I think Karasuman is all too right in that this will be a puppet reign if ever there was one. An all too undignified disposal for Hamza.
Well been busy making a mod for EU 3 around the Kingdom of Jerusalem for an AAR I've been thinking up but with that done back to the Safavids!
Not sure Kara the Council and Suli should have fairly similar views but tensions over power will be coming up at some point!
Yeah I quite liked Hamza Duke even if his appearance in the whole thing was rather short.
Yep Garbon but that may still occur, not decided yet. If it does though it won't be quite the same as the historical version.
Shah Suleiman I – Fighting the Good Fight (1666 – 1669)
Well the new man. A turn back to the nasty yellow circles.
Suleiman, unlike recent Shahs had been taken by religious fervour since a young age. As an infant the physicians didn’t think he would live past his first year. He proved them wrong, 6 years later he fell into a river near Tabriz. At 6 and still a sickly child it looked like the miracle of him making it this far was about to end. He was carried downstream, around a bend and out of sight but the young Suleiman just a few moments later came walking around the bend by the side of the river a little wet but more or less fine.
After this the clerics had decided he was blessed. The highly religious Kizilbash Guard also apparently thought so and despite being in no way in line to the crown he had, at the age of 18 been crowned Shah of one of the greatest Empires in the world. While not supremely talented in any areas he was strong of will, determined and dangerously ambitious. Throughout his childhood he had loved to examine the many maps in the Harem. He had once remarked to Najam, one of the Council that despite the great Safavid Empire being so powerful all these little infidel states continued to defy the true form of Islam just around the borders.
Unsurprisingly then, after giving each member of the Council control over one of the 20,000 men armies which were the mainstay of Safavid power he launched an attack on his smallest Sunni neighbour – the state of Sindh. Najam’s army led the assault on Sindh while the army of Abbas, another council member hung back just in case the vastly smaller Sindh, without the backing of the divine defeated Najam’s attack.
Najam leads the assault on the Sindh
Najam not only defeated the Sindh army but mercilessly butchered killed any of the Hindu and Sunni populations which opposed him, inserting Shiite leaders in their place.
The war and peace were settled quickly, Sindh converted and as a token of thanks Suli (the Council’s pet name for Suleiman) sent them an extravagant gift of gems and gold from Isfahan to thank them for ‘seeing the light’. He also had gifts sent to the Turks, with whom relations were still strained after the wars and to Yemen the other Shiite state
Next Suli turned his gaze north. The Khiva Khanate which had split from the Uzbeks soon after the death of Abbas was a little larger but still with the Allah’s blessing his forces could not loose. The regions weren’t rich but conquest didn’t interest Suli. No these barbarians to the north would be taught the true faith – something his predecessors had never managed with the Uzbeks.
The Khiva Khanate
Before Suli could get his armies in place for the attack the natives of Natal launched an attack on the colony. The natives were brave although their bravery was taken to a little too extreme lengths, attacking the colony was simply suicide. The wooden palisade surrounding the few hundred settlers had cannon mounted at 40 metre intervals and 10,000 Safavid men stationed near by to protect it.
Despite their bravery the natives quickly succumbed to the muskets of the Safavid Colonial Army. The governor in Natal took pity on the natives who had lost many of their hunters to Safavid guns and blades. He had food sent to the encampment in the hope this offer of friendship would deter any future attacks.
An uprising in Natal
Meanwhile back on the mainland four of the six council members had sent their armies north for the attack on Khiva.
The Safavid army marches on Khiva
40,000 men hugged the eastern coastline and assaulted, quickly capturing without major loss Karabogaz, Turkmenistan and Khiva. The other 40,000 skirted around the western border of Khiva before moving west towards the capital of the Khanate. The forces of Khiva however massed in Kara Kum and Khwarizm. Najam ordered the armies to hold. The losses to supplies and the anti-Safavid hysteria (built up mainly from his continuous brutal actions to local Sunni communities) would inflict an unimaginable toll on the Safavid men. This was obeyed for a year or so. But eventually, tired of waiting and impatient as ever, Husayn launched an attack, as it happened he won a magnificent victory which led to a complete surrender from the Khiva Khan.
While the Khiva were made to convert and Suli celebrated the victory in Isfahan Najam was less impressed. While not an official leader he was the eldest of the council and had always been accepted as wisest. Husayn’s actions had driven a wedge between the two and with Suli growing in power and confidence they began to compete for his influence. The rivalry grew bitterly fierce in just a few short years and with each at the head of a 20,000 man force the political future of the Empire looked shaky at best.
Ambition is often the trait of the "not supremely talented in any areas" . Though it seems Suli does quite nicely during his time on the throne. Those advisors are going to cause much trouble in the future though... But I am convinced there is going to be a Shah who (with some "divine help, of course ) will recover the Safavid Empire from any state it will be in .
Good update in my opinion .
The Khiva must now be vassilized and annexed , in due course. The Councillors seem on the verge of plunging the Empire into civil war. I hope steps will be taken to bring Yemen into the great and glorious Safavid Empire.
The governor of the SSA is showing too much leniency and not enough religious fervour. The lack of a direct link with the Empire is permitting far too much independence of action.
Thanks Emperor_krk and I think Suli will do just fine!
Yeah Duke those governers just haven't got the toughness of our mainland men.
Unfortunatly Ragusa the gift-relations attempts are taking a turn for the worse as I find a new way to spend lots of money.
Shah Suleiman I – The Good Die Young (1669 – 1672)
Suli looked forward at the men in front of him; he had known each of them since a young age and the forming of the Kizilbash guard. The previous year Fardis, the eldest member of the council had passed away and now the two most senior members Najam and Husayn were at each others throats. Between them they had transformed the Safavid Army into a professional fighting force. Other countries still relied on mercenaries and levies – the Safavid system was envied throughout the world. They had brought fear to their enemy’s hearts and in both Sindh and Khiva the people now followed the true faith thanks to them and yet they hated each other.
Najam was jealous of Husayn’s popularity with the people. Despite Husayn’s temper he was as valorous as any Latin knight of old and twice as valorous as anything Christendom could produce in the modern day. The people of the Safavid Empire looked at him as a hero – the favourite son of the glorious Safavids. Najam on the other hand was crafty; it was him who had laid down the invasion plans in both of Suli’s wars and he who had (even if the tactics were undesirable) converted many of the people of Khiva and Sindh to the true faith. Husayn didn’t care of course but as his popularity grew he saw less and less need to listen to Najam. They had almost come to blows at two meetings with only the pleadings of Suli preventing one of them ending up dead.
Suli knew he must act soon but before he could meet with his the Council a messenger from the Turks arrived. War had broken out with the Christians. The Great Catholic Alliance, which had been formed a year earlier uniting the three largest kingdoms of Christendom – France, Spain and Poland – had attacked what was left of the Turkish holdings in Europe. Suli of course was quick to come to the aid of his Shiite brothers and sent his generals off to their armies and war making.
The Polish Empire stretching from the Baltic in the north to the Mediterranean in the south.
Najam began laying out the plans for the coming war – it would be the hardest the Safavids had fought in many years. Husayn would head to Africa in order to guard possessions in Egypt against the Spanish – while this was a sound strategy there was unlikely to be much fighting in Africa and Husayn bitterly resented this. Meanwhile Najam would hold the region to the just south of Georgia (which the Swedes controlled and would without doubt let the Poles use as a base). The rest of the Council members and their armies were scattered around Asia Minor. The plan was to hold off the initial Christian assault then hit back and retake lands previously Ottoman. It was a sound plan in theory…
Husayn didn’t listen, bitter and believing that Najam was simply trying to claim the glory for himself he had his army board ships at Alexandria. When told by the captain that Najam had ordered the fleet to remain here Husayn reply was ‘Do you want to stay here and be forgotten about or be welcomed to Isfahan as a hero? I know what I wish for - fortune favours the bold, we sail!’ Taken up by Husayn’s undeniable charisma the captain sailed for Greece where he dropped off Husayn and his men and headed off for the Black Sea where the conflict would be.
Husayn attacks Greece (note the huge Ottoman army doing absolutely nothing)
Najam’s plan hadn’t accounted for the fury of the Poles nor the leadership skills of Khmelnytsky the great Polish Hetman. The Polish forces blazed a path straight through the 20,000 strong army which was charged with holding the passes into Trabzon and marched on to Nuyssaybin. Here Najam met them on the battlefield. Despite outnumbering his foe he failed to achieve victory and in a last ditch cavalry charge he himself fell – killed by a Polish pike. The effective leader of the Safavid forces was dead.
Najam falls to his Polish foe
Meanwhile in Greece Husayn had been having more success. He captured Hellas from the Spanish and was laying siege to Macedonia. He and his veterans had already defeated two 20,000 man Spanish armies but were slowly being whittled down by continued attacks. With 4000 infantry and 10000 cavalry left he met another Spanish foe in Macedonia.
The Fields of Macedonia – 1672
Husayn looked around at his men. Not a single one had clothing without blood, dirt or both staining the royal blue of the Safavids. His elite Kizilbash regiment looked slightly cleaner – the blood melding in against their red uniforms but many were bandaged up from the fight the month before. Things looked grim.
The Spaniards were setting up camp in the valley ahead. Eating, drinking and making merry. They had all they needed their supply lines were good – the same couldn’t be said for Husayn. His men hadn’t had a proper meal since they marched into Athens and now they were holed up in this forsaken place. The hills didn’t suite the cavalry – this land was only good for one type of fighting. The type of fighting where both sides lined up and emptied musket balls at each other until one side could take it no more. Still Husayn ordered the men to form up. He wasn’t going to let his battle weary men die of starvation.
The sentries at the Spanish camp called out the warnings and the men lazily picked up their weapons. The Spanish commander, just back from a campaign in the new world was more then confident of victory. The Safavids were worn down and overstretched but he was blissfully unaware of the leadership of Husayn. Both sides entered the battle confident of victory but one side was more cheerful about the prospect then the other.
As the sides lined up the tables turned slightly the Spaniards began to look nervous while the battle hardened Safavids simply stood emotionless. As the lines drew closer still the Spanish sharpshooters took aim. Looking down the barrel of his musket one such sharpshooter, Pedro, lost his footing and slipped, his finger hit the trigger and a bullet flew off with a bang. His commander glared at him for a moment and Pedro just shrugged. The bullet flew across the field over the heads of the two armies forming up and by some fluke struck Husayn in the heart – he collapsed. The Kizilbash Guard who were with him wept with fury as they charged determined to avenge the loss of their general. They fought like demons and yet the Spaniards were too much for them. After loosing their leader and cavalry many of the infantry surrendered, others fought on. It mattered not – the Spanish butchered all present. The Empire had lost its favourite son, many brave young men and the battle.
Husayn follows in Najam's footsteps
The battle scene was just magnificent! Neatly written and really interesting to read - just as the rest of the update .
Pity that Husayn and Najam died (were they just "normal" leaders of those names or have you made them up?), but on the other hand - that will mean less troubles in the future, seeing their jealousy about each other...
Also, the war seems to be really problematic; are you sure it was a good decision to honour the call to arms?
Two of the councillors dead. Time for numbers to take the place of skill. When this is over, the Shah ust make a note to annex the Otomans so that their weakness does not serve as an invitation to greedy Europeans.
They're made up Emperor didn't have the energy to add leaders for them but I miss them hehe. As for the call to arms nope was almost definatly the wrong decision but there are Shiites in Greece and Suli is nutty religious so no choice really. The war itself is odd. All the sides are a long way from eachother so the Christians can't make gains in Asia Minor and I can't get anywhere in Europe.
Not too happy with events either Herbert. Doesn't bode well for the war in general either.
Numbers over skill is definatly the plan Ragusa. Going to try and flood all the southern Polish provinces with infantry and assault them.
Well been a little while since an update - been kinda busy but I should get one in tomoro with a bit of luck!
A harsh reality check there for the Empire. Two leaders cut down like that so quick is bad. This war shall;l no doubt be interesting. I think you will hold off the Christians with relative ease but gaining anything will be another matter. Gotta love that Ottoman ai sitting 48K men around doing nothing while it march under a thousand into battle. At least it is converting I see, an all too rare occurrence.
Yeah fighting and winning in Europe is the hard bit Duke. As for the Ottomans converting they've been doing a reasonable job. Quite a lot of their lands are Shiite now. Mind you they've had nearly 200 years so you'd expect something.
Shah Suleiman I – A Black Day (1672 – 1675)
With the loss of his two greatest generals Suli took personal charge over the fate of the war. In truth he had lost more then mere officials. Najam had in his youth been like a father to him which probably accounted for his rapid promotion to Shah. Husayn was more of a wayward uncle figure but likable none the less. The loss gave Suli a burning anger and he intended to take this out on the Christians. After the defeat in Greece Suli ruled the area out as a plan of attack. Instead the Safavids would attack the Polish and Spanish holdings around the Crimea.
In accordance with this change of direction the navy, stationed at Trabzon took a 15,000 strong force to the coastal province of Kaffa. As the men were unloading onto the beaches a small Polish force no more then 3000 strong arrived from the north. The commander believed victory was inevitable and overconfidence in this case proved fatal. The Safavid men were caught on the beaches and the cavalry, unused to the heavy terrain was unable to function. As the infantry desperately tried to form up the Poles rained down lead from the dunes above. Soon panic broke out and panic turned into an all out retreat for the ships. In the madness that followed only 5000 Safavids made it out alive.
The disastrous assault on Kaffa
The attack which was meant to change the war did nothing but raise the death toll of the war which was already huge.
Meanwhile better news arrived from SSA. The natives that had been treated so well in the past had flocked to the growing colony at Natal. With the addition of these tribesmen – new converts to the Shiite faith the city had a population of around 11,000 making it the biggest for miles around. On hearing the news Suli sent congratulations to the governor but urged him not to be too pleasant to these heathens in the future. As a reward Natal was made the colonial capital of the SSA and the governor was placed in charge of the entire region.
The good news from Africa was welcomed and Suli saw it as a sign for another offensive. This time there would be less sea travel – the Safavids never had been any good at boating. The boats this time would simply be used to transport the troops around Georgia which was under Swedish control. After the short boat ride the men unloaded at Abkhazia where they immediately assaulted the fortress. The city fell quickly and without major loss. The victory was just what the country needed to boost morale and it gave Suli some confidence. He sent messages for the offensive to continue further north against the Spanish in Kerch.
Some progress against the Polish
Just six months and another bloody assault later and Kerch had fallen – the Spanish immediately offered around 120 ducats for peace and Suli accepted it. If he wanted to win this war he couldn’t fight against the Spanish, French and Polish. With the Spanish out of the equation Suli decided to see if he could tempt the French to an early peace. After all the French didn’t really have any interest in the area. An envoy was sent to the French Army and they agreed to a white peace. Now it was just the Polish against the Shiite Alliance!
Unfortunately Suli didn’t take into account Ottoman morale. Their capital was in Polish hands as were their other European holdings and their Sultan was practically in exile. While the Safavids took the pulling out of France and Spain as a signal to go for the jugular the Ottomans took it as a chance to surrender. After the mixed Safavid Ottoman army was defeated in Asia Minor they handed over their remaining provinces east of Thrace to Poland in exchange for peace.
Beaten back on the western front
Suli was furious and still bitter over the death of Najam and Husayn. Rashly he launched another offensive in June of 1674. 40,000 men and horses made the short journey to the Polish Crimea. At first they had limited success capturing Azov but as November came so did the snows.
Now in the Safavid Empire it’s hot. There is rarely ever any snow at all. This makes winter a bit of a pain simply due to less food being about but no great problem. In the Polish Empire it’s very cold. Suli simply didn’t take this into account but such a simple action had dire consequences. No Safavid returned form this last doomed offensive into the Polish interior. Men died in droves of starvation and disease and finally from the unceasing harassment from many smaller Polish forces.
Suli signed a white peace the following summer but in truth it was a defeat. Over 150,000 Safavids had lost their lives in the war and the last Shiite holdings in Europe had been lost too. To make things worse few saw any way in which the Safavids could do anything to change this in the near future. It truly was a black day for the Empire.
It always feels so sad when you lose a war against the AI, even if it's just your vassal who gives up provinces. Those huge allinaces of major powers that the AI sooo loves creating are irritating, too!
Damn. That was a real costly war. Suli made far too many rash decisions about where to send troops, understandable given the grief he must be feeling. But no mercy off with ihs head and lets have a competent military shah again.
Yeah Emperor losing the last real province in Europe was hard (Thrace is still Ottoman but only because it is their capital. Actually thinking of moving their capital seen as remaining in Thrace seems a little... brave of them).
As for annexing Ragusa thats easier said then done. I get 1 diplomat a year so relation improving while trying to organise treaties and wars etc. can actually get fairly tricky.
I'm looking for a good way out of Suli Duke but until it comes were stuck with him and he isn't done causing trouble yet...