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Saber and Musket: The Foebadyn Campaign

***

They were engaged by five to one when charged on with the steel
But Porthladd's sons did loudly cry "we'll die before we kneel!"

--Popular Legitimist Camp song Circa the Aerthyian Civil War


A gunpowder era war game.

http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?searchall=saber+and+musket

***

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 and battle is about to be joined.
>>
Your headquarters is little more than a gaggle of horses and riders assembled in a clearing by a crossroads currently jammed with Legitimist infantry slogging forward. Couriers come and go freely with thundering hooves. The sun shines brightly overhead, it's noontime and the air is sharp and fresh.

The distant boom of guns sounds like thunder to the untrained ear, but it sounds like death to you. The first corps of your army, Maddocks' corps is deployed in battle formation across the ridges just north of you. They had enough time to form lines and begin to dig in when the enemy arrived.

Maddocks himself shows you his disposition on a map. "Featherstone is left, Fitzroy right. Gleans division is coming up now." He nods his head toward the hustling infantry.

You watch them as they stream past, their white uniforms stained a dirty brown from road dust. The sergeants among them berate and extol them to move faster. No mean feat when they've been marching all day. "I'm moving his men to reserve in the rear. We're in a good position for striking out, sir."
>>
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You nod, studying the map. Maddocks has always edged aggressive when he was confident. It's a trait that's served him well, and you trust his instincts on such matters, but for now, you are content to spend a moment in thought. You'd sent a troop of cavalry and couriers south to make contact with Harlan's division. Harlan's boys will ideally be arriving on the enemy's left flank in near about twenty four hours. For now you're in a strong position for holding out. Moers cavalry has deployed to your far flanks, keeping enemy cavalry at bay and probing the enemy lines.

"Where are General Goddwyn's men?" you ask.

Goddwyn, your unproven subordinate is the commander of your third corps, and next in line on your marching order.

"Strung out behind us," Maddocks says. "I expect his men to arrive in force in a matter of hours."

"Have the enemy attacked yet?" You ask.

"Sporadically," Maddocks says. "Local attacks, we beat them off without too much trouble. They're coming on from this direction-" he taps the map. "The Rickerford Hotel road. I think that's their headquarters. The ground to our left is rough, hilly, wooded. The locals call them the Nearen Heights. Bad ground for marching."

"Has Moers put some pickets there?" you ask.

Maddocks gives a slight headshake, he doesn't know. You look to your other staff, no one answers. "Someone get a message to General Moers and please confirm that we're watching that. The enemy might have a hard time getting through, but I'd rather not be surprised."

A courier salutes and gallops off quickly.

"What else?" you ask.

"Sir," Maddocks says, "We're in a strong position here, but I think we're also in a good spot to launch a spoiling attack. I can press with Gleans and give these Usurpers something to think about, keep them from getting too comfortable."


>I concur, best not to let them take the initiative
>No attack, general, but take Gleans from the reserve and have him secure your flank
>No, we'll hold here. Let the enemy make the first move
>Write in
>>
>>4969199
>>No attack, general, but take Gleans from the reserve and have him secure your flank

We don't yet know what we're facing exactly, I feel it would be prudent to deny the enemy any favorable ground.
>>
>>4969199
>>No attack, general, but take Gleans from the reserve and have him secure your flank
>>
>>4969199
>I concur, best not to let them take the initiative
Push them back, take the high ground on the other side of the road, then they'll have no high ground of their own to hold!
>>
>>4969199
>I concur, best not to let them take the initiative
>>
>>4969199
>No attack, general, but take Gleans from the reserve and have him secure your flank.

There are still too many unknowns, best to dig in a little and deny the enemy an easy victory.

Also, is the force on the map labelled "Harlan" actually Goddwyn? The orientation doesn't make sense to me otherwise.
>>
>>4969199
>No attack, general, but take Gleans from the reserve and have him secure your flank

Best not allow the enemy to pull a anachronistic Ardennes on us.

We also don't know what is on our right other than cavalry, I'd rather not push their center only to find ourselves pincered by an infantry division or cav we cannot see on our right. I also don't want to stretch to thin with an L shape by taking the high ground across the road as >>4969358 says. We'd be hard pressed to do such a thing as we'd be fresh off an offensive after a hard march and we'd be in contact with the enemy the entire time trying to take that high ground.

Remember, we had a little time to prepare defensive works and we aimed to take this battle on the defensive, we should probably aim to fight a linear battle, ideally with all the high ground on our side occupied and with cannons overlooking the enemy.
>>
>>4969199
>Write in
Probe L-Wood
>>
>>4969199
>>I concur, best not to let them take the initiative
>>
>>4969199
>>4969626
Support.
>>
>>4969550
Agreed, plus we must remember that only Maddocks' divisions are deployed right now, once they are reinforced by Goddwyn and Van Rosser we'll be well placed to either exhaust the enemy offensive or counterattack ourselves.
>>
>>4969199
>No attack, general, but take Gleans from the reserve and have him secure your flank.

An offensive after marching is not a good idea. We should hold firm at least until Harlan arrives, which would give us a better understanding of the situation, and more leeway in staging an assault.
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>>4969842
You mean Goddwyn? The map is wrong, Goddwyn is next to come up from the march. Harlan is coming from our right or the enemy's left flank in 24 hours.
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>>4969844
Yes, I did not recognize the error, my bad. Waiting for Harlan to arrive may be too long, but we should at least wait for Goddwyn before commiting to an offensive action.
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>>4969850
Yes, I agree with both you and >>4969770
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>>4969483
>s the force on the map labelled "Harlan" actually Goddwyn?

Ah, yes, that's my bad. That's Goddwyn.
>>
>>4969199
>I concur, best not to let them take the initiative
>>
>>4969199
>>4969686
changing to
>I concur, best not to let them take the initiative
>>
>>4969199
to add
>Moers cavalry has deployed to your far flanks, keeping enemy cavalry at bay and probing the enemy lines.
Does this mean king's cavalry and Moer's cavalry are mixed on both flanks? If yes
>suggest to king to move all his forces to left flank
If he does so
>order Moers to redeploy all his forces to right flank

Keeping these two intermixed is a recipe for disaster.
>>
>No attack, general, but take Gleans from the reserve and have him secure your flank
>>4969235
>>4969289
>>4969483
>>4969550
>>4969842


>I concur, best not to let them take the initiative
>>4969358
>>4970086
>>4970046


>Probe L-Wood
>>4969626


>No attack, secure flank
Writing
>>
"I hate to spoil your fighting spirit, but there will be no attack. Not yet."

Maddocks frowns, "Sir, it's the last thing they'll expect. If we pop the Usurpers in the nose-"

"Then they might take a step back, yes, but what about when they come back with a left hook? No. We're on strong ground, general. We'll reconsider our options when Goddwyn takes the field. Or Van Rosser."

"Yes sir." Maddocks is clearly displeased, but he trusts you. Maddocks is a good man.

"I'd prefer to have Gleans deploy to your right, across the gap along that ridge, just northeast of the Traveler's Lodge."

"I can do that," Maddocks concurs.

"And this wood here. The L-shaped one? It's well suited for enemy guns to hit our flank. Have Gleans push out some skirmishers to drive into those woods."

"That's far out from the main line," Maddocks muses.

"Gleans boys can handle themselves. If they can bed down in those woods, it will be hell to get them out."

"Of course sir."

You nod and dismiss Maddocks who gallops off with his staff, moving toward the Traveler's Lodge to better oversee Gleans movement. You lock eyes with your son, following Maddocks and his staff. A simple nod passes between the two of you.

There is good ground on your far right, south of Marye's Farm. If the enemy takes it there's a risk they could roll your line with cannon. For that matter, there's also the Dome Hill on your right. It's round and bare, like a blister, just beside a dense tangle of woods and overshadowed by the taller Nearen Heights.


You gesture over a staff member with a wave of your hand. "Where exactly are the Crown Prince's men?"

"The Guards Infantry division has been attached to the vanguard with Van Rosser," the staffer says. "The Hussars are on our extreme right."

"Contact?"

"Yes, sir. I'm told they're sparring with Redback cavalry."

You smirk. "I hope the Prince gets his fill." You also hope he doesn't get killed. "And General Moers?"

"His divisions are on our left, sir."

As much as you'd like the two men to cooperate, you know they're like oil and water. Better not to have the Prince become another dueling scar on Moers' face, or lose your best cavalry officer to the bullet of a spiteful prince.

It's too soon for word from the scouts on your left, so you instead must wait.

The grumble of battle is developing into an argument. Separate rifle cracks are starting to mingle with the sharp roar of volleys and the flat bang of cannon fire.

Fresh reports aren't long in coming. The first comes from your cavalry. An exhausted man in a threadbare officers uniform arrives on a sweat-soaked mare. "General! We've established a picket atop that dome hill to our west. I'm told that a heliograph and signaling flags can be delivered shortly for us to better relay information. No sign of the enemy so far. We have glimpses of an army on the march beyond the woods though. Moers gives his regards."
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"No news is good news, lieutenant. Be sure to signal once the heliograph is in place."

The lieutenant salutes and leaves.

The next courier to arrive wears the cuff marks of Maddocks staff. "General, sir." He hands you a scrap of paper. You read the scrawled note, recognizing Maddocks' precise handwriting.

Gleans encountered enemy division attacking in column. Pickets have secured L-wood. Heavy fighting to the right. Marye's Farm contested. Fitzroy attacked in the center. General Winnower seems eager to bring the fight to us. Will conduct fighting on the right.

You fold the paper and put it in your tunic pocket. Maddocks was too much a soldier to stay far from the action.

"It seems the enemy are attacking our right and center," you say aloud. "No activity on our left. None yet anyway."

You're pinned for now, your men are committed to battle and there's little you can do to change the course of things. That changes in the next few minutes with the arrival of Wickerson's division, the head of Goddwyn's Corps.

Wickerson himself reaches your headquarters, his face is flushed red with excitement. Wickerson had been a school teacher in his life before the war but he'd climbed the ranks quickly until he found himself a divisional commander.

"Compliments, General Belmonte!" Wickerson salutes before wiping sweat from his balding head with a handkerchief. "General Goddwyn sent me ahead to confer with you. Where will you have my men?"

"Your timing is impeccable, sir," you say. You'd rather have waited until all of Goddwyn's corps is on the field before committing them, but you're concerned about your prospect to hold out in the face of apparently overwhelming numbers. It's entirely possible that Winnower and the Chartist command aim to prevent you the luxury of choosing the fight. If they can keep you reacting to their moves then they can dictate the pace of the battle.
>>
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Your gut reaction is to deny Winnower his apparent plan and go over to the offensive. Wickerson could join with brigades of Featherstone's division and strike north, toward the Rickerford Hotel. It's bold, forcing your right and center to hold on their own merits, but it will also reclaim the impetus from Winnower and allow you to make him dance to your tune. A break through on the enemy right could allow you to overrun their baggage train and cut their line of retreat. If it succeeds.

A more prudent strategy would be to send Wickerson to reinforce your center in case Fitzroy fails to hold. Fitzroy is well suited for defense, but a determined enough enemy in large enough numbers could drive him from those heights, if that were to happen, you'd rather Wickerson be there to counter attack and reclaim them. Not to mention that moving Wickerson to your center and keeping him in reserve also allows you to potentially deploy him either left or right if the situation calls for it.

On your far right, Gleans is facing heavy pressure from a large body of enemy forces. It looks to be a meeting engagement over the heights around Marye's Farm. If Gleans is thrown back, your right flank may be exposed. Having Wickerson double time to the right and join Gleans could turn the tide there and secure those heights from the enemy.

The rest of Goddwyn's corps will be coming on behind Wickerson before too long.


>1 Attack to the left with Wickerson and Featherstone
>2 Deploy Wickerson to the center to act as a reserve
>3 Double-time Wickerson to the right to help Gleans secure the heights
>Write in
>>
>>4970472
>>3 Double-time Wickerson to the right to help Gleans secure the heights
>>
>>4970472
>>3 Double-time Wickerson to the right to help Gleans secure the heights
>>
>>4970472
>Attack to the left with Wickerson and Featherstone
>>
>>4970499

Changing to

>1 Attack to the left with Wickerson and Featherstone
>>
>>4970472
>2 Deploy Wickerson to the center to act as a reserve
>>
>>4970472
>1 Attack to the left with Wickerson and Featherstone

I just pray that Gleans can hold out.
>>
>>4970472
>>3 Double-time Wickerson to the right to help Gleans secure the heights
>>
>>4970472
>3 Double-time Wickerson to the right to help Gleans secure the heights

Remember, Fitzroy and Featherstone had time to dig in a little before the battle commenced, they'll be fine, they have defensive works and the high ground.

Gleans sounds like he needs the most help, and if they take our right they could roll up our entire line with enfilading cannon fire. Whereas if we could take the right we could threaten to flank them as they push into a meat-grinder with our defenses.

Don't get bewitched by nebulous notions of having to 'seize the initiative', we aren't going to out do Winnower in terms of aggression. Also, we have to anticipate the enemy, there are more enemy reinforcements coming down from the top left close to our left where we would push. If we push there attempting to threaten their headquarters we would just end up running into freshly arriving divisions close enough to counter us, not to mention attacking into high ground.

We have good ground on which to fight a defensive linear battle, Harlan will arrive in a day allowing us switch things up and take the initiative. It'll probably be decisive as the enemy will have begun their own defensive works or begun to settle into a straight-ish line opposing ours.
>>
>>4970670
Forget this, change to:
>3 Double-time Wickerson to the right to help Gleans secure the heights.

Who cares if Winnower wants to have us react to his provocations? As >>4970728 said trying to push into the maw of the oncoming enemy reinforcements is just a recipe for losing a lot of troops and possibly having both our flanks rolled up. We are already in a strong position, best to make sure it stays that way.
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>>4970472
>>3 Double-time Wickerson to the right to help Gleans secure the heights
>>
>>4970472
>3 Double-time Wickerson to the right to help Gleans secure the heights.

And so the battle is joined in earnest! Wickerson is right on time indeed. Having him on the offensive would be unwise currently, and having him as reserve is just wasteful, I trust Fitzroy and Featherstone to hold a dug-in position until the rest of Goddwyn's forces arive at the very least, while the right is under strain.
>>
>>4970472
>3 Double-time Wickerson to the right to help Gleans secure the heights
The others are dug in.
>>
>>4970472
>3 Double-time Wickerson to the right to help Gleans secure the heights
Gonna play this defensive right now.
>>
>>4970472
>3 Double-time Wickerson to the right to help Gleans secure the heights
Gonna play this defensive right now.

Great set of choices OP. I can't remember when was the last time in /qst a set of choices was this well balanced.
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>>4970961
>Great set of choices OP
Thanks! It's a constant struggle. Let's see if I can maintain.

>Double-time Wickerson to the right
>>4970497
>>4970716
>>4970728
>>4970771
>>4970802
>>4970885
>>4970887
>>4970961


>Attack to the left with Wickerson and Featherstone
>>4970505
>>4970506


>Deploy Wickerson to the center to act as a reserve
>>4970562


>Wickerson to the right
Writing
>>
"I have word of an enemy division striking our right," you say. "I cannot allow the enemy to secure the heights there, they might roll up our whole line. Get your division across our rear to the Traveler's Lodge and join Gleans in taking and holding that ridge."

Wickerson salutes and tugs his cap back on, covering his thinning hair. "God willing we'll see to it, sir!" Wickerson spurs his horse to action and gallops away to marshal his division on. They have a lot of hard marching ahead of them. The question is: will they arrive on time?

***

You are Major General Daniel Gleans and your boys are marching into hell. You've made your headquarters at the Traveler's Lodge by the crossroads which has swiftly filled with wounded pouring back from the fray ahead.

"Sakes alive," you say, lifting your field glasses to survey the battlefield. The ridgeline is entirely blanketed in smoke, the fighting invisible save for the flash of muskets in the haze. "Any word back from the Old Man?" you ask a nearby aide.

"General Belmonte hasn't written back yet," the courier says.

"Damn his bones." You clench your reigns tighter, wheeling your horse in a circle. "My boys are gettin eaten alive on that damn hill."

"Yes sir."

Cannon fire shrieks, whispers, and roars overhead, sailing clear over the ridgeline to crash down far beyond the road. Chartist gunners are still trying to dial in their shots it seems. Ever since the attack began you lost touch with your skirmishers in the L-shaped wood. You only hope they're giving the Redbacks hell.

Your heart soars when you spot a courier arriving at speed.

"What news?" you demand, mood souring when you see he's from General Maddocks' staff and not Belmonte's.

"General Maddocks inquires if you have any reserves to spare to secure the center, sir. The Redbacks are hitting General Fitzroy hard."

"No, I don't have any reserves," you snarl. "Tell General Maddocks that every damned musket I have is going up that damned hill. Hell, I'm a stone's throw from going up myself for what good it'll do."

The courier gawks at this unexpected dressing down. "Sir, I-"

"-Have your orders I'm sure. Go back to Maddocks and tell him the damned Redbacks are going to roll up this whole damned line if we don't get some damned support! To hell with Fitzroy if he can't hold good ground."

"Y-yes sir!"

"And be quick, my boys are dyin!"

The courier wheels and gallops away, forgetting even to salute.

You lean over the side of your horse and spit, wiping your mouth with a gloved hand. "Buncha illiterates runnin this army. Hell. Does anyone here know how to fight a war?"
>>
You are Private Reggie Culpepper and you're in the thick of it. You and the rest of your unit are kneeling behind a half-toppled split-rail fence, rifles in hand. Ahead of you, once a corn field, is now a trampled morass veiled with gun smoke. Your heart thunders in your ears which ring with the sound of nearby fighting. You can't tear your eyes from a soldier in a white tunic who lies on his back in the cornfield. You thought he was dead at first, but every now and again you watch in horror as he tries to sit up before crying out and falling back.

"Steady boys." A sergeant passes along behind you, saber in hand. "Steady now."

Your regiment is in line with the rest of your brigade, deployed in line to go up that hill in support of the rest of the division. It's been a back and forth struggle, one the Legitimists are losing.

"Regiment at the ready!" The command echoes along the line, repeated by the sergeants behind you.

You rise to your feet and shoulder your musket. You try to swallow but your mouth is dry.

"Forward march!"

You're little more than a marching rifle. Your own knowledge of the wider battle is virtually nill, what little you know is learned through rumor or intuition. It's clear to you that something has gone wrong further ahead so the generals are sending your brigade to plug the line or counter attack.

The regiment sets off, climbing over and pushing through the tumbled fence, moving into the haze.

You look down at the wounded man as you step over him, you can't help but look.

He looks back at you, eyes wide, face white as a sheet. Blood is spilling from a tear in his tunic that he's trying to hold closed. It doesn't matter, a torso hit from these musket balls is as good as a death sentence. If not from blood loss then from infection. Better to go quickly.

Up the hill you go, step by step, into the unknown. The roar of musketry and the hoarse shouts of men in battle get louder. You shoes feel like they're filled with lead. Your stomach is a painful knot and you're sweating through your uniform.

Ahead, you spy figures in the haze, rushing, dashing, leaping toward you. You make ready to lower your rifle before you see they're in white, the same as you. The shattered remains of some other regiment streams by, panicked men pushing through your ranks.

"Stand and fight with us!"

"Hold fast!"

A few men in your unit try to rally the broken men. In some cases it works, either through shame or redoubled bravery, they fall in line with your regiment and resume the march up the hill.

Others press through and keep running.

In a minute you're alone again, marching forward.

"Double time! On the double time!"
>>
You begin to jog, the regiment's neat lines breaking up as men hustle forward toward a low stone wall, the apparent focus of your advance. You're nearly there when a gust of wind reveals red ahead of you.

Your heart freezes at the sight of a regiment- no, a full brigade of enemy infantry advancing, rifles lowered. They're shouting and jeering as they come forward.

You won't reach the stone wall in time.

"Regiment halt!"

You stop short, dressing ranks and forming up with the others in a panic.

"Make ready to fire!"

A hundred clicks sound around you as hammers are cocked and muskets are primed. You fumble through the process yourself, glad you'd already loaded powder and ball.

The Redbacks halt and you see the frantic up and down of ramrods as they pause to reload.

"Aim!"

You shoulder your rifle and drop the barrel until it's on line with the enemy. You'd been trained to pick your shots. You select a man in the enemy unit, about a hundred yards distant, barely a sliver.

"Fire!"

The regiment fires as one. The roar and flash is like a dragon's breath, a billowing plume of musket smoke bursts forward just as your hearing washes out.

You see men around you begging to reload and you do the same. You tear a paper cartridge with your teeth and pour it home with shaking hands.

A frightening rush of air passes around you and men drop left and right. Some of them fall screaming, others merely exhale. Some still fall like puppets with their strings cut.

You jam your ramrod home, forcing powder and ball together as quickly as you can.

"Fire at will! Fire at will!"

You shoulder your musket and peer into the haze for targets. You can barely make out anything. One of the fallen men beside you clutches at the leg of your trousers. You see movement in the haze and fire. The recoil punches your shoulder and you drop the weapon to reload it again.


A line of red emerges from the haze, Chartists charging forward, bayonets lowered. They move with their shoulders hunched and heads down, as if running into a hard rain.

You tear the next cartridge and spill the powder. Swearing you take another and pour it into your barrel.

Sporadic fire across your line fells the enemy here and there and encourages more to stop. Soon the enemy charge falters, scarcely thirty yards from you. The shouts of the living and cries of the wounded are lost in the midst of fierce musketry.
>>
You ram another ball home and sight your rifle. You hardly pause to aim it, discharging it in the direction of the enemy. Sweat drips from your brow and you wipe it away, smearing soot and gunpowder across your face.

Someone grabs your sleeve and you jump. Your sergeant's face is scarcely inches from yours, he has to shout to be heard over the ringing of your ears. "Lay down you damn fool!"

You look around to see the regiment going flat in the grass. You do the same, grateful to present a less inviting target to the enemy. You hardly have a moment to be bewildered by the order before it becomes clear.

A fresh tide of soldiers in white are marching up behind you, whooping and roaring as they come.

The Chartists, to their credit, hold long enough to fire one shaky volley before they begin to retreat back over a carpet of their own dead.

You remain laying as the soldiers of Wickerson's division step over and past you, continuing after the enemy. Fear is replaced by exhilaration. You'd made it. And now the enemy was on the run. Soon enough you'll have to be back on your feet, but for now, you can lie in the grass and watch the enemy turn their backs to you.
>>
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You are General Belmonte and word has returned to you of Wickerson's savage counter attack on the ridge near Marye's Farm. The Chartist attack was blunted and thrown back, the heights have been secured but with serious losses sustained.

In the center, Fitzroy's division weathered a concentrated attack, delivering precise volleys and ultimately fending off a bayonet charge. Your center is bloodied, but holding, with the enemy repulsed.

More alarmingly, news comes from your left flank. The signal post on Dome Hill flashes an urgent message.

Enemy infantry approaching in force.

The terrain there is rough, slow going for heavy bodies of troops, but not totally impassable. Your pickets on the hill will delay them, but can't stop them from taking it.

Losing the Dome Hill will be a blow since it offers at least a glimpse of Rickerford Hotel road and the enemy's movement. Likewise, if the hill is cleared then your left flank will be open to attack. With nothing but flat farmland on that flank, a defense will be bloody work.

The two remaining divisions of Goddwyn's corps haven't taken the field yet, but they will soon, and it falls to you on how best to deploy them.
>>
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By the time they arrive, it seems likely that Dome Hill will have been taken by the enemy. It might be prudent to move his corps into reserve on your center. You might be able to strike the weakened enemy center with them, or swing left if a serious attack materializes. You may even be able to swing them right if another attack on that flank comes.

A more aggressive move will be to deploy the two divisions on your left and counter attack with the goal of re-securing Dome Hill. If the enemy holds it then it will be bloody work, but it may be the best chance you have before they reinforce and dig in.

An even more aggressive play might be to forego reinforcing your current line entirely and instead send the bulk of Goddwyn's corps on a sweeping hook to your left. With Moers' cavalry in support they have a good chance of reaching the enemy cavalry screen relatively undetected. If they can break through or even threaten the Chartists line of communication it may cause them to alter their strategy to match you.

After Goddwyn takes the field, all that remains is Van Rosser's weakened Corps and the Guards infantry division. After them you have no reserves to call upon until Harlan arrives tomorrow. He's confirmed via courier that he will march on the enemy flank with all due speed, but time is fickle, and it will be hard to determine exactly when he might arrive, and how much he can catch the enemy by surprise.

It's early afternoon and a decision about Goddwyn's men must be made.


>Move them into reserve in the center to counter attack
>Counter attack and retake Dome Hill no matter the cost
>Send them on a long march to threaten the enemy's line of communication
>Write in
>>
>>4971699
I don't care about cutting their lines of communication, we'd just be running an exhausted corps long distance to run into enemy cav who will by virtue of being on horseback swiftly inform the enemy of our isolated corps and be free to either send their own reinforcements to attempt to destroy said isolated corp or dig in a single division in that direction to block their advance while using any others to exploit our weakened un-reinforced main line. Not to mention you have to keep in mind time-distance calculations, Goddwyns corps would have march a long winding path across a RIVER thereby leaving Winnowers newly arriving men to take advantage of our absent corps. (who, again, will be marching for a long time, longer than it will take for a new enemy division to press an attack at a weak point)

In my mind the first two prompts or a write-in are the best options.

We can try and take dome hill, our men will be tired but theirs more so, having just conducted a long march, then marched through rough terrain and then fought pickets, plus their cannons probably haven't reached the hill yet, whereas ours should be ready sooner, they'll have to drag theirs through a forest. If we secure the hill we can also guard our extreme left flank by anchoring against the river, preventing any sneaky shenanigans, plus the hill will grant us back our partial observation of the enemy HQ.

However, a counter attack in the center could roll up their whole line, and with 2 divisions (1 fresh) watching the right I doubt we'd be pincered. I think deploying center may be too passive though despite the potential for an aggressive battle-ender, Winnower seems to drive his men fast and hard to deploy rapidly, he'll probably press the attack on our left before we can attack, forcing us to move from the center to the left, may as well accept that and rather than trying to be more aggressive than him stick to a solid plan and fight a good defensive battle, leave no gaps.

>Counter attack and retake Dome Hill no matter the cost
>>
>>4971699
>>Move them into reserve in the center to counter attack
Reinforce, Push North clear church, Swing East and Sweep those at Marye's, then turn around, and march North west to engage the rest of the enemy
>>
Fuck...but that center counter attack is so tempting though, maybe if we send Fitzroy and Featherstone ahead to immediately to counter attack to preempt Winnower and force him to defend his HQ, it could work, after all any reinforcements reinforcing the enemy on our left would get there slowly and may be forced to pull back, and we could send the rest of Goddwyn's corps chasing after F&F's (Featherstones and Fitzroys new abbreviation) heels to make sure they succeed, or we could split Goddwyns corps, one division to ensure our left flank holds long enough for reinforcements, the other to help F&F. One problem with that is potential command confusion.

I see why notions of 'seizing the initiative' are so tempting. I'll keep my vote and wait for further discussion to see if someone can make a persuasive argument to change my mind.
>>
>>4971699
>attempt to envelop reds on right flank
We have pickets in the L-wood and strong presence on right flank while enemy is commited to our left. Our heavy cavalry is also deployed to our right. Have them crash reds, pickets in L-wood can move to northern part of the woods and block the road, Gleans and Wickerson are the hammer.

Organized retreat from left flank, we can retreat all the way to Benson's Woods if need be.
>>
>>4971758
Most of your post seems sound-ish to me. The thing that sticks out as bad to me is the idea of retreating from our left flank even as far back as Benson's woods. It would leave our incoming reinforcing men marching in column to be isolated, demoralized, and attacked separately from the rest of our men. It would also leave our headquarters dangerously exposed (we are at the crossroads) and if we moved it could disorganize the entire army or start morale crippling rumours that we'd been killed. Plus they could flank our men in the center on the hills who wouldn't be able to orient in a row to face the left flank. In short, I think abandoning the left flank is suicide.
>>
>>4971699
>>Counter attack and retake Dome Hill no matter the cost
>>
>>4971699
The third option would only be a good option if we had a larger force of cavalry or mounted infantry, but as things stand it would only serve to be a waste of time. Sort of irrelevant right now, but maybe we should see about creating a division or two of dragoons when we have the resources.
>>Counter attack and retake Dome Hill no matter the cost
>>
>>4971699
>Move them into reserve in the centre to counter attack

Let Winnower have the hill, it's time to push. Unlike >>4971737 I don't think we should swing right, though, nor should we push the right flank like >>4971758 suggests. Gleans and Wickerson have secured the right flank for now, but Gleans' division is exhausted and in no shape to go on the offensive. Let them dig in, have Fitzroy and Featherstone push the centre along with the rest of Goddwyn's corps then swing left, cutting off the Chartist right flank and shifting the line at least past the Two Steeple Church.
>>
If we were to push the center, this >>4971834 would be my preferred method of doing so.
>>
>>4971699
>Move them into reserve in the center to counter attack
>>
>>4971699
>>Counter attack and retake Dome Hill no matter the cost
>>
>>4971699
>Move them into reserve in the centre to counter attack

Taking Dome hill is not necessarily a bad idea, but the centre is the best avenue of attack, and could give us a good advantage. I support the plan in >>4971834 to push through.
>>
>>4971699
>Counter attack and retake Dome Hill no matter the cost

Can we deploy most of Moers Calvary to assist or attack the enemy Calvary?
>>
>>4972119
Theoretically yes, but it'd be contrary to war theory to send cavalry after unbloodied regiments or other cavalry. Cavalry vs cavalry devolves into a straight melee that's far too stagnant and wasteful of time. Using them to help take the hill is more possible, but the terrain isn't hte best for that.
>>
The way I reckon it, if we focus on denying them ground it will force the enemy to keep their deployments committed against us instead of allowing them the opportunity to expand their flank, once Harlan arrives we'll be able to pressure their flank and launch a general attack across the front gradually.

In my opinion we should keep Van Rossers men as a reserve, and put the Grenadiers somewhere visible on our left, perhaps it will convince them that is where we intend to concentrate our attack, instead of rolling them up from our right.
>>
>>4972270
I was intending to have Moers Calvary come up behind the enemy calvary when they attack the hill.
>>
>Counter attack and retake Dome Hill
>>4971735
>>4971781
>>4971822
>>4972057
>>4972119

>Move them into reserve in the center to counter attack
>>4971737
>>4971834
>>4972053
>>4972108


>attempt to envelop reds on right flank
>>4971758


I'm going to hold until the top of the hour since this is an important vote. You guys have 25 mins
>>
>>4973008
If anyone gives vote to
>Move them into reserve in the center to counter attack
I'll change my vote >>4971758 to that option too. Otherwise don't want to cause tiebreak.
>>
>>4971860
>>4973038

I'm counting this switch and this other voter who was leaning toward this plan.

>Move them into reserve in the center to counter attack

Writing
>>
>>4973061
I hope this doesn't kill us...
>>
>>4973066
"It's a gamble, but all in war is."
>>
What you have in mind will take precision and planning, two things most difficult to come by in the thick of battle. This is why any effective commander leans on his staff officers just as much as on his combat arms. You'll be relying on them heavily.

You're already drafting orders when Goddwyn reaches your headquarters. "I'm told Wickerson has been committed to the right," he says, not wasting a breath on arrival. "I trust the rest of my corps will join him there?"

You give a slight shake of the head, reading a note over a scribe's shoulder as he finishes writing. "Wickerson has been temporarily detached to Maddocks' command."

Goddwyn allows a beat of silence before replying. "I see." Enough to voice his displeasure at his command being broken up, but not enough to reprimand.

"Rest assured General, you will have your own shot at greatness today. There is oppurtunity to be had."

"Oh?"

You show the map to Goddwyn. "Winnower is trying his damndest to make us dance to his tune. See, he struck our right and center right out the gate."

"And now he falls on the left. These heights."

"Yes, the Dome Hill. Reports indicate it's a major push. He's hoping to string us out before landing a decisive blow I think. A sound plan, especially since I expect he outnumbers us significantly."

"And you intend . . . to counter attack then?"

You nod. "Here. The center. Cross these woods and toward the Two Steeple Church across the Rickerford road."

Goddwyn eyes it. "That's a long way to go."

"And if we do it, we'll smash his center. Winnower's left is isolated by Marye's farm. Pinned in place by your man Wickerson. I can lend you two of Maddocks' divisions to screen your left. They push off those hills and swing like a door, allowing you to drive straight for the heights opposite us."

You watch Goddwyn's face as he studies the map intently. He's young, clever, and ambitious. The perfect man for this task. That gut feeling is solidified when you catch a glimmer in his eye, the barest hint of a smile. "That would dash Winnower's plans, wouldn't it?"

"I believe it would," you say.

"Very well, General. You want me to strike the center? Then I will strike the center."

"See to it, Goddwyn."

Goddwyn salutes, his face determined.
>>
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The attack goes through the moment your divisions are assembled. Fitzroy, Glennmore, and Bredden go forward under Goddwyn's command, marching under a hail of cannonade. The weakened enemy center is battered backward by the relentless assault. Bloody, close range fighting in the woods at the base of the ridge leaves countless dead on both sides, but the Chartists withdraw.

You monitor the progress of the battle through courier reports, noting grimly as Goddwyn reports Fitzroy's division is battered and exhausted. One through the woods, Glennmore and Bredden drive on, routing the enemy where they find them and sweeping north until they anchor their right flank on the Two Steeple Church.

On your far right, Gleans and Wickerson extend their line, anchoring one flank in the L-shaped wood and the other on the heights south of Marye's Farm.

As the afternoon ages, you watch with mounting dread as the Dome Hill falls. The Chartist banner now flies from its bald top, enemy infantry digging in and preparing firing positions for artillery. Two enemy divisions have formed up there and it seems they intend to strike your vulnerable left flank. Van Rosser's corps - weakened though it is - and the Guards division are scheduled to arrive soon. They'll arrive in the late afternoon, likely exhausted from the long march. Likewise, your chief of artillery has told you that cannon rounds are being tightly rationed so as to ensure you have a plentiful stockpile for the fighting that will likely continue tomorrow.

You've split the army, though you haven't destroyed them, yet. And, now in control of the Dome Hill, Winnower will likely position a grand battery of guns on its peak and rain hell on Featherstone and your flank. With enough pressure, he could crack, undoing your whole line.

When Van Rosser arrives, you could have his men take position on your left, giving them time to rest and start to dig in before any enemy attack that could come either today or early tomorrow morning.

Still, left unchecked, the guns on the Dome Hill are going to wreak a deadly toll on your mean in open ground. It might be prudent to strike now before the guns are in place on the hill. Van Rosser's men, tired though they are, are hardened veterans, among the toughest in your army. Add to their number the elite grenadiers and you have a force capable of storming the gates of hell. If you attack before dark, you might manage to reclaim the hill and deny Winnower his crushing right hook.


>Deploy Van Rosser's corps to defend the left and rest
>Direct Van Rosser's corps to take the Dome Hill before it becomes impossible
>Write in
>>
>>4973279
>Direct Van Rosser's corps to take the Dome Hill before it becomes impossible
I don't think we can win the battle under that kind of barrage. We don't have any other choice
>>
>>4973279
>Direct Van Rosser's corps to take the Dome Hill before it becomes impossible

We took the initiative when we could, but now we have to leave no opening for Winnower to snatch victory from us. Looks like the Banshees will be in for another hell of a fight.
>>
>>4973279
>Deploy Van Rosser's corps to defend the left and rest
>>
>>4973279
>Write in: Direct Van Rosser's men to push our center-left as we conduct a general assault along our entire center line. The enemy center is weak after attacking us on good ground with defenses and our counter attack, they also have no defenses as we pushed them off their previous line, aim to push them back and gain space so the hill we are taking is not flanked, then we will occupy the reverse slopes of the hills we possess so as not to receive cannon-fire from the Dome Hill.

Fitzroy's men are to act as a reserve for Van Rosser's men and the Guards division as they attack the line and push them off that hill.

We also have to move our HQ and baggage train to the small hill next to the forest away from the Dome Hill.
>>
>>4973368
That would let the force on Dome Hill outflank us and get behind our lines, we need to make sure that there is a wall of shot and steel facing the enemy at all times.
>>
In my opinion Van Rosser's men are too depleted from the previous fight and long march to successfully retake the Dome Hill even with The Banshee's and the Guards division. The Dome hill has two divisions there on the high ground, plus they are placing massive amounts of artillery there, so we'd be hard-pressed to assault such a position.

Whereas the hill I am targeting in my plan has only 1 division on it and one half of it has shifted a little probably abandoning some of the defensive works they had built throughout the day. Furthermore those defenses have only had half the division working on them in the orientation we are attacking from, since our whole line and direction and attack has changed.
>>
>>4973376
We could have Featherstone guard our left flank then and put the onus on attacking the hill on Van Rosser, the Guards division, and Fitzroy in a pinch. After we've taken it we'll be occupying the slopes facing away from the Dome Hill so as not to take cannon fire, but our defenses will still be oriented towards the Dome Hill upon those hills
>>
>>4973368
I'll support it. Trying to flat out assault the hill will end in lots of death, holding allows us to be bombarded with impunity, shifting the front may work
>>
>>4973383
That could work, a lot would ride on Featherstone holding out until Harlan gets here though, if we direct what cannon we have on the Dome Hill it should be enough to keep them pinned down.
>>
>>4973383
And instead of having Fitzroy act as a reserve for Van Rosser, he could act as a reserve for Featherstone so that we aren't overwhelmed if the Dome Hill folks do decide to attack.
>>
>>4973368
Supporting
>>
Okay, though I suggest people support the latest version of my plan if you do intend on supporting the plan I made.

>>4973376
>>4973387
Has a point, so we'll need to include these changes... >>4973383 >>4973389
>>
>>4973393
I'll second your plan, scratch >>4973339
>>
>>4973368
As a point of clarification:
Moving the HQ and baggage train isn't really something that can be done easily. You're dealing with large amounts of material and personnel who can't just pack up and move at the drop of a hat. It would take hours and potentially cause a lot of confusion in the process.

Dozens of wagons, hundreds of personnel, ammunition caisons being loaded and shuttled back and forth. Packing up the baggage train will basically deny your army resupply until it finishes moving.

It's not impossible, but it's a major decision that could have serious consequences.
>>
>>4973399
Shifting the HQ over the hill would probably take too long. I wonder if just moving it down the road to the Traveller's Lodge would get it out of danger?
>>
>>4973399
Then don't do it, do it overnight but not during the action itself. To make sure our HQ is secure, take the rightmost half of Wickerson's men and have them reinforce our left flank alongside Featherstone and Fitzroy. We can have them or others move back to the right after the battle reaches a lull.
>>
If we are worried about the cut off Chartists on the right flanking our whole army if they push through our slightly weakened right flank, then have some of Gleans and Wickerson's men further back from the front kick up a lot of dust and have the draft horses (the ones that would drag cannons and ammo, they should be available on the right since Gleans and Wickerson are mostly stationary during this action) run about in the L-wood and on the hill so as to kick up dust and make it seem like MORE men are actually arriving at the right flank, that way the chartists either flee or are frightened into staying still and digging in.
>>
>>4973422
But if we're not taking the hill that means that the Chartists are going to set artillery up there, and unlike us they probably have their full complement of cannon with them. We can't let them just rain fire on us for the rest of the afternoon unless we want to end up like poor old Van Mercer.
>>
>>4973422
Splitting up Wickerson's division and having them march to the opposite end of the battlefield will also likely cause confusion. This is a pre-radio era. All orders have to be relayed verbally so your command has to remain at LEAST within earshot, preferably within line of sight.

Divisions will need to be kept cohesive if they're going to remain effective.

>>4973420
>I wonder if just moving it down the road to the Traveller's Lodge would get it out of danger?
Moving the HQ itself is easy, but the baggage train would still be virtually immobile. If you lose the baggage train, it would be disastrous all on its own.
>>
>>4973427
I'm not saying don't do the plan, I just mean don't move the HQ.

Unless you mean they'll hit our HQ with their cannons, but isn't our HQ behind that little hill? Not to mention it is pretty long distance, will the cannons even reach?
>>
>>4973428
I'm fine with leaving our left flank in the hands of F&F then, maybe the Guards division can act as a reserve for both the left flank and the attack that Van Rosser is conducting, whoever needs it first gets them.
>>
>>4973433
If this is the main body of Winnower's army then we have to assume that they have some artillery capable of indirect fire, I don't think a little hill and some distance is going to provide enough protection, and if our HQ and baggage train gets knocked out it's all over.
>>
>>4973437
Perhaps we could reduce the disruption of moving our HQ and Baggage train by moving a shorter distance to the reverse slope of that little hill between us and the Dome Hill. If the a turn of fighting takes hours, and the distance between the Dome Hill and our HQ is within contemporary howitzer effective range, (1000+ meters) then the distance we'd have to move to be in the protected reverse slope of that little hill is tiny, a couple hundred meters at most.

Or we could have Gleans men move to rejoin F&F under Maddocks in defending our left flank and have Wickerson either attack the remnants on our former far right to pin them, or just entrench and watch and threaten them if they move. Remember, the L-woods are between us and them, so they don't actually know what is going on with the rest of the battlefield, they are tired, mauled, and separated from their command. When night comes and the fighting stops we can shift our forces to make sure there are no weak points, we just need certain divisions in certain place for this specific phase.
>>
>>4973456
I'd go with the former, as QM said that sort of maneuver with Gleans' division would just cause needless confusion, tactical cohesion is vital when you don't have effective wireless communications.
>>
>>4973460
Incorrect, he said that taking HALF of Wickersons men would cause confusion. The issue is taking half of a division, splitting up the officers and the men and taking them away from their general. We would be taking Gleans whole division if we were to hypothetically do this, and Gleans is normally under Maddocks command anyways, he'd just be rejoining F&F who also work under Maddocks.
>>
Wickerson could also just conduct local spoiling attacks or skirmish to keep the Chartists in front of him occupied while still holding the high ground with most of his force if we are worried about him being outnumbered and annihilated, but he is fresher than they are. He only needs to commit to an all out attack if they attempt to see what is beyond the L-woods and try and hit our rear.
>>
We could also just move the HQ and not the baggage train, maybe move some of the empty wagons as well so they aren't splintered by cannon fire, inert munitions can stay, a cannon ball won't blow up other cannon balls unless the munition they hit is explosive.

We aren't worried about being overrun especially if we use the changes to the plan that have the Guards and/or Gleans protect our left flank, we are just discussing being sniped by howitzers or field artillery. So, moving the fleshy or comparatively fragile wooden things away under cover will solve most of that issue, stacks of cannons balls being hit isn't too big a deal other than having their containers destroyed.
>>
>>4973279
Is a dusk/night attack feasible? If so, then
>Direct Van Rosser's corps to take the Dome Hill before it becomes impossible
Otherwise, I support some variation of
>>4973383
>>
>>4973383
>>4973389

Support. We will turn this south vs north battle into an east vs west one.
>>
>>4973465
>>4973469
>>4973476
I stand corrected, and I second your latter two suggestions. We are engaging in some high risk manoeuvres here and we'll need to use every trick and clever tactic we can think of to squeak this one out.
>>
>>4973279
>move away from reach of enemy artillery on Dome Hill, including our HQ
>focus on eliminating these 3 isolated divisions on our right
>>
>>4973279
>>Direct Van Rosser's corps to take the Dome Hill before it becomes impossible
>>
>>4973279
>Direct Van Rosser's corps to take the Dome Hill before it becomes impossible

Van Rosser, politically appointed he may be, is not incompetent, we can trust him to take the hill, and prevent the artillery fire, which will destroy morale if left unchecked.
>>
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>Direct Van Rosser's corps to take the Dome Hill
>>4973288
>>4973504
>>4973682
>>4973878

>Deploy Van Rosser's corps to defend the left and rest
>>4973342

>General attack across the line, Van Rosser seizes the near hill
>>4973368
>>4973385
>>4973391
>>4973395
>>4973519

>Move HQ and baggage train, draw back from the left
>>4973592
>Write in

To make sure I understand because there have been a number of additions and revisions. The general plan is this:


>Create a diversion on the right to keep the enemy there pinned
>General attack with Bredden and Glennmore
>Van Rosser's Corps (Two divisions) will form behind Featherstone and Fitzroy, march through them and attack the small hill north of your HQ.
>Use reverse slopes to avoid shelling from Dome Hill
>Deploy the Guards division to Featherstone's left (They will be under the guns on Dome Hill)


Without making last minute revisions to the plan, is that accurate?
>>
>>4974187
This plan is far too complex and overambitious. We've been explicitly told multiple times that coordination like this is extremely challenging, if not impossible, and would almost certainly be disastrous in the midst of battle. We're having our entire army launch an assault, while sending a detachment to deal with another group of enemies, while also deploying more troops, broadening our lines, launching a flanking maneuver, AND attempting to hold our flank against an entrenched force with a large artillery battery. All that while splitting the commands of officers. We'll be lucky if our entire army doesn't fall into disarray. I don't think this write-in is wise, and I hope some anons are willing to change their votes before we get locked in
>>
>>4974187
I think this has too much happening, too many moving parts means too many chances to fuck up.

I'll change to attacking the hill i guess?>>4973385
>>
>>4974187
>Without making last minute revisions to the plan, is that accurate?

Yes.
>>
>>4974187
Anything but that write-in. Is it possible to vote specifically -1 against a choice? If yes, that's my vote in lieu >>4973592.
>>
>>4974187
Basically, though if passage of the lines through Fitzroy is too hard I guess he could move back a little if his men have the energy. If moving the Guards to the left exposes them too much I suppose they could hide behind the little hill, the point is to make sure they are able to get into position in time if the Dome Hill divisions come down to push through our left flank into our HQ. Fitzroy is to rest for now, but if we need an emergency reserve for Van Rosser's attack or for the left flank he is it.
>>
>>4974251
You realise if you vote for attacking Dome Hill, my plan doesn't win anyways...right? You could just tiebreak instead of hoping TK accepts negative votes.
>>
>>4974187
>>4974240
>>4974252
Support.
>>
>>4974187
>Direct Van Rosser's corps to take the Dome Hill
forgot to vote.
>>
>>4974187
How about we supplement Van Rosser's troops with the Guards?
>>
>>4974187
>>4974715
That sounds good to me. Anything is better than leaving them as sitting ducks for the Chartist guns on Dome Hill.
>>
>>4974187
I thought this >>4974715 was implied in the storm the hill vote, but if it's not then I'm modifying my vote >>4973288 to support it
>>
>>4974187
I would like to add to all the other options that massing a battery against Dome hill might be a good idea.
I don't care which options wins, but this is a must. The enemy must be punished for having a good position.
>>
>>4974187
I agree with it. Attacking the hill now is just a fun way to get Van Rosser killed. Especially since we won't have much artillery to support it.
>>
>>4976878
Instead we can throw our whole army in disarray and spill spaghetti everywhere
>>
>>4974251
No, I don't accept anti-votes. I'll count this as a vote for the only other plan that has a shot at winning.
>Direct Van Rosser's corps to take the Dome Hill
>>4973288
>>4973504
>>4973682
>>4973878
>>4974197
>>4974251
>>4974304


>General attack across the line, Van Rosser seizes the near hill
>>4973368
>>4973391
>>4973395
>>4973519


This was a close one and clearly very contentious. I'll try to capture some of that energy in the post.

Writing
>>
>>4977577
>>Direct Van Rosser's corps to take the Dome Hill

RIP IV Corps.
>>
>>4977577
Well, at least the worry is over, sorry for any anxiety my constant revisions to the plan may have caused.

>>4973376
Thanks to this anon for being a good interlocutor. I enjoyed the discussion.
>>
>>4977628
>Well, at least the worry is over, sorry for any anxiety my constant revisions to the plan may have caused.

It was a good plan. Certainly better than directly attacking a fortified position on high ground.
>>
You feel the weight of the decision on your shoulders. The lives on men are counting on you, the fate of the battle. That Dome Hill is fearsome ground to take no matter the circumstances. With the enemy now in possession of it, you simply can't leave them be.

Van Rosser's imminent arrival gives you just the moment you need to make that happen, though time is fleeting.

"Press the attack on or right if practicable," you instruct Goddwyn's corps through a courier. "Keep pressure on the enemy and roll him back if he yields."

The next order is more general and takes the form of a blank check issued to your chief of artillery. With the Chartists amassing guns on Dome Hill, you see no reason to make it easy for them. A similar command is issued, a grand battery to be assembled on the hill to Featherstone's left.

"Stockpiles are low, general," the chief of artillery cautions you. "We can't keep up heavy fire for much longer today."

"The good news is that the day is almost over," you say. "Keep them reeling until dark falls, or Van Rosser takes the hill, that's all I ask of you."


The officer salutes, providing no further argument.

Daylight continues to slip painfully by, minute by minute. You watch the Dome Hill through your field glasses, grimacing every time you see a fresh enemy battery brought to bear, or a new infantry company set to digging.

Van Rosser's arrival couldn't come soon enough. "Lord General!" He greets, doffing his cap like a courtier. "I hope we haven't come too late, sir."

"Not soon enough," you reply, giving a moment for Van Rosser' staff to gather. "What condition are your men in?"

"Tired, frankly, my lord. It's been a long march, though you know their kind. The swampfolk can't resist the allure of a fight."

True or not, you don't have the luxury of choice.

"Ride with me." You take Van Rosser and his staff close to the front, riding behind the assembling grand battery. Teams of horses and artillery crew deliver guns and caissons at the gallop, unlimbering them and wheeling them around as fast as bodies can move. You bring Van Rosser up to speed with the course of the battle as you ride until the two of you come into sight of the hill. "I need IV Corps to clear the Chartists from that hill."

Van Rosser stares at at blankly, his smirk fades. "That hill, my lord?" He looks aghast.

"The enemy are on the hill and they're digging in now, Van Rosser," you say. "If we don't get them off soon then we never will. You have two divisions, experience troops, and the Guards. We've assembled a grand battery here and we will conduct a ferocious bombardment of that position building up to your infantry assault."

Van Rosser doesn't reply, his eyes fixed on the hill.

"We take that hill or our whole left is untenable."

Van Rosser pulls his eyes from the hill. "It will take time to get my corps into position, my lord."
>>
"We don't have much of that. You'll have to do this quick, understand? I've launched diversionary attacks up the line, but you'll have to make the main push quickly. Cross the ground and storm the heights before they finish massing guns."

Van Rosser nods. "I understand, my lord. Porthladd's sons will do their duty this day!"

"Of that I have no doubts." You exchange salutes and watch him ride back down the hill to see to his men. It's a tough order, but you don't think you have a choice. The die have been cast at any rate. It's out of your hands.

***

When your grand battery opens fire on Dome Hill, they do so as one. The first volley seems to shake the earth itself, a thick billow of smoke from each gun momentarily blankets them all, dispersing as the crews swab and reload.

You keep your gaze fixed on Dome Hill, taking some small pleasure in the small red forms darting around under the barrage. The infantry hunker down behind what limited works they've already constructed and their artillery crews work guns and return fire on your own batteries.

The shriek and howl of artillery fire passes to and fro, each salvo echoes and reverberates between the hills building to a symphony of destruction.

No sooner have the guns begun to fire than you see Van Rosser's corps rushing from cover in the shadow of a hill, quickly forming into smart ranks in the open. Two divisions arranged in a double line, two waves of men. Van Piers on the left, Vance on the right. It's a marvelous site, more than ten thousand men forming up as one. Battle standards and flags are unfurled to snap and flutter in the breeze, drummers beat out a steady cadence while officers and NCOs assemble.

The gunners on Dome Hill adjust their aim shortly afterward, turning to target this sudden threat. Many guns are knocked out, but they still put up fearsome fire. Shells carve deadly furrows through the ranks, sending bodies and body parts tumbling.

You don't allow yourself to look away.

The command is given and IV Corps marches forward, trampling crops and fences in their path. After they go forward, the guards division forms up in reserve. Light catches their golden epaulets and adornments which shine like the sun on their otherwise white uniforms. One brigade remains in reserve, following behind the main attack while another marches obliquely across a nearby creek to circle around to threaten the hill's left.

IV Corps goes forward gallantly until they reach the base of the hill where rough terrain begins to break up their ranks and they surge forward up the bare, rocky slope.

Volleys of musket fire and blasts of canister scythe them down by the dozens, laying a carpet of carnage up the hill. Return fire comes sporadically from the Legitimist attacks until gun smoke covers the battlefield making observation impossible.
>>
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You can monitor the back and forth struggle on the hill only from the frequency of musket fire and the amount of wounded men and routed units fleeing back down the hill. Through the haze you see the Chartist colors flying atop the Dome Hill proudly, tattered, but standing.

Late afternoon fades into early evening with the battle's outcome not clear. As daylight fades, a harried Van Rosser rides back to join you. His cap is gone, his horse sweating.

"Sir, how fares your corps?" You ask.

"It's hell on that hill, lord general," Van Rosser says. "Men are falling in droves. Just getting up is a challenge. That's the worst ground for fighting I've ever seen. The devil himself cursed that ground."

"But can you take it?" You press.

Van Rosser hesitates and then shakes his head. "No, my lord. Not without ruining my corps. But the Guards might be able to."

"I'll not commit more men to a battle that can't be won."

"No, my lord. See here." He gestures to the left of the hill. "I've maneuvered a brigade of guards along their flank, up close in the thickets around the creek bed. Come darkness we can renew the attack, and if the Guards come I think we can drive them from that hill."

A night attack is a risky proposition. Command and control will be virtually impossible, chaos will reign, but if the enemy can be caught by surprise then there is a hope. With all their attention focused on Van Rosser's divisions before them, a sneak attack up the slope's rougher side by the Guards might just carry the day.

It won't be quick in any case and night fighting will wear the men even more than they have been. Successful or not, it will take a toll. You might better spend that time by drawing the left flank back. If the hill cannot be taken then you will have to prepare your left for an attack come morning.
>Launch a night attack with the Guards
>We've tried enough, draw back the left
>write in
>>
>>4977628
>Well, at least the worry is over, sorry for any anxiety my constant revisions to the plan may have caused.
No worries! I just wanted to make sure I understood the plan as it was being voted on and didn't horribly misinterpret it.
>>
>>4977888
>Launch a night attack with the Guards
We have an extra corp on the way. Though it's not ideal, we can sustain more losses than they do, and without the hill their position is completely untenable
>>
>>4977888
>Launch a night attack with the Guards

Thankfully there doesn't seem to be anymore enemy reinforcements. (that we can observe)
>>
>>4977904
Yeah, tomorrow we can crush their right with Harlan's Corps and our right. Then we can focus on the rest.

I personally would've preferred to prevent them from taking the Dome Hill in the first place and then had Harlan roll up their whole line as he arrived on our right because we presumably would've had relatively straight lines in a north vs south battle, but that moment has passed and there isn't any point in speculating on what might have been.
>>
>>4977628
Thanks man, I may not have the tactical skill to come up with plans, but I love being able to review and optimise proposals.
>>
>>4977911
Yes, perhaps pushing the centre when we did was a mistake. But what's done is done.

>>4977888
>Launch a night attack with the Guards
We really have no other choice, as long as the enemy has that hill they have a chance. But I worry about ending up with a pyrrhic victory, we're not here to have a big showdown with Winnower, we're here to take Foebadyn, and if we lose too many in this battle will we have the strength and morale to go on?
>>
>>4978045
Our siege weapons are coming which will be more useful than simply having enough troops to throw at the walls
>>
>>4978045
It depends how many they have in the Starforts, we don't have to attack directly east into the forts themselves, there are paths to the city from the north and south that don't have forts guarding them.
>>
>>4977888
>>Launch a night attack with the Guards
>>
>>4977888
>Launch a night attack with the Guards
>>
>>4977888
>We've tried enough, draw back the left
>>
>>4977888
>>Launch a night attack with the Guards

I knew this was an awful idea, but now we have no choice but to double down.
>>
>>4977888
>Launch a night attack with the Guards
AAAAAA
>>
>>4977888
>Launch a night attack with the Guards
>>
>>4977888
>>Launch a night attack with the Guards
>>
>>4977888
>>Launch a night attack with the Guards
>>
>>4978045
>Yes, perhaps pushing the centre when we did was a mistake. But what's done is done.

Pretty much
>>
>>4977888
>>Launch a night attack with the Guards
>>
>Launch a night attack with the Guards

Writing
>>
You can't leave the job half finished. "Deploy the Guards. See that it's done."

"Yes, my lord!"

The attack goes up just after sunset. The sky is a deep, inky purple and the moon cresting the horizon when the Guards advance. It's too dark for you to observe the fight directly, but you see the flash of muskets lighting the hill as Van Rosser renews the attack. Bold bands of infantry advance in loose ranks up the rocky slopes and close to attack with bayonet, knife, rifle butt. With the Chartists wholly absorbed with repelling this sloppy attack, they are ill-prepared when the Guards fall on their flank. The elite grenadiers crest the hill in near silence and fall on the Chartists with deadly seriousness. Where the guards and Van Piers divisions intersect, there are cases of friendly fire, misidentification in the dark. A company of guardsman take a point blank volley by a panicked regiment of regulars and in many cases bands of allied soldiers recoil from one another, drawing back in panic.

The effect is to spread chaos and confusion. Vance and Van Piers divisions become intermingled and hopelessly entangled. High level command is soon impossible and it's up to small unit commanders to lead the men forward.

Despite the chaos, the attack goes up with success. The Chartists withdraw their gun batteries in a panic, afraid of having them captured or spiked. Seeing the frantic retreat of the artillery sends panic through the Chartist ranks and culminates in a general withdrawal. The assembled forces on the hill retreat in confusion back into the woods and beyond.

Van Rosser's corps is in no shape to pursue and with no more daylight left to exploit, you have to let the opportunity pass.


As night finishes falling, an uneasy peace settles over the battlefield. The roar of battle is replaced with the sounds of petulant skirmishing. Sharpshooters and advanced pickets take potshots at one another. The chirping of night insects is broken periodically by the crack of a musket.

The chorus of the night is disrupted also with a baleful sound, the moaning and crying of the innumerable wounded. Despondent souls lie between both forces, inaccessible to either, left to waste away from their wounds. Typically dehydration or bloodless gets them first. In some cases, local truces are established to collect the wounded and dead, but this is rare. Both sides are too tired to do much other than bed down where their lines stood, and both sides are too wary to accept a delegation in the night.
>>
The aid station near your HQ is full to bursting with more men being brought by cart and carried in litters each moment.

You walk the ranks and look at the ghostly, pained faces of the men as they wait for the surgeon's blade. These are Van Rosser's men, hardened trappers and fishermen from the coast. They lay about with shattered limbs, bones broken by musket balls. A hit to the chest or gut is almost invariably fatal, but the doctors and nurses try to make these doomed men comfortable in their painful lingering. Hits to limbs are survivable, but if a bone is struck by a ball, it typically shatters like glass, rendering the limb useless and even worse, susceptible to gangrene. The only solution and only route to survival is amputation.

Mercifully your army is well equipped with anesthetic, ether and chloroform, so the work is conducted painlessly. The only screaming here is from men waiting to go under the saw. Outside of the surgical tent is a disconcerting mound of severed limbs. Legs, hands, arms, and feet, some still in shoes and boots. You turn away before it turns your stomach.

The cost of war is impossible to swallow, but you make yourself face it anyway. For good or ill, these men suffer under your commands.

Your once proud army of one hundred thousand has been horribly bloodied here, you can only hope it's been for a purpose.

Your morbid task completed, you check the casualty roster for any of your divisional or corps commanders who may have fallen.

Maddocks has been struck with a spent ball which unseated him from his horse. The wound is superficial and he's fit to lead.

Van Piers lost his leg to a sharpshooter and his division is being reorganized.

You've otherwise been quite fortunate, though lower level officers have suffered horrendously. Good officers lead from the front, where only luck can protect them. As such, good officers don't tend to live long.

You turn away from the butcher's bill, finished torturing yourself for the night, you have a meeting to attend.
>>
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The army's baggage train and your army headquarters have been moved from their old location further back to the Traveler's Lodge. The building, a single-story wooden framed house with an attached stone barn once acted as a waypoint for traveling merchants but now houses your command staff.

You enter the small drawing room to find your council of war. Your staff officers, all three of your corps commanders - Maddocks, Goddwyn, and Van Rosser - as well as Moers and the Crown Prince.

You greet each of them before reviewing the map. "We've driven the enemy from the high ground on the flanks, but they remain anchored in rough ground. To our right, they hold the wooded thickets along the creekbank, to our left they hold the lower slopes of the Nearen Heights as well as the hills nearby. Gentlemen, what's the status of your corps?"

"Fresh sir," Moers says. "And eager for action. The Redbacks haven't been sporting enough to try us."

"Tired, sir," Maddocks says. "We saw heavy fighting in the morning, but come tomorrow I think we'll be in better shape. I'm working to get Gleans division back into line with us."

"I concur with General Maddocks," Goddwyn says. "It was a hard fought day. I think in the morning we may be able to renew the attack, but it was a hell of a day. Likewise, I aim to return Wickerson to my line."

Van Rosser looks grim. "My corps has been gutted in the fighting on the hill. I'm down to a single experienced division commander, and my losses are significant. Even the Guards are roughed up. We can repel an attack, but not much more."

You nod. "Harlan's corps will be arriving on our right tomorrow," you say. "I can't say for certain when, but I expect him before the afternoon."

"My pickets will alert you as soon as we see him," the Prince says.

Until Harlan arrives, it falls to you to decide how best to begin tomorrow. You might renew your attack with your rested corps in hopes of keeping the enemy off balance and deny them initiative. Otherwise you might rather sit on the defense and let the enemy try attacks of their own though you'll be surrendering control over the tempo of the battle.


>Renew attack on the right with Goddwyn's corps at first light
>Attack the heights at the enemy center with Maddocks' Corps at first light
>Have the army dig in and let the enemy make the first move
>Write in
>>
>>4978761
>>Have the army dig in and let the enemy make the first move

Now we just have to hold and wait, we're in pretty good positions, so while they could attack us, it'll be pretty costly for them.

Also how do you write that much in half an hour?
>>
>>4978765
>Also how do you write that much in half an hour?

1: I am a fast writer
2: I typically have an idea of how things might go in my head ahead of time, so I'm prepared for however the vote goes.
3: I don't generally review my quest writing (Hence why there is a lot of typos and mistakes usually)
>>
>>4978761
>>Have the army dig in and let the enemy make the first move

We crippled an entire corps for nothing more than a hill. If we make more retarded attacks like this we won't have enough troops to take Foebadyn.
>>
>>4978790
What's worse we took Dome Hill AND moved our HQ and baggage train, just like that. Wasn't the entire reason for attacking that hill our inability to move our forces away from their guns?
>>
>>4978761
>Have the army dig in and let the enemy make the first move
>>
>>4978803
You voted directly against the write-in, which was the only option that had a chance of beating attacking Dome Hill directly with Van Rosser's Corps.
>>
>>4978803
To be clear, had Some Hill not been taken, then the Chartists could have launched a massive attack from it.

The baggage train will be moved but it will take all night. It's not a simple process. Apologies if that was unclear.
>>
>>4978761
>Have the army dig in and let the enemy make the first move

Trying to seize the initiative has led to some unforced blunders and unnecessary losses. We're bloodied and tired, but we are in a strong position. Let's just wait it out until Harlan gets here.
>>
>>4978761
>Have the army dig in and let the enemy make the first move

This is the safest option with good ground.

I will however make the case for attacking (I don't think there is much of one) or for some additions to our defense.

The potential benefit to attacking is the potential to pin their troops or draw their reserves in if we find success. This is important because they outnumber us and have divisional reserves throughout most of their line, if they set the initiative they could take all of them and focus them on a point in our line that would undo our whole line or just go for the place with the weakest ground line where Glennmore is. The problem with attacking is they have strong reserves and it is unlikely we'd be able to tie up more than the local reserves because we'd be unable to find more than decent success in any area, plus we'd be open to counterattacks. Thus, seemingly attacking would be foolish.

My defensive plan barely has any changes or thought put into it, it is mostly just rejoining the displaced divisions with their parent corps and some suggests for cannon placement and lines of fire, there are some good opportunities for enfilading fire which may open a chance for an attack on the center later in the day.

>pic related
>>
Do any of us have "grenades" Are there grenadiers in the army?
>>
>>4978761
>>Have the army dig in and let the enemy make the first move
>>
>>4978904
>Do any of us have "grenades" Are there grenadiers in the army?
No.
>>
>>4978761
>>4978890
This looks good to me.
>>
>>4978761
>>4978890
This looks good to me, support.
>>
>>4978890
I second the artillery placement, but I don't think we should risk our position right now, we should come up with a plan for when Harlan gets here but before then we need to ensure that they don't use their numbers to steamroll us.
>>
>>4978761
>>Renew attack on the right with Goddwyn's corps at first light
>>
>>4978937
If they don't at least have nice hats I'm calling you a fraud
>>
>>4978855
>To be clear, had Some Hill not been taken, then the Chartists could have launched a massive attack from it.

I doubt the casualties we would have taken from that attack would've been worse than what we took attacking the hill. We have an entire corps practically out of the battle.
>>
>>4978961
Sure, I generally don't intend to attack unless the opportunity is a battle-winning one.
>>
>>4978998
If we had left Dome Hill unchallenged then the enemy divisions could have outflanked us and attacked our centre from behind, breaking the back of our army and forcing a general rout. It could have been a campaign ending defeat.
>>
>>4978761
>Have the army dig in and let the enemy make the first move
Enough bloodshed.
Let the men who can dig in do so, but let the men have enough rest.

QM what's the actual casualty list so far?
>>
>>4978761
>Have the army dig in and let the enemy make the first move
Well, that horrible but necessary action is done. Van Rosser did not disappoint thankfully, despite the losses. Now is the time to recuperate and wait for Harlan before going on the offensive again.
>>
>>4978761
>Have the army dig in and let the enemy make the first move

Time to let them bleed for a change. Our positions seem sound.
>>
>>4979118
>QM what's the actual casualty list so far?

Approximately 12,000 men killed, wounded, or missing.


I'm sorry to report that real life is kicking my ass again. A few things came up unexpectedly. I may not be able to update this week, but I will post this weekend if I can find the time.

Sorry guys.
>>
>>4979671
Is all good OP! Loving this Quest and Neon Terminus so far, keep up the good work!
>>
>>4979671
Shit, no worries man. As always, quality is worth waiting for.

You ever considered doing a historical quest? I for one would give my left nut for a bonny prince charlie jacobite quest.
>>
>>4981947
For me, it's a John Lambert quest. Are you a bad enough dude to save the Commonwealth?
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>>4981627
>Loving this Quest and Neon Terminus so far, keep up the good work!
Thanks! I'm looking forward to getting NTE back on the road as well.

>>4981947
>As always, quality is worth waiting for.
Thank you!

>>4981947
>You ever considered doing a historical quest?
That's sort of where this emerged from. I wanted to do an American Civil War quest where you could shape history, but I was concerned about players being meta and me missing random historical details etc.

I have a lot more leeway with a fictionalized setting.
>>
>>4983379
>concerned about players being meta and me missing random historical details
>I have a lot more leeway with a fictionalized setting.

Best thing you could have done. While an actual historical Civil war thread might have been more popular, this was a good alternative with the issues brought up.
>>
>Have the army dig in and let the enemy make the first move


Sorry for the long delay guys. Let's move this forward.

Writing
>>
>>4987274
Ayyy we're back
>>
The fighting never truly stops. Even overnight, while some men catch fitful sleep in the dewy grass of the battlefield musket fire cracks out in the dark. Small bands of skirmishers clash in the night over minor tactical positions. Cabins, barns, and farmhouses are fought over, gained, lost, and burned to deny them to the enemy.

As dim sunlight dawns over the bloody fields on the second day a burst of cannonade commences the fighting proper.

You hardly slept and are wide awake when the Chartists begin their attack on your right. You ride to the edge of the L-shaped woods to try to observe the fighting. From your position you can mostly see the the hill which the two-steeple church sits upon. Smoke drifts up in banks as your infantry lay down a heavy fire on an unseen enemy. Booms of cannon punctuate the ripple

of musketry.

Bredden's men had held the hill at the end of the day though they have since been switched out with Glennmore as you reorganized your corps into a semblance of order. You lower your field glasses with a grimace. There's little to be seen. You look to a nearby aide. "Find out what in the hell is happening on that hill."

"Sir!" The courier gallops off.

You know the answer already, but get it confirmed minutes later.

"Heavy attack on the hill, sir. Glennmore reports Redbacks coming on his left and right."

"Across the creek?"

"Yes, sir!"

Winnower was pressing his men hard on this. That hill would be bloody work. Crossing a wide creek in the open under the guns of Glennmore's men would mean a steep toll. They were likely the same troops who'd received a beating early on the first day as well. Still, if they had enough support they may just sweep it.

You swear under your breath.

The rest of the line is quiet, both sides are mostly content to lick their wounds and muster their courage. You're grateful you kept the enemy from rolling your left with their control of Dome Hill, though you paid a stiff toll for it.

Within an hour, you see the flags of the Chartists going up the heights, waving amidst the gun smoke as your brigades fall back, unable to withstand the onslaught. A courier brings the same news minutes later from Goddwyn.

General,

My line is undone. Bredden's men are in retreat. I'm surrendering the heights around the Two Steeple Church and drawing my line back to the L-Wood. Have inflicted heavy losses on the enemy but unable to hold.

Goddwyn
>>
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You fail to hide a scowl but you know Goddwyn made the right call. You have no real reserves to call upon, and even if you had, they would not have arrived in time to make a difference. The realities of the battlefield mean that attacks are rarely conducted quickly. Movement is ponderous, deliberate.

You're now left with a straighter line, though your right flank isn't as secure as it was. You're not sure if the enemy is in any position to do anything about that, especially not after the thrashing you gave them defending the hill.

Harlan should also be arriving from your right soon. No word yet, but when he arrives you can imagine it will be a pivotal moment.
>>
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You could hold the line where it is now, burning daylight until Harlan arrives and allowing Winnower to continue futile attacks on your line to wear him down.

You might also draw the whole line back to run across the ridges to the south, anchoring your right on Marye's farm. It will give you fewer options to fall back, but will buy you time to avoid more of Winnower's aggressive attacks.

You also have the option of sending Goddwyn's whole corps in with a right hook to retake the hill. Wickerson's men are relatively fresh and might well clear the exhausted Chartists off that hill. It would be a strain on your tired men, but this is the best chance you have of regaining that ground before Harlan arrives.
>Hold the line where it is
>Draw back the right flank to Marye's farm
>Launch a right hook with Goddwyn
>Write in
>>
I thought we outnumbered the enemy? It looks like they outnumber us unless they are stretched thin.
>>
>>4987298
Hmm, our right seems more coherent despite having just retreated than our enemy's left, and Wickerson is fresh, we could push, especially since we seem to outnumber them on the right as they seem to be disorganized.

On the other hand I'd like to do what I originally intended and hold good high ground and strike at a decisive moment when Harlan arrives on our enemy's left. To do this I'd prefer to fall back. The only uncertainty that I really care about in this is the fact that I'm assuming Harlan's men will be in fighting shape, but they may arrive dead tired from a long march, in which case the moment won't be as decisive as I'd hoped. The enemy cavalry may warn the enemy too, stripping the maneuver of its fangs, though I think Harlan and the Prince's cavalry could eliminate the cavalry on our right, freeing up the Prince to act as an exploiting force for us.

Still, we must adapt to the moment. They seem to have 4 and a half disorganized divisions on the hill that have taken heavy losses, we actually outnumber them on this flank, we should take advantage of the moment even in sacrifice of the bigger picture imho. If we want to do the strategy I described earlier with Harlan sweeping their flanks when they have a straight line we could simply fall back again when they attack again on our right (if they do) or otherwise retreat of our own volition to the high ground.

>Launch a right hook with Goddwyn

Hesitantly voting for this.

Welcome back TK, glad this is back.
>>
>>4987298
>Hold the line where it is
>>
>>4987363
No? Our character, Belmonte explicitly said he suspected that Winnower outnumbers us earlier. Though that is in total, I think we outnumber them on our right flank, though they have more on our left and center.

The post where Belmonte says we are outnumbered is here >>4973276

Plus you can just count the enemy divisions.
>>
>>4987298
>>Hold the line where it is

Let him exhaust his men while we await Harlan.
>>
>>4987298
>>Launch a right hook with Goddwyn
>>
>>4987372
I wasn't sure if each bar was a accurate representation of a full Div. or just potions of "enemy is here". I figured we had local numerical superiority, but in theater they outnumbered us.
>>
Just saying, with the "right hook" even if we manage to push the enemy back we don't have the men to exploit anything until Harlan arrives. It seems far too wasteful to throw them at the enemy line right now, we'd be better served hunkering down and allowing the men what rest they can get while letting the enemy exhaust themselves. Once Harlan arrives we can properly launch an attack on the enemy, and then exploit any disarray in their lines.
>>
*Shrug* I'm fine with this too, if we can't complete a move that leads to the collapse of the enemy army then tactics that lead to higher enemy casualties are probably preferable, I was just thinking maybe we'd kill more by attacking a disorganized sector even if they are on the defense.
>>
>>4987298
>Hold the line where it is
>>
>>4987298
>Draw back the right flank to Marye's farm
Hill advantage.
>>
>>4987298
>>Hold the line where it is
Dig in heavily
>>
>Hold the line where it is
>>4987371
>>4987404
>>4987935
>>4988027

>Launch a right hook with Goddwyn
>>4987370
>>4987494


>Hold the line

Writing


>>4987523
The map is an abstraction of the information you as Belmonte have available. It's incomplete, but each bar is roughly a brigade. 2 per division. But this is based on your own estimation and isn't guaranteed accurate.
>>
Best not to press your luck until Harlan arrives. You squint up at the sun overhead. Noon came swiftly. As the heat of the day grows, so to does the exhaustion of both armies. Casualties from fatigue, dehydration, and heat exhaustion are just as bad, if not worse than wounds from battle. Runners carry canteens to and from nearby creeks to bring water to their comrades but there is little respite from the merciless heat.

You watch the Chartists dressing their lines on the heights near the Two Steeple Church. You can see them spreading to occupy natural cover, fences, stone walls, sunken roads and farmhouses. Small sprays of dirt come at intervals where men are hidden, the work of shovels and spades. If Winnower is digging in then you imagine his left is weak, worn down by the relentless fighting, as your own left is.

You've resisted the construction of serious earthworks on all but the most vital ground so far. Your men are tired enough as is, the last thing you need to do is exhaust them with digging when they may not even remain in those positions. Van Rosser's shattered corps has begun the process of entrenching upon Dome Hill behind the watchful line of the Guards, Featherstone's division occupies the same ground as it had on morning of the first day more or less.

"Why doesn't he strike?" Van Rosser asks.

You and your corps commanders are gathered near the lines, observing the enemy.

"Winnower wants to smash us here, he likely outnumbers us, why hasn't he attacked again?"

"He's got fighting spirit," Maddocks says, speaking from experience. Like you, he'd served alongside Winnower in the distant past. "But that can't overcome limitations of the flesh. His men are worn as are ours."

Goddwyn shakes his head. "No, I don't believe that. Yes, they're tired, but would that stop us? Winnower is waiting for a reason."

"Perhaps for us to attack again," Van Rosser says. "God knows we've done plenty of that." It's impossible for you to miss the bitterness in his voice. How many of his boys still lay across the slopes of the Dome Hill?
>>
"They're either licking their wounds or they're mustering for another attack," you say. "Ultimately the result is the same. We wait."

"Where will they strike do you think?" Maddocks says.

"If anywhere? I think he'll try our center. It's the one place he hasn't tried. God help them if they do," you say.

Maddocks nods.

"Lord General, observe." Van Rosser gestures to the distant Chartist lines.

You can just make out a cluster of riders on horseback moving over the field, accompanied by a veritable forest of flags and banners, the hated icons of the Chartists.

"Winnower and his staff," Maddocks says.

"We ought to do something," Goddwyn suggest.

"Have our gunners target the banners," Van Rosser says to you. "If Winnower wants to prance about in the open, let's be done with him."

You think of your predecessor, Van Mercer, the gallant hero he was. He'd been cut down on the dawn of battle at Shedford Downs by Chartist cannon fire, likely targeted intentionally.


>All's fair in war, order the gun batteries to target Winnower and his staff
>Let him be. There's no honor or sport in that.
>Write in
>>
>>4988577
>>All's fair in war, order the gun batteries to target Winnower and his staff
>>
>>4988577
>>All's fair in war, order the gun batteries to target Winnower and his staff
our old commanding officer died that way, they dont consider it wrong.
>>
>>4988577
>send winnower a messenger, that if he comes about in the open again, we will fire.
>>
>>4988577
>All's fair in war, order the gun batteries to target Winnower and his staff

Their newspapers may call us a gentleman and we may have spared that one town but they cut down Van Mercer with no thought to honour or mercy, I'm fine with doing the same.
>>
>>4988577
>Let him be. There's no honor or sport in that.
>>
>>4988577
>All's fair in war, order the gun batteries to target Winnower and his staff
>"Kill a few men at the head and you can spare a whole army of the slaughter."
>>
>>4988577
>>Let him be. There's no honor or sport in that.

We won't have any of the glory of defeating Winnower if we kill him this way. The true way to prove Legitimistism correct is to fight with honour.
>>
>>4988577
>>All's fair in war, order the gun batteries to target Winnower and his staff
Fuck that guy
>>
>>4988577
>>All's fair in war, order the gun batteries to target Winnower and his staff
>>
I wonder who their Belmonte will be.
>>
>>4988577
>All's fair in war, order the gun batteries to target Winnower and his staff
>>
>>4988577
>Let him be
>>
>>4988577
>>All's fair in war, order the gun batteries to target Winnower and his staff
>>
>All's fair in war, order the gun batteries to target Winnower and his staff

Writing
>>
>>4989941
There goes our hard-earned reputation.
>>
You nod. "Do it."

Maddocks relays the command to his chief of artillery and within a minute the guns start booming. Shellfire crashes against the far hill and you see the Chartist command staff scatter amidst the impacts around them.

A horse is decapitated by a round and you see a human limb flop away.

The enemy officers vanish over the hill, leaving a few of their dead laying maimed on the hillside. Wind tussles their uniforms and a fallen flag. The peace hardly lasts a minute before Chartist return fire booms from the far hills. A cannonball screams overhead and another smashes into an artillerymen, scattering his insides across the grass and doubling him over.

You wheel your horse and retire from the hill before you end up like poor Van Mercer, your staff and generals galloping after you. You don't know if the bodies you saw left behind include Winnower, part of you doesn't want to know. You'd known Winnower before the war. He was a good officer and a decent man. It's a shame to imagine his life spent in this place.

Of course, that didn't stop Winnower from doing all in his power to bleed your army dry. Every moment he draws breath is another moment he's dedicated to killing your men and destroying your cause.

In the lee of the hill, you regather your staff, the banging of the artillery duel continuing petulantly in the background.
>>
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"We'll want to make sure we have good coverage on our flanks," you say. Moers and the Prince will see to that I think." Your train of thought is broken by a thunder of hooves. You look up to see a squadron of riders approaching at speed in hussar livery. "Speak of the devil."

"General Belmonte sir!" the lead officer, a captain, salutes, grinning from ear to ear.

"You bring news?"

"Straight from the Crown Prince himself, sir! We've sighted an approaching body of infantry on our right flank. They march under the Legitimist banner."

Your heart soars. "Harlan?"

"Yes, sir!"

"How far?"

"Perhaps an hour's march."

"What condition are they in?"

"Worn I would estimate. It's a long march. I will send some cavalry scouts to march them in, where should I send them sir?"

A fork in the road provides an opportunity to deploy Harlan's men in unusual ways. The safe bet will be to have him form up on your right, sheltered by Goddwyn's corps. This would also allow the Hussars to mask their advance from the enemy cavalry screen, providing a measure of surprise when you unleash them.

More aggressively, and more boldly, you might route Harlan and have him form up behind the enemy lines to strike at their rear. This method would likely be spotted by enemy cavalry and would tip them off to Harlan's presence. He would have to attack immediately. Additionally, Harlan's corps would be isolated from the rest of your army.

If you choose to have Harlan form on your flank, you will later have the choice on if you will attack straight away or wait until tomorrow morning. If you deploy behind enemy lines then Harlan will have to attack straight away or lose the element of surprise.


>1 Have Harlan form on our right flank, beside Goddwyn's corps
>2 Have Harlan form further out, behind the enemy lines
>Write in
>>
>>4990011
>>2 Have Harlan form further out, behind the enemy lines

Have all of our other three corps attack the enemy's front at the same time. They won't be able to defend both their front and rear simultaneously.
>>
>>4990011
>2 Have Harlan form further out, behind the enemy lines
Have all of our other three corps attack the enemy's front at the same time. They won't be able to defend both their front and rear simultaneously.
>>
>>4990011
>>2 Have Harlan form further out, behind the enemy lines

It's risky as hell but if it pays off we could potentially cripple their army.

The Prince and his Hussars will be accompanying Harlan for an attack on the enemy rear correct?

What can we have Moers do to support Harlan and ourselves once we begin a general assault across the line?
>>
>>4990011
>2 Have Harlan form further out, behind the enemy lines

Fuck it, go for broke, it may even be wise to strike before that hour passes in order to preempt Winnower from interrupting us or performing a spoiling attack. Though if he commits to attacking us he'll still be committing troops that will perhaps leave an opening somewhere along the line for us to strike and he'll have less to commit against the isolated Harlan.

Damn I really wish we had either just held the high ground so our line was more even or otherwise retreated back to it just now. With the cavalry screening Harlan he could've arrived with surprise and rolled up the entire enemy line just like I predicted, guess it goes to show it pays to think of the bigger picture.
>>
>>4990063
>The Prince and his Hussars will be accompanying Harlan for an attack on the enemy rear correct?
That's right, they will screen their advance and then act in support afterward


>What can we have Moers do to support Harlan and ourselves once we begin a general assault across the line?
Moers could also attack, though he'll likely bog down against their opposing cavalry
>>
>>4990011
What about setting up on that big hill there by the river?
>>
>>4990011
>>2 Have Harlan form further out, behind the enemy lines
>>
>>4990011
>2 Have Harlan form further out, behind the enemy lines

Looks like we're going for the sneak attack option. We need to push the line on all fronts immediately, get the Chartists good and distracted before Harlan gets here.
>>
>>4990011
>>1 Have Harlan form on our right flank, beside Goddwyn's corps

Trying to coordinate an attack like that? With no real time communication?

No thank you.
>>
>>4990011
>>1 Have Harlan form on our right flank, beside Goddwyn's corps
>>
>>4990011
>2 Have Harlan form further out, behind the enemy lines
Making this decision on assumption our hussars are at least evenly matched against enemy cavs deployed on that wing.
>>
>>4990704
Actually, we should wait for Harlan to engage and then launch an assault.
>>
>>4990808
TK was quite clear that attacking from behind would leave Harlan's corps more vulnerable to detection, and not being in tip top shape the element of surprise will be crucial to maximise their value. This gambit could be completely squandered if the enemy is able to catch Harlan early and repel his attack with full force.
>>
>>4990808

If we send Harlan around the back, then we have to attack asap, otherwise he will be crushed first, then they'll turn back to us no worse for wear.
>>
>>4990818
>>4990837

It's a matter of coordination, we can't know exactly when he will be able to engage, if we launch an attack preemptively it may flounder out before he is able to attack. Going against such strong defensive ground all across the line will end up with horrendous casualties for us as well, if they are preoccupied with Harlans attack it should lighten the resistance against a general assault. Think too, the enemy forces being aware they are being flanked and then attacked vs being attacked then flanked. In all the confusion in the second case many will likely be unaware that they are being flanked and likely will fight with much greater resistance.

If they are worried they might be cut off they are much more likely to run, in my opinion.
>>
>>4990011

>2 Have Harlan form further out, behind the enemy lines

Let the warbeast rend 'till heavens end. The Chartists need to be crushed utterly for their betrayal. Poetics aside, if we do not manage to get a convincing victory today, the entire Foebadyn campaign will be in jeopardy.
>>
>>4990945
We don't need tight coordination, we know that Harlan's going to arrive in about an hour, if we attack in, say, 45 minutes time then I doubt it will take very long before he arrives. And again, if Harlan's corps gets discovered by the Chartists then if they aren't already engaged they can repel him easily. It would be a far greater coordination challenge to start advancing the line soon enough after Harlan's attack to mitigate that threat than it would to simply preempt Harlan and distract the Chartists.
>>
>>4991688
>we know that Harlan's going to arrive in about an hour

We assume. And how long will it take him to properly deploy his forces and engage the enemy?
>>
>>4991713
Good point, but these are things a general of Belmonte's skill and experience can at least roughly estimate. On the other hand, in order to successfully pull off the opposite approach we would have to successfully time Harlan's attack such that we start advancing the line almost immediately afterwards, and that's even assuming that the Chartists don't catch him unawares. Both options are a gamble, but one is a much bigger gamble than the other.
>>
>>4991749
Launching a general assault across the line is going to end up with terrible terrible casualties especially if the enemy is not already engaged, that's all I can say for a fact.
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>>4991765
Personally, I wouldn't have gone for Harlan attacking the rear at all, but that's what the majority seems to be going for so we have to make the best of it. Any way we execute this maneuver is going to be a high risk gambit that results in heavy casualties, but one way gives us an opportunity to mitigate losses as best we can and gives us the best chance we have of rolling up the enemy formations, the other presents way too many unknowns and could easily lead to total failure (don't forget, Harlan has the bulk of our artillery, if the enemy routs him they could capture our siege guns).
>>
>>4990011
>1 Have Harlan form on our right flank, beside Goddwyn's corps
>>
>Have Harlan form further out, behind the enemy lines
>>4990056
>>4990063
>>4990075
>>4990698
>>4990704
>>4990764
>>4991194


>Have Harlan form on our right flank, beside Goddwyn's corps
>>4990759
>>4990752
>>4993356
>Far right hook

Writing
>>
"The lead elements are an hours march from here?" You repeat.

"Yes, General."

"Good. Good. We'll not strike them on their flank." You motion frantically and a map is brought forward. "This open ground here, to the south, beyond the enemy lines. Have Harlan advance his corps through their."

The hussar screws up his features with concern. "That's past the enemy cavalry screen, sir."

You're not used to such insubordination from anyone other than your sons. You give the captain a blank look. "You're a hussar are you not? Do you carry that saber for show?"

"No sir!"

"Then set it to good use today. Put it to the enemy. The Crown Prince's hussars surely will have no trouble tearing a hole in the screen to allow Harlan's corps through."

The hussar, honor challenged, flushes and salutes. "On our lives, sir!"

"Make it on the enemy's lives. Relay this to Harlan and the Prince: Attack in an hour. We're losing daylight. We have no time for arraying our lines. They will attack from the march, understand?"


"Yes, sir!"

"No delays! Like lightning! Fall on them from behind, cut the road to Foebaddyn and we'll bag their whole army."

"Yes, sir!"

You clap a fist into an open palm with a satisfying thump. "Earn those gold braids. Go!"

The Hussar gives you a hasty salute before galloping off on his sweating steed.

"You certainly lit a fire under his ass," Maddocks says wryly.

"I expect he could use a little more of that," you say. "Harlan's boys will be in poor shape when they reach the enemy, we'll need to suck up their reserves."

Van Rosser's Corps is too weak for you to comfortably commit to an assault right now, and the guards infantry are anchoring your whole line.

"General Goddwyn."

"Sir?"

"Let's make a show of things. Move Wickerson off our far right and into position on the enemy flank. Let them see this hook coming. They'll be anticipating an attack on the right. Maddocks? You will then launch your corps at their center thirty minutes from the time Goddwyn is in position. They'll have no choice but to respond with whatever reserves they have."

Maddocks looks troubled but makes no argument against you. His men are worn to the bone, all of your men are. This has been a question of endurance between you and the Chartists, and so far both have endured. They've all endured past any reasonable point and are paying the toll in blood.

"And me, Lord General?" Van Rosser asks, almost fearfully.

"We'll need a fresh reserve if we break their lines here. Let the guards hold the left and keep your corps ready to strike out." You survey your commanders again. "This is bloody work, gentlemen. Make no mistake, our men will suffer today. However, I aim to make the enemy suffer worse."
>>
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You are General Denys Harlan, commander of Bellmonte's Second Corps. You've been fighting at Bellmonte's side since Shedford Downs. It's been a long and bloody war for you. Your reputation as both a stalwart defender and merciless attacker are well-earned. Your soldiers call you "Grandpa Red" for reasons which are murky at best, though right now you feel you fit the name.

You are cranky. Cranky is the best way to put it anyway. After an uneventful siege at King's Island Number Five you were given marching orders to come on the double to fall on the enemy's flank. Everything you've heard has said this battle was titanic, perhaps the largest of the war. And you've missed it.

Your whole lower-half is sore from riding so hard for so long. Your stomach feels like a rock, your breakfast hasn't agreed with you. Your men are like walking casualties. The sun beats down on a ragged grey-white line of men snaking across the open countryside.

You look again and the hastily scribbled orders relayed to you by the Hussars who now fight on either of your flanks, holding the enemy cavalry at bay.

Move with all haste across the enemy rear and capture the Rickerford hotel.

A straightforward command, though one it falls to you to interpret in detail.

You trot your horse a little faster, moving toward the head of the column. As the ground slopes downward form here you can faintly see the dense wood ahead that separates you from the hotel. Lifting your field glasses, you can make out little detail, just dark, enigmatic woods. A good place for an ambush. Enemy skirmishers could wreak havoc on a chaotic advance, especially if you move in column. You're told there is a creek beyond the woods which will likewise slow your advance.

Your lead division, Beddoe, is rapidly approach the point of decision.

Do you march your column at best speed directly into those woods and hope there is no trouble?

Or do you take the time to deploy your corps here in the open before advancing in battle formation- a double line?

A detour toward the Stone Mill might also solve your dilemma. Open ground, good roads, and a study bridge to cross the narrow creek, giving your guns and wagons an easier time to get over.

The fastest path will be to attack in column straight into the woods though your lines will likely get strung out and separated. Deploying in line before advancing will take time, but ensure you arrive ready to fight. Diverting to the stone mill will be faster than deploying into line, but will also further separate you from the rest of Belmonte's army. There's no telling what sort of opposition is ahead, if any.

You can hear the sounds of battle joining from Belmonte's lines. Cannon and musket fire echoes through the air. Belmonte is counting on you.

>1 Continue following the road to the Stone Mill
>2 Attack in column into the woods without delay
>3 Halt Beddoe, form the corps into line of battle and resume the advance into the woods
>Write in
>>
>>4995416
>>1 Continue following the road to the Stone Mill

Following the road seems like a much safer option than attacking through the woods.
>>
>>4995416
>1 Continue following the road to the Stone Mill

Following the road seems like a much safer option than attacking through the woods.
>>
>>4995416
>1 Continue following the road to the Stone Mill
>>
>>4995416
>>1 Continue following the road to the Stone Mill

>>4995434

Not only safer, but undoubtedly faster than going through all that rough ground, even though we'll have to hook back. I feel that the woods are a trap honestly.

I was hoping we could get Moers in on this too, at least skirmishing with the enemy cav to make it seem like an advance could be coming from either direction.
>>
>>4995416
>2 Attack in column into the woods without delay

Relevant quotes.

>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.


>More aggressively, and more boldly, you might route Harlan and have him form up behind the enemy lines to strike at their rear. This method would likely be spotted by enemy cavalry and would tip them off to Harlan's presence. He would have to attack immediately. Additionally, Harlan's corps would be isolated from the rest of your army.


>"Make it on the enemy's lives. Relay this to Harlan and the Prince: Attack in an hour. We're losing daylight. We have no time for arraying our lines. They will attack from the march, understand?"


>"Yes, sir!"

>"No delays! Like lightning! Fall on them from behind, cut the road to Foebaddyn and we'll bag their whole army."

Fitting that our choices with Harlan reflects his the initial description of his disposition. Our MC Bellmonte's intent is to waste no time and strike immediately from the march, our courier relayed this more liberally sadly. Going to Stone Mill risks us being isolated and wasting this entire effort if we get caught out. I also think it is the most likely location for the enemy to set up defenses if they got a messenger and had a chance to prepare defenses. You'd want to set up in the most reliable location that your enemy is most likely to take, not risk it all by hiding them in the woods. The woods is fastest, and speed can act as security to a certain degree, if we can outspeed their decision making loop or their couriers from their screens. We chose the rear attack, so they are not as likely to be surprised because the Hussars couldn't ensure surprise, but we still have the initiative, it's unlikely they can react and set up a defensive unit or ambush unit if we use speed to take advantage of the delay of their couriers going back and forth and Winnower deciding on how to react. Setting into a line before going into the forest is exactly what Bellmonte didn't want us to do. We must make haste and rush through the forest and set them into disarray immediately.
>>
>>4995416
>2 Attack in column into the woods without delay
>>
>>4995416
>3 Halt Beddoe, form the corps into line of battle and resume the advance into the woods
>>
>>4995416
>2 Attack in column into the woods without delay
>>
>>4995416
>2 Attack in column into the woods without delay

It's risky, but I have to agree with >>4995526 on this. We know that speed will be the key to this whole operation, and cutting through the woods gives us some cover on our approach. Column attacks are great for their irresistible momentum, their biggest weakness is their vulnerability to flanking manoeuvres from enemy lines, but the wood should insulate us from that threat until we're almost upon them. If there are skirmishers in the wood they likely wouldn't have the power to halt the advance of the column, but perhaps we could split the difference between line and column and adopt a mixed order formation? They were used by the French revolutionary and imperial armies, a column forming the main body of one's force and a smaller line of one's most seasoned soldiers supporting the head of the column. It's relatively quick to deploy and it mitigates the biggest weakness of the column formation.
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>>4995416
>>2 Attack in column into the woods without delay
>>
>>4995416
>2 Attack in column into the woods without delay
Here goes the gamble.
>>
>>4995416
I agree with >>4995526, attacking from the column on uneven terrain always carries some risk, but this is the cast die, we need to fully commit to the plan, not murk about halfway.
>>
>>4995416
>2 Attack in column into the woods without delay
>>
>1 Continue following the road to the Stone Mill
>>4995434
>>4995440
>>4995451

>2 Attack in column into the woods without delay
>>4995526
>>4995564
>>4995783
>>4995845
>>4996021
>>4996025
>>4996664

>3 Halt Beddoe, form the corps into line of battle and resume the advance into the woods
>>4995678
>Attack in column into the woods

Writing
>>
"I'll be damned if we get this wrong," you say. "Not with the old man counting on us." You signal a courier with a raised hand. "Ride up the line and find General Beddoe. Tell Beddoe to march his boys right into those damn woods." You fix the courier with a fiery stare, willing him to understand the seriousness of these orders. "Stop for nothing and no one. Hear me?"

'Y-yes, General!"

"Get his band playin the March of Cambreadth. Something to fire the soul. "Get Beddoe on."

"Yes, General!

You watch the courier's back as he rides toward the front of your column. The sound of cannonade ripples the air to the east where Belmonte's army sounds heavily engaged. "God help us."
>>
Beddoe's division strikes the tune that Grandpa Red called for, the March is played with vigor as the farmers of the Second Corps trample into the thick undergrowth. There is no time to pause, no time to load muskets or affix bayonets, their weapon is speed and surprise.

Scattered bands of skirmishers take potshots at the oncoming Legitimist column, here and there felling men at the edges of the advance.

Beddoe shakes out a company of his best men to act as a vanguard, sweeping into the woods ahead of the main body to drive out any enemy skirmishers. The main body forges on to the wailing of bagpipes and the rolling of drums. The enemy knows of your advance, the question is if they can do anything to stop it.

Idle enters the woods just to the right of where Beddoe's division went in, soon coming off course in the dense forest, veering away from the main axis of advance, opening a gap between the two divisions.

General Rees arrives on the field next, following after Beddoe's men.

A half hour later, Beddoe's men come crashing out of the dense undergrowth and into sight of the creek where they are mowed down by a deadly, close-range volley from a brigade of Chartists. The Legitimists reel, falling back in disarray into the woods, their wounded limping after them. It would be a devastating blow if they didn't outnumber the enemy so heavily.

Fresh Legitimist infantry surge forward, firing as they come, storming over the creek. It's waist-dep in places but the hard-bitten farmboys of Aerthy's western territories aren't picky about getting wet and don't hesitate.

Soon the creek runs red with blood, but it doesn't stop Beddoe or his men. The blood-drenched creek bank only slows the tide of men momentarily before they scurry up, following the points of their bayonets. There is deadly, hand to hand fighting in the thickets around the creek bank as the Chartists are bludgeoned, stabbed, and shot out.

In minutes, the Chartist brigade routes, opening the path to the Rickerford Hotel. The trickle of fleeing Chartists soon gives way to a flood as Beddoe's exhausted men approach the hotel itself and find a massive Chartist stockpile. Their whole baggage train waiting for the plundering. It's at this moment that all semblance of order gives out and the wild-eyed, tired, hungry men of Second Corps fall on the supply wagons like animals. Dinner is cooking in pots and campfires dotting the area and the Legitimist infantry simply can't help themselves, breaking off the advance to stop, rest their legs, eat, and drink their fill.

By the time Rees division reaches the Chartist baggage train, Beddoe has lost complete control of his division which is entirely focused on ransacking the enemy supply wagons.

Despite the breakdown of command, and Idle's division becoming lost in the woods, the Chartist army is thrown into complete disarray. The attack is working, the enemy are fleeing in droves.
>>
You are General Belmonte and you can see the Chartists beginning their route. Flags are withdrawn from heights and infantry stream to the rear. Your men suffered terrible on the open ground before their defenses, but you'd succeeded in pinning them while Harlan went for the jugular and it seems this has paid off.

Now however, you have two problems. The first is apparent, daylight is fading rapidly. You have scarcely an hour or two left of dusk before the shroud of night falls over the battlefield and makes coordination all but impossible.

The second problem is not obvious at first to any but a trained commander, and that is command and control. As the enemy army disintegrates, so too does your ability to launched coordinated attacks against them. By the time your army has drawn up detailed attack plans, the fleeing Chartists will be long gone. Some of them will be run down by your cavalry, others will be trapped in place, unable to break off the battle, but many many more will likely escape in the night. You've closed one road to freedom for them, but one yet remains, the one past the Nearen Heights.

If you press a general attack now you risk disordering your army catastrophically. Your men are bloodied, exhausted, heatstroked, and hungry. It falls largely to individual unit commanders to maintain cohesion and continue to press the enemy. However, you can ensure you do the most damage possible during this break down in enemy command.

An enemy corps is trapped around the Two Steeple Church. With its front to Goddwyn's corps and its back to Harlans, it will have a hell of a time escaping intact, even more so if you divert Maddocks and harlan to trap and destroy them now.

A much more risky plan would be to use Van Rosser's horrifically depleted Corps to attack across the rough terrain of the Nearen Heights in an effort to cut the last line of retreat for the enemy. If it works, the enemy army will either be trapped or have to fight a bloody breakout. However, if it fails, what's left of Van Rosser's corps will likely be tumbled to ruin in the dark.


>Focus efforts on annihilating the trapped enemy corps
>Order Van Rosser to try to cut the last line of retreat
>We've routed the army, let's gather our strength tonight and pursue in the morning
>Write in
>>
>>4996740
>>Order Van Rosser to try to cut the last line of retreat

They're already routing, with the last road being threatened, I imagine they'll disintegrate.
>>
>>4996740
>Focus efforts on annihilating the trapped enemy corps
I have doubts that Van Rosser's forces are capable of holding off the entirety of their forces withdrawing. It's better to take the sure prize of the Corps. This should already be a crippling blow in terms of fighting strength and morale, going after the entire force needlessly risks heavy losses.
>>
>>4996740
>We've routed the army, let's gather our strength tonight and pursue in the morning

It seems I was right.

I'm much less sure about this choice. Losing a entire Corps would probably give us a decisive numerical advantage in any future battles we take against Winnower, but I'm not sure I would be satisfied with that, with the battle so hard fought I feel as if we must do as much damage as possible, the pursuit is where most of the damage in a battle is done.

However, not only is there the risk of some catastrophe occurring if we attack now with our men "bloodied, exhausted, heatstroked, and hungry" but we could simply fail or conduct the attack poorly as our men literally collapse from exhaustion and Winnowers men could get away. Even if we do succeed in damaging them heavily, some could get away and then we may end up in a situation where we pursue and end up fighting an offensive battle and being unable to win decisively with our exhausted men.

The one thing I am adamant that we not do is attempt to trap them. Remember, just as that one anon said in our battle at Shedford Downs, we must always allow an enemy a path to escape through, like a narrow release valve. We can still do horrific damage to them as they are in disarray and mostly surrounded and we've taken their baggage train, they'll get away but with a mauling and their retreat will necessarily be slow because they are trickling down the one road.

All and all, I think the worst thing that will happen if we order a general attack is some fratricide and some men exhausting and collapsing, I don't think we'll be turned on and destroyed, we probably killed Winnower earlier and if we didn't then we probably captured him at the Hotel, I think we must do as much damage as possible, the enemy probably lacks the coordination to counter-attack us if we fuck up.
>>
>>4996740
Actually, I've immediately changed my mind. If we include the units in the forest by the Nearen heights it looks like slightly more than a Corps will be trapped. Plus I don't think a couple hours is enough time to do crippling damage with a general attack and it will compound our coordination problems to the extreme. That, and it isn't as if Van Rosser's men and the Guards division won't inflict some casualties of their own during the attack, best go for the sure thing, slightly more than corps is more than enough and will make it so we have the freedom of action for the rest of the campaign.

Changing my vote here... >>4996786 to...

>Focus efforts on annihilating the trapped enemy corps
>>
>>4996740
>Focus efforts on annihilating the trapped enemy corps
>Order Van Rosser to try to cut the last line of retreat

Call up Van Rosser, offer to hear out his opinion and hear out our plan. If he's willing to risk his corps, we might be able to annihilate the enemy army here and now, likely at terrible costs to his men if we succeed. If it fails or they break out, he would likely lose his entire unit.

We can take the less bloody and risky approach in focusing on destroying one of the Chartists corps.
>>
>>4996756
We also have their baggage train and supplies, the only chance they would have if we trap them is a desperate night time attack and break out.

They cannot outlast us as we have our baggage and their baggage trains and get weaker by the hour.
>>
>>4996740
>>Focus efforts on annihilating the trapped enemy corps
>>
>>4996740
>Focus efforts on annihilating the trapped enemy corps

As >>4996791 said, it's best to take the easy prey and then rest and regroup. We shouldn't lose sight of what our army is here to do, we can't completely exhaust ourselves trying to completely destroy the Army of the Alevant when we are still so far from Foebadyn.
>>
>>4996740
>Focus efforts on annihilating the trapped enemy corps

A cornered rat is a desperate one
>>
>>4996740
>Order Van Rosser to try to cut the last line of retreat
Van Rosser has the Guards attached, and now is the time.
>>
>>4996740
>Focus efforts on annihilating the trapped enemy corps
>Give them a chance to surrender.
>>
>>4996740
>Focus efforts on annihilating the trapped enemy corps
>>
>>4996740
>>We've routed the army, let's gather our strength tonight and pursue in the morning

We have won this battle, but we still have a city to take. We have to reason to exhaust our manpower further. annihilating the enemy army is not our objective.
>>
>>4997544
They won't simply vanish.
>>
>>4996740
>Order Van Rosser to try to cut the last line of retreat
>>
>>4996923
>>4997573
Making my vote more clear and changing to to antihalation.
>>
>>4996740
>Focus efforts on annihilating the trapped enemy corps

I think it's smarter to focus on the ones we have trapped now rather than risk losing them in a gambit to fix even more. Shouldn't get greedy.
>>
>>4996740
>>Focus efforts on annihilating the trapped enemy corps
>>
I'm just curious here, are we gaining any particular boons by capturing their baggage train? Further with so many chartists routing are we potentially capturing any noticeable amounts of cannon?

Additionally, in universe what can we do with prisoners? I'm sure that we're bound to capture a fair few here, besides sending them off to POW camps can we form a "work brigade" of sorts from volunteers? Basically laborers to dig forward trenches during the siege and such to spare our men the risk and exhaustion.
>>
>>4997816
>I'm just curious here, are we gaining any particular boons by capturing their baggage train
Many! While simply being able to equip your own army with their gear/restore your own depleted stores is a bonus it's much more impactful now that they have LOST that gear. Even if the army survives/escapes, it does so with only the clothes on its back and the supplies on hand. It's ability to fight in the field will be hugely reduced.

>Further with so many chartists routing are we potentially capturing any noticeable amounts of cannon?
That remains to be seen, but probably so. At least enough to replace lost batteries. The real shortage would be qualified crew and commanders. Doubling your cannon doesn't help unless you have double the men who can effectively use them. Pressing conscripts into that role will just burn through your ammo supplies twice as fast without much impact.

>Additionally, in universe what can we do with prisoners?
Summary execution is completely taboo. POWs are treated with respect. Generally they are paroled in exchange for your own men. You send 1000 POWs to the Chartists and they send 1000 back. You might also have them sign paperwork indicating they will return home and fight no more. Honor system. Using them as labor is simply not done.


>Order Van Rosser to try to cut the last line of retreat
>>4996756
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>>4997573

>Focus efforts on annihilating the trapped enemy corps
>>4996779
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>Anihilate the trapped corps

Writing
>>
You know that the main temptation during a route like this is to overextend your army. You've seized their baggage train, cut their primary line of retreat, and rolled their whole line. No matter what happens next, the Chartists marched in an army and they stream out as a rabble. The path to Foebaddyn will be virtually clear once you tie up loose ends.

With a trapped enemy corps, you set about systematically destroying it. In this case, that means surrounding it fully and positioning yourself to accept their surrender as soon as it comes, likely the morning when they see how untenable their situation has become.

As the sun sets on the second day of the battle, the truly enormous human toll becomes clear. As fighting wanes and companies conduct headcounts, the tally is sobering. Approximately three thousand men dead, nearly fifteen thousand wounded and another three thousand missing or captured. Twenty two thousand out of your army of one hundred thousand, and most of those casualties focused on three of your four corps, especially Van Rosser's corps.

The toll for the enemy is worse, the Chartists are beyond decimated, primarily with the vast hauls of prisoners your cavalry and skirmishers round up throughout the night.

Your nerves are too frayed after the battle and you find yourself alone on the porch of a farmhouse that survived the battle. Innumerable bullet holes dot its clapboard walls. It's a small sanctuary in a sea of suffering. The dead lay strewn across the fields and farmland all about you, barely visible as lumps of clothes in the moonlight.

"Father?" The voice startles you.

"Sylas," you say, recognizing your son in the dark. "Son." You go to him and embrace him before he has a chance to protest. Hot tears come to your eyes to see your son alive and intact.

He hugs you back, forgetting for a moment his headstrong youth.

"We won, didn't we?" Sylas asks.

You nod, wiping tears from your eyes. "Yes, son. We won."

Sylas looks out over the sea of the dead. "It doesn't feel like it."

"It rarely does when it comes at such a cost."

"I came to see you, I've been commended. General Maddocks issued me a commendation for bravery."

"That's wonderful news," you say, feeling only fear.

"I didn't feel brave, I just did what he told me. I carried messages when a courier was shot form his horse."

The thought of your son riding around in that storm of shot and steel fills you with dread.

"That's what a soldier does."

"He also gave me a field promotion. To major."

Major. You'd promised your son a regimental command once he'd reached major.

Sylas presses on, "General Maddocks told me that the colonel of the 12th Debyn Vyre was injured at Aerrol, and its major was killed on the Dome Hill. He's recommending me for the position."
>>
You're speechless.

"They're called the Banshees. One of the finest units in Van Rosser's Corps I'm told."

"I know of them," you say. "That's . . . if that's your desire."

"It is," Sylas says. "God knows I'm scared, father. But so is everyone else. It's what you would do."

You hate to hear yourself being held up as a paragon of virtue when it's resulting in your son's mortal peril. You don't reply.

"What happens next?"

"Next?" you ask.

"Tomorrow."

A series of rifle reports sounds from far away, skirmishers dueling in the dark.

"Tomorrow we mop up whatever is left here and then march on to Foebaddyn. We have to take the city for all of this to not have been in vain."

"We fought like hell today."

"That we did." You wished that could be the end of it, but you know this won't decide the war alone. So long as the Chartist government exists, the war will go on.

Sylas turns to go.

"Son?"

He stops.

"There is a creek near here. The one beyond the Two Steeple Church. What is it called?"

"Heiland Creek."

"Heiland," you say.
>>
The Battle of Heiland lasted for two days. On the dawn of the third day, the trapped Charist corps surrendered en masse with little in the way of ceremony. The battle was a smashing success for the Legitimist Army of the Antary. The Chartist Army of Alevance is in tatters and fleeing toward Foebaddyn.

While your army gathers its strength and takes stock of its losses, you have one bit of unfinished business.

Riding alone, you cross the ground which had been crossed back and forth by your armies the last two days. Carrion birds flock overhead, surveying the feast before them. Small gangs of soldiers dig graves and roll bodies into them where they fell. Pits are carved out for whole companies to be buried as one.

Up the hill you go, toward the shot-riddled Two Steeple Church. One of its steeples has been sheered away by cannon fire, leaving only an amputated stump.

What had once been a handsome green around it was marred by war, instead acting as a open air surgery. Droves of men in Chartist red watch you with pain-clouded eyes as you ride by. This had been the headquarters of the enemy corps and continued to act as a field hospital for the Chartists wounded.

You're here for one in particular. You dismount and cross the cemetery to enter the church itself.

The pews have been moved aside and formed into makeshift beds for some of the worse wounded. Here you find the man you seek.

General Winnower lies on a pew, his uniform mostly cut away to reveal bloody bandages around his chest, arm, and head.

"Winfield," he wheezes your name in greeting.

"Bevin." You sit beside him, careful not to jostle him. "The doctor's asked me to see you."

"They say I'm dying," he says. You can hear his lungs sucking as he breathes. "Wish your boys shot as bad as the damn Casmians." He tries to smile, showing blood-slick teeth, before he starts coughing again.

You and Bevin Winnower had never been friends, but you had been comrades in the war before, a lifetime ago. It hurts you to see him like this now. It hurts you worse to know these wounds are the result of your order to turn your guns on him and his staff.

"Damn shame," you say. "It's a damn shame, Bevin."

"It is that."

Silence lapses. "Be good to my boys. They did well. Well as anyone could."

You nod. "I will."

"Tell my wife, tell Charlisa that I went easily and without regret save that I wished I could have had more time with her."

"I will tell her."

Winnower tries to nod, but doesn't seem to have the strength.
>I'm sorry as hell that we couldn't be on the same side, Bevin.
>You understand that I did what I had to, don't you?
>Rest easy.
>Write in
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>>4997862
>>I'm sorry as hell that we couldn't be on the same side, Bevin.
>>
>>4997862
>>I'm sorry as hell that we couldn't be on the same side, Bevin.
>>
>>4997862
>I'm sorry as hell that we couldn't be on the same side, Bevin.
>Rest easy.

Now's not the time for excuses or recriminations, a worthy adversary and former brother in arms is going to his final reward. Lament the tragedy of the situation and pay your respects.
>>
>>4997862
>>Rest easy.
>>
>>4997862
>>I'm sorry as hell that we couldn't be on the same side, Bevin.
>war. war never changes
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>>4997898
>>war. war never changes

Slange
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>>4997862
>Rest easy.

He made his choice, we made ours, there's nothing to be sorry about. He led his men well, now it's time he got his well deserved rest.
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>>4997862
>Rest easy.
>Write in

Rest easy brother, you've done your time.
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>>4998015
Perhaps, but we can still feel sorry to see such a man in such a state, and can't help but reflect and remember our predecessor. I wonder who was the officer who ordered the volley on our Mentor.
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>>4997862
>I'm sorry as hell that we couldn't be on the same side, Bevin.
>Rest easy.
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>>4998090
For sure. They, whoever they are is probably still out there.
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>>4997862
> Rest easy.

Rest easy, Bevin Winnower. You gave us a hell of a fight, and did not let your government, however wrong they are, down.

QM, if I may, I'm curious as to what started the war? From my understanding in reading part one, the Chartists rewrote the line of succession to favour their candidate, but why and did they have any legal backing to do this? In general the political structure of Aerthys seems slightly unorthodox from its British inspirations.
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>>4998497
>QM, if I may, I'm curious as to what started the war?
There's a variety of answers I could give to this both in game and meta reasons. I've kept it vague because I didn't want ideological differences to be the focus of this game.

But, let's dig in!:

>Cultural differences between East and West Aerthys.
Leaving this vague as possible, there is al ingering sense of "otherness" between the two halves. I've generally portrayed the West Aerthyians as more rural, so feel free to assume Eastern Aerthys is more urban, but you can add to that any number of differences you can think of between regions of a country.

>Line of succession
Aerthys has a strange, fairly decentralized governmental system with a 'High King' having taken control a few hundred years back. The position is USUALLY hereditary, but there is a Council of Lords which acts like a senate or parliament and they can sometimes swing their power around and get a different candidate to assume the throne.

Only three different families have ever set on the throne over Aerthys's hundreds of years of history with the role of High King.

Succession shenanigans happened resulting in the last king having no clear heir, so out come the genealogy charts.

The Legitimists claim their hair follows the 'Legitimate' and traditional succession line, tracing back up the tree to an associated relative.

The Chartists have an old Charter (Think something like the Magna Carta making vague promises), signed by many powers of the time, claiming to respect the claim of another family in circumstances like this.

But it really boils down to excuses for each faction to back their preferred candidate for the role. The Chartists are slightly more decentralized with a small clique of powerful figures acting in concert while the Legitimists are slightly more absolutist with a singular family claiming control.

>why and did they have any legal backing to do this?
>Why
Power. Pure and simple, same reason the Legitimists are staking their claim. They feel they have a good shot at ruling the whole country and aren't willing to back down over it. When coupled with the nation's simmering cultural differences it created an "us and them" mindset which boiled over into war. Aerthyians are a contentious people. (But so are all the nations in this setting)

>Legal backing
As much as possible in a feudalistic system. Depends on if you respect "A scrap of paper" versus "Sacred tradition"

Speaking objectively, both sides claims are fairly arbitrary. Peoples loyalties general divide along regional lines rather than ideological ones, but some families have broken over the incident.
>>
Out of universe reason:

Chartists and Legitimists sound cool and don't carry baggage like 'Union and Confederate' would for example. They are both vague enough to leave lots of wiggle room, but also clear enough to paint a mental picture I think. I wanted a civil war between monarchist factions, and I didn't want to go with family/regional names like "York" and "Lancaster"

Hope that helps, I'm happy to answer any other questions you have as long as you keep in mind that This setting is just an excuse for war so the reasons might not be perfect and water tight.
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>>4998533
Sounds cool, since you're going for a mid-19th century setting then perhaps you could take some inspiration from the various crises and civil wars that wracked Europe from 1848. Say that the succession crisis is basically a proxy for a more serious political divide between the rural conservatives from one region and the urban liberals from another, like the Swiss Civil War. That could open up some interesting possibilities, like the emergence of an incipient Socialist faction, Paris Commune style, or maybe an upstart religious movement goes on crusade.
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>>4998539
To add to this, since this is rapidly modernising feudal state, you could say that the succession crisis is really about tensions between the old landowning aristocracy and the rising urban business elite. Say the Chartist government wants to put up a tariff wall to protect the growing industries from foreign competition and pay for infrastructure to serve the those industries, but the landed gentry are against those policies because their income primarily comes from exports of agricultural products and they import a lot of the goods they need so a protectionist policy would rob them of revenue and make them beholden to whatever the local captains of industry deign to charge for their products, so they rallied around the Legitimist banner to stop them. That would give the conflict a US Civil War flavour without bringing slavery into it.
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>>4998539
Even revolutionairy independence factions. Man 1848 was a wild year.
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>>4998551
That's not a bad idea. Depending on if and how I flesh out this setting after this campaign, I may include more details like that. Right now it's just a flimsy excuse to war game.

But when this campaign is over, I will probably do a sequel at some point.
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>>4997862
>I'm sorry as hell that we couldn't be on the same side, Bevin.
>You understand that I did what I had to, don't you?
>Better you to die then all the boys in your army.
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>>4998554
Will we see fighting from the other sides point of view? Do we get to play the game as a Ruler or influential cabinet member later?
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>>4997862
>You understand that I did what I had to, don't you?
No regrets.
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>>4998709
>Will we see fighting from the other sides point of view?
Probably not,you damnable Chartist spy.


>Do we get to play the game as a Ruler or influential cabinet member later?
Probably not, this is really meant to be strictly a war game.


>I'm sorry as hell that we couldn't be on the same side, Bevin.
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>Rest easy.
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Writing
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You look over Winnower's injuries again, inwardly wincing at his state. It was always a sad thing to see a man laid low, let alone one you knew. "I'm sorry as hell we couldn't be on the same side, Bevin."

Winnower tries to smile, but it becomes a grimace. "Me too. But I'd rather be where I am than on your side." His rough chuckling terminates into wet coughing.

You smile weakly at his joke, patting a shoulder devoid of wounds. "Rest easy.'

He takes your hand and gives a squeeze before releasing you.

You turn away, replace your hat, and leave without a backward glance.

The Chartists are no longer a credible threat in the field. The Army of Alevance has been thrown back to the perceived safety of the fortifications around Foebaddyn. With all their supplies lost they will have to remain in close proximity to the supply depots in Foebaddyn.

The campaign moves into what will likely be its final phase, the reduction of the fortifications and the capture of the city.

***

I'm going to pause here for a bit. I need to plan for the final phase and I have a few real life obligations first.

Expect a continuation shortly!
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>>4998554
In fact, you could make the major policy sticking point of the Legitimist v Chartist conflict over the issue of reforms that would be existential threats to the aristocracy: the abolition of fee tail and reform of the Council of Lords. Abolishing fee tail basically guarantees that the big old estates of the major aristocratic families would be rapidly broken up over time to the benefit of new commercial landlords from the merchant class, and if the Chartists wanted to broaden the membership of the Council of Lords by, say, introducing property and income qualifications for membership rather than going by membership in the old aristocracy, then that raises the spectre of many aristocratic families not only losing their fortunes, but losing their seats on the Council as well. Such effrontery would not be able to stand without opposition.

Such a conflict would also put Belmonte in an interesting position, since as a rural landowner he would be tied tot he Legitimist cause due to economic interest and loyalty to his local and regional communities, but as a member of the "new gentry" whose family had bought their estate within living memory and who has interests and connections in the world of trade and commerce he would not be one of the true blue old aristocrats and would probably be looked upon askance by the Legitimist leadership. Which could certainly make for some interesting character conflict.
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>>4998948
>Probably not,you damnable Chartist spy.
Wouldn't I be legitimist if that were the case? Like we'd shift from our main pov to a side story where we see a legitimist spy relay his experience and what he has seen back to the main audience after a while?

>>4999046
I'm not sure what you suggested but it sounded like "give up power" which does not bold well for the winning side and its major supports and players.
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>>4998968
>Expect a continuation shortly!
We have very different ideas of what that means.
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>>5008861
I almost said something myself
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>>5008878
How many hours apart were we?
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>>5008879
~1 hour
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>>5008886
Not soon enough.
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>>5008861
>We have very different ideas of what that means.
Yeah, I should follow up on this. This will be on hold for a while actually. I have to get a certification at work and I am currently studying for that so I have no time to advance this game.

Give me a month and I can continue where we left off.

Sorry guys.
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>>5010718
Damn, was waiting eagerly. Well, good luck with your certification and thanks for letting us know.
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>>5010718
Good luck, thanks for the heads up
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>>5010718
thanks