Monday, 25 November 2013

Freikorps and Fusiliers

"They want WHAT!!!!"

Count Werther expostulated, striding down the hall of the Schonberg Rathaus, grumpy at the thought of a day of doing accounts rather than doing the Countess Sophia De Loren, a tasty number who was staying in Saxe-Märchen's KlosterBad Spa to take the waters* and recover from the Vapours**.

Herr Schiller, his Press Officer, and Herr Unterling the Finance Minister were struggling to keep up with him as he strode.

"They want us to finance them having big mitre'd hats, they say they will buy the uniforms"

"But why do they need big pink pointy hats on top of their gaudy uniforms - Old Malthus was the same - what is it with pesky minor nobles' and well-to-do burghers' offspring wanting to wear poncy pinky-purple in this place?"

The Duke's face was a sort of pinky-purple shade not unlike the desired mitre and facing colours the volunteers wanted.

Thinking of the Duke's Garde du Corps' gaudy uniforms, Herr Schiller reflected on the Duke's inability to see irony of any sort. He sighed inwardly, and re-addressed himself to the task at hand.

"Many of your citizens are very keen to form a sort of Freikorps for home defence, and they are happy to pay for the uniforms themselves if they get the choices what they want. But, they want to wear Grenadier mitres"

"But only our Grenadiers and the Garde wear Mitres - why can't they wear tricornes like everyone else"

"They think it will make them more soldierly...and apparently the girls prefer men in large pointy hats too. Maybe pink-purple pointy mitres remind them of something"

"Unthinkable - we can't have a bunch of weekend warriors running around in Grenadier mitres"

"They are willing to pay for the whole of the rest of their outfits themselves if they get them" Herr Unterling reminded the Duke. "And their cannons. And the horses of the cavalry squadron. That is not a small consideration"

"How much do we save?"

"600 infantrymen's total uniform costs, 60 cavalrymen, 60 horses, 2 guns and all the other paraphernalia. We just have to find the muskets. Leaves a lot of extra thalers in the treasury, I'm sure some of teh savings could be spent on giving the Countess Sophia something to remember Saxe-Märchen by" said Herr Unterling, deadpan. "I'm sure it could just be part of normal military outgoings..."

Duke Werther brightened. "Done! Fusiliers it is. Dedicate them to the Duchess - she likes those horrible pinky purple colours. And we can't have Freikorps being Frei, except to the treasury eh Unterling! Aha aha aha. Yes, get her involved right away in recruiting her own battalion, that'll keep her diverted while I go riding up in KlosterBad spa..."

The Duke strode down the corridor whistling, Herr Unterling and Her Schiller beamed behind his back. A contract for 660 pink mitres (plus 15% wastage) was soon placed on the newly formed Schiller-Unterling Mitre Manufacturing Company.

And that is how the Duchess's Own Fusiliers*** came to be....

The Duchess' Own Fusliliers parade the standard in ShönburgPlatz

*  Including their reknowned Eau de Vie
** Failed Love Affaire
*** The pink purple mitres soon had the wags giving them a different name - the Schwanzer Grenadiers...

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