Interlude: Long Live King Henry VII
The year of our lord 1492. King Henry VII sits the throne of England and I, his most loyal and dedicated advisor have been charged with assisting his majesty in the care and defence of the realm. In many private council sessions his majesty confides in me a desire to make England one of the truly great nations of Europe. France and Spain, he reveals, have for too long lorded their suzerainty and it was time to take both down a peg or two. I counsel that perhaps it would be wiser to concentrate on one enemy at a time – the French have long been our staunchest foe and our current alliance with Spain would make them a more likely bed partner. The King agrees, but says he likes not my metaphor, and would I kindly desist from such un-Christian imagery…
After further debate and discussion, I present a plan to his majesty - the full scope of which will be revealed in the fullness of time - which I believe will assure that England’s rise to power, whilst not necessarily the most dramatic or immediate, will surely bring long-term, sustainable gain to the nation. The King agrees that the plan is sound and I even go so far as to encourage his Majesty to believe that it was mostly his idea in the first place. I am dismissed by the King, and put our plans into action:
Stage I. A new direction for England:
Norfolk, our most able and loyal general, brings his army, currently guarding the Marches from our old enemy the Scots, southwards, and my lord Suffolk is sent west with his Army of Marches. The Home Fleet sails to Lands End. 5,000/1,000 new recruits are commissioned in Anglia to defend the realm in Norfolk's absence.
The King makes a public proclamation that the perfidious French shall gain no foothold on these Isles within five years, or he is not the rightful King of England. We also dispatch a merchant venturer for the CoT in Flandres.
Norfolk & Suffolk’s armies arrive in Cornwall. Trade expands in Flandres and word arrives that Turkey has gone to war with the neighbouring Mameluks.
The Home Fleet arrives at Lands End and Norfolk & Suffolk embark.
The Home Fleet sets sail... for the western Mediterranean.
Brandenburg proposes a Royal Marriage. It is considered politic to accept their offer and a cousin of the King is wed to a duchess’ daughter. Word arrives from our great friend and ally Spain that they have completed the holy Reconquista and driven the Moorish infidel from their shores. Great rejoicing by all Christendom.
Another merchant is sent to Flandres and puts a Danish trader out of business. Hannover, neighbour of Brandenburg, also proposes a Royal Marriage. It would seem churlish to refuse…
Conquest of Tunisia (September 1492 - August 1493)
The first step in our long-term plan is put into action. In order to gain a foothold in the Mediterranean, a suitable base of operations must be taken for the Crown. We initially considered assisting our allies by seizing Granada from the Moors, but the lack of a viable sea port made us re-think. Algiers, Maroc and Morocco all appear too strong a prospect, but there, nestled between Algiers and Tripolotania, is Tunisia. A solitary province, without allies, thinly defended and capable of supporting some 50,000 troops in peacetime. The perfect target.
On the 12th we declare war on Tunisia. We lack Casus Belli and many nobles of the realm are concerned that so distant a prospect will not actually enhance our holdings and will rather imperil our position in the region (-2 stability, down to –1). The King begs their patience and the attack proceeds. Norfolk (8,419/1,684) and Suffolk (4,127/1,826) commence a landing in Tunisia. On the 23rd the Fleet comes under belated attack from 15 Tunisian galleys.
We also dispatch another merchant to Flandres.
On the 12th Norfolk completes his landing and immediately besieges Tunis(2). Our fleet withdraws to the Sicilian coast rather than risk further damage in case a swift withdrawal is required.
Trade expands healthily in Flandres.
The Siege Continues, Tunis' walls weaken (1).
Tax 147d. We send a letter to Spain, reassuring his majesty Ferdinand that we have no designs on Sicily or Sardinia, which Ferdinand thanks us for. The Siege of Tunis weakens their defences further (0), but morale among the defenders is still strong.
February – April 1493
The Siege continues, but with no further weakening of the defences. Attrition is beginning to affect our ships. We send another merchant to Flandres. Russia declares war on Kazan.
A breakthrough : mining collapses a section of the Tunis wall (-5) and Norfolk orders an assault on May 13th. Norfolk loses 1,200 men and slays an equal number of defenders before withdrawing. Their morale, like their wall, is breaking. Tunis will be ours by summer’s end.
Our entrepreneur puts an Algerian out of business in Flandres.
June - July 1493
Further damage to Tunis (-7). Norfolk's men have recovered their morale but the defenders have also rallied and are looking strong once more.
Poland-Lithuania declares war on the Teutonic Order.
On the 10th, Norfolk prepares a fresh assault, and in the face of this, the Tunisian governor suddenly surrenders. Tunis offers a white peace which we reject and instead Tunisia is annexed. A relieved commodore Rogers sails his 15 ships into Tunis harbour for much needed resupply & repair.
We now have our foothold in the Mediterranean. All we have to do is hold it...
Stage I of the plan is complete and Stage II can shortly begin.