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 Post subject: Short story by Cliff Seeney Revised
PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2014 1:08 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 02, 2007 6:34 am
Posts: 3606
Location: Republic of Galveston Texas USA
By Kliff Senet aka Feldmarschall Dumas
While preparing the next installment of the Regimental History of the Prussian / Saxon Army in 1806, I had been looking into the regimental archives for information, when I found two old manuscript diaries: One being the memoirs of Prince Louis Ferdinand to Général Schamhorst Left Wing Commander and forward to the Duke of Brunswick, the other manuscript was the memoirs of one General Div Duroc to Suchet to General de Brig Claperade and also Marechal Lannes commander of the V Corps. I understand that after the battle that here were two different views on the same battle but with different understanding of the same battle over a simple thing like a bottle of wine at Saalfeld (a six day battle). Or as it is know by the Prussian rank and file Napoleon turns and drinks. The best German wine at Saalfeld Inn, I will quote only short passages from the diaries, as to reproduce them in their entirety would occupy far too much time and space. So, without further ado, I give you....
After a long wait, the Prussian officers looked up at the sound of drums coming from the French lines. Then they could see the whole of the French Grande Armée move off as one: A tide of blue-and-white-coated infantry rolled towards the waiting Prussians. Only the low thunder of marching feet could be heard above the sound of the massed drums beating the pas de charge. Way off in the rear of the French lines they could see ranks of cavalry wheeling as if on parade. With, swords flashing in the sun and next to them....BEARSKINS! Yes, the Guard was here, and if the Guard was here, then HE was here!
The Prussian officers looked at one another, and a chill ran down their spines.
"Do you see him?" one said to the other "No ...no, WAIT....YES! There he is, way off in the rear of the French lines. OH, NO! They have given him THREE supply wagons AND a gun battery!"
The Prussian commander gravely raised his spyglass in the direction to which his Adjutant was pointing. There, just behind the Guard he could see......the Hussar Gerard with three wagons, doing his famous riding-around-in-circles-with-a-gun-battery-in-the-middle trick.
"All is lost!" said the Adjutant, "We should retire now while we have an army left!" The Prussian commander set silent and motionless on his horse, as stunned as if he had been hit by a 12-pounder ball. No orders came from him. The Prussian army was doomed, and the others thought knew it, but the Duke knew better. Three wagons...how they could do it, giving him THREE the officers shouted.....
After a few seconds of watching the Duke of Brunswick sit in a stupor at the sight of, his own officer’s lament, the adjutant coughed to get his commander's attention. "Sire, it’s him the most fearless fighter in the French Armee!" With an embarrassing look Duke of Brunswick turned to the dashing and good looking Prince Louis Ferdinand, who turned around to see if any others of the staff had noticed him (who how handsome I ‘am today he said to himself), the young prince slowly moved the telescope to see for himself was this fool the man that the others were talking about (rage and envy took over his mind). As the commander studied the French, his composure returned and a grin formed on his face. He turned to his Adjutant and spoke, loudly, so that the rest of the staff could hear and take heart from his words: "It is as we dared to hope! They have given that imbecile Gerard three supply wagons; Good God man, three of them! The French are attacking because they are thirsty!!!" The staff stared, awestruck, at the commander, wondering how the man could have guessed, wondering whether it was divine inspiration, or was he in league with the very Devil himself?

Quickly the Commander bellowed out his orders, while the staff was still amazed, I want them Irish pioneers who build me them 100 catapults to move up on the line of battle “Quickly” the others were unable to see the small flicker of joy that lingered in his eyes. "Quickly now, load the spoiled Camembert and moldy baguettes in the cannons and have the skirmishers deploy the rotten hams in front of the advancing French. Who were moving fast though the great forest that was before the Town of Saalfeld. Look the Prince yell the water barrels on the sides of the wagons were lose and when he saw one fall off the lid fell off to rival it was empty as the head on that fool Gerard." The assembled officers scattered like quail to see that the orders were carried out. Only the Commander and his young adjutant remained. The adjutant, after serving this Duke of Brunswick for many years, knew that everything was not as it appeared. "Sire, what worries you this day said the Prince to the Duke of Brunswick! You, my Prince are the only Hussar that I can trust to do this job”?

They put Captain Etienne Gerard of the 1st Hussars of Empireors Household Guard, who were always in front of the cavalry, and he was in front of the Hussars. (Captain Gerard is an officer in Napoleon's army recklessly brave, engagingly openhearted, and unshakable, if not a little absurd, in his devotion to the enigmatic Emperor. He speaks somewhat idiosyncratic English, having learned it from an officer of the Irish Brigade of the French Army.The Captain wonderful comic adventures, long established in the affections of Conan Doyle's admirers as second only to those of the incomparable Holmes, are sure to find new devotees among the ardent fans).
“Captain Etienne Gerard of the 1st Hussars of Empireors Household Guard is in charge of the supply wagons, as we had hoped." The Duke, without removing his gaze from the approaching French, replied, “Captain Etienne Gerard of the 1st Hussars of Empireors Household Guard has another trick up his sleeve! Look! Look! Our men are becoming dizzy watching that imbecile riding-around-in-a-circle-with-a-battery-in-the-middle trick. We must come up with a way to counter it, we must." Both men looked to the west, each with his own thoughts, wondering what to do about Captain Etienne Gerard of the 1st Hussars of Empireors Household Guard.

Perhaps the Prussian deviltry was hidden by the early morning mists, or possibly their view had been hampered by the folds of the earth, but the French command could only watch in startled horror as the first salvoes of putrefied foodstuffs splattered down on their front line divisions.
"They never even saw it coming," Duke of Brunswick said to Prince Louis Ferdinand who was turning to his adjutant; bring me a company of pick men of all arms quickly!

"We knew the Prussians were without honor, but to make war in a manner such as this is unforgivable.
Colonel, deliver this message to Etienne Gerard of the 1st Hussars of Empireors Household Guard. He's over there with them dam wagons. I think it is time to call upon the services of the newest Guard regiment: le 1er Régiment de vin se debrouiller."

The Prussian army gasped in shock and disbelief as the awful sight of the French Beer Machine ten catapults looking as if time was turned back to the time of the Roman Emperor, was glimpsed through the early morning mist.

"It is as we feared," cried Avd Gd Commander Trutzschler, "the British have turned against us and sold the plans of this monstrosity to our enemies!" Avd Gd Commander Trutzschler snapped his telescope shut. "I wonder," he said, and his face showed the concern of a seasoned campaigner. "Even a mad ape like their King George would scarcely contemplate such a thing. I believe this to be a cheap copy of the infamous Beer Machine, reconstructed from stolen plans." He smiled, as though comforted by the thought
"Enough!" snapped the general. "There is one hope. I doubt they have learned the secrets of the beer catapults. Only Prime Minister Pitt and the famous English General "Sir Noise de void of Funk" know of this. Without the beer catapults, all their hopes are as nothing!"
In the glow of dawn Captain Etienne Gerard of the 1st Hussars of Empireors Household Guard, continued to make circles with his wagons.
Throughout the Prussian army one word was on all lips, repeated along the lines like an incantation: "Beer- Beer- for the Rhineland!" It would be a long day.....

Captain Etienne Gerard of the 1st Hussars of Empireors Household Guard rode up to Général Suchet. "Pardon, General, I must protest at your using this infernal machine against the Prussians......poooo! What is that smell?" The words died on Captain Etienne Gerard of the 1st Hussars of Empireors Household Guard lips as he drew level with Gén. Suchet. There, he saw Général Claperade removing half a moldy brown Prussian loaf from his new hat. "Damn thing nearly took my head off," the general said to Claperade looked around at some of the fallen French troops. Most of them had been cut down by Camembert and moldy baguettes. Captain Etienne Gerard of the 1st Hussars of Empireors Household Guard felt ill. “How could they do this, have they no honour??" "It would seem not," replied Gén. Suchet, his face grim.
"I will bring up ....The Machine. May God have mercy on them." then abruptly came to a stop. With eyes wide with fear, the massed Prussian ranks watched as the first round was let loose from the awful machine. It sailed magically over the French troops, who cheered wildly, and landed square on the lead Prussian Battalion bags and kegs of fresh brewed beer. The Prussian C in C looked on, dread filling his heart, as the first wave of his attack wavered and then stopped. He sat waiting for the next round from the machine......and waiting......waiting......

"Look, Sire, the French are running around their machine in confusion!" The Prussian C in C looked up to see first one, and then another wheel fall off the machines. "They lack....the sprocket-dangler. Maybe we are saved! Let's see if we can beat these Frenchmen."

Belvilaqua approached General Trutzschler with trepidation. The commander would not like the news he had to deliver. "Sire, our reserves of baguettes and Camembert are gone! The local peasants raided the train and stole it all; they claim it is better than their usual fare. If that wasn't enough, the Saxon Hussars are off playing some silly sort of polo game with the spoiled hams. Sire I couldn't find anyone brave enough to take them back." A sigh escaped from the commander's lips he sat astride his horse, the Duke was pondering his next move, where are them Irish with my catapults. Once again he raised the telescope, to his eyes this time. Before any of the staff could utter a word, he spoke: "Not to worry, the Frogs are still several hours away. Plenty of time to prepare." It was then that Belvilaqua gently reached up, knowing that his years of service to General Trutzschler would spare him any harsh reprimand, and turned the telescope around so that the Duke of Brunswick was looking out the proper end.
"Catapults sprocket-dangler be hanged!" Gén. Suchet. exclaimed. "So the plans were incomplete; still, the modifications we made should work properly, even without the sacré Dangleur de Sprockette!"
"You mean....?"
"Yes, deploy the Sausages and cabbages load the 12 pounders with them, and tell that fool Gerard to come here at once!”
General, it is I the bravest Soldat in the Armee, Captain Etienne Gerard of the 1st Hussars of Empireors Household Guard reporting Sire!”
“Captain I have heard that you are the bravest of the brave, I need you to take a run for me said General Suchet!”
What ever you command Sire I will lay my life down for the Empireor then said he Captain Etienne Gerard of the 1st Hussars of Empireors Household Guard .”
“ We need potato’s and a lot of them Sir said General Suchet!”
“Po ta o’s Sire ?”
“Oui said the Generals”.
Soon enough, the air that had been so fouled by the carrion of Prussian cuisine, rent by the noxious vapors of cheap German Camembert, and putrefied by loaves that only a scientist could appreciate, changed. A sweet and tantalizingly fragrant aroma wafted slowly across the front. Shaken soldiers in the French and allied battalions regained their legs, composure and proper coloring.
What had saved the day? The le 1er Régiment de VIN se debrouiller had arrived; of course, setting up the catapult’s from which they fed barrels and kegs of German beer into. The First Battalion pulled slings back as the Second fed the catapults with barrels after barrels wrapped in sheep skins so they would not exploded once they hit the ground. The Third Battalion roll barrels after barrels of the captured German beer up to the waiting sheep skins only Herr Brewmaster Peters could match the taste of this finest of French Beer(French Beer oui the best I ever tasted), while the Fourth rapidly delivered the Beer to their own breakfast-starved men.


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