As fine a figure of a man as ever sat a horse. Something of a celebrity joins my armies this morning. Here is the 22-year-old Hans-Joachim, Graf Leberknödel, general commanding the brigade of the Duchy of Stralsund-Rügen, my unofficial extension of the Confederation of the Rhine. His military experience is not vast - he served on the staff of Count Essen, the Swedish governor, during the Siege of Stralsund, where he was officially described as "very polite", and was subsequently made Colonel in Chief of the Franzburg Jaegers when the Stralsund-Rügen army was raised to provide the troops required by the new Duchy's membership of the Confederation. What he lacks in years is more than made up for by the fact that he is Duke Friedrich's son-in-law.
Here we see him posing for the official portrait, with his favourite horse, Millefiori, a gift from his mother and the doting taxpayers of Franzburg. It is rumoured that his military wardrobe cost slightly more than the Duchy's artillery train. All he needs now is for the remainder of his brigade to come back from the painter, and glory awaits. Or at least a proper parade.
Humble old S-range figure, scavenged during one of my final dalliances with eBay, and humbly painted in appropriate Old School style by moi. The brown border to the base identifies him as a brigade commander (division commanders have white, corps and army commanders have a border in the national colour) - it's a useful feature for spotting commanders on the battlefield, but the colour coding, and why I adopted this system, are lost in the depths of time. So I just keep it going - some military traditions, after all, are not to be questioned.
Speaking of questions, I had a very pleasant email from a gentleman in Poland, wanting to know a little more about the Duchy, and asking where I got the information - could I recommend any books? His English was excellent, flawless, but, though he had some doubts, he had not completely picked up on my hints that this particular piece of history is entirely a self-indulgence of my own, and - well - bullshit, really.
If you wish to read a little more of this little-known niche area of Napoleonic history, click on the Imagi-nation label on the right hand side of the screen - no, down a bit...