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Thread: A New Era for an Old Town: An Oldenburg AAR

  1. #1
    Second Lieutenant Rauchen's Avatar
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    A New Era for an Old Town: An Oldenburg AAR

    I know what you're thinking. "Oldenburg, eh? Don't hear from them too often. Why pick them?"
    Many reasons. First, I think they have an interesting position: they're the only German (as opposed to Dutch) OPM who is both a monarchy and coastal. Well, there's also Mecklenburg, but I hate their flag. (You're a German principality, not a rodeo, f*****g act like it!) Plus, Oldenburg's population is ridiculously low- just 2,001 at the start of the Grand Campaign.
    Second, I got rained in on vacation, got bored, and started writing about my new game. After a few pages, I realized I'd done too much work not to publish this.
    Third, why the hell not?

    And that's really about it. Yes, three is many. >_>

    Oh, yeah, I'd planned to do a Georgia AAR instead, but uh...I found it difficult to replicate my first game's results, and I decided a 25-year story of Georgia getting kicked around like a soccer ball between GH, Timurids, and Ottomans was a bit depressing.


    So, without further ado, let's get this show on the road!



    The Duchy of Oldenburg-Saxe-Lauenburg-Lüneburg

    Starting Point: October 14, 1399
    Version: DW 5.1
    Settings: All Normal, except Lucky Nations set to None
    Style: Narrative (though not all of it will be down on the personal level)

    Rules

    Reloads are only acceptable in the event of a ridiculous, unrealistic, gamebreaking event, ie 50,000 Oldenburgers getting wiped out by 500 soldiers because they were feeling down in the dumps. Or if I get annexed and the public asks that I take another shot. Otherwise, no reloading.

    Missions must be completed unless they're also ridiculous. (Example: Forcelimit of, say, 300, army of 150, and get the mission "create an army for our nation.")

    No wars without a Casus Belli

    Other than that, pretty much anything goes. Except cheats.


    Alright, let's go!



    Table of Contents

    The Reign of Duke Christian VI the Crusader von Oldenburg
    Chapter 1: So It Begins... (October 14, 1399 - January 1, 1400)
    Chapter 2: Elevation of the Oldenburgers (January 1, 1400 - August 7, 1400
    Chapter 3: Herzog, We Have a Problem (August 7, 1400 - December 3, 1401)
    Chapter 4: Things Fall Apart (March 5, 1402 - May 18, 1404)
    Chapter 5: Silver Tongues and Steel Swords (May 20, 1404 - April 30, 1405)
    Chapter 6: Don't Stop Believing (April 30, 1405 - December 6, 1406)
    Chapter 7: The Fruits of Victory (April 20, 1407-July 23, 1409)

    The Reign of Dietrich Fortunatus von Oldenburg
    Chapter 8: Blood, Sand, and Iron (November 28, 1409 - August 24, 1411)
    Chapter 9: An Unexpected Guest (August 25, 1411 - February 3, 1414)
    Chapter 10: Gott Mit Uns (February 4, 1414 - August 19, 1415)
    Chapter 11: Well, Damn. (October 7, 1415 - December 25, 1415)
    Chapter 12: A Highway to Hell (February 4, 1416 - February 22, 1417)
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    Lt. General homy_dog34's Avatar
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    Dat attachment.

    Otherwise, it looks good. I'll be following to see where this goes!
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  3. #3
    Second Lieutenant Rauchen's Avatar
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    Chapter 1: So It Begins...



    The County of Oldenburg is a remote principality on the northern coast of the Holy Roman Reich, ruled by the capable diplomat Christian VI von Oldenburg (ADM 4, DIP 6, MIL 4), descendent of one of the most aged dynasties in Germany; perhaps therein lays the origin of the name. In a sense, Christian VI was fortunate; he had succeeded to the throne just one year earlier, in early 1398, after the death of his father, Christian V, who had been forced to accept joint rule of Oldenburg, first with his brother, Konrad II, and later with his nephew, Maurice II. Christian VI, however, ruled singularly. His heir was not of his own issue, but was his little brother of nine years, who’s ability to dodge trouble in his youthful escapades had already earned him the nickname “Dietrich der Glücklich,” or Dietrich the Lucky. While not exceptionally skilled, the younger von Oldenburg was already showing a certain aptitude for diplomacy and administration, but remained disinterested in combat.
    The County has never been a major player in Imperial or European politics, having been born into statehood as vassals of the Saxon dukes, a status which had only ended when the venerable Kaiser Friedrich I Barbarossa dissolved the Duchy of Saxony in 1180 AD. None of the Oldenburger counts had been especially noteworthy; even the dynastic founder, Elimar I, was only noteworthy for just that, founding the House of Oldenburg. Sparsely populated, consisting of a mere 2000 citizens, 1,000 feudal levies, and a further 1,000 town militia that functioned as a garrison, Oldenburg relied on its relatively rich salt mines for much of its income, though they were generally unable to capitalize on this wealth via foreign markets; more often than not, it was Hanseatic rather than Oldenburger merchants who profited from this trade.



    While the County of Oldenburg had almost naught to boast at home, they did have a relatively solid diplomatic position in the form of an alliance and trade league compact with the Hansa, the premier power of the northern section of the Reich, on account of the Margraviate of Brandenburg’s status as Jobst I von Luxemburg’s plaything- while generally seen as a personal union of sorts, the reality was that Margrave Otto I had sold his throne to Kaiser Charles IV von Luxemburg back in 1373 for the sum of 500,000 guilders. This was a fact that aggravated the Brandenburg Estates, and since the ascension of Jobst I, relations had been strained between the two far-flung states. While for now, Count Christian VI could rest easy knowing that the powerhouse Hanseatic League, his close ally, was the dominant force in the northern region of the empire, it was clear that in the near future, the Prince-Electors of Brandenburg would come to power in the region.



    Without further ado, let us take a closer look into the internal goings-on of the court of the not-so-significant Christian VI von Oldenburg. When one looks at the surface of Oldenburg, they saw a weak state with a weak army and a weak economy; when one delves further in, they found the situation was much worse. Despite the small size of the county, the central monarchy was almost utterly lacking in authority; most of the taxes were administered by the Oldenburg Estates, the landed nobles, who kept a fairly large sum of the revenue for their own devices before somewhat reluctantly handing it over to the County. The aristocrats held a great deal of authority over the state in other respects, as well; the Counts of Oldenburg accepted their crown from the noble-run Landtag, and the peasants were bound to the Estate upon which they were born, with almost no ability to leave. While this ensured that Oldenburg’s population was relatively stable, it also prevented anyone but the nobility from advancing in the society. The localized interests of the landed nobility encouraged them to lobby the Count to maintain a large degree of protectionism, a system which may have worked for trade republics like Venezia, Genoa, and the Hansa, but was stifling for a small state like Oldenburg. Militarily, there was almost no standing doctrine aside from a slight focus on the army rather than Oldenburg’s minute flotilla. The army of feudal levies was loyal to the Estates first and the County second, and their equipment varied from area to area, but the Oldenburger army overwhelmingly relied on poorly-trained spearmen, as that weapon was the easiest for a recruit to use. Finally, like all European states, there was a degree of religious fervor within the realm, but Oldenburg was relatively open-minded, compared to many of its German and Dutch neighbors, a fact that did little to especially endear them to the Pope.



    Oldenburg was averagely engaged in encouraging cultural tradition within the state, but its small population and smaller aristocracy prevented it from gaining any significant advisers for the court. Even now, court politics were centered more around various noble interests rather than any advisers loyal to the crown, something which Christian VI hoped to change.



    Christian VI, while rather lackluster when it came to military organization, was surprisingly adept when it came to leading an army; certainly, he was no Hannibal Barca or Friedrich Barbarossa, but he was a cut above many of his predecessors in this regard.



    Meager beginnings, to be sure. But Rome was not built in a day, Christian VI was fond of saying; from a single city, an empire could be born, though he would dejectedly admit it was unlikely to happen during his reign. There were many battles to be fought, at home and abroad, before Oldenburg could claim its place as a power.


    Count Christian VI von Oldenburg sat upon the gilded throne in the small citadel that functioned as the seat of government for his principality, arms folded as he irritably surveyed an assembly of nobles gathered in his tiny throne room. It was the same scene as just about every other day in Oldenburg; one Estate representative would present a complaint against a rival Estate, the representative of which would immediately appeal to the Count for support, each hoping to further his own position. In this case, it was an argument over the sale of the products of one of Oldenburg’s more profitable salt mines, which sat directly on the boundary between the Estate of the von Gundingen and von Derfflinger families; Baron Emelrich von Gundingen had claimed that his rival, Heinrich von Derfflinger, had illegally seized a shipment mined by Gundingen’s serfs, while Derfflinger insisted that the salt had been mined from a section of the mine beneath his soil, and he was therefore well within his rights to take and sell it. It was a rare situation, simply because the rest of the Estates had opted against choosing sides, leaving it entirely to the Count.

    “There are documents!” Emelrich von Gundingen roared, pointing a finger at Derfflinger. “Those who gather the resources in disputed areas are entitled to sell those resources!”

    “A load of horse dung,” Derfflinger snorted. “My family’s claim to the region outdates yours by over a century. By rights, all of that salt is mine; I am doing you a favor by not seizing control of the whole thing.”

    “Are you threatening me?” Gundingen demanded hotly, taking a step forward, but halting as two palace guards banged their spears ominously against the cold stone floor.

    Count Christian sighed. “I grow weary of this petty dispute; I have ruled on it no less than five times in the last year, and I’m beginning to think my leniency is encouraging this bad behavior.”

    “Oh, not at all, Your Comital Grace,” Gundingen said hurriedly, bowing respectfully. “If the honorable Freiherr von Derfflinger would actually recognize those agreements, this issue would halt.”

    “As I recall,” Derfflinger said coolly, “His Comital Grace ruled in my favor the last two times you brought this up.”

    “Enough,” Christian VI snapped, cutting off a reply from Gundingen. “As of right now, the Gundingen-Derfflinger mine is to be placed under county control.”

    “What?!” the feuding nobles gasped, staring incredulously at their liegelord.

    “This is an outrage!” Derfflinger growled, pointing a finger at Christian. “What about our privileges?”

    “You’ve proved you are both unworthy of those privileges,” Christian replied coldly. “Rest assured, you shall both receive royalties from the profits of those salt sales when they go to market in Lübeck, provided neither of you hinder the transport of those goods.”

    Before either baron could raise another objection, the sound of slow clapping echoed through the chamber from near the back of the room, and all turned to see Reinhard Hinrichs, an influential trader with ties to many of the greater aristocratic families of Oldenburg, walking steadily to the front of the room. The assembled nobles gave just enough space for him to walk to the front between Derfflinger and Gundingen. “A most wise move, Your Comital Grace,” he said, smiling as he dipped into a low bow. “We cannot allow such lowly squabbles to compromise the greatness of our state. Taking control of this vital mine and removing the local tolls on its trade will be an excellent first step into asserting ourselves abroad.”

    “Asserting ourselves abroad?” Gundingen laughed. “What concern are foreign lands to us? We have an excellent system going here; for nigh on four centuries it has kept Oldenburg afloat. Why break that trend now?”

    “The world is changing, Freiherr von Gundingen,” Reinhard said coolly. “The Luxemburgs and the Habsburgs grow stronger by the day, while the Oldenburgs stand idly by, allowing local interest to run rampant even as the world moves around us. If we are to keep pace with any of our neighbors, we must accept that protectionism will get us nowhere so long as we rely on foreign markets for our trade income.”

    “That is folly,” Derfflinger declared. “If His Comital Grace insists on stomping on our privileges, then he shall find no support from Derfflinger merchants.”

    “Nor from those of House Gundingen,” his rival added.



    “That is well enough,” Christian VI said absently. “I took the liberty of having the honorable Lord Hinrichs dispatch a couple of extra traders to Lübeck with our salt. We should receive results within a month or two.”

    Derfflinger’s eyes bulged furiously. “Our salt? You mean my shipment?”

    “No, he means my shipment,” Gundingen reminded him.

    “No, I mean the crown’s shipment,” Christian replied. “Remember? I just took control of the mines. Can you really not remember? Truly, I must have made a wise decision to take the mines if neither of you can remember an event that occurred mere minutes ago.”

    There was a disembodied laugh then, not from the back of the room, but from behind Count Christian VI, just before another figure emerged from the shadows behind the throne; the bearded countenance of nobleman Freidrich August Engel, a statesman who had received training in the Thuringian city of Dresden in his early years. “Friends, you cannot fault His Comital Grace for this effort. He seeks only to strengthen our principality through commerce. Money brings power, and the more wealth we have in Oldenburg, the more there is to go around, no? It is time to begin setting aside our small-scale mercantile disputes in favor of operating as a collective. Only by working together can Oldenburg’s traders rival those of Holland and the Hansa; if we continue to argue with and tax one another’s shipments, we are weakening ourselves to the advantage of our rivals, are we not?”

    A murmur of general assent went up among the assembled nobles, save for Gundingen and Derfflinger, who exchanged mutinous glances. Neither were happy with how this routine dispute was turning out.

    “I have ruled, and so it shall be,” Christian VI declared, taking his scepter from beside the throne and banging it twice against the ground. “The mines are to be placed under county control, and levies on the transport of those goods are to be lessened.”

    Reinhard and Friedrich Augustus took up positions on either side of the elevated throne, looking out over the assembled nobles. The latter nodded and said, “It is settled. Are there any other plaintiffs who wish to bring a dispute to the court?”

    There was silence; clearly, none of the remaining nobles wished to see their own claims be compromised by a sudden surge in monarchical dedication. Christian VI smiled amiably and said, “If that is all, I would thank you all for your time. You are dismissed.”

    With that, the palace guards began ushering the affronted aristocrats from the room, a process which took no less than five minutes, and the wrought iron doors were slammed shut as the robes of the last nobleman whipped behind him as he exited. When he was confident that the nobility were out of hearing range, Christian VI allowed himself a hearty laugh. “Well done, you two,” he said, grinning like a hyena. “You have both earned a place at my court, if you so choose to accept.”

    “But of course,” Reinhard said, smiling. “It would be an honor to serve my liege in such a capacity.”

    “Likewise,” Friedrich added.

    “Good,” the Count said, nodding in satisfaction. “So, what is the next order of business?”

    “Well, I would avoid doing anything to further aggravate the Estates,” Friedrich advised. “It is rare for an Oldenburgian Count to move contrary to the will of the nobility, even in such a relatively minor manner. Now I would recommend doing something to appease their interests, though not in such a way as to harm our domestic policy.”

    “Such as?”

    “Many of the Estates do feel that Oldenburg is somewhat…excluded from Imperial politics, what with our far-off location from the court in Prague,” the statesman said. “In order to remedy this, many feel that we should extend our dynastic ties to nearby states. The strongest faction are those favoring ties with our Dutch neighbors in Friesland, where the van Wassenburg dynasty has just risen to power. Count Hendrik III of Friesland has no heirs at present, and many others view his claim to that region to be shaky at best. I would suggest marrying your daughter, Anna, to Hendrik; if things work out well, we could convince the Imperial community that we have a legitimate claim to the Frisian throne. If not, well, we have a new friend, and it is good to have friends.”

    “Make it happen,” Christian VI nodded.


    “Of course, my liege. Anything else?”

    “Ja. Dispatch diplomats to Braunschweig, Hesse, Saxe-Lauenburg, and Kleve,” the count ordered. “Offer a military alliance with the Hessians and Cleves, and see about arranging state marriages with Braunschweig and Lauenburg.”

    “Ja, meinen Graf,” Friedrich bowed again. “By your leave?“

    „Go.“

    With that, the statesman turned and strode across the throne room to the wrought iron doors, which were opened by the two guards stationed by it on the inside. Christian watched him go before turning to his right and looking up at Reinhard. “As for you…keep an eye on Derfflinger and Gundingen and let me know when word arrives from your merchants in Lübeck.”

    “Jawohl,” the nobleman replied simply. “By your leave?”

    Christian nodded impatiently, and the trader marched from the hall through the open doors.


    Christian VI von Oldenburg’s overtures worked almost flawlessly; Henrik III van Wassenburg was eager to cement his claim to Friesland, and there were few better ways to do so than through state marriages. Unfortunately, he was already promised to a Frisian noblewoman, and so Anna von Oldenburg was married, instead, to the Duke of Saxe-Lauenburg. Landgrave Hermann II von Hessen and Duke Adolf I von der Mark of Hesse and Kleve, respectively, were eager to have an ally on the northern coast, each deciding that it could only help their position in northern Germany. The Braunschweiger and Lauenburger sovereigns were both more than willing to marry into one of the oldest German dynasties in existence, even despite their weak standing in the Empire.
    With ties established with Friesland, the Estates shifted their focus, oddly enough, to the Nordsee, and began insisting that, despite Oldenburger-Frisian relations, it was in the state’s interest to build up a navy superior to that of the Dutch minor. Count Christian VI was willing to admit that naval superiority could be a boon, but the problem really came down to funding; the Frisian fleet consisted of two carracks and two cogs, whereas the Oldenburgian fleet consisted of a single cog, the Graf Anton Günther. Even if they took the cheapest rout and built a fleet of galleys (which would be foolish, in the open waters of the Nordsee), it would still cost about 36 ducats. With current funds, the County could build up to three galleys or two cogs, but either one would be useless without large ships to form the backbone of the navy; even a single carrack was out of reach for the Oldenburger administration at present. Christian VI toyed with the idea of abandoning this quest, but decided, instead, to make a steady move in that direction and ordered the construction of a new cog, which, at the insistence of his councilors, he christened the Christian VI.
    Then, there was the problem of finances. Although the treasury, at 20 ducats, was solid, the state was facing a potential deficit if more income wasn’t added to the company; Christian VI had little alternative but to pray that his merchants would find success in Lübeck.


    At the onset of November, Lord Reinhard Hinrichs returned to the citadel with good news; he had received a dove from Lübeck, and his two associates had met a certain amount of success. The first merchant had failed to establish himself in the center of trade, but his competition had driven a Bremian trader to bankruptcy, leaving an opening for the second merchant to set up shop in the Bremian’s vacated warehouse. Furthermore, Lord Friedrich August Engel’s efforts had smoothed over tensions with the Gundingen faction, and he had accepted the loss of his mining rights in exchange for a fair royalty from the sales.


    Unfortunately, December brought bittersweet news. The good news was that the Derfflingers and their allies had also let the issue of the salt mines go; the bad news was that Count Hendrik III’s wife had birthed a son and heir, Willem Frederik, preventing Count Christian VI from pressing claims on the region.


    On the plus side, Oldenburg’s ambassador to Saxe-Lauenburg revealed that the aging Erich IV Askanier, reigning since 1368, had no legal heir, and already, a number of the Estates supported a union with Oldenburg if he were to die, even without a formal claim to the local throne.

    Christian VI convened a meeting at the onset of the new century with his advisers and a handful of leading Estates representatives to determine a course of action in this issue, not sure of what he wished to do with his potential claim.

    “Seize it,” Herr Joachim von Delmenhorst urged, leaning over the table. “No one will take us seriously if we do not reach out and take advantage of opportunities as they present themselves. Saxe-Lauenburg is a small state, doing naught with the land they have been gifted with. Already, their Estates look to us for guidance, and who are we to deny them?”

    “Saxe-Lauenburg is allied with Köln, and guaranteed by Braunschweig,” Freiherr Emelrich von Gundingen reminded him, tapping his finger on the table.

    “And we are allied with the Hansa, Hesse, and Kleve,” Friedrich August Engel reminded Gundingen in turn. “Additionally, the sovereigns of Saxe-Lauenburg enjoy the privileges and respect owed to a Duke of the Holy Roman Empire. If we take their throne, that respect becomes owed unto us, and His Comital Grace shall be addressed, not as a mere count, but as the Duke of Oldenburg-Saxe-Lauenburg.”

    “Seems like a bit of a mouthful,” Heinrich von Derfflinger joked.

    “If we wait,” Engel continued, ignoring Derfflinger, “then Duke Erich IV will search for a way to secure his position, through alliances or guarantees from greater powers, until Duchess Anna bears him a child and secures his family’s claim. If we act now, we will quadruple our taxable population.”

    “We don’t even border them!” Gundingen protested.

    Christian VI waited patiently as Engel, Gundingen, and Delmenhorst argued over the issue, occasionally exchanging wry comments with Reinhard Hinrichs as the debate went on. After a solid quarter hour of bickering, Engel finally said, “Ultimately, the decision falls to His Comital Grace.” With that, the assembled representatives looked expectantly to their liege, who yawned, stretched, and scratched his chin.

    “I do believe,” he said at length, “that we must start somewhere, if we are to assert ourselves as an international power, and get the ear of the Kaiser. Saxe-Lauenburg is somewhere. Friedrich, draft the claim and have it distributed throughout Lauenburg.”

    “By your will, meinen Graf,” the statesman nodded, smiling beneath his full beard.


    And so it was that the Count of Oldenburg declared himself the rightful Duke of Saxe-Lauenburg. The action received mixed responses from Oldenburg’s ties abroad; Hesse and Kleve both offered nominal support, while Friesland and Braunschweig protested what they viewed as a powerplay- not without merit, of course. The Hansa, on the other hand, declared full support for the Oldenburgian count.
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  4. #4
    Lost in Time Ashantai's Avatar
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    I really enjoyed reading this. A full narrative of this sort is very rare, and the dialogue and characterisation is very good.

    My only fear is how you can possibly keep up this level of detail for more than a few posts, let alone 420 years!

    Eagerly awaiting more.
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  5. #5
    Lt. General homy_dog34's Avatar
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    This is good, however, I do find one thing that could make it all better.

    You shouldn't group all of that text together into one group. It would be better to have an extra return in between each paragraph/dialogue switch. Believe me, it makes things much easier to read.

    That said, this is really good. I hope you continue on this!
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  6. #6
    Second Lieutenant Rauchen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ashantai View Post
    I really enjoyed reading this. A full narrative of this sort is very rare, and the dialogue and characterisation is very good.

    My only fear is how you can possibly keep up this level of detail for more than a few posts, let alone 420 years!

    Eagerly awaiting more.
    Believe me, this was the result of a conscious effort to minimize the detail so I wouldn't have 10 pages just on the first few years. I'd love to make the characters, especially the kings, more dynamic, but if I were to put that much effort into it...well, I may as well write a book and make some money off of it. :P

    I can probably manage it most of the way through, but don't expect it to be done in a matter of days/weeks, especially once school starts back up. Writing is how I kill time, so count on semi-regular updates for a good while. I'll have to change my style of writing them up, though, since writing the narratives takes a decent chunk of time. I'll probably start writing a general overview and then going back to slip the narratives in.

    Thanks for your interest!

    Quote Originally Posted by homy_dog34 View Post
    This is good, however, I do find one thing that could make it all better.

    You shouldn't group all of that text together into one group. It would be better to have an extra return in between each paragraph/dialogue switch. Believe me, it makes things much easier to read.

    That said, this is really good. I hope you continue on this!
    Yeah, that's the main issue with the narrative sections is the size. I'll try to take a few extra screenshots for filler, but that won't help the next update, since it's pretty much done. But I'll fix the spacing so it's not just a massive wall of text.

    Stay tuned.

  7. #7
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  8. #8
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    Looks interesting,wil follow
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  9. #9
    Colonel vasziljevics's Avatar
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    yeah, let's see where this goes.

  10. #10
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    Oldenburg? Well, good luck to you.
    AARs:

    -A More Imperfect Union [COMPLETE]: http://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/...1#post16196641

    -Down South in Dixie [IN PROGRESS] : http://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/...3#post16954663

  11. #11
    Second Lieutenant Rauchen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Avindian View Post
    Keep it up!
    Thanks for the support.

    Quote Originally Posted by videonfan View Post
    Looks interesting,wil follow
    Welcome to the party.

    Quote Originally Posted by vasziljevics View Post
    yeah, let's see where this goes.
    Left?

    Quote Originally Posted by trekfan View Post
    Oldenburg? Well, good luck to you.
    Hey, if Poland can into space, why not Oldenburg? :P
    May you be touched by his noodly appendage, good sir.

  12. #12
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    Chapter 2: The Elevation of the Oldenburgers


    Christian VI was well aware that it would be difficult for Oldenburg’s small army to reach Lauenburg, but that was where the Hansa would be useful; they would be able to launch their attacks against Lauenburg, wipe out the resistance, and hold the local fortress under siege until his army could reach it via sea. As for Braunschweig and Köln...he was counting on Kleve and Hesse to keep them busy. With that in mind, he issued a formal declaration of war on March 2, 1400.



    The two coalitions quickly and entirely came together; the Hansa, Kleve, and Hesse declared their support for the Oldenburgian claim, motivated in part by the opportunity to strike at their rivals of Saxe-Lauenburg, Köln, and Braunschweig, respectively. Foolish as they may have been in opposing him, Christian VI had some respect for both Köln and Braunschweig for their willingness to support their ally against a strong North German coalition.


    As Christian VI prepared to embark for Lauenburg by way of Hamburg, Friedrich August Engel immediately began taking advantage of the situation by imposing a war tax, authorized by his liege in order to help pay for the war. Oldenburg’s feudal levies were boarded on crowded accommodations upon the Graf Anton Günther and the “navy” set sail; just days later, they arrived in the city of Hamburg, and a Hanseatic official graciously offered them supplies, lodging, and the right to port in Hamburg harbor. Christian VI spent a single day in Hamburg before marching for Lauenburg; upon arrival, he discovered that the Hanseatic army under Statthalter Wilfried Gossler had, as expected, already destroyed the Lauenburger army and laid siege to the city.



    Christian VI arrived at Lauenburg at the head of a ragtag column of citizen soldiers, many of whom had never even left Oldenburg in their lives, and astride a mere handful of knights, who functioned more as his personal guard than an actual cavalry contingent. While the knights themselves were, as always, an impressive sight, with their shining steel plate and mail, fluttering banners, and bright livery, the levies were an entirely different story. Most were armored in nothing more than boiled leather jerkins and cowls, though about one in five was lucky enough to have light chainmail, and a few could be seen who had been grabbed at the last second and therefore only had their roughspun tunics and a spear. Each man carried a round shield painted in the colors of the Oldenburgian banner, alternating yellow and red stripes and their long spears; a good number were also equipped with swords or axes, but many had to rely on whatever they’d had at home or a simple dagger for hand-to-hand combat.


    Count Christian had intended to arm a number of his troops with bows, but hadn’t had the time, so his only archers were around a hundred men who had brought their hunting bows to war. Another notable difference between the knights and the levies was the way in which they organized themselves: the heavy horse was marching in a relatively even line, while the infantry were alternately scattered and clustered as they trailed behind their count. Generally, levies from the same Estate marched together, casting uncertain looks at the other men.

    On the horizon, Christian VI could see the fluttering red and white flags of the Republic of the Hansa, raised around the northern, eastern, and western sides of the fortified city of Lauenburg an der Elbe. Beyond them, he could just make out the banners of the Saxe-Laueburgers, flying high and defiantly upon the walls of the doomed city. South of that, a handful of Hanseatic riverboats had taken control of the Elbe, preventing resupply from the river. Christian nodded with approval; Statthalter Gossler knew what he was doing.

    As they neared the northwestern side of the Hanseatic siege, they were met by a handful of light cavalry scouts, who paid their respects to the Oldenburgian count and offered to take him to Statthalter Gossler’s command tent, tucked away in a forest north of the city. Christian gracefully accepted, and set Johann Engel, younger brother of Statesman Friedrich August Engel, to take his infantry to join the Hanseatic siege while he met with the Hanseatic leader, while taking his compliment of 25 heavy cavalry with him as insurance against any raids by Laueburgian loyalists outside the city.

    The Hanseatic base of operations was a ring of about thirty tents inside a clearing within the forest, protected by a sizable detachment of Hanseatic infantry and obviously housing the upper nobility and influential merchants that had accompanied Statthalter Gossler to the battlefield. The advantage of Hanseatic society, Christian VI reflected as he trotted along behind the light cavalry, was that they weren’t as severely restrained by aristocratic tendencies and restrictions as states like Oldenburg. This meant that they could recruit their heavy cavalry, not just from the nobility, but from the merchant class, as well, and wealth could flow more freely throughout the society, rather than being concentrated in the hands of a few dozen families. One thing which he did not approve of, though, was the pace at which they replaced their leaders; choosing a new head of state every few years seemed far too unstable.


    The Hanseatic and Oldenburger men dismounted at the edge of the ring of tents, and the commanding scout called for a few squires to come over and take their horses before leading the Oldenburgian count to the biggest tent, located directly in the center of the ring and guarded by four plate-armored, halberd-wielding men, two of which had their weapons crossed over the entrance. “Who is this?” one demanded, pointing at the assembled Oldenburgers. “Why are they here?”

    The young merchant’s son in charge of the scouts started to reply, but Christian placed a hand on his shoulder, shook his head, and stepped in front of the guards. “I am Christian VI von Oldenburg, Count of Oldenburg and Duke of Saxe-Lauenburg. I’m here to see Statthalter Gossler.”

    The guards’ demeanor changed instantly as they lifted their halberds and the challenger quickly said, “My most sincere apologies, Your Grace,” and bowed down low. “I had thought you may have been a captured Lauenburger.”

    “It’s quite alright,” Christian VI said, waving his hand dismissively.

    “Please, go on in,” the guard said, holding open the tent flap for the leader.

    Christian found the Hanseatic Statthalter standing over a map table inside the tent, surveying a map that showed the city of Lauenburg and the surrounding area in startling detail. Wilfried Gossler was an unremarkable looking man with a rather remarkable aptitude for all aspects of governance; he was of average height with short brown hair, pale skin, brown eyes, and a full beard speckled with flecks of gray. Surprisingly, he was alone at this time, unlike most leaders, who had their noble lieutenants to wait on their every word and weigh in on the situation at all times. Seeing this, Christian ordered his own men to wait outside.

    Gossler heard this command and looked up from the table to give the aspiring duke a grin. “Ah, the ambitious Count of Oldenburg has come to join us. I trust your trip was a pleasant one?”

    “Well met, Wilfried,” Christian VI said with a grin, shaking hands with his republican counterpart. “Yes, your station chief in Hamburg was most accommodating; I’d like to thank you personally for allowing my transport safe haven in your ports for the duration of the conflict.”

    “’Tis nothing, friend,” Gossler said, waving his hand. “Anything for an ally, fellow Prince, and trade league member.”

    “I apologize for not being able to arrive sooner,” Christian said, walking back around the table as he observed the map, which was also covered in what looked like silver statuettes of infantry and horsemen, as well as some small ships on the river. “But you understand how difficult it is to get from Oldenburg to Lauenburg.”

    “Of course,” the Statthalter said, nodding. “I confess, I wondered why you would want a disjoined territory such as this to add to your holdings. Why not strike that decadent archbishop in Münster or something of that sort, first?”

    “An opportunity presented itself, so I seized it,” Christian said with a shrug. “Admittedly, my first designs had been on taking Friesland, but that damned Wassenburg found himself an heir before I could.”

    “Ah, yes, little Willem Frederik,” the Hanseatic executive said, nodding. “A pity, really. The Dutch are in need of some German guidance, I should think.”

    “Perhaps,” Christian said absently, scrutinizing a section of the map where the wall met the river. “So, how fares the siege?”


    “Well enough,” Gossler said, sweeping his arm over the map. “It’s still in its infant stages, but we’ve already laid down a perimeter along the north, west, and east, while taking control of the river. That has been the hardest part, as Erich IV’s city is equipped with ballistae on turrets that allow them to bring them to bear against my boats, so they can’t stay in the same spot for too long. My men have begun building trebuchets, though, and I suspect they shall adequately neutralize the ballistae with their superior range.”

    “Good,” Christian VI nodded. “Where should my men go?”

    “We have the entire perimeter covered, but we could always use more men in the west.” He pointed at that section. “If Erich IV attempts a breakout, then it will be in that direction, towards his allies in Braunschweig.”

    “How long can they last?”

    “Well, according to some of your local sympathizers,” Gossler said, with a wry smile, “They estimate that their duke has supplies to last about six months, a year at most. They also made us a nice gift in the form of this map and these fancy little figurines. You seem to be a man of the people, Christian. At least, the aristocrats.”

    “I aim to please,” the count said, smirking.

    “Anyway, rest assured that, upon the city’s fall, the province shall be relinquished in its entirety to your control,” Gossler continued, leaning forward to rest his hands on the table once more. “But I should tell you, there are many here in my own camp who think we should simply annex Lauenburg rather than turn it over to Oldenburg.”

    Christian VI frowned. “Why?”

    “A variety of reasons. Strategically, Lauenburg would be an excellent asset because it would link our capital in Lübeck with our enclave in Hamburg. Politically, there are more than a few Hanseatic nobles and merchants who believe that Oldenburg is too weak to deserve a prize such as Saxe-Lauenburg, considering that it isn’t even adjacent to Oldenburg or accessibly by any coast but ours or that of Bremen.”

    The Oldenburgian leader nodded; it made sense. He was lucky enough that no one aside from Köln and Braunschweig had contested his claim. “And what do you think?”

    Gossler shrugged. “You’re my ally, and I am honorbound to ensure that your goals, the very reason this war even started, are fulfilled before my own, even if it comes at a political cost.”

    Christian VI walked back around the table to stand beside his Hanseatic ally, then clasped his hand upon his shoulder and gave him a heartfelt grin. “You’re a good man, Wilfried,” he said. “The world could use more men like you.”

    “Like us,” Gossler corrected. “We do seem to be in short supply, eh? Even with all this talk of chivalry and honor that we hear so often. Perhaps we’re part of a dying breed.”

    “I should hope not,” the count observed, chuckling. “Or else the world shall be in dire straits when we are gone.”

    Gossler laughed. “Rest assured, my friend, our kind shall live forever in the Kingdom of Heaven. Of that, we can be sure.”

    “Indeed. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must return to my men. We may have a long war ahead of us.”

    “I doubt it,” the Statthalter declared. “I received a dove from Duke Hermann II, down in Hesse. He reports that the Hessian-Klevan forces have Braunschweig and Köln well in hand, so there is little chance of them threatening your home while you’re away, and I have no doubt that, if Erich IV signs a peace treaty with us, they will recognize it. To a certain extent, this is not their war.”

    “Nor is it yours,” Christian VI pointed out.

    “True, but you know what the difference is?”

    “What’s that?”

    “We will win.”


    Back home in Oldenburg, Engel’s war tax had met a certain problem; a bailiff within Oldenburg proper had been accused of embezzling funds and launching raids against the few artisans and merchants in the city who refused to meet his increased fees. The result was that a number of middle class workers, supported by the estate of the Delmenhorst family, had signed a petition requesting the removal of the corrupt bailiff. With the Count away, Engel was functioning as Viceroy of Oldenburg, and he didn’t wish to see order collapse on his watch. He ordered the immediate and public execution of the corrupt official, and left the corpse hanging from the gallows in Oldenburg’s town square as a warning to any other officials or aristocrats who got the idea of embezzling the funds from hardworking Oldenburgers.


    Meanwhile, Reinhard Hinrichs continued his efforts to expand Oldenburger trade in Lübeck, sending another pair of merchants in mid-March; they arrived a month later and reached the same results as the last pair. The competition from these two merchants had forced a merchant from Köln out of business, and while one merchant was forced to return home, the other set up shop in the abandoned Kölner shop, just down the street from the first merchant.



    The result was that Oldenburger share of Lübeck’s trade income was more than doubled, from 12 to 27 ducats, and income became a surplus of 3 ducats a year, with war taxes. Nothing to boast about, but better than it had been.



    Meanwhile, in the waters of Helgoland Bight, a combined armada of Burgundian and Breton ships swarmed the fleet of the Frisian states after Breton forces took control of Groningen and forced the Frisian navy out of harbor. With nowhere else to go, it seemed entirely likely that the Frisian fleet would be annihilated, obviating the need for an extensive Oldenburger buildup.





    With the Frisian navy destroyed, the nobility felt secure in their local seafaring power, and turned their attention back to solid ground by recommending that the County begin an arms race against neighboring Bremen, a feat that would require just one extra regiment. Problematically, Oldenburg lacked the manpower to levy a new regiment, and lacked the funds to hire mercenaries, so Christian VI decided to wait awhile before embarking on this effort.

    In August of 1400, excellent news reached the Hanseatic-Oldenburg camp: the nobles of Saxe-Lauenburg, led by none other than Christian VI’s own daughter, Anna Askanier, had thrown open the gates, deposed Erich IV, and invited the coalition into the city. That same day, a treaty was signed in which Erich IV Askanier formally abdicated, naming Christian VI his successor. In a show of mercy, the new Duke decided to allow Erich IV to seek refuge with his relatives in Anhalt, rather than executing him.



    He arrived in Laueburg as Count Christian VI von Oldenburg, and left the city as Christian VI, Duke of Oldenburg-Saxe-Laueburg.

  13. #13
    Field Marshal videonfan's Avatar
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    41 prestige?Wow
    [22:23:51] <Groogy> Mathrim, give it to me gently
    What Crusader Kings 2 makes you say:
    [19:23:43] <Duke> I just need my damn wife to die
    [19:23:48] <Duke> Then I can invade and take their shit

  14. #14
    Colonel vasziljevics's Avatar
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    yep, that prestige will do good in trade. also you've been lucky with the destruction of the Frisian fleet - may your luck be eternal

  15. #15
    Lt. General homy_dog34's Avatar
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    Well done. Hope to see this success continue!
    Want a Record? Come on over to the Europa Universalis 4 Hall of Fame!

    Check out my States Mod. In progress though, so it won't be done for a long while.

    My Inkwell: Link Here

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  16. #16
    Lost in Time Ashantai's Avatar
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    Great update, and a good result!
    A Blessing and a Curse: EUIV Narrative AAR! In Progress
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  17. #17
    Second Lieutenant Rauchen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by videonfan View Post
    41 prestige?Wow
    I rarely play games that involve PU wars, so that was a pleasant surprise for me, too. :P
    Quote Originally Posted by vasziljevics View Post
    yep, that prestige will do good in trade. also you've been lucky with the destruction of the Frisian fleet - may your luck be eternal
    Quote Originally Posted by homy_dog34 View Post
    Well done. Hope to see this success continue!
    I'm starting to think you two jinxed me. >_>

    Quote Originally Posted by Ashantai View Post
    Great update, and a good result!
    Yep. Too bad Hesse and Cleves didn't take over any of Cologne or Brunswick's provinces before that happened. I couldn't really risk waiting for results from them when it was The Hansa who controlled Lauenburg. It would've thrown a wrench in my plans if they'd annexed them.

  18. #18
    Second Lieutenant Rauchen's Avatar
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    Chapter 3: Herzog, We Have a Problem


    Shortly after his triumphant return to Oldenburg, Christian VI was chagrinned to learn that their former enemies, Braunschweig, had decided to guarantee his duchy’s independence. He supposed it would have a degree of usefulness, since the Dukes of Braunschweig were a respectable local power in their own right, and if a war came, Christian VI failed to see how having foreigners to die in the place of his own soldiers would be a bad thing.



    Duke Christian VI then commissioned a little-known Oldenburgian artist to create an elaborate tapestry, illustrating the union of Oldenburg and Saxe-Lauenburg; the tapestry, spanning over 30 feet, would depict the duke, holding his scepter in one hand while resting the other upon the hilt of his sword, observing an ensemble of Saxe-Lauenburgian nobles, bowed before him, and at their head was Erich IV Askanier, holding in his hands the city of Lauenburg, proffering it to the new liege. Behind Christian stood his army, depicted as heavy infantry wearing full plate armor, and behind the nobles, the Lauenburgian army stood with their weapons thrown to their feet, heads bowed in respect.

    The tapestry would be hung from the front of the citadel for all to see, its vivid colors visible all across the city. To protect it from the elements, a balcony was constructed overhead, with ornate stone supports on both the left and right sides of it, in the event of sideways rain.



    It soon became apparent that the remaining loyalists from Erich IV Askanier’s regime had managed to take some key positions in the administration of Saxe-Lauenburg. As a result, it was entirely likely that the hard-won state would elect a new duke if something wasn’t done quickly. The fastest way to ensure loyalty, Christian VI knew, was by buying it, even if that was something of a short-term solution. If the short-term could be secured, though, the long-term fate of Oldenburg-Saxe-Laueburg would hardly be in doubt.

    The problem of funding returned once more to haunt Duke Christian VI’s administration. They barely had enough to ensure their own needs were met, and could hardly afford to send sufficient gifts to the Laueburgian nobles to maintain their loyalty at this rate. Reluctantly, he abandoned many of his research projects and cut funding for Engel’s government programs in order to flood the treasury with revenue quickly. This wasn’t a particularly popular move, but it was necessary for the state’s survival.






    Over the course of a few months, relations with Oldenburg’s new asset reached a manageable level, and the pro-Oldenburg faction managed to stabilize the relations through a military agreement, in which they pledged, with a degree of dissent, to provide military assistance to their Oldenburgian duke. Around the same time, the Archbishop of Münster proclaimed an intent to defend the independence of the state of Oldenburg, which was useful enough. Soon after this agreement, a number of the Lauenburgian Estate owners who supported the Oldenburgian monarchy died unexpectedly, some rather suspiciously, allowing the anti-Oldenburg faction to seize power.


    Unfortunately, many of the more powerful Lauenburgian Estates were convinced that Oldenburg wasn’t strong enough to command their loyalty, and in their next exchange with Christian VI, rather than addressing him as “Your Comital Grace,” they referred to him as “Your Comical Grace,” as well as a few other…less polite “C” words. The next month, they overstepped their bounds with their appointment to the highest position in their militia…



    The wrought iron doors of the Oldenburg county citadel’s throne room were swung violently open, crashing against one wall and knocking one of the guards against the other. Christian VI von Oldenburg stormed into the chamber in a fury never before seen from the mild-mannered count, his boots thudding against the cold stone like hammer strikes and his ornate cloak flapping behind him as he strode straight across the room to the small table that was sometimes set up for his Privy Council, consisting of Lord Treasurer Reinhard Hinrichs, Statesman Friedrich August Engel, and the noblemen Joachim von Delmenhorst, Emelrich von Gundingen, and Heinrich von Derfflinger, all of whom were already present, poring over various documents and petitions. Ignoring the injured guard’s cursing as he clenched his broken nose, the Duke of Oldenburg-Saxe-Laueburg stopped at the head of the table and slammed the ducal scepter against the tabletop with such force that the center of the edge of the table splintered and the decorative piece bent.

    “Those Goddamned entitled little bastards!” he roared, walking around the table to stand beside his own chair. “I gave them gold! I gave them titles, horses, privileges! And THIS is how they repay me?!”

    The advisers and nobles were startled by the fit of rage and exchanged uncertain looks. “What seems to be the problem, meinen Herzog?” Statesman Engel said tentatively.

    “This!” he snarled, reaching into a fold of his robe to retrieve a roll of parchment, a letter sent from his daughter, Anna, who had opted to remain behind in Lauenburg to help smooth the transition. He unrolled it and loudly read, “The Administrative Council of Lauenburg has deemed fit to recall the former Duke Erich IV Askanier from his exile in the court of Anhalt to become Lord Commander of the Saxe-Lauenburg Central Militia. In this capacity, he has complete control over all aspects of the Lauenburgian army, and his supporters have begun whispering in ears across the province to gain support for renewed Lauenburgian independence.”



    He tossed the parchment to Engel and cast a cold glare around at his court. “This CANNOT stand,” he growled. “I have half a mind to march back to Lauenburg and burn every goddamned Estate I find.”

    “If I may, Your Grace?” Engel interjected.

    “What?” Christian snapped.

    “Perhaps a more tempered response is in order,” the bearded statesman began. “If the nobles of Lauenburg are conspiring against us, it is because they think us weak. We must prove them wrong. If we were to raise an extra regiment of soldiers, we would have twice the military strength of the Lauenburg nobles; we have an advantage in this regard because, aside from that central militia, there is very little willingness amongst their aristocracy to engage in a collective, unified defense. When we have this regiment, we march straight for Lauenburg and set camp right inside their city. When they see our mighty army in control of their capital, they will realize the true might that is the Oldenburg monarchy and cease to trouble us.”

    Christian VI nodded, a smile tugging at his lips. “Yes…that might do it.”

    “A fine plan,” Gundingen said, his mouth a thin line. “But where are we going to get a thousand men for military service when we only have 2,000 people throughout our entire county? It would bankrupt the estates!” The duke turned an icy glare on the nobleman, who faltered, but quickly picked his train of thought back up. “I was against this damned foolish escapade from the start! Return Saxe-Lauenburg to its rightful duke, or in your quest for glory, you will destroy Oldenburg!”

    Dead silence gripped the room as Christian’s eyes threw daggers at the sudden dissident. “Rightful duke?” he said quietly. “You insolent worm!”

    Gundingen seemed to realize the weight of what he had just said as he stammered, “I didn’t…I mean…”



    Christian casually switched his scepter to his left hand and, without warning, swung it in a backhanded motion towards Gundingen’s head. A sickening crunch resounded throughout the room as the ornate silver staff impacted with the nobleman’s mouth, followed by a resounding shriek as Gundingen’s hands flew to his mouth, even as he was knocked from his chair. He rolled over to rest on his hands and knees, spat and coughed, leaving no less than six teeth scattered on the floor amongst droplets of blood. He cast a disbelieving look up at his liegelord, while the other advisers and nobles surveyed the spectacle in silent shock.

    “You bastard!” he gasped, voice muffled through his hands. “This will be the end of you, mark my words! The Estates shall hear of this!”

    “I think not,” the duke said coolly. “Guards, take this treasonous scum to the dungeons.”

    “What?! On what charge?” the injured nobleman demanded.

    “High treason. You are charged with conspiring to bring Erich IV Askanier back to power in Saxe-Laueburg.”

    As the broken-nosed guard and one of the others seized Gundingen by each arm, the once-bold noble began to sob, blood still flowing down his chin and onto his silken clothes. He was dragged unceremoniously from the room and the door slammed behind him.

    Christian VI looked contemptuously at the teeth on the floor. “Someone clean that up,” he said, taking a seat at his throne as he examined the blood on his scepter. “Hmm…I may need a new one of these,” he casually remarked.

    “That was…uncharacteristic, milord,” Delmenhorst said nervously. “But the, ah, treasonous scum did have a valid point. We don’t have 1,000 men to put into uniform.”

    “Find a way,” Christian ordered. “I don’t care if you have to raid Friesland and Münster and ‘borrow’ men from their outlying Estates, I need those soldiers!”
    Unsurprisingly, there was no further argument from any of the other men.


    And so, the new army was gathered; Hanseatic Statthalter Wilfried Gossler generously donated 350 men to his ally’s cause, a further 250 were gathered from Oldenburgian Estates, and 400 “immigrated” from the neighboring states of Münster and Friesland, some willingly, others…not so much. With the new regiment ready, Christian VI took his army by sea to the dock at Hamburg and marched from there to set up camp within the walls of Lauenburg.




    The show of force worked. By June 1401, the insults had stopped, and the Oldenburgian army returned home. Unbeknownst to Saxe-Lauenburg, though, Christian VI had been forced to drastically cut his military spending in order to afford the upkeep on an army just as large as its host population, meaning the Oldenburgian army was basically a paper tiger. Additionally, the Archbishopric of Bremen had expanded its army to three regiments, so Oldenburgian nobles remained (in the duke's opinion, unreasonably) fearful of the Bremian army. An irritated Duke Christian VI couldn't help but wonder why the nobility would demand an army of that size, yet avoided having to contribute their own soldiers whenever possible.



  19. #19
    Lt. General homy_dog34's Avatar
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    Well, it could have been worse.

    Oh wait, did I just say that. Let's hope nothing bad comes of it...
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  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Rauchen View Post
    Well, there's also Mecklenburg, but I hate their flag. (You're a German principality, not a rodeo, f*****g act like it!)
    What have bovines ever done to you? Also subscribed.

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