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Thread: Lords of France: Roads to the Enlightenment

  1. #1
    Comte de Purchase Merrick Chance''s Avatar
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    Lords of France: Roads to the Enlightenment



    France from 1453 to 1814 gives us a strange image: while she rose to the rank of Great Power and remained suzerain throughout this period, her power was undercut by massive institutional in-competencies. While France produced the phrase "L'etat: C'est Moi" and the concept of the absolutist monarchy, this absolute monarchy was moderated by a several corporate groups which dominated French governance. The Aristocracy, the Army, the Church, and the Burghers all vied for power throughout this era, with the Aristocracy winning out most of the time.

    Institutional capture, a concept familiar to contemporary readers, occurs when a government agency becomes 'captured' by the interest of corporate groups. This concept will greatly help the reader understand the dilemmas and solutions that the French government came across through the early modern period. Even in the home of absolutism, the king rarely had much room for independent action, as policies were generally implemented by aristocrats. This is not to say that the actions of the French King were consistently high minded. The concepts of liberty, democracy, or even utilitarianism had not been developed yet, the concept that policy may bring about economic development would not come about until the Industrial Era. So actions which expanded the strength of the state were generally done for just that: to expand the strength of the state, and to increase the power of the King.

    The one major goal of the French government through the early modern era was to remain suzerain through military might. France consistently endeavored to retain one of the largest armies in Western Europe. This goal frequently threatened the French state with bankruptcy. And who fought these wars, paid for the massive army? The Burgers. Locked out of governance for centuries, it is little question why the rage of the urban poor ended up tearing the whole system of French governance apart.

    In this study I plan to go over the history of France in the early modern era, her rise to dominance, and the reasons why she ended up falling to a Revolution.

    Hello, and welcome to Lords of France! I am Merrick Chance', writer of Lords of Prussia, a similar AAR (history-book style, MMP2 mod) primarily written last summer. A couple of things happened which ended that AAR. Firstly my game was corrupted during the winter, and given the amount of time that my senior project was taking out of my life, I thought it prudent not to reinstall. Secondly, in an attempt to free up space, I accidentally deleted my images on the last chapter of the 50 Years War section. I may end up finishing Lords of Prussia, mostly because it ends at a huge cliff hanger, but there are other reasons why I am choosing another country and creating another AAR rather than finishing Lords of Prussia (or writing a Lords of Prussia II which I thought about).

    It's understandable that as someone interested in policy and international relations, that I was taken in by the 'Prussian image', the idea that, without the messiness of democratic politics and with a competent King, you can have consistently good policy for possibly centuries. I was so taken in by this idea that even though I knew about the problems present in Whig history, I ended up writing a version of Whig history: the impossibly competent series of Kings (I was really lucky) was augmented by the fact that I, as a player, knew precisely what to do.

    In this game I'm going to try to play as a King, rather than as a player. Part of the reason why I think that players often get unhistorical results is that a player will lead a country in a far more efficient way than any real life government. I'm going to try to play like a King, accepting the flaws of my rulers: another reason for unhistorical results is that a player will still play well with a 4/4/4 King. I will try to play within the capabilities of my Kings.

    Beyond that, I'll try to pick ideas as seems appropriate, focusing on ideas that increase my force limits and my economic abilities. In the end I'll try to do the trifecta of LEF, Scientific Revolution and Military Glory though I may end up not being able to get all of them. Some suggestions for a good idea for my first idea would be very welcome.
    Enough! You talk of the people's rights. The people only have those rights that I choose to give them, and that is for their own good, believe me--Dr.Doom


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    "I was a fan of Lords of Prussia and your French sequel is just as good if not even better." --Jape
    Lords of France: Roads to the Enlightenment: A Magna Mundi historybook AAR

  2. #2
    Comte de Purchase Merrick Chance''s Avatar
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    Table of Contents


    Introduction: "welcome to Lords of France"


    --CHARLES VII de Valois--

    CHAPTER 1: Ending the 100 Years War, pt1

    CHAPTER 2: Ending the 100 Years War, pt2

    CHAPTER 3: Ending the 100 Years War, pt3

    CHAPTER 4: Consolidation, pt1

    CHAPTER 5: Consolidation, pt2: de Villenueve

    CHAPTER 6: Consolidation, pt3: d'Ursine

    CHAPTER 7: The General Estates Meeting of 1468

    CHAPTER 8: Consolidation, pt4: the failures of Mancini

    CHAPTER 9: War of the League of Vendee

    CHAPTER 10: Loose Ends, Part 1: The Second Conquest of Britanny

    CHAPTER 11: Loose Ends, Part 2: The Annexation of Auvergne

    --LOUIS XI de Valois--

    CHAPTER 12: The Dauphin from Dauphine part 1: Louis XI

    CHAPTER 13: The Dauphin from Dauphine part 2: Papal politics & the spread of the Renaissance

    CHAPTER 14: Louis XI's early reign, part 1: Bureaucracy

    CHAPTER 15: Louis XI's early reign, part 2: Low Latin & Monasticism

    CHAPTER 16: The Franco-Arognan War

    CHAPTER 17: The Burgundian Wars

    CHAPTER 18: The Burgundian Wars part 2

    CHAPTER 19: The Wars of Grongingen and Vlaandern

    CHAPTER 20: Commonwealth and Absolutism: the evolution of governance

    CHAPTER 21: The New Aristocracy

    CHAPTER 22: Exploration and New France, part 1

    CHAPTER 23: Exploration and New France, part 2

    CHAPTER 24: The Gunpowder revolution and de Villenueve

    --HENRI I de Hapsbourg--

    CHAPTER 25: The Hainautian Succession and Hapsburg France

    CHAPTER 26: The League of the Commonwealth and the Burgundian Succession

    CHAPTER 27: The War of the Commonwealth

    CHAPTER 28: Hapsburg Europe

    CHAPTER 29: The Reformation in Germany

    CHAPTER 30: The Reformation in France: Calvinism

    CHAPTER 31: The Reformation in France: Gallicanism

    CHAPTER 32: The Reformation in France: the Radical Reformation

    CHAPTER 33: Remy Bourbon, or Louis XII

    --LOUIS XII de Bourbon--

    CHAPTER 34: Louis' early career

    CHAPTER 35: The War of Savoy, part 1

    CHAPTER 36: The War of Savoy, part 2

    CHAPTER 37: The War of Savoy, part 3

    CHAPTER 38: The War of Savoy, part 4

    CHAPTER 39: Richard de Bosquet

    CHAPTER 40: The French Colonies, 1565-1575 and the beginning of the 40 Years War

    CHAPTER 41: The 40 Years War, part 1: Introduction

    CHAPTER 42: The 40 Years War, part 2: Quebec & Introduction to the War of Hispaniola

    CHAPTER 43: The 40 Year's War, part 3: The Portuguese Caribbean and further intro to the War of Hispaniola

    CHAPTER 44: The 40 Year's War, part 4: The War of Hispaniola, part 1

    CHAPTER 45: The 40 Year's War, part 5: The War of Hispaniola, part 2

    CHAPTER 46: The 40 Year's War, part 6: The War of Hispaniola, part 3

    CHAPTER 47: The 40 Year's War, part 7: The Swiss Intervention, part 1

    CHAPTER 48: The 40 Year's War, part 8: The Swiss Intervention, part 2

    CHAPTER 49: The 40 Year's War, part 9: The War in Brabant, part 1

    CHAPTER 50: Intermission: The Situation in Italy

    CHAPTER 51: The 40 Year's War, part 10: The War in Brabant, part 2

    CHAPTER 52: The French War of Religion, Part 1: The Rise of Tilly

    CHAPTER 53: The French War of Religion, Part 2: William de Valois

    CHAPTER 54: The French War of Religion, Part 3

    CHAPTER 55: The Invasion of the Rhineland

    --VIGNY--

    CHAPTER 56: Imperial Pretensions

    CHAPTER 57: The Other Empire: Europeans in China

    CHAPTER 58: Paris under Vigny

    CHAPTER 59: The other Colonizers

    CHAPTER 60: The Artois Affair

    CHAPTER 61: The New Warfare and the German States

    CHAPTER 62: The Fall of Vigny, Part 1: The Case of Clichy

    CHAPTER 63: The Fall of Vigny, Part 2: The War of the Regents

    CHAPTER 64: The Fall of Vigny, Part 3: The Bread Riot

    --De Saint Chamand--

    CHAPTER 65: Saint Chamand's Reconstruction and Descartes

    CHAPTER 66: The Road to the Navigation Acts

    CHAPTER 67: The Education of Henri II

    --Henri II de Bourbon--

    CHAPTER 68: The Arts Under Henri, Part 1

    CHAPTER 69: The Arts Under Henri, Part 2

    CHAPTER 70: The Arts Under Henri, Part 3

    CHAPTER 71: The Cult of Violence and the Francfort Rebellion

    CHAPTER 72: The Rise of Early Capitalism (first entry to mention de Tocqueville)

    CHAPTER 73: The Quebec Royal Company

    CHAPTER 74: The French East India Company

    CHAPTER 75: Scandinavian Influence in China

    CHAPTER 76: The Scheldt and French Early Industry (first entry of de Boheme)

    CHAPTER 77: The Career of Gaston d'Orleans

    CHAPTER 78: The Diplomacy of Henri II

    CHAPTER 79: Origins of the Fronde

    CHAPTER 80: The Peasants Fronde (Boheme entry)

    CHAPTER 81: The use of light infantry during the War of Unification (first entry of de Villeneuve)

    CHAPTER 82: The Formation of Italy and the War of Unification in the South

    CHAPTER 83: The Parisian People's Army (Boheme entry)

    CHAPTER 84:The Treaty of Metz (first de Tocqueville entry)

    --The Fronde--

    CHAPTER 85: The Politics of Heroism (first Robb entry)

    CHAPTER 86: The Urban Fronde (first Marat entry)

    CHAPTER 87: The Northwestern Campaigns

    CHAPTER 88: The Road to Lyon

    Bibliography

    CHAPTER 89: The End of the Aristocratic Fronde

    CHAPTER 90: The War of French Succession Part 1: The Spanish Front

    CHAPTER 91: The Alsatian Campaign

    --Louis XIII de Bourbon-Orleans--

    CHAPTER 92: The Rebirth of Parliaments (de Tocqueville entry)

    CHAPTER 93: The growth of Marseilles (de Tocqueville entry)

    CHAPTER 94:The Suez Passageway (de Tocqueville entry)

    CHAPTER 95: Regulating the Law (Robb entry)

    CHAPTER 96: His Majesty's Army (le Neuf entry)
    Last edited by Merrick Chance'; 07-06-2014 at 17:40.
    Enough! You talk of the people's rights. The people only have those rights that I choose to give them, and that is for their own good, believe me--Dr.Doom


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    The Lords of Prussia: from feudalism to modernity: a Magna Mundi historybook AAR

    "I was a fan of Lords of Prussia and your French sequel is just as good if not even better." --Jape
    Lords of France: Roads to the Enlightenment: A Magna Mundi historybook AAR

  3. #3
    Comte de Purchase Merrick Chance''s Avatar
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    LORDS OF FRANCE

    Part One: Ending the 100 Years War part 1

    The news of Constantinople's fall reached an already beleaguered Paris in late April. The French crown had already had her share of worries; she was in the tail end of the 100 Years War. The War had brought instability to the countryside, allowed a branch of the Valois family to break off and form the Duchy of Burgundy, and through the Spring, created a level of disorder which a young Provencial nobleman took advantage of, laying claim to the Valois throne and rising up in Lower Burgundy. And though the 100 Years War had roughly 60 years of peace interspersed between conflicts, the instability and inconsistency of life in the French countryside had left the nation war-weary, starving, and unstable.


    The state of France in May 1453. Not shown: I am at -1 stability and am running a 9 ducat/month deficit




    However, there was a bright side to France's dilemmas. Though Charles VII's territory was divided up between him and his 6 vassals (Auverne, Orleans, Armagnac, Bearn, Bourbonais, and Provence), the combined armies of France and her vassals amounted to more than 50,000 men. And though the Duchy Burgundy was a massive threat to the French kingdom, if allied with she would guarantee a swift end to the war which had lasted so long and led to so much death. The other bright side was the Levee Reforms which occurred immediately after the news of the Siege of Constantinople.

    To Charles VII, France's failure at Agincourt combined with the failures of the religious orders and the Byzantine levies at stopping the Ottoman Turks heralded the end of the levy army. This move towards a more professional army was cemented when Charles promoted captain Armand de Villenueve, leader of France's mercenary cavalrymen, to the position of Grand Marshal. De Villenueve immediately did two things: he sent the 5 mercenary bands he had been in charge of to upper Burgundy to deal with the rebels of the pretender Henri Borgogne, and he implemented the levy reform he had been championing during his time as a captain. Now, regiments were required to have several companies of non-conscripted soldiers. This reform raised morale, and allowed more manpower to go to the fields and cities. Furthermore, by allowing more choice in the lives of the peasants, the Levy Reforms moralized the populace of France, giving the country a little more wiggle room when dealing with instability (I moved 1 towards free subjects. This gave me 'reforms applauded' and the balanced policies modifier, which if you aren't familiar with Magna Mundi is a set of minor boni given to a country with all of its policies between 2 and -2).


    de Villenueve and the applauding of the Levy Reforms


    Charles VII, de Villenueve, and the generals Bureau and de Xaintrelles swiftly wrote up the strategy for the war: an alliance offer would be sent to the Duke of Burgundy and the king of Aragon. Given the two countries isolated natures one would likely respond in the affirmative. The army of France would be separated in half: a Southern force (led by de Xaintrelles) would support the armies of the French vassals in Armagnac and would include the 5,000 strong force of knights sent to deal with the Pretender revolts, and the other would be further split into an infantry force (led by Bureau) which would siege Calais and a large reserve (led by Charles himself) in case of any surprises. The reserve force would be sent to the Franco-Breton border: the Duchy of Brittany was (thankfully) on the French side, but it had changed sides multiple times during the 100 Years War and Charles was not about to allow victory to slip from the grasp of France yet again.


    French Order of battle. As you can see, Burgundy accepted the alliance offer, Aragon didn't, which is all the better at I plan on taking Rousillion ASAP


    With this, the game was set. In the next section, I will discuss precisely why Charles VII wanted such a quick ending to the 100 Years War, and the way that it ended.
    Last edited by Merrick Chance'; 24-05-2012 at 03:39.
    Enough! You talk of the people's rights. The people only have those rights that I choose to give them, and that is for their own good, believe me--Dr.Doom


    "Don't get me wrong, I am a strong fan of historical AARs and I believe that yours is the best I have ever read" --Ar7
    "This is /amazing/"--Scrollreader
    The Lords of Prussia: from feudalism to modernity: a Magna Mundi historybook AAR

    "I was a fan of Lords of Prussia and your French sequel is just as good if not even better." --Jape
    Lords of France: Roads to the Enlightenment: A Magna Mundi historybook AAR

  4. #4
    Colonel Rifal's Avatar
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    Interesting, Will follow despite the fact that I hate the Font.

    Cheers
    WritAAR of the week 08-09-2011

    My AAR: The Polestar.

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  5. #5
    Looks good.

    I'm on board.

  6. #6
    Really? You have cores on the whole of Metropolitan France? Let's hope you're not too hasty; France doesn't expand that fast . Otherwise, I'll follow this AAR, and read Lords of Prussia. Good luck.
    How many boards would the Mongols hoard if the Mongol hordes got bored?

  7. #7
    Comte de Purchase Merrick Chance''s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrQwerty View Post
    Really? You have cores on the whole of Metropolitan France? Let's hope you're not too hasty; France doesn't expand that fast . Otherwise, I'll follow this AAR, and read Lords of Prussia. Good luck.
    That's MMP2 for you: it's balanced off by the fact that I have the lowest stability in Europe and that if I expand too fast my administrative efficiency will go down. In my practice game I was able to get nearly all of France under my control by 1500. I'm not planning on going that fast, but controlling all of France would give me nigh-total diplomatic independence. Beyond that, they give major advantages to all of the historical great powers of the era, which I like. It's silly, to me, to see the number of games when Burgundy or Bohemia become globetrotters when in reality they had very weak governments and were inherited during the game because of their weak governments.
    Last edited by Merrick Chance'; 25-05-2012 at 06:28.
    Enough! You talk of the people's rights. The people only have those rights that I choose to give them, and that is for their own good, believe me--Dr.Doom


    "Don't get me wrong, I am a strong fan of historical AARs and I believe that yours is the best I have ever read" --Ar7
    "This is /amazing/"--Scrollreader
    The Lords of Prussia: from feudalism to modernity: a Magna Mundi historybook AAR

    "I was a fan of Lords of Prussia and your French sequel is just as good if not even better." --Jape
    Lords of France: Roads to the Enlightenment: A Magna Mundi historybook AAR

  8. #8
    Comte de Purchase Merrick Chance''s Avatar
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    LORDS OF FRANCE

    Chapter 2: End of the 100 Years War, Part 2




    Much of the 100 Years War was marked by French caution: Kings would be worried about their relationships with their vassals, the petty gentry, and the various other countries in the French region to act too aggressively to end the war. And yet, in one month, Charles VII had:

    • Replaced the Estate-appointed Marshall with a superior petty-gentry adviser
    • Fixed the quality problems in the French military by replacing some feudal levies with professional soldiers, a reform which could easily have provoked hatred on behalf of the nobility
    • Sent an army to the Breton border, controlling the Breton variable but also upsetting them to the degree that they soon left the alliance
    • Broke bread with the junior line of the Valois dynasty, by both signing an alliance and marrying his son to the Princess Joan Valois
    What changed Charles VII's mind in the Spring of 1453? Although the motive behind the King's sudden want for a quick victory were understandable: the 100 Years War had gone on for a long time (more than a century in fact!), this had been true for most of the war and through all of King Charles' reign. So why, now, did he decide to attack every side of the 100 Years War problem, acting so recklessly and with such speed?

    Historians have come up with many theories, some originating around the trial of Joan of Arc, some pointing to the advice of the new group of advisers recruited through the 1440s (Charles was known as Charles the well served). I disagree with many of these historians: the impetus was more political than personal, and though de Villeneueve was an exceptional commander, there were Kings before Charles who were just as well advised who did not take such an aggressive plan of action.

    To me, it seems clear that the King's actions were prompted by the actions of the Charles I, the Duke of Burgundy. During the alliance talks, Charles I announced that he was petitioning the Holy Roman Emperor for the title of King of Burgundy. This was of great concern to Charles VII; if the junior branch of the Valois family attained the title of King then the Duchy of Burgundy would likely remain a thorn in France's side for the foreseeable future. Further, Charles VII had inherited his title from his older brother, and though his wife was pregnant as of now, he had no male sons: a junior Valois branch, possessing their own higher title, could easily lay a claim on the French crown.

    Seeing Charles VII's motivations in this light lets us better understand why he took the path he did in legitimizing the Levy Reforms. In a speech to the Estates, Charles explained the reasoning behind his policy in terms directed against the English:

    "The Englishmen have fought us for more than a century. They have embarrassed us, impoverished us, taken our land, and claim to be the rightful rule of all of France. But no longer! No longer can we abide the English occupation of French lands. No longer can we allow the House of Normandy to continue its claim on the title of King of France. In this act, we are showing Le Roastbeefs that Frenchmen will be slaves to no one: that we will kill the English on the blades of free men! But we will show the world one more thing: that, unified and free, France will never be defeated! "

    Unified is the key word here: the defeat of the English was only the first in a series of steps that would lead to a unified France, a series of steps which included the undercutting of the Duchy of Burgundy and the aggressive annexation of the Duchy of Brittany and the French vassals. Charles saw, in a unified France, enough force to act independent of any possible foe or enemy, but the first step towards that goal would be the defeat and annexation of the English territories in France.




    The goal for this war was total victory


    Charles and de Xaintrelles' strategies as Commanders in Chief of their respective theaters were no less aggressive. Charles ordered the Bureau corps (which, if we recall, was destined for Calais) to the Franco-Burgundian border before the Alliance talks were finished, figuring that the additional initiative was worth the risk of a diplomatic incident. Calais was put under siege in mid-April, and by the fall the city had fallen without resistance. Overall, the Northern front didn't have any action until Charles' expansion of the front in 1454.

    The Southern theater, on the other hand, was characterized by extensive battles between the Armee du Sud and the Army of Aquitaine. Early battles between the Army of Aquitaine and the Army of Armagnac led to the two armies switching places: the Army of Aquitaine laid siege to the capital of the County of Armagnac and the forces of the French vassals besieged Gascony. de Xaintrelles was ordered to
    • stop the English siege of Armagnac (because if brought to a conclusion, the English could easily annex the county which would slow the war effort considerably, not to mention demoralize the other vassals as well as the army)
    • Engage and destroy the 15,000 man English army at any cost: doing so would destroy the majority of the English army, freeing up France's Scottish ally to attack the mainland
    To this end, de Xaintrelles moved to engage with the English army, starting the First Battle of Aquitaine. Although his army was unquestionably inferior to the English army (in size though not in quality, it was the first army to be reformed by de Villenueve and was comprised mostly of Italian or French veterans), the action was primarily to stop the siege of and draw the English away from Armagnac.


    The first battle of Aquitaine. Note the French vassals moving away from the captured city of Gascony


    However, the French army was saved by the sudden intervention of the successful Army of Armagnac. The charge of the 2,000 fresh knights broke the English line, awarding the French with a Pyrrhic victory rather than a defeat. De Xaintrelles took advantage of this by sending a letter by pigeon to his cavalry corps (which, as we recall, was sent to the South-East to deal with the threat of a pretender to the French crown), ordering them to engage and pursue the demoralized and out-of-supply English army. After several minor skirmishes, the Second Battle of Aquitaine took place by the French-occupied city of Gascony. By this point, Henry VI (the king of England) was desperate enough to order privateers to terrorize the French coasts.


    The Second Battle of Aquitaine, which broke what remained of English morale, and the French reaction to English privateers


    After this battle, de Xaintrelles took direct command over his cavalry corps, pursuing the English army across the Southwestern French countryside. The final battle occurred at Blois, which involved the capture of Henry VI and the remains of the Army of Aquitaine.


    The 5th and last battle of Aquitaine


    This battle left the French with a major advantage, which Charles VII was just aggressive enough to exploit: the English now utterly lacked an army. And though d'Ursine, France's chief diplomat, was soon informed that Henry VI was securing loans for a new English army, right now the English army was composed of only 3,000 men at arms and 1,000 knights. Charles VII met with de Villenueve, de Xaintrailles, and his admirals, in order to plan the unplannable: an invasion of Britain.

  9. #9
    Comte de Purchase Merrick Chance''s Avatar
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    Rifal: yeah, the MS paint fonts are pretty bad, but that's what I got. Thanks for your support!

    Monzon: Thanks for the support!

    Something which I regret during Lords of Prussia was my inability to write extended wars well. Strategic studies wasn't really my bag back then, but I hope that now, after reading several Narwhal and Myth AARs, that my war writing has a bit more of a flair.

    Expect weird behavior on the part of the AI in the next entry. Scotland's aggressiveness, in particular, leaves much to be desired, and the English AI goes a little bit crazy after losing most of her army to me
    Enough! You talk of the people's rights. The people only have those rights that I choose to give them, and that is for their own good, believe me--Dr.Doom


    "Don't get me wrong, I am a strong fan of historical AARs and I believe that yours is the best I have ever read" --Ar7
    "This is /amazing/"--Scrollreader
    The Lords of Prussia: from feudalism to modernity: a Magna Mundi historybook AAR

    "I was a fan of Lords of Prussia and your French sequel is just as good if not even better." --Jape
    Lords of France: Roads to the Enlightenment: A Magna Mundi historybook AAR

  10. #10
    Comte de Purchase Merrick Chance''s Avatar
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    LORDS OF FRANCE

    Chapter 3: Ending the 100 Years War, part 3

    Fukuyama's The Origins of Political Order goes over the origins of governmental structures to 1800. In his section on early modern Western Europe, he notes that the invasion of the British isles by French knights drove the creation of modern states in both England and France. However, the different questions that the two nations had to answer led to the massive disparity in French and English government up to the 19th century.

    In France, the question was "How are we to organize such an attack?" The British isles hadn't been successfully invaded since William the Conqueror's attack, nearly 500 years before. In order to coordinate the different institutions which were be necessary to successfully invade England (which included the spy networks, the army, the navy, the French mercantile elite and the diplomatic corps), a centralized Council was formed, with each of the aforementioned institutions plus the treasury represented. This Conseil was retained after the war's end, continuing the cooperation between the different institutions in the French government and military. Charles VII's attempt to make the French embargo 'bite' harder is probably what led him to fire his personal Artist and replace him with the largely unknown Mint Master, Robert D'Avignon

    For the English, the question was "How do we afford a defensive force?" The English treasury was already nearly depleted by the time the Army of Aquitaine was destroyed. The amount of money required to recreate a new English army was large enough that it required that the English Crown take out multiple loans. In order to find the cheapest loans, the government hired the Hansa trader Frederic Rudolph to help the government find cheap loans and alternative methods of funding the growing English army. Frederic Rudolph became the first in a series of Hansa and then native English traders to serve as Minister of Commerce, acting as a go-between between the European mercantile community and the English crown, supporting English traders and finding cheaper loans for the English government. (England took Shrewd Commerce Policy as their first NI, I took Cabinet. The reason I took Cabinet is because in MM it is a step towards both Scientific Revolution and LEF, and it prevents an event where you either give up 5 prestige or lose an adviser. After getting that event 4 times in 5 years in my practice game, I decided that Cabinet would be a better idea, plus it illustrates the difference between the French and English responses to the 100 Years War: the English focused on funding and thus went for a mercantile idea, the French on coordination and thus went for a governmental idea.)


    The command structure set up to deal with the logistical difficulties of the invasion of England would remain after the war, turning into an early form of the modern Cabinet


    The plan of action was this: Ambassador d'Ursine would build support for French claims to Calais and Gascony abroad, focusing on Castille, Burgundy, and the Holy Roman Empire. While this was happening, the cavalry corps which dealt with the pretender rebellion would be sent to England to curtail any English military buildup and inform the Scottish king that his English foe was weak. Because of an earlier battle, the French navy only had 4 transport flotillas. This lack in materiel was compounded by a lack of adequate leadership: France had never maintained a naval officer corps, and most French captains were either commissioned civilians or army commanders who had somehow offended those higher up in the chain of command. Luckily, the French navy had an accurate notion of its own capabilities, and the representatives of the navy gave their honest opinion to Charles VII: only one invasion could reasonably be achieved, and even then, large amounts of preparation and risk would be involved. This drove the decision to use the cavalry corps: 4 regiments wouldn't be nearly enough to besiege any city of importance on the British aisles, so instead the cavalry regiments, who already had a reputation for harshness, would be sent with the orders to destroy the English countryside. Generals Bureau and de Xaintrelles would command two regiments each, and de Villenueve would be the Commander in Chief of the operation. Charles VII would remain in charge of the continental forces, guarding against a British counterattack.

    The transportation of the French cavalrymen to England was a harrowing, nail-biting experience. The navy was split into three groups: one group on each side of the English channel, scouting for the feared British Red Squadron, which was comprised of 30 capital ships, and one group comprised of the 4 transport flotillas and protected by the carrack Ile de France. Although the transport operation went off without a hitch, the fleet guarding the Atlantic approach to the English channel was soon engaged by the Red Squadron. Although the fleet was able to retreat successfully, one of France's galley flotillas was captured by a squadron of barque ships.


    Forgot to take a screenshot of the amphibious assault. Oh well, here's a picture




    The reactions of Bureau and de Xaintrelles to their orders came from the difference in their respective backgrounds. Bureau, before being promoted to general, was in command of the Parisian garrison, and viewed his orders from a policing perspective. Further, Bureau's soldiers were primarily light cavalrymen who were used to attacking logistical centres and supply wagons. Thus, the area of the English theater that Bureau commanded (comprised of Cornwall, northern England, and Wales) ended up far less damaged, because his form of raiding focused primarily on attacking recruiting parties, intercepting military supply wagons and using the money/food from those wagons to buy off the local populace, and generally separated the people from their government services. As such, these areas were less damaged, but it is generally agreed that the Welsh rebellion which came soon after the war was a result of Bureau's raiding efforts.

    On the other hand, de Xaintrelles and his troops were all military men. De Xaintrelles, in particular, saw his task as curtailing the English was effort by any means necessary, and because of his lack of familiarity with insurgent and counter-insurgent styles of warfare, was often driven to excess by his sublieutenants. It can be said that while Bureau targeted the English government, de Xaintrelles targeted the English people. Atrocities such as cutting off the middle fingers of all the service-suitable males in the town of Hastings can be blamed on de Xaintrelles being a novice in the kind of warfare he was ordered to implement, as well as the blood-thirstiness of his soldiers. But it was the burning of England's harvest that led to the largest amount of pain. De Xaintrelles' cavalrymen dispersed through the English countryside, salted the land, killed cow and sheep herds, destroyed ferries, and otherwise laid waste to the English agricultural economy.


    While Bureau's corps mainly attacked the English crown's ability to deliver basic services, de Xaintrelles' raiders attacked the English people themselves. Shown here is an artistic rendition of the burning of Rye, a town close by Hastings.


    By the time that the French raiders had gotten to Scotland, minor battles, disease, and the dispersal of troops to do more damage to the countryside had led to widespread attrition in the French force: what was 4 fully stocked divisions, or 4,000 men and another couple thousand officers and supporting staff, now amounted to a fighting force that could scarcely be counted above 500. They had done their damage though: conservative estimates of the number of people directly killed and injured by the raiding force went over 25,000, and perhaps 50,000 Englishmen and women died in the winter of 1457 from starvation. Furthermore, the raiders had intercepted and either captured, dispersed, or killed 8,000 newly recruited English soldiers, which led to a cost of roughly 80,000 additional pounds recruiting more men.

    However, the Scottish army hadn't yet reacted to the signs of English weakness, even though their numbers amounted to more than 12,000 men and 3,000 horse. Although we do not know the reasoning behind this inaction (the Scottish national archives were destroyed in the English counterattack), it seems that the Scots were trying to retain the threat posed by their army, as opposed to sending it into the field and diminishing their negotiating abilities. Another theory points to Anglo-Scottish trade: the mutual Franco-English embargo did not extend to Scottish traders, and by the late 1450s the Scottish crown was reliant, mainly, on tariffs exacted from trade in London and thus on Anglo-Scottish relations. (Personally I blame the fact that they took bureaucracy as their first NI). What we do know is that by the time the Scottish army was moved to besiege northern England, it was too late.

    De Xaintrelles' hamhanded style of raiding is widely seen as one of the major factors in the creation of the modern English nation. The tens of thousands killed, maimed, or starved as a result of French raiding became martyrs for the anti-French cause. Although the English were forced to take out another loan to fund the creation of an elite 10,000 man Royal Guard, they didn't even need to pay the majority of the new soldiers who flocked to the banner. By the end of the siege of Lincolnshire, the newly raised English army was 50,000 strong.



    de Xaintrelles' raiding did more for the cause of English nationbuilding than it did for the French war effort ALSO WTF


    Cumbria was quickly retaken, and the French raiders stationed in Edinburgh were forced to retreat north, continuing their attacks on English supply lines as they moved into the Highlands. Charles was prompted to ship a diplomat to Oslo in order to get military access to the island of Orkney post-haste, and though de Xaintrailles force was able to escape to the desolate isle, Bureau's corps was caught by the 20,000 strong Army of Scotland in Fife, where they immediately surrendered. With the exception of Bureau, who was ransomed, the 1,000 remaining cavalrymen in the Bureau corps was, to the man, tortured and killed. But the French soldiers weren't the only men who suffered the wrath of the English army.

    The atrocities committed to the English peasants were renewed and recommitted a hundred fold upon the Scottish populace. When the Edinburgh garrison surrendered, the Sack of Edinburgh approached a level of destruction not seen since the Vikings. Not only were the Cathedral and the marketplace put to flames, the very small area of arable ground in southern Scotland was salted.

    All of this news came to general de Xaintrelles through both the Scottish refugees who came crossed the Pentland Firth and the English soldiers who crossed the border to fight the remnant of the French raiders. It is without question that this weighed heavily on the General's conscience: not only did he regret the horrifying actions he and his soldiers had committed, but in the last months of his life, he lived among the men and women who had become refugees as a result of his actions. He died in the winter of 1458 a defeated and regretful man.

    The failure of the French offensive did have one upside: it had bought enough time for Ambassador D'Ursine to arrange international support for French claims to Gascony and Calais. This was helped along by English support for privateers: the men and women of the provinces came to rely on the French military for anti-piracy support, and the knowledge that Henry VI, their nominal King, was supporting the actions which impoverished them went a long way towards bringing the English continental territories into French arms.



    Magna Mundi features a 'long wait' event which triggers after a province is occupied for a variable number of years



    The news that Gascony and Calais had defected to France exacerbated English rage. Although tired and depleted by the Scottish campaign, the English army had soon moved to Gascony and had engaged the French Armee Royale. This was a massive mistake: had Henry VI cut his losses and arranged a white peace, he could likely have finished the war without destabilizing his own country. But as it happened, the inexperienced & undisciplined English army did battle with the far more experienced Armee Royale, and they died in droves.



    The destruction of nearly 40 English regiments occurred with relatively few French casualties


    This abject failure left England war-exhausted, destabilized, and depopulated. Although the people simply wanted peace by now, the Crown would not swallow the embarrassment of loss and Charles VII wanted war indemnities. Over the next several months the peace talks went on, angering the English populace which had seen 55,000 soldiers get killed or captured due to English incompetence. Eventually England and France came to a conclusion: the current territorial status quo, in which England had no continental territories, would be affirmed. Charles VII had won. France was not, fully, French.



    Did this a couple of times, figured screw the English after this ridiculous war. Note the English gains from Scotland, and the fact that they're at -2 stability because they wouldn't fork over 25-50 ducats.
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  11. #11
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    Great AAR. I loved Lords of Prussia, and after read your three chapters, I know that I will love this AAR too. You write really well, and sometimes, it look that I´m reading a real History-book :P

  12. #12
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    Very well done my hat is off to you!!
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  13. #13
    Well done in concluding the Hundred Years War! I'm anxious to see where you will go next.
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  14. #14
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    Clophiroth: Thanks for the compliment! I sometimes worry that my style can seem too wordy (a flaw in policy work, but a boon in history)
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    LORDS OF FRANCE

    Chapter 4: Consolidation, part one


    In this section I will discuss the general problems that faced France after the 100 Years War (IE, 1458 to 1470), the personalities of the major actors involved and the major laws made during the period. In the next section I will address the successes of the French crown in the time period, and in the last section I will address the major crises and failures of the crown during this period.

    It is hard to emphasize how tentative rule can be. We assume that, once an achievement is made, it is placed in the realm of 'history' and cannot be unmade. This is a faulty assumption, and one that clouds our view of the Valois court immediately after the transition to the 100 Years War. The period directly after the 100 Years War is generally characterized as a distracted and limited administration: distracted by its involvement in a useless foreign war, and limited by its debts and its disconnection with the ever inflating international loan market. This viewpoint ignores how tentative the victory gained in the Treaty of London was. Although Charles VII moved aggressively to contain the English threat, and although rebellion rocked through south-eastern England through the early 1460s, many of the factors which allowed the 100 Years War to go on for so long remained. These included
    • The French army remained roughly equal to the English one. Although the average French soldier was better trained than the average English one, France's success in the last war depended very much upon her generals, who were either dying or retiring soon. France needed a dedicated officer corps, but this problem was exacerbated because
    • France had very weak finances at this point. England's great feat, in raising and paying for the services of an army that numbered larger than 50,000, utterly surprised the French government. Although Charles VII wanted to increase the army's size by 10,000, this was limited both by France's inability to access the loan market and because
    • The average French citizen had gained little, and lost much, as a result of the final 5-year push. Several vassals nearly went bankrupt, leading to the Bourbon crisis which I will deal with shortly. Although a dedicated officer corps and a larger army were in the immediate interest of the state, the King needed to win back the loyalty of his subjects. This was especially difficult becase
    • The French central government's rule over her vassals was decentralized and weak. Some of these vassals (particularly the Duke of Provence) had very different goals from the French King and were willing to undermine the strength of the French king to achieve their goals. They were helped by
    • The Duke of Brittany, who left his alliance with the French kingdom immediately after she signed a separate peace with England. He had historically been a rogue factor and one of the reasons the 100 Years War went on for so long, for it was not in his interest for either England or France to become too powerful. Lastly,
    • The Duchy of Burgundy was a problem constantly on the King's mind. The new gain of Calais was in the middle of Burgundan territory, and the continued talks of an attempt to reach a higher title couldn't help but set Charles VII on edge. This distrust was especially true of Charles VII and his son, who both remembered having to flee Paris in the face of Burgundan soldiers.
    With all of these balls in the air it's no question why the French government's actions may seem chaotic. Luckily for us, the institutionalization of the Counseil means that we have access to several policy meetings via the French national archives. What they reveal was that Charles VII wanted several years of quiet after the end of the war so that the "wounds caused by the war would heal". But Charles VII was an old man by the end of the war. This leads me to Francois Valois, or the man who would become Francois the First.



    A portrait of Francois I, commissioned during his time with the Sheriff of Paris

    The personality of Francois I


    Francois I was said to have possessed his father's single-mindedness with none of his moderation. It is true that Francois' time in the French court left him a deeply distrustful man, but it is also true that Francois was a far better civic and military leader than his father. The difference is that, while the Sack of Paris* was a major event in the reign of Charles VII, it was the defining event of Francois I's life: seeing the armies of his relatives destroy the city he had lived in all his life changed both his perception of international politics and his domestic agenda and led to a totally outlook on life. While Charles VII sought to defeat his domestic enemies from below by increasing the power of peasants and burghers, Francois attacked them from above, placing his authority at the center of French politics. Internationally, while Charles VII's trusting nature led him to seek nearby allies (notably Aragon and Burgundy), who offered greater security but also a greater danger if they were to betray him, Francois could never bring himself to trust the Duke of Burgundy, and was a member of the anti-Burgundan faction of the court from 1452 on.

    In fact, Francois disagreed with his father often and violently, starting with his marriage to the princess Augusta when he was 16. His father had planned for Francois to marry princess Joan of Burgundy in order to solidify the French-Burgundan alliance. The p would never countenance to this, and fled to Austria, where he stayed for half a decade. The international scandal that this caused was a deep humiliation of Charles VII, a humiliation which he took out on his son at every turn: it is said that when Francois returned to Paris, he was greeted by a father who beat him half to death. The two men conflicted over issue after issue, with Francois I generally taking the side of the central government against the vassals.

    Francois I's powerlessness throughout his early life gave him an obsession over control. This led to widespread chartering of governmental accounting firms, which gave the government a level of control and awareness in the provinces like never before. Francois; strange obsession over accounting and assessing led to a law written in 1565 requiring that each province set up a tax assessing firm before it would be allowed the money to charter a new port or market, on the grounds of instability caused by both.


    The Assessor, an Italian painting from the early Renaissance. The levels of regulations which Francois I created made France a far less attractive target for Italian merchents, which ironically created a space for the nascent French merchant community.


    This would only have been accomplished with the support of France's new treasurer, Ignazio Mancini. A Provencial minor nobleman of Italian descent, Mancini was appointed Sheriff of Aix de Provence in his early 30s. However, during the 1450s he became involved in an embarrassing controversy with the Duke of Provence when he reported the Duke's attempts to underenforce the taxes levied on his people by Charles VII. The controversy ended with him exiled from the Duchy, which was just when he met the Prince Francois. The two men, having shared experiences and views, soon became close friends, and Mancini served as the Sheriff of Paris in the later part of the 100 Years War. After the General Estates meeting at Troyes (which I will describe briefly), Francois endeavored to have Mancini appointed to the now immensely important (and unfilled) position of Treasurer, a position he served in for decades.

    Mancini's attempts to expand and strengthen the Treasury reflected Francois I's attempts to expand and strengthen the French state in general. The King's ideology of dirigisme, or government intervention, was only possible because Mancini served as such a competent Treasurer, creating a bureaucracy which was capable of expanding at the speed Francois needed it to.


    Mancini oversaw over one of the largest expansions of the French government until the creation of the welfare state




    Limitations


    In remarking on Francois I's authoritarian tendencies, I do not wish in any way to set him up as a sort of proto-Absolutist, nor do I wish to set Charles VII up as a proto-Democrat. To suggest either would be anachronistic and, in the case of Charles VII, completely wrong headed. Both Francois I and Charles VII wanted to weaken the power of the realms Dukes and major noblement, not out of some ideological urge but simply because the major noblemen of France were a highly unstable factor and were more often than not rivals of the King of France.

    There was a consensus between Charles VII and his son on domestic subjects. However, in foreign affairs or economic matters there was far less agreement. Charles VII believed that his trustful strategies, which were based around building a consensus and goodwill that benefited the French government, were far more helpful than the dangerous unilateralism of his son. For instance, throughout the later 1450s Charles VII set up a system of alliances with his vassals which allowed the armies of France and her vassal to move freely across the country. Similarly, the joint anti-pirate efforts (which I will deal with in the next section) were incredibly successful. Ambassador d'Ursine noted a conversation he had with Charles VII in his journal, in which Charles VII said that "In 20 years, I have built this Kingdom. I have broken bread with some of the worst of my enemies, and I have crushed my other foes. Francois will ruin this, I am sure." Charles' profound lack of faith in his son's abilities led to the most important legislation passed during his career.

    The preparation for the meeting of the General Estates had been made throughout the 1450s, but the meeting was pushed back several times. Charles VII was hoping that the French vassals would allow him to move back the meeting until a time when he could meet them victorious. The gamble worked, and the meeting was held in 1458, two months after the Treaty of London. The meeting was held in the Castle of Troyes, where 60 years ago the humiliating Treaty of Troyes ceded much of northern France to the English government. The meeting was mostly over the way that the indemnities and gains would be distributed: the Count of Armagnac, for instance, cited his age old claim to Gascony (now renamed Gascogne) and asked the King to cede the province to him and make him a Duke; the King denied this request. Several other Counts and Dukes, mainly the South-Eastern ones who were only marginally involved in the war, asked for major subsidies as they were nearly bankrupted by supporting a war effort which they gained nothing from. I will deal with the subsidies issue later, but the meeting at Troyes ended up moving the issue to a later time.


    With the fighting against the English done, the King had to fight again to retain his conquests, this time against his vassals


    Lastly, the War Council was discussed by the Estates. During the war, the Council had acted as a method by which the vassals supported the King, sending one in ten recruits, one in five officers, and a yearly subsidy of 10,000 livres** in the case of a county and 40,000 in the case of a duchy to Paris. The council itself was comprised of de Villenueve (acting as Marshall), d'Ursine (acting as the head diplomat), the King, as well as the major French generals (de Xaintrelles, Bureau, and Duke Royes Valois d'Orleans, who organized the war effort of the vassals). The body was generally disliked by the Estates, and at first it seemed that they would unanimously abolish it.

    It was then when Charles VII presented his plan which he called the Royal Council. The Council would be responsible for the Departments a newly simplified French governmental structure, with a Marshall, an Ambassador, a Steward, the Crown Prince, and an Interior Minister elected by the Estates. Then, the major part: each councilmember would be made Duke over their department, and just as the King could not, under Feudal law, infringe on the rights of one of his vassals, the King had no authority over the Departments. He could hire and fire new advisers, but he had no ability to make policy himself.

    This transformation was met with widespread applause: the King had essentially placed the vassals in charge of their own affairs. Policywise, however, it exacerbated whatever effects the King of France had: an intelligent King would be in charge over a group of well led, autonomous bureaucracies which served with increasing efficiency over the years. But a poor or arrogant King would turn his council into a hotbed of cronyism and yes-manism. Furthermore, the Council ended up being as much a tool of the aristocracy as it was of the government departments.*** But the vassals weren't universally pleased: the Duke of Provence considered it yet another tool by which the central government overshadowed the provincial ones, as it allowed for policy to be discussed, created, and implemented in a situation where the vassals were in a super-minority. This, combined with the fact that the Council was primarily created as a part of 'compromise' to make up for the fact that the vassals got little to nothing from and weren't even represented in the Treaty of London set the Duke of Provence on a path that would lead to one of the largest crises of the early 1460s.


    With the meeting at Troyes, Charles VII turned his wartime policy of a War Council into a permanent French institution which, ideally, would check the in-competencies of future Kings


    * The Sack of Paris occurred during the 1430s during a civil war between the Burgandian and Auvergne branches of the Valois family. If we assume that Charles VII had a son who inherited the crown during the late 1450s, this would mean that Francois would be a child during this event.
    **The EU3 system uses ducats as a universal measurement of money. This works in gameplay, but both the amounts and currency do not work for historical AARs. The Livre was the historical currency of the French crown, and I will put the exchange rate between gameplay ducats and narrative Livres at 1-1,000. In order to avoid confusion I will keep the same exchange rate between other historical currencies (for instance, the English gave me 50 ducats but I said 50,000 pounds).
    ***Sorry for the wordy entry, my internet was weird so I was mostly writing without the help of photobucket
    Last edited by Merrick Chance'; 12-11-2012 at 23:02.
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  15. #15
    What a dear blow to your government. How likely were your vassals to revolt or other nasty events to occur? Yet stability seems to be returning, so great!
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  16. #16
    Comte de Purchase Merrick Chance''s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrQwerty View Post
    What a dear blow to your government. How likely were your vassals to revolt or other nasty events to occur? Yet stability seems to be returning, so great!
    It is, but the problem with picking Cabinet as my first idea is that the large expansions which I planned (in the test game I had France to roughly modern borders by 1500) are kind of out the window: I'm at the borderline between good and inefficient government with Louis, who has really high admin. My next target was going to be Brittany, but Brittany is allied with Burgundy so I'm waiting out the Burgandian succession event. All I can do in the meanwhile is attempt to coax my vassals into annexation, which kind of sucks because Louis XI is a adm8/dip3/mil7 King: perfect for anything but the situation I'm in right now.

    Furthermore, I'm only getting 50 ducats a year with a monthly income of 23dc/month and for some reason the Hiring Fair decision hasn't popped up, ergo my decision to snatch up a Sheriff who came out of nowhere. If I had a high level banker I'd be able to get all my ports in one go, but as is I'm limiting myself to tax assessors because my inflation reduction is horrible.

    edit: Ugh. So I apparently forgot to save my AAR game last time I played. It's not a big deal, I lost 4 years, but I also lost Louis XI--he took over in 1463. To 'fix' this issue, I force-killed Charles VII once or twice (I don't want to mess up my name file and have all my kings be named Louis XXVI) looking for a low-dip, high admin and mil leader. I now have Gaston I, who is the same stats with 1 higher mil.

    I'm editting the name in the entry to Gaston I. Louis didn't deserve the name anyway, 8/3/8 stats aren't worthy of the name of the Spider King.
    Last edited by Merrick Chance'; 31-05-2012 at 11:41.
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  17. #17
    Not a Sahib Milites's Avatar
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    There I was, thinking the Europa Universalis History Book AAR to be a dead category and replaced for good silly, easy AARs. And suddenly such a gem pops up. I can't wait for more

  18. #18
    Comte de Purchase Merrick Chance''s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Milites View Post
    There I was, thinking the Europa Universalis History Book AAR to be a dead category and replaced for good silly, easy AARs. And suddenly such a gem pops up. I can't wait for more
    I think that writing history-book style AARs will always appeal to a certain sort of person, and that so long as Paradox games are popular, there will be some people who will endeavor to write history book style reports.

    I'm reading a book right now on Clausewitzian thought, and the writer takes a while to write about Collingwood, a philosopher who wrote about the philosophy of history. To Collingwood, historical thinking occurs as a reenactment: that is, a person can be said to be thinking historically if they are successfully thinking the way that a historical figure is thinking. If Collingwood is right, then the AAR is the ultimate act of history, because the writer is essentially analyzing the thinking of actors that they have created in a plausible historical context.

    Furthermore writing AARs fascinates me as a political scientist (though I am developing an increasing dislike for the term) because it allows me to create an alternate political/constitutional framework to think in, one which never would exist in the modern world. This is why, to me, this AAR is already taking up more of my attention than my Prussian AAR did: in Lords of Prussia I wrote about an essentially ideal state, and what actions such an ideal state would make. In this situation I'm creating an increasingly disfunctional French state and trying to find some way to work within that construct.

    Gameplay update: The first 4 years of Francois I (Not Gaston I, I misread and sadly will have to reedit the last entry!) went significantly better than my first playthrough--money's less tight, I'm not participating as strongly in the stupid war that an ally is dragging me in to, and my vassals (while they do mostly hate me) aren't acting up as much. Expect a new update early next week; this weekend I'm going to Baltimore to see my girlfriend.
    Enough! You talk of the people's rights. The people only have those rights that I choose to give them, and that is for their own good, believe me--Dr.Doom


    "Don't get me wrong, I am a strong fan of historical AARs and I believe that yours is the best I have ever read" --Ar7
    "This is /amazing/"--Scrollreader
    The Lords of Prussia: from feudalism to modernity: a Magna Mundi historybook AAR

    "I was a fan of Lords of Prussia and your French sequel is just as good if not even better." --Jape
    Lords of France: Roads to the Enlightenment: A Magna Mundi historybook AAR

  19. #19
    This is a fantastic AAR. Usually I scroll over France AARs because I "There big and powerful, and most likely boring", but I saw MM. I liked it so much I'm going to go read lords of Prussia
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  20. #20
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    Lords of France

    Consolidation part 2: Successes ch1

    Although chaotic, the transitory period of the 1460s resulted in multiple gains for the French crown. The nature of these successes were different, arising from the divided nature of the French government at Charles VII's death: de Villenueve and d'Ursine, hired by Charles and deeply influenced by his nature, clashed with Francois multiple times, which essentially delegated Francois to domestic matters until d'Ursine's death in the later 1460s. So we have the occasional successes of the Crown acting on its own, and the occasional successes of the Counseil on its own. Occasionally, however, the goals of the two bodies would coincide and lead to a great diplomatic or domestic victory: I will deal with those successes first.

    On Command and the annexation of Orleans


    Portrait of Armand de Villenueve by the Dutch painter Roger van der Weyden, likely commissioned during de Villenueve's time as the commander of an Italian mercenary regiment


    De Villenueve could arguably be called France's greatest marshal: with the exceptions of some of the generals of the Revolutionary Wars, his were the greatest singular achievements (an invasion across the Channel, the end of the 100 Years War). Further, he committed to several major top-down reforms (the Levy Reforms), introduced cannon into the French armies, and last but not least, he cowrote one of the first great books on the subject of war, known a On Command. The writing of On Command, though, was more than an intellectual or even purely military achievement: it facilitated the annexation of the strategically crucial Duchy of Orleans.


    Map showing the location of the Duchy of Orleans, located a week's ride from Paris


    However, before I discuss the annexation of Orleans, I feel that I should discuss first the imposing figure that is Armand de Villenueve, and secondly the kind of strategy he argues for in On Command, because it very much explains the unheard-of aggressive strategy that the French crown took with regards to her vassals and enemies.

    Armand de Villenueve was born in the province of Dauphin, at the southern part of France, bordering the Duchy of Provence. As such, his estate was never threatened by the English, so, like many other Provencals, as a youth he oft wondered what the purpose of loyalty to the French crown was. Many of the Provencals looked to the East, to Italy, as an example of how rich they could be if they separated from the crown and oriented themselves towards Italian trade. De Villenueve was so enamored of Italy that, the moment he turned 15, he took his suit of armor, his horse, his sword, and his Italian manservant Antonio and joined an Italian mercenary brigade.

    Through the late 1430s and early 1440s he fought across Italy, serving in the light cavalry of the condottieri Frederico da Montefeltro. But he wasn't only a soldier: during his many leaves he studied the works of Petrarch under the Italian humanists, and became a rather skilled painter under the tutelage of Georgi Santi (the father of Raphael). This humanist training all contributed to de Villenueve's writings in On Command, which is often compared to The Prince in terms of its utterly secular viewpoint. It contributed to something else, however: de Villenueve, aided by his already fierce intelligence and his charisma, but also by the connections he fostered within the city of Urbino, became one of the chief officers in the Army da Montefeltro, and led the cavalry in the taking of Urbino by Frederico da Montefeltro. After this he became the general of the newly formed Urbianti army, fighting in wars against the Papacy, the Naepolitans, the Florentines, and the Milanese, and returning successfully from all of them.


    A painting of de Villenueve's cavalry brigade, which proved instrumental in bringing Urbino under the control of Frederico da Montefeltro


    This gave him a sharp sense of perspective. Fighting against nearly all of Urbino's neighbors led de Villenueve to appreciate the safety and unity brought by a strong government such as the French one, and became a sort of French proto-patriot in a fashion similar to Machiavelli's proto-Italian patriotism. The destruction of the Byzantine Empire by the Turkish army drove de Villenueve even further towards Ile de France: he saw that the bastion of Christianity in the East could not be defended by Italian money or mercenaries. This isn't to say that de Villenueve advocated for a new Crusade: he simply feared that a Europe comprised of weak states would suffer the same fate as the Byzantine Empire: upon hearing the news he left the service of the Duke of Provence*, and began to work in the French army, and in late 1453 he was appointed Marshall of France.

    Although Charles was impressed by de Villenueve's record, he feared that his experience as the leader of the 5,000 man Urbianti army wouldn't scale up to leading France's 40,000 man force. However, de Villenueve swiftly showed his competence against the Army of Aquitaine and in the raids against England. He did this alongside Louis D'Orleans, the Duke of Orleans, who was designated the leader of the armies of France's vassals. The two worked together as the collective Commanders in Chief during the last stages of the war. This led to a deep relationship between the two, which led to the first cooperative effort between the Counseil and the new king Francois.


    The French court in 1460, after the crowning of King Francois I. Jean des Ursins (also known as D'Ursine, or the Bear) and Armand de Villenueve, acting as the chiefs of the French army and diplomatic corps respectively, dominated French foreign policy during the early 1460s, with Francois I and Ignazio Mancini having slightly more free will domestically


    The safety of Paris, it was agreed, was of tantamount importance to the French government: it was the largest center of intellect and commerce in the country, and accounted for ~10% of the realm's taxes. Furthermore, the trade which flowed through the city was now coming in in floods due to the civil war in England and wars going on in Northern Italy: if that safety were to be continued then the French crown could become very rich indeed. This security required that Paris not be accessible by any possible enemies. To help this purpose, de Villenueve was sent to foster his relationship with the Duke of Orleans, and d'Ursine was sent to Burgundy and the Holy Roman Empire to somehow undermine the court in Bourgogne.

    De Villenueve took this as the opportunity to do what he had wanted for a decade: to write on his experiences, and create a book which would drive French strategy. In Louis D'Orleans he had found the perfect cowriter: although the two had comparable experiences, Louis D'Orleans had lived a far more educated life than de Villenueve and was the better writer. For the next 2 years, the two wrote a book on the subject of Command, with the Duke of Orleans devoting more and more time to writing the book and less and less time ruling his kingdom.

    The level of strategic thinking present in On Command would not be replaced until Clausewitz. Further, it influenced French strategy making (acting as an ideal for French generals until Frederickan warfare replaced it in the 17th century), so I feel that it is necessary here to provide a short discussion of its argument.

    De Villenueve and D'Orleans focus primarily on the character of Fortuna, the goddess of luck, who they say presents herself in several forms: "No battlefield is ever alike: any battle will occur in different places, at different times, with different weather, involving different men and fighting with different arms. Even if one were to gather all of the veterans of a battle to the same field, at the same time of day and with the same weather and forced them to fight with the same weapons, they would be different men". With this said, De Villenueve felt that the role of the Commander was to account for these variables as much as possible, while realizing that total control is impossible. How does a commander account for this?

    De Villenueve and D'Orleans give three specific methods to deal with the variables of chance: scouting/raiding, a strong logistical and support staff, and a defensive (although aggressive) stance. What does de Villenueve mean by defensive, though aggressive?

    His argument is essentially a repeat of Clauswitz' statement, that the Defensive is the stronger form of war: by acting defensively, you are forcing the enemy to go through the vagaries of chance: they must extend their supply lines, attack you on the terrain you decide, and generally wear down their troops. However, de Villenueve isn't arguing for a passive stance towards warfare: instead, he urges for scouting and raiding formations to take advantage of the opponent's lengthened supply lines and make sure that you aren't force, to the defensive, which diminishes the information advantage one gets from being on the defensive.


    The strategic theory forwarded by de Villenueve and d'Orleans argued for and normalized the use of professional and dedicated raiding forces to keep the opponent from benefiting from what would become France's typically defensive strategic posture.


    The difference between raiding tactics, which de Villenueve sees as important but not crucial, and the tactics used for an army (as well as the difference between choosing to go on the defensive and being forced on the defensive), is how de Villenueve explains why his defensive strategy brought him to think of an invasion of the British aisles: the English were forced on the defensive by the destruction of the Army of Aquitaine, and by raiding the English countryside, he kept the English on a forced defensive while giving him intel on any expansion of English forces, which led to France's eventual grand victory and the end of the War.

    This difference between forced and planned defensives is what brought D'Orleans to see the logic of annexation. D'Orleans, related to Francois I by blood, had always been the Kingdom's greatest advocate in the Estates. He'd served within the French government and army, and had helped implement and make policy when the King needed him. However, by 1461, he was an aged, childless man. The Duke of Provence, relying on an old French law, pressed to have D'Orleans succeeded by a man agreed upon by the estates. De Villenueve had, by this point, befriended the Duke, and through his friendship, started arguing for the French crown.

    Over the 1450s and 60s, de Villenueve impressed upon D'Orleans the feelings of the Conseil on the security of Ile de France. Furthermore, as D'Orleans and de Villenueve became closer, de Villenueve revealed some higher level state intelligence: the Duke of Provence was planning a revolt. Now, it wasn't a plausibility just yet--the Duke was looking for possible allies--but if he had Orleans in his hand he would be able to take Ile de France before the French army would be able to react to the attack. With this information, the Duke of Orleans had made his decision: on his death, he would bequeath the Duchy of Orleans to the French crown.

    And so, On Command was one of those rare books which impacted political, military, and intellectual history. It impacted French strategic thinking for more than a century and it resulted in the annexation of the Duchy of Orleans. But it had one last effect. The Duke of Orleans had far more than his land to give: he wished that his extensive treasury be dedicated to the creation of an Army Academy which would teach a dedicated Officer corps and a dedicated support staff. This makes perfect sense from the perspective of D'Orleans: he'd been arguing for years now for the importance of a large logistical/support staff, as well as the importance of scouting/raiding operations, operations which, in light of the de Xaintrelles debacle, relied highly on the skill of the commanding general. As such, the French Royal Academy of the Army in Orleans was split into 3 schools: a Cavalry school for Cavalry commanders, a Logistical school (which later included sieges and training for Artillery Officers), and an Infantry school to train Infantry officers. In 1465, Jean Bureau, the Scourge of England, the Great Raider, and the defeater of the Army of Aquitaine, retired and became the second Headmaster of the Academy. He worked to instill the same sense of duty that he felt the Duke of Orleans had, which produced a nobility which, at least, didn't actively hate the French government.

    As such, the writing of On Command left the French Army decades ahead of its enemies theoretically, and left the French government in a very beneficial situation with regards to her vassals.*


    The results of the writing of On Command by Louis D'Orleans and Armand de Villenueve: the theoretical advantage that it brought to the French army, the annexation of the Duchy of Orleans, and the creation of the French Royal Academy of the Army, the first Royal Academy


    *Can anyone tell that I was reading some Clauswitzan theory on the bus to and from my girlfriend's?
    Last edited by Merrick Chance'; 05-06-2012 at 09:28.
    Enough! You talk of the people's rights. The people only have those rights that I choose to give them, and that is for their own good, believe me--Dr.Doom


    "Don't get me wrong, I am a strong fan of historical AARs and I believe that yours is the best I have ever read" --Ar7
    "This is /amazing/"--Scrollreader
    The Lords of Prussia: from feudalism to modernity: a Magna Mundi historybook AAR

    "I was a fan of Lords of Prussia and your French sequel is just as good if not even better." --Jape
    Lords of France: Roads to the Enlightenment: A Magna Mundi historybook AAR

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