1636: The Saxon Uprising — Snippet 04

1636: The Saxon Uprising — Snippet 04

In the event, it was the experienced staff officers who raised the objections and the young new colonel who kept his mouth shut.

“But what’s the point, sir?” asked Anthony Leebrick. His tone of voice was not quite peevish, but awfully close to it. “There’s no chance at all that the Austrians will attack Bohemia from the north.”

“I understand that,” said Mike. “But Holk and his army are still out there somewhere. They’ve attacked Bohemia before, you know.”

Leebrick almost choked. While he struggled to regain his composure, Colonel Christopher Long spoke up. “The most recent information we have places Holk’s forces near Breslau, General Stearns. If he was going to invade Bohemia from there, he’d most likely strike through Trutnov rather than marching all the way back through Saxony to come down the Elbe.”

Long used the German name for the city, Breslau, instead of the Polish name Wroclaw. That reflected no particular anti-Polish bias on his part, simply a linguistic preference. He was as fluent in German as he was in his native English, and had only a smattering of Polish.

“Leaving that aside,” chimed in the third of Mike’s staff officers, Colonel Ulbrecht Duerr, “I think the chance of Holk attacking Bohemia under the current circumstances is about as likely as a lady’s lap dog deciding to attack a bear. The time he assaulted Prague was after Wallenstein had taken his army out to meet the Austrians and Holk thought the city was undefended.” He barked a sarcastic laugh. “And then look what happened! The sorry bastard was driven off by fucking Jews and university students. Do you really think he’s now going to challenge Wallenstein himself — not to mention our division?”

Long’s geographical reasoning was impeccable, Duerr’s assessment of Holk’s state of mind was dead on the money, and Mike had considerable sympathy for Anthony Leebrick’s exasperation with his commanding general’s lapse into lunacy. But he was still going to stick to his decision, so the only suitable tactic was inscrutable generalissimo-ness.

“Gentlemen, my mind is made up. I appreciate your advice, but the decision stands and there’s no point thrashing it over again.”

They’d been meeting in one of the rooms on the upper floor of Tetschen’s largest tavern. As was de rigeur in seventeenth-century warfare, Mike had requisitioned the tavern for his temporary headquarters — which, of course, would now become the more-or-less permanent headquarters of the regiment he was planning to leave behind after the rest of the Third Division resumed its march to Prague.

Up till now, the tavern-keeper had been quite happy with the situation. Mike still had enough USE dollars in the division’s coffers to pay in cash. The man would probably be a lot less happy once Mike left and the regiment staying behind explained the new financial arrangements.

Mike swiveled in his chair to look at that regiment’s commander. Unlike the three staff officers, who were sitting at the table with Mike, Colonel Jeff Higgins had chosen to perch himself atop a small side table by the door. The arrangement struck Mike as a bit on the chancy side. Higgins was a big man and that side table looked awfully rickety.

“I’m leaving Captain Bartley and his newly-formed Exchange Corps here with you, Jeff. I figure this is as good a time and place as any to see if his ideas will really work.”

Higgins didn’t look particularly thrilled at the news, but he made no protest. He’d barely said a word since the meeting began and Mike announced his decision to leave Higgins and his Hangman Regiment here in Tetschen.

“Any questions, Colonel?” he asked.

Higgins chewed on his lower lip for a few seconds. “I assume Engler and his flying artillery company are still attached to my regiment?”

“Yes. You can figure that’s now a pretty permanent situation.”

Jeff nodded. “All right. But I’d like some regular artillery as well. Assuming Holk does come ravening up the Elbe” — he said that with a completely straight face; Mike was impressed as well as amused — “having two or three culverins would be handy. Holk will be using flat-bottom barges to haul his supplies, just as we are. Thorsten’s volley guns are great against cavalry but they won’t do squat to sink a boat.” He chewed on his lip for another two or three seconds. “I wouldn’t mind some more mortars, either.”

Mike looked to Duerr, who served as what an up-time American army would have called the division’s G-1 officer, in charge of personnel. “Can we spare anyone, Ulbrecht?”

Unlike the two English staff officers, who were all but rolling their eyes at the absurdity of the whole conversation — culverins to sink non-existent barges, for the love of God, as if the division couldn’t find better use for the artillery pieces! — Duerr’s expression was placid. He was quite a bit older than Long and Leebrick, and had seen plenty of idiotic command decisions in his long career. You just had to be philosophical about it. Generals were like women. Handy to have around, as a rule, and occasionally delightful; but also given to peculiar moods and whimsies.

“Not too hard,” he said. “We’ve kept up our recruiting even on the march. Having a reputation helps — ha! — which we certainly do after Zwenkau and Zielona Góra. So we’re back up to strength and then some. Still short of cavalry, of course.”

That was pretty much a given. Cavalrymen couldn’t be trained quickly, the way infantrymen and artillerymen could. In the nature of things, in the seventeenth century, most people who already had the horsemanship skills to serve in cavalry units came from the nobility. The lower nobility, as a rule — what Germans called the Niederadel as opposed to the much smaller Hochadel class comprised mostly of dukes and counts. But such men still considered themselves part of the aristocracy and most of them were not friendly to the Stearns administration that had governed the USE since its formation.

So, the USE army had always found it difficult to enlist as many cavalrymen as they would have liked. The new nation’s army made up for it by having what they considered the continent’s best infantry and artillery.

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28 Responses to 1636: The Saxon Uprising — Snippet 04

  1. robert says:

    What is that up Mike’s sleeve?

  2. Mario says:

    Internal enemies …

  3. dave o says:

    #1 Mike is protecting himself against a possible attack from Saxony. And insuring he can move his division into Saxony if needed. Tetschen is only a few miles up-river from Dresden. He obviously has some idea what Oxenstierna is up to, and wants to be prepared. It’s pretty clear that Jeff is on the same wavelength, thus the request for guns and mortars.

    Cavalry won’t be a lot of use in the mountains, but a lot more effective on the Saxon Plain.

  4. Mike sees the possibility that Saxony will have an issue with Oxenstierna or friends, and is leaving people to intervene, under a legitimate excuse. Also, given radios, Jeff is much more closely able to coordinate with Mike than are people who have them but do not understand the concept.

    George

  5. Will says:

    Ulbrecht Duerr – hmm… anyway a reference to Monty Python? (Albrecht Durer, the artist was a target in an episode…)

    Mike should leave a cavalry platoon as well, and a sapper company (or are they military engineers now?)

  6. Damon says:

    @4 Exactly. Jeff’s regiment is a quick reaction force that can get to Dresden (and to his wife) in relatively short time to support the CofCs when fighting breaks out between them and the upper classes.
    Remember Mike Stern’s assertion long ago that his ultimate loyalty is to men like Gunter Achertof and to the social equality of OUR time. He has left his toughest, meanest regiment close to the action to come down HARD on any popular upper class driven reactionary uprising.

  7. robert says:

    So his sleeve is full of stuff, huh? Thanks for the analysis. I need to keep my maps nearer the keyboard.

  8. Todd Bloss says:

    Calvery doesn’t defend -it attacks. And you don’t use your best forces in a garrison defense.
    Stearns isn’t leaving a reinforced Hangman behind to defend anything.
    -So the question is, how long will it take his experienced military advisors to figure out what it is they’re going to attack?

    Jeff knows -per Mike’s promise not to leave him out of the loop again.

    Part of me thinks Dresden, but don’t see the point and it’s too big a city to take with just a Regiment anyway -if defended.

  9. morgulknight says:

    @8, You’re forgetting that Baner is moving on Dresden with an army, and Dresden’s fortifications are still intact. So if the CoCs manange to get enough control over Dresden to close its gates against Baner, the Hangman Regiment is close enough to break the siege, especially if there’s any coordination with the Vogtlanders; that effectively catches Baner between two fires. Or three, if his own troops turn on him (which happened plenty of times in Rome’s civil wars, so why not in the USE?)

  10. dave o says:

    #8 (1) Cavalry scouts as well as attacks. (2) One regiment is not enough to do anything against even a small army.
    The real reason Jeff is stationed at Tetschen is to hold the mountain pass between Saxony and Bohemia. Mike expects trouble, and doesn’t want to be kept in Bohemia when it happens. We don’t know how he’ll deploy the rest of his division yet. I bet it’s designed to reinforce Jeff more than oppose the Austrians.

  11. Doug Lampert says:

    @9 I seriously doubt that Jeff would launch a single-regiment attack on General Baner. He’s there to hold Mike’s line of communication open.

    Mike is leaving a garrison. It really is a garrison. If it were intended to attack or even do substantial independent field operations it would have a different composition (like actually having at least a bit of cavalry to scout). Jeff is expected to make sure that Mike can march back through that pass, with an army, any time he decides that his division should be in Dresden rather than Prague. Mike’s leaving an oversized supply staff (oversized for a single regiment at least) and enough force to secure the river because at some future date he may need to be coming back through this pass FAST.

    Now in the event of some purely local problem Jeff may respond, but he’s not being left here to reinforce Dresden himself, if Mike wanted to do anything that open to support the CoC against his own government he’d have left Jeff’s regiment INSIDE the walls of Dresden where they might actually do the defenders and CoC some good directly, without having a regiment on army fight first to “break a siege” or anything. Breaking a siege from the outside requires a force at least vaguely comparable to the besieging force, and Jeff’s force is not likely to be comparable to Baner’s force.

  12. Ed Schoenfeld says:

    @11 Generally speaking I agree with your comments, but it is probably worth remembering that Jeff’s Regiment (“The Hangman”) and its antecedent units has built up quite a reputation by taking on whole divisions (at the first battle Mike commanded), attacking defended cities (at the Polich city Mike was assigned to take), and enforcing CoC standards of behavior on other rregiments.

    So while I agree that the main purpose is to hold the pass for Mike, Hangman surely is also a real threat to intervene in Saxony. At the very least they could support a rescue, get some ‘real militaary’ types inside Dresden in case of a siege, or stiffen Vogtland milita types in a stand up fight against some smaller part of Baner’s army.

    Maybe more important, Hangman will not get caught in whatever action Wallenstein and Mike have to do agaisnt the Austrians.

    Freedom of action is the word early in the polrt development. :-)

  13. Ed Schoenfeld says:

    I swear that was “plot development” when I read it. :-)

  14. Virgil says:

    is there any decent maps of that area of Europe at that time
    i am visulizing Dresden is noth of where they are at, Bohemia is south,

  15. laclongquan says:

    There are two aspect to Breslau: The obvious and not so obvious.

    The obvious is the threat to intervene directly into Saxon. His best and most reinforced force station in a garrison ready to be of use. And while waiting for a chance they are building a city-fortress and experimenting with Exchange Corps.

    The not so obvious is hard to gauge. For one thing Mike intend to set up a airport so he can move to anywhere needed him. If there’s trouble brewing in the center of USE he cant just take the time to return. It spell aircraft. For another Mike also want to prevent escalation of this Poland War. If Bohemia intend to fishing in murky water by invading Poland, they will need to go through him which is a big nono for Wallenstein.

    Hm….

  16. laclongquan says:

    And dont forget that the force left behind in Breslau is fully CoC-sympathized.

  17. Tweeky says:

    I know it would be a spoiler for me as I haven’t yet bought 1635: Eastern Front but did any of the surviving “Keystone Huguenots” get “Diving Suited”?

  18. dave o says:

    If you’re looking for maps, try infoplease.com/maps. There is a sort of decent small scale map of the Czech Republic at this site. It shows Decin (Tetschen) and most of Saxony. Dresden is about 50 miles NW of Decin. But it would probably be better to buy a paper atlas, of Europe, if such a thing exists.

  19. Summertime says:

    @#17 I believe that all conspirators were either killed during the attack, by Ulrik, etc., or committed suicide later when tracked down and trapped. Their material, implicating France, was found but Ulrik argued that it was phony because the French would not try to kill royalty in other countries, so he said the conspirators were a small band with their own reasons for implicating France and Richelieu, which is correct.

  20. robert says:

    @14 I think I finally found something sorta decent after my earlier moan. It could use some terrain features, but it shows where all important stuff is/was.
    http://www.emersonkent.com/map_archive/europe_war_1618.htm

    Good Luck
    r

  21. hank says:

    @17,19 IIRC the rifleman escaped(so far). The two who got away from the street ambush were tracked down & cornered at wich point the more fanatical of the pair killed hi compnion and then blew out his own brains, doubtless improving them no end.
    Ulrik rejected the forged evidence because it was over-the -top and unprofessional, as was the behaviour of the cornered men. he was trying to convince a Sweedish Colonel who was too dense to see it when the news about G@A came in. Ulrik never said anything to the the effect that the French *wouldn’t* try something like this, only that he thought that, in the specific case, they *hadn’t* done so.
    The interesting question here is: Will anybody (other than Kristina) in Sweeden accept Danish logic used to clear the French?

  22. hank says:

    God, i love the smell of typos in the morning

  23. morgulknight says:

    @17, Baldur and Ulrik killed two each during the attack, two others suicided to avoid capture, while the sniper (Brillard?) got away clean. At least I’m pretty sure that’s how it worked out (If memory serves, the two who suicided were the guy who shot Ulrik and then ran for it, and the guy who bashed up his knee trying to run on cobblestones in a downpour).
    @19, One of my favorite scenes from “Eastern Front” is Ulrik dressing down that colonel for buying the forgeries at face value, even though their very existence made no sense.

  24. morgulknight says:

    Looks like 20 posted while I was typing. Sorry all.

  25. robert says:

    Here’re all these spoilers from Eastern Front and my copy hasn’t even arrived yet. Where’s Drak? Make ’em stop!

    Kidding…maybe.

  26. robert says:

    @5 If Weber can do movie characters and directors, Eric can do painters (Rubens comes to mind, of course).

  27. Brian says:

    The problem I foresee with Baner doing anything that could be construed as oppression is the likelihood that CoC people in his regiments would say, “No way,Jose!”

  28. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Brian, Baner’s troops are Swedish and/or German mercenaries so it is very unlikely that there are any CoC people in his troops.

    Even if there are, they’d be so few as to not be a factor.

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