Dreihumpe, though absolutely not legally being formally in command of the defenders of this bastion, is nevertheless still out on its battlements. The captain cannot sleep. This is lucky given that most of the sentries, worn out by extended games of skittles, seem already in a metaphorical sense to have passed through the customs checks to the Land of Nod.
Dreihumpe listens intently. Though the night is still, save for the snores of the sentries, the captain is worried, a worry that is clearly unsettling to the soldier next to him.
'I just can't sleep, sir.' he says.
'Strangely, my good fellow, as you are posted here as a sentry I find that I am less sympathetic than you might wish.' replies Dreihumpe. 'An enemy attack is imminent. No investment of the fortress can commence until they have seized this position first.'
'I can't see anything, sir. It's so dark.'
'Nevertheless, soldier: I feel the enemy's presence.'
'You feel their presents? Is it Christmas? What have they got?'
Dreihumpe sighs. If it were not for the fact that they lacked opposable thumbs, he has a strong feeling that a flock of ducks might make better guardians of this bastion than the musketeers absolutely not under his command here. Also, of course, the ducks would have to be paid more.
'No,' replies the captain. 'What I mean is that the enemy are near. They will attack soon.'
Dreihumpe can't actually see the soldier pull a face, but he senses it.
'But sir, they won't be coming for a while yet. It's night. They can't see.'
'Indeed, soldier - they can't see: which means also that?'
There is a pause. Dreihumpe also senses, rather than sees, the sentry pull his 'thinking' face, an expression probably quite similar to the one that he uses when he is sleeping. 'Well, sir - it means that ... that ... they can't easily play billiards?'
'No,' replies Dreinhumpe patiently, 'if they can't see because it's dark, it means that we ... ?'
'Can't easily play billiards either?'
'No,' says Dreihumpe, 'no. It means that we will not be able to see them advance towards ... Wait!' The captain holds his breath and listens. There is nothing. Then, just out of sight, in the gloom can be heard a hissed exchange of words. 'This is strangling me! This is no way to carry a ladder.'
'Alarm!' shouts Dreihumpe. 'Alarm! To arms! To arms! Or rather, I mean that if I were in command of this position I would highly recommend that any garrison that was in this vicinity should man the walls!'
The enemy are attempting to storm the bastion!
Colonel Ernst Leopold von Rheinfunkt, victor of the storming of Fort Gertrude, is once again in command of the attackers. Using the dark to his advantage, he has advanced his force to a position just out of sight of the defenders, and so just out of range especially of any defending cannon. The Gelderland assault force consists of two companies of pandurs, equipped with ladders, a company of jager, and six companies of musketeers. (Above) One company of the irregulars approaches from the left. The other will advance from the right, with the jagers in the centre to provide support. The pandurs, recruited by Gelderland from those balkan mercenaries not competent enough to find employment in the European armies of the Seven Years War, struggle forwards with their ladders. Rheinfunkt does not have high hopes for this portion of his assault. The qualifications required to be a balkan pandur in the armies of Austria or Prussia are not high - a basic competence with a knife; the ability to set fire to things; and the capacity to put on one's own britches. Actually, even the last of these generally is marked down as 'desirable' rather than 'essential'. The Gelderland irregulars thus are not perhaps the most competent or experienced troops. Most have struggled to come to terms with the concept of ladders, or, indeed, how they should best be operated.
Still, they might occupy the attentions of the defending garrison whilst the main element of the attacking force deploys. (Above) On the extreme left, three companies of musketeers in close column hurry through the dark, staying out of sight of the defending cannon. (Below) on the Gelderland right, another column comprised of the balance of the regular infantry also advance as swiftly as they can. The task of both columns is to sweep behind the bastion and then form a firing line. Rheinfunkt hopes that his force from this position will be able to sweep with fire the unprotected rear of the Imperial Fenwick defences.
In Fort Pippin, Captain-Governor Schroedinger-Skatt is woken with an urgent message.
'My lord Captain-Governor - the enemy are trying to storm our outer bastion!'
'What?' replies Schroedinger blearily, taking off his night cap.
'Sentries report the sounds of fighting! The enemy are attacking using ladders and small arms!'
'Small arms?' says the Governor, climbing out of his bed. 'Well - that'll certainly make it more difficult for them to get up the ladders.'
'A night attack sir - they are relying on surprise.'
The governor grunts. 'The fools - it'll never work.'
'Well, it might work, sir.'
'Well of course it might work. That's a given.'