Chapter 10: The Lion Feasts ... and learns
Welcome back to fair Persia! This chapter boasts nearly non-stop fighting, a lot of lessons learned (reading the Paradox forums can be very educational!), some world updates, and some tips-of-the-hat to the AI.
But first, thanks to flavioso20, Gunner243, and olvirki for their kind words! Much appreciated!
When we left Persia, it was 1910, and I had just finished taking a bit of Turkey away from the evil Spanish, and repelling yet another invasion of Iraq (if only Vic2 had come out a few years earlier, I'm sure we all would have learned the perils of a Western power invading Iraq - but I digress ).
Lesson Learned #1 - MIL score
In my last installment, I had been griping about how countries like the USCA and Denmark had been rocketing past me in military score, and had assumed it was because of their navy. Well, to make a long forum thread short, that wasn't the case. The good news is (if you're Persia), that MIL score is roughly equally formed by Army score and Navy score. The bad news is (if you're Persia), that the Army component is calculated from the number of Soldier POPs you have (which helps populous countries, but also countries with strong economies), and your level of Army technology. As Persia has a not-that-great (compared to the Big Boys) economy, and is middle-of-the pack technologically, that explains why I'm just ranked 11th in the world in MIL score despite 70 years of successful warfare.
So, anyway, one take-away is that I decide not to switch to a late frantic attempt to build a navy, but instead continue to go all-out for a strong army.
Lesson Learned #2 - clerks
Another thing I'd been griping about (I think - it's hard to keep the gripes straight ) is that despite decades of NF on it, I've still got virtually no clerks. Well, thanks to a post by Zoston, I am now enlightened. It turns out that if you click on a POP, and then hover over one of the professions it could promote/demote to, you can see why (or why not) they're doing it. So, picking a big POP of crafstmen, and hovering over the 'clerks', I can see the problem:
My craftsmen aren't literate. I thought that they became literate when they became clerks, which, when you think about it, doesn't really make sense, does it! Here we see yet another problem with a low literacy rate. So instead I switch all 3 of my NF from encouraging clerks to encouraging clergy, and raising literacy.
OK, enough analysis - let's get on with the show!
A lovely border incident
I'm still waiting for my infamy to go down, when in February 1913 I get a very nice present - an 'acquire state' CB against Russia! Yes! After my last (successful) invasion, I'm feeling generally good about my chances here, but decide to wait a few months, as in October 1913....
I get Machine Guns! Oh yeah!
I immediately DOW Russia. Krakow (which has a surprisingly good army) and Finland answer the call, Sweden does not - more on the Swedes later.
Tip of the hat #1 - conserving of forces
The last time I'd invaded Russia, the AI had thrown its armies at me piecemeal, making things much easier. I have to hand it to the AI, this time it does not do this, instead it goes to the other extreme, making one "monster stack", which I attack (this was not wise, with Machine Guns I should have made them attack me, oh well). I'm still able to pull it out, however, in a bloody slug-out:
While there are a number of smaller battles after this, generally I roll smoothly towards Moscow, where it's time for .....
Lesson Learned #3 - the downside of a huge victory
I had known that if you surround an enemy army and win, the enemy vaporizes - they have no place to retreat to. This is true even if you just have 1K demoralized soldiers as the only force. As the AI is now pursuing a 'monster stack' strategy, I am able to surround the remaining Russian army in, appropriately enough, Moscow:
I win, vaporizing a 49K big Russian army:
However, I only get 0.5 warscore. It appears that you only get warscore for the troops you kill in the battle - those vaporized because they can't retreat don't count. Bummer.
But if this is the biggest thing I have to worry about, things are going pretty well, and in September 1914 Russia caves, and the small but full-of-iron province of Armenia now joins the Persian empire. The solar-powered Lion glows extra-brightly!
Lovely border incident #2
The border incident gods continue to smile on me, as only a few months after getting my troops back from Russia, I get an 'acquire state' CB on the Ottoman Empire. Yes!
Lesson Learned #4 - border incidents
Yet another thing I recently learned in the forums (yes, I'm not very good at this game, am I ) is that you only get Border Incidents (and they only get them on you) if your relation is < 40. A word to the wise....
War against the Ottoman
I spend a few months moving troops to the border and mobilizing reserves, and in December 1915 I DOW the Ottomans. Their only ally, Austria, dishonors the alliance, which is nice.
In my previous invasions (err, I mean liberations) the Ottoman army had been a 'paper tiger', but this time, for whatever reason, they have quite a hefty military - here's what I'm up against in Syria:
Something like 160K soldiers - not bad! However, my technology is just too much for them, and I manage to steadily overpower them. The only fly in the ointment is that yet again I vaporize 3 medium-sized stacks of theirs without much 'warscore' satisfaction. Bummer.
Tip of the hat #2 - intervention
Things are going swimmingly when in July 1916 the French intervene on the Ottoman side. This is a smart and historical move - while it's bad for Persia, it's good for the game. Well done Paradox! Luckily for Persia, the French never really do anything in the war, however - I luck out.
By the end of 1916, I'm in a familiar situation, as I've conquered everything east of the Bosporus, but that's not nearly enough to get the Ottomans to surrender. However, this time, for reasons that are unclear to me (maybe they are trying to meet up with the French navy or something?) the Ottomans go through a few brief spurts of leaving the straits unguarded, which is enough to let me throw troops across a few times:
It takes a while, but in April 1917 Istanbul falls, and the very next month the French (who took over as war leader - I thought that wasn't supposed to happen anymore with the 1.2 patch) sell out the Ottomans - the province of Ankara is mine! The Lion feasts some more!
Tip of the hat #3 - another intervention
I don't know if the AI is just having a good day, or is this is 1.2 goodness, or both, but immediately after this war ends, France intervenes in another war that a small power (Italy) was losing to a large power (Austria), and this time it's able to make the 'save' and eventually Austria white-peaces out. Well done France!
So here's where are in June 1917:
(1) is Armenia, the state I just got from Russia.
(2) is Ankara, the state I just got from the Ottoman
(3) is the annoying big chunk of the Middle East that Spain grabbed a while ago - let's set that right!
Looking at Spain, I notice a few things:
(1) Spain has gone Communist. Hiss, boo! In yet another sign of the depth of this game, note how Paradox has designed a special flag for this eventuality, just for Spain - I wonder how many countries they did this for? Or do they have a 'red star' that they superimpose on whatever the previous flag was? Either way, it's a nice touch.
(2) wow, are they ever a lot weaker militarily than they used to be
(3) and they're friendless.
Hmmm, weak and friendless - a bad combination in a Paradox game
War against Spain
In January 1918 I DOW Spain - my goal is to give back the chunk of Saudi Arabia back to the Saudis ('Nejd') - they're in my SOI, after all.
The very next month, in yet another sign of some good AI behavior, Portugal (joined by Brazil and the peripatetic French) DOW Spain as well.
Tip of the hat #4 - another intervention
Oh, which reminds me. In addition to this backstab, the AI did a particularly clever one - when I invaded Russia, Sweden dishonored the alliance, and then, about two months into the war, DOWed one of the Russian allies that did honor the call, Finland. Russia was in no position to help, and Sweden grabbed almost all of Finland:
War in the sands
Back to the war. Marching armies across the Saudi desert is not such a good idea. So instead I just send some cavalry forces of 6K-9K to occupy, and I hope that Spain has no/little troops there. The bad news is, they have a 12K infantry force there, which attacks my 9K cavalry force:
I catch several lucky breaks here, as they have a bad commander, who is attacking (so I get to use machine guns) - the net result is that I win handily, and after pursuing them across the desert I eventually wipe out their force entirely.
Things go uneventfully after that, and by March 1919 northern Nejd is restored back to its rightful owner.
In sum, this has been a quite loverly 10 years - I've taken Armenia from Russia, Ankara from Turkey, and spanked Spain, all while decreasing my infamy. Oh, 'border incident CB', I love you so....
However, according to the Victoria2 advisor,
There are 89 CBs on me! Nearly everybody in the game has a 'containment' or 'unification' CB on me, or both. As my infamy is now just 13, I'm not sure exactly why this is happening - any enlightenment?
Other news of the world
In the non-Persia news, a few interesting things have been happening.
First, Japan is still not Westernized -
Second, while we still don't have a Germany, in 1917 the North German Federation finally formed - quite large, too!
Third, only about 20 years after forming, Italy is rapidly dissolving -
The Two Sicilies (1) and Sardinia-Piedmont (2) have both seceded.
And lastly, as a result of the Portugese-Brazilian-French backstab of Spain,
Brazil has taken Catalonia from Spain! Holy reverse colonialism, batman!