Stollenian Army to Attempt Expulsion of Vile Stagonians
Krankenstadt, The Grand Duchy of Stollen (24 April 1769) -- General von Drednoz, commanding the most vile Army of Stagonia, has issued initial orders to his troops. While their exact objective and movements have yet to be seen, it is widely thought that von Drednoz will attempt to sieze and hold the small town of Saegewerkdorf, now the main center for lumber production in Stollen, and its mill facilities on the outskirts of town. Indeed, observers report that von Drednoz has already disassembled the workings of the mill and sent them back to Stagonia, ostensibly to protect that equipment from any damage it might otherwise incur during the course of battle.
While Stollen's own forces have swelled recently thanks to the mutiny and defection of an independent company of infantry from the Stagonian army, placing both armies more or less on an equal footing in terms of infantry and artillery, the Stollenians are outnumbered almost two to one where cavalry is concerned. Depending on how the battle unfolds, this could cause potential problems for the commander of the Stollen army General von Drosselmaier.
Those who have followed the political and military machinations of Stollen for the past few years will know already that things have not gone particularly well on the battlefield for the Grand Duchy in the last roughly year and a half. The country's military commanders have been, we might say politely, tactically challenged at best. And both considerable manpower as well as territory have been lost in the meantime since hostilities opened between the Grand Duchy of Stollen and the Electorate of Zichenau to the southwest in late 1767. The most noteworthy events in the ongoing minuet between these two countries can be summarized thusly.
To begin with, the Action at Zollamtstadt on 27 December 1767 saw Stollen unable to hold a key border town and customs point astride the Lesser Zwischen River. The invading Zichenauers, commanded by the dastardly and licentious French mercenary-adventurer General Philipe de Latte, managed to cross the river, enter, and seize the village from General von Drosselmaier, gaining a foothold in the historically contested (and resource rich) province the Duchy of Schleiz, previously annexed by Stollen in 1725.
Several months of relative inactivity followed while both armies licked their wounds and trained new drafts of troops. They met again in the Action at Pelznikkel on 13 August 1768, which saw Stollen lose control of an important postal station along the main highway toward its capital Krankenstadt. Once more, General de Latte rode into town triumphantly as the remnants of the Stollenian army crept from the field under the cover of dusk.
A few months later, on 28 November 1768, the Battle of Pickelhaubewicz took place. This action saw a scratch force of Stollenians, commanded by the now disgraced Colonel von Grundig, retreat from the field after suffering heavy losses at the hands of Zichenau's Major von Hirschbiegel. Stollen's loss of the battle led to the subsequent Peace of Pickelhabewicz, in which the Duchy of Schleiz was formally ceded back to the Electorate of Zichenau. For his part, von Grundig was relieved of his command by General von Drosselmaier and returned to his family etstate somewhere to the south of Reval in Estonia where he is now a gentleman turnip farmer.
These events bring us to the present time. Believing that his beloved Grand Duchy was out of danger, the Grand Duke Irwin-Amadeus II of Stollen found himself surprised by another invasion early this month. This time, the perpetrator was that most vile of countries, the Kingdom of Stagonia, which sent a powerful force under the command of General von Drednoz to wrest another piece of the Grand Duchy from Irwin-Amadeus II. In accordance with his orders, von Drednoz has taken up positions around Saegewerkdorf, which, as already noted, has become the primary center for lumber milling in the Grand Duchy of Stollen since the loss of the Duchy of Schleiz last winter.
The story does not end there. Outwardly, recent developments in the region appear to be entirely the work of vile Stagonia, its government, and army. According to certain members of the Stollenian government, who asked to remain anonymous, however, that is not the whole story. They suggest that Stagonia is not acting alone in its invasion of the Grand Duchy of Stollen. Naturally, no spokesman from Stagonia was available for comment on the matter, but these Stollenian allegations do raise an interesting question. Who is it really who is giving von Drednoz his orders?
Stagonia's political and military actions of recent weeks seem strangely familiar, and some in the Stollenian government have boldly pointed to Zichenau's treacherous Princess Antonia as the person behind the scenes. Indeed, the Army of Stagonia was, Stollenian agents report, permitted free passage through the Electorate of Zichenau late this winter by Princess Antonia, who is not a personage to be tangled with. Not only is she a political figure of considerable reputation and influence, but, rumor has it, Princess Antonia murdered her own son Prince Ruprecht III, during the summer of 1767, by feeding him poisoned figs, so she could assume the throne of Zichenau unopposed.
While the veracity of both accounts has yet to be confirmed, if the former story is true, it suggests that the Kingdom of Stagonia might very possibly be in collusion with the Electorate of Zichenau, and the latter might very well be at the root of the current military situation in southwestern Stollen. Just how the political alliance will pan out between Stagonia and Zichenau, if one exists at all, remains to be seen.
Katrina Bettina von Heffelfinger
Die Krankenstadt Tageblat