The Legendary Colonel Randolph Simmons
The thought process of a great commander before a decisive battle.
|Colonel Randolph Simmons reviewed his troops. Brave lads every one of them. He was about to order his one hundred and twenty man regiment to advance for the second time today. The first attempt ended with near disastrous results. His flanking attack was nearly cut off by the enemy’s cavalry. Luckily, or more likely due to his legendary strategic prowess, he had positioned his artillery division on the high ground to the north of the enemy line. The Colonel quickly ordered the artillery to fire suppressing rounds from their cannons when he observed the pending rout.
The cannons made tremendous earth shaking booms. The exploding shells fell well short of the charging steeds, but the noise and smoke were enough to frighten and confuse the horses and their riders. The tactic gave him enough time to sound the retreat. His men returned and retrenched in the same muddy holes they had dug weeks earlier.
He was now prepared to try again. His men, he knew because a superb commander knows his men, were ready to go. His scouts informed him that the enemy was at least three hundred and fifty strong. They also reported that their supplies were low and were experiencing hunger, desertions and low morale.
It was time to stage an offensive strike. They had been on the defensive for too long and his men were beginning to get restless. They had spent the last two weeks conducting small skirmishes resulting in an unbreakable and unbearable stalemate.
He leaned back against the rough bark of an old Hickory tree and summarized, in his brilliantly tactical mind, the strengths and weaknesses of both armies. The enemy out numbered his, but they were weakened by their poor logistical support. His men were well fed, well clothed and well armed. The enemy knew this too by now. He made sure of it by staging an escape of one of his POWs so that he would report back to his superiors about the generous rations he was given. He was certain the story would spread like a wild fire through the entire enemy camp, adding to their already poor morale. No rumor spreads faster through a group of hungry men than a rumor about food. Yes, he was confident they were ready.
Colonel Simmons galloped along the front line for the last review of his troops. He made certain he knew each one by name because there was nothing more reassuring to the common soldier than for his commander to address him by his name before battle. They’re all in position, he thought. They would wait for his signal. No one dared fire before ordered. He had drilled that into them long before the campaign began. Now was the time for all the training to come to fruition. He raised his arm. The battle would begin upon its descent.
“Randy, its dinner time.”
"Oh Mom. OK, just a minute.”
Colonel Randolph Simmons dropped his arm and brushed his soldiers back into their box. Brave lads every one of them.
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