Venice: Can a hyper-teching nation convert the world?
PART ONE (1419-1425)
Foreword about 1.07 March 2, 2004 Beta
War with Mantua and Looting
War with Byzantium
War with Ragusa and Bosnia
Peace with Croatia; War with Prussia
Mantua and Ragusa are Captured
Denmark DoWs Holstein; Fighting with Bremen
Separate Peace with Holstein
Siege Begins in Mecklemburg; Military Access Issues
Foreword about 1.07 March 2, 2004 Beta
The 1.07 March 2, 2004 beta (last 1.07 beta) and the 1.08 vanilla are identical except for the ability to merge units in motion. I only used this ability to reduce the tedium of having hundreds of tiny armies running around in enemy territory.
You can find the same information in the 1.07 Summary of Beta patch changes up to March 2/04. I use the 1.07 March 2/04 beta. The list of changes up to the last 1.07 beta looks very similar to the list of changes between version 1.07 vanilla and version 1.08 vanilla. In fact, I did a Windiff and the only differences are the instructions for installation of 1.08, the placement of the new features and straits information to the top of the 1.08 information, and the little ***** boxes around each header in the document of 1.08 release notes.
Scenario: Grand Campaign of 1419
Version: "EU2 v1.07b BETA Mar 2 2004."
Difficulty: Very Hard
AI Aggressiveness: Aggressive
Majors: Venice substituted for Novgorod.
Self imposed rules:
No voluntarily taking bank loans except as repayment for forced loans.
No loaning out money for any reason.
No intentional turbo-annexing.
No game or scenario editing except to delete log contents occasionally.
(Veneto does not get island status as in the 1.08 beta versions.)
No merging troops or ships to cause them to move faster or stop retreats.
No reloading from a previous save game, except as required by game crashes.
No provoking game crashes.
The following account is of an attempt at world conversion to Catholicism using a hyper-teching strategy with Venice. Hyper-teching and world conquest is simple enough. I am new to the concept of world conversion. Chances are that I will be unsuccessful at world conversion. I provide this AAR because it has been an exciting game for the first few decades. Regardless of how this may turn out, I am sure to have an interesting run while aiming for something other than world conquest. In the end, world conquest or something close to it may be necessary to accomplish the world conversion. I would prefer to remain fairly small and allow other Catholic nations to do conversions for me. Only time can tell how small I may remain.
This screen shows Venice's starting position.
Initial DP settings are:
Aristocracy = 6
Centralization = 3
Innovative = 4
Mercantilism = 8
Offensive = 2
Land = 2
Quality = 6
Serfdom = 5
The nation of Venice is perhaps the most poorly represented nation in terms of how the game model applies. Other than Venice's valuable CoT in the capital of Veneto, all of Venice's possessions are more a liability than an asset. I shall soon demonstrate. Venice's Adriatic ports are reasons for hostilities with very powerful alliances such as Hungary and Croatia or an Austrian alliance. The Greek Orthodox possessions cause unbearably high stability costs.
I choose not to modify the game to give Veneto island status connected by straits as in the 1.08 beta versions. As I understand, the recent modification was mostly made to help an AI Venice perform better. As a human player the tremendous benefit of such status for my capital would eliminate one real thrill of the game, namely surviving as a small hyper-teching nation.
Venice is one of the hyper-teching giants once the quirks of the game engine's relationship between nation size and tech cost is taken into account. Venice begins with a significant tech advantage in already having trade tech three and infrastructure two.
Tommaso Macenigo (5,5,7) begins on the throne. Venice has stability +2. Venice begins with 250d, an army of (10000/5000/3), and a navy of (5/30/5). Naval leader P. Loredan (4,3,5) is sure to live a long time. Loredan's shock bonus makes Venice's large fleet of galleys a crushing foe. Venice has six merchants and one diplomat. Many more diplomats are desired as soon as possible.
Venice begins at war with Croatia who is in alliance with Hungary to decide the fate of the provinces of Dalmatia and Istria.
The first major goals are to shed all of Venice's excess baggage and obtain a second valuable province to make Venice safe from annexation. A hyper-teching strategy requires that the second province should be very valuable. For greater safety from annexation, the second province must be fairly far away from Venice's capital but within a few months' journey for defense against invasion or government collapse. The second province should be Catholic for lower stability costs.
Badboy is not of too much concern in obtaining the province. There are likely to be plenty of opportunities for later wars without declaring simply by moving in and out of different alliances so long as stability costs are low. Making and breaking royal marriages may easily improve relations. Hyper-teching entails remaining small for a long time. There will not be much badboy gain for a long stretch of time. I target the CoT of Mecklemburg for my second province. The port and naval supplies will help support Venice's superior naval power.
The entire budget is diverted to researching infrastructure unless money is needed for the treasury. The intention is to quickly reach infrastructure three and finance the building of two refineries. Infrastructure three can be reached without paying an ahead of time penalty during the transition between a one-province Venice and a two-province Venice. The ahead of time penalty for researching straight to trade tech four would be substantial. There is little point in budgeting any money for trade tech when refineries can accumulate enough research in trade to reach trade tech four sometime near the ahead of time date of 1470. Before that time, infrastructure four can be reached without an ahead of time penalty. A start can also be made on reaching infrastructure five.
Before touching the domestic policies and consequently lowering stability, four merchants are sent. One merchant is sent to each CoT of Veneto, Ile de France, Flandern, and Tago. Better stability improves chances of successful merchant placement. At 3d the merchant placed in Veneto for a monopoly is likely to pay off before the merchant is soon kicked out. For 6d each, Ile de France and Flandern are chosen because of their value, and because they will likely fill up soon. Tago is chosen for the lower placement cost of 5d and rounds out the total cost at 20d. This leaves exactly 230d in the treasury. Merchants are not sent to Mecklemburg or Kurland because Venice will soon war with the CoT owners. Novgorod is a nice CoT; but there is plenty of time to establish merchants there.
Venice has good DP sliders for a trade empire. However, in this attempt, trade efficiency is regarded as less important than having more diplomats, a better monarch diplomatic skill, faster badboy reduction, and less expensive cavalry. A nation not focused on the early development of land technology requires cheap cavalry. The initial DP move is to increase Aristocracy to seven. Stability drops to +1.
Cavalry costs have been reduced from 24d to 23d per 1K men. A new 10K cavalry are built in Veneto with the remaining 230d. Surveying the initial situation, targets are found for acquiring badboy to eventually be reduced. Venice has CB on the weak nations of Mantua, Ragusa, and Byzantium.
Venice's initial lack of diplomats is a serious problem. Venice needs an immediate war to increase the supply of diplomats. Mantua is defenseless. Mantua must be attacked before they soon ally with Austria. Otherwise Venice forever has an enemy to the west. If at war and allied with Austria, Mantua would build and station a large army. Mantua would then refuse to be diplomatically vassalized as a result. Mantua must be force-vassalized.
Ragusa can help provide some much needed cash. Ragusa starts with 500d and spends some of the money on ship building rather than raising an army. Once allied with Bosnia, there is even more money to be had from war with Ragusa.
Losing a war to Byzantium sheds the Greek Orthodox baggage and prevents Ottoman Empire from gaining a CoT in Thrace. Without a CoT appearing in Thrace, the CoT in Veneto remains one of the most valuable CoTs in Europe. Ottoman Empire's growth is greatly contained as a result.
A successful campaign for Mecklemburg requires an alliance with Poland and Lithuania. Many times Poland will DoW Prussia early on. If Venice must DoW, it only costs two badboy points because Venice begins with such good relations. Because of the long length of initial wars, there is a budget of three to five badboy points to spend early on. The budget depends on whether Istria and Cyprus are to be vassalized. Vassalizing a province allows one more badboy to be spent. I want war with Mantua, Ragusa, Byzantium, and Mecklenburg's alliance, which includes Prussia. That works out to five badboy points. It could be two badboy points less if Poland DoWs Prussia.
Military access through some nations is required to reach Mecklemburg without much fighting. The military access situation can be resolved in a number of possible ways. It depends on what happens while waiting for the necessary diplomats. Most minors will gladly grant Venice military access. Unfortunately, Milan usually joins an alliance with Austria and Mantua. Milan and Austria will not grant military access unless the war with Mantua is ended or the alliance is somehow dissolved. Access going through Austria or going west around Austria is not likely.
Access and looting of Croatia and Hungary is permitted while at war. It is good to stay at war with Croatia and Hungary as long as Hungary does not besiege Veneto. Because of Hungary's Holy Roman Emperor (HRE) status, simply vassalizing Istria does not prevent Hungary from reaching Veneto. The AI does not always use the HRE abilities though. It is possible to remain at war with Croatia and Hungary for a very long time.
Finally, maintenance costs are reduced to minimum. Catholic tolerance is set to maximum with Orthodox tolerance at 50% until such time as increased Orthodox tolerance should be needed to reduce revolt risk on Venice's islands. Higher tolerance of Catholicism means more rapidly improved relations with Austria.
To leave port, four warships and 12 galleys are divided into approximately equally sized fleets. P. Loredan remains in port in Veneto in command of a fleet of (1/18/5). Venice's three artillery are disbanded. A unit of 2500 infantry is loaded onto ships. Split and reorganize is used to create several units of single infantrymen. Four of these units are loaded onto ships. The entire force committed to war with Byzantium is little more than 2500 infantry. I intend to lose the war with Byzantium. I would like to gain Byzantium's maps and prolong the war for as long as possible. A long war means that Byzantium will save up money. Byzantium will build a great number of troops once peace is made. Byzantium can then better repel Ottoman Empire's attacks. Should control of Byzantium's captial prove impossible, it is not a big deal as I intend to lose the war anyway. Loaded ships are sent to Thrace as soon as possible without any attrition.
Nearly 5500 infantry, three units of 1250 cavalry, and one of the single infantrymen are sent to Istria for eventual purpose of looting Croatia and Hungary. A total of 2K infantry and 1250 cavalry are ready for war with Mantua.
War with Mantua and Looting
In first days of 1419, DoWs are only somewhat random. Teutonic Order DoWs Pskov. Poland DoWs Prussia. Byzantium DoWs Duchy of Athens. Ottoman Empire DoWs Byzantium. This is all fairly typical. Both Byzantium and Mecklenburg are involved in two separate wars.
On January 12, 1419, Mantua commissions the promotion of a tax collector. This is the green light I need for war. Because of having the same religion, stability drops to zero as war is declared. Mantua commissions the building of some cavalry. There is no point covering Mantua at this time. The timing is good. Mantua's tax collector promotion has reduced funds for building cavalry. Upon winning the initial battle in Mantua, newly built 10K cavalry in Veneto will have slightly increased morale in preparation for Mantua's retreating cavalry. Because of timing issues, Veneto is unlikely to be looted.
In February, three 1250 cavalry units in Istria are sent directly to Carpathia and Magyar, looting Odenburg and Presburg on the way. Cavalry will also loot Ruthenia, Maros, and Banat. The cavalry must maintain constant motion to avoid drawing Hungary's attention. The 5500 infantry is sent to Krain. A reasonable presence must be maintained in Krain such that looting cavalry are able to retreat back to Krain if they should be cornered. Some infantry can move on to loot Pest as well.
The 2K infantry and 1250 cavalry in Veneto move in to cover and loot Mantua. On February 11, a single infantryman advances to loot Croatia's capital. When the single infantryman is annihilated the battle temporarily stops Hungary from advancing on Istria. Hungary's men march back to Pest.
All looted money is minted for the next few months. Other income is also good since Venice has a 14/20 monopoly in Veneto and all three other merchant placements are a success. Mantua, Milan, and Baden enter a military alliance with Austria. That reduces prospects for military access until war with Mantua is concluded or the alliance breaks apart.
In March, Brandenburg joins the alliance with Poland and Lithuania. This improves access should I join Poland's alliance in aiming to get to Mecklemburg. Newly produced infantry is defeated in Croatia's province of Krain. A cover force of men is sent from Krain to meet Hungary's large force of men in Pest. The battle is instantly retreated so that loot may be obtained. Lost to attrition, a couple of hundred infantry are expendable in an effort to gain more money for cavalry. The remaining infantry retreat back to Krain to deter Croatia from attacking. Land maintenance is temporarily raised to 100% in anticipation of Mantua's attack.
War with Byzantium
In April 1419, Sienna DoWs the Tuscany, Modena, and Duchy of Athens alliance. Tuscany is likely undefended, having sent all military to fight Byzantium. Venice DoWs Byzantium. Now would be a good time to vassalize Istria to prevent Hungary's advance. However should troops ever lose in Krain, there would be no retreat south ever again. Of the 10K new cavalry in Veneto, 3K are sent to Mantua. Mantua builds 4K cavalry. The total force of 2K infantry and 4250 cavalry manage to hold off the initial attack in Mantua. Cavalry run on to meet Mantua's retreating force due to arrive early the next month. Nearly 1400 surviving infantry remain to cover Mantua.
In May, a total of nearly 10K cavalry in Veneto annihilate Mantua's force of 2164 retreating cavalry. Maintenance is reduced to 50%. A unit of 4K cavalry return to continue siege progress in Mantua. Hungarian troops arrive in Istria. Once Hungary besieges Istria, it is likely that Hungary will eventually reach Veneto regardless of whether or not Istria is vassalized. Ships reach the Aegean Sea and are victorious against a small fleet of Byzantium. Port is made in Ionia; and the ships move toward Thrace. A single warship left behind near Corfu unloads a single infantryman to Morea. I learn that Duchy of Athens leads the siege in Morea. This effects decision making somewhat; if Duchy of Athens gains control of Morea and Ottoman Empire gains control of Thrace, Byzantium could be annexed in this very war. I need to gain leadership of any possible siege in Thrace or else an early peace must be made with Byzantium to keep them alive. Looting is now complete; 50% of income is minted to result in enough money to build 5K cavalry in the following month.
In June, 5K cavalry is built in Veneto. A leftover 5d is used for a successful merchant to Tago. Loot cavalry now in Hungary's Pest appear to be able to enter Krain unobstructed. The infantry in Krain march to Istria where they will be able to retreat to Veneto. Fleets arrive in Sea of Marmara; Byzantium still has a significant presence of over 20K men in Thrace. Gaining the siege in Thrace is not as simple as just unloading the 2500 infantry. Milan DoWs Modena. Austria and Baden join on Milan's side against Tuscany, Modena, and Duchy of Athens. Already at war with Sienna and Byzantium, Tuscany and Modena are in some real trouble now.
In July, the loot cavalry are nearing Istria. Istria is vassalized and badboy is reduced to less than one. Vassalizing Istria prevents another quickly lost battle with Hungary. However, supply is greatly reduced. The cavalry can reach Veneto before attrition sets in.
War with Ragusa and Bosnia
In August 1419, about 5100 infantry and 9500 cavalry are loaded to P. Loredan's fleet of 18 galleys. The fleet moves toward Ragusa. Another one warship and five transports remain behind to collect newly built 5K cavalry and the 4K cavalry left making siege progress in Mantua. Ragusa enters a military alliance with Bosnia. On August 17, Venice DoWs Ragusa; Bosnia joins Ragusa in war. Venice's stability is now -1. I may as well get the war started before arriving in the Adriatic Sea so that the inevitable naval battle against Ragusa's ten galleys can get underway sooner. Bohemia converts to Protestant. This is an unfortunate reality that causes worsened relations with Bohemia. Relations with Bohemia now stand at +25, a long way from the +180 needed for military access.
In September, the naval battle against Ragusa has smashed up half of Ragusa's fleet. The 9500 cavalry on ships in the Adriatic Sea are unloaded to arrive in Ragusa the following month. Expensive land maintenance is raised to 100%. Another 9K cavalry are on the way to the Adriatic on board the one warship and five transports. The monopoly in Veneto is lost. Most of Byzantium's men have moved to besiege Macedonia. Ottoman Empire forces Byzantium's remaining men out of Thrace. Ottoman Empire does not have enough men remaining to cover Thrace's small fortress. The 2500 infantry unload to Thrace. Thrace is covered; Venice is the siege leader.
In October, the battle in Ragusa is lost. Ragusa's 5K infantry and 1K cavalry have been reduced in numbers by 20%. The arriving 9K cavalry from Gulf of Venice is merged with the infantry in the Adriatic Sea to improve morale. The 9K cavalry are then separated and unloaded to arrive in Ragusa the following month. There is an unexpected battle in Thrace. Byzantium sent 650 cavalry to attack the cover force in Thrace. The battle is retreated once the cover force is dangerously near being reduced to less than 2100 men.
In November, Ragusa's men are annihilated. There is no need to attack Bosnia. Bosnia either sends all men to the siege in Dalmatia or sits in Bosnia. Bosnia will not help to lift the siege in Ragusa. Still, more men are sent to Ragusa so that there are about 13.5K cavalry there. There are not too many; so if the blockade were temporarily lifted, there would not be attrition in Ragusa. Byzantium sends a small fleet of three ships from port in Thrace. I must retreat the battle or risk losing the over 2K of retreating infantry currently fleeing from Thrace. Men will no longer be near enough to re-enter Thrace before Ottoman Empire is able to claim the siege.
Peace with Croatia; War with Prussia
Also in November 1419, Hungary arrives in Veneto through Austria using Hungary's HRE powers. Venice accepts Croatia's peace offer giving Dalmatia to Croatia. P. Loredan's movement bonus prevents attrition in the Adriatic Sea for the time being. Venice enters a military alliance with Poland, Lithuania, and Brandenburg. Venice joins the war against Prussia, Mecklenburg, Pommern, Bremen, Holstein and Teutonic Order. Milan annexes Modena. That blows relations with Milan. Venice is not getting free military access from Milan no matter what happens regarding Mantua. Wartime access through Croatia and Hungary is now prevented as well. Venice now must send troops all the way around to Lithuania's port of Jedisan in the Black Sea. Troops will be nowhere near Mecklemburg for over a year once the sieges in Ragusa and Mantua are completed.
In December, ships loaded with troops are withdrawn from the Adriatic Sea to Veneto and move on to Mantua to continue siege progress there. Ottoman Empire has claimed a siege in Thrace. Venice unloads troops to Thrace so that if Byzantium should attack Ottoman Empire for any reason, men can retreat then regain the siege later. Only a single infantryman is needed for forcing the retreat. The remaining over 2100 infantry are reloaded to ships, in preparation for the day when a cover force may again be placed to claim the siege in Thrace.
In the coming months, ships are constantly circled to port from the Adriatic Sea to Veneto and from Sea of Marmara to Ionia. The small supply fleets are merged with the larger fleets such that naval attrition is prevented. A blockade is maintained on Ragusa. A blockade is avoided for Thrace; Venice should not help Ottoman Empire gain control of Thrace.
In January 1420, Ragusa attacks the main fleet in Gulf of Venice. Ragusa's six ships are annihilated thanks to P. Loredan.
In February, crucial military access through Hannover is obtained. Access in Hannover is necessary to make war with Bremen without crossing a river. Bremen is a major player in the attempt to control Mecklemburg. Teutonic Order annexes Pskov.
Mantua and Ragusa are Captured
In March 1420, Mantua is captured. Ottoman Empire is so distracted by Byzantium's siege in Macedonia that Ottoman Empire breaks off a cover force and moves the other men before setting them back down again. Venice becomes the siege leader in Thrace thanks to a single infantryman. The 2100 infantry are unloaded to Thrace in case Ottoman Empire should pick all troops up and leave the single infantryman unable to maintain a cover force. A blockade is now maintained on Thrace.
In April, stability increases to zero. Ragusa is captured. Soon, a total of 6500 infantry and 16500 cavalry are on the way to Lithuania's Jedisan in the Black Sea. Saxony grants crucial military access through their country. There is now a minimal level of access to get around to the northwestern German states. Military access through Magdeburg is not as desirable since Magdeburg may enter the war and enemy troops may heavily besiege their capital. A path through Saxony is preferable with Magdeburg as a possible alternate. Access through Saxony is also helpful once military access is established through Austria and Würzburg.
Later in 1420, Milan annexes Tuscany. After two force-annexations, Milan is the leading badboy. Helvetia DoWs Milan. Bohemia, Austria, Baden, and Mantua join Milan in war against Helvetia, Wurtemberg, Bavaria and Würzburg. A political crisis reduces stability to -3. Now religion sliders must be adjust slightly to equally tolerate Catholicism and Orthodoxy. Muscowy grows in annexing Ryazan. Savoy DoWs Milan. Bohemia, Austria, Baden, and Mantua join Milan in war against Savoy and Genoa. Military access is gained through Brandenburg in case they should make a separate peace.
To start off 1421, Venice's main army is unloaded to Jedisan. The troops move through Poland toward the action in the northern German area. Poland, Lithuania, and Brandenburg are all allies in war with Venice against the northern alliance. A fleet of (3/16/1) led by P. Loredan is sent toward the Baltic Sea. There is no port access along the way. However, Gelre grants military access. Once past the Iberian Peninsula, the "reorganize" button must be clicked every month for the fleet of over 17 ships to prevent loss of ships. The fleet is of such a size that it provides for two blockades, a resupply ship, and an extra ship in case something should go wrong.
Early in 1421, Thrace is captured from Byzantium. This happens just in time before Ottoman Empire's Murâd II can arrive to claim the siege. The 2100 infantry in Thrace are now on the way to Jedisan and beyond. Some ships are returned to Gulf of Venice to prevent the unloading of enemy troops from the German states to the capital. Poland has captured Hinterpommern. Enemy troops heavily besiege Brandenburg's capital. Access is cut off through Brandenburg to Saxony. This is not expected to work, but an attempt is made to move cavalry into Brandenburg on the last day of the month and retreat to Saxony. The cavalry are turned back. Heavy attrition losses are caused for the enemy armies however.
By mid-1421, an attempt is made to attack 4K enemy Pommern troops across the Oder River from Hinterpommern. Venice's 16K cavalry are turned back once more. Poland moves in for a similar attack across the Oder River; they are also turned back. Pommern completes a siege in Brandenburg. Brandenburg makes a separate peace with Pommern. Enemy troops disperse from Brandenburg's capital. Venice's troops now advance through Brandenburg, and Saxony to Hannover; a small 4K army of Mecklenburg arrives to be defeated in Brandenburg. Bohemia annexes Würzburg. This is especially bad news; I now need military access through Bohemia for quick land access to the Northern German area. Slower access is still possible by going around Bohemia through Helvetia.
Denmark DoWs Holstein; Fighting with Bremen
In late 1421, Denmark DoWs Holstein. Sweden joins the war with Denmark against Holstein, Teutonic Order, Mecklenburg, Pommern, Bremen and Prussia. This is just what I need to defeat the Northern German states. Still, Bremen is one of the toughest nations to defeat. Bremen builds so many cavalry. They keep churning out more and more cavalry. Venice attacks Bremen while their army is somewhat small from attrition in Brandenburg. Bremen's army repels Venice's cavalry invasion force back to Hannover. Venice has now only 6851 cavalry and 7451 infantry. Bremen retains 2640 cavalry in Bremen plus at least 12K troops nearby. With little prospects for military access for quickly replenishing Venice's army, the situation appears bleak. At least there are six diplomats banked up. Bavaria grants military access.
Pommern offers Venice a white peace. Venice accepts. The thought is that a separate peace is gained to place Venice in a separate war against the Mecklemburg alliance. Such is not the case however; Pommern has already made a separate peace with Brandenburg. That is okay; what happens to Pommern is of little concern.
In early 1422, a second attack against Bremen succeeds. New recruits of Bremen are also defeated. Bremen is blockaded using ships that came all the way from port in Crete to port in Gelre and now to the German Bight. One galley was accidentally lost to attrition on the journey. Resupply ships are now rotated through Gelre to avoid naval attrition.
Some of Bremen's other troops are likely annihilated fighting against Denmark. Although Bremen must now attack across the Elbe River, Bremen still has enough troops to win against Venice. Venice's troops retain a very low morale. Some of Venice's troops must move on to Meckemlburg. Denmark has claimed a siege there. A retreat from new recruits in Mecklemburg must be made to gain leadership of the siege in Mecklemburg.
Bremen makes two unsuccessful attacks. Venice claims the siege in Mecklemburg. However, Denmark no longer piles troops in Mecklemburg. Denmark is busy with a siege in Holstein. After defeating Bremen's last men in Mecklemburg, the siege there must be abandoned since Denmark forces Holstein's troops in Holstein to retreat to Bremen.
Separate Peace with Holstein
By mid-1422, a royal marriage is broken with Poland while stability remains at -3. The royal marriage is reinstated to raise relations with Poland. Stability increases to -2. Holstein loses two battles in Bremen. Venice synchronizes looting of Mantua, Ragusa, and Byzantium for 44d in the treasury. A peace offer is made to Holstein. Holstein agrees to a separate peace with Venice; Holstein pays 50d. Holstein will likely be annexed by Denmark; there is no point in continuing the war against them. The separate peace puts Venice in a separate war against Mecklenburg, Bremen, Prussia, and Teutonic Order.
A personal gift considerably improves relations with Austria. Another month of minting allows a second personal gift to Austria. Relations are at +117, well above the +92 needed for military access from Austria. Peace may be necessary with Mantua in order to obtain the needed military access. Burgundy gives up a lot of territory to the French alliance. Gelre becomes nearly the equivalent of a later Netherlands. Helvetia annexes Baden; relations are soured. Military access through Helvetia and the province of Baden is now made more difficult.
Siege Begins in Mecklemburg; Military Access Issues
In late-1422, another battle is abandoned to steal the siege in Mecklemburg from Denmark. A second attack wave follows shortly behind to win the battle against 1K troops and claim the siege. The hope is that Denmark will now pile up some troops in Mecklemburg to defend against 20K of Mecklenburg's troops still moving about to the east. Denmark helps, but not by very much.
In 1423, Provence DoWs Milan. France joins Provence. Milan's allies all dishonor the alliance. This is a great plus. The war against Mantua can be kept ongoing. Austria is no longer in alliance with Mantua. Austria grants military access to Venice. Now what is needed is military access through Bohemia. Bohemia annexes Wurtemberg making bypassing Bohemia even more difficult. Mantua enters a military alliance with Papal States and Siena. Venice accepts a peace offer from Ragusa for 484d. As diplomats come in, two state gifts are sent to improve relations with Bohemia to +200, more than the +180 that is needed for military access. Remaining money is spent on new cavalry in Veneto. First, cavalry is built up to the support limit. Then another 3K are built. Then all available 7K manpower in cavalry is constructed. Francesco Foscarini (7,7,7) takes the throne. There is diplomatic improvement and an improved stability increase.
By late-1423, Bohemia grants military access. Bremen is captured. Ships move on to blockade Mecklemburg. Resupply ships rotate through Bremen to avoid naval attrition. Venice adds 4K new cavalry to support the 2100 infantry and 2200 cavalry that have survived Mecklenburg's recent attack in Mecklemburg. Denmark annexes Holstein. Sweden and Denmark begin piling men in Mecklemburg. There is now little doubt that Mecklenburg is powerless to stop eventual annexation.
In early-1424, leftover money from building cavalry is spent on two letters of introduction to Poland. The letters do not do enough; relations are only +170. This is short of the +180 that is needed for military access. Mecklemburg is captured. Because Venice is now in a separate war, Venice lacks access to attack Prussia and Teutonic order by land. That is okay for now since there is no hurry in doing any more fighting. I await the leadership of the mighty Carmagnola beginning in 1425. Army units make their way to Bohemia's Silesia awaiting military access from Poland. Stability increases to -1. With the most recent troops built, war exhaustion is +8. Stability improves by only +6 per month. With such high war exhaustion, Catholic tolerance is maximized. There is now little concern about what might happen in Orthodox provinces.
Bohemia once again allies with Austria, joining a war against Siena, Papal States, and Mantua. Mantua is at war with Austria and Bohemia and against Austria and Bohemia. The situation gets more chaotic all the time. A royal marriage improves relation with Poland to +185. Military access through Poland is close at hand. Byzantium's appearance of Konstantinos XI in Thrace causes some problems. Konstantinos XI has only 1K troops unable to cover the small fortress in Thrace. He flees to Ottoman Empire territory. This soon prevents a white peace with Ottoman Empire.
By mid-year, Savoy makes peace with Milan; Piemonte is given to Bohemia. Poland grants military access to Venice. Troops move to Prussia. Ships blockade Prussia and Teutonic Order's ports; there is a resupply ship rotating through Mecklemburg. A rebellion in Corfu will not be put down. Corfu will not defect or declare independence anyway.
In late-1424, Muscowy grows by annexing Tver. A Catholic Russia is getting more difficult to achieve. Denmark helps to quell a rebellion in Mecklemburg. Teutonic Order is invaded. Kurland is besieged. Teutonic Order responds by building new troops and positioning existing troops in Livland. On Teutonic Order's advance, Venice decides to withdraw and wait for Carmagnola. Gaining control of Kurland is an important part of the goals; once controlled, the CoT income helps propel research.
Carmagnola appears on January 1, 1425. Here is a snapshot of the important nations on January 1, 1425.