Monday, November 19, 2007

Bitburg: the early phase

Riding in advance of his troops, Lentulus soon reached the heights of Bratschen, and gained a panoramic view of the lively clash.

The retiring Arvergnians had installed one regiment of foot as garrison in the town, with another regiment on each side of the town, neatly in line, and a reserve column of the Grenadiers de Savoye held behind the town. They showed no sign of artillery or cavalry as yet, while the Icenians had a battery of 12 pounders in action beside Lentulus, in ear-splitting but rather disappointing action already.

Clinton had apparently concentrated his two infantry regiments on the left of the town of Bitburg, splitting his elite Fusiliers into a pair of small battalions, one to act as general reserve, and the other as a storming party to assault the White Horse Inn, on the edge of town*.

As he watched, the right-hand battalion of Fusiliers stormed the Inn successfully, eject a company of Arvergneaux in short order, and securing the courtyard. To their left, the rest of the Icenian foot pressed forward, the 12th Foot lining up against the Picardie Regiment across a closed field, while the 58th Foot headed towards the town. The Arvergnian foot on the other side of the town kep marching in stately fashion, while the road south showed suspicious dust clouds and - sure enough, when peering through his spyglass, the flags of the Ibernian brigade.

He turned in the saddle, and saw the Kalkreuth Dragoons trotting briskly up the road, with half the Bayreuth Dragoons behind them, all neatly in column, and smiled in some satisfaction.

Back at the town, the Savoy Grenadiers had formed an attack column and flung themselves at the Inn, but been repulsed by sturdy fighting by the Fusiliers, while to the left, the 12th & the Picardie regiment had exchanged some extremely disappointing first volleys, and now moved to close the range.

Behind the town, he saw, the Regiment de Clare was forming line to support Picardie, while the rest of the brigade headed for the other side of the field, still in march columns: and the Savoy Grenadiers, nothing loth, had flung themselves at the Inn again, only to be repulsed after some sustained combat.

*and temporary residence of the fair Bernice, hence the assault.

Monday, November 5, 2007

First Stirrings

At last, the long-anticipated news arrived: Arvergne and Styria were stirring, and readying their armies to seize the Rheinpfalz again. Leopold extricated himself from the Royal Conservatory, in the midst of composing Concerto #17 for Recorder and Quartet, and hobbled excitedly down to the Royal War Room, where he had to kick out four patrons in order to clear a table*.

Die Altenburger and von Lentulus broke up their whist quartet and joined Leopold, as the other generals hastened in at the news. Studying the map spread out on the table, Leopold quickly dictated his plans, sending the bulk of the Kruppfalzarmee south and east to face the Styrians, while detaching Lentulus and Rathenau to cover the southwest frontier, and hopefully link up with the erstwhile allies of Grand Icenia, in the blithe assumption that perfidious Prydin would honour its treaty obligations.

However, while the Elector gathered his army for the descent on Styria, news arrived from the Icenians, that Arvergne had broken the frontiers already, descending on Osnabrueck and with a brigade of infantry seizing the annual Wax shipment just prior to it being sent to Icenia: and Brigadier Clinton had set out in hot pursuit, determined to prevent the Arvergneaux taking the shipment back to their own lands. Leopold threw up his hands, and ordered all his forces to rush to the assistance of the rash Clinton**

First in the saddle, and first to march, was Rathenau with his brigade of dragoons, hotly followed by Lentulus with his infantry, the others straggled behind. Pausing briefly at Kleefeld for a hasty kaffee, the two heard a rumour that the Arvergneaux had seized not just the Waxerie, but also the fair Lady Bernice Witherscomb, which explained the hasty pursuit by the amorous Clinton. Redoubling their efforts, the twain headed south, rewarded by the distant sound of musketry and the occasional thud of artillery.

*In accordance with Leopold's customary frugality, the Royal War Room serves as a kaffeeklatsch and whist room for subscribers while not in more martial use.
** Not to be mistaken for the Clinton Rash, an entirely different affliction.