Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Tipplebruder Allied Headquarters

The Manor House chosen by Count Hans Trunkenbold von Misthaufen, was empty of command officers now, save for the mud-splattered Hit Man Kasper Ksawerić, his red lapels now a damp brown and green tunic covered by his riding cloak had fared better.

After the decision to move out was made, he lingered, knowing full well that his horses were very nearly blown in the rush to arrive. Now that battle was not imminent, and that the Stagonians were most certainly going to have a series of skirmishes along the mountain roads, the Hit Man had decided to tell the Count that his horse needed rest, more than the forces moving in the woods needed battle cavalry.

First he lounged in a sofa while the other military leaders conferred about the movements of the enemy. It mattered little that he was not further in the conversations since they took forever to get about to the point as they were constantly having to re-translate things again and again. Kasper Ksawerić was from a military family in The Duchy of Mieczyslaw, where he was exposed to the Germanic languages of Burtzenia and Altmorania, with his uncles he had travelled to Bavarian holdings where he was exposed to French and Italian. Combined with is own family's slavic holdings he was reasonably comfortable in most languages of the center of the continent. The stumblings of the other commanders trying to make on in each others' tounges was of some amusement to Kasper while he rested, gathering his courage to present his situation to the Count in a glass of reasonably good wine.

Now the room was cleared, Kasper stood at the map and made notes of the distances and took some measure of the limited immediate defences as well as the restricted routes that the Stagonians would have to use to approach Tipplebruder proper.

The Count was finishing with another written dispatch and seemed to be ending his conversations with his secretaries near the great huge desk that was very ornately carved, now pressed into service for the Count's command table.

Kasper Ksawerić addressed the Count in German, having seen him appear most comfortable in that language earlier;

"My respects Count Trunkenbold von Misthaufen."
Hit Man Ksawerić made a customary curt bow, then took that moment to set down his wine glass. He tapped the map,

"I have noted that the Stagonians will have only a limited number of approaches, and as my Dragon are still not recovered from the rush to arrive, may I respectfully suggest that for this day we would be best employed to cover all the remaining approaches which the Stagonians may use to learn of your dispositions or make an appearance otherwise unannounced?"

Hit Man Ksawerić raised his eyebrows and awaited the Count's response...


Frankfurter said...

The Count replies, tiredly:
"I wish I could give your horses a rest, my Lord; but from their current position, Stagonia has only three routes by which their forces could reach us today."

The count points to the maps as he continues: "Normally, I'd expect them to cross the river down there and come at us across the open fields. Fortunately, the recent weather has rendered that route, and the next alternative, an advance in the fields on their side of the river, almost impossible. Should they attempt either approach, they'd get here very late in the day and in worse need of rest than you! "

The count chuckles wryly, but then continues in more sober manner.
"Beyond the first crest across the river, however, is an excellent road, which I am sure is quite dry now. The route lies on a shelf along steep, densely wooded slopes. Even as disorganized as we are, we have a chance up there to catch them and hurt them badly enough to send them packing."
The Hit Man silently indicates a few vital, but quite vulnerable features lightly penciled onto the map.
"I am aware that Stagonia has a number of very small teams trained in sabotage, but the locals are alert and have guards posted at the vulnerable points. On the other hand, your men may be all we have which can stop their cavalry if the do get a break through ... and also promise the best potential for convincing them to go away if we gain an advantage." He shrugs,
"So, today, come what may, I'm afraid we'll need you up on the hill. Then, no matter what happens, I suspect your men will have plenty of opportunity for rest the next day. If we lose, your cavalry would either retreat north out of the mess or cross the river and re-organize over here. If we are only able to hold Stagonia off, they will need to fall back and to go around by longer routes, which again will give your men much rest. If we win, I suspect that the prospect of being the first to loot the Stagonian baggage will act as a wonderful restorative!"
The Count continues to equip himself and turns to leave the tent. "I must try to see that at least a few of my instructions are filled, my lord. Your men will have a few hours rest, I suspect, anyway. The hussars will ride with you as soon as the infantry has managed to drag some guns into a decent position.
"There is some time yet, Stagonia has the longer march, no matter what they do."
As the count leaves, an aide offers the Hit Man a steaming, dark brown brew. "Coffee?" the Hit man asks.
"No, my lord, this is that New World drink, cocoa. I'd advise a lot of cream and sugar anyway." the young cadet grins.

Snickering Corpses said...

A solitary figure awaits the Count as he emerges, resplendent in the red-faced black uniform and golden mitre of the von Platzen Grenadiers.

Corporal Sontag approaches, offering a crisp salute as he clears his throat slightly. "A moment of your time, Your Grace?"

MurdocK said...

Hit Man Ksawerić sips the dark brown beverage, not worse than Boyar kaffee, he finishes it in two more gulps - - no more time for pleasantries.

Squadron 3 would be detached in files to cover off all three of the approaches the Count indicated, the rest would be kept dismounted and resting on the hilltop again as requested. If Ksawerić were fast he would have enough time to get some sleep himself.

Frankfurter said...

Count Trinkenbold turns to the Corporal.
"Yes. Walk with me, if you will. One of the things I have to check is the militia turnout anyway. Is there a problem?"
The count coughs raggedly away from the corporal, thinking, "Why hasn't somebody given this fellow a commission to go with his job?"

Snickering Corpses said...

"Of course, sir," agrees the Corporal, falling into step to one side and just a half-step behind the Count, waiting as the Count coughs before answering him.

"Just a small one, sir, for the most part. The militia are in good spirits, but I wondered if Your Grace might have a few extra supplies. We've a half dozen men using old fowling pieces from home, and several more whose rifles lack bayonets. They've been asking me to acquire more 'pig stickers' for them ever since young Frankel composed his new ditty questioning Koenig Maurice' parentage. It's been quite the popular marching song, sir."

He pauses, then clears his throat, "It isn't normally a Corporal's place to say so, sir, but if Your Grace will pardon my boldness, I think Herr Altman would make a good sergeant, sir. He's made of staunch stuff."

Snickering Corpses said...

Meanwhile, in the Saxe-Bearstein encampment, a hussar in the pink and purple of the Garde du Corps Prinzessin Gertrude trots his horse up to the sentry, identifying himself as a dispatch rider and requesting audience with the Saxe-Bearstein commander.

Further out, moving through the woods, a pair of men in orange-faced green discuss in low voices as they keep watch for deserters. "Ja, my Ilsa, she makes the best stollen you ever tasted. Moist as a clear mountain stream. And so beautiful...I still can't believe her father chose me over all the other suitors. Every young man in the village was in love with her, I think."

Frankfurter said...

Count Turkenbold gestures to his aides, and one comes up with an open secretary.
"While it may not be a corporal's place, my good Feldwebel Sontag, a good officer always seeks such information from his juniors. Even a young Fahenjunker, such as yourself, is in the best position to make such observations, which as a good Lieutenant you would be bound to transmit to command. Do I make myself clear, Hauptman Sontag?"
Surprised, the corporal begins to make some objection, but the Count waves him to silence. "I'm a professional, sir; not just a hopped up genteel amateur like many commanders. Professionals can't afford to waste things. You've done an Hauptman's work here, and I need a good Hauptman to keep those militia men in line today. I'm Comander of the Alliance, so I have some authority for such a measure, though I don't dare take it any higher ... questions of birth and so on."

The count turns to the aide, "postdate those at 2 day intervals so that the Hauptman's commission is dated yesterday. And write him an invoice for thirty stands of gear from the Freikorps stores."

The count turns back to Hauptman Sontag: "Come, let us muster your men, mein Herr. And we shall let the good Feldwebel Altmann and his friends celebrate his promotion before they get shot and mutilated for earning it, Ja?"
As they walk through the fog, the count has another thought, "have you thought of asking your guys to approach the Soweiter Highlanders for bayonets individually? Their officers would probably object, but I notice that the kilties seem to not really want to use the bayonet all that much ... they prefer their old swords for close work. If we hurry, it might be possible.
I'm keeping them in the second line, otherwise those hotheads would dash at the first white uniform they see and ruin everything!" The count coughs and then grins wryly.t

Snickering Corpses said...

"I will do my best to live up to the confidence Your Grace has placed in me," offers Corp...well, Hauptman Sontag after a moment. "As for any higher, I believe it might be Your Grace's birth questioned were your grace to attempt to promote me higher than my Colonel." There's a hint of amusement to the new Hauptman's lips, before he observes, "I suppose I should ask if I might have an advance upon my new pay rate so that I might request a rush job upon an appropriate officer's uniform?"

As the Highlanders are mentioned, Corporal Sontag chuckles, "I have had the acquaintance of a few of Hesse-Engelburg's own immigrants, mostly of the MacArthur bloodline. Impetuous, but hard fighters. They *like* to fight, those Scots."

Frankfurter said...

"Well," the count replies wryly, "you are going to get an advance on your pay, all right, but I'm afraid you'll find that the invoice for those thirty stands of arms will just about eat that up."
As the Hauptman Sontag blinks, Count Trinkenbold continues: "As I said, Mein Herr, I AM a professional. I had to buy those guns myself on account, and accounts, alas, must be paid. ... On the other hand, I think that you will find the Tipple Bruder tailors more than happy to join in the celebration by gifting you with appropriate attire, especially when the Feldwebel Altman and few of his buddies explain how deserving you are!"
"Ah, here we are!" the Count concludes, as they arrive at the bustling confusion of the militia muster. "Have them Fall in, Hauptman Sontag!"

Snickering Corpses said...

Sontag recovers from his briefy surprise, musing a moment before observing, "Naturally, being a professional myself, I shall pass the fees on to the Tipplebruder town council, since it is *their* militia that I am arranging to equip."

At the latter order, he salutes and then advances into the camp proper. "Herr Altman! Front and center." When the man in question arrives before him, Sontag looks him over and then gestures to one of the other privates. "Franz, get the new Feldwebel an appropraite badge of rank. Feldwebel Altman, you are promoted to duty by order of the Count and of Hauptman Sontag. Congratulations. Assemble your men in formation to be addressed by the Count, and send someone to wake your Lieutenant. On your best behavior, gentlemen!"