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Thread: Beyond Tannenberg: Black Eagle Rising

  1. #1
    Disciple of Peperna CatKnight's Avatar
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    Beyond Tannenberg: Black Eagle Rising



    I: TANNENBERG

    By the summer of 1410, the war was a year old. What began as a revolt in Samogitia, ceded to the Teutonic Knights in 1404, exploded when Lithuania announced they would support their oppressed brothers. Poland, honoring the 1385 Union of Krewo, joined in. After an initial push into Greater Poland the Teutons were pushed back to the border and an armistice agreement lasting to late June allowed both sides to prepare.

    The Polish/Lithuanian alliance, backed by Masovia, pressed forward on June 30 to attack the Knights at Malbork. Teuton Grand Master Ulrich von Junginen responded by fortifying the river crossings and pulling his troops back. Wladyslaw Jagiello, King of Poland and former Grand Duke of Lithuania, responded by flanking the Knights and moving towards Marienburg, the capital.

    On July 15, both armies met between Grunwald, Tannenberg and Ludwigsdorf. Polish heavy cavalry guarded their left, while Lithuanian light cavalry dominated the right along with Tatar skirmishers and Moldavians. The Teutons consisted mostly of heavy cavalry and infantry along with Western European mercenaries. While future propogandists would push the numbers of the two armies into the hundreds of thousands, it's generally believed the Polish/Lithuanian alliance had about 40,000 men, while the Teutons numbered 25-30,000.



    A major push around midday by the Lithuanians was repulsed, and Grand Duke Vytautas began a controlled, possibly planned retreat. The Knights' reserve recklessly followed while von Junginen and the Poles desperately fought. At one point the Grand Master led a charge against one of the strongest Polish banners, or units, winning briefly before Jagiello could regain the upper hand.

    By the time the Knights' reserve returned and regrouped, it was too late to press their advantage. Vytautas also returned, and despite the Teutons' techonological edge (including field artillery), sheer numbers weighed them down. The alliance flanked their enemies, and by nightfall as many as ten thousand of the initial thirty thousand knights lay dead. More would have perhaps been captured, but as the Poles and Lithuanians consisted primarily of peasants who had no part in any honorable ransom between nobles, there was much slaughter. The Poles did indeed ransom those they did manage to capture, at exorbitant rates that drained the Knights' resources. On that bloody day the Teutons lost their leadership and will to fight.

    II. DIPLOMACY IS OPTIONAL

    After the battle, Heinrich von Plauen led the Teutons. He wrote letters to the west, describing his struggle as a "war against evil pagans." One could almost argue that Lithuania qualified, if you assumed Orthodoxy counted, but this certainly wasn't true of the Poles. Nonetheless his bold rancor won much sentiment throughout Western Europe, but little support.

    A number of cities tried to defect to Poland, including Danzig. Von Plauen slowly brought them back into line, often by force, earning him many enemies among the burghers. The Peace of Thorn, by which Lithuania regained Samogitia and Poland took the Dobriner Land, along with general rancor alienated the knights.

    In short, Hochmeister von Plauen was what the Knights needed badly in 1410. He represented order and law. He didn't accept criticism. Bluntly, he put the disloyal middle class back in their place. However, his inability to bring people together and perhaps treat somewhat more gently with others resulted in his ouster in 1413.

    III. PLAYING NICE



    The new Grandmaster was Michael Kuchmeister von Sternberg. He could have been von Plauen's opposite. Where was one rough, the other knew how to be gentle. He spent the next five years quietly rebuilding the Order and reforging ties with the burghers. He improved ties with the German states and worked to ease fears by the Order of the Sword, an order within the Teutons, that the Teutons might try to revoke their autonomy. (Livonian Order starts as a vassal.) By Christmastide in 1418, he'd succeeded in restoring some semblanace of calm throughout Teuton lands. (Stability +2 entering game.)

    By then, von Sternberg was looking for a new raison d'etre. Despite his predecessors claims, he understood the pagans of Eastern Europe were long gone. On the other hand, he certainly wasn't going to disband the order...

    Last edited by CatKnight; 03-04-2006 at 08:16.
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  2. #2
    Disciple of Peperna CatKnight's Avatar
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    I've wanted to work on the Teutonic Knights for awhile, especially after someone a month or two ago specifically asked for one. With everything happening offline I've never had the chance. Now I should be settling for awhile and I thought it time to give it a go.

    As you see, this isn't a 'story.' I've always enjoyed the 'history book' style and thought I'd give it a go. You'll also see I borrowed a trick or two from stynlan's works, which I've always enjoyed.

    I'm honestly not sure where this AAR will end up, so ideas on actions, plans, and so forth are welcome. I don't consider myself a strong player, and the Teutons are...a difficult nation.

    This is in AGC-EEP 1.39, Normal/Coward, Fantasy Events on, Wales is not independent. I'll be semi-role playing. More on that later, but in general that means I don't plan to do anything wild. The Knights are probably not going to colonize North America for example.

    As you know, historically the order falls in 1525 when Albrecht von Hohzenhollern creates the Prussian state. As we get closer to that time we'll have a long talk about what to do there: (Stay Knights, go Prussia, etc.)

    Lastly, for fans of "Resurrection" - don't worry. I'll update that soon. I'm just feeling the need to try my hand with the Knights and see how we do.

    Enjoy!
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  3. #3
    Nice start. I will be following this. I've never ead an AAR of the Teutonic Knights before.

  4. #4
    Compulsive CommentatAAR stnylan's Avatar
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  5. #5
    GunslingAAR coz1's Avatar
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    coz1 stands, "Hello. My name is coz1. I am an AAR addict. At first it was just reading a lot. And then the writing started. But lately, it's been really bad...OK, I'll admit it, I have more than one going at once!" He hangs his head in shame. "But it can't be so terrible, can it? I mean, look at Alhazen...or Renss...or stnylan...and now CatKnight..."

    A nice yin to stnylan's Livonian yang, it would seem. And certainly a solid start. Good luck.
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  6. #6
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    The Teutons are always good for an AAR. Subscribed.
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  7. #7
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    The Orthodox are as good as pagan, but rather poor. You should go focus on converting the heathens of the New World, and go protestant when possible so you can somewhat legitimately rob Portugal of it's maps


    Or you can bash your way through Russia and go for Siberia
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  8. #8
    Undead Dutchman Dead William's Avatar
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    Siberia. Siberia good. I'll be following this with interest. (usurious interest)

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  9. #9
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    Darn you, CatKnight -- why must the authors I appreciate keep drawing me further and further from the HoI AARs that brought me here!

    Looks good, so far. I've always been interested in the Teutonic Order and the German sense of Manifest Destiny.

    Vann

  10. #10
    Would-be King of Dragons Draco Rexus's Avatar
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    You are a very brave man, Cat. Very brave indeed to run to AARs at the same time. What makes it all worthwhile, however, is the fact that this has started to be as interesting as Resurrection. Can't wait for more!
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  11. #11
    Untrustworthy poo EvilSanta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coz1
    coz1 stands, "Hello. My name is coz1. I am an AAR addict. At first it was just reading a lot. And then the writing started. But lately, it's been really bad...OK, I'll admit it, I have more than one going at once!" He hangs his head in shame. "But it can't be so terrible, can it? I mean, look at Alhazen...or Renss...or stnylan...and now CatKnight..."

    A nice yin to stnylan's Livonian yang, it would seem. And certainly a solid start. Good luck.

    Coz1,we have same problem,should we create club called AARers Anonymous.Cat knight,great start.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by EvilSanta
    Coz1,we have same problem,should we create club called AARers Anonymous.Cat knight,great start.
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  13. #13
    Disciple of Peperna CatKnight's Avatar
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    Duke of Wellington: There were some a real long time ago, but none lately. I hope to do them justice. The Teutons are in a...regrettable position.

    stnylan: So far so good! It's the Rus giving me problems!

    coz1: As I said, I was considering this anyway though I admit stynlan's Livonian AAR was the kick in the rump I needed. It'll be interesting to see how our two 'worlds' compare.

    The Suebian: Thanks and welcome!

    Avernite: True! I thought about what I wrote earlier about not colonizing, and realized that if the Knights are still around, of COURSE they'd be up for converting the natives! Maybe it'll happen.

    Dead William: Siberia on the other hand might be stretching it

    Vann the Red: So far the Teuton manifest destiny is "don't kill me", but hopefully it'll warm up soon! Welcome

    Draco Rexus: More coming! And thanks for your kind words. As I said, I hope I can do them justice.

    EvilSanta: Hmm...I think I'm a member of Draco's club too! And thanks, welcome!

    coz1: I haven't needed the AARA in awhile. Maybe I should find my sponsor
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  14. #14
    Disciple of Peperna CatKnight's Avatar
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    IV. THE KNIGHTS IN 1419

    In 1419 the Teutonic Knights, along with most of Eastern Europe, were firmly entrenched in a medieval mindset. They granted their cities unusual freedoms, and in former days some had joined the Hanseatic League. This backfired somewhat in 1410 when the Teutons lost Tannenberg,however, and both von Plauen and von Sternberg were reluctant to entrust their burghers with so much power again.

    Like most European states Teuton power rested in their nobility, which in this case meant the brothers who had taken oaths to the knighthood and the church. Their leader was the Hochmeister, or Grand Master, usually chosen either from a council of senior officers (treasurer, steward, etc.) or the Kommanders of the various provinces. Technically the Knights had representatives and holdings throughout Europe, but none doubted their power lay in Marienburg (Konigsberg) and Danzig.

    The Knights had a reputation for cruelty. It was somewhat true: As a religious order they had no tolerance for those who didn't follow the word of God as expressed by Rome. Further, they did not consider it a crime to enslave, abuse or otherwise mistreat those who disagreed. This, their mass colonization of the Baltic region by Germans, and sheer political ambition explained much of their turbulent history with the Poles and Lithuanians.

    In von Sternberg's quest for a new cause for his order, he was unable or unwilling to entrust the burghers who brought wealth to his state. He did, however, see the need to continue rebuilding the Teuton economy. Further, while he readily conceded the Grand Duke and his Polish allies weren't "evil pagans", those who didn't bend their knee to Rome still qualified, including most of the Lithuanian peasantry. In his efforts to find a new cause, von Sternberg pulled more and more power from his kommanders into the hands of the higher officers. (Centralization +1, Other policies as shown)



    The Knights in 1419 had a population of about 350,000.(EU2 population x 10) Konigsberg was their largest city, though it would soon be eclipsed by Danzig. Their army consisted of 21,000 souls, evenly split between heavy infantry and cavalry. The Prussian Reterregiment at Konigsberg was led by Hans von Darmstad, who we will learn more of shortly. As has been written, they considered the Livonian Brotherhood a part of their order. Poland, Masovia and Lithuania had been somewhat mollified by von Sternberg's pacifism, and if the past hadn't been forgiven they could at least coexist.



    V. AGAINST ORTHODOXY

    Von Sternberg celebrated the Feast of the Ephiphany by marrying the daughter of a powerful Danzig businessman into the Polish nobility in an effort to retain their good will. (RM) Through the rest of his life he'd arrange similar matches to Lithuania and several of the German states, determined to ease tensions between his order and neighbors.

    The Livonian Brotherhood had other ideas, and on January 3, 1419 advised their 'allies' that they intended to war with Novgorod. This was not a war von Sternberg cared to fight, but he was drowned out by those eager to restore Knight prestige following their loss at Tannenberg nine years before. Further, it was against an unrepentant Orthodox nation. The Hochmeister ordered von Darmstad to move into defensive psotions north of the Dvina River, and so counter any 'pagan' attack on Livonian soil.

    The war opened in earnest when Cysse von Rotenberg of the Livonian Order assaulted Narva with fourteen thousand men. Novgorod countered with ten thousand, and they met on March 15. Rus reinforcements arrived and turned von Rotenberg's flank, forcing a disorderly retreat across river. They counterattacked on June 3, but by then the Livonians were ready and forced them to retreat.

    This was more waiting than von Darmstad could stand. After informing the Teuton leadership of his intentions, he broke camp on June 7, determined to take Novgorod for himself.

    VI. TROUBLE ELSEWHERE

    Europe was, of course, not quiet. On January 5, the Bohemian king sent a letter to von Sternberg comparing the Knights to 'a plague of locusts, offering nothing but death.' (Insult!) Perhaps if the Livonians stayed their hand the Teuton Hochmeister would have sought a way to correct this injustice, but as it stood all he could do is watch in awe when Hussites claimed a third of their nation that August. He saw no reason to intervene, though von Sternberg did send a 'letter of inquiry' when Poland, Lithuania and Masovia smashed into Romanist Bohemia the next month. Wary of von Sternberg's attempt to centralize power within the Knights, Vytautas of Lithuania did the same (event). In a letter dated September 28, Vytautas wrote:

    While we value the opinion of and respect our Teuton brothers, as shown by the marriage of one of your houses into mine this July, we must advise you that, as we do not involve ourselves in your affair with Novgorod, we ask that you not concern yourselves with the fate of Bohemia.
    It wasn't until a year later that von Sternberg learned that Bohemian king Vaclav IV had gone mad at the end of his life, and called the marriage leading to Polish/Lithuanian unity to that of an 'addle-minded child and his nymphomanic whore.'

    VII. AN EAGLE IN WINTER


    Notice the retreating Novgorod army from Estland in June 1419

    Herr von Darmstad invaded Novgorod in late July, fighting a fierce battle against the remnants of the Novgorod army west of Narva. The Rus, weakened and demoralized by their failure to invade the Livonians, broke camp on the 24th to news that the Teutons would catch them within the hour. They hastily formed a battle line, but Novgorod officers were still out of place when von Darmstad attacked.

    After breaking the army, he moved to the capital and began a siege as von Rotenberg and the Livonians moved on Narva. The Teuton commander learned of a probing force heading his way that November, kept enough troops around the capital to ensure no one escaped, then advanced northward with the bulk of his force annihilating the intruders.

    Few were more surprised than the knight when, just two days later, a large Muscovy/Pskov army appeared on the horizon. Von Darmstad deployed for battle, but a Muscovite messenger informed him they were here to help! Apparently the two states, along with Tver, decided to finish off Novgorod in typical underhanded Orthodox fashion. For his part, with winter fast approaching von Darmstad was glad of the help.

    The second battle for Novgorod, on December 14, 1419 would be the last major battle of the war. Novgorod heavy infantry and light cavalry squared off against Teuton knights in the center, flanked on the left by Pskov light infantry and the right by Muscovite boyars. It really wasn't much of a struggle, as the horsemen advancing in unison tore apart the Novgorod left, and while the merchant republic's soldiers reeled from the blow Pskovites closed in for the kill. A chronicler of the battle writes:

    As far as the eye can see the snow is stained crimson with the blood of our enemies.
    Conservative estimates suggest seventy-five percent of the Novgorod army died or were captured to be sold as slaves in Moscow, Pskov and Konigsberg that day.

    The next summer, unknown to von Darmstad, Novgorod leaders negotiated with their Muscovite counterparts. Under cover of darkness a thousand men were allowed in through the sally ports, and given control of the city. The Teuton general was infuriated when he awoke to find the horse banner of the Grand Duke of Moscow flying over the city. (Moscow stole my siege! How? No one had a leader, and I was definitely first! Bah!)

    He convened a quick war council, but after the winter of 1419, competing with their 'allies' for the meager spoils outside of the city, and the thousands of knights who simply had other duties to attend to, the Prussian Reterregiment could only boast two thousand men. Furious, he sent to von Sternberg for instructions and was ordered home to rebuild.

    VIII. ONWARD

    From this point on, the Teutons watched the war but took no direct part other than rebuffing several ridiculous demands for money. Despite the presence of a Livonian navy, from whom the Teutons learned much (Navy 1), smugglers continually resupplied Narva. Von Rotenberg died during the winter of 1419, and despite Muscovite assistance there was no man capable of dealing with the smugglers. Still von Sternberg refused to negotiate peace, unable to accept that the war would accomplish absolutely nothing.

    In March, 1422 Michael Hochmeister von Sternberg went to God. Though he bought his brothers a much needed breather and chance to regroup (including two tax collectors), he proved unequal to his vision of restoring the Knights' raison d'etre. The Livonian/Novgorod war, in particular, drained Teuton energy (if not resources, I never recruited until Darmstad came home and never went about 50% maintenance). On the other hand, he was recognized, if not honored, for improving relations with Poland and Lithuania and perhaps avoiding a cataclysmic war.

    After a brief debate, the Kommanders and higher officers of the Order conferred the Grand Mastership on Paul Bellizer von Russdorf.


    Novgorod in 1422 is shown. Notice the Moscow forces moving in, wondering what the holdup is.
    Last edited by CatKnight; 06-04-2006 at 00:05.
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  15. #15
    Good update. A typical warlike start. I like your reasoning behind losing the siege

  16. #16
    Compulsive CommentatAAR stnylan's Avatar
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    Buggeration. I wonder if it is because they have a core on the province? Let's just hope that Poland continues to avert its hungry eye.
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  17. #17
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    Surely Catholic solidarity will ensure a peaceful border with the Poles...

    Vann

  18. #18
    Would-be King of Dragons Draco Rexus's Avatar
    Crusader Kings IIEU3 CompleteDivine WindHeir to the Throne

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    You gotta hate it when an "ally" steals your siege from you. It almost makes you wanna start fighting them, eh?

    I like where you've gone so far with this one, Cat. Smart move playing nice (a.k.a. sucking up to) with the Poles/Lithuanians, they can prove to be quite dangerous when the want to, the last thing the residents of Danzig & Prussia need at any time!

    So, Quo Vadis?

    (for those who don't know, or those who have forgotten, that means: Whither goest now? See, I do have some culture, eh?)
    Here... Here There Be Dragons!!
    Women, knights, arms, loves
    Courtesies, bold deeds I sing
    For King and Country - An evil Empire or a benevolent monarchy? You decide!
    Official Byzantine Courtier - as certified by Judas Maccabeus
    Glorification Of Saint Draco Rexus, Patron Of Britain And Dragons! - Thanks to asd21593


    They say the best men are moulded out of faults And, for the most, become more better for being a little bad.
    Measure for Measure, Act 5, Scene 1
    Proud Member of the enlightened The Spendid Paradoxian Monarchist Group

  19. #19
    Angel of Death GrimReaper's Avatar
    HoI AnthologyDiplomacyFor the MotherlandHearts of Iron IIIHOI3: Their Finest Hour
    Naval War: Arctic CircleSemper Fi

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    Interesting start. I'll be following.
    My spambot broke, now I have to write everything myself.

    Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for thou art crunchy and go well with ketchup.

    Workers of the world, igni-* err... unite!

  20. #20
    Alien Space Bat Judas Maccabeus's Avatar
    200k clubDeus VultEU3 CompleteHearts of Iron IIIHeir to the Throne
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    Darn Muscovites. I assume you'll be dealing with those traitors soon enough?

    Aside from that, looks like you're starting off well enough against those Russian schismatics.
    SHEEP ARE THE FUTURE

    While Thou Shalt Flourish Great and Free (Saxon England, pt. 3) (Started 11 October 2010)
    Scenario progress: Base maps complete, pops and diplomacy in progress.

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