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Thread: Fire Warms the Northern Lands -- A Prussian AAR

  1. #21
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    From the Personal Diary of Erwin von Kauperke, Prime Minister of Prussia, and later Federal Chancellor of the Kaiserreich

    June 7th, 1839 -- News from London created great excitement in the court today. It now seems certain that, unless the Chinese provide some substantial dispensation, the United Kingdom will go to war in Canton (Guangzhou). I discussed with the King today what opportunities this might afford for Prussia. We have been seeking ways to support the textiles industry in Dortmund, which is now turning out garments of the finest order. However, direct access to the silk trade would be of great benefit. Our attempts to smuggle the industry out of China has resulted in nothing more than a lot of dead worms. Apparently, they do not like our climate, and for this reason Europeans are increasingly interested in maintaining links along the Chinese and Cochin coasts.

    July 9th, 1839 -- Queen Victoria stood on principle today and declared war upon China. Generally, the turmoil there has been outrageous, but now there is word that British merchants (and very likely Prussian as well) have been the subjects of arson and murder. If they will go, then we are of the opinion that Prussia should go as well. We will assemble three divisions as an expeditionary force to land in the south of China. Our primary goal will be the large island of Hainan, and perhaps some territory on the mainland nearby. From there, we will gauge our prospects and act accordingly. Granted, our army is not as strong as it should be to undertake foreign adventures, and we are watching with no little concern as Piedmont gobbles up parts of Italy. But we foresee no immediate threats to our state other than the slowly strangling financial vice. We feel this may be a worthy remedy for our malaise.

    Last edited by Rensslaer; 19-07-2004 at 22:46.

  2. #22
    GunslingAAR coz1's Avatar
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    War with the Chinese, eh? Interesting. Good luck and pick up a nice little coastal province to boast about at home.
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  3. #23
    I'm enjoying this AAR. I think the Kaiser needs a Hawaiian resort.

  4. #24
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    When Prussia declared war on China in October of 1839, the British (whose declaration preceded ours by three months) had still not apparently arrived (in truth, they were at that moment fighting through from British India, and their ships would appear offshore soon after Prussia began the coastal fight). In November, three Prussian divisions effected landings on the island of Hainan and on the Zhanjiang Peninsula. By January of 1840, all three provinces were under the control of Prussian troops, and our armies started moving north into the nearby mainland provinces. Soon, Jiangmen was ours as well.

    It became apparent that if we were to make a good game of this, that reinforcements would be needed. Another three divisions set out from Prussia.

    By March, these Chinese provinces proved remarkably difficult to hold. Often, an army would secure an area, and within weeks find that a sizeable army of peasants had risen up and were threatening to retake the province! Such an army threw Prussian troops entirely out of Sanya Province in April, and they were not able to fully recapture this area until November. This instability required the perpetual (during, as well as after the war) garrisoning of Hainan and the other southern conquests.

    In April, Prussian armies were approaching the great city of Canton (Guangzhou), where the trouble with the British had started. However, before they could enter the city the British (who had recently landed north of the city) had captured the area and made it clear that this province was under their control. Not having anything to say to this, the 3rd Corps redirected to the east where other armies were attempting to secure other territories.

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  5. #25
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    Major Stefan Krohn regarded it as very odd -- and lamentable -- that he was spending Christmas of 1839 in a place where one was forced to seek the shelter of a thatch hut so that one could merely sweat, rather than burn. He was very much looking forward to this evening’s dinner, at Reverend Breitenfeld’s cottage. There, he could perhaps forget his misfortune amidst a modest European style dinner.

    Breitenfeld led him outside once more, into the blazing sun and suffocating humidity. It was the deep of summer in Samoa, Krohn could never avoid being aware.

    “This, Herr Major... Is this the quality you require?” Breitenfeld had taken a length of sturdy rope from a dark-as-night villager, and held it up for Krohn’s inspection.

    Krohn looked skeptically at the smiling craftsman before examining the rope. Indeed, this seemed to be a fine rope, perhaps better than typical Army standard in Prussia. “This is a length of rag,” he said to the reverend, “I hope he’s not expecting a high price for these ropes.”

    Taken aback for a moment, Breitenfeld assured Krohn, “All native products will seem a bargain compared to what you would find in Europe. These are not sophisticated people.” After a moment’s contemplation, he added, “In fact, he cannot understand a word you are saying, so...”

    “He can understand my tone of voice,” Krohn fixed Breitenfeld with an almost derisive stare. Did he actually enjoy spending time with these savages? Perhaps he had gone a bit native. “I don’t intend to pay more than I absolutely have to. This is the King’s money, and it’s not my job to transfer more than I must to... unsophisticates.” He glanced again at the negroid, whose smile had gone a bit slack.

    Count von Kauperke had commissioned Krohn to travel the targeted Polynesian islands, find a location for a central Prussian outpost, and make ready the necessities of building it. The war in China, and the anticipation of the island of Hainan soon becoming a center for Prussian commerce, had embued the effort to colonize Polynesia with renewed importance. Krohn had decided that the best choice for a new settlement would be the island of Fidji, and it was his intention to build a small fort there. Now he knew he could purchase locally-produced ropes and other materials, avoiding the trouble and expense of shipping quantities from home for construction in the nearby islands.

    Shouts and whoops suddenly drew their attention toward the beach. “The boat from our visiting ship is landing,” Breitenfeld explained. “That’s quite a treat, as you can imagine.” They had discussed earlier how Samoa was occasionally visited by foreign clippers in addition to the regular six-monthly visit of a Prussian vessel. He claimed to have seen a French, a British, two American and even one Japanese ship over the past four years. Naturally, considering Prussia’s interest in these islands, that was of some concern. The sleek clipper that had appeared in the channel this morning was American.

    The rope forgotten, both men instinctively headed for the shore. Five men began wading in from the boat as a dozen natives splashed into the water to help unload supplies. Three of the white men were sailors. Ratings, to Krohn’s eye. The fourth man wore a casual tropical outfit, and the fifth... The fifth wore what Krohn could only assume were cowboy’s chaps, with a hat to match.

    As Europeans, Krohn and the reverend drew immediate attention from the two Americans. They introduced themselves as Bret Gibbs, a rancher, and Steven Cramer, an American businessman.

    “We had heard there was a Lutheran mission here,” Cramer said. “We wanted to drop by and get to know you... Set up some arrangements for trade.”

    Breitenfeld was about to continue, conversationally. Krohn cut him off with an interrogatory. “From where will you be trading?”

    The rancher caught the edge in Krohn’s voice. Cramer, ever the diplomat, ignored it. “We’ve set up a new trading post at Palmyra Atoll – it’s approximately between here and the Sandwich Islands. Bret has a small ranch in the Sandwiches, and I convinced him that between the two of us we could combine his ranch and a few scattered trading posts into some very good business.”

    “Palmyra?” Krohn repeated... He knew exactly where Palmyra was. “I had no idea there was an American outpost so near. That is quite an... exciting surprise.” He smiled widely, breaking the mood.

    “Won’t you please join us this evening for a traditional Chrismas dinner?” Breitenfeld invited, finally.

    “We would be most delighted,” Cramer said brightly. “Much appreciated, parson,” Gibbs echoed.
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  6. #26
    Wow the Prussian Empire is becoming a force to be reconed with. Great job in Africa and its interesting to see you in China.

  7. #27
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    So the invasion of China was a success, it seems. Taiwan appeared to be solidly yours. That should help in the event there is further unrest on the mainland. And humorous that the British waited for you to land for them to do the same. And I very much like how you explained the colonization going on in the Pacific. Nice, very nice. Keep up the great work.
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  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by coz1
    So the invasion of China was a success, it seems. Taiwan appeared to be solidly yours. That should help in the event there is further unrest on the mainland. And humorous that the British waited for you to land for them to do the same. And I very much like how you explained the colonization going on in the Pacific. Nice, very nice. Keep up the great work.
    Thanks to everyone for stopping by! This is quite fun. I may have to dig out my Imperial Argentina campaign (HOI) for an AAR.

    We do seem to be going after quite a few islands, eh? I guess it hadn't struck me before. That means I need a fleet, right?

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  9. #29
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    In August 1840, the Prussians combating in China were upset to learn that (in June, the delay owing to nearly 3 months distance from Prussia by sea) their beloved King Friedrich Wilhelm III had passed away. Kronprinz Ludwig, the King’s eldest living son, became King Wilhelm I at the age of 43.

    In China, two factors conspired to limit Prussian effectiveness north of Hainan. The Chinese armies were enormous, were easily reinforced or replaced, and as replacing casualties was difficult for Prussian armies in this far off land, it became increasingly challenging to contend with the waves of ill equipped but spirited Chinese troops. Secondly, the British had transported a far larger army for the task, and their armies quickly took all of the provinces along the northern Prussian perimeter. In the end, this was recognized as a blessing, as it prevented China from threatening Prussian holdings directly.

    Thus foiled in his attempts to expand upon early Prussian victories, General von Halberstam turned his attention to the island of Formosa, off the eastern coast of China. Initially landing in June 1841, Prussian troops had secured the entire island with little resistance by the beginning of January 1842. Skirting to the north of the British line of advance, in March Halberstam attempted to seize another valuable area of the Chinese coast at Ningbo. Soon, Prussian divisions were advancing into Hangchow (Hangzhou) and Wenchow (Wenzhou). The map below describes the situation as it was on 1 August, 1842.



    As Prussian commanders battled inland during the summer of 1842, Halberstam directed a turn to the north, toward Shanghai. It was then that he suffered his first reverse in battle (as opposed to irregulars behind the lines). Before they could close on Shanghai, Prussian troops encountered yet another massive force, with scouts reporting other large armies closing in from other directions. His troops retreated in good order, and fell back upon Ningbo.

    In August, the Chinese Emperor had a message delivered, offering to make a separate peace with Prussia. He would cede the island of Hainan, and the Zhanjiang Peninsula – the exact three provinces Halberstam had been instructed to take for Prussia. General von Halberstam accepted the peace offer on behalf of Prussia, and was soon busying himself reassigning troops to put down the last of the rebellions in what was now the Prussian colony of Hainan.



    Meanwhile, as British and Chinese troops battled in China, nearby Annam had begun persecuting and murdering Christians. As a devout Lutheran, King Wilhelm I was very concerned and angry at the situation. However, his troops were hard enough pressed in China and he felt it would be best to shepherd resources for other challenges. It seemed the United Kingdom intended action, and was fully capable of restoring order in that country. As can be seen from period maps, they did succeed in occupying large parts of Annam, too.

    King Wilhelm was excited and impressed by the news from China. He was understanding of the military situation, and realized that strategically, the position they now held was far more secure than it would have been otherwise. Besides, while General von Halberstam was occupied in China, Wilhelm and von Kauperke had been drafting other urgent plans. Indeed, they had never intended a three-year war.

    Along with a congratulatory letter and prizes, Halberstam received a set of sealed orders from His Majesty…
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  10. #30
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    From the Personal Diary of Erwin von Kauperke, Prime Minister of Prussia, and later Federal Chancellor of the Kaiserreich

    July 8th, 1841 -- It was always Prussia’s intention -- as part of my plan for empire -- to acquire a colony in Ifni, and to extend our influence from there inland, in order to stake a claim to the iron ore deposits known to exist some distance inland. Today, word came that Kapitan Ehrlichman, whom I had personally sent with instructions to scout and plan for commercial expansion toward the iron deposits, found a Spanish Don already having employed some dozens of local laborers to construct a Spanish outpost where we had meant to have ours. In light of our pressing need for more iron ore reserves, there was some heated discussion in cabinet of how this could have happened. Eventually we recalled that this exploit was at the top of our list (the very top!) until we received the unwelcome news that the Americans were expanding their trading empire into the Polynesian islands, where we had hoped to exert a sphere of influence. In light of that realization, our efforts became wholly concerted upon the Pacific islands. Indeed, we are now establishing outposts on no fewer than four of these islands, additional to our mission in Samoa. But the Spanish have stolen a march on us in northern Africa, and our position is the worse for it. Now, we can only redouble our efforts to complete the colonization of the eastern Pacific, and to establish colonies in Yebouti, Namibia and Borneo... subject to financial constraints, as always. Sulphur seems our most constant worry. We shall soon have a supply from the remote island of Samoa. And we may eventually have some hope if we stake a claim in Borneo. However, if we cannot even convince Mainz to sell their sulphur to us rather than to the British or French, then we will no doubt remain frustrated for some years. I cannot but feel that more drastic action is required to break ourselves free from our dependence on an unavailable commodity.
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  11. #31
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    Such as perhaps....war with Spain??
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  12. #32
    Great Job in China. I think they took a good deal there.

    So the Spanish are next on "The List" eh. Those crazy boogers are always trying to take over everything.

    Good Luck in the Pacific.

  13. #33
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    Date, the 8th Day of November, the Year of our Lord, 1842

    To the Attention of His Excellency in Seiner Majestats Service, the Lord General Erich von Halberstam

    My Dearest General,

    You have acquitted yourself exceptionally in the war in China, and your accomplishments give sterling testament to the superior warfaring skills with which you are known by Us to be well endowed.

    Were it possible, I should like to invite you to return to Konigsberg to the warmest welcome of the Prussian people, for they dearly wish to express themselves in your favor. You are quite popular throughout Europe, but most especially in all the lands of Prussia. I assure you that when you do return you will be feted in a manner appropriate for our conquering hero.

    However, most pressing matters require Euer Majestat to depend on you for another military assignment across the seas. Our armaments industry, as you know, requires a constant supply of sulphur. There are limited options for acquiring this most precious commodity, but one of our geologists has advised us that some of the world’s richest sulphur mines are in the South American country of Peru.

    It is my wish that you embark as much of your military force as possible on the three clippers we have sent. I have dispatched to your service Herr Gustav Leibold from the Foreign Ministry to be placed ashore to deliver our declaration of war to their President in Lima. You are to land at such locations as seem appropriate to your experienced eye, as near to the sulphur- and iron-bearing regions of the coast as possible. Once ashore, engage and defeat the Peruvian Army and exact from the Peruvian Presidente-General a settlement which will cede significant portions of our desired territory to the Kingdom of Prussia.

    Beware that Peru reportedly has purchased two warships. Admiral von Grosskopf has been given instructions to avoid them if possible. However, if you are engaged I anticipate that you will prevail, as the quality of seamanship in the Peruvian Navy is in question.

    You and the fine Prussians who serve under your command have my undying confidence for success in this upcoming adventure. Your victory will assure the Fatherland will be stronger, and will further reinforce our prestige at home and abroad.

    I will pray that The Lord Our God will hold his protection over you and guide your hand in this most excellent endeavor. Please express these sentiments to all of your men.

    Therefore, God Bless You and God Speed You to Glory and Victory!

    Signed, Your Majestic Sovereign, the Most Gracious King and Lord of Prussia,

    Wilhelm I
    Last edited by Rensslaer; 25-07-2004 at 17:14.
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  14. #34
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    Hmmm, war with Peru. I was not expecting that. Good luck. But what of Spain's perfidy? (You can tell I'm itching for a war with Spain here. )
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  15. #35
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    Around the world at this time, Brazil and Paraguay waged a war which after one year resulted in the virtual annihilation of the smaller country. France entered an alliance with Belgium, which was of some concern to Wilhelm. France also fought a one-year war of conquest in northern Africa, after which she annexed the Mediterranean Emirate of Tunis (another event which caused consternation in Konigsberg). And in September of 1843, there was a minor incident in which Prussian constables located and seized three smugglers from the Principality of Hesse-Darmstadt. Wilhelm ordered the offenders hanged as an example to other criminal elements, and ignored the furied Hessian protests.

    Prussian troops, fresh from the exhausting campaign in China, embarked in January 1843 for their journey to the western shores of South America. Using a pretext of mistreatment of a Prussian merchant, which was elaborately set up months in advance, Minister Leibold delivered the declaration of war and von Halberstam landed three divisions of troops, one each, in the provinces of Chalhuanca, Pisco and Nazca, on 14th March, 1843.

    The Peruvian Navy did, in fact, intercept the four Prussian ships (the man-of-war SMS Prussia and three clippers) after they had delivered their cargoes and were underway bound for Hainan to pick up reinforcements. Prussian seamanship bested the Peruvians, who withdrew with much damage, not to emerge from port again until after the war.

    In such mountainous terrain – much of it at altitudes which took a heavy toll on the unacclimated Prussian soldiers – maneuver was slow. Two Prussian divisions landed just south of the Peruvian capital of Lima. One division moved east into the mountainous interior, while the other remained near the coast to guard against the Peruvian army which remained in Lima. Another Prussian division landed further south -- in the iron- and sulphur-mining regions, and began to secure these provinces one by one.

    By summer the Prussian divisions had captured three coastal provinces and were pushing increasingly inland. Reinforcements from China arrived, and began seizing more territory to the south.

    While Prussian divisions were marching over the Peruvian plains and Andean peaks, the Peruvians had successfully mobilized their reserve forces in Lima. Once enough strength had gathered, they sortied in an attempt to retake some of the captured lands. The Peruvian general was nearly successful in seizing the initiative against the scattered Prussian forces.

    However, Halberstam coordinated a masterful defense through the fall and winter. In a series of running battles and flanking movements, he turned back every attempt to defeat or entrap Prussian units. Thus disrupted, the Peruvian divisions could no longer maintain their assaults. What forces that could retreated back into Lima to reorganize.

    In March, the Peruvians made another attempt at liberating the coast south of their capital. They had some great success, and Prussia's two defending divisions were severely mauled. One division was ultimately forced to withdraw with a mere 100 soldiers remaining.
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  16. #36
    Second Lieutenant Nicomacheus's Avatar
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    Impressive beginning. Long live Wilhem I! Long Live Prussia!

    Good luck unifying Germany--it's a rite of passage I remember well from Imperalism and am glad to have a renewed chance at in Vicky.
    LUX ET VERITAS

    Of what sort am I? One of those who would be glad to be refuted if I say anything untrue, and glad to refute anyone else who might speak untruly; but just as glad, mind you, to be refuted as to refute, since I regard the former as the greater benefit, in proportion as it is a greater benefit for oneself to be delivered from the greatest evil than to deliver some one else. For I consider that a man cannot suffer any evil so great as a false opinion on the subjects of our actual argument.
    --Socrates in Plato's Gorgias

  17. #37
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    From the Memoirs of a Prussian Royal Uhlan, pub. 1856 by Kapitan Franziske Grzybowski

    In the bitter winter of 1843, our cavalry regiment picked our way carefully through the mountain passes far to the inland of Peru. We had been sent to "seize" the territory, though it soon became clear that the only things to seize were small Indian villages. When frigid snowstorms and rumors of pursuing Peruvian troops battered upon our spirits, there was talk of us becoming trapped and caught for eating -- horses and men alike! -- by the dark-skinned natives whose customs we did not know.

    In fact, even as we attempted to descend back the way we had come, we were found by Peruvian soldiers and were forced to take defensive positions to hold them off. For some days we shifted around and attempted to find a way around their blockade. Finally, Prussian infantry approached from their rear, making their position untenable, and they were forced to withdraw. Then we resumed our progress south and west, now toward their capital.

    When finally in March we arrived at a vantage overlooking the city of Lima, I witnessed our Colonel spying at the capital with his telescope. He seemed quite excited at what he'd seen, and sent couriers off to either share or receive information.

    As it turns out, several divisions of the Peruvian Army had left Lima shortly before we'd arrived, headed south to engage our 1st Korps in Pisco. The defenders that remained were likely untrained reservists, and they were few in number. A courier informed us that the 1st Korps was under instructions to give battle and not to break engagement with the enemy, so as to keep them pinned to the south. Later, we heard of the terrible price paid by these troops for abiding by those orders.

    But in the meantime, we coordinated our advance with the 9th Infanterie, which had rescued us in the mountains. Our cavalry regiment descended swiftly from the hills above the city, and rushed into Lima somewhat ahead of the infantry. It was pandemonium. The defenders ran under the pressure of our charges, and resistance was altogether slight. Peruvian civilians, mostly of Spanish origin or mulattoes, scattered with screams and wails, though they had little to fear from our disciplined unit.

    By evening, half of the city was in our hands. As darkness came upon us we were also bathed in a cold fog which made our scouting tentative and ineffective. However, the fog also covered the entry into town of the 9th Infanterie. When Lima's defenders mounted a sunrise assault upon our positions, they were surprised to find a vastly superior force to meet them. They quickly broke and retreated to the outskirts.

    As we spread out to effect our control, several skirmishes kept us watchful. A few days afterward, another two Peruvian regiments arrived from the south and began waging heavy fighting with us. But it did not take long for us to defeat these forces as well. They retreated to the north, leaving our way open to our follow-up objective.

    In early April, we began what would be our final campaign. Leaving the infantry behind to garrison the capital, our cavalry galloped south to take on the weakened elements of the Peruvian command. Converging Prussian divisions hard pressed their remaining strength, and they were forced to admit they had lost their war. On the 10th of May, 1844, they surrendered. A peace treaty was signed by the end of the week.
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  18. #38
    GunslingAAR coz1's Avatar
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    Well fought campaign. Seemed rather close there for a moment. So has Peru been annexed? If not, what did you allow them to keep?
    Northumberland Lives - new AAR for EUIV

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  19. #39
    Strategy GuidAAR Rensslaer's Avatar
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    While the Andeans undertook their effort (successful, as it turns out, but without strategic advantage considering events northward in Lima) to break out toward the south, Prussian cavalry rushed in from the mountains to the east, fell upon the weakened defenses at Lima, and routed those soldiers. Then, leaving a small garrison to pacify the capital, the cavalry turned south toward the main body of the Peruvian Army in Pisco.

    A Peruvian envoy, sent to make a small offer at peace, was kept waiting in Nazca for two full weeks while these cavalry divisions swooped down upon the nearly victorious Peruvians.

    The Peruvians were shattered, and soon another envoy arrived and offered to cede to Prussia great portions of the Peruvian coast, including most of the provinces which had been King Wilhelm's objective. Altogether, Prussia received eight provinces in the peace, which greatly enhanced her prestige back home.

    General von Halberstam accepted this just settlement, and allowed the ragged Peruvian troops to return to their homes. The lands Peru provided Prussia after her capitulation contained the resources desperately needed for Prussia's factories. Two ceded provinces contained sulphur, and two produced iron ore, though each produced in lesser quantities than Prussian leaders had hoped.

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  20. #40
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    Coz, Nichomacheus & Lord GQ &cetera,

    Thank you all for your comments, and for keeping tabs on this. The Peruvian settlement was offered by them, and I'm often not inclined to accept those offers, except they did offer many of the provinces I'd wanted, and I had, in fact, had a close call. I figured I'd best stop while I was ahead.

    It's interesting to see what you expect to happen next. I'm a few years ahead of the AAR on this, so I can give it some perspective as we go.

    I know some other folks must be watching, too. Thank you.

    Rensslaer
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