"HOW MUCH?" Duke Werther reacts to Herr Unterlings calculations for raising two more battalions
The heady days of last year, when Duke Werther had taken French gold and sent off all the Saxe-Märchen forces a-soldiering (except for his own Schonberg Regiment and Garde du Corps of course), was starting to look a bit less golden.
The treasury had made a tidy profit for letting the French march their young men up and down the land. However, as the action had hotted up a few months back, it slowly began to occur to the Duke that, while sending his his troublesome brother and over-excitable son and many of the more energetic young bloods away with the French to fight the Prussians in some far forgotten fields had much to recommend it, it had its downsides. While removing many troublesome young (and not so young) men and adding to the Ducal treasury chest was a win-win, there were now precious little troops left to defend the Ducal house and skin in times of trouble, which was a big lose-lose..
And trouble was most certainly brewing. After Hastenbeck it seemed safe to let the boys go adventuring abroad, but news was now coming from afar that the British had reinforced and refinanced the Hanoverians over the summer, and they were soon to go on the march to occupy the very lands the French had left less defended while Dranging nach Osten. And some of those lands could well be those of Saxe-Märchen.
The Duke had already written to Marshal Soubise to see if he could have his troops back, but the French and Imperial army, having been extended trying to find and flush out the Prussians in Saxony, were now involved in an increasingly "hot" situation, in which Saxe Marchen forces had already been fiercely engaged recently. Soubise was thus not at all keen on releasing them right now, as major battle was looming.
Saxe-Märchen would have to look to its own resources. "After all", Soubise had pointed out, "what with the money we are paying you for your troops, you could surely recruit some more battalions with little trouble".
The Duke finally decided to Do Something, and assembled his Court to decide what it was they Should Do. They stood around a large map of Saxe-Märchen (hurriedly picked up from the Schonberg tourist bureau) spread on the table.
"Well, we have the 2 regiments' depot battalions still" said Herr Unterling, the Treasury minister.
"Yes, but that's just two companies of rookies and they all march around with broom handles because we have no muskets"
"Well, we have enough young men to raise two more full battalions"
"Yes, but that is on full pay, and then they'll just sit around all day"
"Better that than have no one ehrm the Hanoverians come"
"How about a Miitia then?"
"We will need cavalry"
"And Guns. We sent all the artillery off to war"
"We should build redoubts along the river and canal"
"No, that would be expensive, its too big and might be too badly damaged. We could move the court up to Kloster Bad, fortify it and fight from there"
"But where do you go if Kloster Bad falls - its open hillside and meadow around there"
"Send the family and jewels to Feeland, no one will find anything in those marshes"
"The Feelanders will sell your jewels and daughters within the week"
"Or how about hiding out in the GrimmWald, up on the high slopes. Maybe we could pay all those backwards GrimmWald backwoodsmen some money to fight".
An idea began to form in the Duke's mind. Yeees, if he could persuade enough GrimmWald hunters to fight, it would take a huge army to winkle him and his treasure chest out the GrimmWald. And if he could fortify enough nooks and crannies in the Glucklichstal, especially up on the foothills, it would make Saxe-Märchen quite a tough little nut to crack. With luck the Hanoverians would try and approach via Feeland, and thatw ould (literally) bog them down for ages.And maybe bring all the depot battalions up to size. No, that was expensive - but what about a part time militia to man the barricades?
Of course, it meant spending some of that gold he had lovingly watched pile up, but fear has a way of releasing many tight orifices, including the treasury sack.