Sunday, January 3, 2010

Wholly Romantic Empire. A Prologue...

Searching through the military archives of the Imperial War Ministry recently, I discovered a brief account of the historic Battle of Ankeltappen, in which the combined forces or the Principality of Ursaminor and the Landgravate of Jotun-Erbsten caused the Grand Duke Constantine of M'yasma to re-examine his ambitions.

This account came with no narrative: rather a map and some bald statistics. Little else can be discovered about the action - the Grand Duke rather glad to erase the incident from his memory, although it is true he awarded at least one of his regiments the privilege of incribing the legend 'Ankeltappen' upon its colours.

There is no doubt that all three countries put forward all their strength in this action. The Grand Duke, conscious of his weakness relative to the Emperor and the Elector both, is constantly on the alert for easy augmentations to his lands and hence his power. Covetous eyes bend northward to the more vulnerable states of Ursaminor and Jotun-Erbsten, but the former at least has the guarantee of the Emperor Violoncello himself. Constantine has had to think twice there.

Of course he is rather afraid of the martial and bellicose Elector, who is more apt to take a larger bite out of his Grand Duchy than it can out of the Electorate. Eyeing the ageing Emperor, though, with his daughter, the Archduchess Harmonica a rather unknown quantity, Constantine thought he might have a chance of cheap acquistions there if he waited long enough.

Patience was not the long suit of Constantine IX. A certain border disagreement having arisen between the neighbouring Baltic states of Ursaminor and Jotun-Erbsten, Constantine though to stick his thumb into this simmering pie and see what plums he could pull forth. Gathering his full field army, he descended swiftly upon the border town of Ankeltappen. His army comprised:

Grand Duchy of M'yasma
5 Line regiments each 36 figures;
1 Jager Regiment of 21 figures;
The Chevalier Garde Cavalry - 19 figs
Mitau Dragoons - 19 figs
Pavlograd Hussars - 19 figs
Malakhow Cossacks - 19 figs
2 Field Companies each 10 figs and 2 guns.
Total: 297 figures

Much to his surprise, he was almost at once confronted by the army of Ursaminor in all its strength. He was even more amazed when a day later it was joined by the army of Jotun-Erbsten. Faced with such might, the Grand Duke could see he could not consolidate his gains, and would have to retire into his own country. Yet he felt, for the look of the thing, and to help substantiate any future claim (however dubious its legality), he would have at least to fight some sort of action before abandoning the town.

The Allied comprised;
The Army of Ursaminor:
5 Infantry Rgts each 28 figures
1 Jager unit with 21 figures
Rijkswacht te Paard and Kronoberg Dragoon heavy cavalry, with 15 figs each;
Tevastehus Uhlan and Kopparberg Hussars each with 15 figs
1 Field Company with 13 figs and 3 guns.
Total: 234 figs

The Army of Jotun-Erbsten
3 Infantry Brigades each with 3 Battalions, together totalling 171 figures;
1 Jager battalion - 19 figs
2 Heavy Cavalry Regiments @ 15 figs;
1 Light Regiment @ 15 figs;
1 Field company with 13 figs and 3 guns.
Total: 249 figs.

As it transpired, the Grand Duke's army put up a terrific fight, especially the Podolia Infantry, who withstood upon it ridge a terrific attack of almost all the Jotun infantry. At four to one odds, of course Podolia were at last driven from the ridge. Although Constantine had plenty of troops in hand, and the Jotun-Erbsten pressure on the wing eased somewhat after their hard won success, Constantine figured that honour had been served and it was time to quit the field.

Meanwhile, The Ursaminites had been battering their way into the town against the stout resistance of Butyrski and the Jager. Norrbotten Infantry, together with the Kronoberg Dragoons struck at the Apsheron Infantry, who, though seeing off the dragoons with ease, found its left-most company driven in. Malakhov's Cossacks attempted to intervene only to be rudely thrust back. That Allied success also had its inluence on Constantine's decision to retreat.

The butcher's bil was heavily in favour of the Grand Duchy, as it transpired, the Allies losing some 2300 troops (46 fgures after adjusting the raw losses); the Grand Duke little more than half that, a quarter of which were made up of prisoners.

The campaign (it was really just a one-off battle) was swiftly resolved. Constantine's plenipotentiaries were at the Allied HQ early the next day, and a settlement reached status quo ante bellum , with a small monetary sweetener to defray damage to property.

{Some time soon, I hope to be able to post some pictures of these troops...}

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