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May 16, 2002
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40 Years On: Friedrich von Manstein's Brandenburg

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* * *


I was naught but a child when plucked from the bosom of my youth to serve under the harsh tongue of the Kurfürst of Brandenburg, Friedrich II. He was called The Iron or Irontooth for his fierce temper and stubborn nature. And I, not but a lad of nineteen; how was I to know that I would outlive him and go on to serve successive generations of Brandenburg nobility that went far beyond anything that Irontoothed Friedrich imagined?

My name is his, and somehow that seems ever so appropriate given what I learned under his brief tutelage and the vision he lent me to see into the great history that was to become our small marche. Yes, I am Friedrich von Manstein and this is a tale of that journey, not yet done. As I have now served for forty years, I begin to wonder if this tale will ever end. My bones now creak and my belly sags. But the coffers of the empire are healthy, or were…but we shall get to that. For now, let me begin at the beginning.

Born in a small village just west of Berlin, I was trained early on by my mother in the arts. Paint was my particular attraction and my work had grown steadily better by the time I was asked to show for the great man himself. Ushered into a grand hall that presented several of my creations, I encountered him standing in front of one particular piece that portrayed a great King gaining his due from his subjects. Friedrich II seemed awed by the work and said not a word for many a moment until I rather rudely coughed. He then turned and asked if I was the creator of such a work and I replied in the positive. He looked me up and down and then nodded his head as he strongly suggested to his advisors, “He is hired.”

Well, it is no great shock to think that I was both overjoyed and a little confused. What work did I have to do for a great ruler? I was barely able to impress my own father who was not one for the finer points in life. But it was only a matter of weeks before they had me packed and sent off to live in the great man’s own keep. My profession was to be court painter, but one would have never thought that I would assume the position I eventually received and maintain until this day. But that is for later...

Let me tell you of what I first encountered when I arrived at the Kurfürst’s court. There were two other men that seemed to hold some place of honor with Friedrich. One was Luitpold von Derfflinger, his chancellor and the man responsible for the great man’s honor and prestige with the world that surrounded him. Both diplomat and confessor, this man would be the guiding light for all of the same men I have been privileged to know and work for these many years. He was much the tutor for me and I owe him my everything and all else. The other man was less friendly but no less the teacher. Georg Peurbach was the Kurfürst’s steward and this man’s main thought at all times was finance, finance and finance once more. His only care seemed to be building up the princely coffers and in this endeavor he was not always successful, but certainly tenacious. His role in my education was to show that perseverance pays off. And I can be grateful for such a thing.


And so it was that my great shock at arriving at court was to find that my artistic sensibilities would not be listed high on the work that I was to do. Friedrich’s first offer for my talents was to design a grand building project in the middle of the town square. I assumed, “A sculptor.” Well, as I have been many times, yet again I was wrong. It was no sculpture but a grand obilesque of the roman heritage that was to proclaim that Friedrich was prepared to make this small princedom in the northern marche something far grander than anyone might assume. I was not sure exactly how to portray such a thing and one day as I pondered upon the project, the Kurfürst himself happened by. Seeing me off in the wilderness of my mind, he beckoned me to come with him. I did so, as any proper subject should do. We moved into a room with a great cloth map draped on the wall and on it stood the representation of the known world. Friedrich looked to me and said as simply as any man might, “Paint that, if you are able. And paint it with vision, boy. For that will last as long as I can keep breathe in me. We shall grow and prosper by any means necessary. Let not pride nor shortsightedness stand in your way. Present this realm with greatness and we shall become so.”


With a slap on the backside, he walked away as regally as any prince might and I was left in awe and utter confusion. But I pushed forward and when asking the Lord Chancellor how I might present the work he was kind enough to offer some constructive advice. I was to etch small tales in the side to tell the story of what was to be. Nothing more nor less. And with that, I went about my work diligently. There was no way for me to know that we would succeed on these grand designs. At the time I was simply trying to please my liege lord. But succeed we did, and in magnificent fashion.

But before there is success, there is failure to learn from. And it was not long into my working world when Brandenburg was faced with great upheaval. I had pleased the Kurfürst with my work and was privy to much of the goings on in the marche since von Derfflinger was kind enough to keep me so. We had apparently made good with the Pommeranians in the north, a ghastly sort but from my best understanding, a potential vassal in years to come. As well, we had made fine friends of the Saxons to the south and good friends they were. For when the Poles decided to declare war against the Pommeranians, both Friedrich and his Saxon allies paid heed to the call.

It was a long and tedious war and one that would deprive us of our greatest living treasure…our liege lord himself. Friedrich was cut down two years into the conflict as he pursued a fleeing army and left the princedom to his son and successor, Joachim. We were lucky to have such a gifted warrior able to fight for the cause and between himself and the heroic Friedrich Wilhelm von Bühler, the Poles were finally placated enough to leave off of war and accept peace for a minor payment. It was not the auspicious journey we all assumed we might find, but it was breathing room. And never since have the Poles even so much as attempted to invade. They did, however, destroy the Pommeranians and they have never seen freedom since.

Of course, I was crushed at the loss of a soldier and patron as fine as Friedrich, harsh tongue and all. But life does go on, and my new patron was no less the prince than his father had been. Regal and proper, even in young age with naught but one child under his belt, he was prepared to take on the realm. And he was kind to me and allowed me far more say so, whether I desired to speak or no. I plunged into my new role with vigor, as I knew I would never have life so fine as this. It was to be a glorious new age and there was scarce time to breathe as soon our marche was entangled in a furious war with neighboring Mecklenburg. Early on in my time with Friedrich (God rest his soul), I was privy to a conversation between the Kurfürst and Peurbach discussing the merits of joining in league with several of the other German state-lets of the north in what became the Hanseatic League. Friedrich was wary of such a step as it might entangle the princedom in issues he cared not for, but the steward made his case strongly. In retrospect, our Lord was right. Not long after the end of the Polish conflict, Mecklenburg and our neighbor Lüneburg who we had chosen to protect, came into conflict over trading rights. Truth to be told on the matter, it was nothing more than Mecklenburgian aggression as they had been threatening each of their neighbors thanks to hosting the great trading house at Lubeck.

Once again, the brave Joachim, never one to dishonor his father, took the call to arms with great seriousness. A touch and go thing it was and once again, we lost our great leader to the field of battle. But thankfully, the Lord above provided us with a suitable replacement in the form of his brother, the great Johann Georg, the first of that name. Immediately, the young man took to the field of battle with a fervor and grace unknown to his people at the time. For five long years the war raged on, but in closing, Brandenburg was in control of both Lüneburg (having been annexed by Mecklenburg) and their own namesake province. Our realm was on the move and with it, great men such as our prince.


The Christian world was so impressed by his steadfast support of the minor princes, that several of them gathered together on the death of the Emperor and in 1460 voted our own liege lord as die gratia Romanorum imperator electus simper augustus. It was a great day. In seven short years I had come from a small village boy to the servant of an Emperor. However, the life of the brother lasted only for a further six years when he succumbed to an illness not yet understood. Thankfully, the son of the great Joachim had come of age and was prepared to take up the mantle of both Brandenburg and the Empire, receiving a larger share of the vote this time around as the electors began to see Brandenburg as a shining beacon.


Joachim II Nestor was proclaimed both ruler and Emperor on the twentieth of June, in the year of our Lord 1466. Sad as it is to say, the poor boy lasted only seventeen months as Lord and in life. A freak riding accident took him from us before he could ever prove his greatness. And such as it was, we were hard pressed to find a new ruler. We must thank God above for providing the great Friedrich with a brother who was soon crowned by the Pope himself as Wilhelm Friedrich I. Age had slowed the man but his fire was still very much lit as he told the Holy Father himself, “God has seen such that I might make something of this life. If it happens after my prime, then so much the better.”

After his prime or no, the Emperor was as good as his word, traveling in progress to all areas of our realm; he visited nobles, merchants and peasants alike. Trips to various Cardinals ensured that his soul would be safe, and gifts aplenty to his fellow electors made it a sure thing that his son would also gain the crown once he had shuffled from this mortal coil. Wilhelm Friedrich I was also tested early when it came time to once more honor an ally’s call. As was his religious and honorific nature, he leapt at the chance to do his duty. Armed with a serviceable army, and the great leadership of both von Bühler and the crafty August Schach (a student of siege craft and a master by this time) Wilhelm went once more to war thanks to the little forethought and no advanced warning of Cologne as that Bishopric aggressively invaded neighboring Münster soon into the new Emperor’s reign.


Europe, 1466
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Oh no! Head for the hills! A real writAAR is here to blow all of our little tadpole AARs out of the pond! ;)

Nice story you have starting there. :)
HannibalBarca said:
Oh no! Head for the hills! A real writAAR is here to blow all of our little tadpole AARs out of the pond! ;)

Nice story you have starting there. :)
That's why I usually try to avoid reading other AARs... they're making me realise my lack of writing skills :p.

So far, this one looks very interesting!

This is only my first game of EUIII and I'm on patch 1.10 of course. I have had the game since Monday but have not had the time to play around with it (damn phone calls...and don't people realize there are more important things than work?) There are some things that I am still trying to get used to, and some other things I am not sure I like. But on the whole, it has hooked me as any other game PI has produced and as I got further into this game I began to consider an AAR. Imagine that. :rolleyes: ;)

I don't know how long it will last. The title says it all - I was 40 years into the game and surely my advisors will die eventually. I began to think of what it would be like for one of them to tell the story thus far. Manstein seemed the perfect fit.

The early portion of the game will not be terribly in depth as I did not do many screenies nor do I have a history log (my horror as I assumed I might to help me with this!) But I will try and work around that and present just a little of this first game with Brandenburg, my favorite coutnry to play. Hope you all enjoy and thanks to those already reading. :)

And those of you wondering about The Eagle in Winter - we'll get back to that. But I think we all knew I would be spending much time with this new game during these first few months. Rest assured, I will return to that tale. :)


HannibalBarca - You give me far too much credit, sir. But thank you anyway. Glad you are enjoying.

J. Passepartout
- You better believe it! I knew I was taking the risk sending them off to war, but I needed leadership and my tradition was low or I did not have the $ for it. However, it worked out alright in the end, or at least so far, as I have seen decent to good replacements (except for one section, but we'll get to that.)

Foller - Never let another writer make you feel less! The fact that one puts work out there at all is incredible. I find reading other works only makes me better, and I still have far to go. Which means I need to keep reading. ;)

Thanks for taking a look. :)

* * *

In August of 2007, I returned to complete this AAR aided by a series of Production Diary posts that have been linked day by day below.

Production Diary Index:

Day 1
Day 2 (or Two Hundred and something if we are really counting...)
Day 3 (In which Doris gets her Oats but the story still doesn't quite get going...)
Day 4 (Where something finally happens...See I told you I really meant to do this.)
Day 5 (Thought you’d get away without a production diary today, didn’t you?)
Day 6 (And on the sixth day, he rested...)
Day 7 (Place something witty here since I'm still resting...)
Day 8 (In which there are no screens because I am at work...)
Day 9 (In which we rock on...or something)
Day 10 (In which your writer is worn out by the day...)
Day 11 (You mean, I can't just skip a day?)
Day 12 (In which your lazy writer has gone and done another lazy thing...)
Day 13 (Where I answer just a bit of fb-fb and not much else...)
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What a very interesting perspective! From the view of an advisor to the court.

May Friedrich von Manstein use his artistic skills to paint northern Europe red! :D

There is, by the way, a roundabout means to get a history file.
1) Go into the logs folder
2) Open the "game" file
3) Cut & paste all contents into an archive file for your AAR

The only problem with this technique is that since 1.1 doesn't keep a permanent record associated with the savegame, you have to do this every sitting at the game BEFORE you load the next! Otherwise, the new game will clear out this file for use by your new session.

Good to see you at this, and that you're enjoying the game!

A very nice start-up and setting coz. Advisors are surely going to be one of the great changes in AARs between this game and EU2.
Now hold it a minute? No saving of History log? Crackypot.

Anyway, I'm always happy to find a work by a great writer before it even gets past the first page. That means I'll be able to follow it :cool:
Great start coz1, cool to see a EUIII AAR from you. Interesting way of telling the story through the eyes and pen of von Manstein, but I think it works very well and so far I think you have done well. Looking forward to see this continue

Renss - That is very useful to know. I was seriously shocked to not find the log as I normally do. But then I think CK is somewhat like that as well. Could be wrong, I just cannot remember. Still, it would be very useful. I wonder if they might consider placing such in later patches.

As for the perspective, it just seemed right. I am definitely enjoying the game, and what is more, I have found your strategy guide quite useful. Well done, sir!

stnylan - Indeed. It feels much like CK in that regard, at least as to how to utilize them in an AAR. And I have found them quite useful in game, to be sure.

Snake IV - Glad to have you along for the ride. Hope you keep enjoying. :)

Walter Model - How about that. Except this one is not wuite the military leader his assumed ancestor was. ;)

Lord E - Great to have you along as well. I really appreciate so many taking a look at this already. It will be no great work, but sometimes I just cannot help myself - the curse of an AARtist - every game I play, I am always thinking of how I might write it up. :rolleyes: Glad you are enjoying it.

And another update is on eit's way. Thanks for reading and enjoying, all! :D
  • 1Love
* * *


* * *​

The War of Cologne Aggression was a rather short-lived thing on their end. Almost upon taking the crown, Wilhelm Friedrich I was forced to decide if he wished to war with neighboring Münster and their ally Hesse. Being a strong Christian Emperor, he knew he had the power and ability to do so, but he also knew that the electors might frown on such a bold and provocative move. However, Cologne had been the best of allies and was Wilhlem Friedrich I’s best bet to thwart the growing power of The Palatinate who had destroyed the Saxon princedom some years prior. As well, Münster provided the perfect opportunity for the marche to grow westward. Thus, our Emperor declared war alongside the Bishopric.


Having been to war once already, Cologne and Münster knew well each other’s strengths and weaknesses. However, Münster was already terribly weakened by that previous war and so Brandenburg marched triumphantly into Osnabrück nearly uncontested. August Schach moved quickly to place the city under siege while the Bishopric moved to the south and soon, all of Münster was occupied. As well, Cologne had moved swiftly to thwart the movements of neighboring Hesse and she too was occupied soon after. But Cologne begged out of the war taking her gains, Berg and Nassau, leaving the Emperor to finish the job. And finish he did, finally demanding Osnabrück from Münster and vassalizing the now one province Hesse.

It was a successful war that took only two years to prosecute. The eyes of the electors barely looked in our direction and in great celebration, the Emperor commissioned me to paint a beautiful rendition of the peace talks that would hang in the main hall of his castle for many years to come. But as for the alliance with the Bishopric of Cologne, that was a done deal. No more would they drag our realm into senseless war. And good that we made such a decision as the Habsburg prince soon invaded and relieved Cologne of her newly gained province of Berg. More than enjoying seeing the Bishopric gain its just deserts; Wilhelm Friedrich was growing wary of that power to the south with the Habsburg dominions growing seemingly daily.

It was not but five years later that I was called to the great man’s throne room and he bid me to kneel in front of him and listen to a proposal. I did as I was told and gave the man his due. It was then that he asked me, “Do you think the electors would look unfavorably on me were I to relinquish Münster of all duty to rule in her lands?”

I knew not what to say. I had presumed our Lord was no warmonger, but his words spoke differently. I replied as best I could suggesting that the treaty of truce was to expire any day and that having a claim on Münster would give us right to invade. But I begged the Emperor to hear me on the notion of stability in both the realm and the wider empire. He listened not at all. And scarcely two weeks later, his armies were on the march to take control of that now small princedom. Münster ceased to be in the year of our Lord 1473.

Soon after this victorious war, I was posted to keeping track of the various electors to the empire. I was to log each gift sent and notify the Emperor if any one of them looked less than kindly upon us. The Empire by now had grown quite large and the manpower that it provided Wilhelm Friedrich I was considerable. As well, we were happy to take in our own tithes from the various princes hoping to be looked on with favor. Weekly, it seemed, marriage proposals would arrive as far south as the Italian peninsula. Some the Emperor scoffed at, but others, such as Savoy where the Emperor sent his only daughter to live and Mantua where a cousin was placed, were looked upon favorably. Usually those accepted were done so in hopes of bringing more states under the imperial crown, or if they had some great use in the elections that might be held at any day given our Lord’s great age. He was nearing seventy and thus his long life was near over.



I was also charged with tutoring under Peurbach so that I might understand more of the finances of the realm. For Peurbach himself was older and the Emperor wished a skilled hand to keep on eye on the growing nature of Brandenburg. I admit, I was hopeless at finances, art being my trade. But I did try and learn all I could under the steward and he explained to me as best he could of the general bureaucracy of the realm. It had grown such that it seemed to be a beast unto itself, or at least that was his explanation of it to me. He deemed it more a national idea than anything else and expressed his hope that the growing numbers of men under the Emperor’s employ would do well to lift the realm from financial insecurity to great wealth. Given the growing centralization of power within the court, I was satisfied that it would not get out of hand, but one must always watch after these pesky bookkeepers and moneymen or they will steal you blind.


As the year 1476 came upon us, I looked around and saw that all seemed right in the realm. Our august Emperor had given me more and more favor, to be sure. But he never did warn me of what was soon to happen. Had he mentioned any such thing I might have suggested against it. For war is an awful thing and so many of our brave boys have died fighting for the Emperor’s pride. True, there was the growth of the realm to consider, but I was increasingly more worried about the effect another war might have on the population both in strong lives and spirit. It mattered not, however, as I was soon informed by the Emperor’s own son, the prince Albrecht, that Brandenburg would once again be on the march. And once again, her foe would be that most irritating neighbor – Mecklenburg.
It must be rather frustrating for our man of peace to be so caught up in a court and state so bent on war.

But clearly the favour he receives makes up for it.
If one enjoys peace having these warmongering Emperors can’t be good, but I presume there is little he can do as the Emperor is the one in charge. Still things looks good and at the moment your position is strong, but if there are long horrible wars that might change, but at the moment I think you are doing well
A most splendid AAR with an interesting point of view. Brandenburg are one of my favourite countries also, I have a game with them currently and it is interesting to note how different games can turn out, with different countries becoming strong regional powers and whatnot.
Don't you hate it when the characters take over and make the player do things they don't want to do! :rofl:

Wow -- Saxony dead at the expense of Bohemia and the Palatinate! That's exciting.

Great work, Coz!

Just a few rebels running around the empire there.

Not to mention the usual mass gluttony of all the hungry little members trying to become hungry large members at each other's expense.