Friday, March 8, 2013

19th Century Imaginations - the Twenty Three Weeks War

So, having begun the basing of my old 28mm ACW figures, re-purposed for a Balkanian campaign, I figured it was time to share my fevered vision of a history of a small brush war in Balkania.This is the history of the 23 Weeks War, a war fought between the Autumn of 1871 and the Spring of 1872.  It involved the forces of Furstenberg (a small enlightened aristocracy) and Rumpwhistle (a small state of confederated cantons), fighting with each other over (nominally) the rights of the Ethnic Urbs (local ethnic tribes living in the mountains straddling the border between the two nations).

The problems, as they almost always do, began with disgruntled students. The Protectorate of Graatz, having been granted to the Margravate of Furstenberg as part of the Edict of Boomplatz peace (see history of Furstenberg), had grown and matured in the two centuries under Furstenberg protection. A university on the lovely Dukon River (see map of Furstenberg) had grown up, the University of Graatz, located in the city of Alf-Dukon. The students there, always looking for a way out of their academic duties, sensed weakness following the short War of Disdain (1868-69) between the Confederated Cantons of Rumpwhistle, and the revolting Karzstan Mountain Urbs. The Urbs were subjugated, but there was concern on the Furstenberg side of the border at Rumpwhistle mobilization.

In the late summer of 1871, the students of Graatz University decided that they would not have a regular academic year. So once school started, they began rioting, demonstrating, publishing pamphlets, and protesting the treatment of the Ethnic Urbs, and the heavy handed action by Rumpwhistle in the Karzstan Mountains. This came to a head in September of 1871, when the visiting Prince of the Rumpwhistle Throne (a purely decorative figurehead position, ever since the Confederated Cantons established their independence in the early 18th century) was assassinated on a diplomatic visit to Alf-Dukon. Whether it was by an Urb mountain sharpshooter, or by an instigating student, war was quickly declared by both sides (the Rumpwhistle Confederation in order to save face, and the Furstenbergers in order to not be outdone).

The fight took place mostly in the rough country of the northern slopes of the Karzstan Mountains, on the Rumpwhistle side of the border (in the Rumpwhistle canton of Nikovena). This was a war for infantry, mainly, and involved a lot of local units on both sides, including irregulars and sharpshooters.
Painting showing the battle of Papaschlemo, in Nikovena, from 1542 - this is indicative of the terrain fought over in the 23 Weeks War

For the fight, I am working on a modified set of ACW rules (the Rumpwhistle troops are amazingly close to Confederates, and the Furstenberg Infantry are amazingly similar to US regular army).  I am also planning on an article concerning the Rumpwhistle forces, and the Furstenberg forces, involve din the war.  On the Furstenberg side, it was mostly elements of the Second Army, Fourth Corps, but some interesting local color was involved.
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