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enigmamcmxc

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Austria: an Imperial History

It has been about a year since I have wrote an AAR, and almost four years since I set down and played Victoria 2. I have not modded the game, and I have not yet really played Heart of Darkness. So please expect vanilla gameplay filled with bad decisions and stupid mistakes. I would like to say I want to emulate my last V2 game, also as Austria where I was able to come in fifth in the Great Powers after a game-manipulated First World War, but I have already taken a different approach. I hope you enjoy reading my attempt to out-do myself, a top three position is my goal, as I stumble through a century of bad decisions as Austria in a history-orientated AAR.


Part I - The Collapsing Balance of Power
Chapter 1: Origins of the Austrian Empire
Chapter 2: Imperial Ambitions
Chapter 3: The Egyptian Campaign (1837)
Chapter 4: The collapse of the balance of power
Chapter 5: The Austro-Prussian War (1839-1840)
Chapter 6: The End of the Prussian Wars, balance returned

Part II - Colonial expansion and the Sicilian issue
Chapter 7: The Palestinian Campaign (1845-46)
Chapter 8: Opium (1847-49)
Chapter 9: The looming crisis
Chapter 10: Escalation, and the 1851 Revolution
Chapter 11: The East Macedonian War (1851-52)

Part III - Recuperation, and the big test
Chapter 12: The liberal decade
Chapter 13: The beginning of neo-absolutism
Chapter 14: The Prussian-Austrian Brother's War (1863-1865)
Chapter 15: The aftermath, a changing Europe (1866-69)

Part IV - Domestic issues, and those darn Germans
Chapter 16: 1871 vintage, a fine year for rebellions
Chapter 17: Bohemians and Germans (1871-72)
 
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Chapter 1: Origins of the Austrian Empire

When the French Revolution occurred, the Habsburg Monarchy was a European powerhouse. It led the Holy Roman Empire, it held extensive lands across central Europe, and it's military was feared. Over the coming years, the end of the French Revolution and the rise of the Napoleonic Wars, saw this all change. The War of the Third Coalition saw the destruction of numerous Austrian armies culminating in the climatic and disastrous Battle of Austerlitz. The previous defeats to the French had only been the beginning, Austerlitz was the end.


"Francis II meets Napoleon following Austerlitz"​

Following these defeats, which had left the power of the Habsburgs and Austria in tatters, the Peace of Pressburg was signed ending the war between the French Empire and the Habsburgs. In return, the Holy Roman Empire was dissolved further eroding Austria's place in Europe. In the coming years, Francis II was able to keep his personal lands - Austria and Hungary - together and reforged them into a new entity: The Austrian Empire. Francis II eventually returned to the war albeit as a junior partner to Europe's Great Powers, and ended on the side of the victors after further defeats and personal humiliations.

While the damage had been done, the Foreign Minster Klemens von Metternich worked wonders to help restore Austria's prestige. He secured Austria's place amongst the Great Powers, resulting in the empire becoming a leading partner in the new Concert of Europe: a new diplomatic system designed to avoid a repeat of the previous decades. In this role, he kept the empire relevant, taking part in various congress' to avoid another general European war and to maintain the new balance of power. Within Austria's borders, there was economic growth and a steady increase the literacy of the population, but on the whole the period following the war was seen as one of stagnation due to the lack of expansion or shattering reforms.

Having seen the steady increase in the size of European colonies, von Metternich began a program to make Austria relevant once more and to re-assert her place within the European elite. To do so, he cast his gaze south.
 
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enigmamcmxc

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Chapter 2: Imperial Ambitions

Foreign Minster von Metternich's gazing, fell upon a long-standing enemy of the Habsburgs: the Ottoman Empire. Their empire was not what it had once been, and seemed to be in a very similar position to Austria: potentially powerful, but at the same time very weak with an agitating multi-ethnic population. The one key difference was control. Francis, as emperor of Austria and king of Hungary, held the position of uniting the various ethnic groups that resided within these two realms and was thus far doing a remarkably good job of such. Mahmud II, the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, who was seen as reformer attempting to bring the Ottoman Empire back to her glory days - not so unlike Francis and his policymakers - was unable to assert his control over his provinces. Within the previous decade Greece had been lost, the Persians had shed his influence, and the Egyptian's had all but broken the chains between vassal and lord although remaining nominally within the empire.

The latter is what von Metternich now stared at, although with some caution and reserve. Such colonial ambition, he reasoned, would not come easy or cheap considering who he was planning to go to war with. An Ottoman general, Muhammad Ali, had seized control of Egypt and began a project of modernizing his state, his army, and his navy. Despite being humiliated by the Greeks, and humbled by the Great Powers, during the previous decade, Ali had been able to raise an army of over 100,000 men - claimed to be trained along Western standards - and waged war against his master. His victory against the Ottomans resulted in him being granted extensive lands in the Near East, although he and his territory remained - nominally - part of the empire. There existed a lot of bad blood between him and Mahmud, and wounds had not yet healed.

While technically still under Istanbul's control, Mahmud's advisers had privately let it be known that they would not stand in the way of an Austrian expedition against Ali. They had even offered safe passage through their territory to strike into Palestine. Such a move would require crossing mountain and desert terrain, and the complications that would bring, along with a extended logistical supply line only open on the whim of those in Istanbul. While a colony was desired, to show intent to the other Great Powers, the trek across Ottoman territory was deemed to great a risk. Rather, von Metternich and the military favored a more bold approach. The territory to the east of Cairo was known to have extensive cotton fields and excellent farmland for the growing of different kinds of fruit; if seized they would increase the flow of money into the coffers and ease the food burden on Austrian farms. To ensure the area was taken quickly and without the Egyptian's destroying anything, an amphibious landing was proposed to rapidly capture the area before the Egyptians could respond. Once our colonial objectives had been met, then the Egyptian army could be sought out and destroyed, and Cairo captured.

Yet to be able to undertake such an endeavor, a fleet capable of doing just that would be needed. Already agreeable to the project, Francis had every shipyard within the empire contracted for the construction of transport ships and frigates to escort them. Contracts were also awarded to the empire's major ironworks for the construction of new artillery pieces, and the generals began a recruitment drive aimed at increasing the size of the army by at least 24,000 men. The new men and cannons would not only be used to acquire a colony, they would be the first phase in a general overhaul of the military aimed at increasing Austrian prestige. With the military preparations underway, von Metternich's corps of diplomats began their work of provoking a fight with the Egyptians. By March 1837, all the pieces had fall into place: the navy had the ships required to ferry over an invasion force and the frigates to protect them, the army had the new weapons and troops needed, and the diplomats had managed to provoke a war with Ali while making Austria look - to the Great Powers - like the shining light of salvation to Ali's oppressive regime.
 
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volksmarschall

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So, someone wants to raise the Habsburg Flag and (re) consummate a "holy" empire by marching through Jerusalem now? :eek: :p
 

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Chapter 3: The Egyptian Campaign (1837)


A newspaper from the time period​

Wrapped in a long grey greatcoat, Lorenz zu Hohenlohe stood at a quayside in Venice watching cannons being hauled aboard recently built transport ships. In his fifties with short grey hair and a prominent mustache, he was a veteran of the Napoleonic Wars, but also Austria's leading general with an offensive spirit and organizational skills second to none. He had been chosen to lead the 39,000 strong Egyptian Expeditionary Force (EEF), an army believed strong enough to be able to deal with any mass conscription of the Egyptian people as seen in Ali's previous campaigns, and to gain Austria's first overseas colony.

On 15 March, the EEF left Venice bound for Sinai's fertile cotton lands. Prior to the departure of the force, Cholera outbreaks had occurred throughout the empire and the army was no less immune than anyone else. During the passage to Egypt, 3,000 were buried at sea due to the disease before the outbreak settled down and new cases dwindled. After a months sailing, the Egyptian coast was sited. The arrival of the fleet off Egyptian shores was not a surprise to anyone in Cairo. The Egyptians, and Austrian diplomats, had expected such considering the increasing negative rhetoric that had been thrown around during the previous months. Thus, when news arrived in Cairo that the Austrian ensign had been seen off the coast, the Austrian diplomats marched through the streets to their Egyptian counterparts and handed over a declaration of war; roughly the same time as the troops began disembarking. On 17 April, the first boats reached the shore unopposed: groups of fifty white coats leapt from the boats and stormed ashore. Having formed up, they secured the area creating a small beachhead allowing the undisturbed ferrying in of the rest of their companions. Having assembled, the EEF moved out to secure the various settlements and harbors in the area. On 1 July, Suez was completely in Austrian hands.

While this methodical occupation took place, the Egyptians mustered their forces: tens of thousands were detected assembling in Cairo and even more in Palestine. Despite their overwhelming numerical superiority, they did not attack. At sea, the Egyptian's "modern" navy had attempted to intercept supply convoys and cripple the invasion that way, but suffered a massive defeat at the hands of the fledgling Austrian navy, on 15 August, losing half their fleet in the process. On land, the EEF marched west securing the route to Cairo as they went. The 5th Division (9,000 Infantry and 1,000 light cavalry) remained in Suez to protect the beachhead from the massing Egyptians to their east. On 27 August, the Egyptians launched their first attack of the war striking at what they believed to was a weak position. The first attack was repulsed by the volley fire of actual well-trained troops. Despite this, the Egyptian probing attacks persisted. In response, the 1st Cavalry Division (9,000 heavy cavalry) were ordered back to Sinai to reinforce the defenders and provide an offensive option. Over the next two weeks, various skirmishes took place that slowly began to wear down the 5th Division. Attacks by the 1st Cavalry made little impact. With more Egyptians arriving in the area, having moved around the northern flank of the EEF, zu Hohenlohe returned to Suez with additional infantry and cavalry. A major battle was finally fought on 20 September, where zu Hohenlohe was able to inflict a heavy defeat upon the Egyptians and send them fleeing into the Sinai desert.


The vast majority of the casualties came from the wearing down of the 1st Cavalry and 5th Division.​

Rather than an immediate follow-up, zu Hohenlohe paused to reorganized his force. The two battered divisions were replaced by additional troops who had doubled back from their march on Cairo. The 1st Cavalry and 5th Division were then ordered to head west to seize the undefended capital. Following this, zu Hohenlohe began his march along the Sinai coast in chase of the Egyptian main force. The Egyptians had stopped their retreat at Al Arish, where they had linked-up with reinforcements. About facing, they prepared to meet zu Hohenlohe in a pitched battle lacking the time to adequately prepare defensive positions. Both armies formed up on 12 October, the Egyptians with nearly double zu Hohenlohe's infantry. Cavalry numbers were even, although most of the Austrians present were of heavily armed and armored compared to their Egyptian counterparts. The Egyptian cavalry attacks were repulsed, and the Austrian infantry marched forward en masse supported by the heavy and accurate fire of the artillery. The Egyptian's attempted to put up a resistance, but other than a few volleys were unable to stop the well-trained Austrian force from crushing those who stood before them. Within a few hours of battle, the Egyptians were in rout with the Austrian light cavalry at their heels.


Al Arish: The decisive battle of the campaign.​

Following this decisive blow, effectively crushing the Egyptian ability to resit, zu Hohenlohe turned the EEF around to resume its march on Cairo and to complete the occupation of the Sinai. The 2nd Cavalry Division were the only force left to hold the eastern flank. They spent the next two and half months hunting down the remaining elements of the Egyptian army, chasing them across the Sinai desert and into Palestine. Numerous skirmishes were fought, but the Egyptians were unable to turn the tide against the rampaging Austrian horsemen. In the meantime, Cairo was cleared of Egyptian troops and its political masters fell into Austrian hands. On 26 December, Ali begged for peace. By the evening, he zu Hohenlohe had signed a peace treaty resulting in the formal recognition of Austrian rule over the Sinai. The relatively short campaign had resulted in around 15,000 Austrian casualties, excluding those who died en route, and those losses mostly came from the 5th Division - who had been besieged and out numbered for several weeks. On the other hand, over 50,000 Egyptian casualties had been inflicted giving raise to a belief in a superior Austrian soldier.

In the coming months, zu Hohenlohe consolidated Austrian hold over the area and then returned back to Europe leaving only a small garrison force in the newly captured colony. On 15 April, Francis watched as zu Hohenlohe led the EEF in a victory parade through Vienna. Austria was now a colonial power, and had seen her first major success in decades.
 
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Envisioning white-clad Austrian soldiers in the deserts of Egypt and along the banks of the Nile just seems so wrong! :p
 

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This is but the first step in regaining the glory of the empire. Onward to Palestine!
 

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Thanks again guys! The above, and my second campaign in Egypt, illustrate my first mistake: I forgot i can add wargoals ... so I should have gotten more bang for my buck than I actually did. The following posts, when I uploaded them my illustrate my second mistake ... or not, am not too sure yet.
 

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Chapter 4: The collapse of the balance of power


All major events, European and global (including the Austrian military build-up and colonial ambitions), were overshadowed by developing events in the Low Countries. Six years earlier, in 1830, the United Kingdom of the Netherlands had been rocked by revolution. The southern Walloon population seceded. The Great Powers met in London to decide their fate: in an effort to avoid a general European war, they decided that the United Kingdom of the Netherlands should be split (despite a decision only 16 years earlier to the contrary). The Dutch objected, and in 1831 King William launched an invasion of his rebellious province only to be rebuffed by French troops after ten days of fighting. The status quo was maintained.

The Dutch and Prussians had long been close, signing a military alliance in 1788. The world-changing events of the following decades saw this alliance fall to the wayside. With the French intervention in Low Countries, re-surging aggressive actions – as the Prussians saw it, the Prussians renewed their alliance with the Dutch to deter further French action. The British, who had stayed out of the fighting in 1831 for fear of the escalation into a general European war, signed a treaty guaranteeing Belgium neutrality in hope of deterring the Dutch and avoiding further fighting over the region and the escalation of any disputes.

On 8 April 1836, King William declared war upon Belgium stating that his goal was to reabsorb his rebellious subjects into his kingdom and reform the United Kingdom of the Netherlands. His invasion was very much a repeat of events five years earlier. This time, the French did not involve themselves, however the British and Prussians - honoring their respective pacts - did. The Belgian army, better equipped and organized than previously, were able to repulse the initial Dutch attacks. Yet within a few weeks the Prussians had assembled their men and poured over the border into Belgian. The Royal Navy put to sea and rapidly blocked the Dutch and Prussian ports. The Belgians once more put up a tenacious defense against the Prussians, and backed by British infantry launched an invasion of the Netherlands. Several cities were captured, yet the Prussians were able to overrun most of Belgium. What William had more than likely believed would be a quick war to resolve his de jure claims dragged on through the rest of the year.


Anglo-Prussian War, 1836​

The fighting in the Low Countries had an unintended geo-political effect. The Austrian Empire had, with its focus on colonial ambitions, consigned herself to the fact that Prussia had become the dominant power in central Europe bringing the smaller German kingdoms into her sphere. With the Belgian-Dutch conflict, or rather the Anglo-Prussian War as it clearly now was, the smaller German kingdoms came scrambling to Vienna for reassurances since their protector was now engaged in what could only be looked at as a doomed war against the world’s leading power. One after the other, from Bavaria to Württemberg, they came and signed military alliances with Austria and in turn strengthened Austria’s position in Central Europe.

While Austrian troops were busy fighting Egyptians, the Dutch annexed Belgian thanks to the military might of Prussia. European newspapers shortly followed the development with rumors that the Prussian inner circle wanted to go far beyond such a measly annexation, and wanted to humiliate the British Empire for daring to interfere in their sphere of influence. Despite the bravado, the war dragged on with Prussian ports blockaded and the Germans unable to do anything to inflict a defeat upon the British who were now campaigning for the reestablishment of an independent Belgium.

The return of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force brought with it a renewed sense of Austria’s power in Europe, a feeling that von Metternich’s schemed to exploit. The German kingdoms had already sought Austria protection, and this had begun a shift in policy. Austria was now going to contend with Prussia for the German kingdoms. Diplomatic efforts began in earnest to bring the South German provinces under Austria’s wing, and to break Prussia’s hold on other states such as Saxony. Thanks to the ongoing war, by the end of the year this had largely been achieved.

With alliances cemented and the South Germans unified under the Austrian banner, talk of war emerged. The British blockade was hurting Prussia. While the newspapers may not have been saying anything, rumors on the street talked of hardship and wanting an end to the war. Cracks were beginning to appear on Prussia’s steadfast grand power façade. Von Metternich now championed the idea of uniting the South German kingdoms into one nation state, a powerful Austrian ally. To do so, Prussia would need to be engaged to seize the territory she held amongst Baden, Bavaria, and Württemberg to ensure the integrity of the South Germans and to destroy the Prussian power to oppose such a fledging nation.

The top military commanders, including the returning war hero Lorenz zu Hohenlohe, assembled in Vienna with their diplomatic counterparts. The diplomatic corps had assessed the Prussian alliance system and, after consulting with experts and spies, gained a general idea of the military force available. It was theorized that the Prussians would have suffered badly at the hands of the British. Prussia had mobilized, but had only 74 brigades in the field. It was believed that due to fighting with the British they would not be a full strength, but if they were the Prussians could count on roughly 220,000 men. Around half of this force was positioned on the Austrian-Prussian frontier. The alliance network the Prussians had constructed, allied with the Netherlands, Sweden, and various German states, gave them access to a force estimated to be 380,000 men strong.

On the other hand, Austria’s army was only half the size of the Prussians. With the mobilization of the Austrian populace, and with the extensive network of German and Italian allies, it was believed an army of 300,000 men could be raised, more than enough to seize the Prussian’s South German holdings and inflict a series of defeats to ensure the survival of a South German Confederation. With this in mind, the army drew up a plan that envisioned the Prussian armies on the border being overwhelmed and destroyed in the opening weeks of a war. Furthermore, the army held the belief that if they launched a massive attack this would prompt the British – a close diplomatic friend – to make a major effort to liberate Belgium and thus divide the Prussian forces leading to their defeat.


Period document, showing the Austrian plan of action.​

With the military on board, von Metternich’s underlings went to work to justify the formation of the South German Federation. The effort began to make progress, but suffered a setback in December when a reconnaissance patrol – attempting to establish the exact location of Prussian positions near the border – was caught crossing into Prussian territory. With the army not ready, apologies were issued to avoid pushing the Prussians into war. As a result of the incident, the Prussians orchestrated a defensive alliance with the Ottoman Empire. The Austrian commanders were under no illusions that a two-front war would be a disaster, thus the diplomats scaled back their efforts.


The New Year, 1839, saw dramatic developments. Despite von Metternich’s desire for a South German Confederation, the military were willing to call off the whole endeavor unwilling to engage the Ottoman and Prussian armies. Over the summer, however, rumbles of war emerged from south of Austria’s borders. The Principality of Serbia, a notional part of the Ottoman Empire, declared its independence from the empire and called for the liberation of their brethren to the south of their borders. The Russian Empire immediately sided with the Serbs. A tense situation developed, eventually resulting in war being declared on 1 August. The Russians declared war in support. This sparked a fury of fellow declarations. The Prussians declared war upon the Russians, in support of their alliance with the Ottomans. The French, being Russian allies, declared war upon the Prussians and Ottomans. Within the space of a few shorts days, all of the Europe’s great powers (with the exception of Austria and Spain) were at war.


Period document describing the fateful day.
Note the interest article on Württemberg, in the lower right corner.​

Prussia now found herself sandwiched between enemies. Von Metternich and the military were once again of one mind: the order to mobilize was given. On 24 October, with support amongst the elite and Europe for Austria’s German plans and the mobilization complete, war was declared. The Austro-Prussian war had begun.
 

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Chapter 5: The Austro-Prussian War (1839-1840)

On 24 October, when the Austrian Empire declared war, a new chapter in what would become known as the 'Prussian Wars' began. Already at war with the British, French, and Russian empires, the Prussians were now at war with Austria. Furthermore, the Ottoman Empire having sided with the Prussians was now also facing all four empires. The first general European War, since 1815, was in full motion.

With the declaration of war issued to the Prussians, word was sent from Vienna to the capitals of Austria's allies. During the following days, most returned word that they had also declared war on Prussia with two notable exceptions: Baden and Württemberg. The reason for Austria going to war had practically evaporated within the first week, without any fighting having taken place.

Despite facing a three-front war, the Prussians had made gains in France and overran much of the Russian Empire's Duchy of Warsaw. As predicted, however, Austria going to war had prompted a British landing in the Low Countries. The British landing was not enough to stop the Prussians inflicting further defeats upon the Russians, and advancing deeper into the Warsaw Duchy. If their progress continued, the possibility raised its head that the Russians may attempt to back out of the war.


The progress of the war, and the new Austrian plan of action.​

During late October, the commanding officers of the I, II, III, and IV Corps (all poised along the Austria-Prussian border ready to enact the prearranged invasion plan) met in conference. Hussar regiments, having crossed the border to seek out the Prussian positions, had reported back that no Prussian troops were in the vicinity. News reports had heralded the Prussian victories over the Russians in Poland. All four commanders agreed that there was little point advancing into empty territory for the sake of capturing ground. Instead, they believed a massive flanking attack into Russian territory would take the Prussian eastern armies by surprise and inflict the devastating blow hoped for when planning for the war began (not to mention keep the Russians in the war). Representatives were sent into Russia to make contact, and a transit deal was soon established.

I, II, and III Corps were assembled together as the First Army (90,000 men strong), leaving IV Corps (30,000 strong) to defend the Austrian frontier. As First Army moved into position, IV Corps was the first to see action and engage the Prussians. The opening offensive was conducted by a combined force of Bavarians and Italians. Marching into Silesia, they began to besiege Leignitz. In response, the Prussians sent an infantry corps to lift the siege and throw back the invaders. Austrian hussars, patrolling the opposite side of the border, spotted the Prussian movement. Taking advantage of the situation, IV Corps marched to intercept and attack the Prussians in the flank. On 14 January, in low temperature and marching through snow, IV Corps descended upon the Prussian corps as it formed up to engage the Italian camp. The Prussian troops were swept aside in an outstanding victory that resulted in the near destruction of the Prussian force.


The first battle of the war​

Word of this victory soon spread, reaching the First Army prior to their movement into Russia; morale soared. The First Army marched north, meeting little opposition, and liberating province after province. The Prussian garrisons retreated rather than give battle. Reports and letters sent back to Austria, during this period, spoke of an almost invincible feeling surrounding the offensive.

The Austrian initial dispositions had been under the assumption that the pre-planned offensive would be launched, and that the Ottoman Empire would be busy fighting the Russians. This turned out to be partially true: the Ottomans were heavily engaged fighting the Russians. However, rather boldly they launched a limited invasion of the southern stretches of the Austrian Empire. Two Ottoman corps marched north though Serbia (who had surrendered on 1 February) and proceeded to dig-in to secure their gains. The Austrian V and VI Corps, who had been held initially in reserve while the Landwehr were trained, marched south together as the Second Army. Despite their deficiencies, the Landwehr engaged in battle on 24 February. During the Battle of Mitrovica, they inflicted heavy losses upon the Ottomans and threw one of their invading corps back across the border. Again, morale throughout the empire soared.

On 14 February, at Skierniewice in the Duchy of Warsaw, the Austrian II Corps captured the city's fortress liberating a further Russian province. The fortress, manned by a single Prussian brigade, had held out for weeks and cost Austria close to 5,000 troops. Despite the losses, it was another victory against the Prussians. Three weeks later in Silesia, again at Leignitz, IV Corps and the same German formation they previously fought clashed in pitch battle. This time the Austrian IV Corps lacked the element of surprise, but had been able to pick a suitable defensive position in clear terrain in warmer weather than before. The Prussians launched numerous infantry assaults, but each time were thrown back. The battle was not so one-sided, however. With each Prussian assault, casualties on both sides increased. By the days end, 21,000 men lay dead or wounded, but the Austrian force held the field. The end of winter saw numerous German states seek peace, slowly eroding the available numbers to the Prussians.

The opening months of the war had been a euphoric time for Austria, despite the actions of her South German compatriots. However, the arrival of spring saw a reverse in fortunes. Several attempts by the Second Army to completely rid Austria of the Ottomans saw heavy defeat after heavy defeat, the Ottomans maintaining their positions with ease. To the north, April saw the arrival of fresh troops to bolster the Prussians. Tens of thousands of Swedish soldiers marched through the Duchy of Warsaw towards the positions of First Army. Within the space of two days most of First Army had been destroyed, 45,000 casualties having been suffered. Prussian-Swedish losses were not light, but with fresh troops they were able to overcome the losses and carry on their own offensive. First Army was sent reeling south back to Austrian territory, with barely any troops left. While an attempt was made to rebuild First Army, the Prussians and Swedes launched an invasion of the Austrian Empire. For the Swedes, their target appeared to be Budapest. Only the undefeated IV Corps, along with cavalry divisions (previously assigned to seize Sigmaringen), stood in the way to oppose at least triple their number. May also saw the Ottomans once again heavily defeat the Second Army, and while the Austrian navy won a major battle with their Ottoman counterparts, it came at the loss of most of the fledgling fleet.


The invasion of the Austrian Empire
(large Prussian-Swedish numbers obscured by Austrian markers)​

These setbacks overwrote the victories that had come before them. On the backfoot, IV Corps rallied to defend the Empire in its most darkest hour since Napoleon. Between May and August, IV Corps and the cavalry engaged in a series of battles across northern Austria with the Prussian-Swedish invaders. Initially, several small skirmishes were fought leading to local IV Corp victories. On 14 July, a pitched battle was fought resulting in heavy Austrian losses and a local defeat. Two weeks later, on 7 August, IV Corps rebounded and engaged in battle, inflicting a one sided and heavy defeated upon the Swedes. This marked the end of the Prussian-Swedish invasion, with their forces fleeing back north into Silesia albeit having to leave around 70,000 graves in Austria. In the south, the Second Army had been rendered completely impotent by the Ottomans, leading to an embarrassing situation: French columns arrived to engage the Ottoman troops. On 5 July, the Ottoman defensive positions were assault by this combined Austro-Franco force. This victory came at a high cost, but it also began the retreat of the Ottoman army from Austria. Second Army did not follow, instead their battered remains were sent north to reinforce the main effort against Prussia. In their wake, the French launched an invasion of Bosnia in support of their beleaguered Russian allies.

In September, Austrian launched an invasion of Silesia; First Army having finally recovered from its losses. The size of the army was not the same as it had been a year earlier, and with morale still shaken, it was very possible the military would not be able to hold up to any further large battles. In terms of battles won and casualties inflicted, Austria was still lagging behind despite the turn of events. It was with great relief in Vienna when, on 17 September, the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies sent word offering an alliance. Their offer was readily accepted, with the intent that thousands of extra Italian soldiers would soon breach the final Prussian positions in the name of the emperor.

During October, a flu pandemic broke out across the empire and among the troops, its spread exacerbated by the ongoing fighting and the destruction caused in northern Austria. From Vienna's point a view, there was a more positive note to be seen during the month. Prussia appeared to be on the verge of collapse. Austrian forces were steadily marching north, the British had occupied the Netherlands and invaded northwest Prussia, the French had overrun much of Prussia's western territories, and the Russians had largely regained their lost territory. Morale, despite the losses to flu, was returning. On a high from the turn of events, the Austrian military were determined to march on Berlin! It was not be in one of the most embarrassing episodes of the empire's history. On 18 November, diplomats from the Two Sicilies - negotiating for the Austrian alliance of German and Italian states - met with their Prussian counterparts and secured a peace deal: Sigmaringen would be ceded to Austria in turn for peace. Such a deal was wanted, but not in the manner of how it arrived. Ultimately, the political goal of the war had been achieved, and numerous defeats inflicted upon the Prussians achieved the military goal. Yet, the Prussians were able to have the last laugh. Baden, who had refused to join Austria in attacking Prussia, had entered Prussia's sphere of influence and kicked out Austria's diplomats banning their embassy all together. Prussia had snatched victory out of the hands of Austria.


During the 13-month war, Austrian casualties amounted to 192,223 men killed or wounded. A further 2,265 had been captured in Poland, during First Army's retreat. Taking into account the Italian and German allies, total casualties were estimated to be around 200,000 mark. Austro-Prussian record keeping establish the Prussian alliance's losses at 138,083, with 29,500 more captured during the process of the disastrous invasion of Austria. In the south, Ottoman records state 17,704 men were lost, with 1,329 captured during their rout.


Austria's "victory", not even headline news.​
 

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Austria being embroiled in wars on multiple fronts, nothing new there! :p

So much for the Concert of Europe...
 
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enigmamcmxc

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Thanks for the comments guys. Yeah, the multiple front war was not what i wanted, and as can be seen ... I technically lost it. The invasion of my territory and the numerous defeats I suffered made my warscore plummet. My invasion of Prussia and the occupation of several provinces only made it increase a little. As much as I dont like it, the AI taking over as war leader saved my war and let me get something out of it.