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November 29, 2008, 10:37 am

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Abelard von Richter


We need to gather the cam-droppers and bulldog gears off of number six, yes the wrecked number six. Then, with those pieces and the short drive off of number three we can put number four back into action.

Abelard von Richter

It wasnt often that the Colonial Yeomanry were called into action. These men, lacking discipline and training, providing their own arms and armor, were often seen as inferior to Imperial Troops. While Imperial troops did enjoy the benefits of rigorous discipline, standardized weaponry and uniforms, they could not match the enthusiasm or inventiveness of the Yeomanry.

Recounting the 2nd Anglo-Prussian War, Prof von Richter

von Richter was a rather average man, plain if somewhat homely. His head was covered with a fading wisp of brown hair and he frequently was afflicted with two or three days of stubble on his chin. Like most colonials, he is somewhat thick around the middle and has the beginnings of a turkey waddle at his neck. A few years of good exercise and diet could avert this, just as a few years of too much beef, beer, and ‘bacca might cement it. The only things that mark him as being something other than any other common laborer are the cuts and scars on his hands and the faint impression of tight fitting goggles. The cuts and scrapes are fresh, but the scars are old, but certainly not disfiguring. The faint impressions, barely noticable at his temple and ear line, come from having worn goggles for a great number of years.

The 2nd Anglo-Prussian War set the colonies on fire. Sure, most of the fighting was over on the continent, the Brits and the Frogs fighting the Krauts and the Red. There was still alot of heat here. The Continentals kicked up something fierce, calling in favors from the Indian nations. I heard that they almost took Chicago after sacking De’troit. So all that up north, and the Texans fighting the Spaniards again, this time with Californian aid, it was getting tense. Sure as rain, here came the fight. The Prussians laid siege to New York, blockade and the whole nine. They also sucker punched the governer and garrison down in New Orleans. Hell of an attack, left the Louisiana fleet in flames and Prussian soldiers swarming all over the Mississippi river. While the Imperial army dug in at Memphis, hiding behind their casements and guns, the call went out the yeomanry. Time to pick up your guns boys, time to pick up your guns.

Sgt 1st class (TN) Raynor Humphries, 1st Franklin Yeomanry

Central Franklin is a rural county, divided by mountains, plateaus and several large rivers. The colonials of Franklin are known for their guns, whiskey, and vulgar but god-fearing lifestyle. von Richter, raised in the shadow of the plateau, was not particularly god-fearing. being of a somewhat technical disposition he attended an apprenticeship in steam mechanics and automobile construction. There was always decent money to be made, not everyone could afford a Frog built Reliance truck or Conneticut auto-car.

von Richter finished training, married a firebrand Irish woman and intended to settle down and raise hell and children. According to his wife, there was no difference between the two. This might have happened if not for the Prussians taking New Orleans and invading the lower third of Lousiana. While the Royal Marines fought on the coast, the Imperial soldiery dug in at Memphis and other forts along the big river. This left a large amount of territory open and undefended against Prussian invaders. The governer of Franklin called upon the Colonial Yeomanry to slow the advance of the Prussian army and defend at opportunity places that might be held against the hun and the communist.

Despite his wife’s protests, von Richter assembled his tools and and the latest automobile he had been building. As the Yeomanry assembled at Fort Loudon, von Richter stayed constantly busy. There were dozens of auto-carriages, heavy trucks and even a few honest to god Liechester armored cars. They all needed the attention of a good mechanist, not just pot-welding and hammer-kisses. With his tools in hand and goggles covering his eyes, he worked long hours proofing and checking boilers, mending torn condensers, repairing bent push rods, and replaced gears with broken teeth and cams with damaged blocks.

After three weeks of assembling, the 1st Franklin Yeomanry was dispatched to Aardmore County in the southern most part of the state. The Prussians had sent a battalion of infantry to capture what they could and bring back supplies for the Prussian war machine. Rumors ran wild that the Prussian had a Land Battleship in New Orleans and were steaming up the floodplain, guns blazing and destroying every fort for miles around. There was some trepidation, but once the Yeomanry reached Aardmore they found several hundred infantry and a few dozen trucks and horse wagons.

The Battle of Pulaski
We came down the hill, full heads of steam going. We were hardly armed at that point. The car drivers had riflemen shooting from the passenger seats, attempts at armor were made with sheets of boiler plate, a few grenades were thrown. We won, but it was ugly. As many of theirs were killed by bumpers and friendly fire as were shot by gunners and riflemen. Half our cars were put out of action, and two of the Liechesters brewed up after being hit by handbombs. We learned some blood hard lessons.

Pvt. Jeffery Jackson, 1st Franklin Yeomanry

The Battle of Pulaski was pivotal for von Richter. Having been struck by two bullets and shrapnel from a grenade, he was almost killed and spent two months in recovery. sitting in a hospital bed in Fort Loudon, he drew up war machines, improvements from what he learned at Pulaski. When he came out of the hospital he went to the machinist’s shop and started working.

von Richter’s Miniature Land Battleship
Seeing something with potential, the quartermaster at the fort gave von Richter the things he needed while he worked on the new vehicle. Two forward axles, two rear axles, a pair of steam boilers since no single boiler large enough could be found, and other things went into the vehicle. Progress was swift as von Richter, prone to insomnia, had spent a great deal of time working out problems while the vehicle was still on paper. When she was done, the vehicle was a brute. With twin boilers pushing nearly 120 horse power, the vehicle was robust enough to sport a good deal of armor plate. the side armor could stop a basic anti-tank rifle at point blank range. The frontal armor could take a cannon round and not give. Her guns were a mish-mash of barrels. The top gun, mounted on a steam swivel was a standard Two-Pounder of good make. The front of the vehicle mounted a 75mm howitzer, welded on as an afterthought. A pair of Maxim machine guns fitted the sides of the vehicle, each with a dedicated gunner.

The Battle of Sequoia Hill
Overlooking the Sequoia valley, the Sequoia Steam-plant provided electrovoltaic power for incandesant lamps electro-welders. The Prussians were advancing, three brigades of infantry and two companies of assorted armored cars and trucks. The rumors of a Land Battleship had been propaganda posted by the Prussians. The ship seen in New Orleans was a wooden scaffolding, a fake. The 1st Yeomanry held the hill, thier ranks reinforced with a detachment of Imperial army troops and an artillery squad of three 25 pounder field pieces. von Richter’s Land Destroyer, as it had been deemed, was in the vangard.

We went in, guns blazing. Every ten seconds or so that big howitzer in the front would make a big bang, then there would be screaming. Nothing like a shotgun shell the size of a coffee canister, it was hell and glory I tell you what. The maxims chattered non-stop, and the bloke at the Two-pounder could pop a gin bottle off of a tree stump and not leave a mark on the stump with that gun. We popped ‘em good. It was hell and steam the whole way. Ever so often there would be a big blast from the steam whistle and we would lurch ahead. God, I can still remember the way bones sound breaking under the Destroyer’s wheels.

The Battle was a route for the Prussian soldiers, fear ran through the ranks. No one expected to find a miniature Land Battleship in Franklin, it wasnt that important of a region. The Destroyer took a round to the forward axle and lost tires and steering, and halfway through the battle was forced to stop driving forward. Rather than retreat, the Destroyer stood her ground, von Richter trading his seat at the driving controls to take up position with a rifle, shooting through the driver’s view slit.

Special Equipment
von Richter has a variety of items that are close at hand. The most important of these are a full set of tools for working on steam boilers and external combustion engines. He also has a number of automobiles, ranging from derelicts stalked for replacement parts to beasts like the destroyer Landship.

Roleplaying Notes
America Divided
The Colonies refers to the New England states, East Coast and Mid-west region. Louisiana refers to a parcel of terrain resembling the Louisiana Purchase, rather than the modern state. Spain still owns mexico, Florida, and some of the Gulf Coast region. Texas and California stand as heavily armed seperatist nations, and most consider it just a matter of time before one power or another desires their land enough to take it. Most of the central region of the continent, and Canada are retained by the Indian Nations. They gained access to better firearms and organization and were able to resist warfare and relocation by the white man. Franklin was an alternate name for the state of Tennessee, the proposal to name the state in honor of Benjamin Franklin was declined.

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Comments ( 4 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

November 29, 2008, 10:37
Updated: Also, done and out with you.
Voted Siren no Orakio
November 29, 2008, 18:16
Only voted
Voted valadaar
December 2, 2008, 12:43
Cool Scras!

Only note on Canada - while there were battles the original French colonists in Canada had a less violent start then the english in the US- there was a great deal of peaceful trading and assimilation between them. The French even had Indian allies when fighting (and eventually losing) against the English. Of course it was not all sugar and spice
A powerful Meties nation (part french/part aboriginal) would be more 'realistic' for your alternate Canada, and other then that would change very little.
Voted Ouroboros
December 2, 2008, 17:15
Now THIS is steampunk! Solid historical base, tongue in cheek and expert penmanship.

Oh, and the "Colonial Yeomanry"? Consider it stolen...:-)

Welcome back, Scras!



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