18 Royal Guards Assessmen
After a strenuous meeting with his Father and the Prime Minister, Frederick managed to secure additional funding and the full support of the treasury towards his reorganisation of the Royal Forces. His Father trusted Erhart immensely and without Erhart's support for Frederick's ideas, the outcome would have most likely been very different.
"Erhart, thank you for your help."
"No need, Your Highness, your ideas are much needed for the advancement of our forces. It is quite surprising that you were able to come up with such an arrangement." Erhart replied sincerely.
"Well, I read quite a few books and had Phillip look into the various militaries across Agenor and Pruse has not been keeping their military structure a secret either."
"Umm, Your Highness, what are we to do with the remaining Royal Guards? Now that the colonels and captains have all been dispatched elsewhere… who will manage them?" Erhart asked warily.
"Haha, no need to stress Erhart, I left this job to you. Now that the garrison has been sent off to undergo retraining, I am going to need you to put the Royal Guards to work. We will have them supplement the garrison and ensure that there are no holes in our defences. I will leave the details to you, oh, also reorganise the Guards into the new arrangements. We can't have everyone else working hard, while you slack off." Frederick laughed good naturedly.
Erhart merely smiled in amusement, "Very well, Your Highness, leave it to me. Oh, do you think they will really be able to turn the garrison into soldiers worthy of the Royal Guard?"
"I will consider it a success, so long as sixty percent of them are up to standard, after all it takes almost two years to train a Royal Guard. Fortunately, most of these garrison soldiers already have the basics down, so six months should be doable."
Every year the Erlitz Military College held an admissions test for positions in the Royal Guards. The sole purpose of the military college was to create Royal Guards, every guard was able to read, write, shoot both bows and guns as well as fight both mounted and on their own two feet. They were the pride of the nation. As a result, many would seek to enter its prestigious ranks.
It had been the culmination of almost a century of work by Frederick's great-grandfather and grandfather to lay the foundations for the ten thousand strong Royal Guards. In fact, the college if it was given some more resources could train up to three thousand new guards each year. Currently, it only trained half of that.
The only reason Frederick chose to set the deadline at six months was because these garrison soldiers could all already shoot and fight, at least to a satisfactory enough level to enter the Royal Guards. The majority of the time spent in the next six months, in his opinion would be on making them literate and instilling discipline.
Frederick would use this opportunity to raise the literacy rate of the population. It could also serve as a template on what worked and what would not, in fact he would gain a whole new batch of teachers should he need them in the future.
Six months later, Frederick once again stood on the stage before the parade grounds. The scene before him was vastly different to the previous time. Rows and rows of men stood, they were still and quiet. Well, by his estimates about eighty percent of them were. It seemed the brigadiers and colonels had been very enthusiastic about their new positions.
Frederick walked down from the stage in order to inspect these new Royal Guards. After all, he needed to ensure his guards were familiar with what he looked like. Plus, he was a little curious about whether they had truly changed or not.
Wendel, Jeff and his division were formed up nicely. It seemed the entire division had been well disciplined, what should have been the weakest, meanest or dumbest had been transformed in the last six months. They all stood still, staring straight ahead. It was an impressive sight and Frederick could not help but whistle in appreciation. The sound did not escape the nervous Wendel and Jeff who both let out a sigh of relief. Frederick laughed in happiness. He too was relieved that his plan had not failed completely.
The next groups were the regiments led by a newly promoted brigadier general each. Of the ten of them eight of them scored full marks, while one of them had a score of ninety out of a hundred. However, the last one only barely scraped Frederick's pass rate, with a sixty-one. The scores were all simple mental assessments by Frederick and were rather arbitrary. But he still made sure to warn the brigadier general that he was a little disappointed in him and that the brigadier general needed to up his game or in the next assessment in three months he might be punished.
Frederick took this opportunity to inform everyone present that every three months, there would be an assessment. For now, it would merely be the basics, but he hoped in time he could turn it into full scale simulations. After all, it would do them no good to have no experience whatsoever about the battlefield. It was all well and good to know about something but actually experiencing something firsthand was invaluable.
The brigadier general merely nodded and started sweating nervously. Frederick paid him no further attention as he moved over to the colonels and their brigades. Of the twenty of them, fifteen scored full marks, while five of them scored eighty. Frederick was surprised at how well the college had trained these Royal Guards, after all, they had managed to take what they had learnt and teach others in such a short period of time. Of course, Frederick did not bother to test them on their literacy and merely assessed them on their discipline, the way they held themselves and whether there was any resentment in their eyes.
In time he would, or he would have others develop a more scientific approach, but for now it met his purpose. He walked back onto the stage and congratulated everyone present.
"Soldiers of Erlitz, today you have made me very proud. Six months ago, I stood here, and I watched in despair at the sad state you were in. Yet here before me today are new men. New men who understand the weight on their shoulders, the duties they need to fulfil. Men who have purpose, men who can reason and men who can listen. Listen well, my soldiers. From this day forth you will be my Royal Guard. Hold your head high. Be proud of your country. Erlitz needs you. Hold fast to your faith and Erlitz will never desert you. This I promise, as the heir to this great nation."
"Yes, Your Highness!" they all shouted in unison as they saluted with heads held high. Frederick looked at these eager faces. He made sure to remember everyone of them and to never betray their trust.
Frederick crossed the Erlangen Bridge that connected Erlangen with the Royal Palace. He looked up at the imposing walls surrounding what was essentially an island. Over the many years, Frederick's forefathers had expanded the moat surrounding the Palace many times until it eventually became more of a river than a moat. It currently spanned almost two hundred meters wide and cut off the Palace from the rest of the city. It was a beautiful slice of paradise in the hectic bustle of a Capital city with more than a million inhabitants.
Although Frederick had not been in this world for long, this body and its memories made him feel that this Palace was truly his home. He had accepted that he would never be able to return to his old world. Instead he had made sure to keep moving forward and make the most of this life.
Frederick knew that as soon as he stepped inside the Palace, trouble would continue to come at him thick and fast. It was as the saying went, when it rains it pours.