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Thread: The Iron Cross Triumphant: A Teutonic Order AAR

  1. #1
    Second Lieutenant arosenberger14's Avatar
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    The Iron Cross Triumphant: A Teutonic Order AAR

    The Iron Cross Triumphant
    A Teutonic Order DW 5.1b AAR




    Welcome to my first AAR; a historybook style account of the rise of the Teutonic Order! When I first started this game I considered attempting an AAR with it. After 200 screenshots and 3 hours of writing just for the introduction and first 10 years of the game I gave up on the attempt. Now however, I’m moving and will be without my desktop (and all my games) for three weeks. Given the choice between going insane from boredom and writing an AAR, I’ve decided to go with the AAR. I’ve already played to ~1540, and I think that the events so far tell a grand and enjoyable tale, with a firm foundation for future major events after 1540. Hopefully you’ll enjoy this account as much as I enjoyed playing it!

    I didn’t start taking screenshots until I decided to do this project so I’ll be working from the history, the records in my savegame file, and my own memories. Expect inaccuracies, vagueness, generalizations, and FEW PICTURES but hey, that will probably make it more like a real history account! I’ll be presenting this as the lives of the Hochmeisters of the Order so that I have clear starting and stopping dates for my posts and can use the game’s history log easily. Updates will hopefully be frequent, but I make no guarantees. If I somehow make it to 1540 I’ll consider continuing this with screenshots in a more traditional format depending on your interest. Please give me lots of feedback, especially on the writing style! This is my first AAR and I welcome whatever advice you all can give to help make it better!


    Table of Contents:
    • Konrad I von Jungingen: 1393 – 1404
    • Walter I: 1404 - 1416
    • Albrecht I: 1416 – 1440
    • Leopold Wilhelm: 1440 - 1463
    • Intermission: Europe in 1463
    • Friedrich I: 1463 - 1466
    • St Karl Joseph: 1466 – 1493
    • Clemens August I: 1493 –1498
    • St. Albrecht II: 1498 – 1519
    • Paul I: 1519 –1523
    • Friedrich Wilhelm I: 1523 – 1536
    • Friedrich Wilhelm II: 1539 – 1565
    • Wilhelm Friedrich I: 1565 - 1593
    • August Wilhelm I: 1593 - 1612




    Game settings:
    • Divine Wind, 5.1b, latest beta patch
    • 1399 start
    • No lucky nations
    • All other settings on normal and random
    • I did reload several times usually after I made a dumb mistake or made a “test move” to verify a theory about game mechanics. I’m pretty new to EU3 (longtime Total War player) and am still working on strategies beyond HULK! SMASH! Also, there was one instance where the Ottomans got into a 20 year war where all their provinces were occupied, but neither side would make peace so I went in and ended that war.
    • I will not go on a world conquest rampage. I will work to keep infamy low and will only expand into areas that I think are historically plausible for the Order in this timeline (i.e. I’ll try to stay in Germany and not do anything weird like invade Spain or England). Once Germany is formed though, It is very likely that I’ll engage in the traditional German pastimes of invading France and Russia…. maybe even at the same time!

    Objectives:
    • Dissolve the HRE
    • Form Germany

    Starting Strategy Notes:

    This is my second game as the TO; in my first game I concentrated on Poland and by 1460 I had annexed Poland and Bohemia. However, I was dissatisfied as I had made little progress in my goal of forming Germany so I re-started with a new starting strategy: Vassalize the Hansa as early as possible. I realized that if I could vassalize them during my initial war with Riga I would gain a huge boost to my economy and forcelimits, which would allow for much faster expansion. As for how it turned out, you’ll just have to wait and see!
    Last edited by arosenberger14; 27-02-2012 at 14:47.

  2. #2
    Second Lieutenant arosenberger14's Avatar
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    The Iron Cross Triumphant




    Introduction:

    Most people in this modern day and age take the rise of the Teutonic Knights and the unification of Germany entirely for granted. It seems entirely natural to them that the Order should rise from obscurity to glory, and few are aware of the incredible odds and vast array of forces that opposed them. When viewed in a proper historical perspective, one gains proper respect for their meteoric rise, which is comparable to that of Rome or Alexander the Great. Therefore I have decided to write this treatise on to history of the Ordenstadt in the hopes that my readers will better understand and gain a greater appreciation for the monumental task that these men accomplished.


    Konrad von Jungingen “The Foresighted”
    1393 - 1404



    Prologue: What Now?


    By the end of the 14th century it was thought that the Teutonic Order had reached its zenith. The monastic state had conquered and converted the heathen Baltic States to the true faith, and the Lithuanians embraced Catholicism with their personal union under Poland. With the destruction of the heathens, the Order's drive and very purpose for existence was beginning to evaporate. While there were infidels in the Holy Land and the Ottoman Turks were expanding into the Balkans, the Order had no means of reaching these lands, and even if they could they lacked the power to simultaneously take on the great Islamic powers and defend their Baltic possessions from their covetous neighbors.

    The Order would likely have fallen into obscurity were it but for the vision of one man, Hochmeister Konrad von Jungingen. At the Generalkapitel ("general chapter" - a conference of the members of the Order) in the closing days of 1399, Konrad presented a most controversial proposal to the members of the Order: to refocus their mission towards dismantling the Holy Roman Empire and unifying the Germanic states under their banner. Although many of his contemporaries in the order privately though him a madman, his scheme actually had great merit. The papacy was always butting heads with the emperor, and would at least surreptitiously sanction wars to diminish his authority. Additionally the Order could gain much from absorbing the small German nations as it wouldn’t have to assimilate unruly barbarian heathens. If the Emperor could be proven weak and ineffective, foreign nations might support, or at least tolerate the unification of the Germans under the iron cross.

    Few records remain to tell us what caused Konrad to make this fateful decision. We know of his birth in Southern Germany, and of his conquest of Gotland form the Scandinavians, but virtually no writings of his remain to tell us about his inner thoughts. From secondhand accounts, the most prominent of which came from the memoirs of his brother Ulrich (the Marschall or commander of the Order’s army), we can infer that he was of a martial nature and an excellent administrator of the Ordenstadt, but blunt and insensitive to foreign nations. Ulrich also stressed his brother’s excessive piety, and folklore recounts how he attended mass daily even when on campaign, and was of firm moral and spiritual character. From these accounts, most historians conclude that Konrad wished to unite his native people under the firm hand of the Church, both to internally purify it and to better defend against exterior threats.


    Konrad and Ulrich von Jungingen, the men
    who began the Order's drive to unify Germany


    With the help of Ulrich, Konrad convinced the Order of the righteousness and necessity of his cause. After much debate (the records of which were kept few and secret for many years due to the delicacy of the subject), the most prominent members of the Order were swayed to his side. Fears of Imperial usurpation of papal authority, a repeat of events in Hungary (where the Order was forcibly evicted from its lands), and of Ottoman incursions into Europe helped sway the council to support the dismantling of the Empire and creation of a strong, unified Germany. Although not recorded by historical sources, it is safe to assume that avarice for territorial expansion beyond what they had already achieved played no small role in the Generalkapitel's decision. Immediately the army was expanded as much as possible, and diplomats were sent out to Austria, Hungary, Poland, and Novgorod with offers of alliance. Austria and Hungary accepted, and the Order was soon called to support the Hungarians in their conquest of Wallachia. The Order accepted, but sent only moral support. It didn’t matter, as the Hungarians were soon victorious.


    The Teutonic Conquest of Riga

    By the spring of 1403 Konrad was ready to set his plan into motion. The Imperial city of Riga was surrounded by the Order’s lands, and ripe for conquest. Konrad hoped that his allies in Austria and Hungary would distract the Bohemian emperor (who had no land border with the Order at this time) while the Order conquered Riga. The ultimate goal however was the rich traders in the Hansa who were allied with Riga. Konrad hoped to vassalize or annex them, thus securing a foothold in Germany proper and dramatically increasing the Order’s resources and manpower. The die was cast, and while the ambitious Austrians honored the alliance, the faithless Hungarians refused to fight the emperor. Riga was immediately besieged and soon annexed, but the bulk of the Order’s army was dispatched to Lubeck force the Hansa into submission.


    Riga in 1399, the cause of the first war between the Order and Emperor

    The Order’s fleet played a crucial role; it quickly brushed aside the smaller Hanseatic fleet, and transported Ulrich and Konrad’s armies to Lubeck where they annihilated the unprepared Hanseatic army. Meanwhile, Oldenburg, Magdeburg, Luneburg, and Bremen joined the Hansa against the Order. Ulrich remained to besiege Lubeck with a small detachment of ~1000 men, while Konrad took the rest of the Order’s army (roughly 5000 infantry and 4000 cavalry) to defeat the German states. Within half a year, Konrad’s campaign from Altmark to Oldenburg had wiped out their smaller, divided armies. With Northern Germany free of opposing armies, Konrad divided his forces into regiments of 2,000-3,000 men to besiege their fortresses. Additionally, reinforcements from newly conquered Riga were sent to Lubeck to aide Ulrich in his long siege.

    In the South, the Austrians at first had great success and ravaged Bohemian lands with two armies of about 12000 men each. However, at 13000 strong bohemian army soon arrived and a single Austrian army foolishly attacked. Despite being a few days march away, the second Austrian army failed to support this first, which was crushed by the Bohemians. Then, a second bohemian army of another 15,000 men arrived, combined with the first, and utterly destroyed the second Austrian army. Konrad was enraged at the incompetence shown by his ally, and as Bohemian armies swept into a prostrate Austria, he was forced to make peace with them for minor monetary reparations. Austria had served its purpose of distracting the Bohemians, but fell to the superior might of the Emperor.

    With Bohemia out of the war, the small German states had no hope of relief and their fortresses began to fall to hunger and despair. By May of 1404, Magdeburg fell and was forced to swear fealty and pay monetary reparations to the Order. But before his victory was complete, Konrad fell ill with dysentery during the siege of Bremen and died in the winter of 1404 with his war won but unfinished.

    While Konrad’s reign was short and he played a minimal role in the great wars of the Order, he laid the foundation for the Orders future expansion and breathed new life into its crusading spirit. By all but winning his war against the Northern German states in spite of the Emperor’s interference, he silenced many of the doubters in the Order. Future Hochmeisters, inspired by his vision, would lead the Order to great glory in their efforts to achieve his goal. Thus, he is known as “The Foresighted” the man whose dream set the Order on a new path which would re-write the face of the Earth.

    Gameplay Notes:
    • The Hansa was alliance leader in this war letting me buy out Bohemia without ending it
    • I didn’t have a land border with Bohemia thank God
    • The Order starts out with the strongest navy in the Baltic region, for the early portion of the game I’m a stronger naval power than land power!
    • The Brandenburg-Luxemburg and Poland-Lithuania PU’s dissolved sometime in the early1400’s
    • England got dogpiled by a Burgandy/Scotland/Bohemia alliance and a separate French war which lasted almost 10 years. They lost Calais and were forced to release Northumberland and Winchester. Portugal joined on England’s side and lost most of their armies, leaving them vulnerable to Castile. The Northern half of Portugal would be annexed by about 1420.
    • Denmark was unusually quiet, so I ignored them
    • Novgorod rejected my alliance, but I remained on good terms with them and joined their trade league after the Hansa kicked me out. I try to ignore Russia and remain on good terms with Novgorod and Muscovy


    Whew! 1st chapter is down! Any comments on the style? Hopefully I wasn't too dry. Up next: the turbulent reign of Walter “The Stalwart”
    Last edited by arosenberger14; 10-08-2011 at 20:03.

  3. #3
    Captain GulMacet's Avatar
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    Since you are far richer now, perhaps it is time to pounce on some smaller Russian statelets and vassalize/convert them?

  4. #4
    Second Lieutenant arosenberger14's Avatar
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    -GulMacet: nope, that wasn't really feasible. The only one I could reach was Pskov, and they were allied/guaranteed by all my neighbors. My focus was mostly on the West and eating the smaller but richer HRE states... but that lead to much unpleasantness with the Emperor

  5. #5
    Second Lieutenant arosenberger14's Avatar
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    The Iron Cross Triumphant




    Walter “The Stalwart” Dec 1404 - Jan 1416


    The Teutonic Conquest of Riga (contd.)

    After the untimely death of Konrad, the Generalkapitel hastily convened to elect a new Hochmeister. While Ulrich was viewed as the heir apparent, his absence at the siege of Lubeck allowed the Generalkapitel to elect Walter I Hochmeister instead. Although a disciple of Konrad and strong proponent of his plans for the Order, the Generalkapitel believed that Walter’s considerable diplomatic skill and coolheaded nature would better serve to navigate the Order through the tense situation with the Emperor. Ulrich was upset that he had been sidelined, but was in no position to complain as Walter was a personal friend of his and Konrad’s.

    Lubeck finally fell in the spring of 1405, and when Luneburg relinquished a large sum of gold for peace he felt that it was time to bring the war to a close. Although the Hansa stubbornly refused to be vassalized under the Order, Walter forced them to cede Bremen (as the resting place of Konrad) and a large sum of gold bringing the war to a close.

    The Order’s first war was a success, albeit a limited one. Riga and Bremen had been acquired, but the Hansa remained independent and the Order had been humiliated by the Emperor thanks to the incompetence of Austria. This lead to mutual bitterness between the two nations, the Order viewing the Austrians with contempt for throwing away their armies, and the Austrians feeling that the Order had offered them as a sacrifice to appease Bohemia. The territorial gains and the tribute from the minor German states did much for the finances and manpower of the Order, and Bremen in particular would be an important staging ground for further invasions of Germany.

    After the war, Walter used the tribute from the German nations to increase the size of the army. The remaining money was conserved fur future crises. He also made movements to lessen the powers that the noblemen held over the serfs. This aided the integration of the populations of the relatively progressive German territories, and promoted much needed growth and innovation in the Order. Walter’s policies were the start of a long process of “der Freimensch” (the freemen) a series of reforms in the 15th century which made the Teutonic Order one of the freest societies in Europe in all matters but religion. While the noblemen in the Order’s territories protested this loss of control, the monks supported these measures as they lessened the power of the noblemen not in the Order without affecting their own power. As long as the commoners remained good Catholics and were loyal to the Order, they were eventually granted more liberty than most other people at that time.


    Gameplay Notes:
    • My slider changes are mostly towards Free Subjects and Centralization for the next century. TO starts with full serfdom which kills my already weak research rate, and centralization can always be improved. I kept the other sliders on full aristocracy, 2 innovative, -2 quality -2 mercantilism, and 0 Land/Naval and Off/Def. Random events would move me 2 towards Plutocracy and one towards Narrowminded.
    • I got about 400 gold from the peace deals, which I used to train new units up to my forcelimits of ~15. The rest I saved until I could make buildings or until my forcelimits increased.



    The Lithuanian Threat

    The early 1400’s saw the end of two personal unions, the Polish - Lithuanian union and the Luxembourg – Brandenburg union. Eager for new allies in the North, Walter immediately proposed an alliance with the new Brandeburgian king which was accepted. The Lithuanian independence was another matter though. Sour relations between Poland and Lithuania ensured that the Order would not be attacked by both nations simultaneously, but they were now twice as likely to come under assault. Furthermore, while the threat of Poland was counterbalanced by her border with Brandenburg, Lithuania was isolated and could attack the Order unopposed.

    The Order’s worst fears were realized when Lithuania declared war in the winter of 1406. With the Golden Horde locked in combat with Muscovy, the Lithuanian King felt that the time had come to humble his upstart neighbor. Although all the Order’s allies honored their treaties, they had no means of reaching either the Order or Lithuania. No support whatsoever was received from these “allies.” At the start of the war, Lithuania had over twice the number of troops as the Order, and a wide frontier to attack across. The future looked bleak.

    A small army of 6,000 Lithuanians soon arrived at Wenden while a force of 8,000 marched to besiege Estland. Walter decided to personally lead the combined army of the Order, numbering 14,000 strong in a campaign to drive the Lithuanians out. In a brilliant battle at Wenden, the Lithuanians lost over half of their forces to a mere 500 of the Order and retreated to Samogitia. Walter left a detachment of 3,000 men to secure Wenden, and raced to Estland . In another brilliant battle Walter exploited the Lithuanians lack of cavalry by pinning them in place with his infantry then smashing their rear and flanks with his cavalry. The entire Lituanian army was killed, while the Order lost a mere 600 men.

    Meanwhile, the main Lithuanian force of 15,000 men under the command of King Jogaila I Ostrogski finally arrived in Wenden and smashed the small Teutonic detachment. Despite the overwhelming odds, they managed to retreat with half of their forces to Livland and join with Walter’s victorious army. Hoping to force a quick end to the costly war, King Jogaila took his army to Ostprussen and besieged the Order’s capitol of Konigsberg. Alarmed by these reports, Walter hastened south to Konigsberg, pausing only to eradicate the remains of the initial Lithuanian army at Samogitia By May Walter had arrived with the entire strength of the Order and in a bloody battle routed the Lithuanians from their siege at a cost of 2,000 men. Hoping to crush their last army Walter pursued them ferociously and finally forced their surrender at Trakai By the end of the campaign, the Order had lost about 6,000 men, but the entire Lithuanian army of 29,000 men had been obliterated.
    There were many factors that contributed to Walter’s great victories. The Lithuanian armies were ill lead and the general quality of the Lithuanian troops was less than that of the Order. Furthermore, the terrain of Prussia was generally flat farmland and plains which greatly benefitted the heavy cavalry employed by the Order. While not a genius at warfare, Walter was extremely competent and took advantage of these factors to crush the Lithuanian armies one by one. He was fortunate that the Lithuanians separated and spread out their forces; otherwise the war would have gone differently.


    Walter I at Konigsberg, he personally lead the cavalry charge that broke the Lithuanian army

    After his victory at Trakai, Walter detached four siege forces of ~2,000 men each to besiege the Lithuanian provinces neighboring the Ordenstadt. However, the Lithuanians were far from defeated and began raising new regiments to replace their early losses. Walter lacked the forces necessary to simultaneously defeat these new regiments and besiege all of Lithuania, and was forced to march across the country defeating new regiments before they could coalesce into a major force. As the winter of 1407 began, Teutonic forces suffered severe attrition in the icy forests of Lithuania, and every battle sapped more men from Walter’s forces. Although the Lithuanians were unable to break the Teutonic sieges, the Order was fast running out of manpower to keep the effort up. Walter knew that if the war was prolonged much longer he risked defeat, but was unwilling to end it without forcing concessions from the Lithuanian king.

    In December 1407 Walter took a risky move and ordered Ulrich to take his newly raised army of 3,000 men and storm the Lithuanian capital of Vilna. It was a gamble, for these men were desperately needed to beat back the newly minted Lithuanian armies, but the fierce Ulrich came through and captured the citadel. With their capitol occupied, the Lithuanians were forced to pay some gold, release the nation of Smolensk, and renounced all their claims on Teutonic land.

    For his great victories, Walter was hailed as the savior of the Order. Although the war took a horrific toll for little gain, the Order had triumphed over a much stronger opponent and garnered much international prestige. Even though the Order’s manpower was completely exhausted, the remaining soldiers returned to their homes triumphant, proud of how they had bested a nation over twice their size. To this day, Walter is revered as one of the greatest heroes of our nation, and a statue of him now stands in Koningsberg commemorating his steadfast defense of the fatherland against great odds.


    Gameplay Notes:
    • I thought I’d have to restart when Lithuania DOWed me but I somehow fought them off. The flat terrain of Prussia combined with Walter being a shock 3 general allowed me to wallop the Lithuanian armies one by one once I gathered my forces
    • By the end of the war my manpower was at 0 and most of my units were at half strength. Lithuania was still recruiting so I had to make peace or lose all my gains
    • For some reason, there were no opportunistic DOW’s on me or the Lithuanians. I was expecting Denmark, Novgorod, or Muscovy to get in on the action but for some reason they all stayed quiet and let us duke it out alone. I think Denmark stayed away because they were eyeing a weak England, while Muscovy was eating the Golden Horde
    • Naples, Hungary and some Italian minors started a war with the Ottomans and were defeated on sea and land. They made peace after a few years


    Up next: Expansion in the reign of Walter pt II! Will the Order outmaneuver the Emperor this time? I’ll be in the car for a lot tomorrow so I don’t know exactly when I’ll get it out… hopefully soon though!
    Last edited by arosenberger14; 10-08-2011 at 20:04.

  6. #6
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    Interesting concept -- not too many TO AARs. Nice start so far!
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  7. #7
    Second Lieutenant arosenberger14's Avatar
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    The Iron Cross Triumphant




    Walter “The Stalwart” Dec 1404 - Jan 1416


    Establishing a Foundation

    The Lithuanian invasion temporarily halted Walter’s ambitions in Northern Germany, but by the spring of 1410 he felt that the Order had recovered sufficiently to enter another major conflict. An opportunity presented itself in the Imperial state of Stade, which neighbored the recently acquired province of Bremen. During the war with the Empire, the Imperial lords at war with the Ordenstadt began to shut down and confiscate the Order’s vast monasteries and lands, both in fear of partisan attacks and to gain additional wealth. To preserve these important sources of wealth and manpower, Konrad with the backing of the Pope issued an edict proclaiming that all Teutonic holdings and members outside the Ordenstadt would remain neutral in any war between the Order and the Empire. Despite this guarantee, the duke of Stade, bitter about his defeat in the previous war had banned the Order, confiscated all their property, and forbade any of his subjects from joining. The Duke was confident that the Emperor’s guarantee would protect him from the Order, but Walter was spoiling for a rematch and seized the opportunity to declare war.

    The situation was almost identical to the earlier war with Riga in 1404. Bohemia, the Hansa, Munster, ThŁringen, Wurzburg, Meinster, and Friesland all opposed the Order. However, Austria refused to support further Teutonic expansion, but their place was taken by Brandenburg. The Order’s strategy remained the same with the same results. Brandenburg distracted the Emperor while the large Teutonic army picked off the coalitions weak and divided armies in Northern Germany. By January of 1411 the Bohemians were bought out of the war in return for a lessening of Teutonic influence over the nation of Magdeburg, once again leaving the German minors helpless before the Order. The siege of Lubeck was concluded in the spring of 1412, and Walter forced harsh terms on the German states. Stade was be annexed, while Magdeburg and the Hansa were forced to swear fealty to the Order.

    Although the Order was once again bested by the Emperor, the war for Stade is counted as a success. Stade became recognized as part of the Ordenstadt, and the wealth of the Hanseatic League was now controlled by the Order. However, this rapid expansion was beginning to raise concerns about the Order’s intentions in the Vatican and in the foreign European courts…


    Gameplay Notes:
    • I got a mission to conquer Bremen (which was in Stade and neighbored the province of Bremen which I owned… ugh) for a core! Taking Bremen in the previous war is already paying dividends!
    • Not much to tell about this campaign; Bohemia occupied most of Brandenburg and I gave them peace for reducing my SOI. After that it was a simple matter of occupying the German minors
    • My infamy took a big hit from this (10) but is still in the low teens as I haven’t expended in a while
    • With the Hansa as my vassal, my forcelemits and income increased by ~50%! I also have a high military tradition and got some shock 4-6 generals… Watch out Bohemia!


    The Subjugation of Oldenburg

    Following the conquest of Stade, Walter spent three years building up the Order’s armies with Hanseatic gold and repairing his reputation, especially amongst the Papacy. Despite his disgust at the desertion of the Austrians, he reformed the Teutonic-Hasburg alliance as a counter to the Emperor. Propelled by their earlier conquests, the Order became known as one of the best military nations in the world, and young men of a martial disposition flocked to its ranks from amongst the German states. As the spring of 1415 arrived, Walter once again set his sights on the Northern German states. This time, his target was the dukedom of Oldenburg, which like Stade had expelled the order from its lands.

    Wary of war with the powerful Teutonic-Austrian alliance, the aging Emperor Vaclav of Bohemia sat by idly at the declaration of war. However, Brabant, Brunswick, ThŁringen, Munster, Wurzburg, Friesland, Frankfurt, Trier, and Hainaut all answered Oldenburg’s call to arms against the Walter and his allies. Despite his advanced age and the protestations of the council, Walter insisted on personally leading the Order’s armies against the German states. When asked by the GroŖkomtur Albrecht von Darmstadt to allow a younger and more able general to lead the army, he sternly said “I would sooner see my horse lead than one of these children… he at least knows where to go and how to get there! I am the Hochmeister, and I shall lead my men ‘till I draw my last breath!”

    Despite the concern, Walter once again proved an able leader and repeated his previous successes against the Dukes of the north. Without the vast armies of Bohemia, the fractured and quarrelsome duchies once again fell prey to the Order’s superior armies. Unfortunately for Walter this would be his last campaign. On Friday the 13th of December 1415, Walter was thrown from his horse while charging in a minor force at Munster. A month later, on New Year’s Day he succumbed to his injuries and died in Konigsberg.

    Walter successfully navigated the Ordenstadt through its most dangerous era since their expulsion from the Holy Land. Naturally his most famed moment is his epic defense against the Lithuanian invasion in 1410, but his expansion into Germany and subjugation of the Hanseatic League left the Ordenstadt as the strongest nation in the Baltic and a clear rival to the Holy Roman Emperor in Bohemia.


    Author’s Note:
    Sorry about the long delay, I was in Boston without internet last week and didn’t get much done.
    Last edited by arosenberger14; 10-08-2011 at 20:04.

  8. #8
    Since you asked for feedback: more screenshots would be nice! It's a lot easier to follow what's happening that way, especially during wars.

  9. #9
    Comte de Purchase Merrick Chance''s Avatar
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    It's perfectly ok that you're delaying!

    In the longer term, are you considering turning into Prussia, and if so are you going to stick to Catholicism? Unlike a Brandenburg->Prussia game, where it's pretty much a choice between Catholicism (which just feels...wrong) and Protestantism (+tax and production, your two main sources of income), you start off with a CoT in game, so Reformism is actually an option gameplay wise, as are Protestantism and Catholicism for historical reasons, and while you're leaning towards Catholicism now, all of that warring is going to incur the wrath of the conservative Catholic institutions, IE the Empire and the Church
    Last edited by Merrick Chance'; 08-08-2011 at 03:40.
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  10. #10
    This looks like an awesome AAR. I'm curious to see how far the Iron Cross will get, and what happens to the Ordenstadt around 1500...

  11. #11
    Captain GulMacet's Avatar
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    Go forth and Germanize everything!

  12. #12
    Registered User blablablubbe's Avatar
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    Are you abusing the animists in Samogitia to spawn religious rebels to faster spread the prussian culture?

  13. #13
    Imperator Universalis Zhai's Avatar
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    Excellent story!

    I am enjoying it so far Your narration is very good, to point and concise; yet at the same time, it is interesting. I especially enjoyed the part where the Knights intend to unify Germany and fight for the Catholic Faith. One thing I would like to note, the red color of yourgameplay notes are hard on eyes. I suggest you utilize different color; perhaps orange? Something different.

    Looking forward for another update!
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  14. #14
    Second Lieutenant rkm0000's Avatar
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    I NEED MORE!!!!!!! now i want to play my 20th TO match
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  15. #15
    Field Marshal

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    http://i1092.photobucket.com/albums/...14/WalterI.jpg

    btu this is a pic of polish victory at grunewald

  16. #16
    Second Lieutenant arosenberger14's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the feedback everyone! The next ruler is taking a while; Albrech I lasted 24 years and was NOT idle... new update is in the works and should hopefully be out sometime tomorrow!

    -Rabid: I'd love to put in more pics; but I don't have any. As I explained in the intro I didn't start taking pics until ~1540. I'll try to make the campaigns more understandable though... still working on the level of detail in them...

    -Merrick Chance: I debated this a lot when playing; Theocracy is actually a good gov. for a Catholic faction thanks to the increased papal influence and it also has very few slider restrictions. Reforming to Prussia would make me into a feudal monarchy which felt like a step back, and would have incurred some nasty slider penalties. As for religion, I don't want to spoil what happens but it should become pretty evident in what direction I'm going in the next several updates...

    -Ramidel: Thanks! the early 1500's are pretty epic... I can't wait to write 'em!

    -GulMacet: That's the plan!

    -blablablubbe: nope. This didn't occur to me, but if it did I probably wouldn't have. Samogitia was converted ASAP. I read somewhere that Prussian culture has a bonus in spreading to german lands, so this wasn't necessary anyway.

    -Zhai: Thanks for the encouragement and the tip! You're right; orange is much better!

    -rkm0000: 20th?!? dang!

    -Deus Eversor: Ya, I know. There aren't many TO pics available so I've taken some and "re-interpreted" them as describing events and people from this alternate timeline. This one fit because it was Ulrich fighting the Pol/Lith union around the same time that Walter was at war with Lith.

  17. #17
    Second Lieutenant arosenberger14's Avatar
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    The Iron Cross Triumphant




    Albrecht I "the Glorious" Jan 1416 Ė Apr 1440


    The Conclusion of Walterís War

    The prolonged passing of Walter I gave the Generalkapitel time to convene to discuss his replacement. With Walterís blessing, they settled on Albrecht von Darmstadt, the GroŖkomtur of the Ordenstadt. Albrecht was an administrative genius who was responsible for the swift integration of Stade in 1412 as a core territory of the Ordenstadt. The results of his efforts impressed Walter I, who granted him more responsibility, and by the time of his appointment of Hochmeister he was already administering the lands of the Ordenstadt as the GroŖkomtur of the order while Walter fought his wars. When Walter passed away, he was immediately appointed Hochmeister and assumed his new duties the day after Walterís death.

    Albrechtís administrative genius would be exactly what the growing Ordenstadt required. Historical accounts depict him as a cold and extremely practical man, a problem-solver who ruthlessly sought to strengthen the Orderís internal organization and assimilation of conquered German lands. Unlike Walter, Albrecht preferred to control matters of state from the shadows rather than deal with them personally. Recognizing his own inadequacies at warfare and diplomacy, Albrecht made full use of the blossoming military minds in the Order, and exploited the unique diplomatic channels available as a (admittedly distended) arm of the church to improve relations with the rest of Europe and the Papacy.

    As the subjugation of Oldenburg was still proceeding, Albrechtís first action was to bring the war to a successful conclusion. He immediately appointed the talented commander Martin von Hoyningen, to lead the Orderís main army against the last remaining enemy forces. In three months, Martin had cleared out the last remaining enemy armies, and was besieging all of the enemy lands. By January 1417 the German coalition was broken, and Albrecht dictated harsh terms. Oldenburg was vassalized, as were the most powerful nations of the coalition ThŁringen and Brunswick. The addition of these vassals simultaneously shattered the remains of the ďNorth Gerrman coalitionĒ which had opposed the Ordenstadt, increased its economic and military strength, and made it the clear dominant power in Northern Germany.


    Against the Emperor

    Following the successful war, Albrecht focused on re-organizing the Orderís military forces using the experience his troops and commanders had gained in Germany. At the recommendation of his generals, he focused on reforming the Orderís much neglected infantry by supplying each man with a short spear, sword, shield, helmet, and mail hauberk, in the style of the French and English men at arms. Furthermore, he instituted a strict military training regimen which focused on drilling all troops in basic combat, formation fighting, and quick response to orders. Based on the events of past campaigns, Albrecht and his generals concluded that the most effective siege force was a small unit of 2,000 infantry with an additional 1,000 cavalry for rapid response. Noting that a 2:1 infantry to cavalry ration also made for an effective army composition, Albrecht organized the Orderís armies into cohorts of 2,000 infantry and 1,000 cavalry under a single commander. At the beginning of a campaign, several (typically four or five) cohorts would be combined into an army, but once large-scale resistance was quelled the army would advance into enemy territory, leaving cohorts behind to subjugate any remaining resistance. This organizational paradigm would prove to be extremely effective, as a general could split up and reform large armies dynamically without having to worry about army composition. On the battlefield, the increased delegation to the cohort commanders gave the Orderís armies excellent flexibility and responsiveness when compared to the previous model. Until the introduction of cannon in the late 15th century, the cohort would remain the basis of all Teutonic armies.

    With well trained, well equipped veteran armies, Albrecht was confident enough to confront the Emperor once again by March of 1418, barely a year after the previous war had ended. The Emperor had recently sustained massive casualties in a war with Poland and Lithuania ending in 1415, and was temporarily weakened. However, the Orderís attacks on other Catholic nations were raising concerns in the European courts. Despite the fact that the Ordenstadt had legitimate casus belliís for all of its wars, the sight of a crusading state warring on Catholics was unsightly. Fortunately, events in Bohemia would present Albrecht with a golden opportunity to legitimately expand the Ordenstadt.

    The Hussite heretics followed the teachings of a certain Jan Huss, who rejected several key teachings of Catholicism, in particular all sacraments except baptism and communion. After Hussí execution at the Council of Constance in 1415, the Hussites grew larger and more restless expelling Catholic priests and monks from several areas in Bohemia. Many factions of the Hussites felt particular hated for the monastic orders and the Teutonic Order in particular. Viewing a popular movement which disliked the upstart Ordenstadt, as an asset, the Bohemian Emperor Vaclav IV against the wishes of the Pope granted the Hussites religious toleration. This pattern of events was repeated in the duchy of Pomerania, and old adversary of the Order, giving Albrecht the perfect excuse to attack. Claiming that the Duke of Pomerania was colluding with heretics against the church and the Ordenstadt, he declared war in early 1418.

    Pomerania was defended by a coalition lead by the Bohemian emperor joined by Cologne, Meinster, Lauenburg, and Pskov. The Order was joined by her vassals and Brandenburg, but once again the Austrian Archduke refused to join the war. When word of this betrayal reached Albrecht, he fell into an uncharacteristic fit of rage, and insulted the Archduke calling him a craven, dishonorable coward and swearing that the Order would never again ally with such a worthless nation. Needless to say, relations with Austria suffered greatly. It is uncertain why the Austrians failed to join the Order, for if they had the Bohemians would have been hopelessly outnumbered. Some historians suggest that the Austrians were becoming wary of the rapidly expanding Ordenstadt, and wished to see it defeated, while others suggest that since the Bohemian emperor was elderly, the Archduke did not want to harm his chances of becoming Emperor in the event of his death. Whatever the cause, the Austrian desertion left both sides evenly matched numerically, but Albrechtís reforms to the army as well as superior Teutonic leadership would soon give the Order the upper hand.

    Hostilities commenced with a major battle in Niederlausitz; Konrad von Ruszdorf, with a 12,000 man army attacked the Bohemian Emperor Vaclav with 15,000 men. Von Rusdorf was one of the brightest generals appointed by Albrecht, and made full use of his superior troops and organization to swiftly defeat the Emperor losing only 3,000 men to the emperorís 4,500. Eager to finish of the main Bohemian army, he pursued the emperor to Breslau and utterly crushed the demoralized Bohemians. Vaclav, watching the destruction of his armies from a hill, became mad with rage which caused a massive heart attack. Within two months, Bohemiaís main army was destroyed, and the emperor himself was dead.

    Meanwhile, Martin von Hoyingen led the second Teutonic army of 12,000 men against the 6,000 man Pomeranian army that was besieging Berlin. The flat terrain coupled with superior training and leadership lead to another massive Teutonic victory; the entire Pomeranian army was wiped out for the loss of only 700 men. The few minor enemy forces remaining were hunted down and destroyed, as was a minor invasion from Pskov. Still feeble from the failed invasion of Poland, Bohemia was unable to offer any resistance, and the Ordenstadtís cohorts settled into the long sieges of the Bohemian and Pomeranian cities.

    With the death of the emperor, the Imperial Diet convened to elect his successor. The three candidates were the nations of Burgandy, Austria, and Bohemia. Burgandy was only a minor competitor, as their aggressive actions against the minor nations in the Netherlands soured relations between them and the Diet. Austria was in a good position to counter the increasingly powerful Ottoman Turks, but the electors in Northern Germany flat out refused an emperor who had been allied with the Teutonic Order not so long ago. With no other options, the imperial crown was given to Vladislav III, the son of Vaclav IV. Vladislav III was a king without a kingdom though. Until the end of the war, he stayed in the Austrian capitol, of Vienne and bitterly watched his realmís humiliation.

    The long sieges began to end, one by one, and by the middle of 1419 Albrecht sent out diplomats to his foes with harsh terms. Pomerania, Lauenburg, and Pskov were forced to swear fealty to the Order. Bohemia was forced to release the nation of Silesia and pay a large sum of gold. Albrecht cunningly ignored the issue of the Hussites, realizing that it would give him a perfect excuse for future wars against the Emperor. The war was over, and the Empire had been decisively humiliated.


    Gameplay Notes:
    • I got Gov 4 and Mil 5, giving me Men at Arms. I chose Military Drill as it would be essential to my future expansion
    • For this part of the game, I had a gov tech, diplomat, and Mil. tech advisors.
    • Infamy spiked to about 15 at this time, and as Albrecht had a Dip 3 it would take a lot of time to burn
    • The Ottomans have fought several wars against Castille, the Italians, and Hungary and won them all



    Temporal Power

    With its defeat by the Teutonic Order, the Emperor began to lose all respect and authority. The Emperor had failed to protect the Spanish, Italian, and Magyar states from the ravages of the Ottoman Turk. Furthermore, the Emperor lost credibility and respect with its unjustified and failed invasion of Poland and the toleration of the Hussite heretics. The member states of the empire began to doubt in the protection of the Empire, and many of the smaller states in the western half of the empire banded together with mutual alliances and guarantees to defend against foreign invasion. Outside the Empire, powerful nations such as France, England, and Castile started to think of the Empire as a joke. As the Order expanded its influence into the Imperial territories, it began to assume the role of the Emperor in defending the German lands from foreign incursion.

    Meanwhile, Albrecht began implementing some important reforms to the structure of the Teutonic Knights that would have consequences for years to come. Albrecht recognized the value of propaganda both in assimilating conquered lands, and in legitimizing his conquests in the eyes of others. Working off of his experiences in Stade, he ordered the members of the Order not under arms to preach against the Holy Roman Empire and for the creation of a German state under the Order. Furthermore, all priests who taught at the churches and schools inside the Orderís lands were carefully vetted for anti-Teutonic ideals and were strongly encouraged to teach and preach thought favorable to the Orderís plans. This effectively transformed the idle and foreign chapters of the Order into an extensive espionage and propaganda network which actively promoted his conquests inside and outside the Ordenstadt. It would take years of effort, but by using the power of the pulpit to spread his propaganda Albrecht slowly began to legitimize the Orderís rule and influence in Germany.

    On the diplomatic front, Albrecht sent out many diplomats with reassuring words and gifts, particularly to the papacy and the republic of Novgorod. His efforts were rewarded when Novgorod signed an alliance with the Order thus protecting their flanks from Scandinavian or Lithuanian aggression. Inside the Curia, his efforts saw the appointment of two Teutonic cardinals, insuring that the Order would have a say in papal policy. Another important event was the annexation of Magdeburg. The young duke Leopold Wilhelm was persuaded by a good friend to take up the black cross, and in doing so he ceded his lands to the Ordenstadt.


    Gameplay Notes:
    • I tried to maintain good relations with Castile, France, and England through mil. access treaties. Relations were around 50 for all of them
    • I gifted that Papal States up to 200 relations. In this period I typically had 1-2 cardinals (they die off awfully fast, donít they?)
    • Mission ďAnnex MagdeburgĒ for a core


    War in Scandinavia

    Along with Magdeburg, Albrecht inherited its boundary disputes with neighboring Luneburg. Arguing that annexation was necessary to connect Magdeburg with the rest of the Order, Albrecht declared war in November of 1420. Luneburg was guaranteed by Denmark, and the shaky Kalmar union temporarily put aside their differences to combat the Order. Still reeling from their earlier defeat, the Emperor refused to com to Luneburgís aid. The Order was aided by their vassals, Brandenburg, and Novgorod (eager for a piece of Sweden) giving them a distinct advantage on land and sea. However, Albrecht, fearful of the harsh Scandinavian weather, refused to invade such a desolate land for little gain.

    On the mainland, the tiny army of Luneburg was no match for the Order, and a cohort immediately destroyed their small army and began the siege. Military access through Holstein was secured, and the Order sent an army into the Danish peninsula. In the East, the main Swedish army began the long trek to the Novgorodian border, only to be defeated. At sea, the navies of the Order and the Hansa proved superior in number and quality to the Scandinavian navies and quickly established naval supremacy. Noting the usefulness of the navy in defending against the Scandinavians, Albrecht commissioned four new carracks at Konigsberg for future wars.

    Half a year in, the Orderís armies were still mostly intact, and the Danish army was trapped on their island capitol of Sjślland by the Teutonic fleet. Hoping for a decisive victory, Albrecht personally lead an army of 10,000 men against the 7,000 man Danish army lead by king Eric VII Gryf, and achieved a crushing victory against the Norse king. With a 10:1 advantage in men, Albrecht stormed the Danish capitol, and imprisoned Eric VII in his own castle for half a year until the siege of Luneburg concluded. By November 1421, just one year after the start of the war, Albrecht had achieved his goals. As his reputation was still poor from his conquests in Germany, Albrecthís terms were relatively mild. Lauenburg was annexed by the Order, while Denmark was required only to recognize Teutonic dominance over Germany and the Baltic. Another effect of the Teutonic victory over the Kalmar Union was that it allowed England to take back its territories without fear of Norse interference. Within a few years, England had reclaimed all territories south of Scotland and was once more the dominant power in the Atlantic.

    Gameplay Notes:
    • I kept getting ďSubjugate XĒ and ďConquer XĒ for all the minor nations in Germany which gave me a lot of cores. Over half of my conquests and annexations immediately became core territories
    • The Kalmar Union fell apart shortly after this war.


    Defender of the Weak

    Albrechtís commitment to defend his smaller neighbors was tested when the Polish king August II Jagiellon invaded the small country of Mazovia in the summer of 1422. Poland had become increasing feeble since the severing of the Polish-Lithuanian union, and August II decided that he must annex his weaker neighbors to remain strong against the threatening Lithuanians, Hordes, Bohemians, and Teutons. Mecklenburg and Moldovia joined Poland in her war, but were outclassed by the Teutonic coalition in numbers, equipment, and doctrine. Eager to expand into the neighboring Polish lands, Albrecht sent Konrad von Ruszdorf with 12,000 men into Poland. However, August II evaded him by marching through Lithuania to besiege the capitol of Konigsberg. With the Poles at the gates, Albrecht gave command of the Teutonic reserve army of 13,000 men to the young Dietrich Freytag von Loringhoven, who crushed the Poles and obliterated their army.

    The Polish armies had been destroyed, and their allies were quickly swarmed by the Orderís vassals. A mere five months after the war began most of Poland had been occupied by Albrechtís cohorts. His expansionist dreams in ruins, August II was forced to cede the provinces of Poznan, Kalisz, and Plock to the Ordenstadt in return for peace. Albrechtís eventual goal was to connect the Prussian heartland of the Order with its newly acquired German territories, and the foolish aggression of the Polish king advanced his designs immeasurably.

    Barely half a year later in September 1422, the Bohemian Emperor Vladislav III without provocation invaded the nation of Hungary, which had just endured a disastrous defeat by the Ottoman Turks. The Catholic rulers of Europe were outraged that a man who had sworn to defend against the infidel would opportunistically invade another Catholic country that was weak from fighting the infidel, and the Order gained much appreciation when it honored its guarantee of Hungary and declared war on the Emperor. All of the Orderís vassals and allies (including the powerful nations of Brandenburg and Novgorod) joined the war. Diplomatically isolated and still weak from the earlier war with the Order, the Emperor was in no position to defend against the mighty coalition. Albrecht lead an army into Bohemia and gained much fame by destroying a Bohemian army twice as large as his at the Imperial capital of Bohemia. Six months later all of Bohemia was occupied and the Emperor was forced to withdraw his claims on Silesia, end his foreign treaties, and pay a large sum of gold for peace. This time, Europe applauded the Order as it humiliated the Emperor a second time.

    Albrechtís defense of Mazovia and Hungary gained the Order much prestige and appreciation. The nation of Mazovia was particularly appreciative and eventually became one of the Orderís most trusted (but not largest) allies. Vladislavís ill considered invasion of Hungary, tolerance of the Hussites, and refusal to lift a finger against the dreadful Ottomans (or the Order) made the emperor deeply unpopular. This unpopularity combined with Bohemiaís military weakness and a growing acknowledgement of Teutonic Hegemony over North Germany resulted in only minor protests when Albrecht invaded and swiftly annexed the tiny nation of Lauenburg.


    Gameplay Notes:
    • Poland-Lithuania has completely fallen apart now. Lithuania has massive unrest and collapses into the UkraineÖ which later collapses into Lithuania. Eventually a smaller Ukraine and Lithuania emerge.
    • The OE has won a LOT of wars against the Italians and Spanish. Byzantium was conquered by Venice before they could get to them though
    • I have a high WE and infamy right now (~18) manpower is still OK, the max is about 25,000



    1425: A Quick Overview of the Order

    Twenty-five years had passed since the council of 1399, and the Orderís size, power, wealth, and prestige had all increased dramatically. The provinces of Riga, Stade, Bremen, Altmark, Luneburg, Anhalt, Poznan, Kalisz, Plock, and Lauenburg had been added to the Ordenstadt, while the Hansa, Meinster, Brunswick, ThŁringen, and Pskov all swore fealty to the Order. Diplomatically the Order was allied with Silesia, Brandenburg, Novgorod and Mazovia, and generally had good relations with the European powers outside of Germany. The Order boasted an army of about 27,000 men (nine cohorts), a large navy of roughly 20 carracks and 14 cogs, and some of the best generals in the world. Financially the Order was one of the richest nations of the world; on par with giants such as France or Castile. However, the Order was still technologically backwards when compared to the rest of Europe, but a strong focus on land and government technology kept the Orderís armies competitive. The Ordenstadt had become one of the ďgreat powersĒ of Europe.


    The Gathering Storm


    A portrait of Albrecht I commissioned during the quiet year of 1426


    Germany was quiet for several years following the war with Bohemia. The Orderís people were weary from years of near constant war, and Albrecht wanted time to give his diplomats time to repair the Ordenstadtís reputation abroad and to suppress the rebellious provinces he had conquered from the Poles. The next few years were peaceful for the Order, and in this period of rest the Duke of Brunswick was peaceably convinced to join the Order and allow his nation to be annexed. Years passed, but Albrechtís ambitions only grew as he saw the power of his realm. By December 1427 Albrecht felt that the Order was ready for war.

    What followed would be remembered as one of the greatest diplomatic blunders in the Orderís history. Albrecht demanded the vassalization of the small nation of Munster, and declared war when the duke refused. Unfortunately Munster was guaranteed by Brandenburg who, realizing that they were in the path of future Teutonic expansion, sided with Munster. Bohemia, eager for a re-match declared war on the Order, and through a recent alliance with the Hapsburgs brought in the mighty Austrians as well. The final straw was when Novgorod dishonored their alliance with the Order, leaving Albrecht alone against two of the greatest powers in the empire.


    Authorís Note:
    Dang Albrecht is LONG! Iíll be moving over the weekend so donít expect much for a few daysÖ but when I return Iíll have the epic showdown with the Austrian alliance!!!
    Follow the Teutonic Order's quest to unite Germany in The Iron Cross Triumphant my ongoing histoyrbook AAR!

    WritAAR of the week 1/22/12!

  18. #18
    The Article Beggar Derahan's Avatar
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    nice! i really like this AAR keep it up!

  19. #19
    It looks like you annexed Lauenburg twice, what happened?

  20. #20
    Second Lieutenant arosenberger14's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ramidel View Post
    It looks like you annexed Lauenburg twice, what happened?
    I think you're mistaking Lauenburg with Luneburg... Though all the german minors are a pain to keep track of especially without screenshots.
    Follow the Teutonic Order's quest to unite Germany in The Iron Cross Triumphant my ongoing histoyrbook AAR!

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