Saturday, January 28, 2012

A considerable booty

Barcelona, 16th October 1713

Like every morning, General Villarroel entered the austere building of the Army Headquarters, close to the Generality Palace, and started painfully climbing the stairs up to his own office. "I am getting old", he thought with a gasp when reached the top.

When entering the main hall, General Villarroel found an unexpected turmoil. Officers and assistants were voicing here and there, forming rings amidst loud comments and laughter. Surprised and hesitant, the old general stood for a moment under the lintel. It only lasted a moment, however. Recovering his composure, he angrily shouted: --Please, gentlemen! ..or is it perhaps the fish market?

All those in the room shut up, but their faces still showed satisfaction. Then one of the rings opened and the Military Deputy emerged from it and came close to the general: --Oh, dear General Villarroel! There are good news; very good news indeed, I'd say!

Villarroel was the supreme commander of the army, but the Military Deputy was the highest civil authority in military matters, so that Villarroel slightly bowed his head to greet him, while asking: --And then?

--It's the Nostra Donna de Montserrat, General.

--The privateer from Alghero?

--True, she has just anchored with a considerable booty behind: four large merchantmen, five cabotage boats and a war galley just captured to the Spaniards.

--Extraordinary indeed --Villarroel admitted, still serious.

The Military Deputy drew an even wider smile: --But best is the stuff these ships carried, sir. A complete month's salary for the invading army, as well as some back payments... I've calculated that, after the appropriate partitions with Donna's charterer, we have earnt not less than 3 months of salary for our Parliament and Generality regiments! ...not to say about the business it can be done by reselling the captured ships to individuals...

Villarroel was unable to repress a smile too. As a strategist, the Military Deputy was a real inept, but a best administrator instead. Although he was convinced the man would somehow manage to obtain a discreet personal gain from the deal... He would bet in whose hands would fall one of the captured ships.

3 comments:

abdul666 said...

Fortunes of War...
[ Neither the song nor the band to be expected, but I want to add a touch of 'feminine tenderness' :) ]

Jeroen72 said...

The men of the Nostra Donna de Montserrat did a real good job i see ;))

Does this effect the Spanish side of the campaign besides benefitting the ermm...Galatan side??

I could imagine that troops without pay are very unwilling to march or fight.

Soldadets said...

According to a booklet by R. Watts on the 18th Century Ottoman Army, if the affected soldiers were Ottoman, they would certainly revolt on the next friday :)

However, it seems that western European soldiers were pretty accustomed to being periodically unpaid :S ...and I bet Spanish soldiers weren't amongst the most regularly payed, if we have into account the serious disruption of Treasure Fleet convoys during that war.

Therefore, I guess it shouldn't be taken into consideration yet, unless a similar 'accident' happened on the next consecutive month. If such happened again, I believe they wouldn't revolt at all, but their fighting willingness would become seriously affected (by temporarily downgrading their performance, for instance). I think this would make sense.