to the commander to yield, which he denied; but he said he allowed them to surrender themselves. The dozen people left the keep and did so.
Two more hours and the inside of the keep was full with the wounded and the dead. After multiple threats and pleadings from the Böhnstadter side, the captain still did not wish to surrender. To save the Flossians inside, finally the Princeps approached the walls and challenged the commander to a duel of first blood; if he wins, the commander surrenders, in the other case, he leaves the fortress under surveillance, but in Flossian hands.
The commander agreed and they have chosen a small clearing in the woods to the north. The Princeps was an average but experienced fencer; the Flossian captain has always been a footman and a third son of the Baron of Sliegelstadt, so he had little knowledge on the art of blades. Nonetheless he fought with bravery, losing only by an inch of his steel to a quick riposte by Erhard Berthold. When he learned his opponent's name, he stood in astonishment: 'But your Highness, I could have killed you and ended the war in an instant.' 'I said to him the same; he did not listen', Erik von Südflosse muttered, reprimanding his master for taking so much risk over saving the lives of a few dozen rank and file.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Happenings on the Map

Prince Erhard Berthold left the capital with Erik von Südflosse and a company of reserve Garde du Corps (the rest is campaigning with von Hohenspitz). They reached Karrotenbad in two days as the Princeps decided to cut the route towards Spülge on the nearer side of the Grühne river and capture the two closer forts with whatever troops are available to him. They raised eight ad hoc companies in Gleutring and Karrotenbad and took a ninth from the fort's defenses, along with a pair of small bore cannon. This totals a strong enough infantry force, along with two screens of Karrotenbad dragoons and the guard cuirassiers to accomplish the task.

Dietrich von Spülge estimated that, with the rain coming up from the south (the same that soaked von Hohenspitz's greatcoat under Mecklenheim), it will take about three more days until the ordnance from the nearby forts reaches him and he can launch the attack on the Flossians occupying Grübsheim.

The ragged Flossian Landwehr brigade marched north on a narrow road in the woods, hoping to either cut von Hohenspitz's march on the capital or shelter themselves in a nearby fort and cause enough delayment in the Böhnstadter general's plan that reinforcements could reach them.

Von Hohenspitz decided to march west instead of north or north-east and capture Spürsburg first, with the cavalry setting up a perimeter so an attack by the underestimated provisional brigade would not suprise them.

The Flossian recruitment troops are marching out to build up fresh units, especially cavalry as their cavalry brigade was lost at the second battle of Spülge.