Sunday, 14 June 2009

Military Intelligence?

The Duke briefs his loyal agent Jacques le Pegge before he goes to the border.

Jacques and his sister Jean leave to discover the truth in the rumours of Troops massing on the border with Els.

After many frenzied hours of discussion with the Chancellor it seems obvious that the Duke can only afford to raise forces very, very slowly.
True he has those troops raised by Herr Fiks and Messrs Zvesda and others, that were his original intention, they are however too small in stature to perform joint manouvres with those of Wittenberg.
It has been decided that the existing troops will be armed and equipped to defend the nation, whilst a start is made on searching for a suitable agent to provide men who can take the field to the greater glory of his realm.
Messieurs Green would seem the only viable option at this stage for Line troops at least.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

The Grand Unveiling

The Court outside the Town House
The Dowager Duchess

Brown Stikk, The Chamberlain

The Very Grand Duchess

An Old Retainer

Mr. S.B.J.Vauban

Great Aunt Lucy

The Russian Ambassador

And Finally

The Grand-Duke Himself

As promised, Thanks Allan.

An intercepted message.

It has been a busy day for the Duke, Starting with his poseing,( again) for his court picture, for a long while he has managed to avoid all appointments made for sittings by the Duchess, but today failed. His likeness has now been captured in oils by the renowned artist Pierre Kodak.
and an official viewing has been promised for this very evening.
Barely had he risen, when a member of the household approached with a waterlogged package, found on the body of a Courier from Els to the Monrovians.
It is believed that the man met his death at the infamous Risenbach falls, high in the high hills to the North.
Retiring to his chamber, he opened the blood and water soaked package and studied the contents.
It was obviously a government document, written in bureaucratese, and much was illegible.
With the aid of a glass,he copied out the documents for study by his advisors.
Although fragmentary, some phrases could be clearly read.

" Whilst at first glance, this may appear to be a parodoxical dichotomy, the reality is far more complex"
" This term may not be used in future as it has been discovered that 4% of the population can no longer be considered a minority"
" I`m not here to work, I`m in charge."
"Can you not accept that your use of the word Americanism, might be taken as being rude and disrespectful"

Clearly in code:
He must pass it over to the experts, that little band known as " The Followers"

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

The Duke was in his Counting House.

The Grand -duke sits with his head in his hands,

The cause of his distress;

The price of brushes, more than 2 ducats apiece.

The costs of civil improvements, clothing for the Duchess, subsidies for University students, upkeep of the Ducal carriage combine to make his treasury resemble that of Grand-mere Hubbard.

How is he to pay the commissioning agents to increase his field army, clothe them, provide horse and Baggage, fortifications, Cannon, a new palace?

Time perhaps to look at the taxation system;

For many years it has been the custom to receive half of all taxes due in the form of labour or services.

The people of the towns and countryside, whatever their rank, serve their nation for one day a week, building and maintaining roads and bridges, forts and palaces. Or serving where their expertise is most needed. The cash paid, less costs of collection are thus available to purchase the raw materials, and services of experts like Monsieur Vaubum, or Leonardo the Handyman.

A simple system, half the cash collected, requiring half the costs of collection.

So labour is no problem,

many of the neccessary materials lie within his realm,

but money, aye that is a problem.

Sipping at a glass of Amber nectar, gives him pause,

The entire population is known for its inventiveness in turning fruit and vegetable into liquor, (in the widest possible sense at least.)

If control could be established, many a neighbouring state could enjoy(well endure)

Noverrian brews and vintages, Barges could travel continent wide, bringing much needed revenues to his coffers.

Then troops could be raised to circumvent the machinations of Els, Monrovia and others.

Then too could he afford paint, yeah and brushes too.

He steps outside, turns and admires the newly decorated facade of La Bete Noir.

Bon nuit mes amis, he calls to the world .

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Time to Reminisce

Exhausted, the Grand Duke slumped in his chair, leafing idly through his journal, he sees that more than a year has passed since he last had time to enter his thoughts and actions, no surely that cannot be true. Those vile Monrovians have agents everywhere, it must have been they who stole the missing pages.

Thinking back he recalls how the demands of state and those of the Dowager duchess have left him little time, but now with a glass of single malt from his ancestral home, sits at his side, he has some time to detail the happenings of the past months.

The cartographers at the university have taken much of his time, but with little to show for the efforts. In virtual desperation the Corps d`engineers and Articifers have been set the task of surveying the duchy. Much progress has been made and many tasks of civic improvement set in motion as a result of their passage. The most impressive of which must be the construction of a canal on the River Grosstinkel, which runs northwards to the provinces of Wittemberg and unfortunately the vile Monrovians. Bypassing les Roches Noir, which made that stretch of the river un-navigable has opened communications with the north and hopefully customs duties on goods passing along the river will help boost the duchy`s poor financial status.

Much will be needed if he is to put the plans of Monsieur Vauban into practice,
not The Vauban of course, such expense would be beyond all that his duchy could afford, but B.S.(Johnson) Vauban.
The Duchess has unfortunately seen the plans for the new palace, which will make that of Wittemberg look like some Saxon Great Hall, and is adopting the strategies of her Greek heroine to inspire him to move forward with their implementation.

Hence his presence in the back room of La Bete Noir.

Sitting with a second glass in his hand, his thoughts go back to his early years on this imaginent, indeed his first independant command in the army of Wittemberg.

A beautiful early April morning, Captain D`oyly Carte surveys his own little kingdom, unaware that hidden in the early morning mist are vistors from two foreign powers.

Both Wittemberg and Monrovia, in need of provisions for the forthcoming fighting season, have sent forces to his fair village.

The Wittemberg Light Cavalry arrive first and make the Captain an offer, even he cannot refuse, and he rushes to tell the villagers to get the stores out into the streets to load the Wittemberg wagons. They then take up position to deny access to the Monrovians who have just appeared.

They must buy a little time, with their lives if neccessary, until the infantry and wagons arrive.

The Monrovian Cavalry commander takes in the situation at a glance and orders a charge to sweep away the enemy cavalry screen, whilst his infantry enter the village to snatch the supplies from beneath the noses of the Wittemberg command.

His troops misunderstood his command and rally back to reform ready to charge later.

The infantry continue into the village.

Although dissapointing, there seems little problem as the Monrovian forces sweep into the valley, with only a screen of cavalry facing them
the supplies are as good as theirs.

The Wittemberg cavalry, seeing the advancing enemy, prepare for glory and charge into the milling Monrovian cavalry driving them from the field. and prepare to strike deep into the Jaegers protecting the enemy wagons.

They take casualties, but job done they retire in good order, behind their own Jaeger who have occupied Windmill ridge, whilst the infantry take position to defend the village.

Leaving the 2nd Regt to enter the village, The 1st make a flank march to protect the supplies from any attack from that direction, only to come under fire from villagers who seem to believe them the enemy.
To the troops disgust, orders are given not to return the fire even though their colleagues are falling wounded in the ranks.

As the 2nd Regt enters the village accompaning the wagons, they too come under fire and again are given orders not to fire back or raze the village to the ground.
Field -Major Douglas knows that the neutrality of this province will be vital in supplying his troops in the future, whatever the provocation to respond.

The 3rd Regt arrives and takes fire from two sides as they enter the village.
The villagers are firing at all and sundry now and advancing Monrovians start to fall to the villagers fire.
Chaos is looming, villagers fire in all directions, the village livestock escapes from its pen and races down the main street, obstructing the loading of the wagons still further.

The field Major keeps calm, his outflanking regiment, turns to face the flank of the only Monrovians in the village. The volley is relatively ineffectual, but combined with the fire from the villagers, is enough to convince the Monrovians to retire.

Screened by their own chastened light cavalry, who return to the fight. ( The pep talk from the Commander in Chief seems to have had an effect, they now seem ready to face the Devil himself.)
The Monrovian forces march away in search of supplies elsewhere.

Seeing this, the Field major orders the loaded wagons out of the village with their infantry guard. The cavalry and Jaeger will form the rear guard to cover against any pursuit by the Monrovians.
The villagers, seeing both sides march away, believe they have won the day, much Ale will flow tonight and the tale will grow with the quaffing.

Yes, it was a glorious day, mission accomplished, minimal casualties, and one in the eye for the vile Monrovians.
It was to be the first of many encounters with them, and not a fewMonrovians bore him ill will.

Only last week a report came from the Corps of Diplomatic Guides that plans are being hatched for an attack on fair Noverre.
Tomorrow he must to the dockyard to view progress on the fleet of Xebecs he has commissioned.
But now, to sleep, perchance to dream,but, please, not that 9-5 nightmare that has occupied many a hour of recent time.