Tag: Seven Years War

The Island of Albion in 1760

The Political Landscape of Albion

The Duchy of Charnwood exists in ‘some kind of an imaginary Britain’, sometime in the 1760s. This ersatz Britain is known to its continental cousins as being the island of Albion. It is a land rich in resources with a large population and a distinctive commercial culture but which remains hopelessly mired in a complex and heavily fractured political landscape.

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Being on the periphery of Europe’s mainstream politics, science, fashion and commerce, Albion’s nations are considered to be something of a cultural backwater. Attempts by other European countries to pull them into the orbit of mutually beneficial treaties and trade agreements have always been thwarted by the islanders entrenched xenophobic and isolationist attitudes towards all ‘continentals’. This obtuse pervading attitude is known to Europeans as ‘Brekschidt‘. It is so-named after the small and little-known German Principality of Breckschidt whose prince was once scandalously and unceremoniously tied to a small skiff and was pushed firmly back out across the channel by a mob of commoners in the Margraviate of Tunbridge Wells (all this apparently being simply on account of his obdurate refusal to lose his funny accent)!

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Wilhelm, Prince of Breckschidt

The Duchy of Charnwood is but a single part of a loose affiliation of similar micro-states which are collectively referred to as The League of Mercia. The Mercian states occasionally coalesce as a single force to counter threats from other similar Albion coalitions, each one usually being under the sway of a dominant nation or ruler. Other ‘leagues’ within the island of Albion are: Alba and Scotia (in Scotland); Powys and Cymru (in Wales); Northumbria, Medway, Wessex and Anglia (together with Mercia) in England. However, as soon as any external existential threat is dealt with, all the formerly allied micro-states get right back to feuding with each other.

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An Albion army on the march

Very occasionally, a majority of Albion will fight as a single entity when faced against continental threats. Decades ago, Albion famously formed a single cohesive force in the war against the mighty Austrian Emperor Adolfus Hilta, after initial setbacks the Albionian army finally destroyed the Imperial forces at the climactic ‘Battle of Wasser-Klo’. Defeating Hilta and liberating much of Europe is a source of very great pride to Albion’s people. It was a battle in which the Albionians only grudgingly admit their armies were assisted by Russia and some colonists from the Americas, amongst others. Rather than draw them together to play a greater role in European affairs, the consequence was to reaffirm an innate sense of pompous superiority over the continentals and to isolate them even further.

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The Battle of Wasser-Klo. A thumping victory for the combined forces of Albion which, even decades later, they simply will not stop harking back to again and again…

Albion Culture

Consequent to being an island of squabbling micro-states, the nations of Albion are considered somewhat culturally retarded in the fields of fashion, music and art, being usually a step behind prevailing European tastes. “En peu Albionais‘ is a common French insult to anything considered outdated or old-fashioned.

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Albion Warfare

Other nations in Europe are ever keen to seek advantages or exploit divisions between the micro-nations of Albion and, as such, Albion remains divided and constantly at war.

The near-constant presence of large and small-scale warfare across the island of Albion has, however, ensured that its experienced armies are considered amongst the most effective in Europe and Albion’s soldiers are much sought after as mercenaries.

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Albion soldiers fighting in Northern Europe, c.1755.

Likewise, its armies are occasionally hired by wealthy European nations to take part in wars which are often of no concern to any Albion state. Such mercenary activity has enabled most states to develop warfare into something resembling an industry. Smart uniforms and well-drilled troops can make armies appear that bit more attractive and effective to any other nations seeking to hire some troops for their next campaign season. Indeed, the Duchy of Charnwood has grown wealthy in recent decades from such activity.

This chronicle finds His Grace the Duke of Charnwood in the business of re-equipping his regiments to make them more attractive to other nations seeking to hire mercenary armies.


Charnwood: The Local Situation

Neighbouring states to the Duchy of Charnwood include reliable allies such as the Marquisate of Bosworth; neutral or unreliable states such as the Bishopric of Cannock or the Landgraviate of Warwick; and potentially hostile rivals such as the hated Electorate of Belvoir. The Duke of Charnwood is related by marriage to the Marquis of Bosworth, hence their long-standing close ties and cordiality.

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The Marquis of Bosworth reviews his Shackerstone Grenadiers, c.1858.

A lengthy dispute over the ownership of a triangle of fertile farming territory in Rutland is at the heart of ongoing hostility between our noble Duke and the perfidious Elector of Belvoir…


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New Recruits: The First Regiment

New Recruits: The First Regiment

And so it begins…

The recruiting sergeants have done their work and the drill sergeants are beginning theirs. The very first regiment in the Duchy Of Charnwood army is being primed and painted, so let me tell you about it…

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The 1st Regiment of Foot awaiting some paint.

The first regiment will be known as the 1st (Charnwood Grenadiers) Regiment of Foot. Being numbered as the first regiment, it enjoys the most prestigious position in the infantry’s order of precedence. These grenadiers will be the pride and joy of Francis Gracedieu, the Duke.

The figures are 28mm scale and made of metal, all being designed and sculpted by Mark Sims of Crusader miniatures. These are actually their Prussian Grenadiers I’m using (only the best for Duke Francis). I must say that I’m very impressed with the sculpting and intend to use other figures from their extensive Seven Years War range.

The Duke and his advisors have spent days prevaricating over plans for the Charnwoodian infantry uniform. The Duke variously requested lucious greens, shocking reds, rich blues and stark yellows… but he couldn’t decide upon a main one. Eventually, his wise and patient Field Marshall, Lord Ulverscroft humbly proffered a suggestion. If His Grace simply couldn’t decide on a colour, perhaps he might consider neutral white? With such a bright uniform, His Grace then might enjoy a range of starkly contrasting colours used as regimental facings. The Duke, at first taciturn, slowly came to concur. “Ulverscroft, I do declare that the Duchy’s enemies will soon learn to fear ‘the men in white coats’!” he averred. Ulverscroft barely suppressed a smirk.

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Lord Ulverscroft

The inspiration for the uniform of the Charnwood Grenadiers are the Prinz Maximilian Infantry Regiment of Saxony, details taken from the excellent Kronskaf website. I envisage therefore that much of the infantry will look like Saxons!

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Prinz Maximilian Regiment c.1756

 

Seasons Greetings from the Duchy of Charnwood!

Seasons Greetings from the Duchy of Charnwood!

On Christmas Eve, the Duke took a trip out into the Charnwood Hills with the Duchess, Lady Eleanor and a small escort. The trip is a traditional annual affair to gather holly, bracken and pine branches with which to decorate the Ducal residence.

The party arrive at Broombriggs Farm, which is overlooked by the 2nd highest peak in Charnwood; Beacon Hill. From there, they walk up to Windmill Hill from where magnificent views over the Duchy can be enjoyed. Beyond in the hazy distance, on a clear day, the menacing Electorate of Belvoir can just be discerned…

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A (partially painted) Charnwood Grenadier out in the hills, accompanying the Duke, his family and entourage on their seasonal trip.

Then it was time to return home to decorate the Duke’s household within the Grace Dieu Estate with all the gathered greenery. Grand families from across the Duchy attended a very fine banquet which ended in a rousing game of “Up, Jenkins!” followed by hearty carol singing.

The festivities concluded with a short toast by the Duke in which he warmly declared “God bless us, every one!”