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Saber and Musket: The Foebadyn Campaign

***

I'll place my knapsack on my back
My rifle on my shoulder
I'll march away to the firing line
And kill that Chartist soldier

-Popular Legitimist Camp song Circa the Aerthyian Civil War

A gunpowder era war game. Sequel to the Battle of Shedford Downs.

http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/4754821/

***

The High King of Aerthys is dead, and many more have died because of it.

You are General Winfield Belmonte, commander of the Army of the Antary, arguably one of the most important field commanders for the Legitimist cause in the Aerthyian civil war. Now, here in the second year of the war, victory seems both closer and further than it had during that fateful and heady day outside the town of Shedford.

The carnage of Shedford Downs had seen you propelled from anonymity among the logistical arm of the Legitimist army and into the forefront as a premier commander. The death of the vaunted General Van Mercer was a hammer blow to the morale of your side, but your stellar performance could not be discounted. You'd dealt your Chartist foes a bloody nose and sent their army reeling back. At the time it had felt like a stunning victory. Now you're not so sure.

Your horse snorts and stomps uneasily, prompting a few reassuring pats from you to his shoulder. This one, 'Cold Steel' was new. Duchess, your old steed had fallen at Bare Bluff, cut from under you by Chartist shrapnel. In peacetime the death of your favorite horse would be noteworthy, but in the times you live, it's hard to mourn the loss of an animal when so many good men and boys have died before and since.

Steel is anxious because, unlike Duchess, he was bred to run. He'd love nothing better than to gallop full tilt across the rolling farmland around you. Now, you stand still, looking as majestic as you can atop your steed, and you watch your army march by.

Like Steel, this army is restless for action. They've been held up in winter camp around the city of Cadensa and now that sprint has broken, are finally on the move again.

A troop of cavalrymen leads the approaching brigade. These are men from Lieutenant General Moer's Cavalry Corps. Their wide-brimmed caps are decorated with white feather plumes which they might have intended to give them a noble look. This effect is undone by the dusty white-cloaks and the revolvers they wear strapped to their chests, in all making them appear more piratical than aristocratic.
>>
The brigade behind them is led by their colors. The stripped ensign of Artigme flies alongside the grey field and white cross of the Legitimist banner. As the flag approaches, you note the battle honors sewn across it, the names of innocuous places made infamous through spilled blood. Each white embroidered name conjure a battlefield to mind.

Shedford Downs.
Bare Bluff.
Petyr's Mill.
Clearhallow.
Cedar Mountain.

The flag is tattered, punched through with holes from musket balls. In peacetime flying a ragged flag would be unthinkable. Now, in war, it's a badge of honor.

The men who march behind it aren't much different from the flag, though they're a far cry from the enthusiastic and confused rabble you led into action at Shedford Downs. White uniforms are stained a dirty brown from road dust, though most of these men at least have a full kit and uniform. Here and there a standard-issue slouch hat is replaced with a broad-brimmed cap. Civilian buck knives are holstered just beneath bayonet scabbards. Thin bedrolls are supplemented with homespun and dyed cloth.

As the men pass you, they lift their hats and rifles in salutes.

"General Belmonte, sir!"
"When we gonna see the Usurpers, sir?"
"Lead us on General, we'll follow you there!"

You smile and salute the men. In the years you've led them, they've truly become yours. Hardened by blood and fire, they are veterans. If you'd had this army at Shedford Downs then you would have smashed the Usurpers handily. You could have swept that Chartist mob from the field like a granny with a broom.

Of course, now the enemy has learned the lessons you have as well. Their army is equally prepared for the fight ahead.

At Shedford Downs you'd dealt a stinging blow, but it had hardly been fatal. Hopes of a quick victory in the war were dashed as both sides fell back to regroup. Since then, it's been a back and forth game to find advantage over one another. Ultimately, a series of bloody assaults drove the Chartists back over the Antary river completely and gave you breathing room to rest and restore your army in the winter. Now it's spring, and the army is on the move again.

The winter at Candensa had been tense and miserable. Your men had spent the freezing months digging earthworks and preparing to repel a Chartist attack alongside the men of the Army of Southmark. The anticipated Chartist attack had never come, leaving your men to languish. It seems the brutal fighting of autumn took a toll on both sides. Now, with spring here the Legitimist leadership has opted to go over to the offensive.

Your army has grown substantially since Shedford Downs. Now composed of four corps of infantry and one of cavalry, a total of sixteen divisions, it's a massive fighting force of nearly 100,000 men.
>>
Your I Corps is commanded by Lieutenant General Maddocks. Maddocks had been a mere brigade commander at Shedford Downs and had stepped up to divisional command when Withers had fallen. That ascent through the ranks hadn't stopped. Maddocks has fast become your most trusted subordinate and you find his leadership invaluable. I Corps is formed largely of yeoman farmers and city folk from along the mid-stretches of the Antary.

II Corps is commanded by Lieutenant General Harlan, another old stalwart of your earliest days of command. Harlan is a capable leader, if a bit unreliable at times. Prone to bouts of passivity and wild passions, his mood is unpredictable, and it's reflected in his command of the corps. Still, when kept properly grounded he is an able leader. His men hail from further west, farmers and aristocrats of the plains.

IV Corps belongs to Lieutenant General Van Rosser. Van Rosser is a sycophant, there's no nicer way of phrasing it. He's a man whose family has close ties to the Legitimist heirs to the throne, and thus you've been saddled with. The kindest thing you can say about his command is that it is usually competent. You haven't found a worthy reason to transfer him away, so for now he remains as an annoyance. His Corps primarily hails from the swamps and coastline around Porthladd to the south. Tenacious fighters, if a bit wild.

Under your command are also two divisions of cavalry which make up your cavalry corps led by Lieutenant General Moers. Moers is the consummate cavalryman. Stoic and discourteous, he is known to rub many the wrong way. He's no stranger to being challenge to duels of pride and honor. You would estimate he's personally killed at least a dozen upstart noblemen in such bouts of violence. He bears the scar of a bullet graze across his cheek, likely the result of such a duel. You've found him difficult to work with, but his results speak for themselves.

The last of your command is III Corps. It had once belonged to Branch, a veteran of Shedford Downs. He'd led the corps effectively until he fell to a Chartist sharpshooter at Petyr's Mill. Branch's death had been a difficult thing to deal with since you'd been quite close with him personally. You'd resisted replacing him for that reason, but had no more reason to delay. Now, on the eve of your latest campaign you finally promoted up his replacement, Lieutenant General Goddwyn. Goddwyn had been de facto leader of the corps during the winter encampment, but now it's official.

What is Goddwyn's background?


>Stalwart Vetern
>Firebrand aristocrat
>Maverick commander
>>
>>4918926
>Maverick commander
It's good to be back! The first quest was pretty nice, so i'm excited for this next thread. As for Goddwyn, Maverick Commander seems best since we already have an veteran and an aristocrat in our ranks.
>>
>>4918926
>>Stalwart Vetern
>>
>>4918926
>>Firebrand aristocrat
>>
>>4918926
>Maverick commander

What? Branch died!? Noooooo!

I'm tempted to go for another Veteran, since I'd like their experience and relative reliability, but I guess we could do with some commanders that have initiative in them. We just have to arrange things so we have the right general for the right job.

Still, it feels good to see we still have some familiar faces among the ranks.

Anyways, welcome back TK!
>>
>>4918994
>Branch died!?
Cut down in his prime. He died as a hero.

>>4918994
>>4918959
Good to be here as always!
>>
>>4918926
>Firebrand aristocrat
>>
>>4918926
>Maverick Commander
>>
>>4918926
>Firebrand aristocrat
>>
>>4918926
>>Firebrand aristocrat

Welcome back
>>
>>4918926
>Firebrand aristocrat
>>
>>4918926
>Maverick commander
>>
>>4918926
>Stalwart Vetern

oh shit did you decide to turn your're one shot into a thing?
>>
>>4919569
actually scratch that

>Firebrand aristocrat
>>
>>4918926
>>Maverick commander

I'm really excited to see this quest back.
>>
>>4918926
>Maverick commander

He might end up replacing us if history repeats....
>>
>>4919716
Hopefully not, i mean, commander casualties aren't THAT goddamn high.
>>
>>4919716
Not if you count by ratio.
>>
>>4919831
>>4919716
Derp.
>>
>>4919730
During the American Civil War (1861-1865), 426 men were commissioned generals by Jefferson Davis and the Confederate Congress. Eighty (19%) died of battle wounds (versus 8% in the Union army) and 3 per cent died of disease. During the war, 211 (49%) were wounded; of these, each was wounded a mean 1.9 times. When noncombatants are excluded, 52 per cent sustained wounds. Of those who served in five or more major engagements, 62 per cent were wounded; of those who fought in more than 10, 71 per cent sustained wounds.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17879680/

Percentage wise, a private has a better chance of surviving the war.
>>
>>4918926
>Maverick commander
>>
>>4919885
Americans don't fight like gentlemen as Europeans do, though. I believe these statistics were significantly lower in the Napoleonic wars because it was considered dishonourable to deliberetly aim for generals. What's the culture regarding that in your setting?
>>
>>4919931
>What's the culture regarding that in your setting?
Definitely more pragmatic. Officers can and are targeted. Of course, it depends on the army and the situation. Some find it distasteful, but plenty of common foot soldiers have no issue with picking off bluebloods.
>>
>>4919931
That last guy who had our job got joinked by artillery. They were aiming at our flags.
>>
>Maverick commander
>>4918959
>>4918994
>>4919231
>>4919538
>>4919625
>>4919716
>>4919895

>Firebrand aristocrat
>>4918991
>>4919108
>>4919240
>>4919458
>>4919472
>>4919570


>Maverick

writing
>>
>>4919885
But how many of those deaths came from victory?
>>
Goddwyn was transferred to your command shortly before Branch's untimely death. As a commander on the southern coast, he'd led his under-equipped division into battle against numerically superior Chartist forces. Through intense maneuver as well as a concerted campaign of disinformation he'd convinced the enemy they were outnumbered, causing them to withdraw into defensive earthworks before Legitimist reinforcements came to drive them back into the sea.

Goddwyn is a rising star, seen by many as a future army commander. Leading III Corps of the Army of the Antary is surely a stepping stone on that path. For now, he's your subordinate. Shrewd and courteous, Goddwyn always listens before speaking. He tends to keep quiet during your staff briefings unless he has critique or suggestion of your plans. Of all your commanders, he's the one you know the least.

"Come on, Steel." You nudge your mount with your heels, spurs encouraging the animal on. You ride down the road your troops march along, passing regiments you'd already reviewed at a leisurely pace. You can smell the savory aroma of cooking meat and sweet wood smoke a moment before you come into sight of the camp.

The setting sun turns the horizon orange as it sinks behind the rolling hills to the west. Spring green leaves are turn to crimson in the burning light of the sun. All around you are the sounds of activity, the snort and whinny of horses and mules, the clash and rattle of canteens and wagons, and the disparate whistle and twang of a dozen separate instruments, from guitars, to harmonicas, to banjos. Flags flutter from poles marking out the various divisions, regiments, and companies. In an army like yours, made up of nothing but volunteers, each separate band of men has its own story. Farm boys in search of adventure, dockhands looking for a better paycheck, aristocrats seeking to better themselves, backwoodsmen looking for the thrill of a fight.

The rank and file generally differ from the officers in that few of them have any real idea of what's at stake in this war. To a peasant farmer or a menial laborer, the High King is a distant and mythical figure. Who sits the throne of Aerthys is academic to them. They've been convinced for whatever reason that the Legitimist claim is the legitimate one. There's also no small element of regional conflict. The south and west of the country is more inclined to the Legitimist cause than the north and east.

Your leisurely ride is interrupted by the swift approach of a band of cavalry. Their leader, a major, wheels his horse to a dramatic stop, the animal's flanks sheened with sweat. "General, sir!" he greets, doffing his hat and bowing dramatically. "I bring General Ap Tynwyn's compliments."

"The division finished its raid, I take it," you return.

"It has at that, sir. We only crossed back over the Antary not an hour ago with the Usurpers on our heels."

"Successful?"
>>
He grins savagely. "We've taken twelve munition wagons as war booty and set fire to a dozen more. The rail line opposite the river has also been broken up."

"Well done, Major," you say, puzzled at his intense glee for such an innocuous raid.

"Something else, sir." He snaps a gloved hand at a subordinate who hands over a bundle of paper. "General Moers had told us you were interested in a paper, sir. I'm told you follow the news quite carefully." He reaches out, offering the rolled newspaper.

Confused, you take it and unroll it only to laugh. The paper is an enemy publication, the Glas Tribune. "Now this is a treat."

"You'll take note the biographical mention of a certain dastardly villain," the major says. "You may know him only as General Belmonte but to the Chartists, he's the Grey Gentlemen."

You turn pages until you find the story in question.

GREY GENTLEMAN AIMS AT PLAYING SOLDIER

"Grey Gentlemen?" you say, skimming the story.

"An interview with a paroled Chartist captain, sir," the major replies. "He claims you treated him kindly when he was wounded, a gentlemen in grey."

You shake your head, bemused. "Thank you, gentlemen. I'll enjoy this."

The cavalrymen salute you before galloping on.

You take another look over the article. It seems to be decrying you as a fair-weather fighter, a man with delusions of grandeur who has no business on a battlefield. It's a strange claim from an enemy that you've thrown back time and again. The whole experience of reading this article is surreal, to see your name and life sullied and mistreated. Before the civil war you'd fought for Aerthys against the nation's enemies, of course the same could be said of most of your Chartist adversaries.

You fold the paper and tuck it beneath your arm before riding on. Your goal is the center of camp where your headquarters tent is located on a low hill. Along the way you pass by the large infirmary station which has been set up. Row on row of cots sits deserted beneath billowing canvas awnings. It's mercifully silent and deserted save for the orderlies and surgeons who are sharpening the tools of their trade. Once fighting starts, you know these hospitals will fill up quickly with the maimed and dying.

Just outside your tent, you encounter another group of mounted men waiting for you.

"General," Lieutenant General Maddocks salutes, a gesture you return. "How was your review of the army?"

Maddocks is your most trusted subordinate. Clever, loyal, soft spoken, but tenacious in a fight. Around him are his attendant staff officers.

"Quite well, General," you reply. "The tail end of our column is tucking into camp now. I suspect the boys will be settled in by nightfall."

"But not you, sir," Maddocks says, a statement rather than a question, one accompanied by a sly grin.

You sigh, "No. Not me. Other matters call."

"Dinner."

"Yes, Dinner. I must say, General Maddocks, that you're enjoying my discomfort for more than I should like."
>>
Maddocks shakes his head, trying to hide his smile. "No, sir. I know how much you fancy dinner parties. It must come to you naturally from your background."

"If this were an ordinary party I think I might have an excuse to not attend. Sadly, this is not an ordinary party."

"Crown Prince Donavyn," Maddocks says. "You can hardly turn down a request from the son of our noble king."

"Hardly," you agree.

While the party is ostensibly a social affair, the presence of Prince Donavyn as well as General Collins of your partner army, the Army of Southmark, means this is more likely to be a high level strategy session related to your coming offensive.

"I would gladly attend with you, sir," Maddocks lies, "Only I've been given the burden of overseeing the encampment of this army until you return. I can't shirk my duty to our valiant cause."

Maddocks staff officers struggle to contain laughter, all save one. The only one of the bunch who you know by name. You know him better than that even, because Captain Sylas Belmonte is your son.

"See to your duty, General," you say. "I'll see to mine. I have a meeting with my adjutant to get to. A word with Captain Belmonte if I may?"

Maddocks doesn't react to your request to speak with your son. "Of course, General." One by one, his men wheel their horses and leave until you and Sylas are alone.

"I wish you wouldn't single me out, father," he says bitterly.

"How have you been, Captain?" you ask, ignoring his youthful petulance.

"Tolerable." Sylas is the youngest of your two sons, the last gift your wife gave you before her untimely passing. Hardly twenty, he's old enough to fight in a war, but you have a hard time thinking of him as anything but a boy still. His older brother Llewellyn is a major of a cavalry regiment up north.

"I'm pleased to hear it," you say. "Any word from Llewellyn?"
>>
"Major Belmonte hasn't written," Sylas says stiffly. "I'm told the army is already on the march, seeking to turn the usurpers back from Dukensk."

"That may be," you say.

"General-" Sylas says, gripping his reins tightly, "Father, You know I asked for a posting with Llewellyn. I'd have been a company commander."

"You and Llewellyn would be trouble," you say. "I trust each of you, but not together."

"You mean he'd get me into a scrap," Sylas replies. "What do you think I want, father? I didn't ask you to keep me safe."

You smile sadly, your mind conjuring the faces of the staff officers you've seen cut down by shot and shell. "Serving General Maddocks is hardly, safe, son."

Sylas only glowers.

"We all serve as best we can. I'll ask that if you're unhappy with your placement, you fill out a transfer request to General Maddocks so he may decide what's to be done."

Sylas says nothing.

"If fighting is what you crave, Captain, then you'll get your fair share before long."

"Yes, sir."

You sense that things what progress from here. You'd resisted Sylas's demands to go to war as long as you could. Llewellyn was a grown man with a wife and his own children, so you had no say in his life. It was harder to let go of Sylas the same way. This was your compromise.

"Goodnight, son."

"Father." Sylas spurs on his horse and trots after Maddocks and the others.
>>
Your command tent is large enough for four men to stand abreast with a little room to spare. In the center is a small folding table struggling to hold a much larger map of the region. The map is cleaved in two by the blue jag of the Antary River as it runs south toward the sea. Everything west of the Antary is firmly in Legitimist hands, the east belongs to the Chartists. You aim to change that soon.

"Evening, General." Your Adjutant is lighting a few hanging lanterns to stave off darkness a few minutes more as the sun dips lower.

"Good evening, Major."

Major Carlisle was a late addition to your staff, but an invaluable one. Carlisle handles most of your administrative duties and other monotonous logistical tasks, freeing you up to tackle bigger issues.

"Any word from your son, sir?" Carlisle asks, taking your coat from you as you shrug it off to hang it up.

"Nothing since they marched out," you say. "We'll hear soon I think."

"I hope that's so."

You take a seat on the small folding chair by the table. "How do things stand?"

"The army is in good order, our cavalry raids have all drawn back across the Antary and we're ready to begin the march north come morning. I understand that General Collins and Prince Donavyn wish to discuss offensive operations with you. It sounds as though they have a bold plan to seize the city of Foebadyn from the enemy."

Foebadyn was a major rail junction to the east, firmly enemy controlled. Its capture would lead to much of their territory being untenable to hold, including positions along the length of the Antary River. The city itself lies in a rolling valley and is protected in a few places by impressive fortifications.

"We have just a few matters to address first." Carlisle continues.

"Go on."

Carlisle pauses to produce a snuff box from his tunic, laying a pinch of tobacco on the back of his hand before snorting it up and rubbing his nose. "We've managed to secure some favor in the government, sir. Your actions at Bare Bluff in particular have gotten us some political capital."

"Favor?"

"Yes, sir. Noble families - like those of General Van Rosser - have made plain their willingness to support your demands and requests. As I understand it, there is a particular noble from the coast sir who finds your actions impressive. Many of our coastal defenses are being broken up and transferred north to campaigning armies. He's made it clear that he can earmark forces for our army. Heavy siege guns, fresh infantry, an elite cavalry division. I can speak with him via telegraph to secure your choice by rail."


>Heavy siege guns
>Two more infantry divisions
>An elite cavalry division
>We don't need anything, send those extra forces where they can be best used
>>
>>4919996
>Heavy siege guns
If it is known that our future holds assault on foritfied positions and Foebadyin, it would be much wiser to acquire siege artillery than it would to acquire infantry - though more soldiers would certainly be welcomed.

In this new age of warfare, artillery is king - we saw it too, at Shedford Downs, when our artillery heavily disrupted Chartist Forces, it's unlikely that we would have won without them.
>>
>>4919996
>We don't need anything, send those extra forces where they can be best used
At 100k troops, we're hardly hurting for manpower
>>
>>4920021
Yes, troops, which is why we need more artillery.
>>
>>4919996
Hmm, we'd probably need those guns to breach any fortifications protecting the city. They could also be useful out-ranging enemy guns. However I'm more partial to having more infantry or taking the Elite Cavalry, having more men to be utilized defeating any field armies would be ideal. Imagine if we had those men at Shedford Downs and didn't have to rely on the tenacity of our individual divisions to defeat a peer force, but could concentrated superior numbers on any particular enemy division, we kinda lucked out in that any one of our divisions was a match for theirs even with their defensive earthworks.

I'm tempted to hope that the other army has heavy guns to deal with the fortifications so that we can take the extra men or the cav, but we only have this opportunity due to our favour, having won a major victory.

>Heavy siege guns

Cool to see the effects of our choices with that Chartist Captain play out.

What staff position does our son hold TK? Just wondering.
>>
>>4919996
>Heavy siege guns
Sabres of Infinity?
>>
>>4920028
>I'm tempted to hope that the other army has heavy guns to deal with the fortifications
To be clear, the other army is not going to march with yours. They'll be involved in their own operations soon. You'll be operationally alone.

Also, while there are fortifications, tackling them directly isn't strictly necessary. The guns will enable you to shell them better, but other siege tactics and the like are possible. It's not a hard stop, just a potential obstacle.

>>4920028
>What staff position does our son hold TK?
Nothing fancy, he's aid-de-camp. Handles administrative work and whatnot. Writes letters and dispatches. Hardly glamourous work.
>>
>>4920032
>Spoiler
I'm not familiar with it.
>>
>>4920064
Okay, thanks for the clarification. I think I'll still keep my vote the same. Our siege guns can surely find a place among the rolling hills of the valley, ideal terrain really.

>he's aid-de-camp.

oof

I suppose I can understand his frustration, if he were an S2 or an S3 or S4 then I would say he should be happy with his position, but working as a glorified scribe is dull work no doubt.
>>
Wait, actually let me ask another question. How mobile are our "Siege Guns"? How do they compare to historical examples? Are we talking mid 1800's pieces or 1700's guns or earlier? Sorry to bother you if you didn't intend to get bogged down in the details, I just wanna make sure we aren't lugging around the equivalent of the gun that breached the walls of Constantinople. (Not literally of course)
>>
>>4920092
>How mobile are our "Siege Guns"?
They are circa 1850s-1860s in our timeline.

They are not particularly mobile and require large teams of mules and men to move, as well as a dedicated baggage train of ammunition.

Keeping pace with youyr siege train will slow your army slightly, otherwise the train will lag behind, especially when crossing rough ground like mountains.

They're not totally unwieldly, just basically larger field pieces + mortars.

>Sorry to bother you if you didn't intend to get bogged down in the details
No, this is fine! Just don't expect me to list exact numbers of guns and their diameters or anything. I'll be upfront if it's too fiddly to worry about. These are valid questions.
>>
>>4920129
I meant to add, the largest among these guns require special set up and can't be wheeled casually into a fight like a field piece can. They need to be placed and set up with more care.
>>
>>4920081
To be fair though, we're in a rather deadly war, and our generals seem to be dropping like flies. Considering we got our promotion by nature of our predecessor getting murdered by artillery, and with his brother up in the north, you'd think he would understand why his father doesn't want both of his sons fighting in the frontline of an extremely deadly war.
>>
>>4920129
>1850s-1860s
I'm guessing then, that they might be somewhat similar to the american james rifle? That is to say, rifled siege artillery, muzzle loaded or breech loaded.

Or are we talking smoothbore? Muzzle Loaded, too? That kind of stuff matters because of the type of ammunition that each allows.
>>
>>4920156
>james rifle
Parrot Rifle*

James Rifle are smoothbore cannons that got rifled. Though of course, those might be there too, considering this is fresh new artillery, i'm guessing they might have been rifled first.
>>
>>4920067
Well you should, it's on Choice of Games and it's strikingly similar to your content
>>
>>4919996
>>Heavy siege guns
Artillery makes or breaks an army. I'd like to have them if assaulting a fortified city
>>
>>4920156
That sounds about what I have in mind. It's a mix of guns, including mortars. as for breech vs muzzle loaded, also probably a mix.

I won't pretend to be an expert in siege weapons of that era, but the James Rifle looks about right.
>>
>>4919996
>Heavy siege guns

Is there a catch by accepting this help? Are they expecting us to promote their relative or something?

Imagine attacking star forts with 100k men. You'd be climbing over the walls over the bodies of your comrades if you where lucky.
>>
>>4920217
>Is there a catch by accepting this help? Are they expecting us to promote their relative or something?

Nothing of the sort. This is a gift. Think of it like them being able to take partial credit for your successes for helping you.

>>4920217
>Imagine attacking star forts with 100k men. You'd be climbing over the walls over the bodies of your comrades if you where lucky.
If you were to deal with a fort without the heavy siege guns you'd probably surround them and starve them out. That or find a way to bypass it.
>>
>>4919996
>>Heavy siege guns

King of the battlefield and all that
>>
>>4920153
Our decision to keep our youngest son relatively safe while not preventing him from serving honourably is completely understandable and I'm sure even someone as young and possibly headstrong as Sylas could understand it.

It isn't that our decision is not understandable or something like that, so much as that I can understand Sylas be frustrated with not having a command, being a young aristocrat he no doubt expected to be following in our (or his brother's) footsteps. But, him being a brat or whatever isn't what I really empathize with so much as I can understand being bored to death as a glorified scribe, I've done data entry for long periods before and I can scarcely think of a more boring job. If I were a young entitled aristocrat, who was the son of a now famous general and wealthy landowner/majority shareholder of a merchant fleet, I would expect to end up as S2/3/4 rather soon.

Also, as we mentioned to Sylas, being a staff officer in a field army is barely safer than being one of those generals who get cut down so frequently, it isn't like he is holed up in a garrisoned city or HQ, he's riding about following his general.
>>
>>4920239
It's much safer than charging against a line of fire or standing on a hill within artillery distance.

And yeah, i understand that he's bored, but i feel like he should understand that 'safe' doesn't mean unimportant. We didn't put him in a bean counter rank, being staff support is an important duty

Of course, it's not as 'epic' as being a commander, but you know what's not epic? Getitng a golf ball sized hole through your lungs.
>>
>>4920267
Yes, of course.
>>
>>4919996
>>Heavy siege guns

We will need them to destroy the enemy fortifications.
>>
>>4920239
Truth be told, being a staffer is an inroad to strategic command in any case.
>>
>>4920230
Sometimes you have the luxuries of neither.
>>
>>4919996
>Heavy siege guns

Kid wants to be a hero, I think he hasn't quite got it in his head how bad it is, if we gave him a command of say rifle artillery or in the reserves it may help but theirs risk involved their.e
>>
Can I ask the QM how old our character is? If we have a twenty year old son and another older than him that implies that we're close to fourty.
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>>4921206
>Can I ask the QM how old our character is?
General Winfield Belmonte is 40 years old. He was 38 when the war started.
His oldest Son Llewelyn is 22. Sylas is 20.

>Heavy siege guns
Writing
>>
"We could use a few batteries of heavy guns," you say. "Siege weapons to deal with the works around Foebadyn. We may not have a choice but to handle them directly."

Major Carlisle nods and scratches a note onto a slip of paper. "I can get this requisition in post haste. I imagine the guns will be on the next train up."

The logistics of keeping an army like yours in the field are heroic efforts in their own right. Were it not for the rivers and rail lines of Aerthys, not to mention a dedicated corps of logistics officers, it would be impossible.

Carlisle neatly folds the slip and puts it in his breast pocket. "The other forces then I think can be sent west. The governor of Dukensk is calling for fresh troops to handle a Chartist incursion."

The combat around the city of Dukensk has raged across the open plains of the north for quite some time, with the Legitimist forces often coming out worse for wear. Your son Llewelyn has written often about the stinging defeats the army there has suffered. Time and again they find themselves outfought, outgunned, and outmaneuvered.

"If their luck keeps up we'll lose Dukensk before year end," you say bitterly. The loss of such a major logistical hub could undo all your efforts up north.

"I think the infantry from the coast will help," Carlisle says. "Though the Governor has petitioned us directly to detach whatever we can spare from our army to join them before we march out."

"He wants us to shed troops before a campaign?" you ask, incredulous.

"You know how dire the situation in the north is," Carlisle says. "The governor worries Dukensk itself is at stake. If they can deal a decisive blow to the Chartists in the field, they might drive them away from the city and gain some breathing room."

"Two divisions from the coast," you say, mentally running the numbers. If you were to strip away a few brigades here and there you could assemble a fresh division to join them, forming a new corps. It might help turn the tide against the numerically superior Chartists. Of course, it would also weaken your own forces.

Of course, if you were to instead cut away an entire corps of your army, you might dramatically increase the chances the Army of the North has of protecting Dukensk. Not only that, but it could deal a stunning blow to the enemy. The arrival of a fresh, veteran corps would be a godsend for the Legitimists that way. It would leave your own army greatly reduced in size, but perhaps you could overcome that.


>We can spare nothing but a few handfuls of volunteers
>We'll send a division to assist them
>We'll break away a corps to turn the tide.
>>
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If you don't want to miss an update, join my discord and ping me to get notified when updates go up.

https://discord.gg/DRcEFFdW
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>>4921307
>We'll send a division to assist them
Though it is true that they have difficulties up north, to sacrifice the sake of our campaign for this uncertain scenario is not wise. Though sending only a few volunteers would not be good, an divison should do well enough to aid them in holding Dukensk

Ultimately, our plentiful success at Foebadyn could prove to be of much use, considering it is an railway hub. With the use of our siege artillery, we should be able to take their fortified positions more easily.
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>>4921307
>We'll send a division to assist them
A corps would be too much I think. Losing a division on the other hand is something we can handle, especially now that we have heavy artillery to help us with the upcoming campaign.
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>>4921308
>implying
Implication
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>>4921308
>discord

Oh great now all discussion will be in that trashcan instead of in the thread.
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>>4921307
>>We'll send a division to assist them
>>
>>4921324
The siscord has existed since before the first Saber and Musket game and there's never been any discussion in there. I don't think you need to be worried about that.

It's for shit posting and getting updates. But to each their own.
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>>4921324
The discord has existed since before the first Saber and Musket game and there's never been any discussion in there. I don't think you need to be worried about that.

It's for shit posting and getting updates. But to each their own.
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>>4921307
>>We can spare nothing but a few handfuls of volunteers
>>
>>4921307
>>We'll send a division to assist them
>>
>>4921307
>We'll send a division to assist them
>>
>>4921307
>We'll send a division to assist them
>>
>>4921307
>>We'll send a division to assist them
>>
>>4921307
>>We'll break away a corps to turn the tide.
>>
>>4921307
>>We'll send a division to assist them
Any less could be considered an insult, any more and we'd be jeopardizing our own success.
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>>4921307
>We'll send a division to assist them

Sending any less than a division would hardly tip the scales over there, and would be more insulting than sending nothing at all.
Sending a full Corps, however, would not only jeopardize our chances of success on our own front, but we also risk losing a lot of blooded men in the service of a command that has as of yet been unlucky in the field.

Let's not gamble what we can't afford to lose.
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>>4921307
>We'll break away a corps to turn the tide.
We were looking for an excuse to get rid of Van Rosser. . .
>>
>>4921307
>We'll break away a corps to turn the tide.
If they sweep away the Chartists in a decisive defensive victory, the men can then come to our aid during the siege of Foebadyn! We have to think long term, what we don't make do with manpower, we will pound to hell with our massive cannons!
>>
>We'll send a division to assist them
>>4921312
>>4921319
>>4921325
>>4921407
>>4921459
>>4921553
>>4921625
>>4921748

Writing
>>
"We'd do well to make sure this venture is successful," you say. "Take a division from Van Rosser. Vance, I think. He's capable enough. He'll do well away from that man."

Carlisle smiles to himself as he fills out the transfer order. "His boys are going to be upset marching out after they just got here."

"They're a tough lot," you say. "They'll be happy when they learn there's a tough fight ahead of them. I think the dry air might do those swampfolk good."

Your aide chuckles are your irreverence. He knows you think of the rough and tumble men of IV Corps as more than 'swampfolk'. They've carried the Legitimist colors through some of your toughest fights, and had spilled enough blood in service of the cause to prove that they're fighters to be reckoned with.

Carlisle finishes taking his notes for the telegraph station and again neatly folds the paper and adds it to his front pocket. A rousing chorus of Three Kings of the Sea begins nearby with men raising their voices together as a motley assortment of instruments plays along.

You sigh to yourself and rise from your seat. "You'll see to the arrangements?"

"I will, General."

"Good. I have an engagement I can't be late for."

"Don't forget your gloves, sir," Carlisle indicates a pair of fresh cotton riding gloves. "I'm told white gloves are all the rage in Cadensa lately. No doubt the Crown Prince will take note."

You pull on the well-tailored gloves and check your appearance quickly in a standing mirror by the narrow cot which acts as your bed. The man in the reflection you see doesn't seem so different from the one who rode out in the last war against the Casmians. It only takes a moment to see the grey streaking your beard and the tired lines teasing at the corners of your eyes. You've grown older these past two years. Still, you should consider yourself lucky. Men like Branch and Withers now would never grow old.

You pick up your cap and place it on your head. "I'm off."

"Good luck, General."

You hate to think that you'll need it, but you know the sort of viper's nest you're walking into.

By its nature, the Legitimists have little in the way of formal command structure. Unquestionably the head of the faction is the prospective High King Roland, perhaps just below him his eldest son Donavyn. Around them is an ever shifting ring of sycophants, schemers, politicians, aristocrats, generals, and dreamers. The inner circle of the faction and the true guiding force for the Legitimists. To say "King Roland should sit the throne of Aerthys" is simple enough. To decide who should lead his armies, how taxes should be levied, which dukes should be granted audience and authority, this is less simple.

Outside your tent, you mount Cold Steel and set off for the nearby river road, intending to follow it north.
>>
In the early days of the war, one man had stood above the others as a surefire candidate for supreme commander of the Legitimist faction, Reginald Van Mercer. Van Mercer was the hero of the Uplands war, it had been by his hand that the Casmian incursion had been thrown back across the river, that the frontier had been restored, and Aerthys's borders protected. The accident of fate had taken his life at the first major battle of the war, and that same quirk of fate had dropped the battle in your lap.

You'd won it at no small cost, but despite this success, you'd never been accepted with the same aura of awe that Van Mercer had. You retained control of the Army of the Antary, but as a solitary army commander, your direct influence is limited.

You ride along the curving river road. The cool waters of the Antary rush along to your right just past a veil of reeds. The dipping sun sets the water aflame. The tranquility of your ride belies the deadly purpose of your presence here. It's easy to forget the war in moments like this.

Before long you reach the tree-lined road which branches west, and follow it between carefully cultivated rows of grapevines. The shrill report of a train whistle from Cadensa carries faintly on the air, soon lost in the soft murmur of the late afternoon chores of a vineyard.

The grape rows give way to an open courtyard and a sprawling manor, the site of the dinner today. A thin picket of silver-bedecked life guards patrols here. They each carry a rifled musket on their shoulder, primed, ready, and polished to a mirror shine. None of them look at you as you dismount and hand your reins to a waiting steward.

You ascend the stone steps and enter the main foyer where you're met with the soft strains of piano music playing from further inside, as well as the sweet smell of candle smoke.

"General Lord Winfield Belmonte, commanding officer of the Army of the Antary." Your name and title are declared by a waiting page with such authority that it catches you momentarily off guard. You'd almost forgotten completely about the honorary lordship you'd been granted after Petyr's Mill. A meaningless title, but one which carries a little weight. In theory it should have elevated you from being among the "merely" wealthy merchant class, and into the esteemed nobles of the country. In practice, those inbred ingrates still look down their noses at you as a man of vulgarity. A man who stoops to deal with money, no matter how much more money your family actually has than their decrepit, ancient fiefs.
>>
Pushing aside your distaste, you lose yourself in the party, first accepting a floral drink from a tray, and then mingling among the party goers. Ostensibly this is a dinner, but the food is simply laid out to be eaten when and if one wishes. You move from room to room, accepting well-wishes, exchanging pleasantries, and generally being seen. The sad reality is that merit alone isn't enough to be noticed in the military. You need to cultivate what Van Mercer had in spades: Notoriety and charisma.

You note from the dense gaggle of spectators crowding into the drawing room, that the Crown Prince is likely holding makeshift court there. You know you'll be meeting with him soon enough, and have no interest in rushing toward him like a lost duckling. Better to delay that meeting for now. Instead you orbit through the outer rings of the party and find yourself in conversation with a pair of dinner guests.

The first is an old aristocrat with a hawk nose and thinning white hair. You didn't recognize the holding, but he introduced himself as a Baron, with him is a somewhat youngerman, rotund, short, with dark, oiled down hair. This portly gentlemen is a politician from Porthladd, a representative of a dock worker's union it seems.

"Ames," the politician introduces himself, shaking your hand.

"General Belmonte," the Baron continues, "We have been following your exploits with breathless awe, sir."

"Every newspaper is full of news of the war," Ames says, "And of you they can't get enough. A crying shame about Van Mercer, but I do wonder if perhaps we've gotten a stronger leader because of it."

"I shudder to compare myself to the incomparable," you say. "General Van Mercer was a great man. I do what I can to honor his memory."

"You've certainly cut down enough Usurper fiends to make him proud!" the Baron says before taking a sip of his drink.

"How have things been in the south?" you ask Ames.

"Since Goddwyn pulled his little stunt and smashed the Chartist invasion, the coast has been clear. The trade guilds have banded their navies together to ensure the coast is clear, so trade continues," Ames says. "As long as Porthladd is free, commerce will flow."
>>
"I understand that your family were merchants, General."

"Merchants, planters, among other things," you say with a polite smile, sensing a slight. "We've always prided ourselves on versatility."

The Baron toasts his glass to that and finishes it off.

"I'm curious, General," Ames continues, "Have you heard the newest proposal in the council of nobles?"

"I don't keep pace much with politics I'm afraid."

"The War Appropriation Act," the Baron says with a dramatic sigh. "Alarmist, defeatist."

"Pragmatic," Ames corrects. "With the war dragging on, losses are mounting and money doesn't simply fall from the sky and into the royal treasury. It's primarily intended as a tax and tariff increase to help fund the war."

"You'd do better to ask an accountant," you laugh. "I can't comment on the specifics of such an act."

"Perhaps not, but what of the clause intended to introduce a military draft? The northern territories have always conscripted peasants to fill out militias to ward off the Casmians, but the act proposes making such conscription nation-wide to replace war losses and expand the military beyond the volunteers and retainers already in play."

While a number of duchies have instituted drafts of their own, there has yet been no nation-wide plan implemented. You can't imagine what the quality of such drafted soldiers would be, but you can't deny that the war has begun to eat away at the manpower reserves of your army.


>I'm in favor. We need all men to do their duty, whether they want to or not.
>A draft will damage morale and bring low quality soldiers, I'm against it
>Write in
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>>4922648
>I'm in favor. We need all men to do their duty, whether they want to or not.
>>
>>4922648
>I'm in favor. We need all men to do their duty, whether they want to or not.

Draftees may not be the most willing of soldiers, but every conscript that holds a rampart, drives a wagon train, or stands guard over a depot of stores shall free up a willing volunteer for the vanguards.

Best to be proactive about securing additional manpower if we're going to be doing bloody proto-trench warfare around Forbadyn.
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>>4922648
>>A draft will damage morale and bring low quality soldiers, I'm against it

Soldiers that fight because they want to fight fight better. The conscripts will demoralise the other soldiers.
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>>4922648
>I'm in favor.
HOWEVER, add in
>Though, it would be unwise to take too much from the country's workforce. Soldiers are no good without the supplies to maintain them.
Though it's true that a professional army is better, we've begun to reach a point in time where a conscription is necessary - as technology moves forward, we're getting closer and closer to the concept of total war. Hell, we've already begun to have deadlier and deadlier battles. We're a long, long way until warfare is replaced by economic and media-based manipulation.

Ultimately, more soldiers would do good to the cause, but scraping the barrel is just going to result in a worse-off economy. We can win more battles with artillery and ammunition than with hordes of men with sticks.
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>>4922648
>>Write in

>perhaps there could some limited use in conscripts, garrison troops and the like to free up volunteers for the front lines

Separate forces, a national militia if you will.
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>>4922648
>Does not matter what I think because this Act will get passed nevertheless
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>>4922648
I'm actually unsure. Increasing taxes is sure to not only damage morale but possibly incite resistance to the war and damage the economy. But those who attempt to take the high road and resist doing whatever is necessary to win tend to be the losers in wars. Or at least, you'd think that was the case, I can't say to have done a deep enough reading of history to actually know for sure if that is universally the case.

The quality of the troops can be dealt with easily enough, or at least their lack of martial skill and physical attributes can be, with enough time. It is their potential lack of morale and unwillingness to fight and give their all that worries me with conscripts.

Regardless of our opinion, we should remain aware that the draft is simply a clause in the greater War Appropriation Act, we should be cautious about saying we support it or don't support it as a whole before we are sure whether we like the entire act or not.

For now I'll vote...
>A draft will damage morale and bring low quality soldiers, I'm against it
>>
Hmm, actually I'll change my vote.

Supporting >>4922693 and >>4922706
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>>4922648
>I'm in favor. We need all men to do their duty, whether they want to or not.

Like the points other anons have mentioned, conscript units would probably perform less capable than their volunteer counter parts but as replacements are needed it could free up volunteers from other duties in the rear or in other theaters.
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>>4922693
>>4922706
+1 these two
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>>4922693
Support
>>
>>4922648
>I'm in favor. We need all men to do their duty, whether they want to or not.
>Write in
A national guard or home guard of sorts.
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>>4922648
>I'm in favor. We need all men to do their duty, whether they want to or not.
>>4922693
this, with the caveat we draft the most nonessential workforce first.
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>>4922866
>>4922693
We can divide into 2 groups, 1 for civil service, the other for the milita.

Civil Service would be workers in crucial or important wartime roles, from logistics to medical services, or gunmaking.

Militia would be mainly used for garrison and guard duty and responding to incursions in our lands or near to their homes. Even part time would Militia would be worthwhile.
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>>4922866
Who would the most nonessential workforce be, though? Obviously it's not farmers not factory workers, and it's not a good idea to call on the fancypants who would do better advancing our country's knowledge.
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>>4922876
>Militia
Hell fucking no.

Miltiia are untrained peasants. 'Conscription' means training those soldiers, we're not THAT desperate. Train them enough to be able to work off as a rank-and-line soldier.
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>>4922879
Why does Militia mean untrained to you?
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>>4922882
A Militia is a group of armed civilians with little to no training, raised typically to deal with local issues or to defend their homes. A Conscript is simply a civilian who has been drafted into the regular army and is trained normally.
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>>4922882
this >>4922885 you put militia on field they won't be able to perform as unit
forget for example organized retreat
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>>4922885
But it does not mean Militia has to be untrained.

I am talking about the role and purpose of militia. I do not mean to gather as many able bodies and give one man a rifle and the other ammunition like Russian.

If we must, then perhaps we can also add a conscript category for supplementing the army in battle as auxiliary force?
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>>4922889
Which is why you don't make "Militias". Militias are for backwards-ass countries that don't have enough guns.

We're not in that bad a shape. Conscription is good, but they need to undergo training to work as soldiers.
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>>4922890
I forget to specifically add, we train the militia before use or deployment.
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>>4922890
Militia is, by definition, untrained, you meme.

There is no such thing as an "trained militia". Trained conscripts are just soldiers.
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>>4922895
>Militia is, by definition, untrained
No it it does not.

https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/militia
>a military force whose members are trained soldiers but who often have other jobs
>a military force that operates only some of the time and whose members are not soldiers in a permanent army

I intend to use the word to mean local soldiers for defense.

If you prefer we want to call them conscripts that is not a big deal.
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>>4922902
This guy is right, under the right circumstances Militia can part time soldiers or are civilians with enough training to warrant some kind of effectiveness in war. While not up to the kind of standard a professional force has in training and experience, a militia with some training called up temperately for a campaign season and then disbanded after would be equal to a conscripted force.One can look to the Early and middle Roman Republic as an example for an entire army based on a militia system where every soldier provided his own arms and served during the campaign season. Or even the American revolution where units of militia were raised for a short period of tome to meet a threat to their locality. In the US our State National Guard units are by definition a militia.
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>>4922917
The revolution and war of 1812 era is what I had in mind myself.

A core standing army supplemented by regional militia
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>>4922917
>>4923021
This ain't the middle ages or the time of flintlocks, though. In the age of modernity, an army with conscripts is not a 'militia', it's a normal army
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>I'm in favor.
>>4922669
>>4922683
>>4922693
>>4922706
>>4922752
>>4922811
>>4922813
>>4922865
>>4922866

+

>Write ins


Writing
>>
"All men of Aerthys must do their duty," you say, "whether they want to or not."

"Then you support the measure?" the Baron asks.

"Conditionally," you allow. "The facts of modern warfare are simply undeniable. If our enemy undertakes such a measure and we do not then the Chartists will drown us in their blood. We're already at the losing end of the number's game. That being said, I don't favor taking men from vital industries. Shipping and trade, food production, munitions, that sort."

Ames smiles wryly, "I think my constituents would find that agreeable. There's much consternation regarding the possibility of men being called up to serve in a war they have little stake or interest in. Exemptions might ease that burden."

"Little stake?" The Baron asks. "Mister Ames, what sort of talk is this?"

You can't help but notice the emphasis on "Mister".

Ames is unperturbed. "Lord Baron, to be frank, a dockhand from Porthladd doesn't have much to gain or lose from the fighting. To quote a constituent 'why should I give a damn for a king who doesn't give a damn about me?'."

"With respect, Mister Ames," you say, "I can understand that sentiment, but we must make it clear to all people that this is false rationale. Yes, the dynastic struggles over the throne of Aerthys are quite far removed from common folk, but that isn't to say there is nothing at stake. Take your hardworking dockhand, he may feel that a Legitimist King cares nothing for him. Never mind that Porthladd is the wealthiest city in southern Aerthys, the mouth of the Antary, the lifeblood of this whole region. The Legitimists have long recognized the special role the city plays economically to this region. A Chartist might not be as pragmatic. It is not just a question of whether the king cares for his subjects, obviously he does. The larger question should be: Can Chartist throne-stealers be trusted to 'give a damn' about people." The lies come easily to you. You've become accustomed to navigating these treacherous waters. You know full well that neither candidate for the throne well or truly cares about the common man in the way this hypothetical constituent expects. However, you also believe that practically speaking, your best hope for the future and for a stable, thriving kingdom is under Roland's family.

The Baron seems impressed and Ames nods in thought.

"Perhaps a career in politics lies ahead of you, Lord General," Ames suggest.

"I don't have the stomach for it, I'm afraid," you say with a polite smile. "At least on the battlefield I know exactly who wants me dead."

Ames smiles a bit wider and tips his glass appreciatively at you.

You carry on the conversation with these two men, gradually moving to other, less weighty topics. Weather, crop yields, stock prices, local news and gossip.
>>
Half an hour later, you notice crowds of people filtering out of the drawing room. A slow but steady exodus. A moment later a steward appears at your side. "Lord General, the Crown Prince has requested your presence for drinks and cigars in the drawing room."

You nod before bidding farewell to your acquaintances, "Gentlemen, it has been a pleasure." You slide through the leaving crowd and slip easily by two looming grenadier guards in crisp, white livery standing watch at the door.

Shortly after you enter the drawing room, the doors are pulled closed behind you. Without the press of the crowd, the ornate room feels positively cavernous. A few plush couches stand sentry around an elegantly designed fireplace. The walls are lined with bookshelves stretching to the ceiling on every wall save one which is alternately taken up with oil paintings of nature scenes and mirrors.

All that remains of the guests are the inner circle of the Legitimists, primarily Crown Prince Donavyn and his courtiers. Among them are also a number of Legitimist officers including General Collins, commander of the Army of Southmark.

A steward hands you a glass of fine bourbon as well as a Sanduran cigar. You take both and gradually make your way to the center of the room, drawn in as if my gravity toward the Crown Prince.

Donavyn is a physically imposing man. Barrel chested, tall, with a booming voice and fine hair. He's young for his station, hardly over thirty and handsome to boot.

Beside him, General Collins is much less awe inspiring. Balding, with pinched features and a pair of narrow spectacles perched on his nose, he looks more like a school teacher than a soldier. Of course, he had been the president of Cadensa Royal Military Academy before the war broke out, so perhaps that's fitting. His lackluster appearance leaves no indication of the keen military mind behind those eyes. You find his methods to be too rote, too orthodox, but he's proved adequate enough on the battlefield, there are worse men to be led by.

"Friends! Gentlemen! Welcome!" The Prince's voice calls the attention of the few still lost to themselves. "It is truly an honor to be among you and to hear your stories of gallantry and glory. I know you would like to discuss business, and get on with winning this war, but I would first like to call for a toast."

You dutifully ready your glass.

"To the brave men of our armies, loyal and honorable, and especially to the men who lead them. General Collins and Lord General Belmonte, to each of you I extend a personal thank you on behalf of my father and all the kingdom. Thank you."

You nod at the polite applause and sip with the others. The drink is surprisingly smooth with a hint of smokiness that has nothing to do with the cigar.

Prince Donavyn makes a point to look directly in your direction and raise his glass. "Each of you has played a vital part in building our eventual victory."
>>
"Our thanks to you, highness," Collins says. "It is your bold leadership which keeps us striving for victory."

Donavyn doesn't correct him.

"Before we begin," the Prince continues, "I would like to make note of the stakes. The Chartist army is stronger than ever. Captured newspapers indicate that Bevin Winnower has been placed in command of the field army encamped around Foebadyn. Winnower had once served the throne of Aerthys faithfully but has evidently been seduced by the Usurpers." He seems genuinely irritated by this prospect.

Winnower, like most of the Chartist high command, was known to you before the war. He was a relentlessly aggressive field commander, leading a brigade in the fighting against Casmia. His ferocity and aggression doubled the effectiveness of his numbers. You have no doubt that he'll be a tenacious foe.

"The Chartist whores believe that power derives from the scratch of a pen and a brittle scroll of paper." Donavyn continues, scowling at his drink. "As though the line of succession is simply a note in a ledger book to be altered at will. Let us note that we gathered here do not believe that." He looks around at the collected commanders. "We know that power derives from timeless tradition and we'll fight and die to see that right restored and protected. Bayonet and shot and sword, pike and steel, we'll smash the Chartists and see them hung from our battlements."

A few men cheer, many more applaud.
>>
Donavyn soaks up the adulation a moment. "Thank you all." As if on command, the "lesser" members of the court seem to filter away, leaving you, the Prince, and Collins in a small pocket of quiet together.

"Your Highness, I'm sure you know Lord General Belmonte," Collins says.

"By reputation only I'm afraid," Donavyn beams and shakes your hand, hardly giving you time to bow. "Your attack at Shedford Downs was a stroke of genius. A shame you didn't press your men harder I think, might have bagged the whole lot of the whoresons."

Donavyn's casual critique of your first, confused command catches you by surprise. You'd of course done what you could to smash the Chartists without losing your own command in the process. Outnumbered and with no clear battle plan, you'd made the best of a bad situation.

"It was a hard fought thing. With more experience I think we could have done it," you say.

"You should have swung right, I think," Donavyn says. "Your cavalry found a ford the Chartists were using. If you'd sent a division that way you might have caught the enemy by surprise, thrown back their reserves and crossed the river." He laughs, "Imagine that, a double envelopment of the enemy." He claps his fist into his hand. "Bagged the lot of them!"

The strategy he proposes is lunacy. You were outnumbered, severely. Splitting your already weak army and launching an attack across a river into an oncoming enemy- the logistics alone would have tied your inexperienced division commanders in knots. Had you tried that insane maneuver, your army would have likely splintered into nothing.


>A very bold strategy, sir. A shame we didn't have an opportunity to try it
>I'm afraid the situation was more complicated than that. There are logistics to consider that would make such a maneuver impossible.
>Quite.
>Write in
>>
>>4924384
>A very bold strategy, sir. A shame we didn't have an opportunity to try it.

There's no point in offending the man and his supporters if we have nothing to gain from it. I say we flatter the Prinny-analog to stay in his good graces, we can hopefully take some solace in the fact that the King's eldest son is too valuable to be seen within artillery range.
>>
>>4924384
>A very bold strategy, sir. A shame we didn't have an opportunity to try it

Translation: what a stupid idea, thank god we weren't desperate enough to try it
>>
>>4924399
Anon, Donavyn is the heir. Which is a problem, because he doesn't seem like he'd be the best king.

I mean, he's Crown Prince. I feel like he's not the kind of person you want in the throne - thirty and yet he has less experience in battle than a glorified accountant did.
>>
>>4924384
>>A very bold strategy, sir. A shame we didn't have an opportunity to try it.
>>
>>4924443
So what are we going to do? Start a civil war within the civil war to find somebody better? It's not like he can micromanage our shit without attending the campaign in person, even if he does, or attempts to do so anyway, we can deal with that.
"My apologies, Your Grace, the courier didn't reach us in time to execute that order."
"The telegraph lines were cut, we received no such message."
"You had better take shelter in the rear, sir! A Chartist sharpshooter felled a man not ten paces from where you stand!"

Either we can exploit his friendship and be confident that the power is well-placed in our hands instead of his or, god forbid, some other incompetent royal's, or we can make something better out of him as a side-project, time permitting.
>>
>>4924384
>A very bold strategy, sir. A shame we didn't have an opportunity to try it
>>
>>4924488
The point is that while i agree going against him is not going to do alot, it doesn't feel like a good choice to just be yet another yes-man.
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>>4924525
A Yesman for appearances only. In private we can do whatever we wish is my point.
>>
In any case, I think we're getting ahead of ourselves. At this point, all we're doing is being polite, we'll see how the conversation runs soon enough.
>>
>>4924384
It seems that the prince has surrounded himself with flatterers, I'll hold off on saying sycophants just yet. At least he balances his critiques with compliments.

I'm not sure how to respond, on one hand countering his critique and suggestion may not go over well, if he was looking for someone to tell him how little he knows and to be blunt he wouldn't surround himself with yes-men. On the other hand, being that voice that is willing to speak up may influence him positively.

>By the time my cavalry had discovered the the ford and a messenger sent back to me, the enemy were already across the river, your highness. Furthermore, all my divisions were already tied up, and thus we did not have the freedom of action to attempt to catch them as they were crossing, let alone push them back and attempt a double envelopment, while outnumbered.

I don't intend our tone to be patronizing or hostile, just politely explain our situation.

I reread part of the previous battle from when Moers reports the enemy division crossing onwards, I have no idea how the Prince could possibly expect us to pull off the described maneuver.
>>
>>4924384
>>I'm afraid the situation was more complicated than that. There are logistics to consider that would make such a maneuver impossible.
We gotta tell it to him how it is.
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>>4924653
This is a good way to put it. You could also add something like "Though that is a very bold strategy, sir, [...]" to make sure that he understands we're not bellitling him
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>>4924664
Sure, as I said, anything to prevent us from sounding hostile/defensive/patronizing is good.

However, it isn't just a rhetorical flourish or whatever, that is literally what happened. Near the end of the last thread, TK explained that the reasons why the enemy division on our far right flank was able to get across the river unmolested to fuck us with, is because by the time Moers had discovered them they already had 2 brigades across the river.

This was before the battle proper had even begun, so we literally would have no chance of doing the maneuver described by the prince.

We were outnumbered, had limited freedom of action, were pressed just dealing with the enemy in front of us, had a dead general, no idea what Mercer's initial plan was, and the enemy was already across the river in significant enough numbers that Moers couldn't dislodge them, plus the ford was over an hour away through rough terrain, so we would've been unable to send a division to support Moers even if we had wanted to.
>>
>>4924384
>Write in
Smile tolerantly and nod.
>>
>>4924653
Support
>>
>>4924384
>I'm afraid the situation was more complicated than that. There are logistics to consider that would make such a maneuver impossible.
We won't raise our rep if we keep nodding head and saying yes.
>>
>A very bold strategy, sir.
>>4924399
>>4924439
>>4924446
>>4924517

>Explain the issues
>>4924653
>>4924656
>>4924664
>>4925731


Writing
>>
You hesitate before speaking, pretending to savor your drink as you think of the best way to handle this delicately. "A very bold strategy, sir," you say. "You have a knack for the aggressive approach."

"Wars are not won hiding behind walls," Donavyn says simply.

"I would have liked to try that approach, however the reality on the ground was different than perhaps the reports you've read might indicate."

He raises an eyebrow, "Is that so?"

You sip again and nod. "Much of the gritty details is left out of the newspapers in favor of florid prose and tales of gallantry. Our dispatches are often likewise somewhat self-flattering. In truth, by the time my cavalry had discovered the ford and a messenger reported back to me, the enemy were already across the river, your highness. Even had I wanted to press the ford, the moment had passed."

"I see," Donavyn frowns.

"Furthermore I had little chance of breaking away with Withers, him and all my other divisions were already tied up in battle. We didn't have the freedom of action to maneuver like that."

Donavyn nods to himself. "I hate to criticize you, General," he says affably, "but it sounds as though your cavalry weren't up to the task. My Hussar Guards excel in reconnaissance and probing. During field drills before the war we'd experimented with messenger relays and heliographs in situations where telegraph lines were untenable or too slow." He claps his hands dramatically "Speed, shock, and surety of action! I don't fault your divisional commanders for being too green to press their men. I am sure the situation was quite confusing to them."

There is a lot to digest among what the prince has said, you try one piece at a time. "Heliograph?"

"A fantastic contraption. Using mirrors and the sun we can send messages over distances as you might with a telegraph excluding the need for a long cable."

"Yes," you say, resisting the urge to tell the Prince that you know what a heliograph is. It is a remarkable tool, provided you can maintain line of sight, and provided there is no bad weather to interfere with its use. The use case Donavyn describes seems very niche. You also don't approve of the Prince's critique of your officers' performance at Shedford Downs. "I understand that your Hussar Guards are the best light cavalry in Aerthys."

"Without a doubt," Donavyn says. "Had it been they by your side at Shedford, I have no illusions the battle would have turned out very differently. I'm sure you'll find their presence a boon in the coming campaign."

You hadn't heard anything about the Hussars coming with you. Before you can question it, Collins interjects.


"Your Highness, General Belmonte, if you're ready . . ."

"Yes," Donavyn says, "Of course, proceed, sir."
>>
Collins, by blessing of seniority, is as close to your superior as anything in this war. By virtue of that, you listen attentively as he reiterates the basics of the plan. "The Chartist armies haven't been seen since they drew back for the winter. With a hard-charger like Winnower in charge, we can only assume that means he's gathering strength before an offensive."

"Like a bull in a cattle pen," Donavyn remarks.

"We'd do best to strike at him before he has a chance to determine how best to hit us. With the fighting around Dukensk tying up the Chartists to the north, we'll have to cross the river and press into Duchy Glas, for the city of Foebadyn. My Army of Southmark will begin its march south tomorrow come morning. We aim to demonstrate along the length of the river and draw the attention of whatever forces the Chartists have available to them. They'll be busy trailing my army and unable to watch the entire length of the river."

Donavyn chuckles, "Imagine their surprise when we turn up to their rear."

Collins nods. "General Belmonte, you and your Army of Antary will march north, into the foothills where you can find a sheltered crossing of the Antary. Once across the river, you can turn southeast and move into the valley and toward Foebadyn. I'll leave the specifics to you of course, but you'll have some options on how you approach the city. The terrain there is hilly, an easy place to conceal an army. Your cavalry will be of the utmost importance. For that reason, Crown Prince Donavyn and his Hussar Guards will be accompanying you."

The news comes as a shock. Donavyn is more than a sub-commander, and falls somewhere between "tourist" and "superior" in an uneasy valley.

"Along with the Hussars is a division of Guard infantry," Collins continues, either not noticing or ignoring your discomfort, "The Crown Prince's honor guard."

"I quite look forward to seeing the details of battle you say the newspapers neglect," Donavyn adds.

"The first order of business is your crossing point of course," Collins says. "I believe the town of Aerrol will be suitable. The Antary is narrow and calm there. I don't expect you'll encounter opposition, and there is a rail head there that can be used to supply your army on the march. The only other suitable point is King's Island Number 5."

"Isn't that the site of a Chartist riverine fort?" you ask.

Collins nods. "Timber and earthworks, it possess a modest garrison and cannon. Since the island sits in the middle of the river, taking it will be a challenge. If you are able to clear it, it will open the Antary up so you can be supplied by river. I have a small flotilla of paddlewheel gunboats in reserve. If you can make an effort on the island, they can support it. You can take either town or fort, or both," Collins suggests. "However don't get spread too thin and don't take too long. The more time we give the Chartists to become aware of our feint, the more forces will be re-deployed to face you."
>>
You'll deal with the particulars of your crossing later, just before you begin your march, for now you have another task which is dealing with Donavyyn's unexpected intrusion. His presence on the campaign might prove a hindrance if he gets it in his head to meddle with your command. Refusing the commands of a Prince is hardly easy. Still, his tagging along will give you access to a brigade of elite horse and an entire division of heavy infantry. If you feel you can keep Donavyyn in check somehow, you might benefit from their inclusion.

Otherwise, you might foist the Prince off on Collins instead, whose own maneuver is far less complex and less aggressive.


>I welcome your inclusion, your Highness. I'm sure my staff will be delighted to have you with us.
>I think it would be best if you were to accompany the Army of Southmark, your Highness. I mean no disrespect, but won't the presence of the Guards draw the attention of the enemy much more effectively?
>Write in
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>>4925851
>>I think it would be best if you were to accompany the Army of Southmark, your Highness. I mean no disrespect, but won't the presence of the Guards draw the attention of the enemy much more effectively?

He's only going to be a liability for us, we can't afford to babysit a prince in a warzone.
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>>4925851
>I welcome your inclusion, your Highness. I'm sure my staff will be delighted to have you with us.

I really like the sound of those elite units
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>>4925851
>>I welcome your inclusion, your Highness. I'm sure my staff will be delighted to have you with us.
>>
>>4925851
>>I welcome your inclusion, your Highness. I'm sure my staff will be delighted to have you with us.

In my opinion we could put him and his men to use on one of the objectives. Send him and the depleted corps with the siege guns to take the riverine fort while we take the town. Or some manner of mixture either way, it will also give us an opportunity to both teach the prince and gain his favor.
>>
To elaborate, using the siege guns n paddle boats to pound the fort into submission would avoid a lot of bloodshed and secure an important objective.
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>>4925851
>I welcome your inclusion, your Highness. I'm sure my staff will be delighted to have you with us.
While it's not a good thing to keep a prince in battle, having those hussars and elite guard will be quite useful - and i believe that we should be able to find a way to convince him not to charge headfirst into an musket line with his cavalry.

With our siege guns, taking the fort would be quite easy...of course, it's still complex, but it'd take a much smaller number of people. I think it would be wise to, rather than split ourselves, consider taking the fort and town in a quick succession.

With the fort open, we should be able to take the town with little opposition. Splitting ourselves could lead to an ambush, and i certain don't want to leave the prince together with a whole force and a siege, he might just try to build a fucking battering ram or something else

I think we should uh, give the prince some lessons in war. Try to find a balance between teaching and not pissing him off. To me, it seems like the prince doesn't have much in the way of experience, rather than some conceited view of war.
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>>4925954
I think you might just be right anon
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>>4925954
Support
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>>4925954
Just thinking here, if we were to take the fort first wouldn't it be prudent to do a two pronged attack on the town? Still, i think it would be best to send at least a token force towards the town while we invest ourselves in taking the fort.
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>>4926068
I agree with >>4925954
If we take the fort, we could then possibly emplace our siege artillery within, and use them to force their withdrawal from the town in a pre-fortified position.
>>
This being reliant on whether or not the fort that defends the town overlooks said town from a commanding position. We should get some maps sketched at our earliest convenience.
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>>4925851
>I think it would be best if you were to accompany the Army of Southmark, your Highness. I mean no disrespect, but won't the presence of the Guards draw the attention of the enemy much more effectively?

Let Collins babysit Prinny, he may just improve their chances of success in this situation.
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>>4926068
Problem is, splitting our forces might not be a good idea. What if the town is an ambush? Taking the fort and then, if the situation is clear, taking the town, would give us the most support without splitting our forces.

Our siege guns and gunboats will do good against the fortess. We'll pound it to rubble, no men wasted on a bloody assault.
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>>4926104
This.

It may even be possible to site our guns in the fort after we take it and force them to vacate the town without an assault use them to cover our resultant crossing.
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>>4926117
Just for clarity, the fort is well away from the town. They are just two possible crossing points.

The fort can control the river, but not the town further up river.
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>>4926122
Ah. Thanks for the clarification.
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>>4926104
Well, i don't mean to send men to assault the town while we occupy ourselves with the fort, but perhaps send a corps to at least prevent the defenders either sallying out to aid the fort, or deny them choice defensive terrain on the outskirts. Point of fact, near 100k men are wasted sitting by waiting for a fort to be pounded into submission. All of our cav especially.

I'm kind of hoping we can get the garrison to surrender really.
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>>4925851
>I welcome your inclusion, your Highness. I'm sure my staff will be delighted to have you with us.
More fun from this option than the other
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>>4925851
>I welcome your inclusion, your Highness. I'm sure my staff will be delighted to have you with us.
More fun from this option than the other.

Also Aerrol over King's Island. Railway is super important and more reliable than river and what's even the point of fucking around with some fort and city which aren't even secondary objective.
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>>4925851
>I welcome your inclusion, your Highness. I'm sure my staff will be delighted to have you with us.

The Hussar Guards sound particularly useful. I was just thinking of the dangers of being anticipated by the enemy and caught out by an enemy army hidden in the foothills, including the prince's retinue could go a long way to minimizing those vulnerabilities.

Of course there is always the risk that the prince tries to order us around.

I'll save my thoughts on the crossing when it comes time to make that choice, or when I have the time.
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>>4925851
>I think it would be best if you were to accompany the Army of Southmark, your Highness. I mean no disrespect, but won't the presence of the Guards draw the attention of the enemy much more effectively?
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>>4926251
Riverine support is good, and if >>4926122 is to be believed, the town is further up the river from the fort, which means we could very easily take it. I don't want to have a fort on my back.

Pound the fort into submission and lightning attack the town. It's made of woodworks - our siege guns together with the paddleboats should be able to break it very easily, and because it's on an island, no danger of their garrison sallying out.
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>>4926578
>It's made of woodwork
Just to be clear, it's timber-reinforced earthworks. Mounds of earth backed by timber.

Something like picture-related in style though larger.
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>>4926668
Derp. Picture.
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>>4926668
With siege artillery it can be dealt with...though it might be wiser to target 'over' them than directly. Not much they can do if it rains slag.
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>I think it would be best if you were to accompany the Army of Southmark
>>4925860
>>4926093
>>4926464


>I welcome your inclusion, your Highness
>>4925877
>>4925906
>>4925908
>>4925954
>>4925997
>>4926251
>>4926453


Writing
>>
"I welcome your inclusion, your Highness. I'm sure my staff will be delighted to have you with us."

Donavyn smiles back. "I won't lie to you, Belmonte, this is a moment I've long anticipated. I'm tired of being holed up in Cadensa while others do all the fighting. You'll be glad for this."

"Remember, speed is of the essence," Collins re-iterates. Winnower won't be content to sit back and wait, and once he realizes my army is in poor shape to cross the Antary he'll suspect our plan."

"We'll set off tomorrow at first light," you say.

"With respect, General," Donavyn says, "Let my hussars ride the way ahead. We'll map out the best approach north and keep the army screened."

"Of course," you say, adding, "though I'll ask that you remain with me and my staff for ease of coordinating." The last thing you want is an overly aggressive amateur blundering your cavalry screen into a battle you don't want.

"Happily."

"If there's anything else, you can reach us via telegraph line," Collins says. "It's secure enough this side of the river. It will be less so once we cross, but we'll make do."

"This time next month we'll have dinner in Foebadyn, gentleman," Donavyn says, toasting his glass.

You drink, hoping he's right.

***

You ride back for your camp with a promise from the Prince that he'll join you before the march tomorrow. You have a mind to try to capture the fort and town all the same. Control of both would be ideal, provided it doesn't take too long. You imagine you'll have more information to make such a decision tomorrow, like how well garrisoned King's Island Number 5 is.

Your ride the short distance back, alone with your thoughts and the steadily mounting sound of crickets. By the time you return, the camp is settling in for the night, the raucous music and late dinners have finished. Campfires die down and men retire to their tents and blankets.

"General sir! A message for you." The courier intercepts you just outside of your tent. You resist the urge to send him away, longing for nothing but a good night's sleep. You take the letter and note the name scrawled on it.

Major Llewellyn Belmonte - 5th Artigme Cavalry

"Thank you," you dismiss the courier and push into your tent, slitting the envelope with a letter opener and sitting down to read by a lantern your adjutant has helpfully left lit for you.
>>
Father,

Greetings from the miserable north! Naught but an ocean of grass up here. It's hell for the infantry, but quite pleasant for our cavalry. It's like fighting on a chessboard. I am sure you've found time between winning battles to worry about me, so I'll assure you now that I am in good health and good spirits. The whole regiment has been well since we stopped our westward retreat a fortnight past. You understand that I can't say much, but we sense victory in the air and it smells sweet, like home.

Do tell me how little Sylas has adapted to the military life. I know he was fiercely jealous when I was commissioned without him. You may tell him that there's always a space for him as my personal bag boy if he still longs for an adventure!
At night we can see the constellations and I feel less far from home. How strange that our countrymen have quickly become our enemies. Many of the farmers here have ties with the Chartists. We see mostly women and old men here. It seems all their sons and husbands have gone to war and are off with the enemy. We feel most unwelcome in the towns and villages. I will be glad when the war is over and this animosity is past. Countrymen we were, for good or for ill, and so we shall be again. Like a bickering family, the wounds here will mend I hope in time.

I know you did your war service not far from here against the cursed Casmians. Lucky we've been so far that they haven't raised their ugly heads and taken a step across the frontier. I expect they know if they do then Chartist and Legitimist alike will be united in the cause of sending them back to their baleful kingdom. A quick end to the war!

This letter has gotten longer than I intend and I still have more to write. Give my love to Sylas. We'll see you at home soon.

-Llewellyn


You read the letter twice, savoring every line and penstroke. You'd once been a lonely young man alone in Aerthy's north on campaign, you know all too well the struggles of monotony and boredom. Satisfying yourself that you've gleaned everything you can from the letter, you begin to pen your own reply. You'll have just enough time to dispatch it before the march tomorrow.


>Make your father and country proud
>Stay safe and be prudent
>Write in
>>
>>4927090
>>Stay safe and be prudent
>>
>>4927090
>>Stay safe and be prudent
>>
>>4927090
>Stay safe and be prudent
Being Prudent is how we won at Shedford Downs
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>>4927090
>Stay safe and be prudent
>>
>>4927090
>Stay safe and be prudent

Don't die son.

A couple of things come to mind regarding the upcoming situation. One, Winnower is famed for his aggressiveness, I half expect him to already be ahead of us. It wouldn't surprise me if he launched a spoiling attack, attempted a crossing of his own to divert us into going on the defense, prepared an aggressively forward ambush, or conducted a deceptive economy in force effort to attempt to slow us down while he gathers his forces that are preparing for an offensive.

Two, while I don't know much about this era of linear warfare, I think the ease of the crossing is less of a concern than the geography and methods of logistical supply are. Like, for example, does the access to supply by river if we take the fort allow us to travel in rougher, less expected terrain along the river to push into the valley from unexpected directions? I know railways played a pretty important role in this era, so their importance is obvious. What are the advantages and disadvantages of either? Obviously with the railway we have to protect it and our supply lines when we venture from it, so I assume that constrains our movement. How does either affect our ability to maneuver? What are the differences in how effectively one supplies us versus the other method? Where do the different crossings put us in terms of terrain and relative location on the "map"? These, and many more are all things we could do with knowing, in my opinion more so than the relative difficulty in crossing or seizing either objective.

I'll stop here for fear of rambling on incoherently, but it would be good to consider some of this stuff.
>>
>>4927337
>Two
I'm resisting making a detailed map because I want this to be a decision making game and not a map staring game.

That said, when the crossing vote comes, I will provide the answers to these questions and field any others you may have, plus I may provide a very VERY rough map to give an idea of vaguely where things are in relation to one another. Sound fair?
>>
>>4927371
>want this to be a decision making game and not a map staring game.
That's fair, but it's kinda hard to make good decisions without having a full picture, ya know? Visualising helps

It certainly would have made the first thread basically impossible. I mean, you even had people discussing it by painting on the map, myself included.
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>>4927480
For major battles I will absolutely have maps. I just worry about getting bogged down in minutae of "What type of road is this. How big is this town. How many miles between these points" etc.

I'd rather present operational choices that shape the campaign and then fight battles on a tactical map.

I'll see what I can do about a campaign map for you.
>>
>>4927371
>>4927480
>>4927502
I personally find it much easier to clearly understand where our guys are, where the enemies are, where points of interest are, etc with a map than with words alone. Of course I understand if you don't want this quest to turn into a wargame, QM.
>>
>>4927371
>>4927480
>>4927502
I personally find it much easier to clearly see where our guys are, where the enemies are, where points of interest are, etc with a map than with words alone. Of course I understand if you don't want this quest to turn into a wargame, QM.
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>>4927090
>Make your father and country proud
>>
>>4927371
That is more than fair. To be clear my questions were just details that I thought relevant to discuss, and if I came off as leading in my tone I meant it to be implying that we could do with descriptions in regards to those details. I didn't mean to demand them, nor would I expect you to go through the effort of making a detailed physical map, you put in enough effort already.

I've already lurked in enough of your quests to know you aren't the sort of QM to quibble over the exact number of turbolasers each ship holds and their respective power output in watts or whatever, we're probably better off for it.

A general picture of the situation and some other details will do just fine whether painted in words or literal digital paint.
>>
No update today. Real life sucker punched me and I have a ton I need to do. I'll continue on Friday, sorry guys
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>>4928454
It's fine, real life comes first. Take care.
>>
>Stay safe and be prudent


Writing
>>
You stay up later into the night than you intended, penning a heartfelt reply. You've been in Llewelyn's shoes before, or close enough to it. You were also a brash young man once, and you know the sorts of foolish risks such young men will take.

You think of the final words you wrote as you drift to sleep.

Stay safe and be prudent, my son. Prudence is a more befitting quality to an officer than raw aggression. Look after your men and they will look after you. We will see one another again at home before long.

Your loving father.


Morning comes early to an army camp, doubly so when that army is on the move.

Sergeants shout and corral privates into neat columns and rows. Weapons are inspected, gear assembled. Tents are broken down and bedrolls packed for the march. You sit astride Cold Steel along with your command staff and watch each regiment form up and march into column, turning north on the main road. Fifes and drums play at the head of each unit and banners wave proudly. Most units carry the grey-field and white cross of the Legitimists, others carry the white rose banner of the Army of Antary, others have ensigns and flags of their home duchies and provinces. Men from across Aerthys are gathered into this grand host. This army is the largest of the Legitimist armies, the largest army you've ever commanded, and it will be the instrument of the Chartists' destruction.

After a time, you watch General Maddocks command staff going north with his corps. You salute them and fix eyes on Sylas. They return the salute. It might be wishful thinking, but your son seems in better spirits. Perhaps the excitement of the coming campaign has him in a good mood. You hope it lasts once the shooting starts.

Eventually you and your own staff join the march. The ride is dreadful and monotonous. More than anything, you think, a soldier's ability to march is tied to his ability to win. These men have had stamina worked into them, like tempered steel. The soft-footed, short-breathed men of Shedford Downs who fainted in droves in the dry heat are gone. The men in your command now, though hardly limitless in their energy, are used to hardship and toil now. They march with purpose and determination more than with short-sighted vigor as they had early in the war.
>>
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The march north takes a couple of days. They are uneventful, just an endless stretch of walking followed by short, but welcome respites of rest.

Each passing day brings you closer to your decision point. Aerrol or King's Island Number Five.

The island was considered waste land before the war, just a slip of earth between two banks of water. After the war, Chartist engineers had erected a primitive fortification there. It was nothing compared to the star forts outside Foebadyn but it was enough to block river traffic by virtue of its guns. In a contest between ship and island, there was no chance for the ship, islands cannot be sunk.

With the power of your siege guns you can reduce the fort to surrender likely in a day or so. Bombardment will take time as will assembling the guns. The garrison of the island is likely negligible. Perhaps a couple brigades worth of men at worst. Donavyn's Hussars lead the advance of your army just ahead of Moers' cavalry scouts and as yet have had no contact with the enemy. The island is also out of the way. If you wish to divert the whole army to reduce the fort before turning north again for Aerrol it will take time.

Aerrol is a substantial town that sits beside a fairly tame crossing point for the river. There shouldn't be any enemy presence there, but you've begun to have second thoughts about your opponent. Winnower is a shrewd man and might very well be baiting you into this attack. The matter remains for now, how best to handle this?


>Divert the whole army to reduce King's Island Number 5 before turning back and continuing to Aerrol
>Split the army. Part to deal with the island and part to deal with the town
>We'll bypass the island and continue for Aerrol
>Write in
>>
>>4929997
>>Split the army. Part to deal with the island and part to deal with the town
>>
I don't think splitting the army is a good idea - this smells of ambush to me. It feels simply too convenient - an easily unprotected town across a river which holds a train directly to the capital? I don't like the look of it.

Perhaps, we could firs take King's Island, and then use our naval advantage to be able to more easily deal with Aerrol?
>>
>>4929997
I hesitate to make a decision again. I'll mention some thoughts I guess.

Split armies move faster than a single army moving together, assuming both armies aren't stuck on the same road or pathway as if they were a single army. This is the beginning of the campaign and ideally we would take advantage of the strategic surprise by moving fast and therefore splitting our army. Since both crossings could hypothetically be taken easily based off the latest information it would appear as if taking both simultaneously rather than sequentially would be ideal.

Nonetheless, I'll mention the possibility that splitting our army could make it so we could be defeated in detail. I do not think this is likely this early on in the campaign regardless of how skilled or aggressive Bevin Winnower is. Our intelligence may not be complete but its conclusion seems relatively sound, even if he or other commander did make a blind guess anticipating our moves they would still be uncertain and operating on hopefully more or less the same lack of information as us, plus they would need time to mobilize if they did indeed spend the winter gathering strength. That and Collins demonstration should hopefully distract them.

Winnower could also be in a different area of operations, like attempting to take Dukensk.

As for supply, based on the map I guess railway is faster and more reliable but is a vulnerability that could put us in dire straits if severed, whereas the supply by river is slower since they would have to travel on foot by road after crossing, but the boats could cross anywhere and take any number of paths or roads, allowing us more freedom without fear of having the route severed.

I'll hesitantly vote...
>Split the army. Part to deal with the island and part to deal with the town
>>
>>4929997
>Split the army. Part to deal with the island and part to deal with the town
>Write in
Main effort on Kings Island, diversionary march to Aerrol, then once the island is taken we blow the railroad bridge on our side and invade over the river.

I genuinely don't like the Aerrol route, it has two bridges that can be disabled and cut off our supply route as we invade further in, even if it is the only railroad line. Plus whatever route we don't take can be used by the enemy to match behind us. At least taking the island would give a small garrison a chance to protect the rear.

A sizable group will head north and prepare and pretend to make it seem like we are attacking the town as well. As soon as the Island surrenders however we destroy the railroad bridge here without actually attacking and march everything over.
>>
>>4930044
This is a good point, some forward ambush or spoiling attack or at least a delaying economy in force effort should be expected. The only reason that the railway being directly connected to the objective city doesn't spark louder alarm bells to me is that Collins thought Winnower was gathering strength for an offensive, the hope is that we have the initiative.

That being said, we could easily be talking ourselves out of our advantages, by hesitating we could be losing valuable time thinking the enemy is stronger or more dangerous than they actually are. Not to mention we have an experienced cavalry corps with Moers, plus the Hussar Guards. We should be able to scout ahead of both elements adequately. If they find a overly-strong enemy in one location or a seemingly weak enemy in terrain that could obfuscate a larger force hiding in ambush, we would ideally decline battle in favour of regrouping with our other element in order to deal with it.

Or perhaps we could do something to try and throw them off, like take the River Fort, cross over, and try and take the town from the other side, perhaps we would catch their hypothetical ambush out of position.
>>
>>4929997
>>Split the army. Part to deal with the island and part to deal with the town

Leave one corps and the siege guns to reduce the fort and continue on with the rest of the men to take the town. Perhaps leave some cav on hand as well, scouts to keep eyes up and down the river.

If nothing else, it will prevent a crossing here and attack in our rear.
>>
>>4929997
Also quick clarification TK, the object I've is to conquer and hold Foebadyn right? Not just destroy the industry and enemy units there? Because if this is a smash and grab we may not want to destroy and bridge.
>>
>>4930098
Capture and hold, correct. It's a vital staging area for securing this part of the country.

You CAN just smash and grab if you want, but that's not the plan.
>>
>>4929997
>Split the army. Part to deal with the island and part to deal with the town
>>
>>4929997
>>Divert the whole army to reduce King's Island Number 5 before turning back and continuing to Aerrol

Let's excite and motivate our army by giving them a swift and decisive early victory against the Chartist fort!
>>
>>4930029
>>4930080
>>4930084
>>4930097
>>4930104

Anons, please. If you have read any history, you would know that splitting your army is the number one thing you DON'T do. The enemy will be able to attack one half of our army with their full army while our other half is away. It would negate any numerical advantage we may have.
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>>4930126
The alternative is leaving an opening for us to be flanked and potentially have our supply cut. That's why I advocate a smaller force taking the fort and holding the river fort until we can link up after taking the town, to attempt taking each spot in detail would mean losing the initiative.
>>
>>4929997
>Split the army. Part to deal with the island and part to deal with the town

do we really need a whole army for a "primitive fortification"? We got the siege guns might as well used them, not to mention the gunboats
>>
>>4929997
>We'll bypass the island and continue for Aerrol
>4930126
Gotta agree here, we already have a diversionary force.
>>
>>4930133
Well we only need to reduce the fort to rubble and blow the bridge on their side to prevent escape right? We can rebuild them if need be.

So larger force to the city while maybe one division or regiment to stay with the guns would work fine since I doubt they are going to appear out of nowhere with paddle boats.

Suppose we can check the bridges for explosives to see if it is indeed a trap.

It is also likely we can take the city before a response can be had, even if there is a strong enemy presence nearby in hiding, its likely the will ambush us on the way to Foebaddyn, maybe after the bridge past Aerrol.

>>4929997
>Split the army. Part to deal with the island and part to deal with the town
>Write in
Most of the Army goes.
>>
>>4930251
Post mentions that ships don't fare well against the island.

I suppose if possible we can knock out the guns on the fort and have the Navy do a bombardment and landing right after if they have the ability.
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>>4930262
Who knows, siege guns bombarding the island may be enough to induce a surrender.
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>>4930262
>Post mentions that ships don't fare well against the island.

by themselves yeah but all we have to do is knock out the guns it's not like the poor bastards manning the fort are going to do any damage without them
>>
Split 'em. Securing the flank of the march unto Aerrol will be worth thrice the effort once we round the bend and march for Foebaddyn. Controlling that stretch of river will allow for use of the bridges to throughput reinforcements even if the railway through Aerrol is cut.
>>
I'll switch my vote to >>4930084

>>4930126
Yes, us being defeated in detail is a potential thing that could happen, but as already mentioned there are reasons to split our army. Nor is being defeated in detail guaranteed or even necessarily likely, our army could potentially refuse battle and simply link back up.

Furthermore your assertion that "splitting your army is the number one thing you DON'T do" is INCREDIBLY reductive and simplistic. There are way too many possible to list instances where you would logically split your army, depending on what you mean by split. Marching is faster when force elements are split, this is a absolute fact, it is one of the only ways that armies in muscle powered eras with no cars or whatever can move substantially faster and be more agile aside from incredibly obvious stuff like "use roads" and "have troops that have more endurance" and "ditch gear and supplies to walk longer and faster". Not to mention obvious maneuvers that often require you to split your force like flanking or sending forces to distract an enemy elsewhere to get them to react and split their own forces or any other maneuver that obviously requires you to separate your force into separate elements and send them to places apart from one another.

>>4930251
I don't intend to contest you or anything, I agree with you.

However I do take issue with your dismissal of the fortifications, I may not know a ton about linear warfare or mid 1800's warfare, but timber and earth fortifications shouldn't be dismissed. Depending on how well they are made and how thick the earth is, it could take a while.

Things aren't necessarily better because they are advanced or worse because they are primitive. Earthworks in Afghanistan have stopped everything from 50.cal rounds to literal 120mm sabots fired from tanks, people literally survived in earthwork shelters only a few feet thick a short distance away from aircraft delivered bombs, it depends on the composition of the material and thickness among many other things I'm sure, but the point is just because it is just dirt doesn't mean it couldn't hold us up.
>>
>>4929997

What if for a write in we just reconnaissance the area and have the boats help offload spies and scouts to the other side? That way we aren't stumbling in the fog of war?
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>>4930441
Why blow up the main logistical path for us to supply the forts? We need to take the forts, and be able to supply and support them. We can blow them up from our side if we have to.
>>
I mean arent we supposed to be taking the city because its a logistics hub
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>>4930468
I guess? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think railways are relatively easy to repair, right? At least in the timeframe that I imagine, after we take the city and presumably defeat any relevant nearby opposing force we can surely repair them before the next phase.

I guess my worry isn't about supplying the forts after the campaign is already done, I was more thinking about which route I prefer and whether the enemy could use the railway against us. Just because the we consider ourselves to be on the offensive doesn't mean the enemy doesn't also intend to go on the offense too.
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>>4930563
It's not that easy. Those are railroads, we don't have the time to stop and play bob the builder. We should be fighting an lightning campaign here. We need to take King's Island, then Aerrol for the train, which we'll NEED when we get to the actual siege of Foebadyn, which has two star fortress and lays way too far from any river.
>>
>>4930679
>>4929997
Okay, I'll switch my vote back to the normal version of...
>Split the army. Part to deal with the island and part to deal with the town
>>
>>4930441
>However I do take issue with your dismissal of the fortifications

Sorry I didn't mean to come off as arrogant. My position has been and still is; we don't need to divert a whole ~100k man army for a relatively "weak" fort. I was just using words from the post to draw attention to how much of an overreaction it would be to do so.
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>>4931442
Sure, I understand, no need to apologize. I just wanted to clarify. Sorry if I came off as patronizing to either you or the other anon I was responding to.
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>>4929997
Why are we marching when there's a railroad?

Anyways splitting the army is very bad idea. Imagine getting ambushed from rear by regulars unloaded from rail wagons while we are fucking around King's Island.

>We'll bypass the island and continue for Aerrol
Send some cavs to scout King's Island tho.
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>>4931886
>Why are we marching when there's a railroad?
You don't own the other end of the rail road or know exactly what's there. Without a rail head to load/unload from, you'd be driving blindly into a potentially hostile area and then may discover you have nowhere to offload/turn around. You have to control both ends of the rail road in order to use it. Once you secure Aerrol you can use the railroad to shuttle supplies and men.
>>
>Split the army. Part to deal with the island and part to deal with the town
>>4930029
>>4930084
>>4930097
>>4930104
>>4930251
>>4930259
>>4930287
>>4931429

There seems to be some dissent on the best way of dealing with these two targets, so I'll conduct a more detailed follow up.

Writing
>>
>Split the army. Part to deal with the island and part to deal with the town
>>4930029
>>4930084
>>4930097
>>4930104
>>4930251
>>4930259
>>4930287
>>4931429


Writing
>>
Both targets, the railhead at the town, and the bridges at the island, are too important to ignore and you don't have the time to take them separately. You'll split your army and take them both. With four full corps you have more than enough manpower to do that. Likewise, your army will march faster when not packed and strung out for miles along this one road. Between your siege guns and the guns of the riverine flotilla, you have more than enough firepower to reduce the fort with little risk to yourself, though it will take time.

You begin to tentatively draw up marching orders as you near the crossroad that will see your army divided.

The morning of the day you intend to split, a troop of cavalry arrives at your headquarters. Camp is only just beginning to break down with the first golden rays of morning sun beginning to break over the hills to the east.

The riders that enter your camp are visibly quite different than Moers' diverse bands. They wear ornate uniforms with an abundance of golden braid tracing the hems of their cloaks and wrapping the buttons on their tunics. The curving scabbards of their sabers rattle and bounce as they canter for you and the barrels of their carbines are polished to a mirror shine. These are the Hussar Guards.

Drawn by the commotion, your command staff including the prince emerge to gather around you.

The leader of the cavalry troop, a captain, salutes the Prince. "Highness!" He salutes you next. "General Belmonte, good morning. I trust you slept well." His tone is jovial but you sense a barbed insult for not having set out before the dawn. You don't have time for trivial contests with men high on their own self-importance.
>>
"Captain, you bring news?"

"We've reconnoitered the crossing to King's Island Number Five."

"And?"

"As expected, the enemy hold the island in force. At least two brigade's worth of men in earthworks."

None of this is new information to you, you'd expected as much.

"We've also confirmed sir that the bridges are intact."

You are taken aback. "Intact?"

"Pristine and ready to be crossed, sir!" the captain reports.

"Why would they not have burned them?" Your adjutant asks you.

"We've taken them unawares by speed," Donavyn says. "They hadn't expected us so soon."

You shake your head. "It doesn't make sense. The enemy would have destroyed the bridges just in case we might come through." You hesitate. "Unless."

"Sir?" Your adjutant asks.

"Unless the enemy wanted them intact. Surely they know we're not foolish enough to cross bridges under the guns of a fort. They may be planning to use them for their own offensive."

Prince Donavyn frowns, "You've been at war too long, sir. You discount the enemy having made a mistake. They aren't infallible."

"No," you agree. "They aren't. But neither are we. What of the bridges at Aerrol?"

"My men haven't yet scouted that far, sir," the hussar reports.

You look to your staff. "Intact bridges. By mistake or design, if we can suppress the fort and reduce it by fire, we might take them intact and cross quickly to the other side."

"Does this change our plans, sir?" your Adjutant asks.

"No," you say the word bitterly. The die is already cast, you've issued orders both to your armies and to the rail depots back in Cadensa. You have to follow through or else you risk throwing your army into disarray.

"Have we made contact with the riverine flotilla?" you ask.

"Via heliograph," your adjutant confirms. "The commodore reports ready to sail. They will move in with the sound of our guns and begin to reduce the fort."

Aerrol lies farther out, far enough that your scouts won't report back until you've already passed King's Island Number Five. You had intended to simply allow Harlan's corps to stay and handle the fort, but now you've been given pause. With intact bridges, it may be easier to cross with your main force here than whatever the situation may be at Aerrol. It may also indicate a coming enemy attack, so you might want to leave a stronger force here. However, if there turns out to be an enemy presence at Aerrol despite expectations it could be problematic to weaken that effort.


>Leave Harlan's corps to handle the island and march on to Aerrol with the other three
>Split the army in half, 2 corps to each
>Send only Maddock's corps to take Aerrol and cross at King's Island with the other three
>Write in
>>
>>4934174
>>Leave Harlan's corps to handle the island and march on to Aerrol with the other three

We should also detach some cav so that he may have eyes and ears.

In all honesty, a corps with gun boats and heavy artillery shouldn't have any issue holding bridges if attacked.
>>
>>4934174
>Leave Harlan's corps to handle the island and march on to Aerrol with the other three
>>
>>4934199
At the same time, it is very suspicious that they'd leave it completely unprotected, considering that there's an direct way into the other side. I believe it might be wiser to keep more troops down at the islands, isn't it?

What if they are, in fact, planning on taking us by the rear? I don't like it one bit. We should leave mroe soldiers there
>>
>>4934174
>Leave Harlan's corps to handle the island and march on to Aerrol with the other three
>>
>>4934271
Perhaps detach one of the cav divisions?
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>>4934379
For defense? We should be using the cav on aerrol, not here. Keep some infantry to hold the artillery's position. If the enemy try to cross, destroy the bridge.

Better to make it harder to cross than to have a battle. Our siege guns should handle the fort easily, but we must avoid a pitched battle when our forces are divided.
>>
>>4934174
>Send only Maddock's corps to take Aerrol and cross at King's Island with the other three

I still think King's Island should be the main effort and a token force sent to Aerrol, mostly to disable the bridge so we don't get attacked from that direction once we cross.

I only hope that if we leave a small force here that the bridge will act as a bottleneck for any surprise enemy army attacking that way.
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>>4934414
Well, what if there is a crossing we dont know about? Cav would be the best aid in that case, as well, once they reduce the fort they'll be able to use the cav to scout on the other side of the river.
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>>4934174
>Split the army in half, 2 corps to each

If we send three of our four corps to one place, then the remaining corp will get attacked and destroyed; two corps have a fighting chance. This is the reason why I said it is a bad idea to split our army in the first place.
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>>4934174
Hmm, I think it best to commit 3 corps to one location rather than splitting them evenly. Either to deal with the unknown situation at Aeroll while leaving the option for the other corps to destroy the bridge or fight a defensive battle at King's Island or to potentially swiftly take the fort and cross while possibly taking care of an attempt to flank around by the enemy and come up on the element of our forces heading up to Aeroll, the element going to Aeroll could attempt to refuse battle if it comes upon a strong force.

Though, I imagine that if an enemy attack were coming, it would come by Aeroll not the island, since if you were intending on swiftly attacking or rushing to get into position for an ambush surely you would use the faster method of transportation.

Also, they may hypothetically be thinking we may attempt to cross our entire army at the first crossing we scout that has intact infrastructure, perhaps they mean to come up upon us from the other way while we are focused on one direction.

Regardless of me thinking the potential danger from Aeroll may be greater, I'd still rather cross with the majority of our forces at the fort. If they have a presence at Aeroll, our unit heading there can make the decision to engage or disengage, but if the enemy cross at the island while we take the bulk of our forces to Aeroll we could be trapped between to armies with our way back to friendly territory blocked.

>Send only Maddock's corps to take Aerrol and cross at King's Island with the other three
>>
>>4934174
>Send only Maddock's corps to take Aerrol and cross at King's Island with the other three
>>
>>4934174
>Leave Harlan's corps to handle the island and march on to Aerrol with the other three
>>
>Leave Harlan's corps to handle the island and march on to Aerrol with the other three
>>4934199
>>4934219
>>4934329
>>4934965
>Send only Maddock's corps to take Aerrol and cross at King's Island with the other three
>>4934463
>>4934777
>>4934834


>Split the army in half, 2 corps to each
>>4934735


>Attack Aerrol with 3 corps and leave 1 at King's Island
Writing
>>
"Good," you say. "Good. Then General Harlan will deploy with his corps to ensure the fort is reduced in a timely manner while the rest of the army will march on to Aerrol and secure the rail head."

Your word is made into order by your staff and the marching orders are update. Harlan's corps will be detached along with the siege train to deal with the fort. You'll be separated by a few days march at least, but Harlan is well equipped for holding out on his own.

Your army reaches the crossroads in time and you discover a quaint, sparsely populated town. A single banner flies from the magistrate's office steeple, a white cross of the Legitimists. You hope to yourself that it's an honest gesture of support, but could just as easily be a ploy intended to save their town the ravages of an army on the march.

Women, children, and old men watch your men march past from porches and through shuttered windows. The mood is more tense curiosity than jubilation. These people know enough of war to know that it's no parade.

A simple two-story hotel becomes your makeshift headquarters. From the second floor balcony you're well positioned to observe the movements of your army. Their white uniforms are stained a dirty khaki from road dust, the cuffs of their trousers are closer to brown, while their tunics are a greyer shade. Bayonets glint in the sun and canteens rattle against ammo pouches and metal buckles.
>>
Beside you, General Harlan and his staff crowd onto the balcony with you, reviewing the map of the region.

"We'll be awful alone while you're off, General," Harlan says, sounding more bitter than afraid. Harlan is a hot and cold officer, sometimes capable of amazing feats of boldness, other times proline to inaction. Even so, you've commanded him since Shedford Downs and he's loved by his soldiers who call him 'Grandpa Red' though he's scarcely over fifty.

"I wouldn't call twenty-five thousand souls 'alone'," you correct with a smile. "I've also left you a brigade of Pellen's cavalry and the siege train. You'll make short work of the fort, just ensure you keep an eye out for a relief force."

"About that, sir," Harlan presses. "The fort's no obstacle. Not really. We'll blow her sky high and be done in time for dinner. I'm more worried about what comes next." He indicates his position on the map. "Once you cross the Antary after Aerrol, you've got a couple days march to get here-" he indicates a crossroads on the other side of the river. "That's a might bit away from here. What I mean to say is, if we stay on this side of the river, we'll be a day's march from your position. When we take the fort should we stay on this side of the river and wait until we get a courier from you or should we march across and wait for you there?"

If you leave Harlan on this side of the Antary river his corps will be safer from unexpected attack, but he'll be much farther from your army once you cross. If you have him cross once he's finished, his corps will ideally be waiting for your army when you get there, unless he encounters problems.

You might shorten the time you're separated if you have Harlan cross the river and march north through the farmland there, though the map doesn't indicate major roads, your men would have to follow cattle-tracks and footpaths to get to the rail bridge you'll be coming over. It's rough going, especially with a siege train in tow, but will expose them to less of hostile country. You're not sure what shape they'll be in after a march like that.


>Wait for a courier, I can't have you wander into trouble
>Cross and find a defensible position near the crossroads to hold until we arrive
>Cross and then march north along the river, it will be hard march, but we can't risk you being caught out
>Write in
>>
>>4935575
>>Wait for a courier, I can't have you wander into trouble

We already took a risk by slipping a corp off from the rest of our army.
>>
>>4935575
>>Wait for a courier, I can't have you wander into trouble

We already took a risk by splitting a corp off from the rest of our army.
>>
>Wait for a courier, I can't have you wander into trouble
It's way too risky otherwise, if they remain their position would be well-defended, and with the siege artillery any attack on them would be suicidal. Better to wait for a courier - we're not THAT short on time.
>>
>>4935575
>Wait for a courier, I can't have you wander into trouble
>Write in
Lay Cable lines on our side of the river.
>>
>>4935575
>Cross and find a defensible position near the crossroads to hold until we arrive
>>
>>4935640
Telegraph lines already follow alongside the rail road tracks.
>>
>>4935575
>Wait for a courier, I can't have you wander into trouble
>>
>>4935575
>>Wait for a courier, I can't have you wander into trouble

Honestly my main concern has always been the possibility of the enemy using this crossing to hit us in the back and cut our supply lines.
>>
>>4935674
So our messages can reach Harlan in seconds?
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>>4935572
>>Wait for a courier, I can't have you wander into trouble

At the very least we'll know this supply route will be safe.
>>
>>4935575
>Wait for a courier, I can't have you wander into trouble
>>
>>4935763
Harlan won't be sitting on a rail line, and neither will you if you stop following the rail road. Otherwise, yes, it is a quick way to contact him
>>
>>4935575
>>Wait for a courier, I can't have you wander into trouble

I wonder what would happen if the entire enemy army decided to march across the bridges to try and take out our Siege artillery.

Also that forest to the south could be hiding units, or could protect them from being seen if they cross there. We need scouts to check all the forests near our march to see if there are any units.
>>
>>4936255
We can put men on either end of the Rail ine and have them run back and forth with messages.
>>
>>4936328
Yeah, there would be couriers in place, my only point is that it would take more than seconds to get a message from one army to the other.
>>
>Wait for a courier, I can't have you wander into trouble

Writing
>>
Beneath the hotel balcony, a fresh regiment of soldiers marches by. None of them take any note of you and simply trudge on, heads down, shoulders slumped beneath the weight of their packs and weapons. Just behind them comes a pair of mess wagons carrying rations and cooking implements. The mules snort and the wheels creak as it thumps through a pothole in the road.

"You'll remain on this side of the Antary, General," you caution. "If the enemy should appear, you can center yourself on the bridge. Between the fort and the gunboats, they will be hard-pressed to cross at you."

"Yes, sir, but the distance between us-"

"By the time it matters, we will have taken Aerrol, the rail head there, and the telegraph lines. We will send a message to you when it is time to act, of that you can rest assured."

Harlan looks no less assured. He looks like a fretful old man to you in this moment. Perhaps the source of the 'grandpa' nickname. "I trust you, sir."

"And I you," you say with utmost confidence. The two of your exchange a firm handshake.

"I'd best be on my way. We have ground to cover," Harlan says and then leaves with his staff with no further fanfare.

You wait until he's left before addressing your adjutant. "Our march?"

"The lead elements of IV Corps are on their way now behind a screen of Moers' cavalry and the Hussars."

"Very good." You check the time on your pocket watch. You're holding to the timetable. "Very good."
>>
Later on, toward the end of the day, you can just faintly hear the faint boom of your siege guns beginning the arduous process of reducing the fort on King's Island Number 5. Unless there are any unexpected changes, the fort's surrender is inevitable.

You sleep soundly that night, aided by the exhaustion that accompanies a long ride. There is no singing or music in the camp, the men hardly have time to lay out their bedrolls before sleep takes them.

The next morning is more lively. After a report from your cavalry scouts, you ride with haste to the head of the column and Van Rosser's corps. Your command staff accompanying you have their side arms drawn and you all ride behind the fluttering banner of your army.

Van Rosser and his staff await you in the shade of an orchard nestled in a depression behind a hill. "Lord General," he greets with a very un-militaristic tip of his cap. "An unexpected development." The twinkle in his eye makes it seem as though he welcomes the surprise.

"So I've heard," you say, sourly. "Show me."

"This way, sir."

Collectively, you ascend the hill with your horses until you come within sight of the river below, half a mile away. Just beyond it are the white-faced shops and houses of Aerrol, centered squarely on a narrow stone bridge that crosses the river. You feel some relief that the bridge is intact but that's tempered by what you know lurks around it. Raising your brass field glasses, you survey the town's waterfront.

The burgundy uniforms of Chartist soldiers are visible here and there around the makeshift defensive works they've erected along the waterfront around the bridge. Barrels, bags of flour and feed, and wooden crates are piled chest high to create fighting positions, you even spy a few muzzles of cannons. Beyond them are the flags of the enemy fluttering proudly.

"Seems the Usurpers knew we might try here," Van Rosser says, lighting a pipe.

You grimace. "How many?"

"The Crown Prince's vaunted Hussars think there's only a brigade or so. They extend both ways along the river, they're watching all the crossings as near as we can tell."

"But we need this one," you say. Taking the bridge intact is vital if you're to get your army across the river with any sort of speed. You have the materials to make pontoon bridges but that will take time, time that could be used moving men. You saw the results of an army bottlenecking at a small bridge at Shedford and you have no desire to be on the receiving end of that.

"A brigade?" you say.

Van Rosser nods. "We can drive them back with weight of numbers alone, it's just going to take some time I think."

"Have they checked the other fords? If the enemy thinks we may cross them, then perhaps we can use them."

Van Rosser shakes his head. "We have no idea what condition they're in or how deep they are without trying them. Could be quite an ordeal to cross. The enemy is spread along the river, but they may just be pickets ensuring no one sneaks across."
>>
"It's sure they've seen enough of our army to sound the alarm," you say. "A telegram back to Foebaddyn is all it takes and if they have more forces in the area, they'll be converging on the river."

"I agree," Van Rosser says. "I suggest we strike now. I was going to have my men torch the waterfront. We have rowboats for the crossing, as well as the bridge, but if we set fire to the waterfront then we might flush the Usurpers out before they have a chance to mount an efficient defense."

"What about the rail head?"

"It's outside of town," Van Rosser says. "No risk of being caught in the conflagration, my Lord."

Taking time to probe possible fords with skirmishers and scouts is the more cautious option, though if there are enemy reserves in the area, it will grant them more time to reinforce the enemy line. If a suitable ford is found, men will have to be crossed over and then try to sweep the town from the flanks. That's if a ford is found.

Van Rosser's plan of setting fire to the town will certainly drive the defenders out, but it would also be an act of barbarity against a civilian target.

You could order the crossing with only light cannonade to cover it, but the first men over are sure to take heavy losses. As Van Rosser says, a strung out brigade has no chance of stopping a concerted attack on your part, but they could inflict otherwise preventable losses to your men.


>Set fire to the town and then begin your attack, General
>Begin the attack, but do what you can to spare the town
>Let's not rush this, take time to check for fords, we'll have to risk the enemy reinforcing
>Write in
>>
>>4936745
>>Let's not rush this, take time to check for fords, we'll have to risk the enemy reinforcing
>>
>>4936745
>Write in

Cross at the fort?
>>
>>4936745
>>Let's not rush this, take time to check for fords, we'll have to risk the enemy reinforcing

We want to TAKE Aerrol, not raze it.
>>
>>4936745
>Begin the attack, but do what you can to spare the town

Speed is of the essence, we should not waste time and strike before they are reinforced or they get the chance to develop their defences more. Our men can scout the fords for alternate routes while we do so.

Our cavalry should've already scouted the nearby hills and the forest on the map on our side of the river to prevent us from being ambushed, so I'm not worried about being suddenly flanked while in the middle of a crossing.

While we will lose more men for taking the high road and not destroying civilian targets, in my mind we have no cause to destroy them for the uncertain possibility that it may blush out hidden defenders, we don't want a resistance to form and compromise our supply lines from the rear after we move deeper into enemy territory. That, and we will possibly lose more men to the reinforcements if they are given time to get here, better to conduct a hasty attack against a numerically weak foe with incomplete defense than hold out hope for an undefended crossing against an enemy on the defence who has had time to setup pickets and likely has local knowledge of the nearby fords.
>>
>>4936855
How many men will we lose if we just have them cross so blindly? Aerrol is a pitstop, we can't afford to lose a whole goddamn brigade when we haven't even gotten to the real battle at Foebadyn
>>
>>4936890
>How many men will we lose?

Traditional wisdom says the attacker needs at least 3 times the number of the defenders force to successfully beat them, so I reckon that we will take at least twice the number of casualties of the defenders, probably more, especially since this is a river crossing utilizing boats plus the choke-point of the bridge itself.

There are some mitigating factors, for one we have spotted only a few cannons in position, seemingly not all of them are in position yet and their makeshift defenses are composed of bags of flour and some wood, that will stop a few bullets but not cannon fire. Two, we should outgun them MASSIVELY, we have 3 fucking corps here, presumably with the appropriate number of cannons to go with that, we can absolutely suppress the defenders to hell and back.

Furthermore, we can scout for fords with some of our men while also attacking, we have a fucking huge army, we can do more than one thing at the time. Yes, we could do these things sequentially, but we'd lose time doing so. Yes, by doing these things simultaneously we risk pointlessly losing some men to the assault and then discovering a usable ford that we could use to flank the fortifications.

However, I doubt luck will line up for us so conveniently that we will find a ford, that is currently shallow enough for us to cross, while also being undefended when the enemy should have local knowledge of all the crossings. Furthermore, even if we find one and either force our way through the enemy defending it or get lucky and find no one defending it, scouts or patrols could discover us and they can redeploy faster than we can cross by virtue of not having to cross a river and through a relatively narrow ford, thus we may end up like the enemy did attempting to cross the bridge at Shedford Downs.
>>
>>4936745
>>Let's not rush this, take time to check for fords, we'll have to risk the enemy reinforcing
>>
>>4936745
>Write in
Attack but focus all cannon fire on a single on the othor side of the bridge.

Alternatively do we have smoke producing cannonballs we can shoot to screen our forces?
>>
>>4937071
On a single what, Anon?

And you don't have smoke rounds per se. But the enemy's gun fire will produce a smoke screen effect. This is black powder era.
>>
>>4936745
>>Write in
Just cross at the fort. This is at most a distraction and we can't use the railroads to invade.
Sure it would be nice to have them for resupply but they lead right to the star forts anyways and the delays we face into the town ably demonstrate just how vulnerable a supply route it is.

We pull a Caesar and make it look like we're cautiously probing ways across, while marching the same few brigades we leave behind to make it appear that we're digging in and gettign ready to swarm them. Meanwhile we march back to the bridge, hoping that the Fartists deploy units in reinforcing a town we don't even want.

It might even give us a chance to bottle any remaining enemy at Aerrol while we march to Foebadyn.
>>
>>4936745
>Set fire to the town and then begin your attack, General
>>
>>4936745
>Begin the attack, but do what you can to spare the town
>Send message to Harlan - if theres no further resistance to take positions on the other side of river
>>
>>4937236
Single point, missing word there.

Like say cannon and its crew, a group of bunched up soldiers, or barricades and defensive positions that look particularly troublesome. Aim all of our guns at one target firing all at once.
>>
>Let's not rush this
>>4936790
>>4936839
>>4937030

Begin the attack, but do what you can to spare the town
>>4936855
>>4937071
>>4937553


>Set fire to the town and then begin your attack, General
>>4937484


>Turn around and march back to Harlan at the fort
>>4937375


I'm going to Seems roughly split evenly between "attack the town now" and "Check for fords"

I'll lump the "Burn the town" vote in with "Attack town directly since it's the same ultimate goal.


>Attack the town directly
Writing
>>
"We'd better move now before they have a chance to dig in further," you say. You know your order is consigning men to death, but that's the game of war: weighing lives against gains. "Let's press them quickly and clear back the enemy from the bridge before they have the chance to do something foolish."

"And the town?"

You look back toward Aerrol's waterfront. It's a handsome looking town, a simple trade hub nestled at the mouth of a valley. It would be a shame to put it to the torch. "Do what you can to spare it," you say. "There will be no burning."

Van Rosser looks back toward the town, shrugs, and then salutes. "Aye, sir. As you say."

"Have your lead division press in on them. Once we get a foothold we must push hard, sir," you press.

"You can consider it done, Lord General. I'll get my best men on this."

You can see the brigades of Kincaid's division shaking out into hurried lines, forming up to the tune of fifes and clash of drums. Those men have a hell of a fight ahead of them.
>>
You are Colonel Ambrose Jenner, commanding officer of the 12th Debyn Vyre Infantry Regiment. Your regiment - like most of the IV Corps - hails from the south coast of Aerthys among the bayous and rivers. The 12th in particular was raised from the fishermen and trappers of the a hamlet called Maenen. They're a clos-knit bunch, all familiar with each other from before the war. They're fathers and sons, brothers, cousins, neighbors, employers, friends, and rivals. The regiment had been blooded at Petyr's Mill, but hadn't gotten truly in the thick of it until Cedar Mountain. You'd lost good men that day. Men that would never go home, lives that would never be repaired.

As commander of the 12th, you're responsible for the well-being of six hundred and twenty one souls, yourself included.

You're one of four regiments from the swamps in Ramble's brigade, Kincaid's division, Van Rosser's IV Corps, the Army of the Antary.

"Whimple, step back, get in line son, act like you have some sense," you chide the young man who'd fallen out of line.

"S-sorry, colonel!" He throws a sketchy salute at you.

Whimple is a scrawny teenager, not quite a man yet, though it's hard to begrudge him that since his father had fallen at Cedar Mountain to a Chartist's musket ball yet this youth remained.

"Lines are meant to be straight," you say before giving a smile, telegraphing that you're teasing.

He clutches his rifle nervously and grins back.

The triple boom of a gun battery firing off wipes the smile off his face and makes him flinch reflexively.

You move on down the line, greeting men and trading hellos. These men are a rough lot. Not a one of the men old enough to shave have done son. The oldest among them have long beards stained by tobacco spit, the younger ones have cheeks covered in short bristles and abortive evidence of mustaches and goatees.

Their kit is ramshackle given their poor background. A lot of the gear they carry was 'liberated' from Chartists who wouldn't be needing it anymore. Of no shortage are weapons. The 12th had first gone into battle with shotguns and old flintlocks. Since then you'd gotten your hands on modern rifled muskets and bayonets, though many of your men preferred the implement they were more familiar with.

From nearly every belt hangs a battered leather scabbard housing a deadly machet. Machets were the surest way to get around in the dense foliage back home, and they cleaved hands and arms as easily as branches and trunks.

You think that just the sight of nearly a thousand backwoods men with machets charging forward was enough to break Chartist resolve.
>>
You're a native boy of Maenen, not some pampered aristocrat from the north. You were a boatman, like your father, an honest and hard worker with enough lucky breaks to run a small fishing company. Your business had kept you in contact with many of the bogmen and trappers of the county, it was little surprise they'd elected you colonel after your predecessor fell at Cedar Mountain.

The white uniform coat you wear is streaked and stained with dirt and grime, shot through in places with musket balls and crudely patched. At your hip is a saber of an older pattern, one the last colonel had brought with him as a family heirloom. You put more faith in the six-shooting revolver you keep holstered with you.

The regiment is divided into six companies of one hundred men each, A through F.

You come to a halt in the center of your line, beside the color sergeant holding the flag to his chest as his sacred trust.

"Heard we're goin over the river, Colonel," a sergeant says, pausing to spit a stream of tobacco juice to the ground.

"Reckon we are," you say. "I reckon the old man knows his stuff."

"Heard they puttin us in boats."

"It's not the Aerthyian royal navy, but I think it will get the job done," you say.

The regiment is formed up in the lee of a hill, out of sight of the town, though the sounds of desultory cannon fire makes it clear that battle is joined. Your regiment has been tasked to be the first across the river, either through dumb luck or - you assume - given your reputation.

Your regiment is somewhat famous in Van Rosser's corps. What do they call you?


>The Wildcats - You fought with inhuman ferocity and brutality
>The Banshees - You moved like specters through rough terrain
>The Stags - You stood tall in the face of withering gunfire
>>
>>4938327
>>The Wildcats - You fought with inhuman ferocity and brutality
>>
>>4938327
>>The Stags - You stood tall in the face of withering gunfire
>>
>>4938327
>The Stags
>>
>>4938327
>>The Banshees - You moved like specters through rough terrain

Forming some experimental light infantry would be nice.
>>
>>4938327
>The Stags - You stood tall in the face of withering gunfire

This is probably the most important trait for this battle and pretty important in general, though having The Banshees later in the campaign for all the reputed rough terrain would no doubt be useful as well.
>>
>>4938327
>The Banshees - You moved like specters through rough terrain
>>
>>4938327
>The Banshees - You moved like specters through rough terrain
I like ferocity, but this is supposed to be a crossing. If we take them with a good charge, then we won't need to fight inhumanly strong. If they move through the terrain fast enough, the beachhead will allow a crossing with less casualties.
>>
>>4938327
>The Banshees - You moved like specters through rough terrain
>>
>>4938327
>The Banshees - You moved like specters through rough terrain
>>
>>4938327
>The Banshees - You moved like specters through rough terrain
A river just happens to be rough terrain. (Correct me if this is wrong)
>>
>>4938327
>The Wildcats - You fought with inhuman ferocity and brutality
>>
>The Wildcats
>>4938338
>>4938991

>The Stags
>>4938343
>>4938349
>>4938429

>The Banshees
>>4938410
>>4938431
>>4938451
>>4938465
>>4938766
>>4938959

>Banshees
Writing
>>
A year ago, at a dirty farmstead in the hills called Cedar Mountain, your regiment had numbered nearly one thousand men, and it hadn't been yours back then.

Gun smoke as thick as cotton had drifted through the patchy cedar groves and stands of pine, the scent of evergreen sap mingled with the tang of blood and the pungent smell of gunpowder and pine smoke.

You and the other men of the 12th had thought yourselves experienced back then. You'd tasted battle at Petyr's Mill, but you hadn't yet been to hell.

The order to attack had been a surprise. The ground before you was a devil's nest of splintered stumps, fallen trees, and thick boughs of needles, all half-hidden by a soupy smoke. The only sign the enemy were beyond that mess came from the relentless crack and bang of muskets, a steady fire the Chartists were pouring into the mess before them.

Your colonel had jumped onto a pine stump to address the regiment. He was an old man, a veteran of wars past, his voice was hoarse but he made h himself heard.

"Move like the dead, boys! Not a word, not a whisper! Then we'll fall on em like banshees!"

You'd gone forward like that. You were a captain then, leading B Company. Revolver in your right, machet in your left, you'd marched forward, leading a band of men into that thicket. As you passed into the fog it was like walking into the underworld. The dead lay in heaps, the wounded pleaded for water, and clawed at your legs as you stepped over and on them. It was impossible to tell Chartist from Legitimist, all the fallen here were covered in blood and ash.

The boys of the 12th were backwoodsmen by nature of birth, used to navigating the misty, labyrinthine swamps of their home, it was only by merit of this particular skill that the regiment had kept together, hushed commands from sergeants kept the line orderly. You'd walked like that for a lifetime, pressing through the tangled undergrowth and toppled trees, expecting to encounter the enemy with each step.

When it finally came it was a shock to all involved. Stepping from the woods you'd found yourselves in a clearing, what had once been a cornfield, now scythed down by gunfire.
>>
Scarcely a hundred yards away was the Chartist line, hurriedly loading their musket, barely visible through the thick smoke.

Your regiment faltered, stumbling when come face to face with certain death.

The colonel didn't break stride, he held his old saber aloft and called out to the enemy. "Hold fire boys! We're friendly!"

The regiment advanced. Every step carried you closer to the enemy.

"It's the Traitors! Open fire!" One of the enemy shouted.

"For god sake don't shoot!" you shout back, "We're one of you!"

Fair play and honor is for those inbred noble-types, you'd rather survive and win. The cry is taken up by the whole regiment. "Friendly! You'll fire on your own!"

A few Chartist muskets discharge. Someone in your line cries out and goes down, yet they don't volley out of confusion.

You're within fifty yards.

A breeze stirs the smoke, clearing it back and fluttering your colors, the unmistakable banner of the Legitimists.

"Enemies!"

Your colonel raised his voice "Fire!"

Every man in the 12th leveled their rifles as one and discharged. The Chartist line vanished in a haze of fresh gun smoke. When the ringing in your ears clear, you can hear the anguish cries of the wounded. You don't give them time to return the injustice you'd dealt them.

"On them boys! On them!" The final order your colonel ever gave.

There was no hesitation, the 12th went forward, silence broken, charade dropped. An unearthly wail comes from every man in your unit as they race forward, screaming like damned souls. It carried you across the field and toward the Chartists.

The sight of a thousand ghostly men screaming out of the smoke after such a deadly close range volley was enough to break the resolve of the remaining men who turned and fled.

It hadn't won the battle alone, but it had certainly helped. Since that day, your regiment had earned a reputation for swiftness and an uncanny ability to attack when it was most unexpected.
>>
The sound of an approaching horse returns you to the present day as you prepare to cross the Antary. Brigadier General Ramble himself comes upon you. His left arm is in a sling, the product of a lingering weakness from a musket ball at Cedar Mountain.

You salute him.

"Colonel Jenner, are the Banshees ready for a fight?"

"It's a sad day when we don't get us a good fight, general," you reply.

"Reckon you'll have one. Boats are coming up now. One holds ten and we got thirty."

You're able to do the math. Half your companies can cross at once. It's not what you wanted to hear. "Half in now, half later?"

"That's the plan, colonel. General Van Rosser wants us to do this quick. Get across that river and get those whores back from the bridge. You clear us a space and we can get the rest of the brigade over that bridge. You gotta be quick though."

"Quick's what we do, sir," you say.

"God go with you," he says, spurring his horse further down the line.

There's no time for speeches, not that your men want one, you know they're more about action than words. In moments the boats are brought up, unloaded from old wagons and passed to teams of soldiers who hoist them carefully aloft like pallbearers. You don't like imagining the boats as coffins, but now the imagery is there.

"Regiment advance!"

The 12th moves forward with all the speed they can muster, crossing the top of the shallow hill you'd sheltered behind to come within sight of the bridge, the town, and the river. It's wider than you wanted it to be.

Only half of your regiment can go now, the rest will have to wait for the boats to row back over or otherwise rush across the bridge when it's prudent. Will you go in with the first wave or remain here to direct the reserves? Whichever role you don't take can be delegated to your second.


>Lead from the front
>Direct the reserves
>Write in
>>
>>4939696
>Remain to direct reserves

Prudence is necessary here.
>>
>>4939696
>>Lead from the front
>>
>>4939696
>Lead from the front
>>
>>4939696
>Direct the reserves

Our Command Sergeant Major or whatever the equivalent is can lead from the front.

We should be wherever we are needed to get the best picture of the overall situation, it is arguable whether that is actually in the thick of things where we can tell how we are doing in the fight or further back where we can deal with any timing or logistical problems that crop up or from where we can see the whole advance and how well it is doing general.

Personally I think we'll be able to see if a big clump of the enemy is routed or if the bridge area is suppressed or weakened enough to order a charge across. So, if that is true I think directing the reserves would be best, to either shore up faltering points or direct some men through a breach.
>>
>>4939696
>Lead from the front
>>
>>4939696
>Lead from the front
Death wish
>>
>>4939696
>>Lead from the front
>>
>>4939693
So..... we committed a war crime?
>>4939696
>Lead from the front
>>
>>4941364
Well, not us, just the viewpoint character we switched to.
>>
>>4941364
It's only war crime if you are on the losing side anon.
>>
>>4941590
Ironically this. "History is written by the victors."
>>
>>4941521
We are playing as that character now.
>>
>Remain to direct reserves
>>4939711
>>4940229


>Lead from the front
>>4939769
>>4940051
>>4940402
>>4940454
>>4940478
>>4941364

Writing

>>4941364
Well it certainly wasn't very nice.
>>
You adjust your cap and check your revolver again. You know it's loaded of course, but you're desperate to distract yourself from what comes next. The regiment comes to a halt atop the hill and quickly dresses ranks. NCOs shout commands and gesture with sabers and pistols to get men into shape.

The appearance of your regiment draws the deadly attention of the enemy. You can just barely make them out wheeling fresh guns on the double to cover the bridge. The ones they have in place now fire. The shells scream overhead like your regiment's namesake. The fresh volunteers all duck at the sound but the veterans stand firm more or less, they know the shell you hear isn't the one calling your name.

You resolve yourself to go in with the first three companies, A, B, and C. The other three will remain in the capable hands of your second, a Major.

The boat bearers are all watching you keenly, waiting for the command.

"Colonel, safe crossing," your Major says.

"Better go before I lose my nerve," you say to him, low enough that only he can hear. "Crossing companies, advance, on the double!"

The command is echoed by a string of sergeants and the three hundred surge forward, rushing toward the river bank. The wooden oars in the boats rattle as the men carrying the boats are jostled with each step, struggling not to stumble down the hill. In the minute or two it takes you to cross in the open, all you can hear is the thunderous boom of guns - both yours and the enemies - and the sounds of a hundred men struggling to run while carrying an oversized wooden coffin.

You reach the water's edge and slosh in, first up to your ankles, then your knees. The far bank seems closer than ever.

"Get the boats down, lads!" you shout, waving your pistol in the air. "Quick if you please!"

Three hundred men splash into the water and drop their boats when the water is deep enough. With all the grace of seals on land, the soldiers heave themselves into the boats and scramble for a place before beginning to row frantically.

"I done told you I can't swim, sergeant!" a soldier protests.

You clap him on the back, "My advice, boy, is don't fall out." He gawks at you a moment before you pile into the boat together. A sergeant with a mean look in his eye passes out oars. You see a private begin to dip his rifle butt into the water before you jerk his arm back. "Reckon you're gonna want that gun to work when we get to the other side," you advise.

"Y-yes, sir!"

No sooner do you get the boats underway than you get your first good look at the far bank, less than a hundred yards away. It's steep and strewn with boulders and thick undergrowth. The bank climbs up a short distance before it levels out with the town itself.

Smoke puffs out from the rocks ahead and you hear the sluggish drone of musket balls buzz past. Sharpshooters are scattered along the banks and your floundering companies make perfect targets.
>>
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"Load and fire boys!" You shout.

A few of your men fire back, stabilizing themselves as best they can in the rocking, tipping boats. Return fire is murderously accurate. A few of your soldiers are snapped off, splashing down into the churning water to breathe no more.

You stay as low as you can while furiously scanning the bank as if you could reach the sharpshooters with your sidearm.

The man rowing beside you cries out and flops back into the boat. Blood foams from a hole in his tunic. You clamber over him and snatch his oar out of the water before rowing for all you're worth. The closer you get, the easier the enemy's deadly work becomes. The sounds of rounds splashing into the river are soon equal in number to the wet-thwack of a body being struck or the sound of the wooden hull hit.

Water sloshes in the bottom of the boat, up to your ankles. There's no time to bail it out, only time to row.

The shore is close now, close enough that you think you might be able to swim for it, provided you could swim. You see the burgundy uniforms of the sharpshooters as they abandon their nests, withdrawing back up the steep embankment to join their comrades further in.

You draw your pistol from your waistband, clenching the water-slick grip with white-knuckled tension. You wait as long as you can bear to be in this slowly-capsizing vessel. You're not going to die in this boat.

"Out! Let's go! Out!" You follow your own advice and hope you waited long enough. Vaulting from the side, you splash down into the water and immediately go down. Water fills your nose and mouth and for a moment you think you were too impatient. You're going to drown in the waters of the Antary within spitting distance of the shore. Then you feel your boots strike bottom and you stand up, sucking in a breath of air.

Your next command is lost in sputtering as you cough out the water you swallowed.

Your men don't need the encouragement, piling out of the boats in droves, leaving the wounded and dead behind. Your landing force is in a shadow of the land, out of sight of the town itself and momentarily safe. To your right is a shallow climb to where the bridge is. It's a narrow route and sure to be watched by the enemy.

Ahead is a steep, rocky face. It's scalable, but it will be slow climbing. Your men will be vulnerable, but the enemy likely won't expect you to attack this way. Whichever way you go, you're going to have to be fast.


>Attack the narrow path to the bridge
>Attack up the embankment and into the town
>Send two companies up the embankment and one to the bridge
>Write in
>>
>>4943267
>>Send two companies up the embankment and one to the bridge
>>
>>4943267
>>Attack up the embankment and into the town

Let's play to our strengths
>>
>>4943267
>Attack up the embankment and into the town
>>
>>4943267
>Attack up the embankment and into the town
>>
>>4943267
>>Attack up the embankment and into the town
>>
>>4943267
>Attack up the embankment and into the town