Second Company, first Battalion of the Grossewurst Regiment, first Prussian division, were shaking into manoevering column as they got within the range of musketry and cannon fire from the walls.
The west facing wall of Rostock had suddenly, and quite surprisingly, given way in a shower of stone dust. This wall had received nothing like the attention the southern walls had, and was really only being struck to make the defenders spread thinner. The artillery had finally received dry powder, in fact all supplies had got markedly better, and the results on all walls were telling.
Now there was a breach, and both sides had rushed to take advantage or bolster defence.
Henk barked commands to his fusiliers as they got into shape. The Grossewurst regiment had been tasked with holding this flank and helping to restrict relief to the seiged town. Now they were the closest at hand to grasp this moment.
Their orders were simple, if telling on courage: break into the city, take it, or hold a perimeter within the walls for reinforcement.
Men who not a quarter of an hour ago, were catching a nap or doing some other mundane task, were struggling to find decorum and get into fighting shape. They would have to march at the double, in column, up to the breach and then try and battle their way through, will under fire, all the while trying to keep some cohesion on the impossible ground created by broken masonry from the destroyed wall section.
Up ahead the third Battalion were being engaged by defenders on the wall as they tried to enter the gap. As expected cohesion was being lost and the iron discipline that set the soldiers apart from the part time militia defending the town was no longer such a telling factor. Each fusilier had to fight his own way into the city. The rubble provided cover, but a man had to overcome his fear to stand up and charge the fire, all the while growing hotter as defending reinforcements rushed to the breach, all over impossible footing.
A cannon roared, and the grapeshot it had been loaded with spat about the rubble like a host of vicious and angry bees. A score of men fell and one seemed to simply disintergrate in a red mist.
Fusiliers, attempting another approach, changed their aspect and advanced on the cannon, which had somehow been wheeled to the edge of the wall, jacked into a position to fire down into the breach, and was now assailing the assaulters. These men attained the height of the rubble mound, but were unable to make the next 'leap' to the top of the wall still 10 feet above their head. Defenders of the cannon were firing down into the men and throwing broken masonry. The Fusiliers, still trying to get up somehow, were frantically firing their muskets to keep the militia from sticking the heads over. The cannon roared again and the Fusiliers at once fell like a heavy wind had blown at them. Those that hadn't fallen suddenly broke and ran, such as they could, down the rubble pile, getting in the way of those still trying to climb it. All the while Militia musketmen were pouring a greater volume of fire into the midst.
To Henk, all of this seemed to take place in an instant. He, of course, was not alone in his viewing of the scene. Each of the men of his battalion were just as able, but not one of them missed a step as they continued to march to the drummers beat. A man ten in front of Henk spun suddenly and went down, his left arm at the shoulder a mess having taken a ball.
Henk's battalion made it to the breach, but it was becoming obvious that there was not enough room for the Prussian's advantage in numbers to tell. Men were milling at the bottom, and taking losses. The situation had come to an empasse.
"First and second platoons, Charge and take that mound!" Boomed Henk.
His troops, roiled by his command, and egged on by the Seargents, charged as a weight of numbers up the slope. Men were being felled but the one-off charge took the mound and were through the other side in less than a minute.
The militia waivered.
The cannon, that had so impacted the battle earlier, was again readied to breath on the men below, but this time a small battle line set up perpendicular to the cannon's barrel, at the bottom of the mound, fired on the gun crew. Most of the shot missed, but two of the gunners were felled and the cannon did not fire. More Prussians made it to the unknown sanctuary of the other side of the wall. Fire began to slacken on the outside of the wall, to be taken up by a more muted fire from within the city.
Henk attached himself to third platoon and, with them, climbed the mound.
He was in time to see a hastily formed line of fusiliers facing down a street, volley a line of fire into running militia. A woman, with a bundle of rags or a child in her arms, tried to run across the same street and a fusilier in a follow up line shot her dead. A house to the south was well on fire and a militiaman in an upper window had now given up harrassing the Prussians below and was trying to get out the window before he went up with the house.
Behind him the rest of the regiment was breaking ranks to enter the city.
< Message edited by aprezto -- 6/28/2009 5:59:26 AM >
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