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...

Friday, 8 November 2013

Scraping the Barrel

Join the Army

All the GIrls like a Soldier

Saxe-Märchen's Department of Human Resources  has been calculating how many more men could possibly be found to add to the meagre forces still around to defend the Duchy - the results are shown over here on Emperor v Elector....

So in short, they think they can recruit 2 Militia battalions, a Freikorps unit of horse and foot, and a light infantry battalion.

Duke Werther has told the Department to execute the plan speedily, or else the Department will be executed slowly and painfully......

Sunday, 3 November 2013

A small matter of Defence of the Homeland

"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"

"Fortify Schonberg"

"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.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Byzantium....better Late than Never

As always, real life (and a diversion into Dystopian Wars) gets in the way of painting plans, but the Later Byzantines are finally nearly done - just been varnished, spears on next.(except for the Pechenegs, Peltastoi and Klibanophoroi still to be painted, but this gives a good starter army!).

Skirmishers in the front, line infantry and archers next, Latins, Turkopoloi and Byzantine horse behind, then Tagmatic cavary and Varangian Guard behind that.