You may recall a bulletin issued by the command centre at Molineux on 22 November 2010 which described the desperate plight of the chatelaine, Lady Wulfruna. Beset on all sides by legions of enemies and suffering damaging defeats against inferior forces, her army was in complete disarray. She looked doomed.
Even her camp-followers were becoming restless, querying the tactical acumen of Molineux`s military commander [MMc] and complaining about the poor quality of the troops. All hope centred on a relief column, but that was over a month`s march away and wouldn`t even set out if the castle`s governor refused to open the war chest to pay for the men.
Four months later the siege continues and her troops are still struggling to break out of the mire that surrounds Castle Molineux. However, Lady Wulfruna`s fortunes have improved a little, as her band of men have edged their way back from their former exposed position. While reinforcements did not arrive in any great number in January, two star Sandhurst cadets did manage to slip through the siege-lines: a gunner capable of lobbing cannonballs into the heart of the enemy camp and a mid-battlefield general.
Moreover, the discovery of tactical manuals, written by Field Marshal Cullis in the 1950s, which explained in large letters the fundamentals of attack and defence, had a galvanizing effect on the troops. Extra shooting practice helped too. Not only did the garrison begin to repel the probing attacks of the besiegers but at times its soldiers were able to sally forth and inflict defeats on their tormenters, occasionally at their own castles.
One soldier – trooper Jarvis – even joined the praetorian guard of England`s land forces in their upcoming attack on Wales and the defence of the capital against the Ghanaian invaders.
As the defenders of Molineux have grown in strength and confidence, the morale of the opposing forces has faltered, making them more vulnerable to a surprise attack. Numbers have melted away, looking for less well-defended fortresses elsewhere. As a result, three of the neighbouring castles have come under fire. Indeed, detachments from Molineux have made two sorties themselves: in one of them the troops overran the enemy and in the other they only narrowly failed to achieve outright victory.
At the same time key soldiers, injured in previous skirmishes, have recovered from their wounds and have returned to the field of battle. Captain Henry is once more directing operations from his redoubt in the middle. Troopers Kightly and Hunt will soon be outflanking the enemy from the wing, while foot soldiers, Mancienne and Guedioura, will be joining their platoon in the trenches.
If it weren`t for the injuries suffered by bombardiers Edwards and Zubar in action, the battle-hardened army would be up to full-strength. Confidence is therefore high in the camp and the troops are building up to the final offensive, scheduled to end on Saturday 14 May in time for a victory parade the following week.