Tuesday, November 09, 2010

The politician

Barcelona, 11th August 1713

When General Prado left the Viceroyalty Palace, he still had the choleric words of General Villarroel resounding in the ears. "The Military Deputy is a true inept!", he had exclaimed, enraged. The Catalan commander-in-chief was furious with the politician, under whose command a whole column had been literally crushed at Tivissa the day before; and the fact that Villarroel's own regiment had gone so badly had contributed by no means to calm him down.

The Tivissa setback had arrived in Barcelona city like a lightning, and a general unrest for the bad news could be perceived in the air. He had already heard by chance some disturbing conversations around Santa Maria del Mar church early in the morning, such as "when General Basset comes back home, some things will have to be fixed in the General Deputation", "it's intolerable to have a King so far away; if the Deputation's President had even a little guts, he'd already have proclaimed a Republic", and so. He was upset for the course of events in the city, and feared some kind of political storm. "Civilians shouldn't interfere so much in the affairs of war", he thought.

General Prado had been entrusted to meet at harbour General Basset, whose successful naval expedition was about to anchor, and to lead him to Palace before he was addressed by the politicians presumably gathering to meet him too. "Maybe Villarroel is also aware of the unrest", he believed. Once at harbour, he watched a group of councilmen and priests already gathered and waiting for the fleet to arrive. Prado decided to avoid them and went straight to a sergeant of the Coronela (=city Militia) in charge the port guard, who was visibly disoriented due to his unability to understand the ships' signal flags. He couldn't either, but he recognized a pilot in the nearby and called him:

-What are they saying?

-They've taken prisoners, Sire.

General Prado then quickly ordered the sergeant to vacate the docks, while cursing to himself the presence of so many councilors in the nearby, who were nominally superiors to the Coronela militiamen and might interfere with him at any moment; so that he wisely chose to let them stay in the vicinity. -It should be compulsory to have an adequate command port... -he unconsciously muttered in a too loud voice.

One of the councilors who heard him, a lawyer called Rafael de Casanova, approached to Prado and politely said: -You've organized a quite successful raid, it seems...

-It was a surprise action -he simply answered-. We've been in advantage so far, because there are few enemy ships in these waters yet, but things will not be going so easy after the Imperials are completely evacuated and the English fleet withdraws to Minorca.

-Certainly things won't be going so easy from now on; I guess you're already aware of the events at Montblanc and Tivissa, and this is only a start, don't you agree?... I'm afraid that, if we wish to maintain a sustainable war effort, we'll have to ensure protection to our trade. We need a powerful fleet, Sir, to keep enemy warships and corsairs at bay. Some tradesmen have already started to re-arm their ships...

-Yes I know -Prado answered, while wondering what was up in the councilor's mind.

-...but these ships would require a military force aboard to be effective, don't you believe?

General Prado stared to Casanova in silence, expectantly.

-Well, I've been commisioned to let you know there are plans to raise a Sea Fusiliers regiment, for garrisoning the fleet and ports... and it's believed you should be their Field Colonel.

-Great, but where are you drawing the men from? You know there's a deep manpower shortage, we can hardly complete the numbers for a projected regiment...

-Our correspondents in the Islands are able to provide you the necessary contacts, they know about men who gladly would accept joining the enterprise if lead by a prestigious commander, like you. General Villarroel is aware if this project -he quickly continued- and would agree; however, the final decision is entirely up to you, of course.

3 comments:

abdul666 said...

I was indeed intrigued by the 'Sea Fusiliers' entry in the Army roll.

Btw, light blue-green Aqua could be a fitting facing color for such 'Marines'?

Jordi said...

The flag will be light blue, so following the uniform laws of our dear marquis the uniform won't be blue. At least the first regiment.

Soldadets said...

Jean-Louis,

Since we had imagined the Sea Fusiliers as a separate corps, distinct from Infantry and likely depending on the Navy rather than the Army, Jordi and I believed they should be assigned different uniform colours, with their own facings system, as well as distinct Colonel flags (which would no longer show Our Lady of Conception, for She is the patron of Infantry, but a different image instead).

As the main colour for Infantry uniforms is Royal blue, and Brown for Mountain Fusiliers, we had in mind to assign Red to the Sea Fusiliers. As for the facings, Light blue will likely be the distinctive colour for this regiment -not the Aqua shade of your chart, but a closer to Sky blue one.

Templates to follow shortly :)