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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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The problem with brilliant historically detailed AARs such a this one is that the updates are really far apart :p

The Papal legate, even though trying to save his own skin, really helped to stop a suicidal war. Sometimes self-centered greedy clerics are of some use!

I am also really interested in how the bishops are going to stir up trouble. I mean the lands of the Livonian Order were under double control, not only from the Order, but from the bishops sitting in Riga, Dorbat and Haapsalu. Those guys never got along.
 

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will be following, if only because my home province is there in the mod and opposed to pay taxes in the aar (quite like irl :)); it'll be interesting to see where you'll take the Order, especially as i live in the shade of the ruins of one of their castles...
 

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Linking Neumark with the rest of the Order lands would be a priority. That could be equally well served by taking Hinter Pommerania. Aggressive. Seems in keeping with Hochmeister von Plauen's personality. Taking land off Pommerania would be a fitting rebuke for their refusal to march to the Knight's aid.

There seems to be something reptillian in von Sternberg and von Tettigen actions. They're just pole-lovers.As everyone knows the Poles are but pagans cunningly disguised as pretend Christians. As servants of the Vicar of Christ throught the eastern lands, the territories of the Archbishop and Bishops of Riga and the Livonian Order truly are part of the Knight's Holy Land. All must be brought within the territory of the Teutonic Knights.
 

Stuyvesant

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Stuyvesant: I really want to finish this. I seem to have quite a bit to say though, so this may take awhile. :)

I don't see a problem with that. :)

The role-playing and historical flavor is back in full force, I see. Are you rolling dice again, or are you just fitting a story to game events that happened on their own?

Oh, and are you, or are you not, at war with the Poles? You left that up in the air. Are you doing a Storey and pulling off cliffhangers? ;)
 

CatKnight

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Ar7: Sorry about the delay. With my schedule, and the amount of writing I try to do with each update (and the notes while I play and such) once every three days might be the best I can do. ;)

I expect the Livonian bishops as well as Riga to cause trouble at some point. No really good events have shown themselves yet, but I'm sure they will eventually!

gabor: Very cool! Which province and which castle?

Chief Ragusa: Not necessarily Pole-lovers, but definitely more passive than von Plauen can stand. I expect von Sternberg and von Plauen to spend much of their lives bickering with each other.

Uniting with the Neumark would be nice, though difficult. In a test game with the TN mod I did conquer Pommerania to do so, but that probably isn't happening for awhile here (if ever). Riga would also be a nice addition, though with our favorable relations a lot would have to happen for it to lead to war.

Stuyvesant: A little of both. Like before I use dice to help shape the Hochmeister's personality (or I will once von Plauen passes on) and to guide me in making decisions 'in character.' In EU3 I also use the mission generator to help me shape the leader's current priorities.

The dice (and my read on von Plauen) actually told me to go to war and risk it all in the last post. Before I did so though, I checked the WWM setup and found the 'problem' where Masovia didn't start as Poland's vassal and I didn't have a 5 year truce with the Poles. "Repair" the former and there probably isn't a war for me to intervene in in the first place. "Repair" the second, and it would take a lot for even von Plauen to take the -5 stab hit.

I didn't want to take advantage of setup mistakes, so I had the Grossgebetiger force him to behave.
 

CatKnight

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smallteutonflagyc4.png


IV: The Hunt For a Foe (1412-1415)


The Polish-Masovian War

The Grossgebietiger, the senior officers of the Teutonic Order, voted against Hochmeister von Plauen's plan to attack Poland. While it certainly wasn't open defiance - they were expected to advise their lord and jealously guarded that right - it was a bitter pill nonetheless.

Technically every one of their posts were subject to the grandmaster's will: Von Plauen could dismiss the lot of them and Teuton law would support him. It would have led to civil war however, and whatever von Plauen's other faults (which can be summed up kindly under 'lacking people skills'), he wasn't foolish enough to bring down the Order he fought so hard to save on a point of pride.

This didn't mean von Plauen didn't seek revenge. He sent a number of messengers to Brandenberg, Bohemia and Pommerania all seeking to sell the Neumark. Grand Marschall von Sternberg used the Neumark as a staging ground during the Polish-Lithuanian War, and he administered three castles there as well as having made a number of powerful friends. Moving Neumark out of the Teuton sphere of influence would weaken him politically. Unfortunately (or fortunately), none of the realms could what von Plauen wanted for the Neumark and so it remained idle, ignored and neglected except when Tressler von Uexhull's taxmen visited.

Nor did the grand master remain idle. As Lithuania fought an epic war with Smolenski nationalists, he was able to trouble his other archenemy. Traders smuggled in enough weapons and armor to arm 4,000 peasants who fought off 1,000 Poles preparing to attack Pommerania from Kalisch.

Von Plauen's smuggling campaign broke down however and with his own officers forcing him to honor the post-war truce he watched with growing frustration as the Pommeranians seized Posen in April 1412 then sieged Torun and Kalisch.

The war turned when Masovia fell to King Wladyslaw's army in September. He forced Janus of Masovia to once more swear fealty and pay homage, then marched with eleven thousand men on the three rampaging through Kalisch.

Wladyslaw won, of course, but received a rude shock when he pursued the Pommeranians towards Posen and lost to reinforcements. He returned with fresh troops of his own and pushed the Pommeranians out in December.

Two months later Norway and Denmark declared war on Hamburg. Wartislaw IX once more honored his obligation to defend a friend placing Pommerania in a hopeless position. At the time most honored the Pommeranian duke for keeping his word at all costs. Modern historians suspect Wartislaw realized he must eventually submit to Poland and effectively offered the duchy to his son (Erik VII of Denmark).

1413Situation.png


This put the Teutons in a curious position. As it became obvious Hochmeister von Plauen wasn't going to (or wouldn't be allowed to) arbitrarily devastate the realm in a hopeless war, tensions eased. The cleric-nobles who formed the Order saw less reason to question their Papal-endorsed leader while merchants either submitted to the higher taxes or found new ways around them. (Oct 1412: Stab to -1)

Von Plauen once more argued for intervention, especially as the Poles crossed the Pommeranian border in March 1413, but once more his 'advisors' recommended caution. Papal Legate von Wattzau, in particular, reminded everyone that:

Paul von Wattzau said:
Have you forgotten the infamy brought upon themselves by the Knights Hospitaller? You know as well as I that in June last their grandmaster, their last grandmaster thank God, submitted to the Eastern rite and forced his officers to follow! It was divine intervention that the order fell a month later, even if it was to the Turk and his perfidious allies! It was the first, and I pray the last, time I rejoiced at a Muslim victory for what can possibly be worse than a traitor?

No, gentlemen: The Templars fell to heresy, and now the Hospitallers follow. We are it. We are the last of the crusaders, and we do not dare spend our strength on any cause but the Lord's!

Once more the opportunity for war passed, and once more von Plauen paced the castle at Marienburg like a caged animal. He watched as the Pommeranians pushed Poland out of their lands in May, only for the Aquileans to move in that August. Wladyslaw retook Posen in October 1413 and forced the last Pommeranian army out of his kingdom by November. At this point the Germans stood no chance of holding out, let alone winning, and von Plauen once more marshaled his forces without the consent of his council. Then fate intervened.


Before the Leaves Fall

On December 5, 1413 Muscovy declared war on Tver. Novgorod broke their alliance with the Muscovites, and the Hochmeister saw an opportunity for a quick, near bloodless war against the city state of Pskov.

This time the Grossgebetiger was more inclined to let the grandmaster have his way and von Wattzau could find no argument against an assault to claim lost souls. Through the winter Teuton and Livonian forces marshaled along the Russian border: Michael von Sternberg would attack Novgorod if they foolishly tried to protect Pskov, while Hochmeister von Plauen would march on the city.

14143War.png


With Muscovy and Tver tied up fighting each other, the Teutons expected Pskov to fight alone or at worst with Novgorod's help. When Grand Marschall von Sternberg learned that Novgorod, Muscovy, Tver and Moldavia all intended to stand behind the helpless defenders, his response was said to be quite profane and has not survived in any record.

Though Hochmeister von Plauen promised a single year's campaign, he'd prepared for the worst. An initial 9,000 mercenaries were hired along with 2,000 regulars. This nearly doubled the Order's fighting strength and wrecked the still fragile economy. A reluctant Werner von Tettigen first raised emergency taxes, then when it became clear that wouldn't be enough begged Danzig merchants for a loan. This they provided at a punishingly usurious rate in violation of canon law (Christians weren't supposed to charge each other interest) in obvious retaliaton for the Hochmeister's recent treatment.

Von Sternberg marched into Novgorod and sieged Narva and Kopore. (Ingermanland) Von Plauen, meanwhile, easily crushed a 1,000 man Pskovian army led by Alexander IV. There was trouble brewing however, in the form of a 10,000 man army building in the Novgorod capital under Prince Yuefimei II.

With reinforcements on their way to Kopore, the Hochmeister ordered von Sternberg to take what men could be spared and dislodge the Novgorod army before they could take the initiative. The Grand Marschall advanced with seven thousand men against the defenders.

The Teutons were outnumbered, but better disciplined and did enjoy an advantage in cavalry. Yuefimei negated the latter by deploying in swamps near Lake Ilmen to the south of the city. At that point it became a slugfest that lasted many hours with the Russians, eager to defend their homes and fed on stories of Teuton atrocities, gaining the upper hand.

When word reached von Plauen that his Marschall had failed he ordered the Livonian landmeister, leading the reinforcements approaching Kopore, to join him in a joint assault before Yuefimei could recoup his losses. Both Kopore and Pskov sieges were left with just enough men to prevent the defenders from breaking out.

On July 9, 1414 Heinrich von Plauen led fourteen thousand men against a Novgorod army reinforced to sixteen thousand.

Von Plauen's army was much like that which fought at Tannenberg and not far removed from that which fought at Lake Peipus 150 years earlier. Heavily armored cavalry led the charge with lance and sword while infantry armored in leather and chain and wielding a stunning array of weapons secured valuable points or formed defensive lines.

Novgorod's infantry - and this was an infantry heavy army - had advanced since Lake Peipus. They now wielded bardiches, long polearms meant to hold cavalry at bay but without the mutual support that a well disciplined team of pikemen could provide. Their noble boyars were more lightly armored than their western counterparts, but could still deliver a terrible shock with lance and sword.

Yuefimei once more deployed in the swamps to nullify the Teuton cavalry advantage, and once more it turned into a slugfest. As morning passed into afternoon the battle still raged - when the Order's knights broke and fled!

The prince of Novgorod quickly organized a pursuit, not realizing that Hochmeister von Plauen learned well the lessons of Tannenberg. It was a false retreat, and once the knights led their opponents far away from the brawling infantry they turned on their pursuers. Here the Order's cavalry advantage proved decisive and banner after banner of the prince's boyars retreated in earnest.

Without anyone screening their sides the Novgorod infantry, which steadily ground away at the Teutons, found themselves flanked by charging horsemen. They broke under the strain and fled into the swamp.

Von Plauen won a pyrrhic victory: He lost 6,000 men (mostly infantry) while Yuefimei lost four. The Teutons pursued him to Kholm, where the Hochmeister once more won - and once more he lost more men than the enemy.

By now it was approaching October 1414. The Teutons sieged cities including the Novgorod capital while von Sternberg nursed his army's wounds in Pskov.

On paper the Order was clearly winning the war: Moldavia accepted a truce in September, while Muscovy and Tver had yet to make an appearance and Novgorod's prince was on the run. In truth, though, they were on their last legs: Von Plauen insisted on pursuing Yuefimei, though it's doubtful he could have won a third battle. Banner after banner of mercenary company reported significant enough losses to warrant canceling their contract. Despite war subsidies coming from Austria, the Order could barely mint enough money to pay interest on their debts let alone recruit and train more soldiers.

Fortunately, Hochmeister von Plauen proved he could dissemble quite well when he chose. He acted as if expecting overwhelming reinforcements any day now and Yuefimei believed him. He asked for a truce.

141410War.png


The grandmaster accepted. It allowed him to dismiss several thousand mercenaries (and such save the economy from collapsing trying to pay them) while cutting Muscovy and Tver off from Pskov.

Three days later word received von Sternberg in Pskov of the grandmaster's truce. He immediately ordered his men to storm the walls and the city fell hours later.


Aftermath

Upon installing himself in the krom (kremlin), von Sternberg opened negotiations with Alexander IV. He played on rumors of his grandmaster's instability and the fact he was on his way to push through a lenient treaty.

141410PskovPeace.png


In his capacity as priest, von Sternberg blessed Alexander in the Roman rite later that day and left the formal baptism to Legate von Wattzau. Alexander also agreed to submit to the Teuton authority and through them the pope, while paying a minor war indemnity.

It was a lenient treaty, and many believe von Sternberg pushed it through to deprive his grandmaster the honor of negotiating it himself, but it went far to improving Teuton relations both home (Stability to 0) and abroad. As they realized the Teutons weren't trying to conquer the Rus outright, both Tver and Muscowy agreed to truces and resumed their private war.

If Von Sternberg won a reputation for fairness, then von Plauen earned much glory for his military prowess. His campaign further wrecked the Teuton economy, but as it turned out not fatally. In the eyes of the world glory counted for much more than common sense and in January 1415 Legate von Wattzau read congratulations and blessings from Gregory XII and Benedictus XIII at Avignon supporting and authorizing the 'Pskov Crusade'

This buoyed the Grossgebetiger as they met on a cold winter day, and they were happier still when von Uexkull reported that, despite all odds, they'd be able to pay off their first two loans on schedule in 1416. That would take enough pressure off the economy to reduce taxes and minting to 'sober' levels.

Perhaps, but the Lithuanians proved a tempting target. In March 1415 Wladyslaw II of Poland went to God, and not only did Lithuainian Grand Duke Kazimieras (House Chodkiewicz) disavow the Union of Krewo and all related acts binding his country to the Poles, he also bluntly asserted that Wladyslaw couldn't produce heirs and questioned one year old Kryzysztof's claim to the throne. (Insult)

This caught the Hochmeister's interest, especially when Hungary asked for an alliance (replacing Bohemia and Pommerania, both of whom dishonored the Pskov war.) He wrote in a letter to Archbishop Johann of Riga:

Heinrich von Plauen said:
...which makes me question who the greater enemy is: Poland, who was duped into fighting us by their Lithuanian-born king who now resides in hell, or the Lithuanians who openly support (Orthodox) schism and apostasy? Is now the time to retake Samogitia and put those pagans to heel?

It certainly seemed so: Wherever the Lithuanian regular army deployed, it wasn't the Teuton border. They had no allies. Still, it was less than five years since the Order signed the Peace of Thorn (by a handful of months) and cooler heads once more counseled patience.

While the Order waited through 1415, Poland finished subjugating Pommerania, while Denmark took the western half for themselves. The Muscovy/Tver war too ended with a Muscovite victory.

As it turned out, patience bore some dividends. In August, months after the Teutons added Riga to their sphere of influence to discourage outside aggression, Kazimieras guaranteed the archbishophric against Teuton aggression. This was a legitimate casus belli and Grand Marschall von Sternberg, the loudest voice demanding patience back in March, fell silent.

By October Lithuania finally picked up two powerful allies: The Bohemian emperor and Muscowy. This would have made most men pause, but Lord von Plauen didn't like pausing when action would answer.

On October 15, 1415, the truce period enforced the Peace of Thorn expired...
 

unmerged(33767)

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Ar7: Sorry about the delay. With my schedule, and the amount of writing I try to do with each update (and the notes while I play and such) once every three days might be the best I can do. ;)

Nothing to be sorry about, quality requires time and patience on the readers' side.

Suicidal update though, fighting Novgorod and Muskowy and now planning to take on Lithuania, Muskowy and the Emperor Bohemia :wacko:

Von Plauen really likes his wars close.

Great update though!
 

unmerged(58610)

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Still think you could have done Pommerania, but you've gone in a different direction.

You're going to attack Lithuania along with Moscow and Bohemia without knowing where Lithuanian troops are. That's a recipe for a big loss. Hungary had better honour your call to war.
 
Last edited:

germanpeon

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Awesome moves. The SoI on Riga was good, as well as the conversion and forced vassalage of Pskov. I suppose they are as close to reliable allies as you'll find, for now.

The men who lead the TO have reckless tendencies, however. I am worried about the coming war with Lithuania and pals.
 

unmerged(90806)

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it's Thorn/Toruń itself, the seat of the two peace treaties between Pol and TO; actually the ruins of the Polish castle built on the other side of the river are more intact than the ruins of TO castle; the area towards north-east from the town is dotted with TO castles/ruins (great for tourists who are history buffs)

i get confused by your screenshots, on page one Thorn was in TO hands, now i see it in Polish ones and it's Torun :confused:

no offence but imo since Tannenberg for TO there was only one option to save its presence/existance: abandoning the crusading values and shifting/modernising into a moderner state, either monarchy or republic

huh, Lith without Poland's support should be easily manageble (funnily enough, Jagello did have problems with siring an heir, he was well in his 60s when his 3rd wife produced a son, there was some rumour of course as to who the real father was...); good luck!

edit: its still 15th century, isn't it? captions under your pics say: 15...
 

Stuyvesant

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Some good roleplaying, converting Pskov rather than conquering it. Von Plauen comes off as a rabid dog, barely restrained by his metal chain, barking and snarling to have a go at anything that moves. Or doesn't. ;)

No, that's not quite fair to the man. His shenanigans with Novgorod show he is quite cunning. Still, he seems violently obsessed with visiting violence on his neighbors. :)

Good luck with Lithuania. It looks like a leap into the dark. Or, since the Teutons are Germans, I think Flucht nach vorn covers it quite well.
 

aldriq

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It's a delicate balance of power that you got there, but it seems to be working. This coming war will test it to the limit, though.

The problem with brilliant historically detailed AARs such a this one is that the updates are really far apart :p

I disagree, I need more time to keep up with detailed AARs like this, an update every 3 days is too fast :eek:
 

volksmarschall

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I really needed to start catching up with EU again, and recognizing this being your next AAR after "Resurrection: Rebirth of the United States" I must say this is a great little AAR right now! And by the looks of it, Novgorod didn't put up much of a fight when you invaded! Great work!

PS, You've even gotten me to take a look at your previous two AARs in your Beyond Tannenberg Series :cool:
 

unmerged(58610)

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The whole raison d'etre ofthe Teutoic Order was to crusade and save pagan souls andreclaim (eastern) schismatics. Without the Order would have died. That was te danger after Tannenburg. Just as int he Livonian Orderr's lands where there was a converted native nobility and catholic church, the Prussians had their civil Catholic society including a Catholic Church with bishops and nobles. Technically, the Archbishop of Riga held sway over the entire Catholic Church in this bit of Catholic Germany outside the Empire. In reality, the Teutonic Knights, with the backing of the Papal Legate, ruled Prussia and the Church with an iron hand. That the Hochmeister needed the support of the Papal Legate gave said person great influence in the actions over the Knights.
 

CatKnight

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Ar7: Actually von Plauen would probably prefer easy wars. Unfortunately, easy wars are hard to come by in his part of the world. ;)

Chief Ragusa: Pommerania might be possible in the future. Attacking Lithuania at all....well, if I wasn't RPing I'd probably be happy with the status quo.

germanpeon: Von Plauen in particular is a reckless man. Well, that's not necessarily true...he's an angry man, and doesn't much care who gets in his way.

gabor: The first screenshot or so was from Terra Nova. I switched mods before the 'game clock' started to WWM for various reasons, mostly because 1) I think the map's pretty, and 2) The WWM tactical AI seems stronger...though that might just be the luck of the dice.

The game does give Torun to Poland, which bothers me because, as you say, Torun = Thorn and I know Thorn is Teuton during this period. I'll probably keep dodging until/if I take Torun province, even as I Germanize/Anglicize what Polish names I can. (No offense, it's just that Slavic names make my poor American/English language head spin.)

I agree that the Teutons need to go secular, and sooner rather than later, to survive. We're only 5 years out from Tannenberg at this point however, and the Teutons have no visionaries that realize this, or have the diplomatic skill to change an entire way of life if they did. Still, already you'll see that religion is more of an excuse than an actual reason. Yes, Pskov was Orthodox, but von Plauen attacked 1) because he was frustrated no one would let him go after his real enemy, and 2) he hoped they'd be easy.

And yes, we're still in the early 15th century. I typo-ed on the maps. Good catch!

Stuyvesant: I wouldn't say von Plauen is a rabid dog, but his idea of diplomacy following Tannenberg (in real life) makes one wonder. He really did call the Poles and Lithuanians 'evil pagans,' and he seems to have had a gift for angering his fellow knights. Historically von Sternberg removed him in 1415 for preparing a 'suicidal' fight with the Poles.

aldriq: Okay, I feel better about my pace now.

I don't consider this a balanced situation...though if calmer heads prevail, it has the potential to be. The Teutons need to remain strong to enforce their end of the balance though, as Poland and Lithuania both have an interest in accessing the Baltic..through them.

volksmarschall: Thank you and welcome! I think my next AAR after this will be more narrative (like Resurrection), but after two failed attempts with the Teutons I felt an obligation to give it one more try. ;)

Chief Ragusa: That's pretty much how I read it. The Archbishop of Riga (and to some extent Dorpat) had a rocky history with the Order, and to me it reads much like political powerplays going back and forth. The Archbishop (technically) had the authority, while the Hochmeister had the firepower and could legally claim to answer to no one but the Pope.
 
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CatKnight

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smallteutonflagyc4.png


V: Flucht nach vorn (1415-1419)


The Road to War

In October 1415 the five year truce period ordained the Peace of Thorn expired and the Lithuanian King Casimir (Kasimieras) seemed eager for a rematch - or possibly any match that offered. Certainly he was a belligerent man, a warlord from the last age who not only angered the Teutons by establishing relations with the Archbishop of Riga, but continually insulted Poland to discourage any hope of reconciliation.

Perhaps the one favorable part of his early reign, the one act that caused anyone in the knighthood to question renewed war, was his efforts to finally Christianize Samogitia. Even then there was some question whether Casimir made this move or whether he claimed credit for one of the last acts of a repetenant Wladyslaw II. In Teuton circles it didn't much signify.

Von Plauen eagerly sought revenge for Tannenberg, but he realized the Lithuanians would put up more of a fight than Pskov and was determined not to make the same mistake as before and ruin the local economy by hiring too many mercenaries. He also didn't want to appear unreasonable, so allowed Munzmeister (Master of Mint) von Sangershausen to convince him to wait until the spring of 1416. Two of the three loans owed to various merchant guilds would be paid off by then.

In November eleven Lithuanian banners relocated to Vilnius. (Casimir reinforced it to fifteen by March.) Eight more banners appeared along the Polish-Masovian border in December. Making his own preparations for war, von Plauen relocated to the Pskov border with nine banners while von Sternberg fortified the capital with six.

The winter saw growing tensions through the Baltic: Poland and Lithuania argued over the exact location of the Masovian border, while Casimir warned the Knights against further aggression.

Kasimieras of Lithuania said:
..It is clear (having subjugated Pskov) that your intentions have not changed in two hundred years. You intend to conquer this region, claiming it for God when in fact it is only to puff up the dignity of a gutless knighthood that should have joined the dust of history decades ago. Hear me: Lithuania is now the champion of all the peoples you would choose to subjugate. Attack anyone, and you will be dust.

Grosskomtur Werner von Tettigen wrote a conciliatory answer, but Hochmeister von Plauen's pen was faster. He ordered the Lithuanian emissary to his quarters and delivered his own response - sticking it into the man's chest with a thin knife. (Insult)

Heinrich von Plauen said:
We do not heed the words of a mad dog. Go into your kennel and feed on the scrapings better men leave for you, lest we take you to heel and teach obedience.

In Krakow the Polish regency realized war between the disobedient Casimir and their old enemies was inevitable. In February 1416, noting both nations were simultaneously gearing up for a showdown, they sent a conciliatory note to von Plauen.

Hochmeister von Plauen (through von Tettigen) stated his only aim for war with Lithuania was to force Casimir to mind his own affairs, and perhaps retake Samogitia. The Poles didn't have a problem with either motive - indeed, they hoped the Knights would weaken Casimir enough to make him submit to two year old King Christoff (Krzysztof).

On February 24, 1416 von Plauen wrote a letter to Grand Marschall von Sternberg ordering him to begin operations on March 20. Casimir beat him to the punch:

14163LithuanianDoW.png


Bloodletting

The Lithuanian declaration of war proved to be a minor Godsend. The knighthood was less than two weeks from being fully ready to commence operations and, on paper at least, they were the defenders. Not even von Tettigen could argue against self defense. Upon receiving the declaration Heinrich met with emissaries of all his allies, and in the time it took for messages to run back and forth all three realms joined in.

Casimir received a rude surprise as first Bohemia (fighting off an invasion from Denmark) and Muscowy (uninterested in a war where they had little to gain) decided not to stand with the aggressor. On paper therefore the Teutons enjoyed a sizeable advantage.

On paper - for while Pskov's Catholic Prince Alexander IV was eager to fight, his army in March consisted of one thousand men. The Hungarians couldn't bring troops through Poland or Masovia to join the fight while Austria was half a continent away. This was still very much a one-on-one battle, and Lithuania's sheer size game them the advantage.

14163TroopsatWarStart.png

Opening Positions

Initially the Germans stayed on the defensive, hoping to crush the two Lithuanian armies in seperate actions as the Teutons trained reinforcements and hired mercenaries to attack Samogitia. Casimir had a similar plan however, and so the four armies (two per side) merely traded scouts/skirmishers through March.

In April, Alexander IV felt confident in making the first move and sieged Polotsk. This was more insult than Casimir could stand, and finally his army surged into sluggish motion. This was the cue Heinrich waited for and the Teutons also joined the fray.

The three armies met on April 25. Casimir brought 12,000 men to the battle, while the allies answered with ten. The battle raged until nightfall when the Order's heavy cavalry finally flanked the Lithuanian line and rolled up the right. Casimir was forced to retire with 4,000 losses while the Teutons lost 2,000.

Von Plauen organized a pursuit, but he soon learned the Lithuanians were bringing in reinforcements to crush the weakened armies. He therefore ordered the Teutons into defensive positions while Pskov continued the siege. He also ordered von Tettigen to send the newmercenary forces to Samogitia in the hope of keeping the initiative: In the west von Sternberg and his counterpart remained stubbornly quiet waiting for the other to make the first mistake.

Attacking Samogitia didn't save Hochmeister von Plauen, and he fought a defensive action against about 5,000 Lithuanians in May. For the first time in von Plauen's career, the enemy held the advantage in cavalry but the Teutons more than made up for it with discipline. By the end of the day 2,500 Lithuanians and 250 Teutons lay on the field.

Here, future strategists agree, von Plauen badly erred. Worried about the losses he was badly taking, the Hochmeister retreated to Wenden to regroup rather than pursuing the broken Lithuanian forces. This gave Casimir ample time to rebuild and reinforce his eastern army to fifteen thousand.

Austria broke the western stalemate. Eight thousand Austrians marched through Hungary and Poland to reach Grodno. This forced the Lithuanians to counterattack with their 8,000, and von Sternberg sieged Traken (Troki, modern Trakai). Here he paused through the early summer.

In August 1416, Casimir once more advanced on Polotsk and von Plauen once more answered the challenge. This time the Allied army numbered 10,000 to the Lithuanian fifteen. The heavier Teuton cavalry cancelled out the slightly more numerous, lighter Lithuanians and so it turned into a three day melee.

Messengers rode across Lithuania to ask von Sternberg to take what men he could and ride to the Hochmeister's side. The Marschall approached with four thousand men, but halted near Vilnius: The Austrian army fared poorly, leaving the siege at Traken vulnerable. Indecision held him in place long enough for Casimir to gain advantage and on the fourth day sheer mass forced Heinrich to retreat to Wenden.

Casimir ignored the Pskovian siege and chased von Plauen. Retreat turned into rout and the Banner Army, some 5,100 men after those killed and captured at Polotsk, simply ceased to exist. Men abandoned their oaths and God then melted into the forest. Hochmeister von Plauen escaped capture but was badly wounded. He spent several months as a guest of the Archbishop of Riga in Kokenhusen (NW Wenden) healing as the war went on without him.

After that catastrophe, leadership of the war effort fell to Michael von Sternberg. Von Sternberg was a tolerable speaker and a decent tactician, but he was no strategist and didn't have the skill to do more than fight a holding action. The war turned decisively against the Order as the Lithuanians beat Austria at Grodno in October. In response von Sternberg abandoned the siege of Troki and moved all available men to Samogitia. He hoped that if they could take Medininkai (Varniai) then Casimir might accept terms, especially as Albrecht V von Habsburg promised a fresh two-pronged invasion of southern Lithuania.


Hauntings

By now it was November 1416 and Casimir's invasion of Pskov was imminent, though Prince Alexander IV still wanted to fight. With the Order clearly on the defensive burghers remained comparatively silent (they wanted their loan repaid), but the peasantry rose up. Two hundred years isn't enough time to erase wounds inflicted during the initial Baltic crusade. In the Livonian capital of Mittau (Kurland) demonstrations against Teuton and Livonian oppressors degenerated into guerilla warfare. Two taxmen died, a sheriff's house was burned, and someone spent an evening crucifying a scarecrow in Teuton dress and leaving it in front of the Order's cathedral.

The Livonian landmeister, Siegfried von Spanheim, appealed for calm. With von Plauen injured, a diplomatic solution fell to Grosskomtur von Tettigen. He agreed not to pursue any claims of betrayal or murder for killing the tax collectors and further ordered Tressler (treasurer) von Uexkull to repay ten years worth of overtaxing. (Old Prussian Revolt: Negotiate (-5 Tax, +10 Stab Cost, -30 gold))

In retrospect, it's hard to argue with von Tettigen - the Order was in enough trouble without encouraging a massive uprising. Still, the results were predictable as Estonians noticed their Livonian cousins not only escape punishment, but benefit.

On the war front more mercenaries arrived to replace von Plauen's shattered army. The Lithuanian western army avoided von Sternberg and besieged the Teuton capital. Alexander IV returned to Polotsk but retreated before Casimir's army.

Two days before Christmas, 1416 Michael von Sternberg took a chance and assaulted the still intact walls of Medininkai. He still hoped to take the city and force the Lithuanians to the peace table before defeat became inevitable.

In the ensuing melee over three thousand Teuton lives - irreplaceable men at this part - died. Grand Marschall von Sternberg rode too close to direct Teuton efforts to scale the walls and took a crossbow bolt to the eye. He slowly slid out the saddle. The besiegers broke off the attack.

Christmas Day 1416 saw the Order effectively leaderless, with the sole active army at Samogitia led by men who'd never commanded more than their own banners. Von Tettigen was a virtual prisoner in Marienburg. Alexander IV retreated to Pskov with Casimir in pursuit and a third Lithuanian army marched into Wenden to distract the Livonian landmeister.


Rising From the Dead

At least partial credit for saving the Teutonic Order goes to Tressler Friedrich von Uexkull. He resented von Tettigen's interference in the Courland and rode into Wenden to rouse his grand master from self imposed exile.

Heinrich von Plauen's wounds still bothered him, but more than that the shock of his defeat at the hands of 'pagans', a crushing blow almost on the same level as Tannenberg, left him stunned and 'afflicted' according to the monks who treated him. He showed no desire to return to action until von Uexkull revealed the extent of the disaster. They fled Kokenhusen hours ahead of Lithuanian soldiers sent to arrest him, rode to Riga and there took ship to Memel where thousands of mercenaries gathered for a counterstroke.

14171WarUpdate.png

January 1417

The Hochmeister didn't for a moment believe Samogitia's fall would result in favorable terms for the Knights. Casimir proved him right when he organized a counterstrike after Medininkai fell on January 17. Casimir chased the Pskovian army away from their homeland and attempted to assault the city. Prince Alexander IV stayed behind, organized the city defenses and dealt the Lithuanians a surprising defeat.

By February 1417 von Plauen was ready, while the Teuton 'defenders' in Samogitia repelled the Lithuanian attack. The Hochmeister organized a joint strike to flank and destroy the Lithuanian army as Marienburg. On March 5, 11,500 Teutons met 8,000 siegers and dealt them a sharp defeat. They fled to Traken where once more Hochmeister von Plauen stunned them. By May 13 the two armies were maneuvering near Grodno when von Plauen received a nasty surprise.

He believed (And so did I!) that Casimir still sought to break Pskov: Wenden finally surrendered to the Lithuanians days earlier. On the morning of May 14, with the Lithuanian western army clearly on the defensive and facing dissolution, the Lithuanian grand duke appeared with eleven thousand reinforcements. In total, 10,000 Teutons fought 18,000 Lithuanians. Von Plauen had no advantage to work with whatsoever, and after another day's hard fighting he retreated towards Albrecht V von Habsburg's new army at Podlasie with some five thousand survivors. The Lithuanians suffered 7,100 killed, injured or fled.

This was August 1417, and if Hochmeister von Plauen hadn't turned the tide of the war, between him and the stubborn defense of Pskov (including the still very much alive Pskov army operating out of Estonia) they'd stabilized the front. With a total of sixteen thousand Austrians operating in southern Lithuania there was still hope...

Hauntings II: Betrayal in Estonia

We've spoken of how Estonians watched the Courland rebellion with interest. It must also be said that the Pskovian army were poor guests. Russian soldiers, still angry at the war four years previous, still ingrained with a lifetime of teachings that the Knighthood was their enemy, and feeling suitably betrayed that they alone maintained any effort to keep Pskov free, badly mistreated their hosts. The Pskovians lived off the land and so took nearly all of the ripening harvest. Some fell into banditry and coercion, while others fed their desires regardless of what husbands, fathers and brothers might think. It finally became too much.

Aspell Krovvari watched his daughter ravaged by a Pskovian soldier while his mates emptied his larder and stole his belongings. He stabbed the former with a thick iron dagger and fled from the latter. The Livonians had no choice but to brand him a criminal. Pskov soliders marched through the streets of Reval in an attempt to coerce order guaranteeing the exact opposite.

On August 5, 1417 six thousand peasants rose up and attacked the Teuton citadel hours behind the Pskovians, who sought better odds fighting for their homeland. Krovvari fled Teuton inquisitors by boat, landed in Arensburg (Osel) and incited a rebellion there as well. He titled himself the 'Prince of Estonia' and declared all Teutons and Livonians persona non grata. He spared churches, but homes and markets fell to his 'army.' (Estonian Revolt: 6,000 men in Osel, 6,000 in Estland)

Faced with the very real possibility of losing the majority of the Livonian Order's lands, Hochmeister von Plauen had no choice. He sent a messenger to the Lithuanian grand duke asking for a meeting.

Casimir shrewdly chose not to ask for Memel - his entire justification for the war. He saw the Knights as a weak, dying power and looked forward to renewing the conflict. After several hours they agreed to a hastily drawn truce.

The Peace of Grodno (1417) ordained another five year truce. It also ordered all soldiers to retreat to their homeland without exacting any kind of vengeance on the enemy's people or property on the way home. Indeed, the treaty more or less ended in the status quo except that von Plauen had to disavow any interest in the Archbishop of Riga or his holdings. This, too, served Casimir's interests as it left Riga more or less defenseless. Taking Riga would give the Lithuanians access to the Baltic.

14179WarEnd.png


Von Plauen arrived home reinforced to 7,500 men. His first command upon reaching Thorn Castle was to order messengers to the Teuton navy in Danzig. They were to blockade Reval and all of Osel-Wiek to prevent reinforcement while he dealt with the 'Prince of Estonia.'

In January 1418, von Plauen landed southwest of Arensburg. Krovvari appealed to the Estonian peasants, reminding them (truthfully) of the Hochmeister's promise of reprisal and so increased his army to ten thousand. (A second revolt started in Osel within days of my arrival.)

7,500 Teutons and mercenaries, most still exhausted from marching through Poland and demoralized from losing their war against Lithuania, deployed with cavalry on the right flank and infantry on the left. Krovvari actually had the advantage in cavalry, albeit most of his riders were badly undertrained. In this case that proved advantageous, as they were so inept von Plauen couldn't devise a cohesive strategy. The Estonian cavalry got lucky and surged through the Teuton infantry who fled into the surf. Over one thousand men, weighed down by heavy armor and with the surf dragging them down as a precursor to a fierce Baltic storm, drowned and the Teuton army broke.

In June Arensburg fell. 'Prince' Krovvari forced the Bishop of Osel-Wiek to coronate him. In response to this outrage von Plauen returned before his army had recovered: 4,000 Teutons vs. 8,000 Estonians resulted in another crushing defeat.

A threatened revolt in July forced Archbishop Johann of Riga to recognize the 'Estonian' state and order the Teutons to stand down. Hochmeister von Plauen had no intention of listening. He instead ordered Landmeister von Spanheim to raise a fresh army in Wenden to crush the Reval portion of the rebellion who succeeded in seizing the city in July.

(Whenever nationalist rebels in WWM succeed, not only do the provinces gain 10 years of increased RR, the 'new' nation gains a core. Ouch.)

In November 1418, Landmeister von Spanheim finally led four thousand mercenaries against the Reval defenders. He routed their army and laid siege to the city. 'Prince' Krovvari couldn't assist due to the Teuton navy. He instead appealed to the Pope, citing Archbishop Johann's recognition of his title. Both Pope and Antipope ignored him.

In March 1419, von Plauen finally tried again leading 7,000 soldiers back to Arensburg. As Krovvari was busy inside the city on 'manners of state' he wasn't there to help outmaneuver the Teutons.

Further, von Plauen learned from his previous mistakes. The fact Osel was, essentially, hostile meant Estonian soldiers could find refuge in (or occasionally ambush from) one of a dozen villages surrounding the city. He burned them all, killing two hundred, before the Estonian army finally deployed to meet him. This time the Teutons held the cards, and with the hastily sealed gates at Arensburg sealed to them several thousand Estonian soldiers surrendered.

As mentioned earlier, the rules of warfare during the early fifteenth century demanded that nobles and officers be kept alive and offered for ransom. This didn't apply to peasants however, and certainly didn't apply to traitors. The Teuton army butchered another two or three thousand before the rest fled into the forests north and east of the city.

In April 1419, Tressler von Uexkull paid off the merchants of Danzig. This put the Order in potentially the healthiest economic position since Tannenberg. (Completed mission. Meanwhile, Stability to +1)

The exhausted, battered Teuton army continued to siege Arensburg and Reval through the spring of 1419 before the 'Prince' earned any more recognition and so split the Order in two. There was little coordination between von Plauen and von Spanheim - the Livonian found the Hochmeister's tactics excessive, while von Plauen labeled the other a weakling.

Someone else thought the Teutons might be carrying this a little far: Yeufemei II of Novgorod wrote the Hochmeister:

Yeufemei II said:
None question your right (to Osel and Estland) .. at this time. It might be wise to remember, however, the Estonians have lived in these lands far longer than your people. They will not be so easily cowed. They are related to the Rus, and I believe you will find they are made of sterner stuff than you imagine.

Further, it might be as well to have a buffer between your people and mine so as to discourage further misunderstandings...

14195ProblematicRelations.png


Grosskomtur von Tettigen once more wrote a conciliatory letter, and once more the Hochmeister overrode him. While reports of his response vary, in short it amounted to "Mind your own business."

On May 5, 1419 he dismissed the 49 year old Werner von Tettigen, appointing him instead as Komtur of the Neumark. As the Hochmeister returned to continue sieging Arensburg, no one remained on the Grossgebetiger who dared defy him.
 
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unmerged(58610)

Field Marshal
Jul 2, 2006
5.114
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You said he war started in 1517 and ended in 1417. What's this - let's do the time war, again?

You got two breaks. First Bohemia and Muscovy not joining in and, second, Austria actually getting troops to help you.

I hope you've actually bought some generals this time around and are not committing ungeneralled troops against armies with leader. Your results suggest it's the later.

You can always extend SoI on Riga again. If the Knights annex 'Estonia', relations wityh the Livonian Order will plummet. I'm a little bit hazy as whther or not the Livonian Order exists as a separate state or you're just gameplaying as though it were.

Pskov really saved the Knigh''s bacon. And it appears another war with Novgorod looms.

You wer very disciplined in paying off loans rather than adding to their burden. Gaining stability is a good thing for Danzig merchants and the Knights.

It'll be intersting to see whether Casimir goes after Riga, next war, or divides his forces to attack Pskov as well.

I'd like to see you gain Nerva and Ingermanland. convert the Novgorod and make them your vassals. Although once that happened, you'd be fighting Muscow every time Lithuania came calling.

With the allies you have, a war with Poland ought to be winnable, whoever starts it.
 

unmerged(33767)

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Aug 30, 2004
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Talk about nasty wars, Lithuania will be a tough one to crack, especially with other vultures waiting for their turn. I think your only hope would be Muscowy or the Golden Horde attacking Lithuania and seriously weakening them.

I now think that von Plauen has a fair claim to subdue the Archbishop of Riga by force. The man recognised an Estonian state! This really cannot be tolerated.
 

Tommy4ever

Papa Bear
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Sep 13, 2008
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Lithuania usually suffers from long periods of internal strife (due to the non-catholic and non-lithuanian population) hopefully the Order can take advantage of one of these internal conflicts and give Lithuania a beating.

ps Great AAR! :D