Generalmajor von Schwerin looked wildly around him; things had gone so badly awry. Who would have thought that the enemy would concentrate his heavy batteries on the Blasthof height and then fell the woods at its’ foot into abatis. His own maneuver to envelop the enemy’s flank was failing, failing.
By God! His own men were faltering in the face of the enemies' guns. Meant to advance thereupon with shouldered muskets, they were now, their ranks shredded first by ball, and now by grape looking back over their own shoulders. The officers and NCOs were having to buffet them forward with their levelled pole arms or with blows of their sticks.
One man slipped through the cordon, then another around it and yet another again. They were starting to pile up in the scrubby woods to the rear, one behind another behind each tree as the trunks were steadily splintered by shot. The blows of the flats of their officers swords did not suffice to shift them and even as he watched, scandalised, he could not at the same time blame them as his own balls shrank up against his belly in unwonted... fear?
No. And as he watched, he saw the colours of the regiment of which he was Colonel-proprieter waver, and that would not stand. He kicked his protesting horse forward to where he could see a Junker sagging to the ground, white-faced to his very lips. He snatched the flag from the boys' nerveless fingers and hoisted it high, the textures of it so rich to his heightened sensibility – the velvet cladding of the staff, the gilt nails that held it in place.
He held the painted silk high, the sun transforming it into a glory of green and blazing white.
“Come on, my Children!” he cried, urging his horse forward.
He was deluged in a dreadful blast of grape and knew no more.
It had been two days since the defeat at Blasthof.
Alzheims army had fallen back, and back. Oberst-lieutenant Kinsky had fought a series of strong, defensive actions allowing the main force of the Army to retire in a semblance or order. Now Kinsky and his men had gained the fortress town of Schellendorf which protected the bridges on the River Schwein. The Army had already passed through and were re-assembling at the encampment at Dunzelwitz. Kinsky and his men knew they had to hang on at Schellendorf whilst the rest of the army got itself in order and brought up fresh troops and more drafts of recruits to try to make good its' losses.
Old Krumpler the Gouvenor had done a good job keeping the defenses in order, and the Garrison battalion was as good as could be expected. His own couple of squadrons of Dragoons and somewhat depleted battalion would let him make a fair defense; he hoped that as the remnants of the Fusilieers drifted in that he might make a fair defense a good one.
From his vantage point in the guerite of Ravelin Kur-Prinzessin, he could see the curve of the Schwein as it made it’s loop to pass through the town and under the Charles Bridge that was it’s main crossing. He knew the enemy would have to attack up the salient formed by the bend of the river here – the nearest fords were miles away and just not practical for effective communications and that this front of the fortification would be where the main blow would fall.
He was sure that the enemy would use his army to throw up a cordon around the town first to stop him from bringing in any more supplies while they waited for their siege train to come up. He wondered how long that might take.
Still, he had a little time yet in which to gather his strength, and he was determined to make the most of it.
*I hope I got my French right..!