Tuesday, 14 January 2014

The Battle of Redhills

Hercules Grytpype Thynne (Constable of Gormenghast) sat astride his charger and stared into the heat haze ahead. Sweat ran from underneath his tricorne hat, leaching powder from his enormous wig and dripping from the end of his hooked nose. The Constable regretted joining the army of Gormenghast; in any other army he would be a general but instead he was bound by the ancient traditions of Gormenghast. Quite why he was here fighting in the Tropics was also a mystery to the Constable but the forces of Albion were out there somewhere beyond that range of hills. Grytpype desperatedly wanted to advance with the army but the one-legged hunchbacked dwarf Barquentine, Master of Ritual, insisted that the time was not right. Instead the Constable arrayed his forces in a defensive line, as laid down by ancient tradition and transcribed in Barquentine's dusty Book of Ritual.

As tradition decreed the elite Gormenghast Guards and Gormenghast Light Infantry formed the left of the line. The First, Second and Third Gormenghast Regiments of Foote were arrayed to the right of the household troops and behind them, a second line of infantry deployed, consisting of the Fourth and Fifth Gormenghast Foote alongside the First and Second Gormenghast Fencibles. A small battery of artillery took post on the left of the infantry line. To the rear and right of the line stood the 3 Regiments of Gormenghast cavalry, in column and led by Filip Koreczki who took post with the Gormeghast Hussars (The Death Owls).

As the morning wore on and the troops began to wilt in their hot and heavy (but very traditional) woollen uniforms, the thunderous sound of hooves echoed over the hills and a veritable host of cavalry appeared to line the ridge ahead. This was followed, soon after, by vast columns of swift moving infantry which appeared on the Constable's left flank. Galvanised into action, Grytpype drew his sword, with a flourish, and yelled 'prepare to march'.
'Ahem......ahem....', a dry dusty cough came from the bundle of rags that was Barquentine. 'The time is not right damn ye.   it's......it's.....it's......... not in the book', he spluttered apoplectically, turning slightly purple.
'I suppose, sir, that I am to be allowed some manoeuvre!', bellowed the Constable.
'You must not alter the sacred alignment', came the shrill reply from a now spitting mad Barquentine, 'the Guards must form in front, so it is written'
'Stuff and nonsense sir! Then I shall manoeuvre my second line', came the Constable's riposte, and with that the Constable ordered the second line to march to the threatened flank.  Long months of training in cadenced marching and advancing at the oblique now came to fruition, with the 4 regiments forming two lines facing the Constable's left flank.

Albion commander, Lord Effingham of Grimbold contemplates his cunning scheme while the Constable consults the Book of Ritual. Note strategically placed kitchen towel for the mopping up of casualties.


By now the infantry of Albion had formed themselves into 2 brigades and soon launched a furious attack on the Constable's hastily formed line. The Gormenghast Fencibles stood firm and prepared to unleash the 'lethal volleys' for which they are justly famed. Alas, in their haste to form a defensive line to the flank, the Fencibles had omitted to load their muskets and the order to fire came to nought. Grytpype well knew the Albionites' reputation with the bayonet and seeking to pre-empt them ordered the charge. The Fencibles made a spirited attack but were thrown back on their second line. A counter charge by the Albionites sealed their fate and they were swept from the field. The 4th and 5th Gormenghast, forming the second line, came to the rescue with a lethal volley, followed by a charge that broke the Albionites' lead brigade.

Now the remains of the battered second line faced the cream of the Albionite army, in the form of their elite Grenadier brigade. A bloody fight followed with the 4th Gormenghast putting up a heroic defence and repelling 3 bayonet attacks by the Albionite Grenadiers. By now Grytpype, overuling a deranged and frothing Barquentine, had wheeled the Gormenghast Guards out of the first line and they were pouring lethal volleys into the enemy Grenadiers. Both sides were now on the brink of collapse but one last push by the Albionite Grenadiers finally shattered the 4th Gormenghast and the Constable's broken and battered force fled the field.  

Gormenghastian forces before the battering and the fleeing.

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