Smithers, his batman, walked confidently up to Caruthers and placed his morning coffee on the camp table.
" 'Morning Sir, your coffee."
"Ah yes, Smithers, jolly good. A little stronger this morning I hope?"
"Oh yes, sir. A resupply of beans arrived with the supply caravan last night."
"Ah yes .. jolly good." and he picked up the delicate china cup, closing his eyes and inhaling the deep coffee aroma in anticipation.
He was pulled from his reverie by the hurried arrival of a dispatch rider who hauled his lather covered horse to a halt just yards from Caruthers' tent, and swung his leg across the horse's rear as he jumped to the ground.
"Sir, urgent dispatches from Brigadier Sommerville" gasped between breaths.
"Ah jolly good. Carry on, there's a good chap" and Caruthers grabbed eagerly at the leather document bag. "News of great deeds is always a great accompaniment to morning coffee."
The dispatch rider looked questioningly at Smithers who just shrugged his shoulders and tipped his head in the direction of the Other Ranks' mess tent.
"Smithers, another cup I do believe - come along man, chop chop." And Caruthers settled himself in his campaigning chair, the sense of anticipation rising as he unbuckled the satchel.
"Major General Caruthers. Sir, it is with great sadness that I must report to you the outcome of my first foray against the Turkoman incursion on our eastern borders."
Carruthers' smile began to wane, and the corners of his moustache began to twitch.
"It was on the morning of the third day that we came across the camp of the Turkoman force, a small detachment going about its business seemingly unconcerned by our presence. I deployed my force in accordance with standard tactical doctrine and advanced against the encampment.
|The British attack seen from the Turkish lines|
"The levantine general sent a small flying force against my left flank. Dashed un British thing to do given that Lord Chelting of Cheam was some time behind our main force after suffering technical difficulties. I did however have great faith in the wonderful Doctor and his ability to use wondrous magic to keep the Turokomen at bay."
"I ordered our lancers forward on the right to engage what I saw to be a weakened left Turk flank as hurriedly as possibly as I was conscious of the dratted Turk flyers swooping down into our rear."
|The Doctor fires up his machine with a magical attack against the Turkish hero general - to no avail.|
"Our lines clashed, but we were simultaneously hit from the rear by the Turkish flyers. It was at this stage that I regret to inform you that the young Lieutenant Winstanley fell beneath the onslaught. Later search found him barely live, surrounded by the bodies of his loyal men who had so obviously given their lives to protect their hero."
"The Turkish artillery engaged our steam robot force .."
"... which I ordered forward to attack same artillery battery..."
"You will be pleased to know that the royal robots destroyed the Turkish artillery in a short but fierce exchange .. Try as they might our gallant foot could make no headway against the Turk."
"And more troops fell beneath the Turkish onslaught."
"Sensing the battle nearing a critical point, and seeing the opportunity to attack the Turkish general himself, I lead my troops forward into the attack."
|The British general attacks the Turkish hero general|
"Sadly Sir the day was not be be ours. The Turkish commander was too strong for us."
|A 1/6 die roll heralded the end for the British blade general, and the game was lost for the British|
"I withdrew my remaining forces in good order, in the hope that we might recover sufficiently to have another crack at the Turk.
"I remain your obedient servant
The deep intake of breath warned Smithers of the impending tirade. Caruthers hand compulsively twirled the ends of his moustache and the air blew from between pursed lips. Smithers watched the tide of red rise up Caruthers' face.
"Smithers" came the yell. "Smithers .. where are you, damn it all? Smithers you idle little man. I want a full muster of officers immediately, and a brandy NOW .. do you hear me?".
With Nick visiting for a few days over the Christmas break, we took the opportunity to blood the new Turkish army in a 24 point per side HotT game. Watch for the next episode in the life and times of Major General Sir Chelmswood Reginald Augustus Piers Caruthers.