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Thread: Everyone like Walloons: A Belgian AAR

  1. #1
    Lt. General John Forseti's Avatar
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    Everyone likes Walloons: A Belgian AAR

    Bit of background first I guess, this is my very first AAR so please be gentle and bear with me. I'm also quite new to Vicki 2, and have never played Vicki, my only other game (also as Belgium) went up to the mid 1870s before I thought I might make an AAR out of it and restarted to do just that:

    EDIT: This AAR was cut down in it's prime due to an unfortunate case of save game corruption

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    Anyway, lets get on with it;




    Everyone likes Walloons: A Belgian AAR

    Index

    Prologue

    The Reign of Leopold I, King of the Belgians ( 21 July 1831 - Present)

    The Administration of Prime Minister Barthélemy Théodore (1st January 1836 - 4th July 1840)

    Chapter One
    Chapter Two
    Chapter Three
    Chapter Four
    Chapter Five

    The Administration of Prime Minister Guillaume Joos Clerix (5th July 1840 - Present)

    Chapter Six
    Chapter Seven
    Chapter Eight
    Chapter Nine
    Chapter Ten
    Chapter Eleven
    Chapter Twelve
    Chapter Thirteen
    Chapter Fourteen



    Disclaimer: I have no real idea at all about the history of Belgium and it's national "character" etc. so if I go way out of character please excuse me. : )
    Last edited by John Forseti; 21-04-2011 at 01:30.

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    Everyone likes Walloons: Prologue

    Prologue


    Let's start by taking a little look at Belgium and how she begins her path to greatness and glory, or atleast avoids the path of wrack and ruin.



    Belgium is a relatively small and new county in western Europe, sitting between the Netherlands to the north, whom it recently won it's independence from, Prussia(and Luxembourg) to the East and France to the South. With the mighty United Kingdom, whose Sphere of Influence Belgium begins in, a stones throw across the sea to the North West.



    Belgium holds a relatively small population of 1.04 million adult males(a total population around 4 and a fifth million people). Most of whom work in the mines or farm the land. Almost all of them are Catholics, it seems the reformation didn't make a dent in this land. A possible problem for Belgium is that less than 40% of it's population are of the primary culture Wallonian, the rest being almost entirely Flemish. This will mean a very long time before Belgium is able to open up a second national focus.



    However despite Belgium's volatile location, small population and internal cultural struggles she still punches well above her weight, coming in at just one spot outside the ranks of Great Powers, thanks largely to an early industrialisation and accumulation of prestige(from winning the war of independance perhaps?). Let us see how the adventure turns out;



    Next Episode: Chapter One: In the Beginning...
    Last edited by John Forseti; 18-08-2010 at 03:20.

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    Everyone likes Walloons: Chapter 1

    Previous Episode: Prologue


    Chapter 1: In the Beginning...


    - Barthélemy de Theux de Meylandt, Prime Minister of Belgium


    "Barthélemy Théodore, Count de Theux de Meylandt
    We do hereby summon you to the Palace of Brussels, as the man I judge most able
    to sway your fellows in the Chamber of Representatives following the recent election
    of members to that esteemed Chamber it behooves and pleases us to offer you the
    position of Prime Minister and invite you to form a government.

    Signed,
    Léopold, King of the Belgians
    "


    - His Majesty Leopold I King of the Belgians


    It was with that brief note on the 1st of January 1836 that I took charge of the governance of my sweet Belgium, a moment I had dreamed fondly of for many years and previous to that never thought possible. After swearing my oaths to the King, constitution and people and having received a thorough briefing of His Majesty's expectations. I make a brief stop in my new offices in Parliament, where I am warmly congratulated by several colleagues and take the oppertunity to get up to speed with the new faces and catch up with the old;



    I am delighted to see that not only has my dear Catholic party maintained it's majority in the Senate, our upper house, but has also came back with a smashing majortity in the Chamber of Representatives, the lower one. It is a small wobble that the more reactionary elements of the party, referred to by many as their own "Nationalist" party are required to make that majority, however they are as always affable enough if you don't get them going and they do seem to have good intentions at heart(though there is a phrase about good intentions). Anyway, after a brief speech in the Chamber to the few that have made it, parliaments never seem to see much business before noon, I immediately started my tour of the Ministries of state.


    First stop, the Ministry of Finance;



    After a cordial getting-to-know-you with the minister I am introduced to his senior team. The discussion soon turns around to the matter of taxes, that most favourite topic of all governments, and they inform me that thanks to our magnificent industrial base and preferential access to the markets of our sponsor the United Kingdom, many of our people have prospered so greatly that they want for nothing. At the same time of course they inform me that the tax gathering organs of our state could be much improved. I believe I get the drift and ask them to step up our efforts in that regard. There is a rapid-fire discussion in a language almost as bizarre and confusing as flemish( even as a politician high finance was never my strong suit), before they assure me the government will recieve 18% of income in tax, wonderful people these beaurocrats.

    With the increased income from these changes, I ask for increased spending, I note a tiny expression of shock from some of the taxmen present, some see tax as an end in itself rather than a means, but what else are taxes for other than to be spent in the betterment of our people? I order that there be increased wages and benefits for state employs(No more shock now) to better attract more into the ranks, increasing our capacity to gather taxes, chase down criminals and orchestrate our policies. I also order more spent on education, increasing tax breaks and providing materials to the churches and other institutions that do so much to educate our people. There is also a small boost for our military, it is slightly distasteful funding the professional killing of other human beings but being between France and Prussia, and with the Netherlands still claiming our sovereignty, one cannot be too careful.


    Time presses on however and I make my leave to continue my tour, thankfully the Ministry of Industry is just across the street;



    It is here another set of beaurocrats meticulously monitor the great engine of industry here in Belgium, the minister here, perhaps befitting his area is of a very practical bent and gets straight down to it. We have six true factories here in Belgium, three each to Wallon and Flanders. In Wallon a Steel works employs fully five thousands men, a pocket army, they produce vast quantities of steel and that which is not used at home I hear ends up in Sheffield in the UK. Wallon is also home to a health ammunition factory and an ailing arms shop, there are few factory workers it seems, most in Wallonia still work the fields and the mines. In Flanders, or Vlaanderen as the Flemish call it, a modest operation produces fabric in fine lowlands tradition, cement used in the maintenance of buildings and other factories is produced there also. A smaller canned goods factory is present too, supplying our armies with field rations no doubt. While some of these factories are a little smaller than I had hoped they all atleast are making money for their workers and investors, so there is nothing for me to do but congratulate these people on their fine work and carry on.

    Also nearby is the Ministry of Trade, I stop in to introduce myself and the minister kindly makes time for me but I can see that they are extremely and dilligently busy working for the procurement of all the materiale nessecary for working of a nation. They seem to know what they are doing, and so I leave them too it.

    My next stop is to the Foreign Office, after the intense work being put in at the Ministry of Trade, the atmosphere of laxity here is almost palitable. In the antechamber of the Foreign Secretary's office I hear what I can only assume to be the smack of darts from behind the door, but by the time my arrival is announced and I am led in, he has managed to secret the board. There are the tell tale signs of a couple of misses on the wall however, I pretend not to notice but the Foreign secretary must have seen my glance as he immediately explains that there is comparitively little for him to do. It having been in Great Britain's interest to see a weakened Netherlands, their backing of our seccession is an open secret and their presense and interest in Belgium today well known. As a result many countries are reluctant to deal with us fearing that the great empire see them "interfering" in it's back garden. I bid the man fare well and head to my last stop;


    It is back to the Palace to consult with the Army and Ministry of Defense



    After meeting with the King's senior officers and the Minister I am given a briefing of the current situation, details are kept short and replies to the point, these people know of that the Catholic party is generally fond of armies, though the nationalist wing would probably make fast friends here. I learn we have a total of 39,000 men on active service in the army, not bad I suppose, but what is laughingly called our navy consists of nothing more than three flotillas of clipper transports docked in Brugge. No doubt they were surprised when I requested some actual warships to protect our transports, what point would our shipping have if it could be sunk so easily? I also requested another regiment of cavalry be raised from our new recruits, better to have these people ready to protect the Belgian peoples at a moments notice.


    With the grand tour completed and it being well past noon, I decide to retire to a late lunch at the palace, before heading back to Parliament to conduct my new day-to-day duties. I wonder what the future will bring.


    Next Episode: Chapter Two: The First Year
    Last edited by John Forseti; 18-08-2010 at 03:19.

  4. #4
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    Previous Episode: Chapter One: In the Beginning...


    Chapter 2: The First Year



    Most of the time my duties occupy little time as the Ministries are quite capable of competantly steering the ship of state. One of the first actions I had taken, given our position in the British sphere I consulted with the King and recommended sending a despatch to our ambassador in London requesting we formalise the relationship with an alliance, with the might of the British behind us we should be quite safe from any designs on our land by our neighbours. This was done and in the meantime, we received a similar offer from Denmark of all places, initally I was quite reluctant to accept this one, fearing we may be dragged into a war of Scandanavian hegemony or somesuch, however the King pointed out that while the Nethlerands still threatened any possible ally was a good ally, so we accepted that. We Britians positive reply came back I was delighted, with Denmark and especially Britiain at our side, we should be left free and un interfered with.




    Some time later in January I find that the increased education spending is not quite having as great an effect as I would like, what's needed is a more direct appeal for more educators, Flanders being our most populous province we are most likely to see a great effect there;



    In pursuing this course a function is being held at the Universiteit Gent, representatives of other universities, institutes and catholic schools are present, all gathered under the wonderful mission of furthing education in Belgium. After the speeches and lectures there is a bit of a rush for sherry and nibbles, and I find the Cardinal and Chancellor engaged in very interesting discussion about some of the new ideas and philosophies filtering in from the continent and being embraced by student and even some faculty. Intrigued, I ask to know more;




    What follows is a clear spring, productive summer and mild autumn but very little of note occurs, our new educators and state employees payed for by the increased taxes begin their work improving Belgium, the ministries continue their sterling work and our budget sees a healthy surpluss. However on October 26th, just as winter begins to set in, I receive a not from the Ministry of Industry;



    The shortage of skilled craftsmen in Wallonia has meant our arms factory can no longer find workers. It being of strategic importance to manufacture our own weapons I consider prioritising the factory and subsidising its wages, but with so few workers around this would likely mean trouble for the other and profitable manufacturies however, so in this instance I decline. And unfortunately the factory closes it's doors within the week.

    The winter is not all bad news however;



    Our other factories are shining beacons of efficiency and progress it seems, and the encouragement of new ideas and philosophies in our academia has caused other countries to view us in an improved light. Infact I feel better myself.

    With the year having drawn to a close, the Senate is redrawn and it looks like bad news has returned;



    I am saddened to see so many of my close colleagues loose their position, both in my own and the Liberal party, to the more militant nationalist wing. We have even lost our pure majority there. I wonder if this is a result from the increased spending on the military? Speaking of the military is seems our alliances have quelled any revanchist sentiment in the Netherlands, as they have remained quiet, all the wars take place far away from home;



    The Ottoman Empire seeks makes progress resubjegating the people of Tripoli, the United States having intervening on the breakaway Republic of Texas' behalf has seen Mexico's advance grind to a halt and the French and British are busy empire building. Long may they empire build away from us.

    The World: January 1837


    Next Episode: Chapter Three: The Second War for Belgian Independence
    Last edited by John Forseti; 28-08-2010 at 02:57.

  5. #5
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    Everyone likes Walloons: Chapter 3

    Previous Episode: Chapter Two: The First Year

    Chapter 3: The Second War for Belgian Independence


    (OOC Note: Is it just me, or does the AI LOVE declaring war just after you load a saved game?)


    As if the national sentiment here at home were mirrored in our neighbour to the north, the Netherlands declared war on Belgium in the early days of January 1837, demanding nothing less than our total annexation. Frantically armies are organised and our most senior offices take their posts;



    General be Broqueville I can only assume is one of those relatives of a monarch that reach their position through that singular attribute, for he is a thoroughly inexperienced and unsuitable person to lead men. He commands our slightly smaller army comprising of twelve thousand men and six thousand horse. General Dethier however, commanding twelve thousand men, six thousand horse and three thousand artillery and crew, is a man I much respect. Formerly an orphaned boy who grew up in a monestery, Camille found his way through the ranks thanks to displays of competance and courage. Fianlly, Admiral de Chasteler commanding our measley and half complete fleet, he is a good and likeable enough chap but he is not quite suited for life at sea, however we in Belgium are not exactly "swimming" in sailors and while it may take Felix a little longer to get his ships where they need to go, anyone else would likely end up scuttling their fleet before leaving port. Some measure of relief arrives though, just days after the Netherlands declaration of war we recieve the following dispatches;



    With the help of Denmark and the crushing might of the United Kingdom behind us, we stand a very good chance of surviving. Just in time too as the Dutch armies soon begin their invasion, with a brigade of 3000 men in Antwerp. Almost laughing General be Broqueville immediately marches his army north out of Brussels to face them, neglecting the advice of General Dethier to stay behind until we know where more of the Dutch forces willl be committed. Sure enough no sooner is de Broquevill throughroughly engaged does the main Dutch army march out of Eindhoven into Hasselt. Dethier marches to meet it, although slightly outnumbered he hopes the home advtantage and his abilities will will win him the day.



    The battle in Hasselt is a vicious see-saw affair, with Dethier's abilities on the offensive being matched by his Dutch equivalent in defense, turning the battle for the province into a war of attrition and both armies seem to take it turn to sustain heavy losses. A game Camille cannot keep up with, however he recieves some good news;



    on January 20th, de Broqueville's army, thanks mainly to his numerical superiority rather than tactical, has defeated, broken and routed the Dutch division and has immediately began a march to reinforce Dethier in Hasselt. The fresh men are very much needed, as in the war of attrition against superior numbers, Dethier has taken very heavy losses, the morale of his men is low and the division are approaching breaking point. Blaise's arrival brings the total number of Belgians above those of the Dutch, but the Dutch are pushing hard and soon take a numerical advantage one more. Camille makes his own comeback cutting the Dutch numbers down again, before his opposite trades places once more. Back and forth the war rages over Hasselt, skirmishes and battles are fought for weeks before finally, on the 8th of March, a rider reaches Brussels and brings news that Camille's forces have finally broke and a general retreat was ordered;



    When the army itself reaches Brussels, the losses are staggering. More than half of the brave Belgian men who set out on that cold morning in January are now dead, severly injured or missing. Twenty five thousand. The King himself wept at the news. Reports are that similar punishment was inflicted on the Dutch army who have therefore neglected to persue, but without the warmth of victory it is a cold comfort, their occupation of Hasselt now proceeds unmolested. The normally cheery springtime begins to look grim indeed.


    As our armies recuperated in Brussels, I headed to Bruge to see the supplies purcahsed by our ever-competant ministry of trade pour in from England and elsewhere. The taxes instituted earlier allows us to equip our soldiers handily, but I fear one can only carry so many weapons recruitment is understandably hard after news of the losses suffered at Hasselt. On April the second, while idling in the dockmasters building, I espied an uncommon but familiar flag. It took me a second to realise this was a British warship, I rushed to the dock curious to hear their news. And when I did I almost whooped with joy.



    The British had completed their blockade of the entire Netherlands! This would make much harder for the Dutch to bring in supplies and materials to bring against us in battle, by ship being the only way to transport large quantities of goods effectively. It would also make it much harder for the Dutch people to buy desired good or sell produced goods, there being no effective way to bring them out/ship them out, hopefully bringing the war to the homefront in such a way would cause them to demand peace from their government and bring an end to the senseless slaughter.

    The blockade however, made the Dutch desperate, just three days later, seeing the tide turn against them, quite litterally, urgent messages were sent to their allies. Laughably though, reluctant to face the might of the British Empire(And us and Denmark) they refused the call;





    Luxembourg did not refuse, though that is hardly surprising as they are merely a sattelite nation of the Netherlands. They followed up with an invasion by their entire army. Three thousand men. We were not worried. With the blockade hopefully crippling the Dutch forces we decided it was time for a counter attack, both our forces will still in dissary following the disastrous battle in Hasselt but thanks to our clear shipping lanes and military funding our army was swelling once more. Eight thousand men in reinforcements had joined us in Brussels while our scouts report barely more than a thousand had joined the Dutch, however new divisions were moving south so the order was given.



    Despite the general dissaray in the army, Dethier's greater numbers, supplies and abilities proved decisive, in two short weeks the Dutch army was defeated.



    Now at a quarter of it's previous strength the army is broken and flees to Antwerp where fresh divisions recently mobilised are being force marched in from the Netherlands. Army and generals flush with victory and eager to avenge themselves of the Hasselt disaster follow in hot persuit. When the forces engage the battle is not as easy as hoped for. Both armies are more mobs than proffesional formations still and the fresh troops from the Netherlands have yet to feel the sting of defeat temper their thirst for glory. When the two forces finally come to grips in mid May, De Broqueville leads a cavalry sortie at the enemies left flank. At first he has some success, his cavalry once in amoungst the infantry and sabres drawn are able to inflict a deal of havoc, the Dutch general seeing this and fearing a possible rout commits his own cavalry force, even outnumbered, against them. The Belgian cavalrymen aquit themselves with distinction, bringing down severl Dutch for every fallen comrade, that is until De Broqueville finds himself slashing not at a hapless infantry man but a professional Dutch horseman, in the brief exchange he recieves a nasty gash across the arm and shoulder. Blind with pain he should have no business receiving the man bolts screaming. Distrubed by the retreat of their general the cavalry withdraw, the rest of the army see this too and begin to waver. Despite Dethier's repeated calls to rally he can see where this is going and orders a withdrawal. A lucky break for the Dutch to be sure.



    When the army returns to Brussels once more, I decide we cannot allow this little defeat to fester. I immediately call for a budget adjustment to the military as large as we can get the votes for. Despite there being a war on, for our very independence no less, I cannot get as much as I want, no wonder the military's relationship with our party is at best, cool. Nevertheless it's a significant boost and should raise the morale of our brave men aswell as persuade others that it's worth serving their country.





    We allow time for our forces to recuperate and the new cash to flow into the army, the Dutch do not rest however, splitting their forces to occupy both Antwerp and Hasselt. Our war shows few signs of letting up any time soon then, but as summer begins we receive word from across the Atlantic that another has ended.




    On June 2nd 1837, with their armies checked by the USA, Mexico have little choice but to accept a peace with Texas and the USA. The Texans, having won their freedom, immediately give it up and join the Union the following day. Bloody strange people these Americans.

    On June 5th, with some reinforcements secured and the Dutch army split, General Dethier launches a new counter attack into Antwerp, and as the battle commences we receive word from the United Kingdom;





    The word from London is that Britain seeks to punish the Netherlands for threatening the independence of her good friend Belgium and to that end will remove a great of their influence in South America by removing Guayana from their control. It is obvious however the the United Kingdom is merely expanding it's colonial interests at the expense of it's rival the Dutch and our war is merely a convenient excuse as i doubt very much that the colony will be paid to us to repay the thousands of Belgian lives lost. Everyone else will see through it aswell, but who could possibly challenge them? And we cannot deny their blockade is incredably helpful to our war effort.

    To more pleasant matters now(Gracious, did I say pleasant in relation to war? I must go to confessional as soon as possible), on June 15th a messenger from General Dethier tells us the third battle for Antwerp has gone entirely our way. Our army having suffered minimal losses while the Dutch were destroyed. He immediately swings his army south east and attempts to force the Dutch out of Belgium altogether.







    Camille is once again successful and on July 2nd his battered enemy retreats, though this time he daced a proper general and it would almost be true to say that each of the enemies losses was paid for in kind. The good general is quickly coming to regard this man as his nemesis.

    Come August the Dutch have fallen all the way back to the City of Utrecht and our armies in Hasselt have restored order to the province, recieved reinforcements and supplied and are now marching on the Luxembourgh menance in the South.





    Which is promptly and utterly destroyed on August 22nd. Dethier detaches a division of Cavalry and gives de Broqueville a chance to redeem himself by using them to put down any further interference from the Luxembourghers, while he marches the rest of the Army to the border at Antwerp. In Brussels, I must admit I got slightly too merry with my wine during the celebrations. For the first time in nearly eight months, Belgium was entirely free of enemy occupation.

    Next Episode: Chapter Four: The Tide Turneth
    Last edited by John Forseti; 28-08-2010 at 03:02.

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    Nice to see a Vicky 2 AAR of my home country! Looks like you took a pretty good start against those Dutchies. Go get 'em!


    When I use this color I am speaking as a Moderator.

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    Everyone likes Walloons: Chapter 4

    Previous Episode: Chapter Three: The Second War for Belgian Independence

    Chapter 4: The Tide Turneth



    On September the 1st, I order the contsruction of fortifactions in Brussels, these are expensive and will divert resources away from our armies temporarily, though we can easily both measures. Our surpluss is still very healthy at nearly ten thousand sterling and the Dutch are in such a state we would be very unlikely to see them on the border again for some time. This fort therefore may not see use during this war, but if there is another it may well come in handy.

    Autumn begins to set in and the war slows down. Our forces still guard the border and slowly gather strength, while de Broqueville's band of cavalry bring order to the province of Luxembourgh. It is not until the first tendrils of winter are felt, in October, that the lookouts and scouts report movement at the border. On the 4th, the Dutch throw everything they have at Antwerp;







    It is a desperate gamble and it fails spectacularly, more than half the Dutch army is destroyed and the rest flee. It is likely even the King in Brussels heard Dethiers victory howl as he persued the tattered remnants into the Netherlands. It is also reported that no sooner had his horse crossed the border into Dutch lands that it promptly relieved itself. This was taken by the men to be a good sign.



    The home front distracts us from the war as a serious outbreak of Cholera threatens Bruges. It would be so easy to let this pass us by, but outbreaks can peter out or they can take thousands of good people to an early grave. It is therefore our christian duty to save as many people as possibly and a quarantine is ordered.

    While dealing with the outbreak and quarentine I missed the specifics of the Battle of Middelburg, suffice to say our army once again triumphed over the Dutch and sent them packing to The Hague on November 5th. Coincidently, the British celebrate the capture of traitor Guy Fawkes on this day, who tried to assassinate the King in what is known as the gun powder plot. Guy Fawkes resultant fate is... grisly, as is that of the Dutch army as General Dethier catches up to them in The Hague.




    The Dutch army being now completely and utterly destroyed, the good General marches on Amsterdam and begins the siege the Dutch capital.



    In mid december as preparation are beggining to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ I recieve an early christmas present from general de Bronqueville, Luxembourg is permanently out of the war;



    This news combines to make such a merry Christmas that one would be forgiven for thinking there were not a war on. Belgium was free and her enemies were being humilated. The good news did not stop after Christmas either. As the annual reshuffling of the Senate arrived the swing to the reactionary nationalist fueled by the war I feared did not come to pass



    The Catholic party even made slight gains! Surely a sign that God was on our side! Then as the snows in Brussels receeded the best message I had received for many years came;



    It was almost as excellent as the birth of my children, as it nigh ensured the survival of my country. And sure enough it was!



    March 1st 1838, with the Belgian army knocking on King William's door and giving solid thought to the fact that much of the city would be much improved with a nice cleansing fire, the Dutch government presented an instrument of surrender. We were only slightly piqued that it was presented not to us who had sacrificed so many to once again assure our freedom, but to the British, to whom they gave Guyana to boot. Ohwell, we are free once again and at peace. What more can one ask?


    The Word: March 1838



    Next Episode: Chapter Five: All Good Things
    Last edited by John Forseti; 22-08-2010 at 04:23.

  8. #8
    Lt. General John Forseti's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Qorten View Post
    Nice to see a Vicky 2 AAR of my home country! Looks like you took a pretty good start against those Dutchies. Go get 'em!
    Thanks, and thanks for the reply. After around 500 or so views and not a single word I was starting to think I was doing something terrible.

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    A nice read...will you be going to war to acquire more land from the evil Dutch?

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    Really enjoyed this AAR, I am also new to Vicky, started with Belgium and it's good to see the path that someone else has taken. Thanks for writing it.

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    It is a great AAR. I look foward to read the nexts years!

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    hurray for the belgians!

    in my usa game i waited for texas to die then invaded mexico....sadly the confederates decided it was an excellent time to have the civil war....thousands of men lost much like yours in the war for independence!

    any chance of expanding colonies or is your goal some European land first?
    "The fruits of victory are tumbling into our mouths too quickly."
    Emperor Hirohito (On his Birthday) - 29th April 1942

    Always in a moment of extreme danger things can be done which had previously been thought impossible.
    - Field Marshal Erwin Rommel

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    Thanks for the feedback, it's much appreciated. With regards to taking land from the Dutch, or other european powers, if I get a CB against one of their colonies I may just go for it if I swing it in a "histriocal" way, but not against their home territory(except for luxembourg, for some reason I just hate that country ) I kind of like looking at Belgium as the small grey smudge squashed up against those other powers, but that packs a hell of a wollop is pushed.


    Just writing up the next one now.

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    Everyone Likes Walloons: Chapter 5

    Previous Episode: Chapter Four: The Tide Turneth

    Chapter 5: All Good Things



    With Belgium free once more and having hardly been occupied, reconstruction was very quick. In Hasselt and Antwerp the only sign of anything having happened were the many new windows and brickwork, shining proudly amongst all the old. What could not be so easily repaired however were the losses. Approximately forty-four-thousand brave Belgian men had sacrificed their lives for our freedom and after an early morning service for them in the Cathédrale Saints-Michel-et-Gudul the King asked that one of the bells be rung every minute for every lost man. The campanologists were assisted by volunteers from all walks of life, the King, myself, government and army staff, people on their way to and from their errands or on breaks from their work, it was very moving and in a way very fitting. The sun had sank below the horizon by the time it had been done, the sky a deep red, also very fitting. The following week, another more moderate service was held, and as all good Christians should, we prayed for the forgiveness of the lost Dutch souls, their losses had been estimated higher at around forty-eight-thousand, this service was much more sparsely attended.


    Returning to the business of state, the 7th of March 1838 saw the completion of first flotilla of war ships;



    Our new Flagship the St. Marie and her smaller sisters should be able to protect our transport ships from any pirates or one of the Netherlands fleets, and we should be able to prevent a blockade of our only route the seas. However if the port itself were ever taken it would not matter how many ships we have and so we soon ordered the construction of fortifications in Bruge as well.




    On the 27th of July, Hendrik Conscience has composed a stirring battle song to honour the Flemish who fought against the Netherlands;



    It lifts everyone's spirits a little though not mine, with it's talk of teeth and claws and ripping, especially the Flemish themselves as it is for them(though a tiny few are taking it a little far), it has even received a little international attention. Unfortunately though the cover of this composition appears to be a rather uncomfortable lion laying an egg. I am informed that the lion is in fact Imperious and that the round object at it's rear is actually rock which is slightly behind the lion. However no matter how hard I try, once I had seen the initial picture in my mind I could not unsee it. I heard one fellow tried for hours, turning his head and the page, at one point he even he even fashioned a gadget of lenses strapped to his face by means of a leather band, even then he decried for they did nothing.



    In August the Ministry of Industry informs me of more trouble in Wallonia, the demand for steel has increased making our steel works extremely profitable and able to pay better wages. That is not the bad news of course, but the better wages has tempted the workers from ammunitions plant and as a result it cannot find enough workers to keep open. I see no point in interference for now and so let it, it can always be reopened at a later date. The cement makers are also doing quite well, I hear much of it is shipped to England where the Industrialists there are happily expanding away, ours are unsurprising reluctant to build new factories with so few workers to staff them.



    With approximately twent-five thousand such workers in all of Belgium we could only fully staff two factories, nevermind more. There is a trickle of people migrating to factory work, likely independant artisans or farmers ad miners moving into the cities. Perhaps when my education reforms are completed we will seek to turn that trickle into a stream. I am not worried about the other two factories in Flanders currently showing a loss, their fluctuation between profit and loss is commonplace, so they will be right as rain before long.



    In September I order another expansion to our navy, after a debate with the admiralty(Or should I say Admiral) I was convinced that while it would be unlikely to find itself up against anything but similar numbers in another fight with the Dutch(Given the instrument of surrender was handed to the British rather than ourselves King William still does not recognise us as our own sovereign nation still), they are much better sailors and so we will need an advantage in numbers. A second "Man 'o' war" and two further frigates were commissioned.



    October the 8th brought news from Africa. The Ottoman empire has managed to "restore order" to Tripoli, this would bring them right up to the French and their ambitions in North Africa.



    Towards the close of October I received word from the Ministry of Industry that were problems in Flanders. The cloth factory there had been unable to make a profit for many weeks and as a result was laying off workers and facing bankruptcy. With the cannery as always in it's delicate state and the cement makers at full capacity, there was no where for the workers to go and unemployment would become a problem. This time I decided we would intervene and subsidise the factory. The treasury maintained a healthy surplus and a positive budget so it would not be a great drain on our coffers, plus demand for fabric would probably pick up again at some point.

    While at the Ministry I also learned that investors were being sought to reopen the ammunitions factory in Wallon, despite the lack of workers. The ministry had already written to the board heading up the project to advise against this, but they would not listen, in fact they replied in so many words(including invisible and hand a good few times, I can't help but wonder at people sometimes...) that as capitalists, entrepreneurs and economists operating privately with their own resources and god given intelligence, that were in tune with the marketplace and labour market much more effectively than the great big silly government we were and that we should mind our own damn business. They secured enough investment to reopen in late November. They closed their doors due to lack of workers in early December.



    Also in early December the fabric factory was showing a profit again, a much healthier one to boot, likely due to increased demand for clothing and repairs in winter. They should now be healthy enough to stand on their own and we withdraw the subsidies.

    Christmas once again comes and goes, and the annual Senate elections pass;



    The changes are really quite minute, not worthy of much note, though the new Liberal senator is one of the former board members for the ill-fated ammunition factory. It is very hardy to resit giving him a bit of ribbing.

    As well as Senator Invisible Hand the new year also once again brings war, though this time it does not involve us, thankfully. On January 11th Austria and Prussia have gotten into a ridiculous spat over which of them is the most germanic;





    My money is on Prussia.


    Winter gradually fades into spring and as the anniversary of the war approaches the King and I send special letters of thanks to our allies in Britain and Denmark. The letter is read out in the British House of Commons, receives some cheers and is soon forgotten. In Denmark though, from whom we did not see any ships or troops come to our assistance, they seem grateful that our letters did not mention this fact and they are published as widely as possible.



    March the 1st begins as a solemn day for the great Cathedral in Brussels hosts a memorial service after mass, however come evening, with the dead and their sacrifice honoured, parties and soirées are held to celebrate the victory. I attend the function at the Palace, and am warmed to see not only our highest military officers, aristocracy and parliamentarians but many of the foreign ambassadors have joined us. Whether to cheer our independence or simply drink our wine it is none the less good to see. The Prussian ambassador informs me he has some important business, he has been unable to get an appoint today due to the war remembrances, however I promise to see him soon. I have a had ache the next day so I fob him off, but I do see him the following day and the meeting made me think I was the victim of some kind of joke;



    Perhaps I was wrong to bet on Prussia earlier. I tell the ambassador no and give an official reply in writing attaching the following helpful diagram;



    The rest of March and then April passed without incident. May almost managed it aswell, but on the 20th proved a sombre day.



    The doctors give the cause of his passing as consumption and the Kind orders he receive a state funeral. He is succeeded as Belgiums highest(and only) Admiral by his former second;



    Admiral Gustave, a prematurely greying man, is just as uncomfortable at sea as his predecessor, but at least has the advantage of learning from the late De Chasteler's mistakes without having made them himself, so I am confident he will acquit himself adequately.

    The summer and autumn of 1839 pass without any event of import, infact it is in October during an early snowing that we receive any news;



    It seems the Dutch, having been unable to wrest independence from us have decided instead to wrest it from the tiny savage nation of Bali in the East Indies and incorporated them into their massive spread of colonies in that area.

    Later in October, the early snow now a horrid brown slush occupying the sides of streets, word reaches us from Prussia.



    It seems they listened to my advice as their war is now going well enough to consider taking something from it rather than simply settling their differences. I hope Jesus forgives me for giving them that map.

    December brings not only some real snow, much to the delight of children and annoyance of adults, but a rather ambivalent bit of news;




    The Dutch have aligned their cause with that of the United Kingdom, and now much like us are considered to be within the "British Sphere". On the one hand this is good news as it means the chances of invasion from the Netherlands again are reduced to practically nil, while on the other if the Netherlands involves Britain in a war, they may well call on us as to act as a "good neighbour" and come to their aid. As much I do not actually wish harm upon our northern neighbour, to send men to die for them, God forgive me, does not sit right with me at all. I suppose we could "Pull a Denmark", but that would not be very honorable and I doubt very much if the Dutch would send us a letter of thanks afterwards. However, it is not entirely good news in Britain as around the same time it seems King William IV passed away. Not wishing to wait for winter to pass, the coronation of Princess Alexandria is imminent so I and His Majesty King Léopold, her uncle, leave Belgium to attend;


    (OOC Note: Given the date I'm sure this event is supposed to fire earlier, but this is when I noticed it so I'm just going to roll with it, it's alt-history right? : )


    The King elects to travel on our Flagship, the St. Marie and I can't say I blame him, the ship cuts a very fine figure indeed and is a superb symbol of Belgian independence and prestige and thankfully once we reach the Thames de Broqueville ceases vomitting over the sides. I swear if it weren't for the waves and the tides, the time that poor man spent heaving would have left a trail all the way from Bruge. The coronation occurs without a hitch, the snows are light and have not yet rendered passage through the streets hazardous and the young princess, not even twenty, becomes Queen Victoria. The monarch of the most powerful nation on earth. Even in the pre and after functions nothing goes wrong as nothing is left to chance by efficient courtiers and servents here, we've barely even seen the Dutch party. My King decides we shall stay until new year and spends a great deal of his time advising and supporting his young niece. I take the opportunity to explore London, it is a sprawling city and full of vibrancy and life even in winter as it hosts goods and peoples from across the vast empire of which it is the heart, in a way it is far grander even the seat of His Holiness the Pope in Rome. I and wife and children also take advantage of the thunderous railways to visit some of wider England, the King takes pride in the fact that first railway in mainland Europe was between Mechelen and Brussels in 1835, but the British have been playing with locomotives far longer, and the first ever railway line in the world was built between two obscure little towns in the north of England. Darlington and Stockton I believe. Eventually however it is time to return to Belgium and then it is straight into politics.



    It having been four years since I began as Prime Minister the King almost immediately announces that after spring he shall dissolve Parliament and call a general election, in the mean time I catch up at the Senate. It seems that somehow Senator Invisible Hand has managed to find a new friend or two but otherwise there is little to know.

    A week later we receive a message from our neighbour to the south;



    It seems the French seek to exert themselves in North Africa, and unable to go east without coming into conflict with the power of the Ottomans they hav e chosen to go east. I wonder how the Spanish will feel about it sharing control of the entrance to the Mediterranean with France as well as Britain.

    In February, it seems some militant liberals in France have taken advantage of the war abroad to launch a rebellion. From the border we can see the raising of several rebel banners;





    They do not last long


    A week later we get some more news from the Austrian-Prussian war;



    This is one of several missives we have received telling of peace being signed between Austria and minor German states. Looks like Emperor Ferdinand has decided to try and tip the war in his favour by chipping away at Prussian support, perhaps the tides will turn in that one after all.

    March 1840, and the second anniversary of the war approaches. The mood is less sombre on the morning of the first, most who had lost friends or loved ones have made peace with their grief by now, memories open up a few old wounds though. During the service I hear a woman in the pew behind my own sobbing quietly, I believe she lost a son during the the great disaster at Hasselt. Evening arrives and there is some celebration once more, at the Palace the Prussian ambassador avoids me. However later in the evening we are joined by the Chancellor of the Universiteit Gent, he has been driven from an academic party elsewhere in Brussels after becoming sick of hearing about empiricism, rationalism, egalitarianism and various other competing 'isms'. This is slightly disappointing as I am quite partial to little of the higher philosophies, the political ones I deal with almost every day do wear, he makes it up however by telling me of the fascinating contraptions he has heard graduates of his are designing, and thanks to my recent trip to the mighty Industrial England I can even contribute.






    Once again spring is a quiet time, it is not until late may, the week before the King dissolves Parliament, that anything out of the day-to-day happens and we travel to Bruge to christen the St. Joris the sister-ship of the St. Marie. This fine new man o' war, our second, represents the completion of my second phase of naval expansion and it is very pleasing. The pleasure is tinged with a sadness however, as I cannot share this moment with Félix de Chasteler who as you will recall was the Admiral under whose urging the project began, during the ceremony I exchange a glance with Admiral de Leuze and can tell he shares my pain.

    On that note of melancholy confliction the King dissolves Parliament on June the 1st 1840. Voting will begin soon and the new Parliament sworn in on July 1st. Barring an emergency that requires me, I intend to spend the time at home in Sint-Truiden, where I shall campaign for my own seat and spend more time with my family.

    As I look back on my term in office I believe I have made a better Belgium than when I started. Our people are free, a modest war fleet protects the great port of Bruges, the gateway between Belgium and the globe. Our people have bested a nation that holds within it's borders three or four times as many as ourselves and not only that they are learned. Many of the poorest citizens even can read and write, and our centres of learning are active, vibrant places attracting student from across the globe, a source of great of pride for our nation. Not counting the giant behemoths of countries that surround us Belgium could very well lead the world in that respect. Yet in terms of the practical application of such progress, we surpass even some of those, our tiny industrial heartland out-produces the entire United States of America! I cannot wait to see what the future brings for my Belgium.


    The Word: June 1840



    Next Episode: Chapter Six: The Great Adventure
    Last edited by John Forseti; 22-08-2010 at 04:30.

  15. #15
    Great update; I'm loving this AAR

  16. #16
    Lt. General John Forseti's Avatar
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    Cheers Jebus, I hope you'll like the next updates aswell which I am now working on.

    On a more general note I've updated the first post with a sort of AAR picture like I've seen in others that I knocked up in photshop, but if anyone out there can do better(not hard given my meagre skill) and feels like making a much cooler one, feel free to do so and send it to me. If you do I'd really love it if you could keep the Balloon and Globe sort of theme though.

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    Dauphinois à la Noix Karaiskandar's Avatar
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    Interesting AAR. Subscribed !
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    Lt. General John Forseti's Avatar
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    Everyone Likes Walloons: Chapter 6

    Previous Episode: Chapter Five: All Good Things

    Chapter 6: The Great Adventure



    "Guillaume Joos Clerix
    We do hereby summon you to the Palace of Brussels, as the man I judge most able
    to sway your fellows in the Chamber of Representatives following the recent election
    of members to that esteemed Chamber it behooves and pleases us to offer you the
    position of Prime Minister and invite you to form a government.

    Signed,
    Léopold, King of the Belgians"



    - Guillaume Joos Clerix, Belgian Prime Minister
    (OOC Note: Guillaume Joos Clerix is entirely fictional, the subject of this picture is not.
    Guillaume Joos Clerix is not intended to represent this man in any way at all)


    I have to say, that letter caught me much by surprise. The esteemed position of leading His Majesty's government was not one I had even thought to pursue. After fighting for our Independence back in '30 I had been content to sit among the back benches in the Chamber. However the election of 1840 was both as expected and yet surprising. As expected in that the Catholic party romped home with a grand majority. Surprising in that it was the Patriot faction(Or Nationalist as the rest of them say) of which I am proud to consider myself among, that came back with more than half of the Catholic Party seats;



    At the first His Majesty was simply about to have Barthélemy officially continue, but his political advisors put in that the situation that a party had returned "without a majority in it's own ranks" so to speak was quite unprecedented and he should take a day to consult and reflect. He agreed and it was done, but the next day His Majesty had not made up his mind and he took another. And then another. As the fourth day closed Barthélemy offered his resignation as Prime Minister and joined the debate for his successor. I understand it lasted until the small hours but the eventual consensus was myself. I was simply a well known face in the faction at the time rather than a leading one which is why I was chosen, both sides of the party could find some common ground with me and the only the very fringes might decide to oppose me for the sake of it. Thus on July 5th 1840, I took the job.


    My first action is to raise the pay for our armed men;



    We ask that they be prepared for the ultimate sacrifice in our name, so it is only fair we make sure that their lives be comfortable in case they have to make it. I also want to make sure that as much possible their equipment would be coming from the people they are defending;



    To that end I order the reopening of our munitions and arms factories and offer government help in acquiring resources and workers. I also add the Steel works to the priority list, we don't want it to loose all of it's workers. By producing our own equipment here in Belgium we have much better control of it's quality and when we buy, it is our citizens who profit, not foreigners. Also when they are taxed that money will return to us to use rather than a foreign government. Such as the Netherlands.



    Further I end the practice of sponsoring the schools in Flanders, I do not think that is a bad practice of course, a good Catholic education is a very worthy thing, but I do think that is not strictly speaking nessecary. Let those who are inclined find their way. Instead we shall be sponsoring the training of more skilled craftsmen in Walloon to fill out our factories and make sure that our armies are swimming in top quality equipment and our industries in fine Belgian steel.

    My next stop is Bruges;


    (OOC Note: I forgot to take a screen shot straight away, thats why the clipper is nearly complete)


    Where I order a doubling of the size of the fleet. My predecessor knew well enough that a strong navy is a very important for the security and prosperity of the realm and he made good progress toward that goal. But where that is concerned there is always room for improvement, especially when one sits upon a healthy stack of cash as we do.


    It is not long after I have enacted my initial policies however that I am required by the King to accompany him to London for a historic event.



    After the Second War of 1837 and the especially after the ascension of Queen Victoria, the niece of my King, to the British throne that nation has poured immense influence into the Netherlands and put pressure to cease their claims on our sovereignty. King William of the Netherlands, seeing the British influence flow through nook and cranny of his court and finally realising he would never see the restoration of his own United Kingdom, shockingly abdicated the throne. His son King William II took the throne on July 4th and sent word that he would deign to see us as our own nation. A treaty making that official was signed as I said in London. While there I took the advice of Barthélemy Théodore and experienced the British railways, I must admit that they put the tiny line in Brussels to shame. At some point we must begin our own experiments in true rail roads.

    Before we leave London for home however we observe the signing of another treaty;



    As a reward for the Treaty of London and putting themselves further within the British camp at the table of power the two countries sign a military alliance. If there was even the tiniest possibility of another invasion before it is surely destroyed now, for in a way this allies them to us as well. Although it will still be a very long time, if ever, that I consider the Netherlands a friend.

    At home in Brussels now, and as July turns to August I find myself ill at ease with our balance of trade;



    God himself has surely blessed the land of Belgium for the earth here abounds with mineral wealth in coal, iron and sulphur, which is great for powering our commercial and strategic industries. So much steel is produced and sold here it is said that much like the sun never sets on British soil, it is always shining on Belgian steel. That said however our land is inescapably small, and our people are many and always growing which leads to the cause for my ill concern: we import vast quantities of the most basic goods such as grains, cereals, vegetables, fruits and teas as much of our own farmland being suitable more for grazing sheep than growing crops.

    We simply cannot rely on foreign imports for such nessecities, as it is unhealthy for a grown body to be dependent on another it is unhealthy too for our country. The situation also sees the fruits of Belgian labour flow out of Bruges and into other lands and this too must be cut off. We also cannot expand though, we are surrounded almost on all sides by other nations, great nations even. This leaves me with but one conclusion, and after much discussion with the King I persuade him to my view;

    To ensure the well-being, prosperity and greatness of our nation, Belgium must become a colonial power.



    There is a fervent excitement in the government and Parliament when this is announced, there is resistance from some quarters, particularly the Liberals and a minority of the Catholic party, but with the King behind me everyone else happily falls in line, discussion and planning begin.

    The nearest land significantly unoccupied is in North Africa;



    However even this relatively short trip is currently beyond our capability, were we to plant a colony here we would not be able to properly support and it would be a useless drain. That of course forgets that even could we, the land there is an inhospitable desert entirely unsuitable for our people and needs. Its a blow, but we are determined and move on to alternatives.



    South America is not too far from Africa and the lands there more developed, we would not need to support a completely new society, "merely" aquire one of the many already present. There is a small calling for the annexation of Venezuela, but it is not an idea I find appealing and explain that establishing ourselves there would draw the attention of the United States which jealously guards it's influence in that region. I also present stronger arguments, these South American societies are not only fledgling examples of true civilised countries like our selves(one need only look at Brazil) but they are populated by good Christian peoples, Catholics to boot. If we tried to absorb them into our nation, they would surely fight just as we fought the Dutch not so long ago and to make war on good Christian peoples without just cause or provocation is unthinkable. A couple of the "war hawks" sulk but most I am pleased to say are swayed to my way of thinking. I am also pleased to find myself commended by Barthélemy Théodore on the matter. While not actively opposing our colonial ambitions he has not favoured them either, so I am sure his commendation will win me some points.

    If North Africa is not for us, Central Africa offers less. Plenty of room, but much farther away and all the suitable land that could be expanded out from is held by European powers. This leaves Southern Africa for our next consideration.



    Here jammed right up against British, Portuguese and Boer interests is one small nation somewhat populated by savager tribesmen. It is called Zulu. The climate is somewhat warm but suitable, the pleasant scraggy coastal plains are more suitable for raising sheep instead of what we are after but the rich fertile valleys in the area known as Ladysmith are very attractive indeed. Zulu is also a good location to serve as a springboard, it wouldn't be too difficult to establish ourselves there and thus project into more profitable locations. A possible drawback is that reports have the Zulu to be an especially militant and brutal people however, they would be unlikely to simply accept becoming a protectorate of Belgium, especially as their "Kings" have established themselves after a rounds of bloody civil war and infighting. Sending a large army, technologically advanced, would surely win their respect and admiration and if it does not, said army will be able to handily put down resistance to the protectorate and then with time they'd see the benefits of civilisation and true faith. It is decided, I even get the reluctant vote of Barthélemy who says it would likely happen at some point any way, so better we do it now than say the Portuguese later.

    A force of eighteen-thousand men are picked, nine thousand infantry, six thousand cavalry and three thousand artillerymen, they will be lead by Camille Dethier, our finest general. Transporting that army and all that distance will be tricky, so it's a good job I ordered the expansion of the fleet and we can count the British as such good friends. As soon as our transports are complete their journey will begin.


    Speaking of Heathens/Barbarians and suchlike, we receive rumours from the far east;



    Normally I would not bother to report such incidents from such places, but Burma is figuratively speaking with the United Kingdoms back yard. So no doubt they will have some strong feelings about these events.



    As we reach September the fortifications around Brussels are completed. These projects have been ongoing for about three years now, it'll be a tad strange to see them not swarming with workers. The Fortification of Bruges is due to be complete around this time next year.

    Later, in October, we see the end of another massive undertaking.



    The "Brothers" war between Austria and Prussia began last year by the former is won by the latter. Though it is not Austria that pays the price so I bet the Bavarians will be asking who their friends are.

    Another month later and another war comes to an end;



    France finishes it's business with Morocco by taking a huge swathe of their land, stopping short from taking the country itself. On the same day we hear this news, my earlier prediction about Burma comes true and the British come into conflict with China over the land there.

    We are in the depths of winter now though we experience little snow so the post-Christmas reshuffle of the Senate is completed unhindered though it would not have mattered much. The Senate for 1841 shows the same pattern as previous years, the conservative side of the Catholic party remains slightly larger than my own there, and the Party overall suffers a tiny gain to the liberals. Somewhat interesting news comes from Spain however;



    They have carved themselves a small area of asia minor, why they should want to I have no idea, but they seem quite pleased with themselves.


    By February though excitement reaches fever pitch across Belgium



    Our clipper fleet is finally completed and Dethier's army begins boarding as soon as possible. The Fleet under Admiral de Leuze sets sail fully loaded on the 18th and receives a fantastic and well attended send off, Everyone from the King on down seems to be there and much of Bruges seems to have shut up shop for the day, though enterprising purveyors of foods and memorabilia are of course never hard to find. All of the world seems to pause to see how our first adventure outside the low countries turns out as it is not until October we receive any international news and our only internal news is from the fleet in July;



    Where they had passed beyond the furthest operating range of our mail ships and merchantmen. From that point they were on their own until they would reach the British colonies in South Africa and it would likely be quite a while before we'd hear from them.




    The news in October came from America, the USA and its leaders had been making many fine speeches about destiny, divine will, spreading liberty and bringing freedom latey. Though it all amounted to fancy way to lay claim to all the land south of Canada down to California, Arizona and New Mexico. Pretty much all the Northern territories of Mexico and included the parts of the Texas region still part of Mexico proper. To boot they did not include the British Washington territory with Canada and so have claimed that a swell.

    October in fact saw a comparatively great deal of news, having said before it seemed as if the world had paused to watch our grand adventure it now seemed as if it was moving(I wonder what it knows that I do not), maybe the potential for trouble in the New World broke it's attention. Anyway after the USA and it's manifest destiny we saw the completion of our fortifications in Bruges, meaning our two most important regions now had some true protection. A week later a message for the King arrived, it was from his niece in Britain;



    She told him that in spite of Spain's recent achievements in the Middle-East their stature in the world was slipping, smaller nations ceased paying them special attention, their ambassadors to the Great Powers less often saw the leaders there in person. The "Royal Grapevine" had it that recent cultural achievements in the Scandinavian Kingdom of Sweden made them a strong favourite to replace Spain at the table of power. Maybe one day, one day soon, that will be us. Towards the end of October news reached us from St. Petersburg;



    There was no danger of the Tsar losing his place at the Great Table, his Russian Empire was cutting a swathe into asia, they'd almost reached the Indian ocean. If it were not the threat of being seen by Britain as a potential menace to their interests in that region they likely would have gone further.

    The winter of 1841 proves to be a particularly wet and windy affair, the darker days see very little snow or frost, but rain is almost ever present. Storms cross the oceans and messages move slowly as roads are turned into muddy streams. A British mail ship engaged to bring us news makes it through, it bears word from de Leuze and Dethier, they atleast reached South Africa and made their way on to Zulu. I wonder how they are getting on down there, as temperatures in North plummet in winter in the South they rise as if it were summer. What an interesting world God has made for us. Speaking of plummeting temperatures and bad weather, more than usual for these times people spend much of their non working hours at home with family. At least as many find the situation a blessing as detest it. I am one of the lucky ones I feel, however I do make the mistake of accepting the invitation to a new years celebration at the Université de Liège at which my son is in attendance.

    It is not that I do not enjoy the time with him, or that I dislike the relatively new institution, it's just that well... If one were absolutely forced to damn my predecessor, it would be that his love of learning caused him to allow far too much leeway with intellectuals;



    Some of the philosophies and ideologies I find debated and expressed in the gathering are grandiose or formal expressions of concepts already present and healthy to a country. Some however are downright dangerous, egalitarianism, collectivism, atheism, why if these ideas were given serious attention or actually held they could destroy the entire fabric of good civilised society. It is too late to do anything about it however, one can just hope that these dangerous ideas remain nothing more than slighly-pretentions after dinner chatter.



    Come January of 1842 the Senate is the same as ever and we see the Netherlands begin to expand itself in the East Indies once more, if we ever manage to get ourselves in a position to do the same it looks like there won't be anywhere let. Perhaps that is the idea. This month also sees a conclusion to the British conflict with China.



    From what we understand the enormous number of Chinese troops stationed in former northern Burma, themselves having recently won it, managed to contain any British advance. That did not last however, the British's superiority constantly wore at the vast oriental armies and once reinforcements finally arrived from Britain they were broken. As Englishmen, Scotsmen, Loyal Indians etc began to step foot in China, the Emperor acquiesced to the British demands stemming a potential tide of red coats smashing against Beijing before it began perhaps.

    After January, 1842 sees very little development, once again we must wait all the way until summer, July to be more precise, before news reaches us and this news indicates that trouble has started in the New World.



    At first I had expected the USA to be enacting that "Manifest Destiny" but I was surprised to learn that it was Mexico, perhaps operating under similar sentiments to those expressed to their north, that launched the war. They state they wish to retake their old lands in Texas. Their armies must be strong indeed to give them the confidence to take on the United States, that nation has already defeated the greatest Empire the world has ever known(Though it did get a lot of support from Spain, France and the Netherlands, everyone wishes to kick the big child while he is down, another chance may never arrive after all) and despite the unsuccessful invasion of Canada 30 years the did manage to hold themselves to a draw in the eventual counter attack(Though Britain was busy with Napoleon and his rampage through Europe at the time).

    August passes and it has been over a year since our colonial adventurers set out and everyone is impatient to learn the conclusion. They do not have to wait much longer though, as in late September news of the campaign's end reaches home.



    Next Episode: Chapter Seven: Zulu
    Last edited by John Forseti; 28-08-2010 at 03:11.

  19. #19
    Good stuff, I always wondered how the Belgians ended up in the middle of Africa

    I'm eagerly awaiting the next installment of this cool AAR.

  20. #20
    Lt. General John Forseti's Avatar
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    Previous Epsiode: Chapter Six: The Great Adventure


    Chapter 7: Zulu



    - Camille Dethier, depicted surveying the Battle of Ulundi



    Extracts from the Journal of Camille Dethier, General Commanding the Belgian Expeditionary Force, relating to the Zulu War 1841-1842


    1st August 1841: It has been some days now since we left the trade routes frequented by Belgian merchants, most of the vessels we will see from now on will be British, Portugese or Dutch and they will be engaged mostly in their own affairs. Resupplying the fleet will be much more difficult, the few patches of settled land out here, even the largish Portugese holdings, have only the most basic port facilities and certainly non will have the capability to handle a proper refit, repair and resupply should it be required. The fleet will have to stop far more often for boats to head inland and reconnoiter foods and fresh water, so there still many weeks ahead before we reach our distination.

    6st August 1841: Played cards with Admiral de Leuze today. The poor chap decided to "make it interesting" and as a result i should be able to buy a fine dress for my wife should we make it home.

    23rd August 1841: We lost a whole scouting party yesterday while exploring inland for water. Five search teams couldn't find a trace and while searching a man broke his leg, another his arm and one poor devil was accidently shot by his mates.

    2nd September 1841: A sailor and a soldier, having gotten into arguments on multiple occaisions, came to blows today. The fighting between the two men became so intense that it took six men to break them apart.

    19th September 1841: There was a fire in the frigate Mercator, it was stopped before reaching the powders stores and it did only minor damage to the ship itself. It took the loves of five men however, and will leave three more disfigured.

    5th October 1841: We rounded the Cape today and will now be travelling North(ish) again. It feels good to know we will soon be reaching our destination, though the journey is far from over. De Leuze took the St. Marie into port and asked one of the those British messenger ships to take a message to Belgium of our arrival here.

    17th October 1841: I spent the day in Port Elizabeth trying to find people who had dealt with the Zulu. There were not many, though I did learn that unlike most tribal societies, this one had a standing army and it numbers well over twenty thousand. How very glad I am for rifles

    28th October 1841: The Fleet has finally reached the shores of Zulu country.



    It's been half a year or more after setting out from Bruges. De Leuze is very proud, some might say that a Belgian Fleet, particularly one carrying so many soldiers and horses, is the slowests thing on water, but we haven't lost a single ship and the numbers of soldiers lost to accidents, drownings, attrition, destertions etc. has not made too noticeable a dent in our strength. They've aquitted themselves quite well so I too am proud.

    29th October 1841: Scouting paties and coastal observation have concluded that the Zulu "King" has an army of nearer twenty five thousand camped around his seat of power in the Northern Plains. That would make three of them for every two of us, yet they almost to a man use exclusively spears rather than rifles so in a battle we should have little problems.

    31st October 1841: I and a party of 500 having offered our terms yesterday and being refused, we follow our orders. If they will not recofnise King Leopold as the higer authority and suzrain, we make that fact plain by force of arms. Showing civility, a former declaration is made.




    1st November 1841: It has begun then. Our whole force begins it's invasion today. Not wanting to have to disembark while fighting, especially as many will be coming ashore in small boats. I have de Leuze land us in the Durban plains to the south, and the men push ashore.



    8th November 1841: There is still no sign of movement from the Zulu army to the North but our ability to bring this area under control meets constant light resistence. There are no real cities or towns that need to be brough under control, just many scattered, small and idividually unimportant settlements. When we move in and push out the defending war bands, they scatter, wait until we move on and reform, or reform and descend during the night. Chasing down and putting an end to these warbands is taking a while.

    2nd March 1842: There are no more bands behind us, those that survived have gone north to meet up with the Zulu army. Durban is ours.



    3rd March 1842: I have ordered the army north into Ulundi.



    They still outnumber us but our superior technology, discipline and organisation should counter even a three to one advantage. The months spent in Durban have also gotten us used to the climate and the land the many of the techniques of the enemy. Ulundi should hold no surprises.

    12th March 1842: We met and engaged the Zulu army.



    17th March 1842: They come in wave after wave each day and very occaisionally at night. As expected we came away better off each time.

    24th March 1842: The enemy finally broke today and have fled into the mountainous terrtain to the west.



    We expected to out on top, though that is an understatement of what occured. For every one of my men who died, the enemy paid with an estimated five or more of their own. Looking at the field of battle is like looking at the night sky, for the formerly tan-green plain is dark with black corspes, the flash of decorative items or the odd white face seeming as stars. Tommorow we will bury and pray for our dead, and pray for those of the Zulu. I would order they buried aswell, I have gained a grudging respect for the forocity which these people defend their ways, as backward as they are, but I am not sure that is their custom and we must persue that rest of their army into the mountains before they can reorganise, recruit and dig in.

    1st April 1842: The hills and mountains of Ladysmith are tough going, and we unfortunately cannot travel mostly through the valleys as this would take too long. The horses pulling the artillery must be rotated regularly to prevent them tiring too much or becomming lame, some of the strong cavalry horses are included from time to time. The men themselves are also often puffing themselves hoarse, we have nothing to compare with in Belgium, being famously part of the Lowlands of Europe. So, it has taken a few days to come to grips with the enemy, and a few times I have been afraid of having to deal with warbands again in this territory. Luckily the enemy, perhaps seeking safety in numbers, have reamalgamated into a single mass and we will soon be able to come to grips with it.



    11th April 1842: Today we brought an end to the Zulu army.



    This battle was nothing but a slaughter. The Zulu tried to play more defensively here, they gained a good position and sat there, but as we had rifles and they spears it did not matter, we got withing range and they began to drop. When it seemed as if they would not surrender the Arillery began to fire and then what little organisation they retained evaporated and they began to dissolve. Not wanting to persue them across the country again, God forgive me, I had the calavry chase as many down as they could and prevent escape of the others. The fire of cannon and rifle did for the rest, by the end for every one our men dead we believe twenty of theirs met their maker.


    - A Symbolic Depiction of the Battle of Ladysmith


    12th April 1842: I have taken the bulk of the army back east to Ulundi, I want to bring this nation under control as soon as possible and we believe many of their leaders were killed in the battle so I want to prevent the few that escaped getting back and being able to organise a proper resistence. I leave behind me a detail to bury the dead and take control of the settlements in this region.



    10th August 1842: I receive word from the west;



    The settlements of Ladysmith have sworn loyalty to the King and the detachment there have even managed to build a fort. Well they call it a fort, but even the basest of proper fortifications would put this to shame judging by it's description. Still it is better than nothing and the news of their success spurs the men on here, after chasing down more war bands for weeks they need a little pick up.

    19th August 1842: I am confident that the land here is fully under our control.



    With our efforts in Durban and Ladysmith that brings that entire country firmly under the auspices of Belgium.



    21st August 1842: We gather together as many of the remaining "leaders" of the Zulu as we can, once again we present the terms.



    Unsurprsingly they accept this time.



    And with that the Zulu nation is dissolved. Belgium has made her first ever Conquest.

    The World: August 1842


    Next Episode: Chapter Eight: The Belgian Empire
    Last edited by John Forseti; 27-08-2010 at 21:34.

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