Schloss Neuhaus

Schloss Neuhaus
Seat of the Margrave

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Consequences

"Good Day, Your Highness"

"Von Smallhausen, von Rabensthal".

"Is aught amiss, Your Highness? You seem somewhat distracted?"

"What?... Oh, no... I have just interviewed Herr General Muller."

"Your Highness?"

"Yes, with regard to the disastrous events of the other night concerning the Reitere."

"Ah."

"Yes, von Smallhausen, indeed 'ah'. The good Herr General is absolutely furious - and with reason - he demands courts-martial and hangings all round."

"Yes, Your Highness?"

"The trouble is, von Smallhausen..."

"Do you wish for privacy, Your Highness?"

"What? No, no... stay, von Rabensthal. I have nothing to say that you may not hear."

"Your Highness was saying something about trouble...?"

"Yes. If I followed General Muller's recommendations, then logically, the first court-martial must be his."

"I do not quite understand, Your Highness."

"It is quite simple, von Rabensthal. In this instance that with which we are faced is not an isolated case of indiscipline. If that were all 'twere, then a ganteloupe or a few days salle de police on bread and water should serve to remind the miscreants of their duties of obedience, good order and military discipline. However, we are faced with a complete breakdown of the aforesaid good order and military discipline throughout the mounted arm of this concentration. The soldaten who indulged in the riot must and shall be punished. However, I do not believe that it were only the soldaten involved, from the Chirugeons' reports, it should seem that at least some of the participants were of varying ranks up to and including Unteroffizier! It is not possible to cast two entire regiments into prison - would that it were, for I would do so - from the lowest soldat up to the Hauptfeldwebel! That surprises you, von Rabensthal?"

"Well... yes, Your Highness."

"H'mm, von Smallhausen, mayhap you might be able to enlighten our young friend?"

"I shall try, Your Highness. It is as His Highness has said, von Rabensthal. A complete breakdown of discipline throughout two regimenten. This can only have occurred should the Unteroffizieren and Feldwebelen have been grossly negligent in the application of their responsibilities. That some of them indeed were physically involved in the riot only exacerabates matters. The failure to control their soldaten alone marks them as convicted of failing in their duties. For trusted men to actually have become involved in such a disgraceful affair beggars belief!"

"Under normal circumstances, gentlemen, an Unteroffizier or Feldwebel who betrayed his trust in such a manner should be broken to the ranks! However, when it should seem that the entire corpus of non-commission offizieren is at fault, then how shall the authorities - and ultimately that means me - sanction them as they ought without totally disrupting the entire kavallerie brigade? Moreover, how shall I punish the soldaten and non-commission offizieren when, if their neglect of duty, and the indiscipline within the regimente is so blatant, it should seem that their own offizieren are incapable of detecting it? So, if I punish the non-commission offizieren, then I must equally hold the offizieren culpable and take action against them. If the offizieren of the regimente are at fault, then so must in all logic, equaly be the Brigade staff and heir commander! Unfortunately, I cannot cashier them all - so I needs must consider what action I can take!

"Your Highness, a thought occurs to me..."

"Go on, von Rabensthal."

"Your Highness, it should seem, should it not, that the root of all the friction between the two regimente lies in the immense pride that the soldaten have in their own Regiment?"

"Hah! They must now, indeed, be very proud of themselves!"

"Just so, Your Highness. I make no doubt that now their blood has cooled, that the better soldaten among them are heartily ashamed of themselves and the turn matters took. I would be willing to wager a large sum that there was no intention of turning Aal into a battlefield, and what eventually became a full-scale riot had its inception merely as a brawl between soldiers over some entirely unrelated matter - women, dice, cards, drink, what-have-ye".

"Go on, von Rabensthal, you seem to know about that which you speak!"

"Thank you, Your Highness. You must, I believe, take some action that should indicate your gravest displeasure. May I suggest a possible a remedy?"

"Oh, I must, must I? But, pray continue".

"Your Highness; much of their pride comes from the mere occasion of them being mounted troops. Very well, dismount them!"

"Ah. Von Smallhausen, would you be so king as to explain to our young friend why that oh-so-elegant solution has already been discussed and discarded?"

"Yes, Your Highness. Von Rabensthal, should we indeed adopt your suggestion, then 'twould leave the army bereft of mounted troops. It is not, I make no doubt, impossible to wage modern war without kavallerie, and I also misdoubt that there should be sufficient time to recruit and train replacements. There is laso to be borne in mind the economy of such a step. Kavallerie are vastly more expensive to create and maintain than infanterie, and having spent so much on raising, equipping, mounting and training them, 'twould represent a prodigiously vast loss to the fisc."

"Oh. I see... But..."

"But what, young man?"

"But, Your Highness, what if such a dismounting were to be temporary, and known to be such from the start?"

"How do you mean? The horses shall need still to be cared for - aye and exercised."

"Yes, Your Highness... I pray you have patience a moment... I am trying to reach a logical conclusion as thoughts occur... Eheu - eureka! Your Highness - let the regimente keep their mounts, but order that all duties and marches - until further notice, or for a fixed period whichever Your Highness should take as the better option - be undertaken on foot!"

"Yes, go on..."

"I understand, Your Highness, that one of Your Highness' comments was of the nature that if the troops have energy enough to riot, then they are not doing enough work?"

"True."

"Well, Your Highness, walking any distance in riding boots is sufficiently tiring, and should Your Highness think such a punishment insufficient, then let it be ordered that on the march, or during field days, rather than the horses bearing the weight of saddle and gear, that the soldaten - and their offizieren should carry them!"

"Let me understand this, von Rabensthal. The regimente to keep their horses, but to serve - temporarily - on foot?"

"Just so, Your Highness."

"And when undertaking duties when they should normally be mounted, then the men are to carry their saddles and all their gear?"

"Just so, Your Highness."

"And what of their horses the meantime?"

"Normal stable routine, Your Highness, and when carrying out such duties as require the men to carry their saddlery, then let them lead the horses as well!"

"Von Rabensthal, are you quite, quite persuaded that your family has no links to the infamous Torquemada?"

"The who, Your Highness?"

"Never mind, young man, never mind..."

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Decisions, decisions...

"Well! How came you by this von Smallhausen?"

"My... er... correspondent from Potsburgh delivered it to me last evening Your Highness."

"But, according to the wacht, there were no visitors to headquarters last night?"

"No, Your Highness, but a letter was delivered to me, requesting that I attend he... er... my info... correspondent in one of the local gasthofen."

"So... your... 'er... info... correspondent' would not then prove to be a rather attractive female?"

"Your Highness! I beg of you! Please, the uttermost discretion is required in this matter. The lady in question is merely an old and close friend from my days at Wittenberg. Our relationship is based upon affection, companionship and shared history. Frau Fischer is a member of a well-respected Strasburgh family, and makes the journey from Strasburgh to Amsterdam, where she intends to purchase gem-stones, and has merely stopped for a day or two's rest, and discovered my presence here entirely by chance. I am not held in high esteem by her family, and any mention of my name in connection with hers should perchance cause her some disagreeable attention from her family."

"Very well, then von Smallhausen, let us accept, for the nonce, that the arrival of your correspondent and this lady are events connected by pure coincidence."

"Exactly so, Your Highness."

"So. What to do with this document? It is evident - if the document is accurate - that the Kurfurst of Pommersche has no evil intentions towards his neighbours, but is on the contrary preparing to despatch a force to co-operate with the Herzog von Marlbrouk! I ask myself, is Marlbrouk aware of this? And if not, do we tell him of our belief, or maintain a a discreet silence?"

"Oh, the latter of course, Your Highness. It would not be prudent to rely upon this Englischer's ability to conceal his knowledge of our knowledge from others - particularly those of Pommersche - and such disclosure may lead to inconvenient questions as to by what means we gained our knowledge. I - and Herr Flick - would infinitely prefer that our interest in events in Potsburgh and Brandenstadt remain concealed."

"I see... But why are we interested in events in Pommersche?"

"Your Highness, in this unsettled world, we of the Sekretariat take an interest in the thoughts words and deeds of many of the states of Germania. Official despatches from the various capitals are not always the tr... are not always entirely accurate or reliable. Past experience indicates, nay, impels that we maintain discreet observation of those princes that might, as is said, er... rock the boat. Not all rulers are happy with the results of the Treaty of Westfalen, let alone the results of other, more recent disturbances."

"H'mm, I am aware Herr Flick has agents at large in certain, potentially inimical, areas of the Kaiserreich, but am I to understand that I, through the Sekretariat, have a far-flung network of spies?"

"Spies, Your Highness? The Good Lord forbid! Merely some individuals to whom the sicherheit of Ober Nord Westfalen is dear. As to a far-flung network, Your Highness, I could not, with any certainty say yea or nay. I know only of some few correspondents, with whom I deal. What of Herr Flick's correspondents, I cannot say!"

"Be plain with me, if you please, von Smallhausen. 'Some individuals'? You would have me believe that love of Ober Nord Westfalen motivates a variety of people to send you - and Herr Flick - information that may impact on ourselves, particularly should the correspondent be uncovered and swift and condign punishment should follow?. Come, come von Smallhausen, that's coming it far too strong!"

"Indeed, no, Your Highness. I see that complete openness only will serve here! It is true that there are one or two individuals who correspond with us out of love of our homeland, or out of friendship with Herr Flick and myself, but it must be admitted that the majority of them do so in return for monetary considerations."

"Hah! Tell me, von Smallhausen, does it not say in the Book that 'the love of money is the root of all evil'?

"It does indeed, Your Highness. However, the amounts disbursed by Herr Flick and myself, while seemingly generous to the recipients, are generally of little substance. There are occasions, however - and this is one of them - that real generosity is required, in order to reward exceptional service."

"I see... so you want me to empty my purse into the hands of this... correspondent of yours?"

"No, no, Your Highness. But I would wish that you set your signature to this bill of exchange in order to ensure the continued good-will of this particular correspondent, and as mark of appreciation for the very real risks taken, as Your Highness has observed."

"Let me see it. What! Ten thousand Marken! Are you mad, von Smallhausen? And who is this Mlle Eloise de Chardonnay - a Franklander?"

"No, no Your Highness, Mlle Eloise is, despite her name, a good German."

"Even so! Ten thousand Marken!"

"Your Highness. It is impossible, for a variety of reasons, for Mlle Eloise to return to Pommersche. Indeed it is imperative that she disappear entirely. The generosity of the reward is, in part occasioned by the value of the document that she brought here, and in part by the need for Mlle Eloise to ... ah... re-invent herself! I have great hopes that in her new role, she shall provide us with timely news of intentions and events in Frankland. She can hardly do so, but that she has the entree to the Polite World of Parisian society".

"H'mm... I suppose not. Certainly the information contained in this memorandum is of great potential value; can you be sure that any further information shall be of equally significant worth?"

"Your Highness, no, I cannot entertain any such certainty. It is in the nature of Mlle Eloise' s occupation that there is always great doubt, as well as great risk. It is, I most respectfully submit, consequently most fitting that the rewards should be commensurate."

"Very well then, I shall sign the bill. But mark you, von Smallhausen, should this correspondent of yours disappear with the money then my wrath shall most assuredly be visited upon you!"


Thursday, 25 June 2009

'Twixt Fire and Water?

"Your pardon, Herr Hauptmann, I know you did not wish to be disturbed, but this letter has just arrived for you."

"And?"

"Herr Hauptmann, it is marked 'urgent', and was delivered by a lackey from the De Zwarte Adelaar - Der Schwarze Adler."

"I see. Very well, I'll take it! Thank you!"

"H'mm, 'My Very Dear Erich...'. Von Rabensthal! Von Rabensthal!"

"Yes, Herr Hauptmann?"

"A message to the stables, if you please! My bay horse to be saddled and outside my quarters within the next ten minutes! If His Highness enquires for me, I am going to my quarters to shift my dress, and then I am going out! I am not quite certain at what time I shall return. In the meantime, here are the orders for tomorrow. Please check them for accuracy and then have six copies made and on my desk to await my return!"

"Of course, Herr Hauptmann. But if His Highness should enquire for your whereabouts, what shall I tell hi... Herr Hauptmann! Herr Hauptmann!"

- - - - - - - - - - -

"Erich! How very pleasant to see you again!"

"Madam, I wish I could say the same! Are you mad!? What are you doing here!? I had supposed you to be snug in Potsburgh!"

"Unfortunately, Erich, Potsburgh is such a bore! All those Pommerschen, all so very serious. 'Pon rep, Erich 'twas dull beyond belief!"

"Dull? I had supposed you to be enjoying the Pommersche society!"

"Oh, tol-lol, Erich. One endeavours to enjoy one's work, otherwise 'tis so tedious!"

"So. You abandon your task because you were bored!? I had thought better of you madam!"

"Oh, Erich!... and I had thought that you would be pleased to see me!"

"I would have been better pleased if you had stayed where I had sent you!"

"Erich, I protest! 'Tis prodigiously unkind in you! Upon my soul, I do believe you are become as tedious as those benighted Pommerschen! I am quite put out by your reception! I am of a mind not to give you the gift which I brought especially for you!"

"Gift? What gift?"

"Oh, 'tis merely a manuscript in which I had thought you might be interested. I know how you love to gather knowledge! Here."

"A manuscipt? What nonsense is this, madam?"

"Read it and find out!"

"Very well... God above! Isabelle, do you know what this is!?"

"Of course I do. I would hardly bring you something the nature of which was unknown to me!"

"Isabelle, this is a memorandum from the Pommerschen War Ministry. It gives details of every single regiment, their station, their Inhabern and their strength! How, in the name of all that's holy did it come into your possession?"

"Oh, quite easily, my dear. I had established, er... cordial relations, with one of the deputy ministers in Potsburgh..."

"Cordial relations?"

"Just so, my dear. I confess, sadly, that he was not the most exciting lover I have had. That however, is bye the bye. But really my dear Erich, read on, I pray you."

"But... but... this is incredible. It is the Pommerschen war plans! Look: what regiment is to carry out what task, when the task is to be completed, what date the regiments are to move! Isabelle, this is a master stroke! But, how shall you to conceal this... acquisition, and how shall you now return to Potsburgh?"

"I am afraid Erich, that my return to Potsburgh is now entirely ineligible! You see, I had to find some reason to leave Pommersche, and to that end I, ah..., engineered... a violent quarrel with my protector and left Potsburgh toute de suite! Quite simply, my dear, I did not think it expedient to entrust that package to a common carrier, and believed that we would both be best served were I to convey it in person. My return there now would cause a great deal of eyebrow rasing, and 'tis not impossible, that dull dogs though they are, some Pommersche with more than the average intellect may have connected my disappearance with the disappearance of that document which you are so fervently clutching! Which brings me to my next topic: I found Pommersche to be so dreary that I positively yearn for laughter, gaiety and music. I am of a mind to seek solace in Paris. 'Tis a city the which I have always been enamoured, and I am sure that I can be of some value to you while I take my ease there!"

"Paris! No, no...ah... wait! Perhaps so... What have you in mind?"

"Ah, Erich, you no longer see before you Witwe Isabelle Fischer, but rather Mademoiselle Eloise de Chardonnay, a single lady of independent mind and means, a native of Strasburgh and travelling to Paris on the qui vive for an eligible parti! Oh, and some new gowns! My wardrobe, my dear is positively dowdy! I fear that I must look a perfect quiz!""

"Yes, yes, of course, Strasburgh will serve, It shall excuse any slight accent that might betray your origins. Do you have the necessary papers?"

"How ungallant 'tis in you! You should never let pass the opportunity to compliment and reassure a lady on her looks! But, I thank you, Erich, yes I do have the necessary papers! However, as I have proposed, I am to be a lady of independent means, and sadly, means are severely lacking at the moment."

"Yes?"

"I thought, dear Erich, that you might be so good as to..."

"Unfortunately, Isabelle, or Eloise, specie is in markedly short supply at the present. However, I can probably furnish you with sufficient funds to reimburse your travel from Potsburgh and to enable you to complete your journey in comfort."

"Oh, Erich, dearest Erich, is not that parcel worth just a teeny little bit more than subsistence?"

"For my part, Isabelle, in return for such a document as this, I would empty the Schloss treasury! But, I cannot make such a decision without weighing carefully the benefits and consequences. Are you in great haste to reach Frankland?"

"I confess, it shall be much easier to reach Paris, if it could be managed, before the outbreak of open hostilities."

"So, a delay of day or two shall not weigh heavily in the scales?"

"No... this Inn, primitive 'though 'tis, is not so markedly uncomfortable. But 'tis an inn for travellers, how shall I explain my inexplicable delay in departing this place?"

"Let me think a minute. Ah! I have it! Unless you should think the scheme ineligible?"

"Yes, go on, my dear"?

"By receiving me here in a private parlour, you are already somewhat compromised. We shall offer explanations to none, but let people think what they will - and 'tis bound to be the worst! We shall pretend to be lovers!"

"Oh Erich! 'Tis positively brilliant. No one shall think it strange that you visit me here! But... pretend...?"

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Disturbing Developments

"Well, von Smallhausen, this document makes for disturbing reading, interesting but disturbing. It should seem that the Kurfurst of Pommersche has been very busy! Thirty Regiments of Foot, which I assume means fifteen battalions of Grenadiers - a dozen or so Regiments of Kurassier and Dragoner, and two Regiments of Fusiliers! Now, what do you think they are?"

"It should seem, Your Highness, that they are troops armed with a fusil. That would make sense if the remainder were still armed with matchlocks - but that cannot be the case, surely?"

"I don't know... Pommersche is not a rich state, and to raise and equip such a host with the most modern muskets may be beyond its abilities. Numbers do matter, von Smallhausen, and if Franz Ferdinand should throw his whole army against a single Land, then pace alliances, that prince would find himself in dire straits!"

"True, Your Highness, but all my correspondent writes is that he has mustered his army. Not that they have been put into motion."

"Yes... but I don't like it. Can your, er... correspondent not dig a little deeper and try to ascertain just what that prince's motives might be?"

"Indeed, Your Highness, I devoutly hope so! In fact I have sent a missive, requesting just that!"

"You have, eh? Good. Let us hope that this martial pose represents no threat to Ober Nord Westfalen!"

"Indeed, Your Highness."

"What else does the day's correspondence bring us?"

"Sadly, Your Highness, General Muller submits a report of a riot between troops of the first and second Regimente of Reiteren! It should seem that their billets are so close together that contact between the two Regimenten is unavoidable! The Burgermeister of Aal, has written to demand that Your Highness recompense those of his citizens who had property destroyed and damaged during the course of the affray."

"Gods above! Is it not enough that we are on the brink of war, that these idiots must start battles amongst themselves! Just how bad was this riot, von Smallhausen?"

"It should seem, Your Highness, that sadly, it was a most sanguinary affair! There were, thank God, no fatalities, but a total of eighty four individuals required the attentions of the Chirugeon after the fact."

"Eighty four! Gods above, were they armed?"

"It should seem, Your Highness, that side-arms were indeed taken into use. I fear the toll would have been much higher had not Oberst Langer used his own regiment to get between the warring factions. It should seem that a dozen or so of the injuries were incurred by IR Nummer 3!"

"Langer was ordered to stop this riot?"

"Er,... No, Your Highness... Not exactly. It should seem that the Herr Oberst and a party of his offizieren were enjoying the hospitality of one of the Gasthoffen in the village when the riot erupted, and he took it upon himself to try and restore order. Of course, it took some time to reach his regiment and deploy them, but it should seem that without his intervention, matters could have taken a decided turn for the worse!"

"If Langer acted upon his own intiative, then the question must be asked: Where were General Muller and the Offizieren of both Reiter Regimente?"

"The Herr General, his staff and the Regimental Staff of both Reiter Regimente were in conference."

"In conference!?"

"Just so, Your Highness. It should seem that the Herr General, although satisfied with the proficiency of each regiment is less happy with the fact that the Oberst of each should appear to have evolved their own system of drill and commands, so in the interest of command in the field, and to arrive at some commonality of method, the Herr General decided to take advantage of the fact that the two regimente were quartered in proximity."

"Yes, I see... Well, that matter will have to wait or a while until we can get to he bottom of this mess! My own feelings are that if the troops have sufficient energy to fight a pitched battle amongst themselves then they are not being worked hard enough!"

"As to that, Your Highness, I really could not venture an opinion. But..."

"Yes, von Smallhausen?"

"Your Highness, I realise that the method of paying the troops quarterly has its roots in the usage of the ancient Romans, but reflect a moment: Once a quarter the troops receive what is to them, a large amount of money; they are away from home, away from the censorious gaze of their fellow-citizens and families. As Your Highness has suggested, they seem to have a surplus of energy, it is no wonder that high spirits, under such circumstances should arrive at a point where they are no longer under control."

"The troops, or their high spirits? No... never mind, either way such an event must not occur again! But, I interrupt you... had you a remedy in mind?"

"Well... Your Highness, it seems to me that if the troops were paid by the month, rather than the quarter, then they would ave less funds at any given time, and would not therefore be tempted to attempt to spend three months' pay in one night!"

"H'mm... it may well be so. But there are problems... Such a scheme would necessitate extra work for the paying offizieren."

"True, Your Highness. But on the other hand there are other advantages."

"Indeed?"

"Oh, yes, Your Highness; for example Your Highness would no longer need to keep such a vast amount of specie on hand. If Your Highness would consent to consider for a moment: what would have been the effect on the State if the bullion consignment from Schloss Neuhaus had been intercepted. Could Ober Nord Westfalen have stood to lose one hundred thousand Marken? Could Your Highness have afforded to replace the consignment without delay? What would have bee the state of mind of the troops if they had found out that their pay was likely to be a month - or even more - in arrears? I need hardly point out that very few of them would have had any money left from their previous pay issue."

"Yes... true enough. Very well, I shall take your suggestion under consideration. In the meantime... what to do? I could follow Roman practice and have the two regimente decimated, but that I feel would not be acceptable in this age!"

"Indeed not, Your Highness."

"'Indeed not', is that all you have to contribute?"

"Your Highness, If I may make so bold, may I remind Your Highness, that despite my present apparel and trappings that I am not really a military man! I would hesitate, therefore to make any suggestions on the questions of order and discipline."

"Yes, true enough... You have such a solid grasp of military detail that sometimes I forget that your are only an offizier pro tempore!"

"Your Highness is too kind. But if Your Highness will allow...?"

"Yes, go on."

"Your Highness, before our departure from Schloss Neuhaus, Your Highness had ordered the formation of a constabulary in order to maintain heimatsicherheit. Would it not be possible to form some such organisation here with the army, with the specific task of maintaining good order and military discipline?"

"It is a thought. Again, I needs must reflect upon it. Is there anything else this morning to dismay me?"

"There is one other matter, Your Highness. I have received a communication from... well, the writer has successfully reached Frankland, and is casting about for a commission in the Franklander army."

"You mean...? Oh... yes. Good. Keep me informed of any results!"

"Of course, Your Highness."


Tuesday, 16 June 2009

News from Abroad

At Dienst
The United Provinces

The 14th Day of April in the Year of Our Lord 1700

Dearest Mama and Pa,

I trust in the Lord that this leter findes you as I left you, in goode hellth. You must forgiv mee for not setting pen to paper earlier than I have done, butt wee have been very busy, marching all over the Low Countries. I am verry well and fele much stronger than I hav ever done so befor. Eeven so, I have found some of the marches verry wearying, but unlike sum of my por comraeds, who have sunk under the wate of their arms and eqkwipment, I am able to prowdly claim that I have, so far - and thank the Lord - kept with columm, as wee saye in the army.

That I hav dun so, is mosetly doow to the help and enkurrachment wich my comraeds hav givven to me. I am in the first gruuppe of the second sektion in Nummber Too Kompagnie. Our Chefe in the Sektion is an Obergefreiter, by Name Kurt Schulendorf. He is verry eksperiensed, and has bene a soldier for a long tyme. He is abowt forty years of age I think, and does nott hav to pouder his hair, because itt is alreddy wite. He says he hass bene a solier alle his lyfe and thatt he first fort with Hermann der Cherusker when that Genral d'feeted the Rowmans under their Kaiserr Warus , but I think he is mayking a game of uss when he says so. I do nott beleeve thatt he is thatt Olde, because the Rowmans wer Italians, I think, and I can nott remember heering telle of any Italians fiting in Germann lander for menny ajes. Butt he is a good comraed and lookes after us all verry well, altho' he cann be feerce wenn on dooty and sumboddy does summthing he does not lyke. My comraeds call hym 'Onkel Kurt, or 'Grossvatti', and hee calls uss 'Kinder,' butt nott of course wenn on dootie. Hee is verry fond of his pype, and he has a nummber of them, shorte claye ones, wich freekwently brake, as is their wont! And Oh, he does kurse wenn that happens! Butt he is nott a bad fellow - I feer thatt kursing goes on alle the tyme, but I do nott kurse, of course.

Hee is also verry wyse and noes exactly where the best and cheepest extra provisions maye be hadde. The armie food is kwite goode, but itt is onelie bread and meate. Onkel Kurt sayes thatt to be healthie a man must eet alsoe vegetibels and egges. Hee sayes thatt hard-boiled egges are verrie goode and thatt a man cann never have enuff of themm. He tells uss ware the best of everiethingge maye be hadde and howe much we shudd paye for itt. Hee does nott like itt when soldiers steel from the peeple of the country - hee sayes thatt they are mosetly pore menn like uss and thatt we shud nott stele from the pore. Hee warns too abowt the risks of strong likkors, and sayes thatt menny a mann has been browt lowwe by them, and telles uss that we shudd drinke onlie the beere. I do nott like the the lokal schnapps - itt is called Hollands - and the bier is verry stranje. It is verry pale and feles thin in the mowthe, and itt does nott kwentsch your thurste, butt leaves youer mowthe feleing drie and stikky. Butt to bee a good comraed one must joyne in with your fellowes, and so I am lerning to lyke itt! I am karefull tho' not too spend too much! Owr paye has arived, and Onkel Kurt hass tolde uss thatt hee does nott want any of uss to throwe owr munny awaye in gaymes of chance, butt thatt wee shudd sayve owr munney in case of unforseen thinges happening. He hass mayde an arranjement with a lokal merchant, soe thatt wee maye sende owr munney home. I have kept for myeself one Groschen owt of everie three thatt we have bene payde, and I have given the reste to the merchant, so that he maye send you a 'Bill of Exchanje' which you can gett the munney for at the house of Walther Langenkerel, a merchant att Schloss Neuhaus. I did thiss yesterday, and Mynheer van Rijn - the Hollands Merchant - sayes thatt you shudd gett the bill in abowt three weekes.

Itt mite be thowt that it wudd bee diffikultt to ecsplane to a forrenner whatt I wanted, butt the peeple here speke a verry stranje sort of Germann, it remyndes mee of the sorte of German that the olde country-peeple att home speke. Butt if we alle speke verry sloely and lissen harde thenn wee cann unnderstand wun another.

Well, thatt is alle my newes fore now. Soe prayinge thatt Godde has you sayfe in Hiss Keepinge this is fairewell fore the tyme from your luvvinge sunne,

Albericht

(Soldat Albericht Zimmermann
Nr 2 Kompagnie, 1er Bon, Infanterie Regiment Nr 2)

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Orders and (Mis)information

"Now, von Smallhausen, have you drafted the orders?"

"Indeed, yes, Your Highness: 'His Highness desires that the Garde Regiment zu Fuss and Reiter Regiment Nummer 1, under Generalmajor Muller, to form the avant-garde of the army and to proceed and to to take up quarters on the 17th inst at Diest. The picquets of the left and right columns will communicate by daily patrols with the Garde Regiment zu Fuss and Reiter Regiment Nr 1.

"Generalleutnant Freiherr Karl-Wilhelm von Willich is requested to direct the details of the Left Column and Generalmajor Kranitz the right; and they will be so good as to order detachments of the reitere and infanterie to form the avant-garde of the column under their command and the outposts and piquest of the coloumns will communicate by daily patrols with the Garde Regiment zu Fuss and Reiter Regiment Nr 1.

"The general offizieren commanding columns will fix the order in which troops and their baggage are to march in the column. The troops in the left column will march by their right and the right column by their left.

[Signed] E von Smallhausen
Military Secretary'"


"Very good, von Smallhausen; make it so. Now, you were saying that you had received a communication...?"

"Yes, Your Highness; it is from a correspondent in Brandenstadt. It should seem that the Kurfurst of Pommersche is flexing his military muscles. My infor..., ah... correspondent has furnished me with what seems to be a fairly comprehensive order of battle of the Kurfurst's forces, although with what intent the Prince has mustered his army is not yet clear.."

"Pommersche? What has Pommersche to do with us?"

"It should seem, Your Highness, that that particular Prince is extremely ambitious, and may take advantage of any upcoming unrest to to seize any advantage, military or political, that may arise as a result of the Kaiser's preoccupation with the the question of Frankland's ambitons regarding Spannien."

"Yes, that is understood, but Brunsland and Hannunter both lie between us and the nearest of Pommersche's provinces. We should be safe enough from any attempt by Pommersche to seize territory that is held by others."

"True enough, Your Highness, and under normal circumstances I should share your confidence. But Your Highness cannot have forgotten that at least some of the army of the Kurfurst of Hannunter is already present here in the United Provinces, and given the Kaiser's wish that the Kaiserreich resist any attempts at aggrandisement by Frankland, it is not unreasonable to suppose that the Herzog von Brunsland will also take the field? Moreover , Your Highness, with Herr General von Prostler preoccupied with events on our Northern frontier with the Vikland, a rapid march by the Kurfurst of Pommersche may yield highly undesirable results."

"Hmm... true enough, von Smallhausen. Do you have this letter to hand? It may be that I had better read it myself."

"Certainly, Your Highness, and may I add that I have replied to my age... er, correspondent and asked he... er, him, most discreetly of course, to endeavour to discover what the Kurfurst's ambitions might entail?"

"Ye have, have ye? Yes, well done, von Smallhausen; and thank you."