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Thread: God's Warriors: the story of the Hussite Reformation

  1. #81
    Exelent AAR. Happy to see Hussites on offensive, not mainly on deffensive as IRL. Lets Husites (Czechs ) rule galaxy..ehm Europe and not Bugs..ehm Germans.
    My English may be poor, but better than yours Czechs.

    Searching difference between Nacism and Communism is simmilar to searching difference between Plague and Cholera.

  2. #82
    General Winner's Avatar

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    If you think that I am going to conquer, you'd be disappointed. My goals are rather limited...
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  3. #83
    General Winner's Avatar

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    Allright, time for a new update I am sorry that I kept you waiting for so long, you who have own AARs active know how hard it is to keep interest and to reserve enough time to write new updates regularly. Or perhaps I am too lazy, I am sorry for that.


    ------


    ***
    Der Winter Kalt
    ***



    Despite Ladislav’s diplomatic maneuvering which averted the danger of general Catholic invasion into Bohemia, the kingdom’s position was far from favourable. Catholic league could field at least twice as many soldiers as the unnatural Hussite-Imperial alliance and in the key category of heavy armored knights, the enemies had a considerable numerical advantage. It was clear that the war for survival of the Hussite reformation was going to be hard and bloody.


    Diplomatic map again, no changes


    After he received the official declaration of war from Bavarian ambassador, Ladislav summoned his closest advisors to Prague Castle to discuss strategy in the coming war. Shortly before that, however, he made his first decision alone: he had a messenger sent to one of the smaller armies in Erz with orders to march to Silesia to meet with the rest of Bohemian forces. The last thing the king needed was an early defeat of his fractioned and unprepared forces, therefore withdrawal was the only option, despite that it would leave large parts of South-West Bohemia entirely unprotected.

    Ladislav was a fair commander with good understanding of military matters, but unlike his younger peers who sought personal glory on the fields of battle, he realized than one man, no matter how gifted, can’t possibly grasp all aspects of war. Therefore he expected his advisors to point out flaws in his reasoning and offer him an alternative viewpoint and inspiration. Not only military advisors were called for, Ladislav summoned prominent religious figures and diplomats as well, as he knew that this war was everything but a purely military affair. Discussion dragged for days during which the king and his council formulated a strategy which would, they hoped, lead to victory over the Catholics.

    The most controversial issue discussed was religion and its importance in relation to Bohemian war goals. The immediate goal was of course to defend the Bohemian territory from crusader armies (the Pope didn’t hesitate to proclaim the invasion a “crusade against Bohemian heretics and their apostate king”). Problem was that the king’s theologians urged Ladislav to proclaim the war a holy war against the corrupt and false Roman Church, which was fiercely opposed by the diplomats who argued that too much accent on religion might make the only Bohemian ally sign a separate peace with his Catholic co-religionists. Ladislav agreed that pursuing religion would be counter-productive and pointed out that most of his Hussite subjects already see the war as holy struggle against Catholics invaders, ergo it was unnecessary to make any formal proclamation regarding this question.



    Ladislav I (in 1461, he was in his fifties) with one of his advisors


    On the other hand, the king and his advisors agreed that Bavaria must be punished harshly for its cowardly and sneaky attack on Bohemia without a proper casus belli. It was not just a matter of principle and justice; Ladislav was following much more pragmatic goals. It was obvious that the war started because of the relentless Bavarian diplomatic and economic pressure, culminating in expulsion of Bohemian merchants from Venice. For this reason the main Ladislav’s objective was to re-open Venice for Bohemian traders and few doubted this could be done without restoring Venetian independence. Diplomatic advisors fully supported this, as they hinted that liberation of Venice might improve Bohemia’s image abroad and help to improve Hussite standing in Europe. No decision was made regarding Bavarian allies as the king preferred to wait how the situation unfolds; nevertheless he didn’t rule out separate peace with them if it would help to ease pressure on Bohemia and the terms were favourable.

    Although many issues remained, Ladislav had to adjourn the meeting after he received a messenger from South-West Bohemia who brought him grave news: a large Bavarian army (thirty thousand men according to reports, but Ladislav was initially sceptical as estimates were very unreliable at the time) had crossed Böhmerwald [1] and stormed the city of Pilsen [2], which fell after only few days of siege. It was a bitter irony that he received the news on Christmas Eve; he certainly hadn’t wished for anything like that. It came as a shock to his military advisors too since they had anticipated that the Bavarians would spend the winter gathering troops and that they wouldn’t attack until spring [3]. With the core of Bohemian forces forming up in Silesia, the fall of Pilsen meant that there was nothing standing between Bavarian armies and Prague except for few smaller forts. Hence, Ladislav decided to ride north with his chief military advisor and friend Mojmir of Pardubice [4] to take personal command of the army. If he would return back in time to spare Prague the fate of Pilsen, which had reportedly been terribly looted, that was left to be seen...


    Not so merry Christmas in Bohemia...




    ------


    [1] Böhmerwald in German, Šumava/Český les in Czech and Bohemian Forest in English is a low mountain range in the south-west of the country which marks the border between Bohemia and Bavaria.

    [2] Plzeň in Czech. Ironically, in OTL it was one of the few Catholics strongholds in Hussite-dominated Bohemia.

    [3] I honestly didn’t know they had a 29k stack ready to be used against me so soon. I had no choice but to retreat until my forces can be expanded and their morale strengthened. I lost a missionary in Sudety, damn...

    [4] He was mentioned in one of the previous updates.
    Last edited by Winner; 19-05-2009 at 12:30.
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  4. #84
    Cisár všetkých Slovákov demokratickid's Avatar
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    My... It seems divine intervention would be nice about now...
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  5. #85
    Human Enewald's Avatar
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    are the bavarian armies that scary?

  6. #86
    General Winner's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by demokratickid View Post
    My... It seems divine intervention would be nice about now...
    No, I won't cheat

    Quote Originally Posted by Enewald View Post
    are the bavarian armies that scary?
    My whole military has 14k troops, 4 CAV, 10 INF.
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  8. #88
    Not a Sahib Milites's Avatar
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    That poor missionary. I cannot imagine what cruel fate the Bavarian inquisition had in store for him :,(

    Regarding the chapter title, are you longing for a Winter King to get you out of this mess with the bloody brats of bulging Bavaria?

  9. #89
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    Quote Originally Posted by gabor View Post
    scorch! scorch! scorch! - attrition will eat them out
    great your fantastic aar is back!
    Thanks. About scorching - I can't, I have no units in the threatened provinces to do the scorching. And I also have some moral reservations about destroying my own kingdom

    Quote Originally Posted by Milites View Post
    That poor missionary. I cannot imagine what cruel fate the Bavarian inquisition had in store for him :,(
    Reports speak about mass burnings of all Hussite priests who were captured alive in Pilsen

    Regarding the chapter title, are you longing for a Winter King to get you out of this mess with the bloody brats of bulging Bavaria?
    The title was inspired by a German song from the playlist of Renaissance music I was listening to when I was writing the update Also, it contains a hint for the next chapter - I hope that general von Winter will do his part as planned
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    "Superior training and superior weaponry have, when taken together, a geometric effect on overall military strength. Well-trained, well-equipped troops can stand up to many more times their lesser brethren than linear arithmetic would seem to indicate." - Spartan Battle Manual

  10. #90
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    Interesting AAR. I'll keep watching it!
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  11. #91
    User #8915 Ladislav's Avatar
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    it looks like a balanced alliance war, with brandenburg on your side. and with you being not AI, i think it will be more than a straight forward affair. all you need to do is go kutuzov in Sumava and watch the Bavarian numbers melt away ;|

  12. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ladislav View Post
    it looks like a balanced alliance war, with brandenburg on your side. and with you being not AI, i think it will be more than a straight forward affair. all you need to do is go kutuzov in Sumava and watch the Bavarian numbers melt away ;|
    That's the idea, yes, but I wanted a little suspense in this AAR
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  13. #93
    Splendid! Just keep a better pace on the updates
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  14. #94
    General Winner's Avatar

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    Phew, I just finished translating the longest update I've written so far, 3 pages and 16,000 characters. I must never do that again, since it's exhausting

    I'll now try to make some visuals, so expect an update tommorrow. I hope you'll like it, otherwise I'll end this AAR...

    (just kidding )
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  15. #95
    We like it so far so... no ending

  16. #96
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    ***
    Pride precedes a fall
    ***



    Bavarian decision to launch the invasion in December took Ladislav and his advisors completely by surprise, but waging war in winter had its very serious drawbacks. It was impossible to supply such a large force from Bavaria due to the rugged terrain and bad roads in Böhmerwald and the presence of small Hussite bands attacking smaller Bavarian units carrying supplies wasn’t making the situation any better. Most of the supplies had to be taken from the peasants, which proved to be very difficult and tiresome since the peasants knew they would hardly survive until the next harvest if the Bavarians took all their food reserves. They were trying to hide their food and other things of any value to the enemy soldiers and in many places they actively resisted the requisitions; they didn’t have much success but they inadvertently managed to slow the enemy army down. It is a sad irony that those who suffered the most were German speaking Catholics who made up the majority of peasant population in the Böhmerwald/southern Bohemia region. The treatment they received from their brothers in faith did more to sway them in favor of the Hussite religion than all the missionaries that had visited them before.


    Bavarian campaign in Bohemia, December 1461 - July 1462


    The consequences of insufficient provisioning had started to show even before the Bavarian Grand Army (as the duke had called it), originally consisting of about 30 thousand soldiers, reached Pilsen. Hunger, diseases, freezing temperatures and desertions had begun to thin the Bavarian ranks. In this situation, General Siegmund Ash who commanded the army had little choice but to storm Pilsner walls; he simply couldn’t afford a long siege. Fortunately for him, the town garrison was undermanned and taken by surprise, so it couldn’t resist for long. After few days the city fell to the Bavarians, who paid for it with thousands of their lives. They took revenge on the town’s inhabitants when the officers let their men loot the city to their satisfaction. The sacking continued for days and the city suffered terribly. But the worst fate awaited the Hussite priests who were captured alive [1]; they were mercilessly rounded up and burned in the town square as heretics.

    Looting and following necessary reorganization of Bavarian forces before they could resume their march towards Prague gave Ladislav the time he needed to rejoin with his armies in Silesia, where they were forming up as ordered. Once he assumed personal command of the army and became acquainted with its condition, he began marching towards the town of Náchod where he crossed the Bohemian frontier mountains and then continued directly towards Prague. Unlike the Bavarians, his army was moving through friendly territory and was supplied from reserves stored in forts and towns along the way, so it was moving a lot faster.


    Philipp Wilhelm I, Duke of Bavaria


    During the marching, Ladislav was getting familiarized with a new tactics devised by his friend and advisor Mojmir. Traveling was difficult for the old general, but he wanted to see his life work being put to practice, as he firmly believed that the “wagon fort” tactics, as he called it, would work. Ladislav had a keen military insight and so he quickly realized the potential of Mojmir’s tactics: using wagons to protect his force would essentially balance the Bavarian numerical superiority and that was definitely worth a try. Thus he ordered his men to gather all wagons they could get along the way and modify them according to Mojmir’s instructions. It slowed him down a bit, but Ladislav was willing to take that risk.

    Despite the delays, Ladislav’s forces arrived to Prague as first, crossed the Vltava River [2] and assumed position on a low hillock southwest of the city, around which the Bavarians would have to pass in order to get to the city walls. Scouts reported that the Bavarian army was still few days off and so Ladislav let his men rest for a while. Then they started training and practicing for the new tactics and final preparations were made for the ensuing battle.

    When the Bavarian army, now under personal command of Philipp Wilhelm I (the young duke certainly didn’t want to miss the battle in which the heretic army would be crushed) arrived to the battlefield, duke’s officers believed that the unusual formation of the enemy force was a sign of weakness. According to them, the Bohemian king assumed a defensive position because he had been unable to gather enough men to meet Bavarians in battle, so he was just desperately trying to delay their advance. In fact, by then the Bavarians had lost more than a third of their original strength to attrition and the arrival of a small detachment of troops from their ally Görz had done little to remedy that. The Bohemian army, on the other hand, had suffered only minimal losses during the marching and thanks to steady recruitment of new men and volunteers it had even got slightly bigger: with Prague’s town militia integrated into the force, Ladislav had nearly 14 thousand soldiers at his disposal, including 4 thousand knights. The Bavarians still had a slight numerical advantage, but their army was no longer such an overwhelming force as it was in the beginning.


    Initial army deployments


    This was unknown to the Bavarian duke, of course; it was impossible to determine the Hussite strength because their main force was hidden behind the wagon fort [3] through which he couldn’t see. He therefore trusted his officers, who had estimated the enemy strength at no more than 6 thousand men, which would have given him 3 to 1 advantage. This underestimation would gravely influence the course of the coming battle.

    The tactics chosen by Philipp Wilhelm was perhaps a bit unimaginative, but owing to the lack of experience with fighting against an enemy using a wagon fort to shield his troops it wouldn’t be fair to condemn the Bavarian duke for doing what most other commanders would have done if they had been on his place. Observation of the Hussite line revealed that there was a gap between every 5 wagons, which were otherwise tightly linked with chains. It seemed that these gaps were guarded only by men behind heavy iron shields. Philipp Wilhelm planned to use his heavy cavalry to punch through these gaps to open holes in the Hussite wagon fort through which his infantry would get in and obliterate the Bohemians inside. Their fortress would thus be turned into a trap, the duke believed.

    And so, he issued his orders and his cavalry began forming up in front. As the charge was sounded and Bavarian knights were galloping towards the Hussites, “Ktož jsú boží bojovníci” thundered from inside the wagon fort. For the first time, the Hussites sang their battle hymn which the world would soon learn to dread [4].

    Ladislav was almost surprised how precisely Mojmir had anticipated the enemy move. As he expected, the duke sent his cavalry to lead the charge. What he had also expected was that the charge would lose its momentum once the knights would start climbing uphill towards the Hussite lines. Once they got close enough, Ladislav gave command to open fire. Hussite firearms – píšťaly, hákovnice, tarasnice and houfnice [5] – might have been rugged and primitive, but their effect at close range was devastating: enemy horses, unused to the sound, shied and threw off their riders, who had to continue on foot if they hadn’t panicked and run away themselves. Once they got even closer, Hussite crossbowmen and slingers started showering them with arrows and stones.


    Bavarian cavaltry charge


    Despite all this punishment, most of the knights reached the wagon line, where they engaged in bloody fighting with Hussite footsoldiers armed with flails, pikes and halberds. After they finally broke inside the wagon fort and started pouring in, they were shocked to see another line of Hussite wagons inside. Then they realized that they had entered a killing zone: they were trapped between two lines of wagons from which the Hussites were bombarding them with arrows, bullets and stones. When they tried to get out, they found out that the enemy had closed most of the gaps they opened and that they had to fight their way out. Only few succeeded and the sight of bloodied, decimated knights running away from the Hussite fort took the spirit out of the ranks of Bavarian infantry which was just preparing to attack.

    Furious Philipp Wilhelm ordered the remnants of his cavalry to move to the rear and began reorganizing his infantry for another charge. His cavalry was decimated, but he still believed that he had vast numerical superiority and that victory was thus just a matter of time; the surviving knights confirmed this idea when they reported that they hadn’t seen many enemy soldiers between the two wagon lines. They were not lying - they just didn’t see the main body of Bohemian infantry and cavalry concentrated in the center of the wagon fort.


    Cavalry retreat/infantry charge


    Preparations for the next attack were interrupted by Hussite cannonade from the hill, which took its toll in the closed ranks of Bavarian foot soldiers and further damaged their morale. Philipp Wilhelm had only three options: stand idle and have his troops massacred piece by piece by Bohemian fire, retreat out of the range of their guns, or attack right on and crush the heretics by the sheer numbers of his men. The first two were not acceptable to the duke, so he ordered the infantry to attack.

    The second charge soon faced the same difficulties as the first one; at first the soldiers were being sprayed with projectiles, then they were being killed in violent combat at the wagons and if they managed to get over the first line, the situation repeated itself in front of the inner wagon wall. For tens of minutes waves of Bavarians were storming the Hussite wagon fort in hope that the Hussites would finally break and they’d be victorious, but there was no sign that the Bohemians were getting exhausted. For every Hussite they killed, another would take his place on the wagon. Casualties were mounting and the Bavarian morale started to crumble. Soon it became obvious that the soldiers had had enough: when their officers ordered another attack, they obeyed only reluctantly.


    Bohemian counterattack


    This was what Ladislav was waiting for. The enemy morale was collapsing so the time had come for the counterattack. To the utter terror of the Bavarians, the wagons at the right side of the wagon fort were disconnected and Bohemian cavalry rushed out of, then turned around and attacked the exposed right flank of Bavarian formation. At the same time, thousands of Bohemian infantrymen attacked from the front. Bavarian lines were thrown into chaos and the soldiers started fleeing downhill only to find out that another group of Hussite cavalry had cut off their escape route; they were now totally surrounded by Bohemians. In the ensuing hour-long carnage, most of Bavarian infantrymen were massacred.


    Ouch...


    When Philipp Wilhelm recovered from the shock, he realized that the battle was lost. He ordered what was left of his army to retreat, abandoning the surrounded infantry to its fate. He charged one of his senior officers, Karl Albrecht von Zentner, to command the retreating army, while he left with a small detachment of knights for Bavaria.

    Von Zentner suspected that he couldn’t retreat to Pilsen. He was getting reports of a large Brandenburg army marching to Bohemia from Saxony, probably aiming to retake the Pilsner fortress. If he risked retreating there, he could have been cut off and destroyed, so he decided to take the shortest route out of Bohemia and move into Austria. There, he would join up with reinforcements from Görz and Aquileia and he could also hire Austrian mercenaries, who would partially make up for the destruction of Bavarian infantry in the previous battle. He started off well when he managed to cross Vltava quickly and thus shake off the larger Bohemian army in pursuit.

    It didn’t take Ladislav long to figure out where Bavarians were headed; retreating to Austria made sense. The Habsburgs were friendly if not supportive and they had a treaty with Bavarians allowing them free passage; the Bavarian army could hire mercenaries there and then threaten the whole southern border.

    Nevertheless, he decided not to pursue it. After the battle of Prague, the situation was reversed: suddenly it was his army which was bigger, slower and in need of more supplies. If he pursued the Bavarians, he’d be moving in the trail of destruction left by them to deny him the necessary supplies, which could prove catastrophic. Instead, he chose the longer road from Prague to Brno, the capital of Moravia and a major fortress town. The road between the two cities was good and there were plenty of small forts and towns along it where he would obtain all the necessary foodstuff and men to replenish his army.

    He left a smaller army in Bohemia under the leadership of Fridrich of Kunvald [6] to assist the Emperor’s forces in clearing the remaining Bavarian forces from the south of the country, while he left with the main army for Moravia. He stopped in Jihlava for a while and then continued to Brno where the well-trained and motivated forces of Moravian Hussite towns (which were first to adopt the new religion) joined him. He came just in time to learn that von Zentner’s forces had just crossed the Austrian border and were heading to Wien. Ladislav didn’t want to spoil the element of surprise so he immediately resumed the march south. The treaty allowing him to pass through Habsburg lands was still valid and so he didn’t have to worry about the Austrian reaction.

    Ladislav’s goal was to prevent the Bavarians from joining with their allies so he maneuvered his army between the two smaller enemy forces and kept them divided. When the Bohemian army deployed for battle against von Zentner’s force singing “Ktož jsú boží bojovníci” again, the Bavarian soldiers had had enough. After months of hardships, hunger, endless marching through hostile lands, freezing and one crushing defeat, they had no intention to die when the end of their misery was in sight. The Bavarian army simply melted away before Ladislav’s eyes and von Zentner had no choice but to surrender to him. When the Bavarian allies found out what happened, they turned around and left without a fight.



    And so in just 6 months of campaigning, the Bavarians have lost their Grand Army and with it their best hope for early victory over the heretics. But the war was far from over, as the larger Bavarian allies, Milan and Lorraine, were just getting ready to attack.



    ------



    [1] In OTL, most Hussite priest had little qualms about taking part in battles. In fact, they often led men into battle to boost their morale.

    [2] Moldau in German, the longest river in Bohemia.

    [3] About the term: the famous Hussite formation is called vozová hradba in Czech, and it literally means “wagon barrier” or “wagon wall”. Germans call it wagenburg and I took the liberty to translate their term into English. So, in this AAR, vozová hradba = wagon fort.

    [4] Too bad I can’t find a good choir version of the song, I imagine it must really have been scary when thousands of men sang it...

    [5] Hussites were not the first ones to use firearms, but they were among the first in Europe to use them as an important part of their tactics. Píšťaly (“pipes”) and hákovnice (“hook guns”) were a sort of primitive handguns, while tarasnice and houfnice (“howitzer”) were used as cannons (tarasnice had longer barrel and thus were more accurate, while houfnice were used to massacre infantry by firing grapshots - thus the name: "houf" means crowd or mass in Czech).

    [6] About the Bohemian names, I owe you an explanation. Vanilla MM Bohemian file contains few generic leader names, like “Praha”, “Brno”, “Pardubice” etc. These are all Bohemian town names and the way the game uses them is extremely silly from a Czech perspective. Imagine that all French generals had names like “Jean Paris” or “Bertránd Lyon”, or that all Austrian generals were named “Johann Wien” or “Karl Linz”.

    Bohemian nobles just like their German counterparts used prepositions before their family names. For example, take the name of the famous Hussite commander, Jan Žižka z Trocnova – here, “Jan Žižka” is his name + surname, while “z Trocnova” means “of Trocnov”, the town his family resided in. The “z” in Bohemian names means the same as “of” in English or “von” in German. One more example: you surely have heard about Albrecht von Wallenstein, the Austrian generalissimo who played an important role during the Thirty Years’ War. He is known by his German name, but he was a Bohemian: in Czech, his name is Albrecht z Valdštejna.

    Therefore, I heavily edited the game files and added dozens of historical Bohemian names, as well as plausible fictional ones. Also I added few new ruler names and corrected all the mistakes I could find. This way, I made playing Bohemia a little bit more colorful for myself.
    Last edited by Winner; 19-05-2009 at 12:31.
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    Sweet update!
    First victory for you, yet the force of the enemy has not been leashed in full power...

  18. #98
    General gabor's Avatar
    Crusader Kings IIEuropa Universalis 3Heir to the ThroneEuropa Universalis III: In NomineEU3 Napoleon's Ambition

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    overwhelming victory! i suppose it's the boost to morale that hussites get that helped so much
    well, now it's only mopping out and dictating peace terms, i guess

    than you should have quite easy time; spread the true faith!
    too bad the game doesn't reperesent the inner conflicts amongst the hussites well

  19. #99
    User #8915 Ladislav's Avatar
    200k clubCrusader Kings II

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    wow, the bavarian army was MASSACRED! in OOC terms, what were the reasons behind it? better tech? terrain? thanks!

  20. #100
    Cisár všetkých Slovákov demokratickid's Avatar
    Deus VultEuropa Universalis 3Hearts of Iron IIIVictoria 2Mount & Blade: Warband

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    Devastating victories, excellent work sir!
    Current AAR: Das Vereinigte Königreich von Mitteleuropa - Last Updated: October 19, 2011
    My illustrious Inkwell is right here for your enjoyment!
    AWARDED: Irish Shamrock Cookie by King_Richard_XI
    I'VE BEEN CANONIZED

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