Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Vergoldeten Convergence

As feared, the 11th of November saw the clash of arms upon the fields surrounding the once peaceful town of Vergoldeten. And indeed, the battle was more than the residents expected. Those who had not yet chosen to depart in the face of the approaching storm found themselves with no safe direction to make their escape, as four armies converged upon the town from separate directions.

To the south, the quarreling Princes Asgar and Arnold proved to have fielded roughly equal forces. Fighting for Prince Arnold were the men of the Black Brigade, led by Brigadier Max Färberböck, long considered one of the finest officers produced by Ober-Schweinsberg, perhaps even one of the finest on the continent. The veteran Schwarze Eber Fusiliers anchor the brigade alongside the crisply trained but little bloodied battalions of the Emmerich Musketeers and the Potente Musketeers.

Arrayed against these units were Asgar's Third Brigade, anchored on the elite warriors of Shannon's Irish Guard, a unit formerly tasked with guarding the Landgrave's winter palace and maintaining the security of the southern borders of Ober-Schweinsberg. The veteran 7th Line and less experienced 8th Line finished out the brigade, which was commanded by the veteran Brigadier Wim Gronenborn.

Meanwhile, residents of the northernmost part of the city had an even larger spectactle before them as the forces of Hesse-Engelburg and Bad Nachtschwein clashed. The Bad Nachtschwein force was observed to be as large as those committed by both Princes put together, perhaps a preparation for the possible need to fight both formations. Under the experienced hand of Generalmajor Klaus Vilsmaier, Bad Nachtschwein had dispatched their 2nd and 4th brigades, the former composed of troops raised from the League cities, while the latter was made up entirely of mercenary Freikorps troops.

Commanded by Brigadier Jacob Vilsmaier, the 4th Brigade would not find itself handicapped by a mere political appointee, though the Brigadier in question was the younger brother of his commanding officer. Indeed, Jacob is well regarded as the better of the two, and many predict will eclipse his older brother if given the chance. The anchor of the 4th Brigade are the experienced mercenaries of Freikorps O'Toole, Irish expatriates who have served in many wars and localized conflicts. While not regarded as highly as Shannon's Irish Guard, they are still a veteran unit with not only experience but ranks swollen to unusual size by their exceptional pay rate. In sharp contrast to O'Toole is its brigade mate, Freikorps Schütte. A sadly more typical Freikorps, Schütte was formed largely from deserters and former prisoners of war and was not expected to accomplish much more than providing a garrison battalion for the town after the fight.

Meanwhile, the 2nd Brigade under Brigadier Arnold Wenders were raw formations, well trained but saddled with a distinctly lackluster commander whose position was owed largely to his connections amongst the ruling families of the League. The Gebühren Eber Grenadiers were recruited from among the finest families of the League, and equipped with lavish uniforms to match their patron's wealth. No less well equipped was their sister formation, the Fassbinder Musketeers. Unbloodied before the battle, they were expected to perform well.

Perhaps the largest surprise for all concerned, however, was the size of the force committed by Hesse-Engelburg. Generalmajor Count Manfred von Waffenschmidt led three brigades into battle to the north of the town, their course taking them on an intercept approach to meet the Bad Nachtschwein troops well outside the town.

The brigade of Brigadier Werner Heintzen led the line of march, consisting of the newly formed Sumpflöwen Musketeers backed up by the veteran troops of the Lintzer Musketeers, who already bore upon their standard the first battle honor of the Ober-Schweinsberg conflict.

Second in the line was the brigade of Brigadier Rudolf Richter, comprising the Niederwiesen Musketeers and the Grauerhimmel Fusiliers. Both units were well regarded, with a mixture of men of good heritage and no small number of men with prior experience of battle.

Intended primarily as a reserve formation for committment if needed, the brigade of Brigadier Franz Linkmeyer counted an additional two battalions. The first battalion was the well-regarded von Platzen Grenadiers, resplendent in their uniforms of black and red that gave significant contrast to the gray coats of the musketeer and fusilier units. No less colorful were their companion unit, the Schottische Windhunde Musketeers, the "Scottish Greyhounds" of Baron Keith MacArthur in their kilts and bonnets.

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