Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Army of Raubenstadt

Here follows a listing of the stout-hearted Raubenstadtians, "who ha' wi' Markgraaf bled..."
Read 'em and weep (or snigger)!

I. Infantry

A. Markgraaf's Eigen Gard - Colonel Martenet von Drillmeister

B. Waxenbuff Musketeer Regiment - Colonel Victor von Groundpounder

C. Spitzen Polish Musketeer Regiment- Colonel Rusty von Eisenkopf

D. Achingfuss Musketeer Regiment - Colonel Raw von Blister

E. Futile Fusiliers Regiment - Colonel Fatal von Hangfire

F. Truerpfalz Freicorps Regiment - Colonel "The Terrible" Heinz von Stein

G. Ulster Jagers Regiment - Colonel "Jumpin'" Jack Flash

II. Cavalry

A. Platterhoof Kurassiere Regiment- Colonel Frothing von Sawreins

B. Knackerbound Karabiniers Regiment- Colonel Skinner von Butcher

C. Hayburningnag Dragoons Regiment- Colonel Baylen von Straw

D. Roadapplegang Dragoons Regiment - Colonel Meadow von Muffin

E. Pilfering Freihussars Regiment - Colonel Rotten von Pilfering

III. Artillery

A. Schotenschall Foot Battery - Colonel Sluggo von Slugger

B. Belchenfire Foot Battery - Colonel Pumpin der Rounds

C. Klipenklop Horse Battery - Colonel Galloper von Trittrot

IV. Engineers

A. Grubenarbeiter Engineers - Colonel Picken der Shovel

B. Pontoons und Pioniers - Colonel Axen der Saw

V. Train

Seventeen wagons. One assigned to each regiment.

Organization is as in Charles Grant's "The Wargame". The figures are RSM 25mm.

Since the Markgraaf does not yet have access to digital technology (Note to self, must remember to try the the ol' brick with a note tied to it through a window ploy.) pictures will not be available until sometime in the nebulous future. I don't want to leave anybody hanging (A most enlightened attitude for an 18th Century Robber Baron.) , so here are some descriptions of some of the more long-service units in the service of Raubenstadt and some of their regimental histories:

The Waxen Musketeer Regiment - Due to their buff facings, they are more commonly known as the "Waxenbuffs". They have a Brownish-Red coat, with Buff cuffs, lapels, collar, and turnbacks. Black Tricorne with white trim. Buff waistcoat and breeches. Black gaiters, and very, very shiny brass buttons. This regiment is known for their ability to have shiny buttons, no matter how long they have been in the field. Best Regimental Action So Far: Ruthlessly repelled a series of invasions, locally known as the "Amish Incursions". They are still standing by to repel the rumored "Menace From The Mennonites"!

The Spitzen Polish Musketeer Regiment - Bright Scarlet coat. White cuffs, lapels, collar, and turnbacks. Black Tricorne with white trim. White waistcoat. Brown breeches. Black gaiters with silver buttons. Best Regimental Action So Far: Under the command of Col. Eisenkopf, they dug out, crushed, and ground down the emerging Salt Mine Worker's Union. This action earned the regiment their reputation for being "well seasoned" campaigners.

The Truerpfalz Freicorps - Black coat. White cuffs, lapels, collar, and turnbacks. Black tricorn with white trim. White waistcoat and breeches. Black gaiters with brass buttons. Best Regimental Action So Far: These guys? Not a chance! They are serious contenders for the title, "Worst Soldiers in Europe". Worst Regimental Action So Far: At the Battle of Halfwitz, "The Terrible" Heinz von Stein and the Freicorps he supposedly commands, "lost" the General's baggage. The fact that the General later found some personal items among the troops might explain their selection for being the only unit in the rearguard in the subsequent Defeat at Thickwitz, and the lack of support they received in the disasterous Retreat from Lackwitz. (Don't even ask about what happened to them at the Fiasco at The Bridge of Dimwitz! However, it is recorded that the General did recover most of his property, when the Freicorps straggled back across the bridge, once a couple of cannons were brought to bear and the command, "Drop the Swag!"was given.)

The Ulster Jagers Regiment - Green coat. Black cuffs, lapels, collar, and turnbacks. Black Tricorne with black trim. Black waistcoat. Green breeches. Black gaiters with silver buttons. Best Regimental Action So Far: Under the command of Col. "Jumpin'" Jack Flash, they rolled stones down a mountain pass, triggering an avalanche that destroyed an enemy column below. According to Sgt. K. Richards, "I know it was only rock and roll, but I liked it." Since most of the Jagers hail from Northern Ireland, they are also known as the "Mick Jagers". Due to his fierce reputation, no one will duel with Col. Flash - so he don't get no satisfaction.

One of my favorite characters in Raubenstadt is "The Terrible" Heinz von Stein, the worst soldier in the Markgraaf's service. His reputation started in a downward spiral many years ago, when I came across a book of humorous verse that belonged to my grandfather. It is a cautionary tale of what can happen when a proper reconaissance is not conducted. I give you:

The Legend of Heinz Von Stein

Out rode from his wild, dark castle,
The terrible Heinz von Stein;
He came to the door of a tavern
And gazed on its swinging sign.

He sat himself down at a table,
And growled for a bottle of wine;
Up came with a flask and a corkscrew
A maiden of beauty divine.

Then, seized with a deep love longing,
He uttered, "O damosel mine,
Suppose you just give a few kisses
To the valorous Ritter Von Stein!"

But she answered, "The kissing business
Is entirely out of my line;
And I certainly will not begin it
On a countenance as ugly as thine.

Oh, then the bold knight was angry,
And cursed both coarse and fine.
He asked, "How much is the swindle
For your sour and nasty wine?"

"The bag at your hip, for the service and tip,
Which will be hefty for wasting my time,
Or my seven brothers true and a mastiff or two
I'll set on the Ritter von Stein!"

Then fiercely he rode back to the castle
And sat himself down to dine;
And this is the dreadful legend
Of the terrible Heinz Von Stein.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Welcome To Raubenstadt - Part Three

"The man who can dance has an advantage. The man who dances well is dangerous."

Ritter Hugo von Schwillensaufenstein

Since its founding, Raubenstadt has grown and flourished. The fact that the French had come through and kicked the stuffing out of the region was a great aid to George Frederick, the first to take the title of Markgraaf, and his band of followers in expanding their landgrab from their original starting point of the town of Heidlebeerenburg. To be fair though, the Markgraaf did offer stability, a reasonable tax rate, and ran off (or absorbed) competing gangs, so the burghers and peasants could go about their business. The local economy is booming and trade routes that had been disrupted by the war have been re-established. The only major difference now is that the profits flow into the coffers of the Markgraaf instead of the Duke of Baden's.

We now fast forward to sometime approaching the middle of the 18th Century. The rough and tumble turbulence of the Thirty Years War has been replaced by a peace that has held (for the most part) in the region. The long and mostly peaceful reign of John Henry, the second Markgraaf has come to an end. A new Markgraaf now rules in Raubenstadt. My cast of characters are:

Martin Jacobus von Meltzer: Currently the third Markgraaf. He is the second son of John Henry. His older brother John Henry II refused the title and opted for the life of a recluse.
He is nearsighted and has not yet reached the point where curiousity outweighs vanity. He only wears his spectacles in private. To the people, he is known as "The Farmer", because of his grim determination to diversify his country's main exports - cabbage and hogs. (All that German saurkraut and sausage has to start from somewhere!) His experiments with trying to find a market for casks of "Raubenstadtian Special Fermented Cabbage Brew", could only be labeled "unfortunate", since the common name for it is "Skunk Sauce", and in the vulgar, "What in the name of God crawled in there and died?". He is an excellent dancer.

Sharon Elaine von Meltzer: In addition to being the Markgraaf's wife, she holds the title Baroness Kerns in her own right. Three sons and a daughter she has borne, so the succession is secure. Rumor has it, that far from just being the velvet glove upon the arm of the Markgraaf, she is the iron fist, and a force not to be underestimated.

Chancellor Otto von Wisenheimer: A holdover from the previous reign. He has the total trust and confidence of the current Markgraaf. He keeps the Landtag in line with the Markgraaf's policies. Runs the day to day operations of government that enables the Markgraaf to enjoy his gardens, manage his orchards, breed his livestock, and.... oh yes! supervise the military. The people call him, "Otto, the Long Suffering".

General Ritter Hugo von Schwillensaufenstein: Anytime the forces of Raubenstadt need to take the field and the Markgraaf is not available to lead them in person, the general is in charge. As a matter of fact, the general is in charge of all things military. A soldier of the Old School, his popular nickname of, "Sudden and Painful Death On Two Crooked Feet", is an accurate description.

I'll get to the description of the Army with the next post.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Welcome To Raubenstadt - Part Two

"Most countries have an army. Raubenstadt is an army that has a country."

von Sinsheim, Imperial Knight

I've been fooling around with wargaming ever since my fellow third grader, Matt Lore brought some of his 20mm plastic Greek figures to show and tell in 1963. They were different from my beloved "Armymen"; for instance my little sister hadn't chewed on them, and there were rules. No rubber band barrages, no dirt clod bombs - dicerolls governed how far they moved, how well they fought, what casualties they suffered. It was all very exciting and heady stuff. We had just studied the Trojan War, and the general conclusion of Mrs. Hawk's class was if the Trojans were dumb enough to tear down their gate to admit the horse, they deserved what happened to them! If only King Piram had had one of Mrs. Hawk's bloodthirsty little devils to advise him, Homer might have told a different story.

Fast forward four years. I came across a copy of Joe Morchauser's "How To Play Wargames" in the school library. Multiple troops mounted on "stands" brought into focus fuzzy concepts like tactics, strategy, and army organization. In the theater of my mind the clash of sword on shield was replaced by rolling vollies of musket fire, and the rumble of passing tank columns. The entire panoply of military history lay at my feet. (Joe had provided Jack Scruby's address in the back of his book; and Mini-tanks and Airfix guys could be purchased, within reason, at Dad's favorite Hobby Store on the Southside of Indianapolis.)

High School came around and other interests beckoned. (Cars and girls, or was it girls and cars? It depended on the moment, state of my finances, and a lot of other variables.) The wargaming stuff was boxed and stored away, yet the seed of the idea remained.

In college (again at the library), I came across Charles Grant's "The Wargame", and all the pieces that had been stewing around fell into place. Inspired by his writings and those of Peter Young, I came up with the idea of "Raubenstadt", a petty German state of the 18th Century.

Raubenstadt is loosely (very, very loosely) based upon the ol' Meltzer ancestral stomping grounds of Heidleburg in Baden. The main premise is that at some time during the Thirty Year's War, a band of refugee mercenaries stumbled across a power vaccum and promptly filled it. The local citizens could not resist the power grab, and eventually resigned themselves to the situation. (This plot line brought to you by "The Last Valley", starring Michael Caine and Omar Sharif.) So there they are; armed to the teeth, hard to get to, supported by the locals, and not worth the effort to root them out.

The years roll on....Raubenstadt gains a measure of respectability, as the line of robber barons, now take the title, "The Markgraaf of Raubenstadt". They eventally discover the delights and profits to be gained from taxation rather than raiding. ("It's good to be the Markgraaf!" - Mel Brooks.) Although the "old ways" die hard. The barge traffic up and down the Rubberneckar River does have to deal with a tricky passage, but no one will admit to fiddling with the channel marker buoys, so accidents happen frequently, and Raubenstadt has very liberal "salvage laws" on the books. (This plot line brought to you by "How the West Was Won", particularly Walter Brenan's character.)

The next time I'll outline some of my cast of characters and give some detail to the armed forces that follow the Markgraaf. In the meantime, since this whole "Nobility" thing is still a work in progress as far as the Markgraaf is concerned, two slogans are under consideration for the coat of arms. 1. "If he wanted a fair fight, he should have gone somewhere else." - ("Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean", starring Paul Newman. )
2. "Let the wind out of him. Shove a rock in, and roll him over the side in deep water." - ("Rob Roy", starring Liam Neeson.)
Does anybody know how that would translate into Latin?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Welcome To Raubenstadt

Greetings Fellow Imagi-Nationeers!

My name is Martin Meltzer and I have recently discovered a group of kindred spirits having a high old time on the internet. Reluctantly dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st Century by my wife and kids, I am in the process of becoming computer literate. I want to take this opportunity to thank the guys at Old School Wargaming, The Society of Daisy, and now Emperor vs Elector. Special thanks to Jeff. It was a relatively painless process to join up, and I hope that as time rolls on and my skills increase, that you will find some information of use here. I am looking forward to a long association.