Saturday, January 23, 2016
Time of the Wolf - winter
I just finished reading another entry by one of my favourite writers - Arturo Perez-Reverte.
It is a simple and powerful piece about love for one's country, honour, duty, fighting, all within the larger and quite extraordinary tale of the Spanish soldiers of La Romana Division who quite distant North in order to fight for their own people and country and king in the summer of 1808.
About 9,190 Spaniards crossed the Jutland peninsula and its islands to the Spanish-seized port of Nyborg, and there embarked the British Navy ships for Spain, minus their horses. Spaniards did not kill their horses, unlike the English in Spain in December 1808, so many fine Iberian steeds run the beeches of Funen etc.
About 4,000 soldiers were late and unable to make it. And the protagonist of don Arturo's story was one of these unlucky souls.
Captain Antonio Costa, d'Algavre /Algabre Cavalry Regiment of La Romana Spanish Division of the Napoleonic Army, brought his command to Funen/Fionia in Spanish/ Island but they were there too late to embark onto the English ships.
Soon they were faced with the overwhelming enemy, French and Danish troops under angry Marshall Bernadotte, so this senior captain of the Algabres refused to waste his soldiers' lives, took all the blame and then finally took his own life in order to save his soldiers, presumably wives and children too - like in this picture. The soldiers who stayed in Denmark served in the Napoleonic army until 1813 or so, Joseph Napoleon's Regiment was the most distinguished of them.
I love Alfred Wierusz-Kowalski's winter scenes, many painted at Munich where Bavarian Kingdom was living its lasts days before being swallowed in to Prussian Germany.
You know, modern Germany was born in 1871, under the strong arms of the Prussian kings and their iron chancellors. Germans were strong then, so strong that they run into the dreadful combats of World War I to prove their masculinity, tarnished by the emperor Wilhem's court debaucheries. They were strong to attack the rest of the world in 1939 and kept going until the Soviets took Berlin and did what they did to their women there - .
German government had invited millions of foreign people doing their Völkerwanderung from Asia and Africa to Europe in 2015, and the German police and soldiers are unwilling and/or unable to fight to protect their girls and women from assault and invasion like in Cologne and other German cities this winter. Shame!
According to Spanish Army of the Napoleonic Wars part 1, 1793-1808, Algabre heavy cavalry regiment had 5 squadrons of 2 companies each. Company was commanded by a captain, ought to have one lieutenant, one ensign, one first sergeant, two second sergeants, four corporals and 4 second corporals, one trumpeter, 4 carabiniers or elite troopers, 38 mounted troopers, 13 dismounted troopers. Each regiment had a staff of 8 field officers, 4 standardbearers, and a kettle-drummer. According to the book the regiment took part in the Rousiillion campaign in 1793-94. In 1807-8 should have had 800 men.