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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Kapt Torbjorn

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AAR Status: On Hold until ???



Mood Music for this Chapter
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October 14th, 1806. The Prussian army, under the command of King Frederick William the Third, was defeated by forces of the French Empire under the leadership of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte in the Battle of Jena-Auerstedt. The Prussian forces fled further East into Prussia, and Napoleon’s army sped after it, entering Berlin on the 25th. The Prussian forces under the command of King Frederick had held the city desperately, hoping that perhaps General Blücher’s or General Hohenlohe’s army would come to their rescue, but the surrounding countryside remained empty, the French smashed aside the Prussian resistance, and chaos was ripe in the streets of Berlin.

--------------------​

Colonel Pierre Deroux entered the royal chambers of Berlin and looked upon the King of Prussia who stood resplendent in a horridly gaudy Field Marshal’s uniform. The shouts and screams from the streets could be faintly heard within the chambers, the soldiers of Marshal Louis-Nicolas Davout’s III Corps taking part in the age old soldier’s rights of the pleasures and spoils of a city bought with the blood of their comrades.


Colonel Pierre Deroux

King Frederick nodded to the Colonel and stepped forward. There were other men in the room, servants and guardsmen of the king, a young boy, a French captain from the 1st Foot Artillery, two French sergeants of the 30th Line, a corporal from the 111th, and four privates from the 25th. They were men that Leroux had handpicked for this task, a task which had been given to him from the Emperor Napoleon himself. A more suitable candidate for the task would’ve been impossible to find, for to Colonel Pierre Deroux it was not the 25th of October, 1806, but the 3rd of Brumaire, Year 15 in the Revolutionary Calendar. To Colonel Deroux God was not a being in the heavens that watched upon his flock, but a man born in Corsica, and ruler of the French Empire. King Frederick held out his sword to Colonel Deroux and bowed his head gravely, “It is with great sadness I surrender my arms to you, Colonel, to be entrusted into your care.”

It struck Leroux as odd that Frederick had not managed to escape the city before it fell, but he assumed that Marshal Murat had sped his cavalry, fresh from their victory at Jena and Auerstedt, quickly North to cut the retreating army’s escape route off, leaving them with only Berlin as a safe refuge. Leroux smiled at King Frederick, one that he had meant to be kindly, but Leroux was not a kindly man, and his face, bearing the faint marks of Pox that told of his lowly birth, only managed a menacing grin; the grin's malevonlence was certainly not helped by Colonel Deroux's jaw that jutted too far forward, his crooked nose, or his too small eyes that darted over the King and his surroundings. He reached for the handle of the sword and Frederick surrendered it to the Frenchman’s grasp, Leroux’s men behind him tensing slightly as they knew the moment was close.

Leroux stared at the blade admiringly, tracing the smooth steel with his gloved finger. It was a fine blade, fit for a king, though it was too gaudy for Leroux’s taste. Such a blade would mark a man on the battlefield as surely as if he wore a crown of diamonds, and draw the fire of starved and rabid enemies. He ran a finger down the blade’s edge and snorted; it was dull, too dull to take into battle, but it would do. He turned his gaze back again the King Frederick and spoke, “It is a shame, of course.”

Frederick, thinking he spoke of Prussia’s defeat and the capture of Berlin, nodded his assent. “A shame indeed, but there will be other opportunities!” He joked, but the Colonel’s eyes narrowed as he shook his head vigorously.

“No. I don’t think there will be.” He rammed the blade into Frederick’s chest. The point, though dulled as it were, ripped through the Prussian king’s skin and lodged in his chest as the blood ebbed into the blade's grooves, Frederick’s face showing a convulsion of terror, pain, and surprise. Behind Leroux the musket’s of his men banged and coughed smoke, throwing the King’s servant’s and guardsmen back, before the French soldiers surged forward with a growl and finished the survivors with bayonets. Leroux let the body slump and fall before kicking the dead king’s chest and wrenching the blade free, pulling out his pistol and shooting the corpse in the heart for good measure.

“What do we do with the boy, sir?” It was Captain Dupont that spoke, gesturing with his bloodied bayonet to the table by the window, where the boy was hiding, crying to himself with his knees drawn up to his chin.

Leroux shrugged. “Bring him here.”

The boy screamed as two French privates dragged him forward, thinking that he was about to be killed. He hit them feebly before he was thrown to the floor in front of the French colonel. He looked up through bloodshot eyes at the man.

“What is your name?” Leroux said with a sneer, as if the kid were merely a stray dog that he regrettably must exert himself a small amount to see away.

The boy didn’t speak. He was crying again, and Leroux very faintly felt the tiniest pang of regret deep within himself that he immediately crushed. He had a mission, from his very own God, and he would see it done. Leroux lashed out with his hand and backhanded the boy across the face, the smack of his body hitting the floor echoing faintly in the chambers, mixing with the sounds of breaking glass and sporadic fighting outside.

“When you are asked a question, it is expected you answer it.” A French sergeant was tearing apart a cupboard, looking for loot. Leroux didn’t stop him, his job was done, save for this boy. He wanted to know who he was though.

The boy still wouldn’t speak, and so Leroux dragged him off the ground by his collar and lifted him so they were face to face.

“What is your name?!” He shouted at the boy, and laughed as it brought about another fit of crying. “Weak little thing, this is why the French are the rulers of Europe, because other men raise their boys to be crying lumps, fit only for a choir.” A private behind Leroux chuckled and added his assent.

The boy finally managed the courage to look at Leroux, and the Colonel’s laughing stopped as he stared at back. He dropped the boy and hastily walked over to the dead King’s body, kicking it over so that he could see the face. He looked to and from the dead man to the boy who stared at him, a faint trace of defiance showing through the bloodshot eyes. Leroux smiled again, for the boy was not some servant or son of some aristocrat sent to learn the ways of the court. The resemblance was faint, but it was there; the boy was Frederick William the Fourth, and with a start Leroux realized that the boy was now King of Prussia, since his father had died.

Leroux had his orders - Kill the King. He had done that, but not quite. The old king was dead, but this boy on his knees in the room was now the king. His orders had said nothing about the boy, but they were explicit that he should kill the king. He slowly reloaded his pistol, ramming the bullet down the grooved barrels, all the while staring at the boy. He finished loading the shot and pointed it at the boy’s head.

“It is a shame.” He chuckled.

The sound of the shot echoed in the chambers loudly, blending seamlessly with the chaos that still gripped the city outside the palace walls.
 
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Kapt Torbjorn

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Description

This is a narrative style AAR set during the Napoleonic Era, where though twisting historical fact and sometimes maybe even plausibility itself, I'll attempt to regale you with stories of bravery, sacrifice, hardship, and courage.

Maybe. We'll see!
 
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Kapt Torbjorn

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Kapt Torbjorn

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Reserved for random stuff.
 
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Kapt Torbjorn

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I'm a bit reserved myself... Transylvania is still the priority, right?
Correct! I just find myself writing Triumph and constantly get this annoying itch to dive off track and write a series of narrative style stories that go more in depth into that world, but then the whole thing becomes sort of convoluted and loses its style.

This is just sort of a pet project, I don't plan on updating it nearly as frequently as Triumph.
 

dinofs

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I'm sure that Frederick survived. After all, it's not like a gunshot wound to the head is fatal or anything... :p
 

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Must say; very well written, sir! The AAR's name itself is very promising and I love that picture in the first post! Definitely following.
 

unmerged(88283)

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Frederick William IV... Dead?

Well then. This ought to be interesting.
 

Kapt Torbjorn

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I'm sure that Frederick survived. After all, it's not like a gunshot wound to the head is fatal or anything... :p
Of course not, I've seen dozens of people live after such a thing!

Must say; very well written, sir! The AAR's name itself is very promising and I love that picture in the first post! Definitely following.
Thank you very much, glad to have you on board for the ride. ;)

Frederick William IV... Dead?

Well then. This ought to be interesting.
Muwahaha!
 

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I will, of course, be following eagerly. :)
 

Kapt Torbjorn

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A servant had seen Deroux and his men enter the palace chambers. He had watched from behind the small back door at the rear of the chambers, and had at first rightfully thought that it was merely a formal surrender, and had watched it unfold. He had watched as Deroux took his King’s sword and ran a hand down the blade, and his face had turned to abject horror as the Colonel had rammed the blade into King Frederick’s chest and the Frenchmen behind him had fired their muskets into the servants and guardsmen behind the King.

The guardsmen were not fighters. They were ceremonial troops whose sole purpose was to look like splendidly dressed toy soldiers. They were cut down and shot and the servant had watched, transfixed by the horror. Only seeing the boy hiding underneath the table had shaken him from his frozen state. If he could somehow find soldiers in time, he may be able to save the Crown Prince. He fled. A braver, stupider man might have charged into the room and tried to save the Prince on his own, but the servant was not stupid, and so he went to find soldiers. He ran through the palace, using the back corridors that French troops were sparse in. They gave him no real pause, as fleeing servants were choking the palace corridors already. If he were a woman a French soldier would have doubtlessly grabbed him and pulled him into some dark corner, but he was not and so he fled unmolested out into the street, where he ran the opposite way of the crowds, towards the sound of musket fire in a street nearby.

------------------------------​

Major Karl Schultz pointed his sword at the oncoming French attack and shouted at his men to fire. They were a hodgepodge of different Prussian regiments, come together in the chaos of the flight from the walls when the French columns had broken through into the city. They fought while other men threw down their arms for a simple reason – pride. It was unthinkable to Major Schultz to surrender his arms to some poxed French captain before he had sent a reasonable number of the bastards to their graves first, and his pride and confidence ebbed onto the men who had come to fight beside him.

His regiment, the 13th Fusiliers, the Rabenau, had fled through the streets away from the Frenchmen that flooded over the walls and through the breaches, but Major Schultz had managed to pick some of them out from the rout, and those men now made up the core of his makeshift half-company. In total he had 42 men, a single officer other than himself – a captain from some stuffy aristocratic family who was part of the 6th Hussars, two sergeants, though he only knew Sergeant Garrit Olwitz as he had been his sergeant for two years now. 18 of his men were from his own regiment, and they grinned at him as they reloaded and then fired a ragged volley into the advancing Frenchmen. He had two skirmishers, brothers from the Valentini Jäger company, an artilleryman from the 1st Foot Artillery, and three cavalrymen, whose horses had unfortunately died, from the 1st Saxon Hussars that fired their short barreled carbines at a burly French sergeant that was trying to encourage his men to advance. The rest were from a mix of different regiments and companies but they all fought with the same iron discipline and professionalism that Frederick the Great had imposed on the Prussian army.

They were holding a corner of a street and crouched behind barrels and wagon carts. The French had mounted a number of attacks against them, but these were the men who had broken into the city, and after that they had no desire to die trying to wrestle some god forsaken street corner from the small group of defiant Prussian soldiers; there were spoils to be had, women to take, and wine to drink. But fresh regiments were making their way into the city, coming to scour the last defenders from their hiding places, and Major Schultz cursed silently as he knew he must surrender soon, the thought leaving a sour taste in his mouth. Never once had he surrendered, not even when he had been surrounded in some pissy little fort in Sweden with barely any ammunition. His men had thrown rocks at the Swedes when they tried to scale the walls, until they finally gave up and left a battalion to keep the half crazed Prussians locked in their fortress, a battalion that was soon swept away when the rest of the Prussian army came.

But there would be no relief army, no glorious cavalry charge to scour the streets of Berlin of the impudent Frenchmen who gripped Prussia’s capital in their dirty hands. Major Schultz spat towards the Frenchmen, and his men cheered at the defiant gesture, but four French companies were advancing up the street in skirmish order to clear away his men, and Schultz pulled out his white handkerchief. He would fight until he bloodied them sufficiently, and then surrender – his honour and pride demanded that little.

A man came tearing around the corner and threw himself down behind the barricade, panting hard. A sergeant growled at him to leave, that he was daft if he couldn’t see there were Frenchmen coming to pour lead into the defenders, but he caught his breath and shouted so the whole half-company could here.

“Who is in charge here?”

Schultz heard it and looked at the man, dressed in the fine silk shirt of a palace servant.

“I am.” He said, crouching down along the barricade towards the men, as the first French bullets start zipping overhead. They were aiming high, and Schultz noted that unconsciously, for it meant he was not facing veteran troops, but they were in sufficient number to kill his men off nonetheless. He made his way to the servant.

“What do you want? Say your piece and go, this isn’t your place to die.”

The servant poked his head above the barricade and peered at the approaching French with terror on his face.

“There are men in the palace!” His voice was squeaky high, but he corrected himself, “There are men in the palace.”

“Of course there are men in the damn palace, there are men in the streets, and in the shops, and in the-“

“They killed King Frederick!” He interrupted Major Schultz with his shout that sounded more like a plea.

“What?” The men were muttering, passing the servant’s news down the line, and Schultz could tell the men simmered with rage at the information, “Eyes front!”

Major Schultz turned to the man, “Why are you telling me this?”

“Prince Frederick is still alive, he’s there too, they’re going to kill him as well. You have to help!” His last sentence was made in a whimpering, begging tone.

Major Schultz cursed, and the cavalry captain came forward, having over heard the exchange.

“Our duty is to the Crown Prince now, we must mount a rescue!”

Schultz looked at the man, dressed in his fine silk uniform, polished boots, and silver laces. He was here fighting, at least, which is more than what the other aristocrats had done, fleeing in terror with the troops, their flight adding even more panic.

“Are you proposing that we,” Schultz gestured to the ragtag group that was hidden behind the makeshift barricade, “should storm the royal palace of Berlin, which is undoubtedly crawling with Frenchmen, fight our way through those corridors, and then somehow rescue the Prince and then fight out way back out? What then, the French, amazed by our courage and bravery, will let us walk away from the city?” The servant looked admonished, and the cavalry captain’s face showed a mixture of rage and doubt.

“There’s a back way into the Palace, through the stables – there aren’t many French in the back corridors.” The servant’s voice was hopeful.

“We have to try, sir.” It was Sergeant Olwitz, and normally Major Schultz would’ve shot a man who made that sort of comment at a moment like this, but Olwitz was one of the few men that he trusted, and one of the few men that truly knew the Major.

“God damn it to hell,” He cursed “Company! Present! We’ll give them a parting volley!” The men brought their muskets, carbines, and whatever other weapons they carried to their shoulders. Major Schultz barked the order to fire, and 30 or so muskets spat smoke and then he called for them to follow him, following the servant as they wound their way through the alleyways and streets, harassed by the occasional Fresh musket shot. They stopped short of the stable and Schultz pointed to the building across from the royal palace. He had been in the palace once before and he vaguely remembered that a shot from the building there could reach into the palace. It was a long shot, but he sent the two brothers from the Jäger company, hoping that they wouldn’t be needed.

The men stormed inside.

------------------------------​

The sound of the shot echoed in the chambers loudly, blending seamlessly with the chaos that still gripped the city outside the palace walls.

The bullet crashed through the glass along the side wall of the palace chamber, throwing shards down into the room. The bullet, fired from the roof of the magistrate’s office across the street, flew through the room and struck Colonel Pierre Deroux in the shoulder, spinning him around. In panic his finger close on the trigger of his pistol that he had had aimed at the boy, but his spin had thrown him around and the powder in the pan was struck and the bullet flew from the pistol’s chamber into the leg of one of the French privates nearby.

And then there was chaos. Like ghosts out of a fog the doors to the palace were thrown open and in flooded soldiers, but instead of bearing the uniforms of France they wore those of Prussia, and the room was suddenly filled with shouts and cracking muskets, filled with the acrid smoke of battle that smelled of rotten eggs. The men charged forward with a bellow of rage and a French sergeant went down, a bayonet in his chest and neck, and more were coming towards the Frenchmen. They were cut down as well, and a servant darted through the frantic fight to Frederick, holding him tight and telling him everything was alright.

The Prussian captain looked down at the figure of Colonel Deroux and told him to stay down or he would be killed. The French were running, hiding in corners, but there was nowhere to escape to, and they were cut and stabbed at until their blood coated the floor and mixed with the blood of the King they had killed.

“Right! Let’s get the hell out of here, lads!” Schultz was shouting as he led them out the way they came. They had fought up through the back corridors and made their way in through the palace chamber’s front door, but as they rounded the corner of the corridor that led away from the chambers Schultz found himself facing a line of French skirmishers who had their muskets at their shoulders. He threw himself to the floor as the French fired their volley, cutting down a private and corporal behind him. He raised himself up.

“Back! Back! Back!” he shouted, for the French were advancing and behind them he could see more French soldiers following. The fled back to the palace chamber. The ruckus they had raised had spurred the French to motion, and a fresh pair of companies that had come into the palace led the counter attack. Schultz and his men crossed the palace chamber and he caught the eye of the French colonel as they made their way to the small back door, and he had the impulse to stab down at him and kill him there, but he didn’t, a decision that would haunt him later. The servant led them back through the small door at the rear, and they flooded into the corridor there. The French were entering the room and Schultz heard a shout a pain as a man in the rear of his retreating half company was hit in the leg. Two men turned around to help him, but spun back and kept running once they realized how close the French were.

It was a mad dash through the narrow corridor, the sound of the pursuing French and their musket shots echoing down the hallway to the front of mass of men where Major Schultz was following the servant. The boy was behind the servant, and thankfully so, as when they rounded the corner there were three French soldiers, and they fired their muskets, the smoke filling the corridor. The servant went down, his head thrown back and blood gushed from his skull onto Schultz’s uniform, but he was charging forward, and he threw the boy to the side as he stabbed forward with his sword at the leading Frenchman. His men were behind him, pushing him forward, and for a brief moment he panicked as he thought they would push him forward onto the Frenchman’s bayonet, but he parried it aside and smashed the sword guard into the man’s face, and the other two were running from the mass of men that came towards them.

His guide was gone, and Schultz tossed the boy to Sergeant Olwitz to care for, and he was leading his men through the tangle of corridors and hallways. The French were closing in, and he could hear their shouts further behind and the orders of an officer ahead around the corner. He threw himself into a doorway to his right and crashed into a bedroom. It was the most gaudy, overly decorated bedroom he had ever seen, and for a second he was amazed at how expensive everything was, and thought he must be in the King’s own bedroom, but then he saw the two Frenchmen in the room and screamed at the them. They were looting, and didn’t have their weapons close by, and he took the first one in the throat while a corporal of Kurfurst Battalion stabbed the other in the belly with his bayonet and then kicked the body off it.

He looked around and realized he was trapped. There was one door into the room, and the windows to the outside only led to a five story drop. He cursed, and could hear the shouts of the approaching French. He didn’t have enough men to fight his way out of here, and so bellowed for the door to be bolted shut and drawers and whatever else barricaded behind it. He cursed, and Sergeant Oltwitz came to stand beside him as they looked around the room.

“Like bloody rats in a pit, sir.”

Major Karl Schultz cursed again.
 
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canonized

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Hmm ahhh another EUIII narrative and very well written ! I'm on board for this ! An interesting point of divergence as well !
 

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Geat writing. I wonder how they'll get out of this.
 

dinofs

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Geat writing. I wonder how they'll get out of this.
Ohmygod JDMS is that you? :eek: I read three of your comments before this and I had no idea who the guy with the dolphin-flag avatar was.

But also +1. :D
 

unmerged(88283)

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Man, Torbjorn, I don't know how I didn't notice you before.

<3 your AARs.
 

JDMS

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Ohmygod JDMS is that you? :eek: I read three of your comments before this and I had no idea who the guy with the dolphin-flag avatar was.
Yeah. The dolphin seemed cool and I haven't seen anyone else with this avatar. :D
 

Kapt Torbjorn

A bear there was, a bear!
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Hmm ahhh another EUIII narrative and very well written ! I'm on board for this ! An interesting point of divergence as well !
I am quite honoured, canonized :D

Geat writing. I wonder how they'll get out of this.
Thank you, and we shall see!


:)

Ohmygod JDMS is that you? :eek: I read three of your comments before this and I had no idea who the guy with the dolphin-flag avatar was.

But also +1. :D
Whose flag is the dolphin anyways; what country?

Man, Torbjorn, I don't know how I didn't notice you before.

<3 your AARs.
Haha, thank you very much :D

---

I'll probably write another chapter for this AAR then it'll be on hold for a while, since I have 3 courses I need to finish over the summer that'll need the majority of my attention.

I have no plans to abandon it though !
 

Najs

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I'm in! Just in time for the hold too I presume. :mad:

Very teasing of you to produce a few exciting updates, and then put it on hold!