Wednesday, 23 July 2008

First Ideas

I'm finding my feet in the the Landgraviate now. Fortunately, some of the more enlightened inhabitants have a smattering of education and so know a little English. It turns out that, not far away, in Castle Corvey, a library is being built to house every novel in every European language, including my own. I must find the time for a trip there.

But presently all my time is consumed with effecting the Landgraf's commands in establishing his armed forces. He seems to prefer me as equerry and military atache rather than biographer, which, confessedly, is somewhat frustrating.

Given his ambitions, his forces leave much to be desired. The Treasury is almost empty (which, I'm beginning to suspect, is a significant reason for his sudden desire for conquest) with the consequence that his army is being compiled from any and every source that comes to hand. It seems every ancient corner of Mendelstadt is being turned out to discover what oddities of the populace might be drummed into service.

Fortunately, on my advice, the Landgrave has seen fit to recruit the core of his infantry from a well reputed recruiter, though this man rather suspiciously goes under the name of Minden. (Where the resources came from for this unexpected recruitment drive, I daren't ask). I am concerned over the reason that this "Minden" rascal might need this pseudonym. Why would such a thing be? It is rumoured, furthermore, that he was a person of power within the twin states of Leder-Hosen. I intend to investigate when I have leisure to locate them upon the map.

Nevertheless the fellows he has so far supplied are a fine bunch of lads. I believe I have never come across new recruits of such polish and finesse. You should see them march! A cut above the rascals, rogues and vagabonds that inhabit the armies of Mendelstadt's neighbours.

Currently I engage myself in seeing them equipped and uniformed to the Landgraf's designs. His infantry uniforms are elegant, influenced by our Northern Prussian neighbours, if I'm not mistaken, though they employ the colours of the Mendelstadt flag, with the sky-blue of its field for their coats, and the many vibrant shades of the phoenix and its flames for their facing. I've made a note of the Landgraf's designs in my sketchbook and will endeavour periodically to publish them here.

Here is a rudimentary sketch of the noble flag of Mendelstadt:

And here the Landgraf's outline of the uniform of his 4th regiment (why he should be certain of the design of the 4th, yet leave the others unassigned, I am at a loss to explain):

I am indebted to one of the world's premier artists, the honorable David Linienblatt (at for the wherewithal to make this uniform sketch available to my excited public.

However, I have already learned how like a flibberty gibbert the Landgraf's temperament vacillates, so I would not be surprised to learn tomorrow that he has reshaped half the uniforms! And, as yet, we have no idea whence the army will find its cavalry. This fellow "Minden" seems unwilling to commit to horse, though he has sketched and promised and hinted of some fine horse-flesh, so the Landgrad is sorely tempted to await their appearance.

Elsewhere I hear of horsemen put into the mercenary marketplace by the Captain's Perry at an equitable rate (as a man of words, I rather like the idea of "equitable equistrians"), but understand these troopers' behaviour and demeanour somewhat inappropriate for such a force as Mendelstadt desires. Perhaps we will recruit a few and establish how much work will be involved in retraining and presumably requipping them for this more noble purpose. It might be simpler, however, to recruit from the Colonies fellows from the outlandish sounding "RSM" whose troopers, I understand, are both inexpensive and attractively turned out.

Meanwhile, I have been introduced to some of the nobility of Mendelstadt. These, it seems, are taking charge of the many elements of our developing army. Yesterday, for example, I met Admiral Zwitzal. I suspect he is little more than a speculative buccanneer. But this matters little, as he has neither fleet nor the promise of it. I believe the Landgraf has a plan, but as yet he has disclosed no inkling of it to my good self. How in the heavens does he expect a biographer to operate without information?

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

The drums are beating!

Here is the first page of my blog devoted to the campaigns of the Landgraf of Mendelstadt, as documented by myself, Major Wittering.

Perhaps it's appropriate to say a little about myself, the Major, by way of a small preface to the Herculean task of recording the wisdom, exploits, achievements and ambitions of the Landgraf.

What you may have heard of me from the court of King George is vile calumny. "Exile" is such a loaded word. On the contrary, I am here in the palace of the Landgraf, deep in the heart of beautiful Mendelstadt, by personal invitation of the Langraf himself, who, chancing across one of my three volume novels in a used bookstand in the market town of Trunkenzordli (it was "Sadie and the Arabian Prince", I believe) determined there and then I should become his biographer.

I am new to the forests and mountains of central Europe. Mendelstadt, in the Landgraf's own words, is "somewhat unstable" (his laughter is unlike any I've ever heard) but attractive in a stark and desperate way. His task is first to unify the quarrelling provinces of the Landgraviate, then to organise their disparate and, there's no better word for it - ragamuffin, militias into a proper military force in order to fufil his ambition: no less than the reproduction of the campaigns of Alexander across Europe. He has been persuaded that his calling is for once and all to quell the squabbling nations of western Europe under the firm but unified benevolence of one man. Him.

I have commissioned my portrait and hope to hang it here, in honour of the impending military endeavours of my patron. A draft sketch can be observed on the right, my good self modelling the uniform of the 2nd regiment of Mendelstadt, the Fusiliers, in which I now hold a commission. Meanwhile, he has asked that I begin the tortuous and complex task of reviewing his splendid armed forces, before the campaign begins, a task I propose to engage in the moment I conclude lunch.