Thursday, 7 March 2013

Teutonian invasion of East Tinland report - part 4

Continuing my series of reports of the Teutonian invasion of East Tinland (aka Norfolk), herewith a recently translated despatch from a captured pigeon!!
The earlier reports can be seen here:  Part1Part 2Part 3
XXIV February

As directed, our forces landed at 0400hrs and immediately occupied the town. It became obvious that we had been misinformed as to the state of the country - at least here. It is true that Herr Schmidt had done his work well and provided us with maps and information but the remainder of the population regarded us with suspicion and hostility - however I was assured by an American reporter who ‘happened’ to be present with a rather modern camera that the locals regard all ’incomers’ in this way. Curiously, our Bavarians seemed to get along with them much more easily - although they too found it strange that so many of the locals appeared to have 5 fingers instead of 4 on each hand.
The Kriegsmarine having secured the harbour and town, we disembarked several artillery pieces and the Quartermeister-general, Oberst Weissmueller and the pioneers began to construct an effective pier. By 0600 hrs we had unloaded several artillery pieces, several hundred sandbags and that fearsome American invention ’barbed wire’.
The Commander-in-Chief, General-Oberst Henning, Graf Hotzenplotz, came ashore to inspect progress and ordered that the railway siding be occupied and pickets and vedettes be pushed out to the North. This latter task was accomplished by the Colonial troops who had been landed covertly during the previous night. Having seen that all was progressing well the CinC handed over direct control to General Hans Untfeet, with orders to expand the beachhead to the Northern road - and returned to his yacht to supervise the landing of the rest of the Korps.
At about 0930 hrs forward pickets of the Colonial infantry reported sighting several groups of gypsies, some on horseback, moving towards them. A Staff officer confirmed that these were in fact Colonial troops of the Tinnish Empire, so a battery was moved forward in support. However a patrol from our excellent new motorcycle, machine gun unit quickly established that these motley troops were in fact concealing the advance of large numbers of regular Tinnish troops. General Untfeet immediately ordered the deployment of those troops which had just landed to meet this possible threat and reported events to the CinC.
However the CinC was at breakfast and it was not considered necessary to worry him as it was thought possible by the Staff that these Tinnish troops were, in fact, coming to welcome us as liberators - as we had been led to expect.
Sadly, it quickly became clear that the approaching troops intended hostilities. However as they seemed unsure and somewhat disorganised General Untfeet decided to leave it to the pickets and vedettes to slow them down and then draw them into a killing zone closer to the town. By this time there were several battalions of infantry safely in the town and concealed in the houses. Wurtembergische Uhlans were deployed on the right flank to support the battery and Colonial troops; and with Saxon and Bavarians pushed forward to hold the railhead. The Northern edge of the town was built into a strong defensive position with both artillery and machine guns dug in with interlocking arcs. At this point a naval team ascended a ruined tower in the town to coordinate supporting fire from the gunboats.
As there seemed no immediate threat to the town the kanteen was ordered to continue feeding troops as they came ashore.
Shortly after 1000hrs however, on the right flank the Tinnish troops launched a swift assault with some troops who are apparently known, for some strange reason, as Ghurkins. At the same time some soldiers in skirts occupied the large farm complex on our left flank. The Ghurkins proved to be both effective and barbaric and behind them came superb light cavalry in yellow tunics. The ‘skirts’ (who we are informed come from the far North of Tinland) initially seemed content to hold the farm, so our main effort was concentrated against the light cavalry. Here again the motorcycle with its machine gun proved most effective, however in their enthusiasm they moved into the open and were destroyed by a Tinnish naval gun which had been hand-hauled through the woods.
Despite heavy casualties the rather magnificent Tinnish light cavalry and the Ghurkins overran the gun position, however the timely arrival of our Uhlans gave them pause.
Future operations should note the strange weather conditions which exist here, for the terrain suddenly became extremely muddy - almost as if someone had rolled a dice or dealt us a bad card!
On the left flank a sustained infantry duel began - however as the Tinnish Highlanders still seemed unwilling to close, there was time to deploy two new infantry battalions and a strong unit of dragoons in support.
Sadly, at this point our gallant Quartiermeister, who had gone forward to the railway line and become stuck in the mud, sustained a direct hit which utterly destroyed both him and his driver and the vehicle in which he was sitting.
Mention must be made here of Oberst Wilhelm Schnitzel, who on his own initiative, had gone forward to command the troops at the railway line. Despite being wounded three times, he remained forward, encouraging all who saw him. It was directly due to his leadership that the outnumbered Jaegers were able to hold on for as long as they did - despite horrendous casualties. When he was eventually so weak from loss of blood that he had to be taken to the rear past the regular infantry, now ensconced in the rail trucks, there was loud cheering from all concerned and he is now known to the whole Korps as ’Jaeger’ Schnitzel.
Special mention must also be made of Oberjaeger Gustav Schweik. This outstanding fellow spent the whole day running backwards and forwards between the various positions - often totally exposed to enemy fire but miraculously unharmed - redistributing ammunition. When the railway line finally fell he was the sole survivor and escaped capture by lying down next to some poor fellow’s head and covering his own with sacking. Perceiving, as they thought, a headless corpse, the enemy left him free to slip under the train and return to our own lines. For his devotion to duty and heroism this splendid fellow had been promoted to Feldwebel and the CinC has awarded him the Zinn Kreuz, 3rd class.
Whilst the Uhlans had retaken and secured our right flank, our left was exposed. However the timely deployment of the afore-mentioned dragoons meant that the enemy had no chance of continuing his advance beyond the railway line and the effective fire from our artillery and the gunboats was slowing the large numbers of enemy troops in the centre.
It was at this stage that the weather changed again to being unseasonably hot, which affected our poor fellows in their Winter uniforms but appeared to inspire new activity into the enemy’s Colonial troops.
It was at this stage that an atrocity occurred. A civilian, armed with some sort of fowling piece, mortally wounded the brave Naval Lieutenant, Adolf Badehosen, as he was directing the gunboats’ fire. Our Provost , having found his attempts to enlist the help of the townsfolk to find this scoundrel frustrated - and bearing in mind the proximity of the enemy - in accordance with the Field-Manual, executed two male persons who had undoubtedly seen the assassin in action. It was explained to the Mayor that we would have been within our rights to extend this punishment to a total of ten males but in the interests of good relations would limit it this time.
The CinC decided at this time to disembark the Royal Bavarian Highlanders (the famous Wild Turkeys) to confuse the Tinnish Highlanders who now threatened our left flank however, just as it seemed that the Tinnish forces must surely hurl themselves into our killing zone, they seemed to slow down all along the line and as night fell they still appeared to be in confusion.
A deserter (from the Tinnish Palace Guards no less) has told us that there has been news of some sort of parliamentary and palace coup in favour of our Kaiser.
We attach no great credence to this - however certain it is that there has been no further forward movement from the enemy. Unless we hear confirmation of this supposed coup the CinC intends to renew hostilities in the near future, with a view to driving the Tinnish forces into the waiting clutches of the Fuerstin Raphaela von Schluesselwald and her division of heavy cavalry, which succeeded in landing unopposed and undetected further North.

Hauptmann Ruckenkratzer, General-Stab.

My thanks to Mr David Pinder for making available his copy of Herr Ruckenkratzer's manuscript.


Stephen Beat said...

Vey amusing and entertaining read, as usual.

All that's missing is some nice engravings to illustrate the various scenes - a la The Times. :)

Keep up the great work!

Tim Gow said...

Stephen Beat
Sorry - I couldn't do the woodcuts quickly enough!

Stephen Beat said...

LOL, you will have to get a war artist into your inventory! Do AIP do those? ;)