Wednesday, October 27, 2021

A Bridge Too Far Away


        Marshal Maximo Pavolich looked up at the gray gloomy hills, sprinkled with scraggly pine trees and wreathed in perpetual mists. He grumbled "Small wonder the inhabitants of this wretched land are wild barbarians, no civilized man would want to live in such a place. Why on God's earth are we trying to conquer it?" The unending dampness made his bones ache and gave an unhappy rattle to his breathing. He turned in his saddle and looked back at the withered remains of his army struggling up the narrow rock-strewn path that sufficed for a road in Boozonia while wondering how they found the strength to continue. He wished for a proper battle rather than this endless skirmishing with brigands and sneaking barbarians. 

         Presently a lone cavalryman rode back down the path toward Maximo. A blood-soaked bandage wrapped around his brow but he carried himself with a confident air.  Spotting the Marshal he altered his path to directly approach his leader. As he reined-in near the Marshal he saluted smartly and asked permission to address his Lordship. Maximo waved him forward, "Speak lad; what news do you bring?" The messenger bowed deeply, "Good news M'Lord. There is but one bridge left to cross before we approach Laphroaig and the light troops and Dragoons have taken control of it." The Marshal turned to his aide-de-camp, "Quickly now spread the news to the troops that we will soon be out of these dreary forests and into proper countryside. Send forward a detachment to reinforce the light troops and secure the bridge against interference from those appalling animals that inhabit this area." Turning back the cavalry captain he smiled and said "How badly I have forgotten my manners, see my Physician and have that wound tended and then see my cook about some food, you look positively famished." As the young man moved away the Marshall smiled up at the sky, perhaps it wasn't such a horrible day after all.

a nameless hamlet on the edge of the Boozonian Highlands 
the Ferndalians approached from the west
(which is the bottom of the picture in this view)

Monday, October 25, 2021

Meanwhile, back in Epicurea

         The return of The Plague caused no end of problems for the armies and their generals. This was in addition to an unusually severe series of storms that battered the continent. Military operations slowed to a crawl as maneuver became increasingly difficult and troops dropped like flies at the slightest exertion. 

          Only the iron will of of Peter the Famished forced his troops forward across the execrable roads of Boozonia, battling guerilla bands of Highlanders and dragging an enormous artillery train for the eventual siege of Glenfiddich. In the east his armies withered while keeping the Freedonian and Boozonian troops sequestered in Gruyere. The one gleaming spot on the map was the impending fall of Upper Vienee as it strangled slowly under his relentless blockade.

           In the once-confident capital of Bourguigonne the citizens rioted against the Council and called for Her Royal Majesty to come and take over the province. Much to everyone's surprise she slipped out of Upper Vienee and presented herself to the acclaim of the populous. Even more to everyone's surprise she promptly set about energetically reorganizing the entire province with an eye to using as a power-base to regain the whole of Gluttonia. Her precise and exacting mind dusted the cobwebs off of the moribund tax and patronage systems and reinvigorated the military.

          In the greater area of Gluttonia simple survival dictated that the armies spent most of their time scrounging supplies and forage leading to a laissez-faire attitude toward combat. The only real front was in the north where increasingly exhausted attempts to relieve the blockade of North Vienee by the Freedonian armies while the active forces of Proper-Mealers continued to batter the western defences of Old Vienee forcing the Small-Platers into the city proper and facing a perilously hungry winter.

          In the Middle Sea the wild storms had battered the fleets so severely that they were unable to get to proper grips with one another; losing more ships to Poseidon's wrath than to combat. The Pirates were particularly bad off as they had lost their supplies to the Freedonian fleets late in the season and could barely keep their ships afloat.

       Away in the west Freedonia found herself beset with problems, none of which on their own would have been crippling but in concert they were most vexing to His Most Catholic Majesty Louis the Ravenous. In the North the Huet le Mont was on the brink of open rebellion from the action of Nordlander agitators; the freshly-annexed citizens of the Soubise and Guigal valleys seemed to be little enamored of their new status as citizens (and taxpayers) of Freedonia and needed severe garrisoning, the Western Fleet had not been able to return due to the horrid weather and troubling rumors were spreading of a concerted effort by the natives of the New World to eject the colonists.

      Without access to their Pirate allies the Mindorans decided to build their own fleet and set forth on their own. This met with predictably poor results in the storm-lashed seas; the fleet being driven ashore on the coast of Nylia where they were poorly received as conquerors and a great many were rounded up and sold into slavery in the south of the Nylian Empire.

Saturday, August 14, 2021

29JUN1621 The Last Stand of Glamorrigans

       Alisdair Gammorrigan stood in the doorway of his home and looked at his three grown sons leaning on their muskets in the field nearby. He sighed and tried to think of an honorable way of sending at least one of them away from the fate that was now fast approaching; not that any of them would hear of it if he tried. The Glamorrigans had ruled this little valley in Boozonia for the last three hundred years and those three stubborn lads would be damned if they would be the one that shied away from defending it. But now the enemy wasn't a rival clan out to steal a few sheep or cows, or the occasional raider from Gluttonia or Ferndalia. Now it was the full might of the Ferndalian army. This army had made short work of the fort that had been built to deny access across the southern border and was now busily grinding its way north through the rugged countryside. 

        Straightening his kilt and tightening his belt he stepped out into the yard and called to his boys, "Lads get ye over here", the young men dutifully jogged over to where their father stood. "There is little chance of us stopping the invaders here, the best we can hope to do is to slow the foreigners down a bit so that the Lowlanders can get things sorted out. I expect that each of you shall do your duty but I also ask that none of you engage in any foolish heroics. There is small point in getting yourself killed in a fight that is lost before its begun". He looked them each sternly in the eye, "I've no desire to have your dear mother learning of the loss of all her men-folk in a single afternoon" the boys nodded soberly at the thought, they had seen fighting but nothing of the sort that was soon to encountered this day. "Now get along to your posts and let those bastards taste our steel!"

the field of battle, each force deployed behind its red line

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Bourguignonne Marches! 22JUN1621

        Having spent 1620 training and re-arming (and desperately trying to develop some effective cavalry) the Regency Council For The Proper Meal (a.k.a. RCFTPM, or more commonly, "The Council") had decided on a strategy to block the Ferndalain invasion of northern Gluttonia by marching north and cutting the supply lines running west out of Mozzarella. To put this plan into action they assigned three fully equipped and trained tercios  and two brigades of newly-minted Mounted Arquebusiers. Leading this formidable force was the renown General,  Luis Francisco de Benavides Carrillo de Toledo, better known by his title; Marquis of Caracena, or simply Caracena. Leader of the forces of Bourguignonne during the famous Battle of Hamburg in1619 he had been the mastermind behind the training and equipping of two new tercios and the establishment of a mounted arm to compliment the hard-hitting foot troops.

the  Marquis of Caracena

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

You Take The High Road....10JUN1621


the Ferndalian plan moves into action

       Surprised but not at all unhappy to see the Boozonians move east toward Gruyere the Ferndalains waited until they were sure that the Boozonians had committed the bulk of their forces to the march eastwards. Certain of the location of the main Boozonian army the Ferndalains unleashed their revenge and sent their main force north in a march against the Boozonian capital. The first obstacle they encountered was a small earthen fort that blocked the pass into the mountains. Meant largely to secure the border against raiders it would be the first test of the expanded Ferndalian army.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

The Battle of Lostwesel Pass

      As the snow melted out of the high passes and the vivid green of the new-grown grass began to appear in the fields and farms the armies mustered themselves; grand plans had been laid, mighty armies gathered and supplies had been laid up. Largely oblivious of each others plans the nations set their troops into motion. In the borderlands between eastern Boozonia and Ferndalia a dour army of hard-bitten warriors formed together with the intention of blazing a path across all of northern Ferndalia and joining together with the Frozonian rebels to teach  Peter the Famished a lesson in manners.

 the main Boozonian army moves east to seize the area around Gruyere

        Laird Angus MacDavis viewed the arrayed tents of his army; the small core of trained troops were in neat rows and properly spaced, the chaotic tangle of the Highlander encampments spread out on the adjoining hills. He smiled as he looked on, this was the largest assembly of Boozonian soldiers in the last fifty years, they would soon have the chance to drive the Ferndalians out of the historically Boozonian area around Gruyere.

Monday, April 26, 2021

Anno Domini 1621, The Plans of the Protagonists

My, my......what to conquer next?

      As the grass begins to green and the weather warms the various leaders contemplate action. Each has spent the winter spying on one another and has burned many a candle worrying out their plans and ambitions. Weighing heavily on their calculations is the desperate situation in North Vienee, after months of isolation the residents are nearing surrender; the supplies of fine flour and sweet cream have failed entirely and they live without pastry! Let us see how each faction plans to move forward in thei year.

Sunday, March 14, 2021

The end of 1620 and the beginnings of the 1621 campaign season


events in the fall of 1620

       As we find ourselves fast approaching he beginning of the campaign season across the far-flung plains and mountains of Epicurea it is instructive to reconsider the events of the past year and the plans of the manifold antagonists. What had started as a family squabble of succession has turned into a continent-wide struggle that has engulfed the fertile land of Gluttonia and exposed it to the predatory machinations of it's two largest neighbors. Further afield, revolt, invasion, heresy, piracy and revenge have all added to the inferno that afflicts the continent. 

Monday, January 18, 2021

Run Like The Wind, a naval battle on the coast of Nylia 14JAN1621

       Count Curzon stood on the quarterdeck of the San Martin peering into the gray haze of the morning; he knew that the pirates had established a base along the Nylian coast and he intended to find it and pay them a visit. Still his heart skipped a beat when the lookout cried out that he had sighted sails to the east, this was going to be the acid test of his hastily reformed navy and he could not afford a defeat. He signaled to the other two captains to prepare for battle. As he did so he felt no small amount of pride, titanic efforts had been made to repair the L'Apertif in time for this cruise and the brand-new San Louis was crewed with the best sailors from the Western Fleet. In the distance he heard the pirate's picket boat fire a cannon-shot, no doubt to advise their friends that visitors were about to call.

the pirate base, a quiet cove to go ashore and trade (and party) with the locals
 while the ships are refitted and careened, most of the crews were ashore

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Under Pressure; The Second Battle of Gruyere 19DEC1620


the Comte du Fromage and his generals

       The Comte du Fromage stood before his generals and raised a glass "To the health of his Majesty, Louis XIII, King of Freedonia, Ruler of the Western Seas and Guardian of the Faith" he exclaimed, the assembled generals shouted their assent and drank their draughts. "That being said we must now consider what we need to do to guarantee our own good health" the weary Comte intoned. 

Sunday, November 29, 2020

I Won't Back Down; a battle outside the walls of Gruyere

        The Comte du Fromage sighed and looked up from his charts and maps, "What is it now?" he asked in an exasperated tone as he addressed the courier. The cavalryman bowed low and presented a sealed envelope to the Comte, "I would never have interrupted you but my General said this was most urgent".  The Marshall took the message, broke the seal and glanced at the the text of the communique.  "My good man you must see my cook for a quick meal, I want to see you back here within the hour". The courier bowed and withdrew.  

         The Count returned to his charts and maps, furiously concentrating on the dispositions of his troops and the map reflecting the progress of the mine below the walls of Gruyere. Unhappily satisfied that his worst suspicions were confirmed he sat down for a moment to gather his wits. After a couple of glasses of claret he called for his secretary, "It seems that our Frozonian friends have left us in the lurch, the Ferndalians are marching against us as we speak. We will have to cancel the assault and move troops to block the advance of the Ferndalains. Damn it! I should have insisted that we bring heavier guns! A battery of 18 pounders and these walls would have been dust weeks ago, instead we are forced to tunnel like rats beneath the ground. We will leave troops to cover the minehead but we will have to abandon the rest of the works. Two Squadrons and the Grenadier companies will stay; I will take the rest of our force and stop the Ferndalians. Leave word for the engineers to fire the mine as soon as is possible, we may need to have the fortress slighted if Fate treats us poorly".

         Duke Ivan "The Bitter" drove his men hard trying to cover ground before the Freedonian invaders could react. "March, my sons! The faster we move the less we will bleed!" He marched next to his green troops setting an example with his relentless energy, dismounting  and trudging along the muddy roads with his men. None dared to shirk their duty when a sixty year old Duke was marching next to them despite the soul-crushing pace. The miles from Cheddar were covered in just ten days at the cost of hundreds of stragglers but the Duke knew that time was more important than manpower. He needed to force a battle on the Freedonian invaders before Gruyere fell and provided them a base with access to the sea. The frantic messages from the city as they had followed the progress of the mine beneath their walls gave urgency to the Duke's normally impatient temperament; he drove his men not out of a sense of cruelty but out of cruel necessity, time was not their ally.


A Bridge Too Far Away

          Marshal Maximo Pavolich looked up at the gray gloomy hills, sprinkled with scraggly pine trees and wreathed in perpetual mists. He...