1635-1680. Part 5.
1644-1680. Sharing a close tie..France and Poland suffer devastating defeats.
France & Poland
France is split almost in half with the Spanish taking possession of Peitou, Berri, Bourgogne after several disastrous wars against the Dutch and the Spanish from 1635-1645. A war against England in 1652 with support from Poland brings Prussia in on the English side. Thorn is captured by the Poles after bloody fighting, whilst the Poles are forced to search for a quick peace due to the secession of the Ukraine. Despite this a French army arrives in the Baltic and lays siege to Konigsberg, the capital of Prussia. After several unsuccessful stormings of this extremely well defended city, it is captured and the French take control of the territory (eastern Prussia). Prussia has been partitioned between Poland and France, this time decisively. The war against England turns into a stalemate and a status quo is signed in 1660. In Nov 1660, just before the conclusion of a defensive alliance with the Poles (who themselves have been seriously weakened), the Turks declare war on France .. battles occuring in Turkish Tyrol (formerly Austrian territory) and French Helvetia. The French plead for Polish assistance against this onslaught of eastern alliance, though the Poles refuse due to three key issues. Despite this the war ends in a status quo.
a} They themselves have been involved in several disastrous wars in the last 25 yrs, after the high of the victorious war against the Ottomans. They are in no position to fight the combined Ottoman armies right now. Especially since the Turks and Crimeans themselves border part of their country.
b} The independence of the Ukraine. For the 2nd time in this GC. This time however it seems like it will likely last for quite some time.
c} Sweden joining with the Ottoman alliance. Had the Poles dec war on the alliance, not only Ottoman armies, but Swedish as well would have flooded the country bringing total destruction.
The Poles, meanwhile weakened and busy fighting very resistant Cossack armies in their eastern territories are invaded by the Hanseatic league together with their allies, the Teutonic Order. The Order moves into Polotsk, storming the city with few losses whilst a huge Hanseatic army in excess of 40,000 moves into eastern Pommeria and lays siege to Kolberg. (remembering that e. pommeria was ceded to the Poles some while back after the Hansa was defeated together with the Order some 100+ yrs ago). Seems the Hansa has taken advantage of Polish weakness. Kolberg capitulates within a week and the Poles are forced into peace negotiations, worried about a possible Muscovite invasion. E. Pommeria is given to the Hansa, whilst Polotsk is given back to the Poles. Despite this, the Muscovites now declare war on the Poles in 1662. Lipetsk and Tambov fall to the Muscovites (far, far Polish territories once belonging to the Muscovites and Kazan previous to 1520.) despite Muscovite losses to much smaller Polish armies. The Tsar demands the secession of these two territories (s.e of Moscow) in exchange for peace, else he'll move further west..). The Poles must accept. In 1665 despite the taking of several Cossack cities and fortresses the |Poles, totally exhausted must look for peace, taking back Pripet, Chernigov and Belgorod, leaving the Ukraine, Poltava, Kremetjug and Podolia in Ukranian hands on sign of cease-fire.
It's been a bad 20+ years for the French and Poles, they are staring at possible oblivion.
1670-1680 French-Polish-Dutch-Spanish wars.
The French involve themselves with three difficult wars within the course of this decade. Two wars are thought against the Dutch (1670-71, 1676-80) and one against the Spanish from 1675-76. The French are defeated soundly by the Dutch in both cases, though they do manage to hold out very well against the Spanish recovering some of the territory that was ceded to the Spanish previously. Despite this, the 1676-80 war is the most costly and devastating. The French declare war in early 1676 hoping to recover some lost ground against the Dutch. The Dutch armies however, move through n. France like a hot knife through butter. Between Jan-April of 1677, Paris, Orleans, Reims and Calais falls to the unstoppable Dutch force. The French meanwhile are unable to retake Auxerre. In December, 1677 the Dutch are even so bold enough as to try a coastal invasion of eastern Prussia (Konigsberg, French territory), though they are annihilated to a man as a combined force of 59,000 French and 30,000 Poles overwhelms the 20,000 man Dutch expaditionary force, defeating them from the walls of Konigsberg and then routing them on the field during the retreat. Despite this, the Dutch continue to hold strong ground in n. France, the French unable to conscript decisively large armies to throw the well established invader out. In Jan 1680, Orleans and Picardre is handed over to the Dutch for the price of peace. Much of south west / central and ne/western French territory is now in Dutch and Spanish hands. The Dutch especially have taken some rather wealthy French provinces .. If the Dutch and Spanish ever ally officially, France is doomed unless she can secure more powerful allies closer to home. Deary me, imagine an English-Dutch-Spanish alliance? France would be toast. It could be the mirror equivalent of a Swede-Muscovite-Turk alliance against the Poles. The Poles are unable to help militarily due to the threat hanging over them with the Hansatic alliance as well as the still independent Ukraine (allied with Moldavia), and possibly Sweden and Turkey. So .. it seems after 2 centuries of expansion and victory on the field, Polish and French power is slowly starting to crumble...