Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Home at last.

No not the French, it was worse than that. It was La presse, and the poor duke found himself all at sea in the flagship of the fleet. True, he had ordered la presse to engage a volunteer crew for Le Cochon Noir under the command of Capitaine Chienlave. An informative experience for him to become a member of that crew and one that will not be repeated.

Once he had established his identity to the Captain, it was not an unpleasant voyage, and indeed gave him time to review his handling of the country to date,and indeed on how he came to become head of state.

The crucial incident came on the evening of 16th April 1746, when surrounded by a few survivors he realised that not only was the battle lost but the country too;
determining , in the words of The Bruce, " Never , in any way to submit to the domination of the English" He led his small band, by torturous route to the coast, whence a fishing boat took him to the coast of the continent. Service in the armies of the area, led him slowly south west, until he reached the borders of Wittenburg in whose army he played a minor but important role, before entering the service of Noverre,

His romance and marriage to Milady de la Nuit was very much the stuff of romantic legend,and it was a series of unfortunate accidents, (to other people,) that left him as heir presumptive to the throne.
Now he has a county to rule, the maps have not yet arrived from the engravers, but the overview of the area is to be appended to this document.
The armies are to parade later this week for a Grande review and it is to be hoped that woodcuts will be available for distribution.
The navy too is busy preparing, painting and scrubbing for the occasion.
For now a glass of Bordelaux wine, and he will seek his bed.

Friday, 29 June 2007

The Roads to Noverre


Again the G-Duke sits in his favorite chair at La Bete Noir, letting his thoughts run back over the events of the past week. A week of celebration, The betrothal is anounced between his youngest son Charles Edward and Mimi, the youngest daughter of the Burgomeister of Endorre. It is hoped that this will further cement relations with our neighbour and facilitate communications with Wittenburg which lies beyond and whose envoy is expected to arrive, early next week. The Gendarmerie de Marin, who garrison the exits of the passes from the mountains have been warned of his arrival, and although it is early days, communications indicate a level of rapport and it is hoped we can work together to maintain peace in this part of Urop.

Good news also from the General D`ordinance, the first cadres have reported for duty and equipping has started. The early samples of the new uniforms have arrived and do look good.

Furthermore a search of the storerooms have discovered a batch of uniforms left over from the `76 celebrations. The historians inform me that following the arrival of an emissary from The Americas, a grand ball was held. troops were dressed in what was believed to be the correct uniforms and The Bostonian Tree party was re`enacted in his honour. The uniforms, although a little strange, even futuristic to our eyes are still in reasonable condition and will be used to re-equip our forces pending arrival in sufficient quantity of the new.

On paper we have a formidable force to defend our realm against any aggressor, but it has to be admitted that the knowledge of formation, drill and tactics is still sadly lacking at all levels.

I have requested a copy of General Du ffy`s instructions to the army, but until that can be found in the dusty recesses of the library, we must muddle through as best we can.

Joint manouevres are planned with the forces of Wittenburg.

Alarums and more Alarums, prevented the Grand -duke from continuing.

Cries of TheFrench are at the Gates, sent him leaping from his chair and racing into the night.

Friday, 22 June 2007

Just one week?

The Grand-duke sits alone in the back room of La Bete Noir, a glass of Calvadros at his elbow, he has escaped from the city, northwards, over the old Roman Bridge and for the first time in a week he is alone.
Is it just a week since he acceded to the throne, a week of meetings, with the Council to discuss his plans for the future, with the Royal college, to set the Archivists and Cartographers to work, Can it really be possible that no map exists of these realms?
Of course everyone knows that the breakaway province of Els, lies across the river of the same name to the East. It was the Grand-duchy of Noverre -Els for goodness sake.
They know that the great lake lies to the south, indeed some refer to it as La Grand Mer, and that the forest La Bois du Noir borders the North East. But how far is it from Soupcon to Doyenne? For what distance is the River Midden navigable?
As for the people, No not the peasantry, all we need to know there, is how many there are, and how much we can raise in taxes, but the Nobility.
Any man in the street could tell me that the Lady Sarah de Bechemel is the dowager Countess of St Pierre, but could they name her 15 children ( or even their fathers)?
Then there were the meetings with the costumiers, Messrs Funcken to decide on which particular shade of Grey the army should be wearing, What army? The palace Guard and a handful of trained bands in each province. Even the promised Cadres had failed to muster.
History may well talk of The Grand old duke, with his ten thousand men, manouevering up hill and down dale, that seems only a dream at present.
And then the sutlers, that hideous man Le clerc with his samples of mottled green cloth for the Coureurs duBois , Camoflage he called it, I`m prepared to agree with General le, "A man wouldn`t be seen dead in it."
The treasurer was no better, demanding money for a new handbag and shoes, whilst my army goes without soldiers. What is a man to do? Is Noverre to remain a Realm of split infinitives, mixed metaphors and massacred franglais?
At least we have managed to avoid an interview with the editor of that dreadful newsletter Le Soleil, he will no doubt have some ideas that the old Arch- Duke did not ,as the populace believe, trip and impale himself on his own Boar spear. But that it is the hand of the Dastardly James Comte de Els, my cousin and ruler of what once was and will be again part of my duchy.
The only light relief has come from the Midsommer celebrations, although the participants from outside our Realm were few, I think all enjoyed the contests of Riding, swordplay and shooting. Personally I feel that the exhibition of William le Kidde with his pistol and five playing cards was brash in the extreme, but the crowd loved it.
The interior pursuits of cardplay was well received, But the Cruet manouvre and Monologue was spoilt somewhat when the present champion Major Toutpourune, whilst halfway through the seventeenth word perfect repitition, picked up the walnut, that represents" Young Farquarson Don`t ye know" Crushed it between his fingers, mumbled "Half a League" and rushed from the room. Most ungentlemanly to blame Comtess Lucy, who was merely leaning over the table to admire his dexterity.
The highlight as ever was on the Tarte de Creme Anglais range, where points are awarded for the combination of Range, accuracy and burst pattern.
For now the Grand duke will enjoy his wine, tomorrow, well tomorrow is another day.

Sunday, 17 June 2007

Where to Begin

Day 1.
The duchy of Noverre has sprung Phoenix like from the ashes of a long wargaming history, The wheel has gone almost full circle.
My first wargaming figures were Airfix Infantry Combat Group at 1/10 a box. Before that I just played with Toy soldiers, now I`m not too sure which I do.
Next came Airfix Guards colour parties, with paper bicornes, and red and blue uniforms and articles in Battle magazine about the joys of The Game. See where this is heading?
Now I have a teenage son interested in playing with Dads toys.
History may well repeat itself,