Saturday, November 10, 2007


[From the Personal Diary of Oberst Wilhelm Soldat]

There is inconstant news here on the front, even with the wireless telegraphs constantly screeching in their signals, and with a regiment of men dedicated to their maintenance and interpretation. The wires that have been destroyed by the advancing or retreating armies have not been rebuilt in any case, and I suspect that the Russian organization was as inefficient and stagnant as anything else those people construct. But still, there is news. The English king has been siezed, and has babbled about betrayal within an inept Russian alliance.

I am surprised the Russians could be possessed of such cunning, thought their treachery is without bound. It is a nation best met with the jack-boot. Every one of the innumerable peasants in this land fights like a tiger, and, it seems can live only on snow and leaves. We have marched east toward Moscow, racing the harbingers of a brutal winter, leaves swirling redly, and winds that howl across the Belarussian steppes. We marched town to town, torching houses, and shooting the dogs into submission. Each looked the same after a time, and the drama repeated itself until it became empty of meaning. It was as if the very land rose against us at times, but we kept discipline in our ranks, and fired without mercy.

For months, it seemed we found ourselves forever in this camp, bloodier, angrier and colder. It grew up like a city. The Eastern generals quartered themselves in Warsaw, issuing orders by wireless and by courier, while we field commanders inhabited the countryside. In those backwoods south of Bialystok, it was like a city of tents and huts. We commandeered the town hall, which was the only brick building for miles. The surrounding wooden edifices were commandeered for officers' barracks, and the constant movement of soldiers, motors, and artillery turned the streets to mud. The surviving townsfolk either scattered or worked as our servants. Some attempted to go about their businesses, and the profiteers of various sorts--food-sellers, clothiers distributing furs and the like, servants, whores--they haunted our camp like ghosts, offering servile smiles at the infantry, and chattering at us in their unintelligible slurring tongue. A few have learned some German words and act as untrustworthy interpreters. Some have even followed us east. They are inches from the gibbet, each of them.

The first town on the march is as good as all of them--it was always the same. One or two shaking men greet us at a crossroads or a bend. By that point, we had already distributed scouts and riflemen to secure whatever meager vantages their flat environs provide. We stated our intentions. Some would accede, but most did not. We shot them as they fled. We marched, and if there is an organized front, we spread, shooting. The real army lurking to the east loomed over us, and we close on them now. But I believe I will never forget the peasants unfit for combat that fell in profusion to our guns and blades, biding time for the Russian resistance. We would walk to the center of town to the whining of the women, children, and old men. We shot anyone who seemed capable of malice until they gave up their stores. Then we marched on, eternally waylaid by incompetent ambush and by all sorts of civilian malice, smelling the dense Russian snows that always felt days away. Some of the German men may have thought of their wives and sons as they subdueed the populace, but we are all harder from this march. Under the iron will of the Chancellor, the army will not be stopped for long, and not by rabble.

Have we enough time to siege the city? Have they the strength to withstand us? Thus are the annals of history written. Moscow awaits.

MAP OF FALL 1904 MOVES (click)Austria: Army Budapest SUPPORT Army Bulgaria -> Rumania
Austria: Army Bulgaria -> Rumania
Austria: Fleet Constantinople SUPPORT Italian Army Smyrna -> Ankara
Austria: Army Serbia -> Bulgaria

England: Fleet North Sea HOLD
England: Fleet Yorkshire SUPPORT Fleet North Sea

France: Army Brest -> Gascony
France: Fleet English Channel -> Mid-Atlantic Ocean
France: Army Gascony -> Spain
France: Fleet Gulf of Lyon SUPPORT Fleet Mid-Atlantic Ocean -> Western Mediterranean
France: Fleet Mid-Atlantic Ocean -> Western Mediterranean
France: Army Wales -> London

Germany: Fleet Baltic Sea -> Sweden
Germany: Army Belgium -> Holland (*bounce*)
Germany: Fleet Denmark SUPPORT Fleet Baltic Sea -> Sweden
Germany: Fleet Helgoland Bight -> North Sea (*bounce*)
Germany: Army Kiel -> Holland (*bounce*)
Germany: Army Livonia -> Moscow
Germany: Army Warsaw SUPPORT Army Livonia -> Moscow

Italy: Fleet Aegean Sea SUPPORT Austrian Fleet Constantinople
Italy: Fleet Eastern Mediterranean -> Ionian Sea (*bounce*)
Italy: Army Galicia -> Ukraine (*bounce*)
Italy: Fleet Ionian Sea -> Tyrrhenian Sea (*bounce*)
Italy: Army Smyrna -> Ankara
Italy: Fleet Tyrrhenian Sea -> Western Mediterranean (*bounce*)
Italy: Army Venice HOLD

Russia: Army Ankara -> Constantinople (*bounce, dislodged*)
Russia: Fleet Gulf of Bothnia -> Livonia
Russia: Army Moscow -> Warsaw (*bounce, dislodged*)
Russia: Army Norway -> St Petersburg
Russia: Fleet Norwegian Sea -> Norway
Russia: Fleet Rumania -> Bulgaria (east coast) (*bounce, dislodged*)
Russia: Army Ukraine -> Galicia (*bounce*)

Turkey: Fleet Black Sea SUPPORT Russian Army Ankara -> Constantinople

Russia: Army Ankara DISBAND
Russia: Army Moscow -> Sevastopol
Russia: Fleet Rumania DISBAND

WINTER 1904 MAP (click)


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