1446-1450: Out of Their League
The late year saw some minor government reforms, as well as the death of Natural Scientist Schauseil, a court employee for over three decades. He was replaced in the position by Christian von Rhein.
The next one and a half years featured quite serious negotiations for the newly liberated Magdeburg to join Brunswick as a vassal. Unfortunately, the council was ultimately unable to close the deal.
Also, some discussions were held with the Austrians and it soon became apparent that neither country took their earlier phony war personally.
There were, however, major events abroad during that period. The annexation of Burgundy gave France an even stronger position in April 1448, while closer to home, Bavaria strengthened further by annexing the Palatinate in the same month.
With the monster on their border growing, the nobles knew that something had to be done, and quick. Not having a King was what tied Brunswick's hands, so the declaration of age of Erich I was hurried slightly. The new King rose to the throne on May 10th, with his younger brother Karl Wilhelm becoming the heir.
The nobility trusted a talented individual like Erich to be ready to rule, and they turned out to be right. Erich immediately started war preparations, and in less than three months Brunswick was in position to declare war on Münster, attempting to force the Osnabrück claim.
With allies from both sides joining the war, Brunswick's side seemed to have the upper hand, but only by a small margin. Especially the Hansa could potentially cause trouble for King Erich.
In addition to those pictured, Meissen and Brabant fought on Brunswick's side while the Hansa joined Münster.
They started that early, throwing Brunswick out of the Hanseatic League.
On August 21st, just thirteen days into the war, Münster's 3000 strong cavalry was routed by General Jaxtheim's army.
Sieges were started on Münster's provinces. The war was now only about keeping the rest of the enemy coalition at bay until Osnabrück could be occupied.
In October, Jaxtheim was able to chase the Hansa out of vassal Holstein, which they had been sieging. While Brunswick took more losses, the Hansa ruler failed to rally his men to keep fighting with only an offensive siege at stake.
Parts of that army retreated to Lübeck, where Jaxtheim beat them again in November. Afterwards, the Hansa combined their armies to make them too strong for Brunswick to strike at. General Jaxtheim had no choice but to help his vassal Holstein siege Lübeck for the time being.
Meanwhile, a Hanseatic siege of Altmark succeeded and, much to Brunswick's chagrin, Magdeburg surrendered in February 1449.
This unfortunately freed all of the Hansa's might to be directed at Brunswick. In a close battle in late March, Jaxtheim was forced to abandon Lübeck.
Things weren't all bad however. Next month, two enemy provinces fell as Brunswick got through Osnabrück's defenses while ally Brabant occupied Dutch Zeeland. Holland was required to make a cash payment to Brunswick to get out of their predicament.
With this, ending the war became a serious option. When Jaxtheim's retreat didn't help - the Hanseatic army slaughtered nearly 3000 Brunswickers in Holstein, and the main Brunswick army was down from 9000 men to 2000 - it became obvious that Brunswick had already got everything it could from this conflict. Peace was signed with Münster for the province of Osnabrück and some monetary reparations.
Sadly, the disastrous final battles had been too much for General Jaxtheim. His injuries kept him bedridden and finally proved lethal as he passed away in the summer. Having been instrumental in two wars that, combined, added a province to Brunswick's domain as well as weakened their rivals, Jaxtheim was given a hero's funeral.
On the diplomatic front, the war had one major consequence. King Erich restarted negotiations with Magdeburg, which had re-allied with Brunswick immediately after the war, and this time they were more receptive. Now both Brandenburg and the Hansa had took advantage of the vulnerability of the small nation, and their nobility feared what would come next. After another year and a half of negotiations, Magdeburg was secured as a Brunswick vassal in December 1450.
In just two and a half years on the throne, King Erich I had acquired a province for Brunswick and added their third vassal. His reign certainly had got a magnificent start thanks to the problematic yet fruitful war.