Schloss Neuhaus

Schloss Neuhaus
Seat of the Margrave

Tuesday, 30 June 2009


"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."


"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?"


"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..."

1 comment:

Bluebear Jeff said...

It is far more economical than decimation, that's for sure.

-- Jeff