Thursday, January 19, 2012

Reprimand

La Panadella Heights, 15th October 1713

[This is another AAR, this time accounted from the point of view of the officer in command of the Catalan horse force whose engagement was masterly reported at Murdock's Marauders website under the title of "Plans de Sió AAR". A million thanks to MurdocK for their proxy gaming and report!]

Colonel Dalmau was pretty angry with his Regiment's troopers. After their failure to charge at Plans de Sió, he had to employ himself hard to rally them again. He ordered men to stand in formation and waited for a couple of minutes, silently watching them. He finally dismounted without a word --not even a breaking ranks order.

He then crossed the courtyard of the manor house where Marquis of Poal had installed his headquarters, while mechanically brushing his coat with a hand. Once in front of the house door, he cleared his throat and mentally cursed not having taken the wine glass an assistant had offered to him.

When he got into Marquis of Poal's improvised desk room, the general spoke in a low voice, without even raising his eyes from the papers in his hands.

--You had been given quite precise orders, Dalmau. And these stated nothing about withdrawing the assigned position.

--Sire, we managed to repulse two squadrons of enemy horse, Sire.

The Marquis calmly lifted his eyes, and spoke again with that very same, dreadful low voice.

--This war is a bloody complicated one, Dalmau. We aren't to win by big field battles, so that our only chance is that everyone does what he's demanded to. Absolutely. You were ordered to hold position, not coming here to tell me excuses. Whenever I'm issuing an order, I want it to be obeyed. I can not afford sending you and your men to hell, but by Faith that I would.

--Sire, it will not happen ever again, Sire.

--Alright Dalmau, that's all. You can leave. And get ensured your men are rested enough tomorrow, for you are going for a mission again.

1 comment:

MurdocK said...

Harrumph,

Sounds about right. He did the absolute right thing, supported - in person - the flank force that he knew could not sustain their courage into making the charge (indeed the Spanish commander opposite him chose not to support either unit and BOTH of them refused to charge and that Spanish commander could not stop half of his troopers from fleeing either!)

At least fully half of the forces under Dalmau DID charge, they just had nothing to charge into as the opponents had retired from their positions.

Typical that a General would not accept the battlefield reality of all horse engagements, only someone like Grouchy or Murat could fully appreciate the situation.