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The exploits of the 50th Foot, Galacia, 1809

The exploits of the 50th Foot, Galacia, 1809

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After an unending march across a barren and frigid country, with the enemy hard on your heels, a cavalry squadron puts most of your battalion to the sword. Your only choice; flight.

500 readers have visited The exploits of the 50th Foot, Galacia, 1809 since XavierDantius32 created it.

Introduction

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The year is 1809. Sir John Moore's army is in full retreat, as Napoleon's forces advance inexorably through Spain.. Pushed into Portugal, Moore and his men fight a valiant rearguard action, despite numerous unrest and discipline problems in many of his regiments. The winter is the hardest the peninsula has seen in decades, heavy snows blight the mountains, an insidious cold cutting through an army clothed for a summer campaign.

Moore's men have no boots, the leather collapsing like the dead on the long march. The cold seeps into their powder, and their muskets won't fire when the French cavalry come scything after them. The British have lost, retreating in ignominy to their ships at Corunna, to sail home, perhaps never to return.




Letter found on the corpse of a teenage Ensign, dated January 1809

Dearest Mother,

My Regiment, the 50th Foot has come under hard times of late. Food is scarce, and the men are restless. Many say that the war is lost, and that the French will catch us and kill us all. I do not believe this, as our army is the best in Europe, and many of our soldiers have seen combat in India, where the men are much fiercer than the French.

Tonight, the fellows and I are billeted in a tavern, along with some surly officers from the 95th Rifles. I saw a Lieutenant carrying a rifle like a common soldier. Can you believe it, mother? The situation is dire. There is little food, but plenty to drink. I can hear the men from third battalion drinking in the stable. We have plenty of powder too. Colonel Smythe says we are not far from Corunna, so I should be home soon.

It occurs to me that yesterday was my 17th birthday. I fear I have lost count of the days, and the time, since the watch you and father bought me stopped over a month ago. I still have my sabre, and the brace of pistols. I hope they serve me well when we stop for battle.

The candle is dying, so I must stop now. I shall give this letter to the next galloper I see. Hope to be home soon,

Your Dearest Edward.




Report given by Major Lukas Ebbe, of the King's German Legion, 3rd Hussars

It was early afternoon when the French attacked. The 50th Foot, and a battalion from the 95th Rifles were billeted in a tavern and farmstead on the valley floor, and had just begun to march off, when our scouts spotted a company of Chasseurs and Lancers following the same road, at quite a pace.

Wanting to save the vulnerable infantry from this encroachment by the enemy, I rallied 1st and 2nd squadron, and brought them down hard on the flank of the Lancers, managing to drive off a fair few of them, with minimal casualties on our part. We wheeled behind a small copse of bare trees, preparing to charge the Chasseurs, but they managed to draw carbines, and Captain Ekehart and I concluded that the risk to our own men would be too great to attempt a charge.

We followed a smaller carter's track to rejoin the road ahead of the allied infantry, who had begun to march at this point. I warned Colonel Smythe of the 50th about the Chasseurs to his rear, but he ignored my advice to march with a rearguard, preferring to press on in a column until dark.

We had reached a bridge over an unmarked river, where Smythe elected to rest his contingent for half an hour or so. I sent out scouts into the surrounding countryside, to gather food for the horses, and something for ourselves. I was out ranging with Captain Ekehart when the news of the attack reached us.

I arrived just in time to see the 50th form a square in the face of a squadron of Polish Lancers, a rattle of musketry driving them back to reform. Before I could bring the 3rd Hussars into assist, we were attacked by a second squadron of lancers, supported by a company of light dragoons. This fighting kept us from engaging the two galloper guns that were supporting theChasseurs from the morning, which set up on the English flank.

Savaged by round and canister shot, the 50th broke, and fled towards the hills, with many of their number being cut down by both Lancer and Chasseur. By the time we had beaten off the lancers and dragoons, all of our companies had suffered significant losses, and it was all we could do to retire. I do believe that some survivors of the 50th made it into the hills. May God have mercy on their souls.




This roleplay will chart your progress as a group of British soldiers from the 50th Foot, in the wake of their defeat at the unnamed river crossing. Feel free to go to town on the background of your soldier, embellishing the reasons why he was joined (Or was forced) into service.

The 50th Foot is an illustrious regiment, known as the Queen's Own within the British Army. Recruiters would wander from town to town across the countryside, giving out free drinks to every man who took the King's Shilling. The morning after, while still in a drunker stupor, they would be pressed into marching order, and driven off into some barracks, to receive the training that would mould them into the finest infantry in the world.

But even the finest infantry can be beaten, and at the unnamed crossing, your regiment has been scattered, it's officers spitted on French lances, and many of the sergeants responsible for keeping rogues like you in line have been torn apart by cannon-fire.

Forced into the hills by cavalry, you all ponder your next move.

Toggle Rules

General Rules:
  • Read the Information in the OOC: While I'm sure all of you have some knowledge of the period, the information in the OOC will provide some specifics on the general composition of the regiment you are part of, and the equipment they are carrying.
  • Collaborate: This allows lengthy dialogue scenes to flow quicker, and group fight scenes.
  • Follow Site Rules: Self explanatory.

Character Creation

Characters can come from anywhere in the 50th regiment of foot, from the eight "line" companies that form the bulk of the battle line, sturdy and dependable soldiers who can be relied upon to cause the enemy trouble. Or the two "flank" companies, the elite grenadiers who led the charge that broke the French column at Alexandria, or the Light company, scouts and skirmishers without peer, making the most of their musket's killing power to sow discord among the enemy ranks, disrupting the strength of their line before the rolling volleys hit home.

One or two characters could come from the 95th Rifles, a group of hardened, elite skirmishers and the first snipers upon the battlefield. They were close to the 50th when the cavalry hit home, and some of the could be caught up in the maelstrom of battle.

The Story So Far... Write a Post » as written by 2 authors

Characters Present

Character Portrait: John Shackleton
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The square had broken, and John could see the colours, fluttering in the sun as the bold hussar darted away, his plumed shakoe hanging around his neck as he drove his horse away from the slaughter-yard that remained of the 50th Foot's second battalion.

In an act of almost pure impulse, brought about by pride in both his king, and his regiment, John pulled the stock of his musket into his broad shoulder, pulling back the swan-neck of the flint with a click.

By this point, the Hussar was well beyond the effective range of the Brown Bess, and a more sensible soldier would have put up his weapon, and searched for a better target amongst the melee behind him. John squeezed the brass-chased trigger.

A plume of foul-smelling, sulphurous smoke jetted from the fluted barrel, obscuring the target as the half-inch lead ball knifed through the air. John dropped the musket from his shoulder, reaching for a fresh cartridge. His fingers brushed against the empty paper sleeves of the box that hung over his white crossbelt, and he cursed, spitting the word out between blackened teeth.

He turned, looking over his shoulder at the carnage behind him. The square had broken, and the illustrious 50th, the Queen's Own were in full flight, running from the French horsemen like a deer before a huntsman. He made to start towards the hills, but a thunder of hooves behind him made him turn, instinct locking the musket against his hip, brandishing it like a spear.

By luck, the Chasseur had no time to evade, and the spike bayonet punched through his soft belly, severing his spine, and ending his life in a gout of blood, sprayed from his mouth. Using the musket like a lever, John tipped the man from the saddle, pinning him to the ground while he snatched at the horses bridle with a free hand.

With a dexterity practised on Chatham's shit-covered streets, John rifled the cavalryman's pockets, snatching a pair of steel-chased pistols with long, heavy barrels. Ripping open his jacket slightly, he stuffed the pistols into his waistband, the combination of cross-belt and jacket forming an impromptu holster for the weapon. Head ducked low, John filled his cartridge box with pistol shot, slipping a long knife from the man's waist.

With a precious few coins rattling in the bottom of his empty cartridge box, John turned his attention to the horse, yanking the sun-bleached frame of a third pistol from the saddle holster. The musket was hastily yanked from the corpse, slung over his shoulder, and the pistol joined the other two inside his jacket.

A far-flung glance showed him that most of the survivors had made it to the hillside, negating the cavalry's advantage on the rough terrain. With his looted weaponry banging against his torso, John began to run for the steep hillside, shying away from a badly aimed lance, diving for cover as a round of canister was blasted ineffectually at the hillside.

He felt the ground starting to climb under his feet, and the crack of sporadic musket fire from the scattered infantrymen started to wicker over his head. He heard a horse whinny in pain as a musket ball struck it's chest, and he was there, on the crest of the steep ridge, looking down on a sea of wheeling horses and brightly coloured uniforms, with scattered bodies, many cut open by sabre, and staked by lance.

He scrambled over the roots of a wind-swept tree, its branches stretched out like skeletal hands and he was on the ridge that crested the steep hillside, safe from the pursuing cavalry that milled impotently on the road below. Without a rifle, there was little he could contribute to the battle, and he set about replacing the equipment he had abandoned when the square fell.

Keeping the musket slung over his shoulder, and the pistols stuffed into his coat, John darted further up the hill, dropping to one knee by the body of a sergeant, who had been struck by a lucky carbine shot, with blood and brains oozing out of his shattered skull. Thankfully, the man was still wearing his pack, with his greatcoat stuffed inside, and a blanket rolled on top. With little consideration for the dead, John tipped him over with his booted foot, undoing the buckles that secured the loaded pack, pausing only to stuff the larger of his three pistols down beside the greatcoat.

With the pack strapped across his broad back, John started up towards the impromtu skirmish line broken by spits and eddies of musket fire, accompanied by the occasional cheer from one of the men.

As he approached, John managed to count at least thirty redcoats, and a couple of stragglers from the 95th, their green coats providing better camouflage against the brush. He recognized a couple of powder-stained faces from third company, but many of them were reinforcements from second battalion, who had only recently arrived in Portugal.

“Did any officers make it out?” He called as he approached the group, dropping the musket from his shoulder, weighing it in his slight hands. He'd seen most of the senior officers around the colours when they fell, but there was always the chance a lieutenant or two had managed to salvage some of their men.

A stocky man in the livery of the sixth company stepped forward, the long barrel of a pilfered rifle in his scarred hands. “I ain't seen any. Most were wit' the colours. The silly buggers probably died standin'.” He muttered, eyeing the valley below. “We're the lucky ones, lads.”

Before he could continue, most of his face was removed by a carbine ball, ricocheting off his jawbone to bury itself in the gut of a nearby rifleman. Turning, John saw an assortment of green and blue coats, the pale sun glinting off the barrels of carbines and pistols as the French cavalry advanced up the slope.

“Back up the hill! Quick as you like!” John shouted, gesturing with his arm at the scant cover of the wooded hillside. Several more men were felled by carbine fire, and the redcoats scattered like leaves in the wind, abandoning the ragged skirmish order and fleeing into the trees.

John scampered back, a carbine ball snagging in the fabric of his moth-eaten red coat. He paused, drawing the musket into his shoulder as he blasted off a shot, to be rewarded by a scream, and a falling body in a blue coat.

With the breath rasping in his lungs, he sprinted to the tree-line, disappearing into the tangle of limbs and roots, the empty musket still clutched in his hands. He walked alone for several minutes, aware of several people moving in a similar direction, but the tangle of constricting foliage prevented him from seeing them.

Eventually, he broke out into a clearing, and came upon a group of survivors, both slumped and standing against stumps and trunks. Some were smoking, others busy with powder-clogged weapons and shattered flintlocks.

“Private Shackleton, third company.” John grunted, setting his musket and pack down against a tree stump. “Anyone from third make it out?”

Characters Present

Character Portrait: John Black
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#, as written by Rill
Breathing hard beneath the weight of his pack, shrub and gorse whipping at his legs as he passed, John Black sprinted across the barren moorland towards relative safety of the distant tree line.

Behind him, black could hear the dull, relentless pounding of hooves as the French cavalrymen drew closer by the second.
Knowing he had no chance to make the wooden hillside before they caught him, Black turned at bay, brining up his Baker Rifle to the shoulder in one swift, practised movement and squinting down the barrel...

There were three of them, galloping across the open ground towards him, sabres glinting in the sun, doublets flapping in the breeze as they closed in for the kill...

The sharp retort of John Blacks Baker rang out over the moorland as the lead Cavalryman was picked clean out of his saddle by the Rifleman's expert aim, but the other two spurred their mounts on, sudden;y more confident now despite the loss of their comrade, knowing that their quarry had fired its shot...

Cursing, Black turned his rifle around and swung it like a club, straight into the foaming mouth of the first horse to reach him, the beast reared, pitching the rider from his saddle as John dropped and rolled to avoid the maddened animals flailing hooves...

As the Rifleman came back to his feet, he saw the thrown Frenchman laying sprawled in a ditch some feet away, his neck twisted at an odd angle as his mount pounded away across the moor...

Blacks eyes then sought out the remaining Cavalryman, who had ridden clean past him in the confusion and was even now wheeling his horse about for another charge...

Throwing his rifle aside, Black turned with a curse and sprinted to the fallen body laying in the ditch and muttered a prayer of thanks for his good fortune as he spied a heavy, flintlock pistol tucked into the dead man's cross belt.

Irreverently tugging the weapon free, Black cocked the weapon and took aim at the remaining Frenchman who even now was bearing down on him, murder in his eyes!

Praying his fortune would hold, Black squeezed the trigger and was rewarded with a loud retort and bright flash of powder!
The pistol ball struck the Cavalryman clean in the centre of the chest, pitching the Frog from his saddle in a shower of gore and landed him face down in the dust, dead.

Ignoring the fleeing horses, Black thrust the pistol down into his own belt and, pausing only to retrieve his rifle, set off towards the distant tree line at double time!

===============

Twenty minutes later saw Black burst from the surrounding forest and into a clearing where a ragged band of Redcoat survivors sat or slumped in varying degrees of fatigue, all looked filthy and exhausted... Perhaps all that now remained of the routed 50th foot...

"Bloody 'ell!"
Black frowned,
"Looks like not many of us made it out..."

He could see no officers amongst the gathered survivors, so instead Black moved off between the Redcoats, his eyes looking for any other of the familiar dark green jackets of his regiment...

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Character Portrait: Gordon Sharpe
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A member of the 95th Rifles.

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Character Portrait: John Shackleton
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John Black

"Over the hills, and far away."

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John Shackleton

"And what makes a good soldier?" "The ability to fire three rounds a minute in any weather, sir."

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Character Portrait: John Shackleton
John Shackleton

"And what makes a good soldier?" "The ability to fire three rounds a minute in any weather, sir."

Character Portrait: John Black
John Black

"Over the hills, and far away."

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Character Portrait: John Shackleton
John Shackleton

"And what makes a good soldier?" "The ability to fire three rounds a minute in any weather, sir."

Character Portrait: John Black
John Black

"Over the hills, and far away."


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Most recent OOC posts in The exploits of the 50th Foot, Galacia, 1809

Re: The exploits of the 50th Foot, Galacia, 1809

Great intro, am currently working on mine, hope to have it up ASAP!

Re: The exploits of the 50th Foot, Galacia, 1809

Alright, as Smokescreen has been M.I.A for a couple of days, I'm going to open up posting anyway, so y'all have something to do while we wait for his character. I'll get mine up when I regain consciousness tomorrow, you guys can post after that.

Re: The exploits of the 50th Foot, Galacia, 1809

Heh yeah... Nice to see all the Sharpe fans coming out of the woodwork :P

Re: The exploits of the 50th Foot, Galacia, 1809

Hah! No problem, man. Good to have another rifleman in the group!

Re: The exploits of the 50th Foot, Galacia, 1809

Sounds good mate, I'll start giving it some thought.

Cheers for accepting my character!

Re: The exploits of the 50th Foot, Galacia, 1809

Quick update! We'll have enough people to at least kick off posting once Smoke has his character posted. I'll sling something up after that, and we can kick it off. Essentially, your first post should detail how you escaped the battle with the French cavalry, and arrived on a windswept hillside with the other players.

Re: The exploits of the 50th Foot, Galacia, 1809

Good-bye evenings! I'll have my character up sometime tomorrow. Looking forward to this.

Notes on the Armoury and Disposition of the 50th Foot.

An Excerpt from “Regiments of the British Army”, dated 1805

The 50th Regiment of Foot, also known as the Queen's Own or the Dirty Half Hundred, are an illustrious regiment, with a proud history of always being in the thick of battle, voices raised in song or war cry.

The 50th were originally designated the 52nd Foot, but after the dissolution of the proud 50th and 51st Foot in 1757, they were re-christened as the 50th. During the Seven Years War, the 50th spent much of it's time in England, with a few sorties across the channel to the misfortune of the French. They also saw action at Walburg, Vellingshausen and Wilhelmsthal.

With fresh victories firing their hearts, the Regiment toured the New World, with postings in Jamaica and New York. During the Revolution of the dastardly Americans, they served as marines upon various Royal Navy ships, taking part in the action at Ushant.

When the grasping claws of the damned French Emperor, Bonaparte reached out for Egypt and North Africa, the 50th was dispatched with all haste to Alexandria, to prevent the crapauds from gaining a foothold that it could use against British interests. After another glorious victory, against regiments such as the 42nd Black Watch, the 50th were sent to the Peninsula, the most recent conflict in their annals.

At the time that it left it's Kentish barracks, the 50th numbered at approximately two thousand men, split into two battalions, one of which remained behind to provide reinforcement for the first. Each battalion is divided into ten companies of one hundred, with eight “line” companies of our plucky redcoats, and two “flank” companies, one of elite, strong-armed grenadiers, and the other of sharp-eyed light infantry, skirmishers deployed to harry the enemy before they reach the line.

The 50th's First Battalion is commanded by Lieutenant Colonel William Smythe, a distinguished land-owner from the Kentish Smythes. The Colonel is known for his iron discipline within his regiment, but rather lax regulations regarding the mandated uniform regulations. Most notably was his abandonment of the stocks on arriving in Portugal, stating that his men could shoot much better without them.

The rest of the officers, from Major Reiner of German Extraction who commands the grenadier company, to the waspish and bespectacled Lieutenant Hardy who commands the light company are all steady and determined, hardened by raids in Africa and in Germany. These qualities are also reflected in the men, who have learned to stand in line, muskets presented to receive anything that the enemy should throw at them.




An excerpt from “Weapons of the Peninsula Campaign, a definitive account” dated 1805

Concerning the India Pattern Musket, affectionately known as the Brown Bess by our soldiers:

The India Pattern Musket is a sturdy and dependable weapon, laid down in 1797 by gunsmiths to provide a standard firearm for our infantry. It uses a three-quarter inch lead ball, undersized to reduce the fouling of caked powder in the barrel. This ball is fired by a flintlock mechanism, which uses a spark to ignite deposited powder in the weapon's pan, which in turn ignites the bulk of a paper cartridge rammed down the barrel with the ball.

The India Pattern is best used in a large volley, as the long time it takes to reload the weapon (In my experience, even the best soldiers can only manage four rounds a minute) , means that it is not particular effective unsupported.

When the lines of battle draw close, a simple fourteen inch triangular bayonet, which proves particularly effective against enemy cavalry, as well as their infantry.

Concerning the Pattern 1800 Infantry Rifle, also known as the Baker Infantry Rifle.

The Pattern 1800 Infantry Rifle was laid down, as it's name suggests, in 1800, after the power of this weapon was discovered during our conflicts against the Americans. The board of ordinance met for trials in February of 1800, where Ezekiel Baker's design was chosen over several others.

The secret within this weapon's design is eight spiralling grooves that run down the thirty inch barrel, gripping the leather-wrapped balls, causing them to spin like Turkish Dervishes, extending the range of the one sixth of an inch balls to a range of an easy three hundred yards, but I have seen a skilled marksman kill a target at up to five hundred yards. For close work, a rifleman can fit a twenty four inch sword bayonet to the front of his weapon

The disadvantage of this clearly majestic weapon is that it takes much longer to load as the greased patches grip the grooves within the barrel so strongly. But this is counter-acted by it's range and accuracy. In the hands of skirmishers, this weapon is deadly.

Concerning the 1796 Cavalry Carbine, a firearm issued to our dragoons.

The Cavalry Carbine is a modification made upon the standard India Pattern Musket, mentioned at an earlier point in this account. While no changed have been made to the calibre, the weapon has been made significantly lighter, with a much shorter barrel, allowing it to be carried on a saddle sling, for use either on horseback, or by the dragoon when he dismounts.

The Pistol, a weapon often custom-made for well-off officers, in both the infantry and the cavalry.

Used by both sides in this conflict, the pistol is a short, often lightweight flintlock weapon, designed to be operated with one hand, at short range when others have fixed bayonets. While variation in design is high, most pistols have barrels shorter than fourteen inches, with curved grips, often weighted so they can be used as a bludgeon after firing.

Concerning the Nock Gun, a weapon for those of truly mighty stature.

Also known as the Nock Volley Gun, this flintlock weapon was designed for use in our Illustrious Navy, for deck-to-deck combat. The weapon's seven barrels make it a potent killer in confined spaces, but give it considerable recoil, strong enough to break the shoulder of a smaller man.

Within the ranks of the 50th Foot, I have seen some men strong enough to wield this weapon, and they are thought to have acquired a small number during their time fighting against the Americans as impromtu marines.

The exploits of the 50th Foot, Galacia, 1809

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