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Riding with the Column

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Post  Sir Arthur Wellesley Thu Mar 26, 2009 9:24 am

"A sensible stance to take."

Wellesley knew he was too soft on his horses; he always had been, and always was with animals - animals and little children, though he had met so few of the latter that he had not the chance to be taken advantage of. And then for some reason that made him think of his two sons, so again a change of subject was needed.

"Whatever the case, I hope our screen upfront keeps on the alert. I trust them to, but with that skirmish before Pombal..."

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Post  Guest Fri Mar 27, 2009 12:28 am

"Oh, from what I saw the Scots Greys were enjoying themselves at Pombal. They rounded up the survivours of that rally square without any trouble."

v Lossow looked up, along the column of march, but could not see the outposts in front.

"I am just glad that we still have a cavalry screen right now. In a few days the country will be so enclosed and unsuitable for cavalry that we will have to march behind the Rifles. But I know we can rely on them. They put a up a great show at the rifles exhibition. And Lt. Sharpe does know his buisiness, despite his dislike of riding." He finished with a grin.
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Post  Guest Fri Mar 27, 2009 9:04 am

- No! - cried Prestwich and snatched the pencil away from Hunter with his free hand - I tell you the moat was there! - leaning dangerously to the side, the Colonel drew a thick line on the sketch. Hunter bit his lip trying not to laugh: for the moment the man threw off the 'mantle' of being a mostly respectful Colonel and was acting more like a man engaged in a scientific debate. Not that a sketch of an old castle could really be a subject of any debate since what they were doing was more like bringing together bits and pieces of knowledge they possessed, in Hunter's case very small bits and pieces.

Prestwich righted himself in the saddle, glaring at George who was not all that successful at hiding his amusement. After a few moments the glare diminished and the Colonel smiled a little sheepishly.
- See, this is why I like rising through the ranks: fewer and fewer people can argue with me.
Hunter grinned:
- I rather think it would have been perilous to argue with you, sir, even when you were a lieutenant.
Prestwich seemed to think about it.
- No, it only became perilous to argue with me once I became a Captain, - Prestwich seemed to preen himself as if being argumentative was a good thing.
George shook his head slightly and passed the book, with sketch tucked inside, and the pencil back to the Colonel.
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Post  Sir Arthur Wellesley Fri Mar 27, 2009 9:24 am

"Hm."

Wellesley did not reply that the rally square was half-hearted and broken already; von lossow might take it as a slur against the cavalry as a whole, or even to the legitimacy of that engagement.

"As I trust to reply on anyone in front," he commented. "But though I admit I am a little biased against cavalry, I know I prefer to have them leading the way; as they have advantage of height and are further-ranging than a rifleman ever could be. But we shall, as you say, place our trust in the greenjackets."

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Post  Guest Sat Mar 28, 2009 3:11 am

"Biased against cavalry! You wound me, sir." Lossow placed his right hand on his heart and adopted a woeful expression, while his eyes were twinkling with mischief.

"What offense have we given? I shall strive to leave only the most favourable impression!"


Last edited by von Lossow on Sat Mar 28, 2009 3:43 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : tense)
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Post  Sir Arthur Wellesley Sun Mar 29, 2009 3:11 am

Wellesley lifted an eyebrow.

"Starting from the top? Every cavalry brigade on our side I have ever seen on the field has done a wonderful job of chopping down the enemy - but they always push it. They skitter around like thrusters after the hounds, cheering and hollering whilst their blood is up, deaf to the recall and then wonder why on earth they get massacreed on the return journey because they've pushed themselves too far!"

Assaye had been a prime example. Maxwell's brigade had chased the Maharatta's cavalrymen and artillery from the field, but after that they had lost all opportunity for being of further use by removing themselves from the field after their enemies.

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Post  Guest Sun Mar 29, 2009 3:30 am

Lossow gave general Wellsley a serious look.

"Mine don't. I personally make life a living hell for anyone who does not heed the recall."

He, too, had seen the mindless charges and pursuit by out out of controll cavarly and had not approved at all.
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Post  Sir Arthur Wellesley Sun Mar 29, 2009 3:45 am

"I am certainly glad to hear it," Wellesley replied, equally seriously. "My other issue with English cavalry I have is that their officers are notorious dandies - half the time more concerned for their uniform and tack than for instilling proper discipline into their men."

And as he said it he though on Paget - that fop, that friend who turned into a traitor of the worst kind and his blood boiled. He could not help but think of it, and always his attempt to form a good opinion was marred.

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Post  Guest Mon Mar 30, 2009 6:11 am

"Some, yes, but not all of them. Take Lord Paget, for example. He certainly is a dandy, but an exellent commander of cavalry as well. I seved under him last year, and we fought some creditable actions. At Benavente, under the eyes of Napoleon himself, the we managed to make successive charges and we drove the enemy back into a river. But discipline is a problem, yes. With the men as well as the horses."

v Lossow paused and indicated the bulging foraging nets slung on both sides of his mount and the saddlebags. "I agree that the cavalry in general overburdens their horses. On campain you don't need three kinds of uniform in duplicate. My troop sadly misplaced their dress uniforms after the parade yesterday... as well as the stable clothes." He grinned at the general. "They may be found again in dire need, for a victory parade, perhaps?"
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Post  Sir Arthur Wellesley Thu Apr 02, 2009 10:25 pm

"If moths have not devoured them whole by the time we have a victory worth a Triumph," Wellesley said, unable to keep a touch of bitterness from his voice. "But sadly you may overestimate Paget's ability. He is inconsistant, as are many men of his stamp, and may deliver a breaking charge one day only to make a disaster the next. He has the means and the ability to instil some shred of discipline in his men, but does he act upon it? No! From him the cavalry is slash, dash and a glorious slaughter, not thinking for a moment it should be an effective, efficient unit of war. There is no cohesion, no sense of purpose but a mad chase and personal folly for him!"

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Post  Guest Fri Apr 10, 2009 9:35 pm

"Hm, I can't agree with you, sir. Lord Paget has done very good work training cadres of officers and men at Woodbridge, and the 18th he led last year were disciplined... not as well as my germans, of course, but much better than the majority of British cavalry, I'd say. It is more the general lack of horsemanship in your cavalry that makes such a bad impression. It is notorious that in every charge the British horses run away with their riders and after that it is a work of much time and difficulty to bring them again into regular line. Which did not happen at Benevente under Lord Paget, I'd like to point out."
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Post  Sir Arthur Wellesley Fri Apr 10, 2009 9:55 pm

"A good rider should have control of his horse," Wellesley said firmly. "Ergo it is the riders that are at fault. But Paget is not here, and if his leg does not heal well shan't ever be, so it is not his leadership which is under scrutiny."

And he really should calm down again before he undid all the good humour of yesterday...

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