In memory of my mothers Christmas tree I have decided to call my muster of toy soldiers on parade, the Tannenbaum Collection. I will flesh out a small European kingdom for them and develop a background story. I will post updates on the blog frontpage but will keep background information here. I hope you enjoy reading about my tiny Kingdom of Tannenbaum nestled high in the Alps and perhaps one day someone somewhere may stumble upon these pages and be inspired as well.
A. Jeff Butler
General of Toy Soldiers
THE KINGDOM OF TANNENBAUM
The tiny kingdom of Tannenbaum is nestled high in the Alps. It is bordered on three and a quarter sides by Switzerland, while the remainder is bordered by the Principality of Liechtenstein. The Prince of Liechtenstein has traditionally opposed the Kingdom of Tannenbaum in everything as the prince eyes our tiny kingdom with great envy. Perhaps it is because our lands are a little more than half his own and yet our monarch styles himself King. Perhaps it is our excellent wines, cheeses, sausages and clocks? Perhaps our secret gold mine discovered in the 18th century? But more likely the Prince of Liechtenstein is jealous of the great love the people of Tannenbaum have for their royal family. Tannenbaum though tiny is known throughout Europe for its perceived wealth. It is said that even the poorest commoner of Tannenbaum eats better than many European nobles.
The King of Tannenbaum is HRH Klaus Vater von Weihnachten. His Queen is HRH Alice Maud Mary of England, the daughter of Queen Victoria. Klaus was crowned King in 1851 at the age of 18. Tannenbaum is approximately 47 square miles with a population of 21,001. It is almost entirely situated on mountains in the Alps. Its capital city is Weihnachten. Other towns and villages are Weinkeller, Sankt Nikolas, Nordpol, Rentier Village, and Weihnachtfust.
The royal family resides in the Winterschloss overlooking the capital. Each week night before dusk the Royal Army Ensemble marches out from its barracks and plays 3 songs, two marches, one in and one back and while at the foot of the Winterschloss they play the national anthem "O Tannenbaum."
|The Winterschloss, ancestral home of the Weihnachten Royal Family.|
The monarchs of Tannenbaum have been great patrons of the Army. Tannenbaum is considered to practically be impregnable. Its geography is ideally suited to defense. Even Napoleon for all his military genius couldn't conquer Tannenbaum. Eventually Napoleon secured diplomatic protocols with Tannenbaum which guaranteed the tiny kingdoms autonomy and security within the neutral state of Switzerland. Legend has it that an officer of the Tannenbaum Royal Army snuck into the French camp in an occupied Swiss village. He then entered Napoleons quarters while he slept and left a bucket of coal with a note attached from the King. Seeing how easily his life could have been taken but instead was gifted with a bucket of coal to warm his room, Napoleon found a new respect for the King and people of Tannenbaum. Napoleon and his aides were convinced the Tannenbaum officer must have come down the chimney in his room and must have been a tiny man. The contents of the Kings letter have never been revealed. However that same year Napoleon dined with the Tannenbaum royal family on Christmas night at the Winterschloss.
It is a common saying in Tannenbaum that every single Tannebaume serves the Royal Army. The expression has some truth to it in that the Army touches almost every aspect of society. Being a small state with a small population able bodied folk are expected to serve in the militia. Whether a young maiden mending uniforms, or elderly men crafting bullets.
Maps of Tannenbaum.
|Tannenbaum in white to show its position between Switzerland, Austria and Liechtenstein.|
|Local map of Liechtenstein and Tannenbaum.|
Some notable units of the Royal Army are.......
The Old Guard known for their 18th century style uniforms and their precision military drills. The Old Guard serves as one part of the local defense of the capital city of Weihnachten and are the first line of defense at the Winterschloss.
The Noble Guard is comprised of the sons and daughters of noble families from Tannenbaum and England. The Noble Guard routinely mounts security escorts for the Crown.
The Tannenbaum Militia Kompanies are all-volunteer units of commoners whom elect their own officers and serve their own duty schedule in areas of their choosing. However once each militia company determines its design it submits its charter to the King and the militia falls under the command of the local military commander for that area. Some militia companies have matching uniforms made by each member, others wear nothing more than their common work clothes. While uniforms from across Europe can be found worn by militia members whom once saw service in the great armies of Europe. Some militia companies have been awarded special status within the Kingdom based upon past service. A good example of the TMK is the Nordpol Irregulars, they serve the 1st and 3rd Monday & Tuesday of each month. Half the kompany on the 1st the other half on the 3rd. They conduct surveillance and watch patrols from Nordpol to various points along the border with Liechtenstein.
The Darkwald Watch a special kompany of jaegers handpicked for their forest and fighting skills. The Watch is generally the first to spot trouble from an enemy Liechtensteiner or other hostile force.
The Crown Guard another special kompany of handpicked men known for their fighting prowess and impeccable fortitude. While they have the latest 1866 model needle gun rifles at their disposal the preferred weapon of the Crown Guard is the halberd. The Crown Guard is known for their colourful late medieval era uniforms and weapons.
The Winter Guard is the backbone of the Royal Army; the main fighting force. Its members come from all backgrounds of Tannenbaum & Swiss society. Members receive basic military training with the Swiss Army during their first 3 months of service, then spend the next 6 months in service to Switzerland. After their Swiss service period the soldiers report home to the Royal Army for the remainder of their oath period and become indoctrinated into the Winter Guard. Note that Swiss service in the Winter Guard is voluntary whereas every Tannenbaum male owes service to the Crown upon reaching maturity. After their first oath period soldiers of the Winter Guard may apply to join other units of the Royal Army or the Swiss Army.
The Übersee-Schutztruppe is the protection force at all Tannenbaum embassies and consulates as well as officially the overseas military arm of the Royal Army though it has never been deployed in that capacity. That may change as the Crown is quietly considering the purchase of colonies in Afrika and China.
The Knights of Saint Nikolas are a special company of Royal Army volunteers that serve alongside the Knights of Malta and the Red Cross to bring ambulance and field medic services to most Western forces engaged against those of the East.