Sunday, December 16, 2018

Tiroler Schutzen #6, "Anton Kerschbaum"

The last of the "Green Brigade" is this unit of Schutzen, lead by Herr Anton Kerschbaum. 

Olive Drab coats, yellow shirts with scarlet braces, hats in shades of Brown and pants in shades of Grey are the order of the day for their attire. 

Note the green and white rosettes on their hats. 

Resuming our narrative by Charles Morris:

    A second corps d'armee advanced up the valley of the Inn as far as the bridges of Pruz. Here it was repulsed by the Tyrolese, and retreated under cover of the darkness during the night of August 8. The infantry crept noiselessly over the bridge of Pontlaz. The cavalry followed with equal caution but with less success. The sound of a horse's hoof aroused the watchful Tyrolese. Instantly rocks and trees were hurled upon the bridge, men and horses being crushed beneath them and the passage blocked. All the troops which had not crossed were taken prisoners. The remainder were sharply pursued, and only a handful of them escaped.

    The other divisions of the invading army met with a similar fate. Lefebvre himself, who reproached the Saxons for their defeat, was not able to advance as far as they, and was quickly driven from the mountains with greatly thinned ranks. He was forced to disguise himself as a common soldier and hide among the cavalry to escape the balls of the sharp-shooters, who owed him no love. The rear-guard was attacked with clubs by the Capuchin and his men, and driven out with heavy loss. During the night that followed all the mountains around the beautiful valley of Innsbruck were lit up with watch-fires. In the valley below those of the invaders were kept brightly burning while the troops silently withdrew. On the next day the Tyrol held no foes; the invasion had failed.

    Hofer placed himself at the head of the government at Innsbruck, where he lived in his old simple mode of life, proclaimed some excellent laws, and convoked a national assembly. The Emperor of Austria sent him a golden chain and three thousand ducats. He received them with no show of pride, and returned the following naive answer: "Sirs, I thank you. I have no news for you to-day. I have, it is true, three couriers on the road, the Watscher-Hiesele, the Sixten-Seppele, and the Memmele-Franz, and the Schwanz ought long to have been here. I expect the rascal every hour."

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Tiroler Landsturm #4, Freiherr Ferdinand Mittwoch

Next in the "green" division of Tirolese rebels is this unit raised by Ferdinand Mittwoch, and armed with pitchforks. 

I found this interesting flag design in the course of a search for Tyrolean flags using German words. 

The "flames" around the edges are of course very "Austrian" in appearance, and it has the red eagle of Tirol in the center. If I recall correctly, the actual flag dates back to the 17th century! I used the online image, edited in MS paint to make the flag, and then "enhanced" the printed version with paint. The pinkish hue to the white areas in the border is present in the original images. 

Continuing on with the narrative of the Rebellion:

    The aid came. [Marechal] Lefebvre, in his brutal fashion, plundered and burnt as he advanced, and published a proscription list instead of the amnesty promised. The natural result followed. Hofer persuaded the bold Capuchin to leave his monastery, and he, with two others, called the western Tyrol to arms. Hofer raised the eastern Tyrol. They soon gained a powerful associate in Speckbacher, who, conscience-stricken by Hofer's reproach, had left the Austrians and hastened back to his country. The invader's cruelty had produced its natural result. The Tyrol was once more in full revolt.

    With a bunch of rosemary, the gift of their chosen maidens, in their green hats, the young men grasped their trusty rifles and hurried to the places of rendezvous. The older men wore peacock plumes, the Hapsburg symbol. With haste they prepared for the war. Cannon which did good service were made from bored logs of larch wood, bound with iron rings. Here the patriots built abatis; there they gathered heaps of stone on the edges of precipices which rose above the narrow vales and passes. The timber slides in the mountains were changed in their course so that trees from the heights might be shot down upon the important passes and bridges. All that could be done to give the invaders a warm welcome was prepared, and the bold peasants waited eagerly for the coming conflict.

    From four quarters the invasion came, Lefebvre's army being divided so as to attack the Tyrolese from every side, and meet in the heart of the country. They were destined to a disastrous repulse. The Saxons, led by Rouyer, marched through the narrow valley of Eisach, the heights above which were occupied by Haspinger the Capuchin and his men. Down upon them came rocks and trees from the heights. Rouyer was hurt, and many of his men were slain around him. He withdrew in haste, leaving one regiment to retain its position in the Oberau. This the Tyrolese did not propose to permit. They attacked the regiment on the next day, in the narrow valley, with overpowering numbers. Though faint with hunger and the intense heat, and exhausted by the fierceness of the assault, a part of the troops cut their way through with great loss and escaped. The rest were made prisoners.

    The story is told that during their retreat, and when ready to drop with fatigue, the soldiers found a cask of wine. Its head was knocked in by a drummer, who, as he stooped to drink, was pierced by a bullet, and his blood mingled with the wine. Despite this, the famishing soldiery greedily swallowed the contents of the cask.

[Yikes! Talk about Klingon Blood Wine... ]

Monday, December 10, 2018

Tiroler Schutzen #5 Wolfgang Iselsberg

Next up is another unit of Tirolese Schutzen, this group lead by Herr Wolfgang Iselsberg.

Their order of dress is grass green jackets, pants in shades of brown and hats inn shades of grey. 

Resuming our narrative by Charles Morris:

    The freedom thus gained by the Tyrolese was not likely to be permanent with Napoleon for their foe. The Austrians hastened to the defence of the country which had been so bravely won for their emperor. On the other side came the French and Bavarians as enemies and oppressors. Lefebvre, the leader of the invaders, was a rough and brutal soldier, who encouraged his men to commit every outrage upon the mountaineers.

    For some two or three months the conflict went on, with varying fortunes, depending upon the conditions of the war between France and Austria. At first the French were triumphant, and the Austrians withdrew from the Tyrol. Then came Napoleon's defeat at Aspern, and the Tyrolese rose and again drove the invaders from their country. In July occurred Napoleon's great victory at Wagram, and the hopes of the Tyrol once more sank. All the Austrians were withdrawn, and Lefebvre again advanced at the head of thirty or forty thousand French, Bavarians, and Saxons.

    The courage of the peasantry vanished before this threatening invasion. Hofer alone remained resolute, saying to the Austrian governor, on his departure, "Well, then, I will undertake the government, and, as long as God wills, name myself Andrew Hofer, host of the Sand at Passeyr, and Count of the Tyrol."

    He needed resolution, for his fellow-chiefs deserted the cause of their country on all sides. On his way to his home he met Speckbacher, hurrying from the country in a carriage with some Austrian officers.

"Wilt thou also desert thy country!" said Hofer to him in tones of sad reproach.

    Another leader, Joachim Haspinger, a Capuchin monk, nicknamed Redbeard, a man of much military talent, withdrew to his monastery at Seeben. Hofer was left alone of the Tyrolese leaders. While the French advanced without opposition, he took refuge in a cavern amid the steep rocks that overhung his native vale, where he implored Heaven for aid.

2 weeks ago, my daughter, Kristie's dog, Annie gave birth to a litter of six puppies. They were born by Cesarean section,  so we all helped resuscitate them. Here are mom and pups at 10 days old. Annie is a very attentive mother!

Here I am holding one of the pups, who is happy to sleep in my arms. They are starting to really like being held and petted. This is probably the one that we will keep. Kristie will keep another, and the other four are all spoken for., and will go to their new homes at about 9 weeks of age.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Tiroler Landsturm #3 Freiherr Karl Montag

The first of the green coated Landsturm,Freherr Karl Montag's men bear long axes.

Dark green coats with hats in shades of grey and pants in shades of brown is their order of dress, with shirts in yellow and braces in red - quite colorful!

Resuming our romanticized account of the Tyrolean uprising, The Patriots of the Tyrol,
by Charles Morris (1893):

    Speckbacher, the other patriot named, was no less active. No sooner had the signal of revolt appeared in the Inn than he set the alarm-bells ringing in every church-tower through the lower valley of that stream, and quickly was at the head of a band of stalwart Tyrolese. On the night of the 11th he advanced on the city of Hall, and lighted about a hundred watch-fires on one side of the city, as if about to attack it from that quarter. While the attention of the garrison was directed towards these fires, he crept through the darkness to the gate on the opposite side, and demanded entrance as a common traveller. The gate was opened; his hidden companions rushed forward and seized it; in a brief time the city, with its Bavarian garrison, was his.

    On the 12th he appeared before Innsbruck, and made a fierce assault upon the city in which he was aided by a murderous fire poured upon the Bavarians by the citizens from windows and towers. The people of the upper valley of the Inn flocked to the aid of their fellows, and the place, with its garrison, was soon taken, despite their obstinate defence. Dittfurt, the Bavarian leader, who scornfully refused to yield to the peasant dogs, as he considered them, fought with tiger-like ferocity, and fell at length, pierced by four bullets.

    One further act completed the freeing of the Tyrol from Bavarian domination. The troops under Colonel [ed: in checking Gill's account, this is oberst-leutnant Wreden] Wrede had, as we have related, crossed the Brenner on a temporary bridge, and escaped the perils of the pass. Greater perils awaited them. Their road lay past Sterzing, the scene of Hofer's victory. Every trace of the conflict had been obliterated, and Wrede vainly sought to discover what had become of Bäraklau and his battalion. He entered the narrow pass through which the road ran at that place, and speedily found his ranks decimated by the rifles of Hofer's concealed men.

    After considerable loss the column broke through, and continued its march to Innsbruck, where it was immediately surrounded by a triumphant host of Tyrolese. The struggle was short, sharp, and decisive. In a few minutes several hundred men had fallen. In order to escape complete destruction the rest laid down their arms. The captors entered Innsbruck in triumph, preceded by the military band of the enemy, which they compelled to play, and guarding their prisoners, who included two generals, more than a hundred other officers, and about two thousand men.

    In two days the Tyrol had been freed from its Bavarian oppressors and their French allies and restored to its Austrian lords. The arms of Bavaria were everywhere cast to the ground, and the officials removed. But the prisoners were treated with great humanity, except in the single instance of a tax-gatherer, who had boasted that he would grind down the Tyrolese until they should gladly eat hay. In revenge, they forced him to swallow a bushel of hay for his dinner.

-to be continued.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Tiroler Schuitzen #4, "Uwe Holzleiten"

 This unit of rifle armed rebels is the first of the "Green" Division. 

Dark green coats with pants in shades of brown and hats in shades of grey, and green cockades are the order of dress for Uwe's men. 

I found the following brief and somewhat romanticized account of the Tyrolean Rebellion on line, and though it worth sharing in serialized fashion:

The Patriots of the Tyrol
by Charles Morris (1893)

    On the 9th of April, 1809, down the river Inn, in the Tyrol, came floating a series of planks, from whose surface waved little red flags. What they meant the Bavarian soldiers, who held that mountain land with a hand of iron, could not conjecture. But what they meant the peasantry well knew. On the day before peace had ruled throughout the Alps, and no Bavarian dreamed of war. Those flags were the signal for insurrection, and on their appearance the brave mountaineers sprang at once to arms and flew to the defence of the bridges of their country, which the Bavarians were marching to destroy, as an act of defence against the Austrians.

    On the 10th the storm of war burst. Some Bavarian sappers had been sent to blow up the bridge of St. Lorenzo. But hardly had they begun their work, when a shower of bullets from unseen marksmen swept the bridge. Several were killed; the rest took to flight; the Tyrol was in revolt.

    News of this outbreak was borne to Colonel Wrede [ed -  actually this is oberstleutnant Wreden that Mar is refering to. General Kinkel was in overall command of Bavarian forces in the Tyrol], in command of the Bavarians, who hastened with a force of infantry, cavalry, and artillery to the spot. He found the peasants out in numbers. The Tyrolean riflemen, who were accustomed to bring down chamois from the mountain peaks, defended the bridge, and made terrible havoc in the Bavarian ranks. They seized Wrede's artillery and flung guns and gunners together into the stream, and finally put the Bavarians to rout, with severe loss.

   The Bavarians held the Tyrol as allies of the French, and the movement against the bridges had been directed by Napoleon, to prevent the Austrians from reoccupying the country, which had been wrested from their hands. Wrede in his retreat was joined by a body of three thousand French, but decided, instead of venturing again to face the daring foe, to withdraw to Innsbruck. But withdrawal was not easy. The signal of revolt had everywhere called the Tyrolese to arms. The passes were occupied. The fine old Roman bridge over the Brenner, at Laditsch, was blown up. In the pass of the Brixen, leading to this bridge, the French and Bavarians found themselves assailed in the old Swiss manner, by rocks and logs rolled down upon their heads, while the unerring rifles of the hidden peasants swept the pass. Numbers were slain, but the remainder succeeded in escaping by means of a temporary bridge, which they threw over the stream on the site of the bridge of Laditsch.

     Of the Tyrolese patriots to whom this outbreak was due two are worthy of special mention, Joseph Speckbacher, a wealthy peasant of Rinn, and the more famous Andrew Hofer, the host of the Sand Inn at Passeyr, a man everywhere known through the mountains, as he traded in wine, corn, and horses as far as the Italian frontier.

    Hofer was a man of herculean frame and of a full, open, handsome countenance, which gained dignity from its long, dark-brown beard, which fell in rich curls upon his chest. His picturesque dress—that of the Tyrol—comprised a red waistcoat, crossed by green braces, which were fastened to black knee breeches of chamois leather, below which he wore red stockings. A broad black leather girdle clasped his muscular form, while over all was worn a short green coat. On his head he wore a low-crowned, broad-brimmed Tyrolean hat, black in color, and ornamented with green ribbons and with the feathers of the capercailzie [ed - an Alpine grouse, a turkey like bird].

    This striking-looking patriot, at the head of a strong party of peasantry, made an assault, early on the 11th, upon a Bavarian infantry battalion under the command of Colonel Bäraklau, who retreated to a table-land named Sterzinger Moos, where, drawn up in a square, he resisted every effort of the Tyrolese to dislodge him. Finally Hofer broke his lines by a stratagem. A wagon loaded with hay, and driven by a girl, was pushed towards the square, the brave girl shouting, as the balls flew around her, "On with ye! Who cares for Bavarian dumplings!" Under its shelter the Tyrolese advanced, broke the square, and killed or made prisoners the whole of the battalion. [ed - it is doubtful that Hofer, who was a patriot and organizer but not much of a military leader, ever lead an assault himself, but such is the nature of legends and national myths!]

-to be continued.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Tiroler Schützen #3 "Otto Grießen"

The last of the "Browncoat Division" of the Tyrolean rebels is led by Herr Otto Grießen.

His men (and women) wear "terracotta" colored jackets or dresses, grey Lederhosen, and the ever popular green hats.

Otto's band are all experienced marksmen. 

Loading and shooting in pairs, they are also equipped for "rock-rolling". 

They plan to use their rolling stones to make their Alpine passes truly a "Stairway to Heaven" for their enemies!

Rock rolling is the favored activity of the rebel on the left, Herr Mick Jäger.