So, what to do with all those Franco-Prussian troops you've amassed?
So far as I can tell, German unification proceeded pretty amicably (or at least with a sense of resignation in some quarters) in 1871.
Alzheim however got overlooked, but in the happy afterglow of the 1871 proclaimation of the Empire someone asked: "Hey, what about them?"
So, a Prussian Army Corps of two Divisions (plus a brigade of cavalry, plus a siege train, plus a bridging column...) is to proceed with the occupation of Alzheim preparatory to her Annexation to the German Empire. Hurrah! The Kleindeutsche Lösung just got a little more like the Großdeutsche Lösung. Just a little more, for we all know that the surface area of Alzheim is about that of a postage stamp.
Alzheims' forces are about division-sized, and the Principality* has no modern border defenses. What defenses she does have are a inner and outer line of fortification about her principal city of Alzheim. The outer line is a ring of physically disconnected, small, mutually supporting polygonal forts. The inner ring is a continuous enceinte. All up, the fortifications resemble those of Ulm, only not quite as complex!
Alzheim has one major assett that the Prussians will not. A small river monitor (the SMS Haraald Alz), not unlike the Danish Rolf Krake. She will mount one or two rotating turrets, each mounting a pair of 68PR SBML. A wholly satisfactory little vessel. Armoured turrts and sides. No armoured deck.
Units will be 18 infantry or 12 cavalry for the "battlefield scale" units, although I envisage some small to medium-sized skirmishes as well.
The Prussian Corps will be two divisions plus a Cavalry Brigade, Siege Train and bridging train as Corps assets.
The divisional organisation, common to both sides will be as follows. A division will dispose of two brigades, each of four battalions. The division will also dispose of a battalion of Jaeger, a unit of Cavalry for scouting, an artillerie abtielung of two field and one medium batteries.
The Prussian Cavalry brigade will consist of two units of dragoons and a battery of flying artillery.
I intend at the moment to build one Prussian Division, the Cavalry Brigade, siege and bridging trains. For the Alzheimers, probably a single Brigade and a couple of cavalry units plus supporting artillery. Apart from that, I'll see how I go.
In terms of figure numbers, I am thinking the Prussians will field something in the order of about 200 infantry, 50 cavalry, 3-4 batteries of guns plus a few specials representing the Train, bridging column etc.
The Alzheimers will be about 100 infantry, 24-36 cavalry and a couple of gun batteries.
Figures will be from the Spencer Smith "Classic" Franco-Prussian War Range. Bavarians will stand in nicely for the Alzheimers. They'll look different enough on the table for there to be no confusion as to who is who!
Specialised terrain will include the Haarald Alz, one of works from the small outer line of forts, some sort of representation of the lines of Alzheim and the Winter Palace - see below.
The Shape of the Project:
I'm currently looking at something like a narrative campaign. I want to develop the following linked scenarios.
1. Scouting the Border. A unit of Saxon Jaeger and one of Light Cavalry are probing over the border at the head of one of their divisions. They are about to take a look at a small town - unknown to them, there are a couple of Alzheimer battalions in the area.
2. River Crossing. The Saxons are crossing River Mur between Prenzlau and Augusts-bad. Scenario will be Grants' "River Crossing".
3. Open Battle. The Alzheim army has concentrated at Prenzlau and Rosenthal and is now rushing to intercept the Prussians before they reach the Isar, the last defensible water barrier on the road to Alz. It will be a meeting engagement between that part of the army that was at Rosenthal - the troops from Prenzlau are a days' march away. If the Alzheimers can hold out for a day, perhaps they'll have a chance.
4. Escalade. The Prussians have appeared before the outer Fortress line and have decided to storm the fort using stronger numbers. A large skirmish game, say a company in the fort versus a couple of battalions without? 40 figures versus 200? With a battery in support?
5. The Siege of Alz. A large game, the surviving elemets of the Alzheim army plus a unit of armed civs/landwher, the SMS Haraald Alz. A section of the City walls and the whole Prussian force.
6. Storming the Winter Palace. Alzheims' last stand. I think there is an old Grant scenario that looks the same as this. The Garde Regiment, the Cabinet and the prince have been brought to bay and will fight to the end in a welter of Chanpagne and Cocaine.
*Alzheim became a principality during the Napoleonic Wars when, as a member of the Confederation of the Rhine, the French Emperor rather fancied the then-Duchess. A Princely title was the price of acquiescence to their arrangement. Interestingly, the other two parts of the agreement - a Brigade for Spain and later, another for Russia - ended less happily. The former were taken captive and only came out of British prison Hulks in 1813 when Alzheim wisely chose to throw in her lot with the apparently winning side at Leipzig. The latter? Well, they were never heard from again.
|Street Scene from the Pfeffergasse|