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Thread: De Hautevilles- Can Anyone Stop the Norman Invasion?

  1. #141
    General morningSIDEr's Avatar
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    Bohemond is proving himself a most wise and astute ruler. Not only has he achieved a thumping victory over the HRE, he's also showing an admirable concern for the peasants, as shown by his leaving cash to them after trampling their fields at Treviso and his dealing with the brigands in Padua. Rather worrying though that the Pope seems to think Jerusalem need be rescued!
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  2. #142
    Field Marshal hjarg's Avatar
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    Interlude - The Crusade

    Bohemond clenched his fist, trying to contain anger. He looked at Bartol I, King of Croatia, who was sitting opposite of him.

    “What if I punched him?” he thought. That would surely lead to war or something, but Croatia would be no opposition to Bohemond. Yet, the man was so stupidly stubborn, knowing well that Bohemond could do nothing he would like- no punching, no invasions. Europe would look very badly on Bohemond when he would kick fellow Crusader King into groin.

    Even a bit younger then Bohemond, Bartol was arrogant- and a coward. He was resisting now, knowing full well that Bohemond could do nothing about it. He’d even burn and pillage few Sicilian Muslim villages, just to show him. Later, he would claim that that was an accident, he thought he was over the border and this was an honest mistake. He would even agree to pay amends, and then find excuses why he hasn’t paid up yet.

    But now, Bartol was enjoying the moment. He grinned at Bohemond’s face and said with deep voice: “I’m sure Croatians are well enough fighters to manage without Norman advices. We will go to siege Negev, and there would be no chance for us to join his forces.”


    Bohemond, Bartol and emissary of Pope enjoying dinner

    He rose, made a brief bow and left the room, his entourage following him hastily. Bohemond grinded his teeth, but as told before, there would be nothing he can do. Each lord was independent on his actions and even Pope could not force them into listening orders, suggestions, sensible ideas or anything else.

    Negev, Bohemond sighed. Negev was also a passing point for caravans travelling from Baghdad to Cairo. Even though the civil war meant that the caravans were few in number and heavily defended, if one could loot just few, they would be rich.

    At least Barthol bothered to pay a visit to the King of Jerusalem, he continued his thought. Domnall, King of Ireland, had just sent a polite letter basically telling that hell no, i’ve got to loot and plunder, no time for pleasantries. The Dukes entering the war were bit more polite, but also, headed straight to battle, without consulting with the current King of Jerusalem.

    Bohemod felt the gazes of his court and advisors upon him. It was clear to him and everyone else that the possibility of uniting Christian under one banner or even trying to at least act under one plan had failed utterly. Now, it was time to act.

    Bohemond raised his voice, and said just one sentence: “Let’s teach these bastards how Normans fight heathens.”

    All cheered. The next day, Normans marched into enemy territory.
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  3. #143
    Field Marshal hjarg's Avatar
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    Ehh, real life messing with my writing Anyway, proper Crusade update this weekend

    morningSIDEr- as i told, give the lad some time. Bohemond is slowly shaping up
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  4. #144
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    Quote Originally Posted by hjarg View Post
    Bohemond raised his voice, and said just one sentence: “Let’s teach these bastards how Normans fight heathens.”

    All cheered. The next day, Normans marched into enemy territory.
    Quite right too! Shocking that the Pope even called for this Crusade, hopefully the Normans are able to gain the most from it rather than the lands fall to a rival Christian nation.
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  5. #145
    If the crusade is aiming for a kingdom whose title is hold by a Catholic ruler, by experience, the gains will go to the holder, even if someone have a better participation score in the crusade. (and even if the holder don't participate at all!)
    (I hope i'm understanble, sorry for my english ^^')

  6. #146
    Field Marshal hjarg's Avatar
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    Crusade for Jerusalem 1169-1172. Part 1

    The beginning


    Kingdom of Jerusalem consisted of 4 Duchies. First and foremost, Jerusalem itself, the pearl of Holy Land. Norman since 1157, for about 12 years. Then, there is Dukedom of Galilee, first target of the Normans. Conquered by Asclettin the Great in 1145, being bridgehead of Europe and the target of the First Crusade. Then there is Ascalon, latest of the Norman conquest and the first successful war of Bohemond III, ended in 1165, just 4 years ago. For over 2 decades, Normans had been spilling their blood in the name of the Holy Land. They have not taken only the last Duchy, the Duchy of Oultrejordain. Not as much because the Duchy was hard to take, but because it offered no value. Poor provinces, desert, not much strategic value. And then the Pope had audacity to call for a Crusade for the Holy Lands! No matter though- Bohemond would show other European rules how to fight.


    Dukedoms of Jerusalem. Picture taken at a bit later date.

    By June 1169, most of Bohemond’s personal troops had arrived in Holy Lands. Rest of Sicily was following close behind. Papal and Croatian troops were moving toward Negev, and they fought the first battle of the war there, beating small Caliphate forces in the province. There, they laid siege on the province. Normans on the other hand split into two. 12 000 under command of Bohemond himself marched to Kerak while smaller army of other Sicilians marched to Madaba.

    The main main enemy in Oultrejordain is not the bravery of soldiers or the might of fortresses. The main enemy is the land itself. Desert, few oasis, no shade from the scorching sun. Lack of water and lack of food made the troops suffer, their armour did not offer as much protection, but was more like frying pan, the heat was unbearable for even Normans who have had over 100 years to get used to southern climate.

    Kerak fell in October 1169 and Normans marched on to Monreal. Meanwhile, smaller army had made progress in Madana, capturing one holding there. Indeed, Normans showed the world how to fight- by December, three of four provinces had been taken by Normans. But the losses were almost unbearable- the cruel desert had claimed more then half of Normans lives. Still, Bohemond had saw, came and conquered, making him the topmost Crusader and showing that Jerusalem is his and he will defend it. Meanwhile, other Crusaders were either aimlessly marching around in Holy Land (and occasionally marching right into province Bohemond was sieging, making the supply situation even worse) or sitting in Negev, trying to siege the province. But armies of the Caliph were marching in...

    Battle of Negev, January 1170

    The battle wasn’t that big. There was about 5000 Muslims and 4000 Christians. The odds were still not in Christian favor. Though Bohemond detested the troops for not being under his command and actually wished they would be dead, he decided to help out. The siege had been going on for about half a year and there would be hope that the castle would fall soon. So, Normans marched to Negev in order to reinforce the Christians there.

    Just in time too- Muslim forces were already in the process of encircling the Christians and the battle was well lost when Bohemond’s cavalry crashed their rearguard, blew them aside and attacked the main force. Followed by infantry that poured into gaps in Muslim defences, a melee begun and soon a certain Muslim victory was turned into total defeat. Other Christians who had been prepared to die were in shock from Norman assault and it took them awhile to gather their bearings. Only then did they charge on their own and the Muslim forces were crushed between anvil and hammer. Just a few survived and the battle was won.


    The Battle of Negev


    And the result of the battle

    To Bohemond’s great surprise, Bartol I was crowned as the victor of the battle. Despite some bad tactical choices of the King that had lead to encirclement and the fact that it was the Normans who won the day and beat the enemy, the Pope refused to acknowledge Normans as the rightful winners of the day.

    Even worse- the defenders of Negev saw the battle from the castle. There was still enough Christians guarding it so they couldn’t join the battle, but they saw the Muslim relief force arriving, slowly pushing Christians back and finally going for a total victory. They cheered on their walls, for the siege had been going on for a bit over half a year and they were starving, thirsty and tired. Looked like it was going to end soon. They were also the first ones to see the dust clouds on the horizon, coming from direction of Monreale. And they were the first to see that the ones arriving were the Normans. They watched from their ramparts, helpless, and Bohemond and his soldiers massacred the relief army.

    Imagine what that sight did to the morale of the defenders... Bohemond, still covered in blood of the heathens, noticed that too. He eyed the castle, saw the formidable defences. Still, it was nothing special, for he and his men had assaulted worse ones. Plus, the demoralized and exhausted garrison would not be able to put up a tough fight. He turned towards Bartol, King of Croatia and said: “Assault?”

    It was Bartol’s time to eye the fortress. He had done much of that during the half a year and saw the impenetrable defenses. High walls, towers above them, moat, portcullis, kill zones, all meant to slaughter him and his men. He did not see beyond walls, did not see men who were starving and who just witnessed their relief army massacred. He did not see the cracks in walls, did not see the perfect place to put siege ladders. He just saw walls with men with nasty bows and deadly arrows on top. He shrugged.

    “As the leader of this siege,“ Bartol declared, “I see no need to risk the lives of my men on a castle that is already ready to surrender.”

    Other Christian leaders looked at the castle, shuddered and nodded. It was obvious that there would be no glorious assault, so Bohemond left. Norman troops were loudly mocking the cowardly Christians as the Norman army marched North. It took Negev for about a half a year to surrender. It happened in late June 1170.


    A bit after the battle of Negev- Bohemond resting in Jerusalem (and that 4000 soldiers is all that is left from 12 000), but most of the Crusade targets safely in Norman hands.

    The Pope Loves to Siege!

    Normans with their quick assaults took most of the Crusade targets, leaving only Negev, a 1 holding county, to other Crusaders. Since the lands of Oultrejordain and neighbouring Syria were not the most hospitable, then Bohemond’s plan would be to wait out, defending the current holdings and not to risk an invasion into these inhospitable lands.

    Pope disagreed. To him, any day away from the front lines was a travesty, a sign of person not being true Christian. He had declared before that the Kingdom would go to the ruler who did the most in this war, and to him Bohemond’s quick and efficient sieges did not matter that much. Instead, he should have waited for month outside the walls, for sieges make the war score go up.

    At the moment, Sicily was leading, but Croatia was coming close, for the siege of Negev still continued and Pope confused incompetence and cowardice with competence. To make it simple- to win this war, Bohemond had no choice but to move his armies to the east, into territory of Syria. He did not like it, for the war would be won without invasions there, but he was forced to do that. So, he moved his armies east. Bigger one to Maan, smaller one to Irbid and instead of assaulting, started the sieges as a proper Christian should do.

    The tactic was meant that the advance was slow and sieges took the toll out of both armies, until there was together a bit over 10 000 Normans in the Holy Lands. But the Pope approved and the position of Bohemond was clearly on a top as a winner of the Crusade. But the troops he had had became so low on numbers that he hired mercenaries to fight with him.

    Time moved on, sieges slowly advanced, year passed. Seeing the success of the Crusade, even more European rulers joined, including the Holy Roman Emperor. By the way, a new one, called Otto IV and first Emperor from Nordheim family. The Salian rule was over. But the war still continued.

    Battle of Irbid, June 1171

    It was actually a small battle. 4000 Normans versus 5000 Caliphate soldiers. The siege had been going on for over a year and Normans just got careless and lazy. They had lost over 1000 men to small skirmishes, hunger, diseases and all other things that make long sieges bad. Plus, they had left their guard down, so the Muslim army did surprise them before they could retreat.

    Normans abandoned the siege and met the enemy in the field of battle, but the sheer number of fresh Muslims against exhausted and bored Normans meant that the battle could only end up in one way. Soon, the lines of Normans were broken and instead of more or less disciplined soldiers, the Normans became a panicked mass that fled for their lives. Over 1/4th of the Norman army was obliterated that day and rest fled back to the Norman holdings in Holy Land.


    Now there is a screen Normans have never ever before seen.

    The importance of the battle was that it was the first battle ever lost by Normans. The legend of them being invincible, ferocious warriors was broken that day. Of course, that was just a legend, showing that Norman rulers always knew how to pick their battles. Bohemond and Normans, being forced to fight with a slow style that was not to their liking just to keep the Pope happy was probably the main reason for that defeat.

    But the Crusades continued, despite the defeat. More soldiers arrived from Europe every day and the battles went on...
    Last edited by hjarg; 30-05-2012 at 21:40.
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  7. #147
    Field Marshal hjarg's Avatar
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    Here we go, one Crusade. And the weather outside is making writing hard- mosquitoes on the other hand make it easier!

    morningSIDEr- yes, that was quite silly of the Pope. Even worse- if any other won, what would he do with 4 landlocked provinces in a hostile land? These lands must be Norman!
    Ticket Cookie - really? I was too afraid to find out. If that were the case, this war would have been much less painful.
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  8. #148
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    Glad to see this AAR back!
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  9. #149
    Quote Originally Posted by hjarg View Post
    Ticket Cookie - really? I was too afraid to find out. If that were the case, this war would have been much less painful.
    In my game as a succesful Latin Empire (I even usurp Byzantine Emperor Title ), I have participate in a crusade for the Kingdom of Jerusalem and won it, and the gains go to the de Lusignan King of Cyprus and de jure of Jerusalem. He was not participating and just hold the county of Acre and Beyrouth before the crusade, but gain all the land at the end!

    I really love your AAR, btw!

  10. #150
    Field Marshal hjarg's Avatar
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    Crusade for Jerusalem, 1169-1172, part 2- The Seljuks

    The Situation in Caliphate

    The situation of Caliphate by October 1171 was disastrous. Weakened by infighting, the Caliphate could not offer enough resistance to Crusaders. Even worse, the only connecting link between Africa and Asia, Sinai, was rebelling. For a Caliph, it meant that troops from Africa would have hard time passing the rebellious and hostile peninsula, leaving even less soldiers to fight the Christians.

    The war with Christians had been going on for two years, plus several smaller wars amongst vassals and some wars of independence as well. To be honest, Caliphate had a precious few peaceful moments from the time Asclettin invaded Galilee back in 1140-ies, and the situation was going worse. In hindsight, perhaps the Crusaders weren’t even the biggest threat, for they were only after Outlejordain, quite worthless Duchy and Caliph should have abandoned the Duchy and dealt with inner troubles before- like behead rebellious Sheiks, revoke their titles and sell their sons and daughters to slavery. Then, when the realm is strong and united Danismend could try to take the Holy Land back to himself. Alas, Caliph didn’t think of it that way. Instead, he was becoming desperate.

    Seljuk Intervention

    Seljuks Turks are for the Eastern Muslims what Shia Caliphate was to the western- a superpower. Though their attempts to conquer Anatolia have not been successful thus far, they control Baghdad and most of the lands in the East. Their power was about the same as Caliphate, but with the collapse of that Empire, they are the most powerful nation in the East and in the Muslim world. Current Caliph Danismend I is a grandson of their ruler, Sultan Arslan II Shah. Former Caliph got beaten when Arslan waged war to put Danismend on a throne and now, Danismend had been a Caliph for almost 4 years. Not the most successful years, for the realm was more splintered and weaker then ever before. But Danismend was still a grandchild of Arslan II- and even more importantly, grandson of his first-born son.


    Army of Seljuk Turks

    Danismend I was a proud man. It is never easy being Sunni ruler amongst Shia subjects, it is never easy to be the lone Turkish ruler amongst Egyptian subjects. That means that your loyal vassals hate your guts and are not as loyal anymore. But Danismend was proud- that meant that he would not ask help from his grandfather, Sultan Arslan. Instead, he tried to manage his problems and kick his not-so-loyal vassals on his own. Until the Christians from all over Europe came and swarmed the Holy Land and neighbouring provinces. Danismend suffered for another 2 years, trying to cope. But then, he felt like there is nothing much else he can do- he asked his grandfather to help. Sultan Arslan II Shah of Seljuk Turks happily agreed and joined the war. To kick the Christians out to the sea, as he arrogantly claimed.

    So, in October 1171, Arslan II joined the war against Christian crusaders. Slowly, huge Seljuk armies begun to cross the border and move westwards, to deal with Christians and to help grandson of Sultan to keep his throne and his honour. The life of Crusaders just got a lot harder.
    Last edited by hjarg; 30-05-2012 at 21:40.
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  11. #151
    Field Marshal hjarg's Avatar
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    Just a short one this time. More on the week-end. I hope

    Nikephorus16- it was never gone, just my writing speed is slowed by the sun
    Ticket Cookie - ahh, dammit then. But on the other hands, i'm pretty sure European morons would not have won a successful crusade and i would have had to fight it again. Plus, managing a realm is much easier when everyone pats on each-other back, saying "Hello, fellow Crusader, so glad you're heare, have a cookie and +30 relations" And thanks, glad you like it!
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  12. #152
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    Been following this a while, the Hautevilles are by far my fav dynasty to play as. Hope you keep this up!

  13. #153
    Field Marshal hjarg's Avatar
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    Crusade for Jerusalem, Part 3. The End.

    Bohemond III looked down his troops. Tired, ragged, burnt under the ruthless sun. They were still the best Europe had to offer. Battle-hardened, strong, resilient, knew their way with a sword and a pike. But there was so damn few of them left. Desert, battles, thirst, starvation and to some extent, desertion, had taken their toll. Just about 8000 soldiers were left of 20 000 that arrived to the Holy Land 2,5 years ago. Both armies were united, for there weren’t enough troops to fill both armies.

    That day in October 1171 was a joyous one though. The Templars had arrived, boosting the strength of Sicilian forces back to a bit over 16 000.

    Not a moment too soon too. In Beersheb, 4000 Caliphate soldiers were attacking forces of Duke of Brabant, who were about the similar size. Normans started a quick march to the province, relieving the Duke and succeeding in massacring every single Muslim that were in the battle.


    One battle easily won

    Battle of Sela, January 1172

    The more dangerous situation was in Monreale, one of the newly-occupied provinces. Force of Syria, for some reason fighting independently from the Caliph, and with the strength of nearly 9000 soldiers, beat the forces of Flanders, killed most of the soldiers and took the rest captive, to be sold into slavery. Then, they started the siege of Sela.

    Sicilian forces were on a quick march again, losing man to exhaustion and starvation on the way. And in January, they reached the enemy. Flags flying under the desert sun, they set up their lines and charged. Enemy was caught in a nice, flat terrain that was a wet dream for most of the knights- and with the addition of Templars, there were over 2000 of them.

    The charge of the heavy knights is a terrible sight. The hooves of their heavy horses make the ground shake, the sound that two thousand galloping horses do is deafening. They turn up a huge dust cloud, so you can see nothing- until they are next to you. And the sight of heavy knights emerging from the dust, their pikes held forward, is a sight that makes your pants wet and your heart sink and your feet try to move yourself from away from these scary men with sharp sticks. So did the feets of Arabs- they just turned and run. A very stupid thing to do, for exposing your uncovered back to the sharp pike is a stupid thing, but in some occasions, instinct just takes over.

    Knights teared into the panicked mass, started to cut it apart and infantry stormed after them. Soon, the field was covered with corpses and the enemy fled.

    The army followed the survivors to Maan, another desert province, and beat them there. Then, for the province was way too small, desert and sunny for the whole army to survive, the army was split into two- one part to continue the siege there and second one to Petra. The best example to show the conditions in the Palestine is this- the combined force of 2 armies was 9000 men, all that was left from 16 000 that begun the assault half a year ago.


    The battle and lots of Europeans running about

    Battle of Maan, July 1172

    The main force of Normans, lead by Bohemond himself, was besieging the fortress in Maan. It was early in June when reports came in about the Seljuks approaching. And not just a small force, but an army over 20 000 soldiers. Of course, they learned as well that the lands of Syria are not fit for a huge army to march across, but the sheer size of Seljuks was still overwhelming, so Bohemond ordered his troops to begin with a full retreat. They were not alone in the poor province though.

    It was the Irish, led by King Domnall himself, who stumbled upon the province. In case you remember, they were the ones who insulted Bohemond by not even showing up in Jerusalem, but ended looting and pillaging villages belonging to Bohemond and his vassals. Now, they were in dire straights, for a huge Muslim army was approaching.

    Revenge is sweet- it was Bohemond’s time to ignore King of Ireland, like he did ignore King of Jerusalem. Irish weren’t as good in navigating the southern lands as Normans were and their speed was much slower- for they were running as well. Not fast enough though.

    Bohemond was doing organized retreat, holding small skirmishes with the vanguard of Seljuks, slowing down their approach. He intended to get as much of his troops as possible to safety and he felt no obligation to fight for the Irish.

    By the end of July, Bohemond was almost out of the province, but Irish decided that they had no choice but to stay and fight. And they fought, bravely. Still, there is not much 3000 Irish can do to total 18 000 Seljuks. The battle was lost and Seljuks were marching towards captured provinces in Outlejordain. The future seemed gloomy...


    The Sicilians runn.. khm, strategically retreating to Petra while the Irish are slaughte... khm... given a chance for a glory in battle

    End of the War.

    In the end, it was Bohemond who finally won the war. What was left of his army joined the other force in siege of Petra and they assaulted in desperation. Over and over again until the province fell. That was the nail in Caliph’s coffin. Despite the numerous Seljuks coming to his rescue, the Caliph felt that there is no hope anymore, so he gave up.

    In 9th October 1172, Caliph surrendered Oultejordain to the Pope, who in turn gave it to the rightful owner- King Bohemond III of Sicily. Thus ended the bloodiest war Sicily ever fought, with estimated casualties between 30 000 - 40 000 men. On the other hand, all of Kingdom of Jerusalem was safely under Sicilian control. Chancellor of Sicily, Fraunk de Hauteville, was given the new lands and a title of Duke of Oultrejordain.


    And one more success for Bohemond III
    My latest AARs

    Portugal- an Empire Under the Sun: Questing for the new world and taking the old world.

    de Hautevilles- Can Anyone Stop the Norman Invasion?: A tale of Normans in Southern Italy. Completed!

  14. #154
    Field Marshal hjarg's Avatar
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    Hopefully, you start seeing Bohemond as a good ruler now- not just a mere shadow of Asclettin!
    And on a side note- Crusades are good for the realm. Everyone is now patting each other back, saying "hello, fellow Crusader" and that makes management of the realm a bit easier! Plus, the relations with rest of Europe have improved a lot too.

    Beric Dondarion- yea, de Hautevilles are my favourites as well. Glad you like the AAR!
    My latest AARs

    Portugal- an Empire Under the Sun: Questing for the new world and taking the old world.

    de Hautevilles- Can Anyone Stop the Norman Invasion?: A tale of Normans in Southern Italy. Completed!

  15. #155
    Basileus Romaion Nikolai's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hjarg View Post
    Hopefully, you start seeing Bohemond as a good ruler now- not just a mere shadow of Asclettin!
    And on a side note- Crusades are good for the realm. Everyone is now patting each other back, saying "hello, fellow Crusader" and that makes management of the realm a bit easier! Plus, the relations with rest of Europe have improved a lot too.

    Beric Dondarion- yea, de Hautevilles are my favourites as well. Glad you like the AAR!
    Yeah, the bonuses to relations are a huge boon. Praise Jesus for granting Bohemond the victory!
    Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. -Isa 41:10

    For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. -John 3:16
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  16. #156
    great AAR. any updates still to be expected?

    i AM wondering how you became so succesfull so fast though. how in hecks name did you get so much money before creating doges? i barely get enough to pay for maybe a small merc band that early in the game. the only thing i could think of is a combination of a rather enourmous stawrdship bonus combined with harsh taxes for cities AND free investure.

  17. #157
    Field Marshal hjarg's Avatar
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    War with Holy Roman Empire and Other Stuff

    The Castles


    It was in November 1174, when the last stone was put in place and the portcullis in Misilmeri completed. The four castles of Palermo, Monreale, Grattieri, Mistretta and Milsilmeri were finally complete. The strood proudly in countryside, each surrounded by sprawling city, each collecting huge taxes and together, they were able to put over 10 000 men in the field. The castles were the foundation of Norman’s power and an awe to the whole world. Even though there were bigger provinces then Palermo, none of them were as advanced and under command of the single ruler. Well, single ruler and Bishop of Cefalu. Rest of the holdings in two provinces, Sicily and Calabria, were slowly built up to become similar.


    The Four Castles of Palermo

    Besides the 4 castles, Bohemond III found another city in Trapani and built yet another castle in Girgenti, keeping both of them as his personal fief and thus, increasing the total holdings of King of Sicily to 14. Income of Sicily is over 70 gold per month.

    War for Treviso, 1175- 1176

    Treviso was de jure part of Duchy of Verona. The rest of the Duchy had been conquered by Bohemond back in 1169, just five years ago. But due to some usual infighting, the Country of Treviso had been a direct vassal of the Emperor, so they were left in Holy Roman hands. When the new Emperor Otto IV took the throne, all the peace treaties were null and void and Bohemond was free to wage yet another war on Germans.

    Speaking of Otto IV, he was the first ruler of the Nordheim dynasty. Salians were finally forced out from being Emperors and had to contend in being just Dukes. Nordheim dynasty had their holdings mostly in the northern part of Germany, so the hopes were that Italy was perhaps a bit more to the south to their interest and reaction times even slower. Making the time it would take to gather all Germans that feel like a summer war in Italy- you know, sun, warm sea, fresh loot, march them south and be utterly defeated by Sicilians even longer.

    So, in March 1175, war was declared. 17 000 Sicilians from Bohemond’s personal demesne boarded the fleet and on the last day of March, they arrived, beating the meager German garrison there. By 9th April, the province was Sicilian and all the 3 holdings were taken so quickly that garrison didn’t even understand what was going on.

    In June 1175, African troops were mobilized. While Sicily’s main troops were moving around eastern parts of Italy, they landed in the western part, took County of Lucca in the usual Norman fighting style- quick assaults on puny European fortresses. By August, Lucca was under control of the Sicilian forces and African troops took the ships, beat around 2000 Germans marching through Genoa and moved north.

    Meanwhile, Sicilian main forces sailed to Capua, where small unit of 3000 Germans were trying to march into Sicilian lands, beat them in July, boarded ships again and landed in Ravenna. The small German detachment of 1500 soldiers was soundly massacred and Ravenna fell to Sicilian forces in August. Ferrara fell in September, Modena in October. African armies took Monferrano and Saluzzo. The war had taken a bit less then a year, but Normans had made huge progress, controlling both their target and huge tracts of land in Italy.


    Situation in Summer- Sicilians ruling East and West

    Only in the beginning of the new year, Germans finally reacted. By January 1176, 6000 soldiers were besieging Capua and two larger armies, fresh across the Alps, were besieging Verona and Treviso. Treviso, freshly conquered and not yet as properly defended and garrisoned, was about to fall.


    Situation in the New Year- Germans finally moving their lazy asses across the Alps

    Showing off their superior mobility, fleet had picked up African armies from Genoa, sailed them quickly to join the Bohemond’s main army and before 11 000 Germans knew what was going on, they were being assaulted by 23 000 Sicilians, the biggest army Normans had ever put into the field. Battle of Bassano took place in 18th February 1176. Only 1500 Germans managed to flee and one of their invasion armies was soundly defeated.


    ... and soon, the survivors will run back across the Alps

    Normans prepared to march to Verona, where they would defeat the second army, but Kaiser Otto IV decided that the fight was lost. In 27th February, he finally gave up and recognized Bohemond III as the rightful ruler of Treviso. It was the third war against Holy Roman Empire and Sicily had won every single one of them.

    This was war as Normans liked it- quick, brutal and bloody. They played the aggressive game, gave Germans barely no time to react before they swarmed half of Italy and by the time German forced marched south, the war was already lost.

    Faramond’s plot

    Faramond I de Hauteville, Duke of Ascalon, was a truly ungrateful fellow. It was a bit more then 10 years ago when he was just another courtier in Palermo, but then, Bohemond III blessed him and granted him the Duchy of Ascalon, freshly conquered Dukedom. From... well, not rags, rather from well-tailored linen cloth to riches, silk and jewelry. Still, from nobody to one of the important men of the Kingdom- and it was too little for him.

    Soon after the war was over, reports started to pour that Faramond is not behaving like a good Duke should, but instead seems to be plotting something. Some bribes and some torture revealed the truth quite soon- he was planning to make himself as a King of Jerusalem, cut all ties with Sicily and rule the Holy Land on his own.

    Bohemond brought him back to Palermo. In chains. In a sense, Faramond was back where he started- in court of Palermo. But he could see the other courtiers moving about only from behind bars in his cellar cell. Bohemond swore that the treacherous Duke will rot in there until he dies.


    Sad tale of Faramond: from linen cloth to riches to rags and healthy died of bread and water.

    More News from the Caliphate

    This time, it was the Sultanate of Syria, Caliph’s second most powerful vassal (first being Egypt, of course), who raised his flags in rebellion. Things were not going well for poor Caliph.
    Last edited by hjarg; 07-06-2012 at 18:41.
    My latest AARs

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    de Hautevilles- Can Anyone Stop the Norman Invasion?: A tale of Normans in Southern Italy. Completed!

  18. #158
    Field Marshal hjarg's Avatar
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    Still alive! In case someone wondered. And Bohemond is still kicking ass!

    Nikolai- aye, Jesus is kind
    grumphie - as you can see, still kicking! As for money- i've set my steward to collect taxes, Sicilian provinces are rich by default, i've focused on money-making buildings and have quite a large demesne- basically, without doges, i get about 50 gold per month income. Rich cities of Sicily + tons of castles = lot of money. Add Palermo, where 4 castles and the city are under my control and steward with 20+ skills collecting taxes- no wonder the money is plentiful!
    My latest AARs

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  19. #159
    well, i get how to make money when youre all set. its the initial part where my problems are. before i make doges i have barely enough taxes to upgrade ONE province non stop, let alone multiple, and impossibly while also fighting wars. and that was with all of iberia worth of taxes before i knew of the worth of doges.

  20. #160
    Field Marshal hjarg's Avatar
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    First, don't forget, i'm about 120 years into game and believe me, i was struggling in the beginning as well. Nasty 2 golds per month as Duke of Apulia... ouch! And even now i need more-more-more-more money!

    Simple: they key to loads of cash was Palermo. I conquered it quite early, converted them also quite early. The province has 6 slots, 4 of them filled- 2 castles, 1 city (that i foolishly gave away first, but i think it was Bohemond who took it back), 1 bishop and all economy techs at level 2. Plus, Muslims were nice enough to improve the city a little- so they already had first gold-making buildings. The same applies to the other Sicilian provinces as well- rich, already something built, +20% farming and +20% trade practices bonus. Even when the culture malus, they made more then original Apulian provinces.

    Point 2- rich cities. All nice personal vassals of King of Sicily. All over the island- adding their little bit to the coffers.

    So, basically, i had 2 castles and 1 city in Palermo. Since the economy techs of Sicily are so advanced, wasting a steward to improve them is waste of good money. So, steward to improve income. As a small bonus, good steward manages to get event that gives you year's worth of taxes every 3-5 years and in the beginning, fighting Holy Wars granted me few events where Pope gives you 200 gold. All that went back into building new castles and improving existing ones.

    Steward is important for another reason as well: Palermo has 6 slots. 5 of them controlled by me. When i sent him to collect taxes in Palermo, the following results: steward gives an income bonus to every! holding in that province. So, let's take the current situation- i have 5 of them. Steward gives them all a bonus, adding... well, say about 100 gold per month. In addition, rulers of Sicily have always had good stewardship, married girls with better stewardship and occasionally killed them off, married another girl with good stewardship and collected the marriage taxes again.

    But basically- concentrating in one province, backed up by steward, all holdings yours. Making that rich and using surplus to make other provinces rich and using that money to build military buildings in the same province (and btw, marshal bonus of extra troops applies to all 5 holdings as well). Hope it made some sense!
    My latest AARs

    Portugal- an Empire Under the Sun: Questing for the new world and taking the old world.

    de Hautevilles- Can Anyone Stop the Norman Invasion?: A tale of Normans in Southern Italy. Completed!

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