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Thread: L'État, c'est moi / A France MMU AAR

  1. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Milites View Post
    An ominous end to an otherwise victorious (hehehe) chapter. After you've cut away the Auld Alliance, who'd be the next ally? You need some continental backing if you're going to retake the land between Picardie and Calais.
    Heh, turns out I didn't cover the Auld Alliance this chapter. Sorry about that, originally I had planned on covering it this chapter but... things occured that caused me to shorten this chapter, to the point where I had to put off things with the Auld Alliance till next time. Sorry about that.

    To everyone: sorry for the lateness of this chapter. As explained above, some rather unfortunate events occurred (namely my browser crashing twice after getting 2/3rds of the way through the original sized update) that stalled me to the point where I thought that a bit of a shortened chapter with a cliffhanger would be better than risking a third browser crash. I had originally wanted to take this update to 1458, but I settled for 1455. Writing the same update three times can make you just want to stop early and call it good enough

    At any rate, sorry if this feels a little cheap. I'll try to make sure that browser troubles aren't an issue in the future. In the meantime, enjoy the update of France's non-war functions and the biggest world event to happen outside of France thus far (for those of you wondering, yes, the Ottoman Empire's troubles have only just begun).

  2. #22
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    Very good start, NACBEAST. Porta Atlanticum, Portus Classis is a very good template to base other AARs on indeed. Have fun with the French.


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  3. #23
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    it looks like your armies should be able to cut through the Aragonese forces with little trouble though to be fair, I don't know how much they have changed in this mod (only played them in the original EU3:HttT, plus it would serve to advance your claims on the Neapolitan throne.
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  4. #24
    Poor Aragon - They just can't catch a break. Seeing the Ottomans in a troubled state, however, is rather divergent from what I usually experience in MMU - While I rarely see too great Austrian/Ottoman conflicts, they still seem to defeat the eastern European powers with relative ease.

    One thing I'd recommend is writing up your update in a text editor beforehand. That way, you can always have a copy saved, and you don't risk CtD-of-Death. Once you're done, you can always paste it into a forum post and apply the final touches.

  5. #25
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    Well, me myself I love taking advantage of the predictable Aragon's dow on Navarre.
    I hope the war went well. Be careful not to overextend, adm efficiency penalties can be crippling.

  6. #26
    _________________________
    Chapter 3:
    The French Intervention

    _________________________


    The Kingdom of Aragon had successfully managed to trigger a war with every country on it's border, and with the Castillian Fleets obliterating their galley fleets at sea, they'd find no comfort in the Mediterranean


    As the 20,000 strong French Army marched south to intercept the armies of Aragon, each lead by Jean Bureau and Jean Poten de Xaintrailles, Charles took stock of France's goals in the war. After the initial outbreak of the Hundred Years War, many of France's vassals had let slip their promises of alliance with their liege, insisting that fighting the English had taken up more than enough of their resources and that, until the war with England was over, they would stay out of the war with Aragon.

    Of course, this didn't mean that the vassals still wouldn't call upon their liege in order to hand down economic assistance when they asked for it. Only one vassal, after the Bordeaux and Calais offensive, decided to sign up for a full-time alliance, and that was the County of Foix. Funnily enough, or at least, funny to Charles, the tiny, landlocked county was not only able to support France's war while also invading and occupying territory, but it was also able to do it without any calls for economic assistance. Although Charles would recount the infinite frustration he would have with the Dukes of Provence and the Duke (later Regents) of Orléans, he would praise and reward the Count of Foix for his loyalty.

    The other greater nobles would soon find that Charles did not have such kind plans for them.

    Still, even without the majority of France's vassals coming to France's aid, Aragon's odds were hardly good. Surrounded on all sides by enemies, two of which were major powers in Western Europe, and with their navy quickly being torn apart piece by piece at sea, many Catalan nobles in the country were already fleeing to Aragon's Italian possession through merchant ships that could quickly move through the Mediterranean (although a fair number were still caught and captured by Castillian, and eventually French, naval forces).

    Already meetings were taking place on just how to split up the Kingdom of Aragon between King John of Castille, King John of Navarre and Charles. As Navarre was the kingdom in trouble, having drawn both Castille and France into the war to protect it, it was decided that John's concessions would be minimal, at best, in order to allow Castille and France to maximize their gains. Otherwise, as John of Castille and Charles made it known to John of Navarre, the Kingdom of Navarre would have to pay back the respective Kings for their service, through the Reconquista for Castille and securing France's domains. John of Navarre, knowing that his kingdom was a rather small power, which could easily be overrun by any of Castille's or France's enemies, did not see either option as being fruitful for either his continued reign or for Navarre's continued existence.

    Thus, it came down to Charles and John of Castille, where the terms of how to split Aragon became slightly more difficult to narrow down. The difficulty didn't come from Aragon proper, but rather Aragon's Italian holdings, which both France and Castille had interests in. However, as Charles would soon belatedly find three years into the war, such discussions and worries about trying to split Aragon's Italian lands were ultimately meaningless.

    Still, while all these talks with the two Johns were occurring, Charles had one other increasingly unreliable ally to have words with.

    _________________________


    King James II of Scotland


    Ever since it's ratification by Philip IV of France and John Balliol, the Vieille Alliance (known as the Auld Alliance in Scotland) had been a continuous pact between the Kingdoms of France and Scotland. In the case of an English invasion the alliance stipulated that one Kingdom must assist the other, invading English territories in order to create a second front for their common enemy. As the years went by, France and Scotland would each call upon each other repeatedly for assistance against the English. Even as recently as Jeanne d'Arc's siege of Orléans the Scots had assisted France against England.

    However, as the new offensives against England in Calais and Gascogne began, France found itself without it's Scottish Ally. Indeed, when a Scottish attack on the English north, largely undefended due to Henry VI's insistence on moving nearly the entire English army into Gascogne (and later throwing much of the rest of it away in failed invasion attempts), could've ended the Hundred Years War in 1454 with France taking both Calais and Bordeaux, Scotland was nowhere to be seen.

    Still, Charles had put up with it to a point. France would've been perfectly safe from England, and so he could suppose that James II of Scotland had reasoned that they didn't require Scottish assistance. However, the point Charles was willing to put up with it was this: once Calais and the Bordeaux were secure, France would no longer have any need for Scotland's help either. After all, once France captured England's mainland possessions, it was doubted by everyone in the Estates that they would ever fall to England again.

    France's intervention into the attempted invasion of Navarre by Aragon only helped to reveal to France and Scotland why the Vieille Alliance would never work again. In a show of good faith, Charles extended a request for assistance to James of Scotland, in an attempt to draw Scotland's military and navy into the war. If James mobilized his armies in the name of the intervention, Charles would be willing to open up France's end of the Vieille Alliance as well. All of Scotland's enemies, not just England, would be France's enemies and vice-versa.

    James, however, saw no way this could benefit Scotland. Scotland's enemy, for a long time, immediately and, it seemed, for a long time to come, was England. Scotland wasn't strong enough and didn't have the resources to take its eyes away from England, lest it end up overrun by them. France, however, was strong and it did have resources. France's ambitions could afford to move away from England to the rest of Europe.

    Simply put; France was outgrowing the Vieille Alliance in power, in wealth and in ambition and Scotland, until England was defeated, would never be able to catch up. Charles, while disappointed that Scotland would not assist, understood this.

    And so, on the 20th of July, 1455, France and Scotland dissolved the Vieille Alliance.

    _________________________



    (Top) Armond du Bosquet, 2nd in Command to Jean Bureau (and Chief Gunner after Bureau's death)
    (Bottom) Marc de Rochemaure, General of the secondary siege army (Marshall of France after Xaintrailles' death)


    The Pyrenees Mountains had, for the longest time, been the great barrier of Iberia against any French invasion. Thousands of men could die amidst those mountains without an enemy army harassing them if the supplies of the soldiers were stretched too thin, a lesson Charles was all too aware of when plotting with his officers on how to advance into Aragon. On the one hand, Aragon's main armies were quite large, and would need a sufficiently large enough force in order to swat down. On the other, a large army would be subject to starvation and difficult terrain moving through the mountains, costing many their lives in any attempt to try and chase down the enemy armies.

    Thus, the strategy that was formulated was one of necessity. Jean de Xaintrailles' army would be split in two, one lead by Xaintrailles himself, the first siege army and another lead by Marc de Rochemaure, trained in the fires of the Hundred Years War underneath Xaintrailles. Xaintrailles and Rochemaure would hang behind the enemy lines, waiting for the eastern portion of Aragon's main army to be wiped out by Jean Bureau's army, which was kept whole for the purpose of hunting down Aragon's armed forces.

    Jean Bureau would be accompanied by Armond du Bosquet, another soldier who made his mark in the Hundred Years War, until the time came when Aragon's armed forces were neutralized. At that time, Bureau and Bosquet would split off, both moving to siege other territories within Aragon. The French armies would attempt to move along the coast, capturing the port cities of Aragon and flushing out their navy to be destroyed by Castille's, while the Castillian army would rove throughout Aragon's inland possessions, as well as make attempts to land on Aragon's Italian possessions.

    Bureau's first mission was to give strength to the image that France was merely entering the war in an attempt to protect Navarre by lifting the siege that Aragon had laid against the Kingdom. With newly refreshed men at arms intermixed with gendarme (a form of French cavalry who wore much heavier armor and were equipped with lances) Bureau marched for Pamplona to engage the armies of Aragon. The army there was inferior to size to Bureau's forces and while the French men at arms took rather large casualties as compared to the gendarme the French were able to sweep the army of Aragon to the south, into an awaiting Castillian force lead by King John.

    Jean would move about central Aragon for a few months, tangling with a few scattered forces that were attempting move to destroy the Count of Foix's forces in Rousillion. Eventually reports reached Bureau that a large army in Barcelona had formed and was ready to move to attack the Count of Foix himself. Bureau, his quarry in sight, ordered a rush towards the army, quickly intercepting it before it could even get outside the Pyrenees Mountains. Despite Aragon's army possessing strength in numbers, Bureau's superior leadership compared to the staff officers that lead the army lead to a crushing blow to the army, leading it to a rout outside the city of Castellón de la Plana. While these victories didn't secure the war, they did allow Xaintrailles and Rochemaure to move into regions surrounding Barcelona and Girona.



    France's military victories throughout the war could be largely attributed to the gendarme and their effective use

    _________________________


    The Ottoman Imperial Harem, traditionally where the Ottoman heir to the throne was born from


    Whilst the French fought on one side of the Mediterranean, another war was still taking place on the other. While Mehmed II wanted nothing more than to stay in Constantinople to mourn his children, his family and the destruction of his city, the fact was that he needed to fight with the army, whether he liked it or not. His plans to attempt a landing in Croatia were scrapped, as the navy was quickly reassigned to patrolling the coasts for Hospitaller raids, something that was becoming an increasingly bothersome problem for the Ottomans as the Knights became increasingly more bold.

    Additionally, the Knights' raids were truly beginning to rock the foundation of Ottoman society, with concerns about whether or not trade could survive these attacks beginning to shake the stability of the realm to a terrible degree.

    Still, these things did not concern Mehmed as he rode to the Hungarian border. His sons, his daughters, his mothers, sisters and wives were dead, their blood clouding the pools of the Imperial Harem. It was all he could do to focus on riding back towards the battlefield, much less focus on battlefield strategy or matters of the state. While riding through Bulgaria while trying to quickly, and with as little loss of life as possible, move through the Balkans, the army made a stop in Sofia to resupply and to press as many soldiers into the army as possible, to replenish their numbers.

    Mehmed, lost in his grief, walked through Sofia with a few of his own personal guards, in some hope to find something that would distract him from all his loss. Unwittingly, Mehmed came across a house of ill repute. From there, accounts of what had happened became foggy. The story from Mehmed had been that he had heard some of his soldiers inside the house and followed them in so that he may drag them out. Stories from the personal guard, recovered from their written accounts, claimed that Mehmed willingly entered the building, looking 'for a distraction'.

    Whatever the case, Mehmed found a nice distraction inside the building (after copious amounts of alcohol, of course).

    Mehmed's journal says that he came across a young woman whom, he had thought, had claimed herself 'Bilge', a 'fine Turkic name for a very intriguing young Turkic woman'. The young woman, according to Mehmed's recollection of the event; 'carried with her a very calm, sophisticated air, despite her apparent occupation. She was beautiful beyond words, and carried with her a tongue and wit to match'.

    From there, the drinking stopped, and the sultan conferred with the young woman, speaking candidly with her, mainly concerning the arts. Long discussions about poetry, literature and songs spanned much of the night, spanning many of the cultures that now occupied the Balkans. Eventually, Mehmed found himself pulled into the young woman's bed, a sight that led to many of the his personal guards to 'give him strange looks, as if disturbed and mortified by his actions'.

    By the time morning would come and the alcoholic haze lifted, Mehmed was far too late to realize why his guard had such distaste for his actions. Calling her Bilge confused the young woman, before it became apparent that the Sultan himself was mistaken.

    The young woman reintroduced herself as Biljana, an Orthodox Bulgarian who had been nominally in charge of the establishment.


    Portraits of Biljana would be manipulated by court artists to make her appear even more Turkic than she already seemed, in order to help brush over Mehmed's lapse in judgment


    Mehmed was absolutely mortified. It was one thing in his society to have a harem of woman and many wives at his beck and call, but one night Mehmed had managed to not only sleep with a commoner, but an Orthodox one at that. Although Ottoman society left many places open for Christians within the Empire to work in, the Sultan's mistress was not one such position.

    Still, despite this and despite himself, Mehmed ordered an oath of silence from his personal guard and convinced Biljana to come with him. Orthodox or not, the young woman was beautiful and articulate, something that greatly attracted Mehmed to her and, in the end, his desire to fill the void his family left and his attraction to this woman was enough to overpower his utter embarrassment over her religion. For Biljana, the prospect of being the Ottoman Sultan's mistress compelled her to follow Mehmed, knowing that a life of great wealth awaited her if she just left her little 'whore house in Sofia'.

    The two managed to keep their secret quite well for a few months, Mehmed using the name 'Bilge' to refer to her and Biljana using her already somewhat Turkic appearance to fool those who might try to scrutinize her claims of Turkic heritage.

    It was only when Biljana was revealed to be pregnant that the illusion was shattered, as the revelation compelled the personal guard to come out about the terrible truth of the matter. The Turkic nobility would be outraged by this scandal, even as Mehmed fought against them by keeping Biljana as a mistress and, eventually, made her a member of his harem. Mehmed would be in conflict with the members of his nobility for the rest of his reign, attempting to force them to recognize the reign of his eventual chosen heir, a boy he and Biljana named “Ali”.

    His efforts would include the increase in the size of his Janissary corps, heretic men who were pressed from an early age into training to fight for the Sultan, and favoring state-sponsored merchants in the hopes that he could use the merchants' influence to combat the influence of the aristocrats, while Ali or his regents could use the Janissaries to fight any would be disloyal nobles.


    The Jannisary and the Merchant

    _________________________


    Bureau's military campaigns could pick up almost immediately after the Battle of Castellón de la Plana, the Chief Gunner heading north to help Castille finish off an army lead by the new King of Aragon, Joan II. Joan II quickly rose to power after the death of Alfonso V during a battle with Juan of Castille earlier in the year, and would be, perhaps, the shortest reigning monarch in the history of the Kingdom of Aragon. The campaign itself would be a short affair, Bureau repeatedly beating upon Joan's forces before sending them off to be totally destroyed by Juan's. The reason the campaign itself is so shortly described is because the actual fighting didn't provide a change in the war: it was Joan's course of action afterward. With nearly all his armies on the Iberian Peninsula destroyed, Joan would quickly evacuate to Napoli, taking one of the few galleys of his navy that hadn't been completely destroyed.

    It was here that Joan attempted to raise a new army from the Italian populace, the nobles of the realm grumbling loudly about their sons and daughters being taken away to try and fight off enemies that Aragon had brought down upon them. After repeated attempts to use Sardinia and Sicily as launching points to take back the King's Iberian possessions, the Estates of Naples and the nobility of Aragon forced Joan to abdicate the throne in 1457, something that was rather easily done as Joan, at the time, was out to sea with a new army (before being apprehended when the ship docked itself in Napoli). Another member of the House of Trastámara was placed onto the throne of Aragon, one Sanç de Trastámara.

    The Estates of Naples, seeking to gain a separate peace with France, and knowing that any member of the Aragonese nobility would allow the Estates to form its own peace, decided to break the Union between Naples and Aragon, placing one of their own, Filippo Borghese, as the King of Naples. Despite numerous pleas from Naples, France would not sign a separate peace with the Kingdom, much of their reason for waging this war laid with the Kingdom of Naples itself.



    The campaign that drove the armies of Aragon from the Iberian Peninsula and the two new kings

    _________________________


    The progression of the wars in Aragon, showing French difficulties with sieges to the north


    As 1458 rolled around Charles waited patiently for his Iberian invasion forces to be freed up, already drawing up new plans for the invasion of Aragon's Italian possessions. Castille had all but destroyed Aragon's navy, France's own navy was now free to rule the seas, transporting soldiers throughout the Mediterranean in order to begin work on capturing the territory France greatly desired and Navarre, the kingdom France had stepped in to protect, was now safely tucked away from the violence, Aragon having surrendered a lump sum of money to appease John of Navarre. Whilst drawing up the invasion plans, Charles received a note from the court of Castille, a note that gravely worried the King of France.

    The Black Death had returned, and it was currently ravaging the Castillian countryside.

    The response of France was three-fold: limit supply trains going into Aragon (for fear that the Castillian presence in the country would allow the Black Death into the country), then to close down the border with Castille and then to blacklist Castillian ships from French ports. John of Castille, while greatly annoyed that by the loss of income that would come from lack of trade with France, could not blame Charles' preventative measures. France was, after all, much more urbanized than Castille so, while John could try to disperse the plague in the countryside and not have to worry about massive urban populations being decimated in one round, Charles not only had serfs in the countryside that could be infected and killed, but massive cities that could be lost.

    John only hoped that Charles could understand his next move: making peace with Aragon so that he might be able to turn his soldiers to quarantining certain areas of his country.



    The Plague forced John's hand, creating the necessity for the Treaty of Madrid (a city that, several months later, would find itself afflicted by the Plague)

    _________________________


    France c. 1458

    Charles VII de Valois (ADM 7/DIP 5/MIL 7)
    By the Grace of God, King of France and Dauphin of Viennois (in absence of Louis de Valois)


    Dynastic Links:

    ~ Orléans (Duke Charles I de Valois)
    ~ Provence (Duke Charles VI de Valois) (Regency)
    ~ Lorraine (Duke Jean II de Valois)

    Treasury: 235 million ducats
    GDP (estimated): 437 million ducats
    Domestic CoTs: Paris 109.6

    Army: 6,000 Knights (Armored Knights), 14,000 Men at Arms
    Reserves (potential levies): 43,093
    Navy: 5 Carracks, 2 Pinnaces, 2 Gallies, 5 Cogs
    Discipline: 116.80%
    Tradition: 13.60% Navy: 0.00%

    Prestige: Sixty-third (16.10)
    Reputation: Honorable (0.00)
    Legitimacy: 100
    Last edited by NACBEAST; 16-08-2011 at 22:57.

  7. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Qorten View Post
    Very good start, NACBEAST. Porta Atlanticum, Portus Classis is a very good template to base other AARs on indeed. Have fun with the French.
    Thank you, and yeah, Porta Atlanticum, Portus Classis is an amazing template.

    Quote Originally Posted by Razgriz 2K9 View Post
    it looks like your armies should be able to cut through the Aragonese forces with little trouble though to be fair, I don't know how much they have changed in this mod (only played them in the original EU3:HttT, plus it would serve to advance your claims on the Neapolitan throne.
    Plus Aragon has absolutely no army National Ideas, a crappy military king and had no generals at the time of the war.

    Quote Originally Posted by Moonstruck View Post
    Poor Aragon - They just can't catch a break. Seeing the Ottomans in a troubled state, however, is rather divergent from what I usually experience in MMU - While I rarely see too great Austrian/Ottoman conflicts, they still seem to defeat the eastern European powers with relative ease.

    One thing I'd recommend is writing up your update in a text editor beforehand. That way, you can always have a copy saved, and you don't risk CtD-of-Death. Once you're done, you can always paste it into a forum post and apply the final touches.
    The Turks can, every now and then, find themself in a shelf-load of trouble, whether by their own designs or by outside influences. In this case, Mehmed's heir died, he found refuge in the arms of the made, enforced serfdom and mercantilism and then promptly continued his war with Hungary until 1460 XD The Knights were just one part of the problem, the Ottomans are inflicting a lot of other bits of damage themselves.

    Thanks for the advice, I took the advice and it certainly did make the entire process much easier.

    Quote Originally Posted by gabor View Post
    Well, me myself I love taking advantage of the predictable Aragon's dow on Navarre.
    I hope the war went well. Be careful not to overextend, adm efficiency penalties can be crippling.
    Heh, yeah, you'd certainly know about taking advantage of Aragon gabor XD Glad you approve. Also, don't worry, no overextension is to occur for now (although the peace will be quite, quite sweet).

  8. #28
    Comte de Purchase Merrick Chance''s Avatar
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    James II looks like a colossal pimp, if I do say so myself.

    Great AAR!
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  9. #29
    Field Marshal blsteen's Avatar
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    Booo...le blob, in the pantheon of nations we love to hate, it ranks right up there for me...
    Well don't let me stop you, carry on with your super AAR! Too bad about the plague, we'll see
    who France beats down next.
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  10. #30
    Colonel Razgriz 2K9's Avatar
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    It really grinds my gears when all your vassals except one, being the County of Foix, doesn't join against the Kingdom of Aragon.

    But with Castile out of the war, will taking Aragonese held territories still be possible, since I know you'd still be wanting Sicily.
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  11. #31
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    Loving this so far. Clearly one of the best AARs out there.
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  12. #32
    General gabor's Avatar
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    Enjoyable read! As you give so much attention to the OE, is there any chance you might ally the Turk? I had once France and OE allied while I was playing KoSJ! I did tremble... for a while as AI proved incapable of keeping on this bond.

    Are you planning to take land in Italy from Naples? Together with a hadful of provs from Aragon this might send your infamy pretty high.

  13. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by Merrick Chance' View Post
    James II looks like a colossal pimp, if I do say so myself.

    Great AAR!
    If you ask me, most medieval or renaissance rulers looked like colossal pimps. They just had such magnificent clothing for showing off, in my opinion. Also, thank you, I greatly appreciate the compliment.

    Quote Originally Posted by blsteen View Post
    Booo...le blob, in the pantheon of nations we love to hate, it ranks right up there for me...
    Well don't let me stop you, carry on with your super AAR! Too bad about the plague, we'll see
    who France beats down next.
    Eh, France is kind of held back with MMU and other Magna Mundi mods, so I've come to not hate France quite so much anymore. They're still powerful, but really, France wasn't a major Western Power for nothing. The War will still continue on for a while between France and Aragon, Castille signed a separate peace.

    Quote Originally Posted by Razgriz 2K9 View Post
    It really grinds my gears when all your vassals except one, being the County of Foix, doesn't join against the Kingdom of Aragon.

    But with Castile out of the war, will taking Aragonese held territories still be possible, since I know you'd still be wanting Sicily.
    Well I should've taken care of that by renewing my alliances with the vassals. That was more my error, but it helped to play into my hands well enough. Also, not only will taking Aragonese held territories be possible, it'll be done!

    Quote Originally Posted by Rifal View Post
    Loving this so far. Clearly one of the best AARs out there.
    Thank you, I'm very happy to hear that you think so.

    Quote Originally Posted by gabor View Post
    Enjoyable read! As you give so much attention to the OE, is there any chance you might ally the Turk? I had once France and OE allied while I was playing KoSJ! I did tremble... for a while as AI proved incapable of keeping on this bond.

    Are you planning to take land in Italy from Naples? Together with a hadful of provs from Aragon this might send your infamy pretty high.
    I've been mentioning the OE up to this point for two reasons:

    1. If there's an interesting story to be woven, I'll mention it in the AAR. While France is the central focus of the AAR, I need to be sure to include the major happenings of the world surrounding France in order to help give you all the idea of just what sort of world this France is finding itself in.

    2. France actually has an interest (albeit a minor one) in the Near East through the Kingdom of Cyprus. I'll be wrapping up mentions of the OE next chapter with the actions of the powers surrounding the Ottomans, and a quick summary about Cyprus. I probably won't pick back up the OE until Mehmed dies and either leaves Ali with a Regency or as ruler. The saga will either continue from there with a massive Civil War, or it'll end with Ali securing his throne. Either way, we'll need closure.

    As for the peace, I think I've gotten the best possible peace I could considering infamy limits and what not.

    To Everyone: Right then, so I'll be wrapping up the war with the next update which I'll be working on over the next few days. I do have a few appointments to get to over the next three days so progress will be a bit slow. As always, comments on how I'm doing are appreciated and any questions/suggestions you may want to put forward are not only welcome, but encouraged.

  14. #34
    Field Marshal blsteen's Avatar
    Europa Universalis 3EU3 CompleteDivine WindFor The GloryHearts of Iron III Collection

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    Ah yes...Cyprus
    A Cosmo island in a sea of Arabs and Turks
    I was Sir blsteen, Knight of the Eastern West... in :One Last HurRAAh: A Milanese Empire Interactive AAR:

    I was FOTW 11/25/09 and 9/12/10

  15. #35
    _________________________
    Chapter 4:
    Les Duchés de Naples et Sicile

    _________________________


    The exit of Castille from the war, while not a grave setback to Charles' calculations on how to operate the war, did mildly trip up the planned French Italian offensive. Charles had not expected Castille to stay in the war for it's entirety, indeed he had hoped that Castille would walk away with Aragon's interior territories and not be around to force issues of it's own Italian ambitions to the table. However, to walk away with such a small parcel of land and leave so much of Aragon free to recruit soldiers to trip up the French momentum was not exactly what Charles had in mind either.

    Still, he did not spite John of Castille. In the minds of the people of the time, the Black Death represented God's fury, and to have it invited upon you surely meant that the country had done something terrible to earn it. John had to switch gears, ceasing his focus from defeating Aragon to trying to calm the clergy, the nobility and the peasantry. If the country were to panic now, it would only cripple Castille's longer term goals.

    With Castillian-held Aragonese territories now free, the men of France's armed forces had to move quickly. Soldiers that were readying themselves to invade Sardinia were quickly brought back to the mainland in order to capture territory held by Aragon. The swift action by the army allowed them to capitalize on the undefended and largely damaged fortresses that Castille had left behind, allowing for France to occupy the entirety of Aragon's Iberian territories in little over two years, with the last territory surrendered to French occupation on August 12th, 1460, with little to no conflict with 'armies' on the peninsula, save for scattered scouting bands and garrisons.

    Indeed, compared to the other major action taking place in Castille, the slow French occupation of Aragon was relatively tame.

    _________________________


    Henry IV, King of Castille-León


    John II of Castille would live for several more months after the end of the War with Aragon, putting his limited abilities to use in attempting to combat the revival of the Black Death in Castille. Unfortunately, John's abilities were well and truly limited. The man himself had few skills or little intellect that he could apply to the problems facing his Kingdom, and the actions he could take would either have to be put through the various nobles whom had seized ever larger chunks of power for themselves or could only be done on local levels by said nobles due to the sheer size and spread of the Plague.

    Of course, this had been as much John's fault as it had been that of the nobility. John's weakness as a king had given the nobility of Castille free-reign to expand their own powers to make up for what the king was lacking. With power so decentralized in the Castillian realm, it was only a matter of time before a great catastrophe shook the Kingdom that no single, or even group, of power-holders in the state could fix. The revival of the Black Death would run it's course, taking with it thousands upon thousands of lives before dieing off after a successful quarantine covering an area spanning the border with Portugal to Madrid and to the new border with Aragon would stop people outside of the infected area from contracting the deathly disease.

    John II would not be one of the fortunate ones to escape the ravages of the Black Death: the King of Catille-León would die in the city of Madrid itself, a victim of the quarantine he himself had authorized. As such, the crown would be passed onto John's son: Henry IV (Enrique IV in Castille).

    Henry IV was just as weak a king as his father was; utterly unskilled and weak, Henry's reign would have surely further weakened the central authority of the Castillian monarchy, leaving it a mere shell of what it had been beforehand.

    Fortunately for the Kingdom of Castille, and unfortunately for Henry, his reign would be mercifully short.

    Seeing that Henry's reign would have critically undercut the monarchy of Castille, three factions began to put their machinations into motion. Although these factions centered around a different figure-head, the hope of each was that they could select a monarch capable of ruling over the Kingdom of Castille and prevent it's slid into oblivion at the hands of the weak monarchs whom had come to the throne (and, it was feared, would continue to come to the throne).

    The first faction was the pro-Castillian Trastámara faction that centered around the only current living heir to the throne aside from Henry: Isabella. The faction reasoned that Isabella, as the only other current living heir of the Castillian-branch of the House of Trastámara she was the only one appropriate to pick to succeed Henry (barring him producing a legitimate heir, which with the infamous accounts of adultery swimming about his wife, Joan of Portugal, it seemed unlikely). However, this faction's plans would have to be long-term as Isabella, at this time, was but barely seven years old.

    The second faction began to rally around the current Queen, Joan of Portugal, hoping that she culd assume control of the country for her husband before being married to a more suitable nobleman. However, Joan's well known adulterous behavior, even absconding with men of the church, left hern ot only undesirable by the Catholic Church, but by much of the Kingdon itself. This faction was by far not only the weakest in and of itself, but carried with it the weakest of the claimants.

    Eventually, a nobleman from the House of Trastámara in Aragon itself came forth, uniting behind him Isabella's faction and the other disaffected members of the nobility. Fernando de Trastámara, a very strong, capable member of the family based in it's Aragonese branch, suggested that, as the Castillian branch of the family was proving wanting at the time, it was time to temporarily supplant it with a different branch. Fernando was an excellent military leader, capable administrator and was born with a silver-tongue, easily making him one of the most attractive, and most likely to be able to force his way to the throne, of any of the claimants.

    He further his own legitimacy by proposing that he adopt the young Isabella, promising that, upon his death, that she and her husband would take his place on the throne. This move allowed for the Castillian Trastámara's whom has gotten behind Isabella to throw their support to Fernando, given that his proposal placed him closer to the role of steward that King, and allowed Isabella the time to properly grow into the role they sought for her.

    Of course, the problem with Fernando was that he was, indeed, of the Aragonese branch of the family. With the recent war against Aragon, much of the nobility in Castille were either hard pressed to support him or didn't do so at all. As such, on November 20th, 1459, Fernando and his supporters simply forced their way to the throne. Henry IV was forced to abdicate his throne in favor of Fernando in a prompt manner, as the only other option given to the rather weak king was a rather unpleasant death at the hands of the usurpers. The act of treason, as many in the Castillian nobility saw it, rocked the very foundation of the Kingdom, sparking riots and rebellion in what had already been a very fragile shell of a country left over from the Black Death. Previously Queen Joan quickly retreated back to Portugal, along with Henry IV, the two poking and prodding for rebellion and a return to the throne they were forced to give up until Henry's death two decades later.

    Nonetheless, Fernando would be hailed as King Fernando V of Castille-León, and would serve as it's monarch from 1459 until his death when Isabella, his now adopted daughter, would reign with whomever she would marry. However, Fernando sought a legacy beyond that as merely the place-holder for his newly adopted daughter, a legacy that would produce one of the most powerful nations in Western Europe.


    The Coronation of Fernando V, of course, was not nearly as pristine as much of the art of it would have us believe

    _________________________


    The French compagnies d'ordonnance, as mentioned in previous chapters, were a reordering of the military structure of the French professional military created by Charles VII. The purpose of the compagnies d'ordonnance were to help organize what was the period's first western professional military force, allowing for a greater ease of sending supplies around, more efficient tactics for military action (which had provided France quite a few military victories in the Hundred Years and Franco-Catlan Wars) and to make the art of breaking through the castle walls of one's enemy far easier.

    Of course, just because the compagnies d'ordonnance were created for this purpose, doesn't mean they were always able to fulfill it.

    In 1457, just as it seemed the dual Castillian-French occupation forces were wrapping up Aragon's Iberian possessions, Charles VII ordered an immediate move towards setting the grounds for an invasion of Aragon's Italian possessions. While France was in no danger of Aragon regrouping it's forces in either Sicily or Sardinia in order to usurp French control of the Aragonese coastline, Charles did feel that there was the danger of Castille invading the Itallian territories first, taking the lion's share of the rich territory and leaving France with the scraps of what would remain.

    The apple of Charles' eye for the initial invasion was the island of Sicily, one of the richest areas of the Italian peninsula (with the areas around the city of Palermo producing very rich sugar cane which would greatly boost French trade). Of course, Aragon would have garrisons on the island of Sicily ready to meet French forces, and France's navy, after the minor pounding it took in the Channel from the English Royal Navy, wasn't capable of the sort of mass-invasion it would take to conquer Sicily in one swoop.

    Additionally there was the concern over Naples crossing over the Straits of Messina to support Aragon in Sicily, with the Neapolitan army numbering, at the time, in the ballpark of 10,000 archers, infantry and cavalry. With the only available French port to the Mediterranean still so very far away (for the French) from Sicily, it didn't seem likely that France could blockade the Straits of Messina long enough to occupy the island, on top of invading it.

    So, France needed a base of operations for their invasion of southern Italy, one relatively insignificant when it comes to Aragon's determination to defend it and yet close enough for the invasion forces to be quickly ferried over to Sicily. The choice, the obvious one at least, was the islands of Malta just to the south of Sicily. It was going to be so simple: the invasion force, led by Jean Bureau, would take to the coasts of the island and eliminate the tiny garrisoning force outside of the walls of the various castles and forts on the island, lay siege and then take the island. By 1458, France would be ready to launch a massive invasion of Sicily and, from there, Naples, all the while the French navy could blockade the Straits of Messina while resupplying from Malta.

    Unfortunately, the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.

    The Aragonese forces on the island didn't give one inch to the French. Over the course of nearly four years French forces would have the terrain, the weather and even their own weapons turned against them as the defenders of the island pounded away at the invasion forces. One of the most notable casualties of the extended 'siege' was Jean Bureau: the English, nobles of Burgundy and traitorous French nobles could not slay this man, and yet a few thousand men on the main island of Malta did.

    Eventually, after getting reinforcements once the initial invasion force reached an anemic number of men totaling around 1,400 infantrymen and archers accompanied by perhaps 200 knights, the island did fall to French occupational forces. The Siege of Malta would earn the island the rightful nickname of 'The Great Fortress', having withstood the siege of the French for 1,356 days. Such was the reputation of the island that, it would be a well-sought position in the Mediterranean for many powers, as a place to resupply ships and as a great fortress island.


    An Ottoman Map of the Island of Malta, showing that even aside from it's other practical purposes the possibility of it's use as a point to launch raids against the Barbary Coast by Christian powers was enough to catch the eyes of even the Islamic world

    _________________________


    The Fuedal System which had governed European government and politics since the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the settling of the vast and numerous barbarians and nomadic tribes had guided France through many different phases of it's being and many different conflicts. From the rise of the Frankish Kingdom, through the rule of the great Carolingian Empire, with one of the greatest rulers Europe had or will ever know in the form of Charlemagne, to the split of the empire, through the rise of the Capet Dynasty, into the fires of the Crusades and through the seemingly endless Hundred Years War, feudalism had been the governing creed of the Frankish and French nobility.

    And yet, despite this history, France was perhaps one of the first places where feudalism would begin to die.

    Certainly the Black Death had been the beginning of the end of feudalism, with the sudden lack of abundant workers making the labor of even a singular man so much more value, but there were a great number of other nails in the coffin of feudal government. One of many was the fact that, as the kingdoms of Europe grew larger, alongside the ambitions of their rulers, feudalism just didn't seem to make sense anymore. So many nobles, even spread out through a wide area, presented a threat to the central governing figure, either through conspiracy or, as Henry of Castille had just shown, through outright forced abdication or, as Fernando V of Castille was now being shown, rebellion.

    So many figures to move through in order to get the machinations of government to start, so many different moving pieces, was making it difficult for any king of a realm larger than that of a county to exercise his will. For France, this was a particularly pointed problem, as many of the nobility were not only obstructive when it came to the machinations of the King, but were utterly incompetent themselves, nearly throwing themselves into bankruptcy every few years.


    Roland swearing fealty to Charlemagne, the idealized image of feudalism in France, was quickly losing its relevance to France and her modern problems in the minds of Charles and his successors


    The incompetence of the nobility was wearing thin on both Charles' patience and on France's treasury. The reason why Charles had accepted these nobles keeping out of the Franco-Catalan War was because it would save their economies the extra stress, keeping them from trying to beg him for money. Instead, seemingly, they were more dependent on his treasury than before.

    Why, Charles could remember many of these nobles placing themselves against him in the Hundred Years War. Now they were reaching into his pockets, begging their 'true liege' to assist them in keeping their realms from going bankrupt, 'destroyed by the vile bankers in Florence and Genoa'.

    So Charles, deciding to teach his collected nobility a lesson on handling their own realms, began writing up a very special deal for the next nobleman to come knocking on the kingdom's door for a handout from the treasury. When Charles VI de Valois of the Duchy of Provence came to him, claiming his realm was ready to go bankrupt, Charles VII readily agreed to give him a nice, lump sum of money to help him out.

    All Charles VII asked in return was that he be allowed to absorb a few territories in order to help restore balance in the treasury to help ensure that the kingdom itself didn't go bankrupt in the process. Charles VI, figuring that his liege's demand, as they had been in the past, would be fair agreed to the terms.

    Less than one month later Charles VI was evicted from his home and told to leave the realm of the Duke of Provence; Charles VII de Valois.



    The title 'Duke of Provence' would be absorbed into the Crown soon after: Charles VII would be the last Duke of Provence

    _________________________


    With the successful capture of Malta earlier in 1461, France now had it's much needed base of operations for the invasion of Sicily. With Aragon's Iberian holdings having completely fallen into French hands by 1460, the island of Sicily (and, to a lesser degree, Sardinia) were now ripe for the picking. Xaintrailles, one of the few remaining great soldiers of the Hundred Years War, was now tasked with invading Sicily, a stead and experienced hand needed, as the island had a garrison of 8,000 soldiers stationed there: Aragon's last stand, as it were.

    In May 10,000 French soldiers were ferried to the islands that comprised Malta. The sheer number of soldiers, and the lack of number of French transports, would require the invasion take place in two parts. Xaintrailles would be sent ahead first to establish a beachhead near Messina, fortifying his position as best he could with 5,000 soldiers while the Aragonese forces, led by Sanç II himself, would march for them from Palermo.

    As the battle would commence, the other 5,000 soldiers on Malta would be quickly ferried onto the island just behind Sanç's forces. The idea was that, hopefully, the two groups of 5,000 soldiers would be able to crush Sanç's forces between them, leaving his army crippled and the island of Sicily open to occupation. All the while the French navy would begin blockading the Straits of Messina, trying to keep the now 12,000 strong Neapolitan force from storming the island.

    The plan went off with barely a hitch. The two forces of 5,000 men created a killing zone between then as Sanç, seeking at least one grand victory over the French, was all too eager to storm Xaintrailles line, even as the French Navy was coming into view off-shore. However, French losses on both ends of the killing field were greater than expected, allowing Sanç to escape from the killing field and begin a retreat to Palermo. The two halves of the French invasion force combined and Xaintrailles quickly pursued.

    Although Sanç and Xaintrailles were very similarly skilled generals, it was Xaintrailles understanding of logistics, troop movement and how to navigate the terrain he was presented with that allowed him to outmaneuver Sanç before reaching the city of Palermo. On the 20th of June the last Aragonese army fell to the French, allowing for the eventual occupation of Sicily.


    The Battles of Sicily would be Xaintrailles last, the great general perishing after this last great victory, over yet another king of an enemy land


    An attempt to use Sardinia as a launching point had been launched when the siege of Malta seemed to be going nowhere had been launched before the invasion of Sicily and before the fall of Malta

    _________________________


    The Mediterranean in 1462


    While the Franco-Catalan War (all pretenses of France merely doing this on Navarre's behalf having been lost) raged on in the western and central Mediterranean, several events were taking place across the Mediterranean. To the east, whilst the Ottoman Empire was thrown into the fires of civil disorder and instability, the Christian countries which had interests in the Near East were beginning to fortify their positions, in the hopes that they'd be able to keep the Turks at bay once, or hopefully if, the chaos would lift.

    In Greece, the Kingdom of Morea and the Republic of Venice began to expand their holdings, Morea by invading the state of Athens while Venice annexed the island of Naxos, a long-time vassal-state of the Republic. The Knights of Rhodes continued appealing to the various princes of Europe, gathering more funds for the walls of their island and to expand their navy, whilst Cyprus, a Kingdom with distant, but nonetheless present, connections to France did much the same. Genoa increased the size of their patrols, partly to protect their merchant shipping but also, occasionally, to lend a hand to the Knights in the region.

    While the Catholic world balked at the annexation of Athens by Morea, the tiny Orthodox kingdom would be forgiven by it's neighbors: the individual states that would try to fight against the Ottomans would often fall, with Hungary, much larger than the Christian nations that the Ottomans had previously fought with, being the first to repel the Turks. It stood to reason that a Morea with numerous alliances and a larger territory for itself could slow down the Turks far more effectively than the lonely city of Athens could. Ever since the loss of Constantinople, Christians were hardly picky about which states would act as a shield for the rest of Europe.

    However, the Ottoman Empire, and their various puppets and allies, were not merely sitting back while Christianity fortified it's position.

    Although much of the treasury had been wiped out by the wars against Byzantium, Albania and Hungary, there was still 'just' enough money for the Ottomans to help fund Islam's own version of the Knights of Rhodes, the Pirates of the Barbary Coast. The Berber pirates, based out of the North African coastal states such as Morocco, Algiers, Tunisia and Tripoli, were a constant threat to merchant shipping in the Mediterranean for Christian nations, often raiding Christian ports and otherwise disrupting other maritime activities.

    France, with it's recent annexation of Provence and Italian ambitions, were certainly becoming more and more involved in the Mediterranean, making them a larger and larger target for the Barbary Pirates. Thus, with it's own treasury beginning to overflow from the spoils of wars and growing peace in the core of France, Charles took action against the pirates, setting up larger and more persistent patrols off the coasts of France.


    Piracy was beginning to take it's toll on France, forcing Charles to begin funding new anti-piracy programs

    _________________________


    As the 21st of October, 1462 came to pass Charles VII celebrated the 40th year he had claimed the title 'King of France' for himself. Although his coronation would not take place for another seven years, and much of northern France and the Aquitaine would be under English dominion, Charles was still recognized as King of France by many noblemen in his country on that date. Although the 40th anniversary held no specific celebratory customs, for Charles it did mark just how far in his reign he, and France, had come. Charles was now fifty-nine years old, a man entering the twilight of his life while France was a kingdom rapidly on the rise, burning forth from the ashes of Agincourt and the Treaty of Troyes to become a major power on the European continent once more.

    Many monarchs would be gravely envious of Charles' accomplishments. Whether or not Charles made great gains in the Franco-Catalan War or not, France would find itself in a far better state when Charles would die than it was when Charles came to the throne. A professional army, an economy that was beginning to grow and a state of government running smoothly despite the stress placed upon it by multiple, terribly long wars, Charles could claim a part in each of these improvements through his numerous reforms, laws and victories.

    Yet, the old king still felt like there was work to be done. So much so that the man had pre-emptively skipped any form of celebration in Paris in order to join his men in Sicily in May. Xaintrailles' death meant that Charles ws now one of the last great veterans of the Hundred Years War left to lead the army, and with 14,000 men waiting across the Straits of Messina to invade Sicily, Charles did not wish to leave such a delicate military situation to less skilled generals.

    In the end, Charles plan relied on whittling down the Neapolitan forces, lead by Phillip I of Naples, through attrition. Ordering the French Royal Navy to abandon the Straits of Messina, Phillip would bring his soldiers across the straits and immediately try to retake Sicily for Aragon (or, possibly, for Naples itself). Once they were in now occupied territory Phillip would find militia, border guards and other unfriendly forces harassing him on his way to and at the fortresses and castles of Messina. Charles would wait patiently for the Neapolitan soldiers to drop to a more manageable number, before striking against them.

    With November and winter rapidly approaching, and Phillip's men dieing by starvation or from slamming their heads against castle walls, Charles saw his moment to strike. The king donned his old armor, rode out with his men and prepared himself for one last great hurrah.


    When the enemies were shattered in Messina, Charles began readying other armies to invade Naples, leaving the cleaning up of the last major enemy army to Marc de Rochemaure


    To say that the major defeat in Sicily demoralized the citizenry of Naples was a massive understatement. Having been ruled by foreign-descendant monarchs (and monarchs based entirely out of another country) for such a long time, to see the first native-born and Neapolitan monarch completely destroyed in battle was the death-knell of the Neapolitan war effort.

    Such was the decimation of their morale that many Neapolitan men of various stripes began to abandon their nation and join the French war effort. One such Italian, an engineer named Niccolò di Potenza, quickly approached Charles VII as his sieges around Naples were beginning and offered his inside knowledge on just how the castles and fortresses of the country were constructed, and just how they could be brought down. Niccolò's knowledge, plus the inherent talent the French had for siege warfare, allowed them to bring the Kingdom of Naples to its knees in less than a year.



    Niccolò's knowledge was invaluable for quickly breaking into the castles and forts of Naples-


    -just in time for Christmas

    _________________________


    With all of Aragon and all of Naples now under his control, Charles was now ready to enforce the peace that he had plotted since Castille's exit from the war. The terms were as simple as they were brutal: Phillip was to abdicate the throne of Naples in favor of a member a nobleman in Naples that was far more favorable to French interests in the region, said nobleman swearing allegiance to the King of France as Duke of Naples (although he would keep the title 'King of Naples' when outside of French courts).

    Aragon would surrender to the County of Foix Roussillon, release the Kingdom of Sardinia from it's patrimony and cede to Charles the island of Sicily, which would be crafted into the Duchy of Sicily (Kingdom of Sicily outside of French courts), and ruled by a lesser member of the Borghese family, one of Phillip's brothers, in exchange for Phillip's abdication.

    With all their lands occupied the noblemen of Naples and Aragon had no choice. On December 22nd Phillip of Naples agreed to France's terms, quickly followed by Sanç of Aragon on December 23rd. By Christmas Day Phillip II de Ricci was Duke of Naples and Peter IV de Borghese was Duke of Sicily.

    Charles had achieved his goals in Italy and more in this war: the last war of his reign ended in a brilliant victory.



    France Post-War

    _________________________


    France c. 1463

    Charles VII de Valois (ADM 7/DIP 5/MIL 7)
    By the Grace of God, King of France, Duke of Provence (Title Absorbed into the Crown) and Dauphin of Viennois (in absence of Louis de Valois)


    Dynastic Links:

    ~ Lorraine (Duke Jean II de Valois)

    Treasury: 56 million ducats
    GDP (estimated): 508.1 million ducats
    Domestic CoTs: Paris 105.56

    Army: 6,000 Knights (Armored Knights), 14,000 Men at Arms
    Reserves (potential levies): 53,950
    Navy: 5 Carracks, 2 Pinnaces, 2 Gallies, 5 Cogs
    Discipline: 122.40%
    Tradition: 32.20% Navy: 0.00%

    Prestige: First (54)
    Reputation: Very Bad (14.9)
    Legitimacy: 100
    Last edited by NACBEAST; 16-08-2011 at 22:55.

  16. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by blsteen View Post
    Ah yes...Cyprus
    A Cosmo island in a sea of Arabs and Turks
    Indeed. Cyprus is actually very low on my list of 'things to deal with' to be perfectly honest, but they have managed to impress me during the game. Besides, if ever I want to get involved in the Near East, they'll be useful as a point of contention for my writing to use.

    To Everyone: Sorry about the lateness of this one. A lot of things got in the way but I finally buckled down and got it done. I hope you all enjoy!

  17. #37
    previous mm member
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    N ice!

    Very nice; both the war and the AAR - curious to see how you handle 16 infamy though
    Previous MM tester
    Newly addicted to Veritas et Fortitudo

  18. #38
    The Article Beggar Derahan's Avatar
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    so which area is next? Benelux of North Italy?

  19. #39
    Comte de Purchase Merrick Chance''s Avatar
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    If my games are any indication the thing that's next it getting FRAMED
    Enough! You talk of the people's rights. The people only have those rights that I choose to give them, and that is for their own good, believe me--Dr.Doom


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  20. #40
    Field Marshal blsteen's Avatar
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    Nicely done, with Castille falling down on the job its up to France to bully...be the shining beacon of Western Europe
    I was Sir blsteen, Knight of the Eastern West... in :One Last HurRAAh: A Milanese Empire Interactive AAR:

    I was FOTW 11/25/09 and 9/12/10

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