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Kurt_Steiner

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A bath of blood is going to take place quite soon...
 

volksmarschall

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Revolution! Revolution is sweeping across Europe, especially Central Europe, like wildfire! It's time to hunker down at slaughter them, "Rebel Scum." And perhaps, in light of everything going on in Germany, Karl may find opportunities to expand in a violent and turbulent Central Europe while others (ie: Prussia and Austria) fight to maintain their own holdings.

Great to have you back and running again! ;)
 

unmerged(61356)

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Sep 30, 2006
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Enewald: That is the plan.

Kurt_Steiner: You are no doubt correct.

volksmarschall: The one good thing about the Liberal Revolution in Germany is that it could end up putting several of the smaller states out of the alliance and open to attack. I would be happy to expand at their expense should the opportunity arise.
 

unmerged(61356)

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Scene from the barricades in Darmstadt



XIV. The Battle of Darmstadt

With the new Grand Duke looking on, Hesse-Darmstadt's soldiers marched toward the barricades set up by the rebels in the early afternoon hours of April 4, 1845. The tension was palpable with the only sound coming from the boots of the advancing royal troops. When the soldiers came within range of the barricades they halted. At the direction of their officers the front rank went down on one knee to provide the ability for both ranks to fire together. As the royal troops went through the maneuver and prepared to open fire the rebels began banging away with what firearms that they had. Armed primarily with old muskets, the rebels found their shots falling far short of the line of soldiers who were armed with new and longer-ranged rifles. With occasional shots still coming from behind the barricades the royal troops answered them with a volley of their own. Though protected somewhat by their barricades, the volley was still devastating to the rebels and scores of them were felled by this opening volley.

Moments later, after pausing only to reload, the royal troops emerged through the cloud of smoke that hung in the air between the opposing forces. They came on grimly with bayonets fixed to their rifles and extended in front of them. As they drew close rebel fire finally began to find the royalists. Here and there along the line soldiers began falling, only to be replaced by the man behind. As they came closer bricks and rocks joined the bullets being sent their way by the rebels. When only a few yards from the barricade the royal troops broke into a run and charged directly into the rebel line.

The rebels met the soldiers climbing over their barricades with sticks, rocks, and bricks as well as muskets wielded as clubs. As the soldiers met the rebels many fired their rifles into them at point-blank range before closing in to use their bayonets. Bodies piled up on both sides of the barricades as the two sides grappled with one another in hand to hand fighting. Slowly the soldiers began pushing the rebels back. As more and more royal troops made it over the barricades they were able to organize themselves and form crude firing lines whose fire tore into the increasingly disorganized mob of rebel fighters. After an hour of enduring this terrible assault, most of the rebels began abandoning their positions and fleeing back toward the center of the city where desperate rebel leaders tried to encourage them to continue the fight.

Royalist troops were now pouring into the city by the thousands on the heels of the rebels. As most of the soldiers continued advancing toward a final showdown with the rebels, some were detached and tasked with tearing down the barricades and rounding up rebel prisoners. There have been claims that these troops performed more than a few summary executions of rebel prisoners, but there is no hard evidence to support those claims.


The fighting near the center of Darmstadt as seen from behind the rebel barricade

The rebels made their last stand in Darmstadt's market square which was situated in front of the ducal palace. The royalist troops who advanced into the square immediately came under fire from rebels behind the barricade as well as from above as rebels fired from the windows and roofs of nearby buildings. The royalists charged the barricade under withering fire, but were forced to fall back without coming close to the rebel line.

Realizing that the rebels still had some fight in them, General Ott held his troops back and prepared a more methodical strategy. He sent troops into the buildings that surrounded the entrance to the square with orders to clear out the rebels who were firing down on his men. Royal and rebel troops struggled room by room for control of these buildings for the next several hours until the rebels were driven out. Now the tables were turned as royal troops began firing down on the rebels from above. Under cover of this fire a second charge was attempted.

The end result of this clash could not have been in doubt to even the most fanatical of the revolutionaries. Still, the rebels put up a spirited resistance before the royal troops broke through their line. Once the line was breached, however, it all fell apart. Many of the rebels began running in any direction they thought might lead them to safety while others simply dropped whatever weapon they were carrying and surrendered. Here and there small groups continued fighting, but they were quickly overwhelmed. Five hours after the battle had begun the federal tri-color was torn down over the ducal palace and replaced by the royal standard.

While his troops set to cleaning up the mess left by the fighting and rounding up rebel prisoners, Karl rode into the city. He made straight for the ducal palace. With sullen rebel prisoners looking on, Karl rode past the scene of the fighting in the marketplace and onto the grounds of the ducal palace. When he arrived at the entrance he dismounted and walked through the doors of the palace for the first time since being crowned as Grand Duke.

Karl went directly to the room that had served as his father's office and sat behind the massive desk that dominated the room. Here, seated in the very spot he had seen both his grandfather and father occupy on countless occasions, the full enormity of what remained to be done hit him. He had to make sure that the rebellion against him was well and truly squashed as well as decide what to do with the rebel prisoners- including Heinrich von Gagern who had been captured while fighting on the barricades. There was also the matter of his older brother who some close to Karl feared would try to maneuver himself back onto the throne now that the rebellion was over.

gagernimprisoned.jpg

Rebel prisoners including Heinrich von Gagern (at left in white) being held in a church in Darmstadt


All of this was put to the side when an urgent message arrived from Hanover. It seemed that nationalists in Lüneburg had taken the opportunity to revolt in the absence of his army. More troubling than the rebellion itself was the fact that this force seemed highly organized and well armed. The rebel force which was reported to number over 8,000 had seized the city of Lüneburg on April 1 and had been on the way to Hanover when it learned that a Prussian force was marching toward them.

According to the report that was handed to Karl, the rebels had ambushed and routed the Prussian contingent, inflicting over 4,000 casualties on the Prussians while only suffering a quarter as many losses themselves. Their victory against the mighty Prussian army emboldened other nationalists in Hanover and a second rebellion broke out in Lingen. As of the writing of the message, both rebel columns were advancing on Hanover with the intent of laying siege.


Hanoverian rebels ambush Prussian troops near Lüneburg

Karl immediately gave the order for the army to be made ready to march. The next day, April 5, Karl began leading his exhausted men back to Hanover all the while cursing his father and brother for not leaving him a larger army to defend the Grand Duchy. That was something that he promised himself he would make his first priority once the situation in the Grand Duchy was quieted.
 

Lordban

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If Karl manages what the army of the King of Prussia did not, this is going to raise a number of brows in Berlin and in Wien.

This is a very enjoyable AAR. Thank you for the read :)
 

volksmarschall

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Looks like Darmstadt, Germany, and Central Europe is in a lot of political turmoil right now. If Karl plays his cards right, he might be able to emerge out of the revolutions with a few more gains on his hands...

Great stuff!
 

Serek000

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I've finally got caught up with this. I've had a softness for Hesse-Darmstadt because of Tsarina Alexandra, and it's in an exciting spot geographically.

Great AAR so far, and I hope those rebels soon taste cold steel! Nationalism sure is a fickle friend in the German states...
 

Kurt_Steiner

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That's pretty obvious. The king of Prussia is unfit to rule. Hesse must rule Germany.
 

Enewald

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Woah, more stuff happening than during 1848 irl. :D
 

unmerged(61356)

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Sep 30, 2006
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Lordban: Thanks, I'm glad that you've enjoyed it thus far. The Grand Duchy is certainly trying to take a prominent place in Germany and succeeding where the Prussians failed could well help that cause.

volksmarschall: Believe me, the situation in Germany is being closely monitored. Any opportunities to expand will be pounced upon.

Serek000: I picked Hesse-Darmstadt to play both for the challenge and because I recently traced my family back to there. The rebels will get what is coming to them I'm sure.

Kurt_Steiner: But of course! I'm glad that I'm not the only one that sees it!;)

Enewald: Very true. I for one can't wait for all of these rebellions to end.
 

unmerged(86922)

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Great update.
 

TheHyphenated1

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Just caught up on this, Hardraade. Very well done so far!
 

unmerged(61356)

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Viden: I agree with you completely! Now I have only to make that fact apparaent to Hesse-Darmstadt's neighbors.

mad general: Thanks.

TheHyphenated1: Thanks, glad you liked it thus far.

All: I should have the next update ready shortly.
 

Morrell8

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The clearing out of the building reminds me of a certain video game character,

"Building by building, room by room, one rat at a time"
 

unmerged(61356)

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Sep 30, 2006
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Rebels marching into Hanover in April of 1845



XV. The End of the Revolution

Following his defeat of the revolutionaries in Darmstadt, Grand Duke Karl I turned the army north to combat the rebellion that was spreading in Hanover. While Karl and his men had been fighting to retake the capital two separate uprisings had occurred in the conquered territories to the north. The first had broken out in Lüneburg and rebels there had, after taking the city, managed to inflict a serious defeat on a Prussian force sent against them. This stunning victory had sparked a second rising to the west in Lingen. Both rebel factions established communication with one another immediately and they had decided on a joint march on Hanover. With Karl's army off the south, the city of Hanover was only lightly defended and the the rebels had no difficulty in retaking it in early May, 1845.

To this point the uprising had been a smashing success. The federal tri-color was now waving above three of Hanover's largest cities and the rebels could even claim a smashing victory against Prussian troops. The fall of Hanover would, however, mark the high point of the rebellion. Even as the rebels celebrated their conquest of the old capital Prussian and Hessian forces were closing in from the east and south respectively. As May drew to a close Prussian forces had reached the outskirts of rebel-held Lüneburg and Grand Duke Karl and his army were nearing Osnabrück.

Threatened from two sides, the rebels in Hanover had a decision to make: should they divide their forces to combat each threat separately or should they remain where they were and prepare to defend Hanover from both enemy forces? The general consensus was that they could not allow the Prussians and Hessians to join forces and the decision was made to split the army in two. One force some 7,000 strong marched west to confront the Hessians at Osnabrück while the other rebel force of 8,000 moved north toward Lüneburg and the Prussians.

By the time that the rebels began moving out of Hanover Prussian forces had already succeeded in re-taking Lüneburg and were in fact already marching south toward the rebels. Unbeknown to the rebels, a cavalry division had joined the march just after the capture of the city and the Prussian force had grown to 18,000. Near the town of Celle an advance force of Prussian cavalry encountered the rebels on June 3, 1845. The cavalry force withdrew quickly and both sides began to prepare for battle. As a result of their earlier defeat of Prussian troops, morale was high among the rebel force as it prepared to meet the Prussians who, for their part, were eager to erase the stain of that embarrassing rout by the rebels.

Despite the confident mood of the rebels the battle was a complete disaster for them. In their first encounter with the Prussians they had managed to surprise them and put the Prussians to flight before they could organize themselves. In a more conventional battle such as this one, the rebels stood no chance against professional Prussian soldiers. The rebel line began crumbling almost immediately and it took only a single charge by Prussian infantry to put the rebels into retreat. As the rebels fled they were set upon by cavalry and the rebel force simply disintegrated. With nothing to stop them the Prussians continued south toward Hanover. On June 14, the Prussians arrived to find Hanover defended only by a few rebels who had thrown up barricades in several parts of the city. These small rebel groups were crushed easily and the city fell the same day.


Prussian troops enter Hanover


While the Prussians were about the business of securing Hanover, Grand Duke Karl I and his Hessians were marching toward Osnabrück. Karl's original plan was to rest his men in the city before determining the best course for continuing the campaign against the rebels. However, when he reached the outskirts of the city on June 5, he found rebel forces waiting for him there. Karl carefully examined the rebel defenses and found them similar to those he had recently faced in Darmstadt. Unwilling to engage his men in another grueling battle in the streets of a city, Karl waited outside of the city for several days and made repeated attempts to entice the rebels out of the city to meet him in open combat. These attempts failed, however, and Karl was forced to send his men against the rebel defenses.

Karl attacked the city from three points on June 8. The going was slow for the Hessians who had to storm one barricade after another. Each time the Hessians were about to finally overrun one of these defensive positions the rebels would simply fall back to another they had prepared and stubbornly continue the fight. The deeper into the city that the Hessians advanced the more chaotic things seemed to become. On numerous occasions groups of Hessian soldiers moving through supposedly secured parts of the city were suddenly ambushed from behind by rebels who had been hiding in and beneath buildings. These attacks severely hampered the Hessian advance as they were forced to check each city block before moving on. In some cases, however, frustrated and angry Hessian troops simply took to burning the buildings they came across rather than venture inside where rebels might be waiting.


Defiant rebels at one of the barricades in Osnabrück

Finally, after two days of this slow and bloody fighting, the last of the rebels in Osnabrück were defeated and the city was in Hessian hands once again. Karl was allowing his men a much needed rest when word came of the Prussian successes to the east. The defeat of the rebels by the Hessian and Prussian forces marked the end of the revolution in Hanover, which was also the last of the revolutions in Germany that would see any kind of success.

By the time that the uprising in Hanover had been put down the revolutions that had sprung up all over Germany were petering out. The reasons for the failure of the revolutions are many, but were chiefly caused by a lack of cohesion among the rebels. Though the revolutionaries had established a Federal Assembly to guide the revolution to victory, it had never been able to function properly and had only served as a venue for various factions to debate one another. Despite all the talk of unity and German brotherhood that went on there, each delegation was chiefly concerned with local matters and no real effort was made to form a united military front. As a result, each of the local uprisings, though ostensibly part of a great pan-German revolution, went unsupported from the outside and were easily crushed by government troops who were usually aided by Prussia.

With the revolutions inside Hesse-Darmstadt defeated, Grand Duke Karl returned to Darmstadt to devote himself to governing the nation. As he prepared to lead his country forward the events surrounding his rise to power were foremost in his mind. He had attained the crown because his brother had been forced to abdicate in the face of a popular uprising. Though the old order had prevailed, Karl knew that the issues and the difficulties that had caused the people to turn against the government were still there and needed to be addressed before further unrest could develop. Though liberalism had been defeated on the battlefield it still lived on in the hearts and minds of many of the people, and Karl could not help but wonder whether his victory was only a temporary one. Karl's main goal was to achieve his father's aim of making Hesse-Darmstadt a true power in Germany, and for that he would need the people united behind him. In the interest of that unity, Karl reasoned that a change in the status quo would be necessary.
 

Kurt_Steiner

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Feb 12, 2005
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There we go... Or a Prussianized-Germany... or a Haardraded-one.