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LPBS Masthead: Roland as a Musketeer

Les Petites Bêtes Soyeuses

Being a correspondence game of En Garde! run by Pevans since April 1986 and now published as part of To Win Just Once.

If you'd like to play, you'll need to subscribe to TWJO (follow the link for details). You will need a copy of the rules to En Garde! - or at least access to a copy. The additional rules for LPBS are available as a PDF document. (You will need Adobe Reader to view this: it is available free from Adobe.)

Orders for June 1671 to LPBS, 180 Aylsham Drive, UXBRIDGE UB10  8UF or the LPBS orders e-mail address by Friday, 12th July 2019.

Game Report for June 1671

Sections: Duels, Trials, Appointments and Regiments, What happened in Paris, What happened at the front.

As is traditional, the summer starts with the army marching out of Paris. All Brigades have been mobilised for this campaign, so the only troops left in Paris are the Cardinal and King's Escorts. Though there's also the City Watch. Oh, and the handful of the "Bastille Guards Battalion" created by the Commissioner of Public Safety last month.

First, however, CPS Felix Anton Gauchepied'er has a date with Hercule D'Engin as Engin's challenge was voted cause by Paris. It's no surprise that Gauchepied'er finds important work to keep him away from the appointed place. Engin's second, Greg de Bécqueur, provides nibbles - sausage, cheese and onion on cocktail sticks - while they wait.

Jobs first

Gaz Moutarde has got it in for the Brigadier of the Guards Brigade. He is backed up by Beau Reese Jean Seine, Duncan d'Eauneurts and Terence Cuckpowder. Having the Minister of War and the Minister of State on your case would worry anybody, but the Guards commander is more of a nobody. And now he's a has-been. Strangely, no-one has applied for the position. Eauneurts and Moutarde have the correct rank, but it's unlikely the Minister of State would quit that position to command a Brigade. Moutarde puts in his application, with the hope of taking command of the Guards next month.

As Inspector-General of Cavalry, Chopine Camus appoints Swindelle d'Masses to command the Horse Guards Brigade. Camus quite fancies transferring to Second Division and calls in a favour to get rid of the current commander. He has no support, however, and his own influence only gives a 50% chance of success. On consideration, the Second Division commander stays in post and Camus will be staying in Paris.

Brigadier-General Duncan d'Eauneurts shows how it's done, using more of his influence to remove the senior Major from his regiment, the King's Musketeers. This gives Greg de Bécqueur room for a promotion, if he's lucky. However, Bécqueur will not be serving with the KMs as he accepts Leonard de Hofstadt's offer to become his Aide. This moves him to First Division for the campaign.

After his sterling service with the Frontier troops, Alonzo Fonde-Lapatrie is welcomed to the Royal Marines by the regiment's commander, Bdr-General Robert d'Lancier. Fonde-Lapatrie has borrowed enough to buy a Captaincy.

The man known only as 'X2' applies to the 53rd Fusiliers, a regiment that is sadly lacking in officers. It still is, as 'X2' can only afford the rank of Private.

As the regiments march out of Paris, they are joined by a couple of volunteers. Bdr-Gen Charles Louis Desapear does not have a command, but is determined not to be left out. He will serve with a Frontier regiment. The Field Marshal, Count Uther Xavier-Beauregard, insists on going into action too, returning to the Royal North Highlanders after paying off his debts.

No parties

After this exodus, who's left in Paris? Sebastian de la Creme for one. He appears in the Fleur de Lys with Maggie Nifisent on his arm. The two of them settle down for the long haul: four weeks of June, just another eight to go. The only thing interrupting the peace is the sound of Chopine Camus outside (in the third week), loudly demanding that Pierre le Sang admit him. Since General le Sang is commanding Second Army, this seems a little unlikely. Chopine has spent his first two weeks practising with his sabre and returns, grumpily, to the gym to complete his month.

Two footpads lie in wait behind an archway as a drunken Musketeer staggers towards themThe sabre is Pierre Cardigan's favoured companion, too. He puts in three solid weeks practice, indulging in some female company in the Bawdyhouses at the end of June. Bernard de Lur-Saluces has a similar routine, except that his weapon is a rapier and he chooses the third week for his diversion to the red lights. Hercule D'Engin reverses this: he starts with rapier a week's rapier practice and then goes to the Bawdyhouses for three weeks. Most of this time is spent drinking, but a little female company is involved to. So is an encounter with the footpads. They are not amused that he's got no cash left and give him a stiff talking-to. Thus, when they jump him the following week, he has plenty of crowns to give them.

The red light district is the scene of some action at the start of the month, though no socialites are around to pay much attention. A raid by the Commissioner of Public Safety is not unheard of, but this time the focus is 'Hector's House of Pain' and, in particular, the hapless creature known as "The Gimp". Hector is not happy to be deprived of his star attraction and ends up strapped to his own apparatus as the CPS agents depart.

Clasping his hat to his head, a Musketeer jumps from a balconySeveral Parisians take advantage of the absence of competition to woo young ladies who've taken their fancy. Justin Thyme likes the look of Anne Tique. However, his courting ends abruptly when he discovers Gaz Moutarde is at home with her! That's one duel pencilled in for July. If only Justin had waited a week: Gaz is in the gym with his cutlass for the rest of the month. Justin switches his attentions to Sue Briquet, succeeds and takes her to the Frog & Peach for the rest of the month.

There's a duel the cards for September, too, after Balzac Slapdash wins over Alison Wunderlandt. That's a "Dear John" letter to Luc Azzat and a visit to Blue Gables for Alison with her new beau - though Balzac fits two weeks of rapier practice between these two events. Balzac hits the gaming tables when he does get to his club, winning two of his three bets to emerge slightly richer.

Bendroit de Tres fails in his courting: neither of the ladies he approaches is interested. He marches off to the Bawdyhouses to get his oats there and concludes June with a week's rapier practice. Conversely, Terence Cuckpowder is immediately accepted by his intended, allowing him to spend three weeks with his sabre.

With the troops away, the regiments' barracks are all but silent and almost empty. However, every regiment has its quota of disabled veterans who continue to serve as caretakers and night-watchmen. The King's Musketeers' barracks also has a steady trickle of men signing up for Minister d'Eauneurts' new 'Guards Reserve Battalion' (see Press) and walking away gratefully with a month's pay.

Then, in the brief darkness of a June night, a hue and cry is raised by the King's Musketeers' veterans, shortly followed by a series of explosions that largely demolishes their barracks. Commissioner of Public Safety Felix Anton Gauchepied'er is quickly on the scene, with several of his black-uniformed agents, and declares himself "Amused". Felix interrogates the veterans and discovers that one of their number found a group of black-clad, masked men manhandling barrels of gunpowder into the buildings. His alarm was too late to prevent the detonation of the explosives.

Felix takes his amusement to his favourite Bawdyhouse to finish off June.

Muskets and sabres

There is no great goal to this year's campaign. The army is carrying on the siege from last season, but with a rather larger force. Second Division is actually the besieging force, supported by the Horse Guards, with First Division coming into play to assault the Spanish positions. There's every possibility of a large relief force, but they'll have to get through First Army (Cavalry and Frontier Divisions) first.

Brevet General Jacques de Gain is in command of First Army and deploys his troops carefully. There isn't a great deal for them to do, though it does seem the Spaniards are reconnoitring the French positions. This is enough to earn Gain the permanent rank of General. He is Mentioned in Despatches, too ("He's a proper General now"). A share in the Army's loot brings him over three hundred crowns worth.

The Cavalry Division makes up the forward defences and all units see some action. In the Heavy Brigade, the Archduke Leopold Cuirassiers run across some Spanish infantry. Wheeling around, they run across them again, chasing the remnants back whence they came. ALC commander Frele d'Acier pockets a little more than three hundred crowns' worth of booty.

Their colleagues in the Crown Prince Cuirassiers have a less decisive encounter with a cavalry force. After a fierce tussle, honours are pretty even, but the French hold the field. Lieutenant-Colonel Chris Knight demonstrates some flashy moves with his sabre, earning himself a fulsome Mention in Despatches ("Ooh, he's flash!"). This earns him the title of Baron and he manages a spot of looting - 300 crowns worth. Captain Ben e'Volence is offered promotion to Major, but prefers to remain a Captain.

The Grand Duke Max Dragoons also encounter enemy scouts and chase them off. Xavier Money is their commander and he ends the month being bumped up to Dragoon Brigadier. He is Mentioned ("He's a Brigadier next month") and gets less than 300 crowns worth of plunder. There's a similar amount of booty for his Lt-Col, Padamus Da Grim - who'll be acting regimental commander next month. No Mention for him, though, nor for Major Augustin Fourier. That's because Major Fourier is busy filling his pockets. He gets more than both his comrades put together.

It's a quiet month for the Princess Louisa Light Dragoons, bringing no reward for their CO, Georges Hommemince.

The second line of defence consists of the Frontier regiments, who put up earthworks, but don't engage the enemy. This suits volunteer Bdr-Gen Charles Louis Desapear, who's assigned to Frontier regiment 1. He advises the troops on breastwork construction, earning himself a Mention in Despatches ("Is he an engineer?") and over 500 crowns. He is Knighted into the bargain.

A battle scene in silhouette

Assault first, siege later

Reinforcing and expanding the siege positions keeps Second Division busy for the month. They don't get much interference from the Spanish defenders. Bdr-Gen Robert d'Lancier of the RMs is the Divisional Adjutant, a position that lets him make the most of his looting opportunities: that's close to two thousand crowns worth. There's a substantial Mention in Despatches for him ("That's a heap of cash"), but he turns down the offer of commanding First Foot Brigade.

Major Hugh Jass is acting commander of the 13th Fusiliers and does an excellent job, earning a Mention in Despatches ("And he's only a Major"). He is brevetted to Lt-Colonel and will thus definitely be commanding the regiment next month. Alongside the 13th in Second Foot Brigade, Private 'X2' survives handily in the 53rd Fusiliers.

The Horse Guards support Second Division, holding themselves ready to pounce on any sally by the defenders. The new Brigadier, Swindelle d'Masses, does a competent job and picks up a little loot. His Brigade Major, Percy Urban Fanci-Free, has a footnote in the Despatches after a spent musketball bounces off his helmet ("Only a small dent"). Dragoon Guards commander Etienne Brule inaugurates a dressage competition for his men, which brings him two Mentions ("Fancy footwork! Or should that be hoof-work?"). He earns over two hundred crowns and gains an Earldom. Another 200 crowns comes to Major Henri Dubois and just a hundred for Lt-Col Jean Ettonique.

First Division is thrown in to assault the walls. The siege seems to have taken its toll on the trapped Spanish defenders and the attack is - mostly - very successful. The exception is one approach that has been mined. The Picardy Musketeers are the unfortunates attacking across this area and take heavy casualties, starting with Captain Antoine Robert Guillaume Herville. RIP. Colonel George Dueppre is right on the edge of the resulting crater. Several of his men grab him, but they can't hang on and the hapless Colonel disappears into the roiling earth. RIP.

Unfortunately for the Spaniards, the mine also weakens their ramparts, a portion of which collapses. Fired up by the fate of their comrades in First Foot Brigade, the Royal Marines charge through the breach. Lieutenant-Colonel Henri DuShite is acting RM commander and his bravery results in a Mention in Despatches. Looting the fortress brings him well over two thousand crowns worth of booty. Captain Alonzo Fonde-Lapatrie continues his winning ways, being promoted to Major and plundering his way to an even bigger haul - though he does need to buy a couple of horses to support his new rank.

As fighting spreads through the fortress, the Guards Brigade charges across the battlements to join in the looting. The only fly in the ointment is the death of KM Major Florent Sans de Machine. He trips on a loose stone on the battlements and plummets onto a Spanish halberd. RIP. His chief, KM commander Duncan d'Eauneurts, is more sure-footed and loots his way to 1,500 crowns worth of goodies. He is Mentioned twice in Despatches ("Very good, Minister") as well.

The Cardinal's Guard is the next regiment in on the act. Commander Alan de Frocked has his own pair of Mentions and 1,100 crowns worth of swag. As QMG of First Army it's no surprise that he invested heavily in Arms before leaving Paris. CG Lt-Col Jean d'Ice almost gets to two thousand crowns worth of booty alongside a single Mention ("Not quite two grand").

Then it's the turn of the Royal Foot Guards. Acting leader Lt-Col Jean Jeanie grabs 1,800 crowns of loot and a Mention in Despatches ("And he's only acting"). Only a thousand crowns worth (coincidentally the same amount as he invested in Commerce this month) comes the way of Major Beau Reese Jean Seine, but his name features in the Despatches at some length ("It's a long name"). Captain Luc Azzat seizes goodies worth 1,200 crowns and is Mentioned in a footnote ("5").

All this success brings rewards to the acting Guards Brigadier, RFG CO Amant d'Au. A decent Mention ("Well done, sir") accompanies 1,400 crowns and the actual position of Brigadier. Thus neatly scuppering Gaz Moutarde's chances of getting the post. Brigade Major Bastian de LaGarde (also of the RFG) collects 1,600 crowns worth of loot and sees his name in the Despatches as well.

Only the RNHB misses out, attacking on the other side of the fortress. However, this doesn't stop Field Marshal Uther Xavier-Beauregard from exercising the privileges of his rank to pull in over two thousand crowns himself. There are two Mentions for him, too ("Well, he is Field Marshal").

Brevet Lt-Gen Leonard de Hofstadt commands First Division. His rank is made permanent as he takes 1,700 crowns worth of booty. A Mention in Despatches ("That's a decent haul") brings him the title of Baron on top. Amazingly, slightly more cash is picked up by his Aide, Captain Greg de Bécqueur. Bécqueur's contribution to the Division has been some excellent catering: vol-au-vents, roasted Spaniard (?) "in his own gravy" and boulet de canon au chocolat avec crème Anglaise, finishing with Fanny Fougerat 1662, a fine vintage cognac. Hofstadt is disappointed; he was expecting pastries. Still, he has financed luxury provisions for Division HQ.

There's promotion, too, for General Pierre le Sang, commanding Second Army. This makes him Field Marshal for next year. He must be busy admiring his baton as his share of the loot is only 300 crowns worth. A Mention comes his way too ("Nice baton!").