Saturday, October 20, 2007

Offenbach Tuba Works...battle looms

In the post dawn light sentries of the Offenbach Militia "Legrand's Brass" are changing, when one spies a dark mass approaching from the north road...

"ALARM! TO ARMS! TO ARMS!" Two of the other sentries rush to the nearby barn to alert the company officers.

Moments later dozens, then hundreds of men have rushed into ragged formations, their volunteer sergeants hastilly pushing men into files or lines in an effort to make a good show, at least once, before a foe. Further shouting of alarm can be heard towards the works and center of town as Steiner's Strings are being similarly mustered (so as to be able to 'cut' it).
A few officers were ready, most are still buttoning tunics as they emerge from the barns and outbuildings next to the works, Colonel Legrand himself is seen tugging at a boot a number of times before finally limping to the center of the line of men now formed before the road barricade.

The color of Colonel Legrand's skin turns a very pale gray as he sees a battery of artillery being manhandled into position pointed straight at him...thru the misty rain he can also see companies of dark tunic'd men forming behind and to the sides of the guns. Swallowing hard and trying to find moisture in his mouth the Colonel dabs at his mouth with his hankerchief before calling for the count of his Battalion.

--- across the divide ---

Oberst Pfennighalter shivers slightly, as his clothes are soaked and his fast marching was keeping him warm, but now as the men are forming lines he has time to feel the cold morning air. The artillery battery is formed, but the gun captain has twice reminded Pfennighalter that the train is incomplete and that, at best he has three shots, with only one of them grapeshot which he was loading now. The train waggons were bogged down totally in the mud and every officers horse along with some oxen that had been 'requisitioned' from the nearby farmers were hard at work to get the ammunition wagons closer to the new 'front'.

Moreover, he was going to have to do this operation with only 3 companies from the 2nd Foot Longs, as General Beinz wanted the camp fully manned in case the Stagonians decided to 'raid' with their marauding cavalry...something that Pfennighalter would have to face alone if that 'raid' happened to be targeted at the Works. Supposedly Shlidelisht was out 'managing' any potential raiding. The Hussars were being worked heavily, with the 'Heavies' spending lots of time, grooming, much more than needed was what Pfennighalter thought.

None of the troops Pfennighalter had at hand were of a 'flank' nature, so he would have to make a 'show' of force and hope that it was enough to convince the Offenbach Militia that they should not fight against him. General Beinz was very specific in his order,

"Remember all! We are hear to protect Offenbach, not destroy it ... it is Stagonia vee must bury und nich praise, Jah?"

So now what was he to do?
If the Offenbach Militia fired on him, it would be most natural to fire back, and yet he knew that to resist firing and take that time to cross the ground, might permit him to carry the defences and blocks. He could take the Tuba Works with minimal losses to the Offenbach soldiery, this alone might even convince them to 'change sides'.
If he fired back with cannon, he would likely shatter the Militia, but that show of force would not do him well if the other Battalion of Militia was nearby, and Pfennighalter had no way of knowing if they were or not.

Patience seemed to be the better option for the moment, at least it would give the Ordinnance time to get closer with the ammunition waggons.

--- Offenbach Town Square ---

"Form a column. A COLUMN!" Shouted Colonel Steiner, a command that was echoed by the company officers. His 'battalion' was somewhat short of men, he had at least a dozen sergants out knocking doors and outbuildings to find the missing, but time was of the essence as it the messenger had come with news that artillery from Frankzonia was setting up outside town. Were the Frankzonians really ready to blast them with cannon?

Steiner's men were still forming when from the town Burgomeister's home came that dandy, James Ryan, the Earl of Flynn along with Graf von Offenbach followed by General Leopold. Seeing the General waving him over, Colonel Steiner marched smartly over, scowling at a sergent with four men on a rope and motioning for them to stay put behind a garden wall.

"Colonel", Graf von Offenbach started, "We have reached agreement with the Frankzonians." He nodded to Ryan.
"You will escourt the Earl of Flynn to the Frankzonian lines nearby," he waved his hands to the north, "Then you will support our other militia should the Frankzonians take umbrage with our terms."

The Colonel nodded to the Graf, glancing to the General he saw him nodding the affirmative slowly.

"Yes, excellency." Colonel Steiner saluted and turned back to his men marching with them towards the north, the Earl of Flynn strode leisurely in the rear.

Graf von Offenbach was about to turn back into his home, when a clatter of hoofbeats drew him back, watching a dragoon gallop up to the General.

"Report," said General Leopold simply.

The ruffled dragoon saluted and looked to the Graf,
"Excellency! Our Dragoon patrols are all but shattered in a number of small actions to the south and west we have encountered large numbers of Stagonian cavalry." he was exhausted and the General helped the man off the horse to his feet, then into the Burgomeister's Hall.

"Tell me where you encountered them again," stated the general once the dragoon had time to take a seat and gather his breath.

1 comment:

abdul666 said...

We follow the events with passion, waiting eagerly for each 'flashnews'
(and enjoy the illustrations): thanks!