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Thread: Good Old Cause - A Commonwealth of England AAR

  1. #1

    Good Old Cause - A Commonwealth of England AAR

    Hello and welcome to my very first After Action Report. I've always wanted to do an AAR--they are what got me into Paradox games in the first place. However, I didn't want my first one to be a Grand Campaign, fearing I wouldn't have what it takes to see it through. So I decided to play from a later start date--a first for me. The Commonwealth seemed like a natural choice, as it comes into being almost exactly mid-17th century.

    Now seeing as this is my first AAR, I am hesitant to commit to a style. I've already made notes/selected screen shots for half-a-dozen updates, written the first two, and edited/uploaded screenshots for one (which will be posted immediately). However I fear my first efforts into playing and writing were haphazard. In future game sessions I plan to change the way I do things and that may mean a change in style to this AAR.

    Not only is this my first AAR, but also my first real play through with the Divine Wind expansion. Furthermore I'm bad at videogames. Have you ever seen those shows that are all footage of natural disasters? This may be the AAR equivalent.

    With all that out of the way, let me say that this is an AAR of EUIII: Divine Wind 5.0, all settings Normal but Lucky Nations Off.

    *


    Index
    Chapter the First
    Chapter Two
    Chapter Three
    Chapter Four
    Chapter Five
    Chapter Six
    Chapter Seven
    Chapter Eight
    Chapter Nine
    Chapter Ten
    Chapter Eleven
    Chapter Twelve
    Chapter Thirteen
    Chapter Fourteen
    Chapter Fifteen
    Chapter Sixteen
    Last edited by Nuarq; 01-07-2011 at 04:21.

  2. #2
    Act declaring England to be a Commonwealth

    16 May, 1649

    Quote Originally Posted by Parliament of England
    Be it declared and enacted by this present Parliament and by the Authoritie of the same That the People of England and of all the Dominions and Territoryes thereunto belonging are and shall be and are hereby constituted, made, established, and confirmed to be a Commonwealth and free State And shall from henceforth be Governed as a Commonwealth and Free State by the supreame Authoritie of this Nation, the Representatives of the People in Parliament and by such as they shall appoint and constitute as Officers and Ministers under them for the good of the People and that without any King or House of Lords.
    On the sixteenth of May in the year of Our Lord 1649, Parliament declared England to be a Commonwealth. Though the parliamentarian Roundheads were victorious in England, the royalist armies of both Scotland and Ireland still beset the young republic.


    The English Civil War Rages On

    On the day the Commonwealth was declared, General at Sea Robert Blake sent out the order recalling the Blue Squadron from the New World colonies. His reasons were twofold; first, though he had enough ships at hand to defeat the combined might of the Irish and Scottish fleets, there was a prevalent fear that Europe’s monarchies would lend aid to the royalist cause, and Blake knew he would need Blue Squadron’s warships for such a contingency; second, the Blue Squadron contained many transport ships that were of no utility in the ungarrisoned colonies, but would be of significant use supplying the armies in Ireland. With the naval assets he had at hand, Blake formed two squadrons to effect blockades of both the Scottish and Confederate Irish capitals.


    Blake’s Orders

    While the Commonwealth Navy was put into action, the New Model Army was motionless. In Ireland, the Army under the command of Thomas Fairfax awaited reinforcements. Though he was confident of his ability to defeat the royalist Irish army, he required more infantry to take, and in the case of Ulster retake, the fortifications on the island.


    On the Ground in Ireland

    Meanwhile, on the Scottish frontier, General Monck too sat encamped. His stillness was due to the fact that most of the troops under his command would soon be embarked for Ireland.


    On the Scottish Frontier

    While the war continued, Parliamentary business was not confined to symbolic declarations. The Commonwealth parliament made every effort to restore stability to war torn England. Government expenditures were nearly fully purposed to that end, not without inflationary consequences.


    The Wartime Budget

    Though the New Model Army of the Commonwealth was limited to inaction while issues of deployment were resolved, the royalist Scottish army had no such inhibitions. They marched on Northumberland.


    The Scottish Offensive

    Monck rode out to meet them.


    The English Response

    By June of 1649 the parliamentarian fear of foreign intervention was realized. Sweden had joined the war.


    Upon hearing that Sweden had joined the war, Cromwell famously declared “It appears God means for us to defeat Sweden also.”

    The summer of 1649 saw the defeat of the Irish and Scottish armies. After repelling the Scottish from Northumberland, Monck followed the retreating armies to Lothian. The offensive into Scotland thus began with the elimination of the main body of the Scottish army.


    The March on Scotland

    Early August saw a reinforced Fairfax move against the Irish host. His victory was thorough. Before long, the Commonwealth flag was raised above the Irish capital. The Irish fleet was forced first from port, then to the bottom of St George’s Channel.



    After the defeat of the Irish ships, the blockading force met with Blue Squadron, which had been resting in port after its journey across the Atlantic. Blake ordered the rested and reinforced squadron to patrol the British Isles and engage any Swedish ships in English waters.



    Fairfax did not rest long after the capture of Leinster. He marched to Munster to meet the remainder of the Irish forces. They were completely defeated.


    No resistance remained on the island.

    Munster was taken in mid-November and Fairfax marched north to Connaught. At year’s end, Connaught was under siege by Fairfax’s army while a newly recruited Irish regiment besieged Meath.



    The fortress in Connaught fell in early January. The Irish siege of Meath was also ended, though under different circumstances. Upon hearing of the fall of Connaught, and fearing an eastward maneuver by Fairfax, the Irish regiment retreated to occupied Ulster, the last Irish stronghold. However, Fairfax’s scouts relayed this intelligence to him in a timely manner and he wasted no effort marching east to meet nothing, and instead marched north to Ulster to end the war in Ireland.



    The new year looked much less hopeful on the Scottish front. The southernmost provinces of Scotland were under siege by Monck and Cromwell himself. However, the king of Scotland had used his yearly tax revenue to reconstitute the Scottish army. The war against Scotland was not yet won.



    In early February, while English armies laid siege to Ulster, Ayrshire, and Lothian, an offer of alliance crossed the English Channel, a true curiosity of history. Perhaps even more amazing was the fact that it was accepted. Both countries had ulterior motives. England saw an alliance with France as the surest way to keep the traditional auld ally of Scotland out of the war. Another consideration of the English was the fact that their only other ally, Portugal, was being occupied by Spain. On France’s part, the alliance was more domestic than foreign policy. The southwest of France was dominated by practitioners of the Reformed faith. King Louis XIV, a competent man by any measure, saw an alliance with the world’s only significant Reformed nation as a method of placating his Reformed subjects.


    Clever politicking by the French King


    To their credit, the Portuguese did not call England into the war, out of respect of their domestic hardships.

    The Irish occupation of Ulster was lifted on the 21st of February. Confederate Ireland was wholly defeated. On March 2nd, they had no choice but to accept annexation. Ireland was again a dominion of England and the curtain closed on one theater of the English Civil War.


  3. #3
    Lost in Time Ashantai's Avatar
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    Extremely interesting start! Very nicely done. An unusual period of history to start from, and I just love that English flag of yours!
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  4. #4
    Not a Sahib Milites's Avatar
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    Bah roundheads. King-murderers and knaves the lot of 'em

    I always wanted to see a ECW AAR and you seem to be making good progress, however, I have to note, where's Old Warty? It feels wrong having Fairfax roaming around in the Kerry mountains instead of loony Oliver.

    Also, must have taken a great load of sweet talk to get the staunchly absolute, Catholic Louis XIV to ally with the regicide-addicted puritans. Hopefully, it'll lead to better times for the Huguenots.

  5. #5
    Interesting idea, and something I haven't seen in an AAR. I'll be following.

  6. #6
    Field Marshal Johnny Canuck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Milites View Post
    Bah roundheads. King-murderers and knaves the lot of 'em
    Definite +1 - bunch of self-righteous moralizing rebels . . .

    Nuarq - It'll be interesting to see how your Commonwealth progresses.
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  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Ashantai View Post
    Extremely interesting start! Very nicely done. An unusual period of history to start from, and I just love that English flag of yours!
    Thank you for your comment. This is the first time I've begun to play from such a later date and it's a very interesting experience. Having played several Grand Campaigns, starting in the "real" 1649 was quite startling*. Needless to say, 1649 is a very different year when you start in 1399. And as for the flag, well, I'm a nerd when it comes to that sort of thing, like I've found many fellow paradoxians to be. Go figure . Regardless, it would be so wrong to use the royal standard whilst playing a regicidal republic!

    Quote Originally Posted by Milites View Post
    Bah roundheads. King-murderers and knaves the lot of 'em

    I always wanted to see a ECW AAR and you seem to be making good progress, however, I have to note, where's Old Warty? It feels wrong having Fairfax roaming around in the Kerry mountains instead of loony Oliver.

    Also, must have taken a great load of sweet talk to get the staunchly absolute, Catholic Louis XIV to ally with the regicide-addicted puritans. Hopefully, it'll lead to better times for the Huguenots.
    Mayors Lord Protectors are so much better than kings.

    The reasons Cromwell is such a long way from Tipperary are 1) I wanted a prominent break from history as otherwise people might assume I'm sticking relatively close with it in the first chapter and would be surprised when the second goes so far off the rails; and 2) Cromwell was my best general and Scotland seemed more of a threat. He features more prominently in the next chapter (warts and all).

    As for the alliance with France--I was very surprised when I saw the offer. I was going to reject it for RP reasons (as I understand it alliance with the French is an unsavory thing indeed for an Englishman), but decided there was actually a good RP reason to accept the alliance as more of a nonaggression pact. I was still going to reject it however because I felt there was no reason for the French to offer it, until I saw all their Reformed provinces. Since their king seems pretty deft I thought it would make an interesting story point to have both parties ally in bad faith. The Anglo-French alliance is explored a little more in the next chapter. Anyway, thanks for commenting!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Omen View Post
    Interesting idea, and something I haven't seen in an AAR. I'll be following.
    Thanks so much for your comment/continued readership. I'll try to keep it interesting for you!

    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny Canuck View Post
    Nuarq - It'll be interesting to see how your Commonwealth progresses.
    Thank you! I hope you'll enjoy reading about it!

    *Before I forget again, I wanted to include this in the first chapter but, well, I forgot . Anyway, here's the world in 1649:
    Last edited by Nuarq; 19-02-2011 at 09:46.

  8. #8
    Although I am not such a fan of Cromwell this AAR is certainly looking interesting, sir. I shall be following and hope you will update suit
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  9. #9
    England's Sphincter Rabid Bogling's Avatar
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    Huzzah! Down with feckless Scottish tyrants! Up with zealous East Anglian tyrants!

    Avoid dynastic succession, send Monck and Haselrig on suicide missions, and beware the Dutch! Just sayin'.

    The Anglo-French alliance isn't without precident. I recall reading of English contingents fighting beside (NMA) and against (Stuarts) the French in the Spanish Netherlands. Doesn't make much sense whilst France and Spain are at peace, but with the Spanish aggressively annexing Portugal.. maybe it's just a precaution or sommat.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by LeCare View Post
    Although I am not such a fan of Cromwell this AAR is certainly looking interesting, sir. I shall be following and hope you will update suit
    Don't worry, the Commonwealth will outlive Cromwell this time around. The next chapter should be posted this weekend. Thanks for reading, commenting!

    Quote Originally Posted by Rabid Bogling View Post
    Huzzah! Down with feckless Scottish tyrants! Up with zealous East Anglian tyrants!

    Avoid dynastic succession, send Monck and Haselrig on suicide missions, and beware the Dutch! Just sayin'.

    The Anglo-French alliance isn't without precident. I recall reading of English contingents fighting beside (NMA) and against (Stuarts) the French in the Spanish Netherlands. Doesn't make much sense whilst France and Spain are at peace, but with the Spanish aggressively annexing Portugal.. maybe it's just a precaution or sommat.
    Thanks for your comment! Many of the things you mention (e.g. the Dutch, France/Spain) will be touched upon in the next chapter to be posted this weekend.

  11. #11
    Chapter Two
    Wherein England Defeats Scotland, Sweden


    On March 13, 1650, Ayrshire fell, freeing Monck’s force to assist Cromwell in an assault on Lothian. By April 28, their efforts were successful and that province too fell to English occupation.



    Like the Irish navy before, Scottish ships were forced from the safety of port. They met Blake’s squadron on the Firth of Forth. Blake enjoyed only a slight edge in numbers, not enough to ensure victory. His sailors were, after all, weary from a long blockade while their Scottish counterparts were fresh from port. Though the opening salvos were in favor of the well-rested Scottish, Blake’s foresight won the day. The Blue Squadron, which Blake had recalled from the Americas the year before, was patrolling the British Isles on his orders and came upon the engagement from the north, providing Blake more than enough numerical superiority to bring about victory.



    After a brief period of rest and reinforcement, Cromwell ordered Monck north to Fife, while he led an army westward. The king of Scotland had made a grave mistake and Cromwell planned to take advantage of it. Instead of concentrating the new regiments he had raised into an effective fighting force, the Scottish king had split them. Cromwell and Monck both had easy victories ahead of them, and they would be the end of any effective Scottish resistance.



    News of the New Model Army’s success in Scotland was evidence enough for Commonwealth diplomats to convince the Swedish king to agree to a white peace. Once the threat of Swedish warships was gone, Blake split his force to blockade the entire Scottish coast.



    With Sweden out of the war, Scotland was completely hopeless. The king’s new army was defeated, his navy sunk, his ports blockaded, and his population tired of war. All he had to resist Cromwell’s army was his fortress garrisons. Cromwell, reinforced with veterans of the Irish campaign, was making short work of those.



    On 10 June, 1651, amidst the jubilation of triumph, tragedy struck. Oliver Cromwell, commander-in-chief of the New Model Army, Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, passed away. “I would be willing to live and be farther serviceable to God and his people; but my work is done. Yet God will be with his people.” Cromwell’s body was borne by four of his russet-coated captains; and for his passage, the soldiers’ music and rites of war spoke loudly.

    George Monck assumed generalship of the New Model Army as it marched to the final battle of the English Civil War. Of course, he won handily against the hastily recruited Scottish regiment on the Western Isles, and the siege did not last long.



    To replace Cromwell in the political capacity, Parliament elected David Clive to the lifetime position of Lord Protector. Clive was skilled in the arts of administration and diplomacy, but he was not the naturally gifted military leader that Cromwell proved himself to be.



    Normally the death of a chief magistrate is followed by a period of unrest. Paradoxically, Cromwell’s death marked the end of instability in the young republic. The defeat of the monarchists, combined with the peaceful transfer of power that proved the previously untested republican government, put the population of England well at ease.



    Clive’s penchant for diplomacy served him well in his earliest days in office. He assigned fellow diplomat H. van Beverningk to the Council of State to help repair England’s reputation abroad.



    Clive also narrowed his diplomatic efforts to a single, unlikely country: France. Clive was one of the few members of Parliament who accepted the French offer of alliance in good faith. He felt there was no reason the relationship founded on ulterior motives couldn’t be made into a genuine partnership. His views were not widely popular, but events worked in his favor. In early September of 1651, there was a native uprising in the undefended English colony of Abnaki. Luckily, a French colonial force was there to put it down. Clive used the opportunity to thank the French and improve relations. Their help in Abnaki made favorable relations with France much more palatable to those who did not previously share Clive’s vision.



    Though something of much greater significance would convince men on both sides of the channel of the potential of an earnest Anglo-French alliance. That was the Franco-Dutch War.



    The Dutch were England's chief commercial rival, so the French occupation of the Low Countries was well-received news in London. But Clive was more confused than delighted. His confusion arose from the fact that Spain had allowed French troops passage through the Spanish Netherlands. Spain knew France had designs on their territory there, and allowing them to acquire land from the United Provinces would only make the Spanish possessions more attractive. There was tension between the neighboring great powers for years--but now, military access. Clive's curiosity got the better of him and he arranged a personal meeting with the French king's ambassador to England. What he learned was astounding. Since the allegiance of France and England, Spain had been so wary of war that they had adopted a policy of appeasement in their dealings with France. That the alliance could make such a powerful empire willing to grant concessions made leaders of both France and England inclined towards its continuation in good faith.

    However, not all of England’s diplomatic successes were Clive’s initiative. In late October an offer of alliance arrived from Denmark. Clive accepted without deliberation as the Danish were a natural ally against further Swedish interloping in English affairs.


    The offer of alliance came with a curious request to execute the two hapless Danish couriers. Its legitimacy was suspect, but it bore the royal seal of the Dane and was carried out posthaste.

    Unfortunately, the diplomatic front was not without setbacks. The occupation of the Portuguese metropole ended with the Spanish king on the throne. The Anglo-Portuguese alliance was null and void.


    The Iberian Personal Union

    Yet there was no time to mourn the loss of an ally when the defeat of an enemy was at hand. On November 2, 1651, Scotland surrendered to Commonwealth demands. The parliamentarians were at last victorious over the monarchists. The English Civil War was ended.


  12. #12
    Major JohnnyReb's Avatar
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    The English Commonwealth really interested me in-game, but I was (and am) not familiar enough with the historical background to make an AAR of it, so instead I'll follow yours.
    These Colors Will Run, Given Proper Provocation - Thuringia's quest to be a beacon of freedom. (Updated Mar 20)

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Nuarq
    The offer of alliance came with a curious request to execute the two hapless Danish couriers. Its legitimacy was suspect, but it bore the royal seal of the Dane and was carried out posthaste.
    Aw, R & G are dead.

    The smooth transfer of power, alliance with a powerful continental force and subjugation of your foes all in one update! Too bad about Portugal though. With Spanish and Portuguese colonies Spain will be an even bigger powerhouse.

  14. #14
    Lost in Time Ashantai's Avatar
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    Very nice!
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  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnnyReb View Post
    The English Commonwealth really interested me in-game, but I was (and am) not familiar enough with the historical background to make an AAR of it, so instead I'll follow yours.
    Thanks for reading and commenting! The Commonwealth is certainly an interesting period of history but this AAR isn't/won't be terribly historical I'm afraid. I've already a fictional Lord Protector

    Quote Originally Posted by Omen View Post
    Aw, R & G are dead.

    The smooth transfer of power, alliance with a powerful continental force and subjugation of your foes all in one update! Too bad about Portugal though. With Spanish and Portuguese colonies Spain will be an even bigger powerhouse.
    Heh, you got the reference

    Just how powerful Spain is will be illustrated next chapter. No war or anything (not yet), but there will be a number of ledger screens. The Spanish Empire was pretty much at the height of its power at this time--El Siglo de Oro. But it also historically ended in latter half of the 17th century. Hopefully I can replace them as the world's maritime power We shall see.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ashantai View Post
    Very nice!
    Thanks!

    And thanks to everyone who's reading. The next update is something of an overview to give a sense of the Commonwealth's standing in the world. I'm planning on posting on Wednesday or thereabouts. Thanks again!

  16. #16
    President of the Council Jape's Avatar
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    A very excellent choice - I started a 1649 Commonwealth AAR some time back but it didn't get very far sadly - a very fun PoD to play from though. I'll be following.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Jape View Post
    A very excellent choice - I started a 1649 Commonwealth AAR some time back but it didn't get very far sadly - a very fun PoD to play from though. I'll be following.
    I read your AAR when I was searching to see if this had been done before. It was excellent and I was sad it didn't last longer. (PAX QUÆRITUR BELLO was a title I was considering even, great minds think alike .) I'm grateful for your readership!

  18. #18
    Chapter 3
    Wherein the State of the Commonwealth is Explored, and the Fate of the Netherlands Revealed

    In mid-November, just a few weeks after England’s victory over Scotland, ill tidings came from Vienna.



    In an act of solidarity with their Spanish cousins, the Austrian Habsburgs issued a trade embargo. This gesture was purely symbolic as no English merchants operated out of Austrian centers of trade; however, it did send a powerful, sobering message. The Anglo-French alliance was greatly significant on the world stage--significant enough to warrant concessions from the mighty Spanish Empire--but Austria’s embargo served as a reminder that if it came to war England and France would be facing the combined might of two powerful empires.

    Grim as this news was it could not damper the high spirits in London as the Commonwealth parliament conducted its first peacetime session. On the 2nd of January 1652, parliament held votes on a number of measures it had been debating since the peace. Four significant bills were passed.

    The first was an act that formalized in law many of the principles that motivated the parliamentarians in the civil war. Rights of citizenship and suffrage were guaranteed.



    The second was An Act Defining the Weights and Measures of the Commonwealth of England. It established a regulated standard of measurement units, which was crucial to growing English trade.



    The third was An Act for the Establish of a Bank of England. Its policies would reverse the inflation caused by excessive wartime minting.



    The fourth was a proposal that moved to the forefront of debate after the Austrian embargo. It was An Act for the Foundation of an Indian Trade Company. It incorporated the English East India Company that was granted a now-defunct Royal Charter by Queen Elizabeth in 1600 with several smaller private concerns.



    The importance of this act was twofold: firstly, it provided expanded avenues of trade for England’s growing commercial interests, which became a key selling point for the bill after Austria’s embargo; secondly, it would allow England to challenge Spain’s dominant commercial presence in the Far East.

    The Commonwealth’s new trade company would suffer no employment shortages: England’s merchant class was booming. English commercial endeavors were coming to dominate centers of trade worldwide. In 1652, England was the 6th wealthiest nation; by 1653, it was the third.



    It was not just England’s economy that grew. Lord Protector David Clive, ever the administrator, promoted several colonial settlement projects. Each of them succeeded and the lion’s share of England’s North American colonies became self sustaining.



    The expansion of of the Commonwealth’s trade and colonies served as a contrast to its anemic military growth. Provision was made for the maintenance of an army of 20,000 footmen and 10,000 cavalry. Infantry regiments were raised to this benchmark, but it was deemed too expensive to expand the cavalry ranks. Numerically, the New Model Army ranked low compared to other nations.



    Clive’s lack of military expertise was apparent, but he was not obtuse. He listened when members of parliament, the Council of State, and the military called for an expansion of the fleet. He commissioned frigates in each of England’s shipyards. Men like General at Sea Robert Blake knew this would not be enough. The Commonwealth Navy, though impressive in world standings, would need to be expanded threefold if it was to ever challenge the Spanish Armada.



    Clive can hardly be blamed for his meager military measures. The two years following the Civil War were years of relative peace. The only war was a non-war with the Asian nation of Annam, declared only out of allegiance with Denmark. The only combat the New Model Army saw was the dispatching of rebels in Belize.



    The blessing of peace did not grace every nation. The Franco-Dutch War raged on. With France besieging every province of the Netherlands its conclusion was foregone--but still it raged. The Staatse Leger fought a brilliant war. The Dutch strategy was sound. They had moved the bulk of their forces to the colonial theater where they would enjoy local superiority. Many questioned them for leaving their homeland unguarded, but in truth guarding their homeland would have been a waste. They couldn’t have known--and truly no one would have thought--that Spain would bend to French demands for passage. If they had foreseen it, stationing even the entirety of their army in the Low Countries would not stop a France with land access. So indeed the strategy the Dutch adopted for their war with France was the wisest. Yet all their success in the colonial theater only served as a sad reminder of what might have been.


    The most major battle of the Franco-Dutch War was a resounding victory for the Netherlands. In point of fact, the Dutch won every battle of the Franco-Dutch War.

    Despite all the battles they won, the Dutch lost the war.


    In the end, the United Provinces were reduced to two.

  19. #19
    Lost in Time Ashantai's Avatar
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    Poor Holland.

    Nice update!
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  20. #20
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    Poor Holland Indeed, though I doubt that France can annex it without taking on its Colonial Empire. It's not like Empire: Total War.

    Nice update by the way!
    Political Test
    Ideology: Social Democrat

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