Thursday, 17 August 2017

Neerfuncken and environs

Here is the hastily sketched map that the commander of a French Hussar patrol took back to the high command...

All week labourers and engineers had been busying themselves on the outskirts of the town of Neerfuncken and the neighbouring village of Drau, renovating redoubts, erecting emplacements, and creating chevaux de fris. All manner of spare barrels, carts, tree trunks and other paraphernalia had been commandeered to bolster the defences.

And yet, there was a feeling of genuine optimism that the Franco-Astrovian incursion into sovereign Pils-Holstein territory would be turned back by deft diplomacy long before cannons came into range, and certainly before shots would be fired.

The cheery manner in which defence works were being constructed was therefore not altogether unsurprising, even though a fair degree of soldierly grumbling could be detected, intertwined with the gallows humour of men preparing for action.

News of the Prussian arrival meant that Pils-Holstein forces could concentrate their efforts on preparing Neerfuncken, while their allies would occupy Drau and make camp in the fields between the two.

Below: Prussian camp.

The age-old bottleneck between the rolling farmlands of Lower Holstein to the south and the northern heartland of the landgraviate had seen action in the past and was traditionally where Pils-Holstein kings down the centuries had set their main blocking force against French invasion.

The willowing wheatfields were golden, ripe for harvest, and locals had been busying themselves in preparation for work before the peace of this rural idyll had been disturbed by marching feet.

The unseasonal heavy summer showers had recently abated, leaving the Funckenbeck - a small brook that cut through the otherwise unremarkable landscape - swollen. Although only a narrow watercourse, it was a valuable natural barrier and could be relied upon to provide a significant obstacle to an invading force, particularly if the Neerfuncken-Drau line was well prepared.

South of Neerfuncken, a farmstead run by Mme Lillian Kraufurt, assisted by her niece, Morgana Feiling (newly returned from Boston), sat beside two bridges. To the north of Drau, Wim de Muller's mill turned effortlessly in the breeze.

All was quiet...  for now.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Commanders- Heroes and Villains

Final preparations are done for my Partizan game...

Time to introduce and recap the protagonists in the Battle of Neerfuncken

Pils-Holstein and Prussia

Prinz Albrecht of Pils Holstein
King Ferdinand Adolphus' most trusted field commander, his "Uncle Albrecht".

Hans Karl von Winterfeldt
Commander of the Prussian contingent. One of Frederick the Great's most loyal generals.

Tessa Pepisa
Beloved of King Ferdinand Adolphus, and Honorary Colonel of the Pils-Holstein Light Cavalry Brigade.


France and Astrovia

Marshall Saxe
One of France's most famous 18th century generals. He is in command of Franco-Astrovian forces for the Pils-Holstein campaign.

Jean-Phillipe, Duc d'Orly
Commands the cavalry. A fictional character whose ambition far exceeds his ability!


Brigadier von Rankl
Commander of the Astrovian contingent.
Astrovia is also a fictitious country, but think Austria and you won't be far wrong.

All are gathering, with their respective forces, in the vicinity of Neerfuncken, a small town in Pils-Holstein.

Today, a patrol of Bercheny Hussars operating several miles ahead of the main French force, came within sight of Drau (a hamlet to the south east of Neerfuncken).
This sketch depicting the patrol is a beautiful piece of art by Chris Gregg which he produced for me a number of years ago (I have the full colour original hanging in my office):

Tomorrow, I'll be posting the sketch map made by the patrol commander of the town and its environs and providing a little more background to the area.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Winterfeldt is coming!

Professor Klickstich, trusted adviser to King Ferdinand Adolphus of Pils-Holstein, waited to be ushered into the state chambers to meet the King in person.
In his hand was a message from one of the cogs in what he liked to call his "machinery" - his network of spies, informants and intelligence gatherers.

He knew the French and Astrovian forces had successfully joined, and were at this very moment crossing into the southern reaches of the kingdom.
He also knew their objective: the town of Neerfuncken... the strategic gateway to the heartland of Pils-Holstein.

Ushered into the state rooms for his private audience, he bowed, and waited until he was entirely alone with the King.
Then, without a word, he handed the piece of paper to Ferdinand Adolphus.

Three simple words:

Winterfeldt is coming.

Above and below: Prussian commander for the Neerfuncken game - von Winterfeldt. Flag is hand-painted on linen.

And so, the hope of Prussian support was alive.
But, they would need to make haste to reach Neerfuncken before the enemy struck.
Neither spoke. Both knew.
Klickstich bowed gently, turned on his heels and made haste to ensure he gathered information about every inch of the enemy's approach...
Timing is everything, he thought as he sped away to his office...

Sunday, 13 August 2017

The Defence of Neerfuncken

A few days ago, in the fictional state of Pils-Holstein, a brigade of infantry (comprising The Leibgarde and The Kronprinz Grenadiers) arrived in the town of Neerfuncken.

Today, 13 August 1747, the overall field commander of Pils-Holstein forces, Prinz Albrecht (the King's uncle... and affectionately referred to by the King as "Uncle Albrecht"), took the opportunity to pose for reporters in front of the town gates.
In a grave tone he declared, "We will fight them in the fields, we will fight them in the vales, we will fight them on the hills, in the towns and in the villages. We will never surrender! We will defend Pils-Holstein, whatever the cost!"

Quickly, the engineering staff officers began calculating fields of fire and considering appropriate positions to create a number of gun emplacements to defend the approach routes to the town.

By the end of the day, the company of sappers and a host of "volunteer" infantry, had erected several emplacements, including one to house the infamous big gun, "Der Grossenbomber".

At least for a while, the activity kept the troops out of the taverns of Neerfuncken. As night fell, however, many sought to forget the impending battle by succumbing to the pleasures of the town...

All of which is merely to say, preps for Partizan are going well! I'll do several updates this week in the build-up to the game. If you are at the show next Sunday, be sure to visit the table and say hello.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Horse Grenadiers

The build-up of forces for the Neerfuncken game continues apace.
Latest allied horse to arrive on the scene are this fictional unit: The Saxe-Coburg Horse Grenadiers.

Figures are conversions of some John Ray cavalrymen, with my Prussian Grenadier heads added.

Riders painted by Dave Jarvis.
Horses and basing by me, and the flag is one of my linen creations.

Nicknamed "The Villans" (for obvious reasons for those who follow football), they could become my favourite unit in the collection.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Forces mobilise

The Astrovian contingent is on the march, adding its strength to that of the French as tensions grow in relations with Pils-Holstein.
Here, von Rankl's Astrovian infantry brigade, supported by two light guns, and escorted by the French Hussars of regiment Nassau Saarbrucken, is crossing a stream en route to a rendezvous with the main French army.

Meanwhile, speculation is rife as to whether the Prussians will join the fray, and if they do, in what strength. The newly completed Hussars of HR1 (Sjekely) are certainly spoiling for a fight...

Other news:
Last week was on our annual pilgrimage to Harlaxton for Tai Chi summer school, which included weapons training using Broadswords! What's not to like?!!

Above: Our home for a week!
Below: wielding Broadswords!

So, I'm refreshed, renewed, re-energised, and currently engaged in the final preps for Partizan, which is almost upon us.
Expect a few updates leading up to the show as over the coming week I'll be building up to the battle with a little bit of scenario background to whet the appetite.