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Thread: A Dynastic Obsession: the One Hundred and Twenty Year War

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    A Dynastic Obsession: the One Hundred and Twenty Year War

    A Dynastic Obsession




    The One Hundred and Twenty Year War



    Contents:
    Act 1: One Hundred Years of War
    Act 2: The War of 1573-1580
    Act 3: The Final War


    This is to be a short AAR, sparked by discussing the war in a thread appealing for help in fighting it, of a prolonged series of wars between my Kingdom of England, later Great Britain, and Burgundy. It is being played on DW5.1.
    Last edited by enigmamcmxc; 19-02-2012 at 06:27.

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    Act 1: One Hundred Years of War

    For centuries the Kingdom of England had fought with the Kingdom of France over the control of the Duchy of Normandy, the ancient homeland of the Lancaster Dynasty. For 70 years the House of Lancaster waged war after war with France, throughout the 15th Century, with that goal in mind. In the end, under the reign of Philip I, in the 1460s the Duchy of Normandy was secured. Rather than being under direct English rule, the duchy was re-established as independent kingdom. When Philip passed in 1469, his son, Edward IV, ascended to the throne. Unlike his predecessors Edward saw no point in waging further wars with the now severely weakened French kingdom. He enacted a policy of fighting the growing power in Western Europe since they, not the rump French kingdom, would provide the more direct threat to England and in doing so the status quo could be retained. With that in mind king Edward fought two bloody wars with Burgundy both resulting in stalemate. Edward’s foreign policy had failed and he withdrew England into isolationism in an attempt to restore the stability of his realm and he eventually organised the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland into one: Great Britain. On the continent the vacuum of power left, by the various defeats inflicted on France and the lack of external interference, led to Burgundy overrunning the remains of the Kingdom of France, while Guyenne and Normandy took advantage to attack and annex various French vassals.

    Henry VI took his father’s ideas to heart and spent much of his 36 year reign at war attempting to bring Burgundy to her knees by establishing an independent Kingdom of Flanders. In doing so he would reduce the size and power of Britain’s European enemy. His first war was unsuccessful. However in line with Edward’s original policy Henry next went to war with Castile. The Kingdom of Castile had seized half of Brittany, various possessions in northern Europe, Crete, and much of northern Africa to name a few. Their strength rivalled Burgundy and thus war was declared as their expansion appeared to know no bounds. The navy of Castile, the largest in Europe second only to the Royal Navy, was destroyed in a quick succession of battles. Castile’s overseas territories, except those in North Africa, were captured in series of quick and largely bloodless campaigns. In the end Castile agreed to liberate Crete and most of their northern Europe territories, in return for peace. As a result of the war Castile’s power was somewhat diminished. In a surprise move Henry then started to rebuild relations with their king resulting in the signing of an alliance between the two kingdoms. Henry then turned his attention once more to Burgundy, with a powerful ally, in Castile, in tow. Much progress was made by the British armies as they overran much of northern coast of Gaul, however they were unable to carry on their initial success and a stalemate ensued with both sides unable to land the killing blow. By the 1530s Henry was within sight of establishing Flanders but no longer had the military capacity, nor the public support, to carry on the war. Burgundy was forced to accept a more limited peace treaty: re-establish the Kingdom of France.

    Following Henry’s death his son, Caesar, ascended to the throne. Caesar spent most of his reign strengthening the Royal Navy and building up Britain’s fledging empire. The first circumnavigation of the world took place during his reign, by a small British squadron. It was a golden age of peace and prosperity. During this period of peace Burgundy went from strength to strength. In a series of wars the Kingdom of France was once again overrun, Normandy was pushed back as was Guyenne. Other small territories, such as Luxembourg that had been established in return for peace in earlier wars, were retaken. Burgundy furthermore, had extended their influence across the Holy Roman Empire, securing the throne, into the Balkans and northern Europe. When colonies were established in Africa however, this provoked the wrath of Caesar. Towards the end of his reign in 1555, Caesar launched a ten year destructive war to weaken Burgundy and seize her colonies. Both goals failed. After so much fighting, that saw the capture of everything not directly linked by land to Burgundy, their king would only accept a white peace. This period of peace followed into Frederick’s reign, allowing both nations to restore their internal stability.

    For close on sixty years, the ideals of Edward IV had vanished. While his mission of keeping the status quo in Gaul, and fighting the more threatening power in Western Europe was still the official policy, there was now a dynastic obsession: to smash the power of Burgundy. It was now a matter of pride for the House of Lancaster. Frederick set out to build up the strength of the country to once again launch a war against Burgundy. Burgundy however had formed a personal union with Bohemia and had captured territories in the Balkans, on the Steppe, along the Baltic Coast, and had doubled the size of their colonial empire. They had also made vassals of many of their former minor allies. All this gave Burgundy a massive military advantage over the small British army. In the meantime, on the advice of his councillors, Frederick dispatched his personal army to seize, by force, a colony in India to gain access to the centre of trade there. In a four year war, the armies of India were smashed generally only by a fraction of the 20,000 strong Royal Army. At home Frederick considered forming a grand alliance to attack Burgundy however in the early 1570s a flood of reports documented the rapid lighting victory of Burgundy-Bohemia over the Ottoman Empire within the space of a year. A grand alliance it was declared, would only work against Britain's intentions at the moment.

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    Act 2: The War of 1573-1580


    Political map of Europe in 1573.


    Burgundy and her allies.


    During the opening days of February 1573 the Royal Navy slipped away from ports in England, the Americas, Africa, Austria, and various ones belonging to Castile. They moved into position to emplace a total blockade of Burgundy from the first day of the war, which was eventually declared on the 16th.


    The strength of the two alliances.


    On 4 March the first blow was struck against Burgundy. Marines, the American garrison, landed and seized the island of Dominica. By the end of April Burgundy’s African colonies had been occupied by the Royal Army returning from India, and on 3 May her South American colony was seized. In just two and half months Burgundy’s colonial empire had been overrun. The Royal Army was returned home, after six years abroad fighting.

    With the fleet of transport ships back in home waters, and repaired, they were next dispatched with the Army of Scotland to the Baltic. The troops were to capture Memel and Riga, the two Baltic possessions of Burgundy. It was envisioned that the objective would be completed by the end of the year due to the lack of any troops. The first landing was made in Riga but the Army of Scotland was not able to capture the city as rapidly as it was first believed. The siege dragged on through to 1574. By then, further troops had been dispatched to the Baltic. They were landed in Memel and quickly captured the city. They proceeded to advance overland– violating other countries’ sovereign territory in doing so – and assisted the Scottish army in their siege that came to an end after 208 days. The remnants of these two armies were then ferried home. In June the Burgundy fleet was lured out into the English Channel and destroyed in a single battle. During the course of the year the transport fleet was expanded and in December landed 40,000 men in Milan, an ally of our nation but who had not been called upon to fight.

    1575-76 campaign


    After a rest to replenish troop numbers, quite a few men succumbing to various diseases during the passage from England to Milan, the 40,000 men-two armies–marched for Savoy. In early March they destroyed the 5,000 strong army of that kingdom but were unable to capture the city. Against all odds the defenders of the city, held out until May. The two armies then turned south to tackle the two Burgundy territories along the Mediterranean coast. Over the next few months the two British armies laid siege to the southern Burgundy cities. In September, the soldiers, now reinforced heavily with mercenaries, engaged and destroyed a Burgundy army in the course of two battles. This marked a major milestone, it was the first time in countless wars that a sizeable Burgundy army has been engaged and actually defeated; in practically every major engagement in previous wars the British armies had been mauled. Several additional defeats were then inflicted upon Burgundy inflicting heavy losses, however by the end of the year over 25,000 enemy soldiers were heading towards this area, violating Austrian soil in doing so.



    Two battles that would go down in British history: the first time the Burgundy metropolitan army had been taken on and defeated.


    In March, the reinforced Burgundy armies were able to liberate Savoy but were checked by British forces from advancing any further. In the coming months further mercenaries were hired and two more British armies were deployed to Milan; leaving only 20,000 men–one army–defending the British Isles. Several more Burgundy armies were routed and on 4 July Savoy was once again taken. Later that day Savoy accepted a peace deal in which they renounce their treaties with Burgundy; as a reward to Milan, Savoy was made to revoke all claims on various territories held by Milan; and as defender of the faith Britain imposed the Protestant faith upon the defeated people of Savoy. On 5 October, the Mediterranean cities finally fell. The campaign was over, and a sizable mercenary force was hired to protect the territory gained and to defeat the roaming Burgundy soldiers who were active, south of the Alps, in small numbers.

    1577 Campaign


    As the previous campaign was drawing to a close, two of the armies were withdrawn and transported to the Balkan coast; part of Austria, who has been granting military access to Britain for decades. The next campaign was to be launched to capture the Burgundy Balkan territories. In early 1577 the remaining two British armies were withdraw from southern Gaul and transported to the Balkans. These two however were landed in Ottoman Greece, relations having been built up between both countries as the Ottoman Empire, before their dramatic defeat, was a possible candidate for an alliance to further our policy of defeating Burgundy. In their place, in Gaul, the largest mercenary army ever assembled by Britain had been created: close to 60,000 men.

    In March, the British troops in Austria advanced south. Burgundy countered this move by concentrating her forces and launching an attack north. As they did this, the British troops in Greece marched northwards to attack the Burgundy garrison from behind. In April their army was routed. However it would take all summer to finally destroy the garrison. Following which the various territories were taken one at a time, with the campaign ending on 4 September 1577 with the capture of the final Burgundy province.


    The main battle of the 1577 campaign


    The British troops were returned home, and a small mercenary force was raised, again, to protect the gains made. Over the next 17 months, peace essentially broke out as the soldiers were given a break from fighting to appease the growing war wariness among the population.

    1579-80 Campaign


    In early 1579 it was brought to the attention of Frederick just how weakened Burgundy had become. It became apparent they had wasted much of their strength in 1576 attempting to halt our sieges. Their paper strength, of hundreds of thousands of men, now must have lain with the Bohemian army and thus be out of reach of the Burgundy homeland. The unending blockade had resulted in a very high level of war exhaustion among Burgundy, and it then came to light that there were no soldiers based in neither the Netherlands or Flanders – home usually to tens of thousands of their men.

    Four of our five armies were deployed to the Netherlands. They quickly swatted aside the minimal resistance offered. As more Burgundy troops began to assemble to oppose our invasion, the mercenaries were ordered to advance north. On 2 May, the mercenaries sacked the Burgundy capital and kept up the advance. The regulars and the mercenaries were now edging closer and closer towards linking up. Burgundy was able to rally enough forces to halt the mercenary advance during late June. In July, the Army of Ireland, the only reserve available, was committed to the campaign but it was not enough to revitalise the northern front which had now bogged down. On 18 August, Milan was called upon to attack Burgundy. With their support, it was imagined that the British and mercenary forces would be given the time needed to rejuvenate and resume the offensive. Thus, the mercenary advance north was resumed, with a good portion of the men heading north west to take Paris. However on 29 November, Milan and Burgundy arranged a white peace and once more the fighting bogged down.


    The height of the British advance.


    The situation prior to the peace treaty.


    Over the next four months various victories were scored, but Britain now lacked the military strength to push home the advantage gained. On 20 March 1580, a deal was struck with Guyenne who then joined the war. However 11 days later they also struck a deal, like Milan, with Burgundy to halt their offensive for a white peace. The war would drag on for a further two months. In April, the mercenary advance was again halted and this time driven back. Additional Burgundy forces were assembled for a determined drive south, resulting in the mercenaries concentrating to parry it. They were just able to halt the Burgundy march on their capital, but one more battle and the mercenary force would be no more. In the north, the five armies were able to hold on to what they had gained but were unable to attack further. The high water point had been reached. If the war dragged on any further the mercenaries would be routed, and the regulars could possibly also be defeated, and the ability to dictate terms lost. Therefore, after seven years of fighting and coming to what appeared to be antagonizing close to total victory, a treaty was drawn up and Burgundy signed. Burgundy released Flanders as an independent kingdom and handed over their African colonies to Britain. The knockout blow may not have been landed, but Burgundy had been serious weakened and Henry VI’s ambition had finally been realised.
    Last edited by enigmamcmxc; 12-05-2012 at 01:56.

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    Act 3: The Final War

    A peace treaty may have been signed and a truce existing between the two kingdoms, but it was one that been begrudgingly offered to Burgundy. King Frederick felt that complete victory had been so close. Burgundy was extremely war weary and no longer the power she once was. Britain too was suffering from a degree of war exhaustion and in need to rebuild her armies. However Frederick, as soon as he returned to London following the peace deal, set about planning the next war.

    For five years relations were solidified or built from scratch with Guyenne, Normandy, Milan, Austria, and every kingdom allied to them. Relations with two of the Holy Roman electorates, that supported Burgundy, were also improved; to such an extent they withdrew their support for the Burgundy emperor and threw their weight behind Austria. However the majority of the electors retained their support for the emperor, being Burgundy’s vassals and in the case of Bohemia sharing a joint monarchy. There was now only one goal, the power of Burgundy was to be smashed for good.

    In June 1585, just one month after the truce ended, war was once again declared. The fleet as before had already moved into position. Every soldier that Britain had been able to raise had already been deployed to Zeeland and Flanders. Burgundy did not have the troops in the Netherlands or northern Gaul to face the onslaught that the British armies would produce. However it was not to be just a British onslaught, Guyenne, Normandy, Flanders, Milan, Austria and all their allies readily joined in the fight when the call went out. The strength of Burgundy’s armies had been countered by a grand alliance that now outnumbered her forces 2-1.


    The strength of the two alliances


    Burgundy soon found themselves in the position of having their homeland invaded from all sides. Austria was able to pin down the Burgundy-Bohemian forces in central Europe while capturing their Balkan territories. A quick series of victories were scored and most of the Burgundy army in Gaul destroyed. The combined allied forces set about besieging and capturing each province. As 1585 turned into 1586 the allied forces were half way on the road to victory. However Milan, Guyenne, and Normandy all quickly secured peace deals, during the course of the year, with Burgundy. They all took their little chunk out of Burgundy either via territory or payment thus further weakening the besieged kingdom.


    New Years day 1586


    The war would however drag on for a further three years. British soldiers were put in the position of having to retake provinces that Burgundy had already lost, due to these allies’ abandoning the war. Flanders, too, eventually left the war after increasing the size of their realm. Losses that had once been rather low, started to increase as the British troops recaptured the provinces abandoned by our allies. More and more mercenaries were recruited to attempt to make up for the infantry deficiency that was developing. War weariness increased and our ability to lay siege effectively, disappeared. Rebel uprising occurred across Gaul requiring further diversion of our resources. It would take until 1589 for the final holdings in Gaul to fall, although the Nice and Provence remained un-captured following Milan’s exit. By this time however the ability for our armies to function had gone. In central Europe Austria had suffered some defeats and was now locked in a stalemate.

    While Frederick wanted to wait for his armies to be rebuilt and continue the war, alongside the armies of Austria to inflict the final defeat upon Burgundy, it seemed as if the war was prolonged any further Austria’s growing problems could result in us losing out on the bargaining table. International concerns excluded, war weariness was reaching an all-time high and it appeared revolution was brewing in the American colonies; several thousand rebels had already rose up, captured several colonies and defeated the colonial marine force based there. Peace was therefore the only option to take before the British Empire pulled itself apart attempting to support this victory.


    Political map of western Europe following the peace of 1589


    Peace was thus called for. The Kingdom of France was once again established and the power of Burgundy had been severely diminished. Critics would point out later, that the fixation with Burgundy had allowed Guyenne to start to form a colonial empire without being contested. Guyenne had even colonised parts of the southern coast of North America, an area within our colonial sphere of influence. Castile had also been uncontested, being allowed to grow without challenge in Africa and the Americas. It would seem that the fight with Burgundy has only postponed the fight that is sure to break out between Guyenne and Castile.

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