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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Stuyvesant

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That's a destructive war. True, you haven't really lost any territory, but all the years of fighting and minting haven't given you anything to show for it (unless you count ongoing revolts).

Von Plauen might have saved the Order from outright defeat on multiple occasions, but in the long run, the stagnation of the Order will lead them to oblivion just as assuredly as a military defeat would.

At some point, the Order will need a leader who is focused on more than revenge and war. :)

This update did a great job of making not-winning, not-losing very interesting. Kudos.
 

CatKnight

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Chief Ragusa: Von Sternberg was an actual leader in game (albeit not a very good one). I just renamed him from what the game gave me.

Ideally I would like to see the Teutons gain Pskov, Neva, Ingermanland and either Torun or Hintpommern (to unite with Neumark). So far we're not doing all that well ;)

I couldn't extend my SoI to Riga again right away, and as you'll see by the time I could it was too late.

And yes, we're still in the fifteenth century. I wish I'd stop typoing like that!

Ar7: I don't think I can take Lithuania at full strength - perhaps it's my tactics, or just the sheer size of their country. That was ugly, and if not for Pskov and Austria I would have been trounced.

Tommy4Ever: Something to hope for! I'll watch Lithuania's intrenal problems with glee :D

aldriq: Ah...yes, that balance of power is pretty much gone. I would say no one else would directly protect Riga, but Riga is a member of the Hanseatic League and HRE. I could (and still might) conquer them easily enough, but it'd be a bigger war than one might think.

Stuyvesant: Thanks! The Order's about to have a little time to recoup their losses and get their economy back on track. Hopefully it's enough before the next round of wars.
 

CatKnight

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smallteutonflagyc4.png


VI: Business at Home (1419-1422)


The Fall of Estonia...

As the cool spring of 1419 yielded to an unusually hot summer, the Teutonic Order sieged the last 'Estonian' strongholds in Arensburg and Reval.

'Prince' Aspell Krovvari, once a freeman farmer from Estland, made fervent efforts to gain Imperial and Papal support. Archbishop Johann V of Riga recognized his realm under duress several years before and now his successor, Johann VI, followed suit...but that was all. Krovvari was a Slav trying to appeal to non-Slavs who were already quite busy tearing Europe apart. Further, few of his entreaties made it past the Teuton naval blockade.

As Krovvari realized the depth of his error, so too did the widening breach between the Teutonic and Livonian Orders become more obvious. Necessity forced the Orders to merge in the thirteenth century with the Teutons as masters, but the former Brotherhood of the Sword maintained a great deal of autonomy. Their landmeister (along with the Landmeister of chapter houses within the Empire, and Hochmeister von Plauen) formed a triumvirate. Von Plauen was first among equals, no more, and here in Livonian lands the Landmeister's word was law.

History records Landmeister Siegfried von Spanheim as a weak man, but in this case history was written by men with no love for the 'backwards' people the Livonians ruled over. Von Spanheim certainly was more conciliatory, a man chosen by the Livonians precisely because he lacked the Teuton grandmaster's manic drive. He encouraged then Grosskomtur von Tettigen to negotiate when unrest erupted in the Mittau, and now he spoke of reconciliation.

Siegfried von Spanheim said:
No, of course there is no 'Estonia', certainly not as an independent entity. However, once they are made to concede that by force of arms, then I believe justice requires us to examine their complaints closely and address those with merit......(They) are still our people and therefore deserving of our protection.

Lord von Spanheim forced Reval to capitulate in October 1419. Following the mandatory execution of ring leaders and powerful sympathizers, he simply...left with no further retribution. Indeed, he traveled to Arensburg to take charge of the siege at Osel.

He received a rude shock when Hochmeister von Plauen wouldn't surrender control of the siege. He reminded the Landmeister that these were Teuton soldiers fighting for the Brotherhood's survival, and Teuton money paid for the mercenaries von Spanheim used to take back Reval.

Elsewhere the Order enjoyed its greatest period of peace and prosperity since Tannenberg. (Stab to +2) At Osel the tension steadily ratched up as the two masters dipped steadily from 'comrade in arms' through polite intercourse, shouting matches and finally to a stony, intractable silence.

On January 7, 1420 Arensburg surrendered. Now von Spanheim swung into action.

von Spanheim said:
We will not storm the city. We will accept Krovvari's surrender and take hostages to secure the populace. There will be no looting or abuse of Livonian citizens. I remind you that this is Livonian territory, and I am the Livonian grandmaster!

Von Plauen didn't answer the Landmeister directly, but instead spoke to his banner captains.

Heinrich von Plauen said:
Burn it all.

The sack of Arensburg lasted three days and four nights. Several hundred died, and several hundred more were raped, beaten or robbed. A freak snowstorm blowing in from Sweden saved Arensburg from complete destruction. After the 'mandatory' executions, where Prince Krovvari was bound, bundled into a trebuchet and launched screaming into the Baltic Sea, he forcibly relocated one tenth of the population of Arensburg proper to serve as hostages.

While few blinked at von Plauen's extreme tactics, they found his next move curious: He summoned Landmeister von Spanheim to his tent and dismissed him.

As has been mentioned, the Livonian landmeister enjoyed a great deal of autonomy and so this move was blatantly illegal. The Teuton grandmaster covered himself well however. Papal Legate Paul von Wattzau sent a detailed, glowing letter to the Pope asking him to grant von Plauen this authority. Second, before any real moral outrage could build, he agreed to have the Livonian conclave arbitrate.

Much like in Teuton lands, Livonian officials elected their landmeister. Von Spanheim had the overwhelming advantage here, having been elected by a wide margin only six years before. Further, Archbishop Johann VI agreed stating that von Plauen couldn't simply overwrite parts of the Order's charter he found inconvenient.

1420Jan-SaleofChurchOffices.png


Von Plauen installed Gregor von Kniprode as Bishop of Wenden, promising to appoint his brother in exchange for support and a generous donation. From there von Kniprode easily rallied nearby officials to vote with him.

In March Pope Gregorius XII agreed that the Livonian Order should decide on the fate of their grandmaster, and so the Conclave gathered in April.

Livonian Conclave of 1420 said:
Question: Shall the Teuton Hochmeister have the authority to appoint/dismiss the Livonian Landmeister?

Yes: (Appoint Karl Joseph von Kniprode) 10
No: (Keep Siegfried von Spanheim) 5


...and of Livonia.

Karl Joseph von Kniprode rose to power much as von Spanheim did; A mild individual thrust into the position precisely because he wasn't likely to make waves. More spiritual than his predecessor, von Kniprode was a formidable commander (Fire 1 Shock 4)who proved himself at the siege of Reval and showed minimal interest in worldly affairs.

The Order finally began dismissing mercenaries acquired during the Lithuanian War as more young men took their knightly vows. The buildup to prewar levels and slightly beyond continued for the next two years as von Plauen worried about the next Lithuanian attack. (Mission: Protect Against Lithuania)

Indeed, though the Hochmeister would have loved to see Lithuania humbled, some of the fire left his personality following the last war. Aggressive or not, right or wrong, he'd successfully managed the Order through a very difficult decade and with no dissenting voice in power he only grew more popular... (Stab to +3)

...except in Livonia, where Georg von Kniprode in particular realized he'd traded a great deal of autonomy and privilege just to gain one title and give his brother a second. In October he wrote:

Georg von Kniprode said:
Even the head of servants is still a servant. Two hundred years of tradition are dying: The (Livonian) Brotherhood (of the Sword) is slain at last, not by Semigallians but by our own 'friends.'

In a bad case of timing, while Georg von Kniprode wondered at his folly, Hochmeister von Plauen talked to his brother about ending the Livonian Order entirely. That would take Papal approval, but given Gregorius's support last time this didn't concern him.

Heinrich von Plauen said:
...and you are to consider, sir, the state of the (Baltic) region. You and I know there has long been disagreement about primacy in your lands between the Archbishops of Riga and Dorpat on the one hand and our two orders on the other. Now the situation is desperate: Riga pays homage to Casimir of Lithuania, while Dorpat is a (fool.) If we do not unite and stand as one, then our holy crusade may be subverted by imbeciles or pagans pretending to love Christ.

1422-LivonianBorder.png


It wouldn't be quite fair to say von Plauen manipulated the landmeister. There seems to have been honest regard between the two. Certainly years of revolts and riots through Livonian lands and Lithuania's growing influence with the Archbishop (Riga joins Lithuania's SoI) caused many sleepless nights. Casimir's death, possibly of food poisoning, in August changed nothing.

In June 1422 the Livonian conclave met one last time where the two grandmasters presented a united front. In exchange for dissolving the Livonian Order (with papal consent), their conclave would unite with the Teutons' with no loss in voting rights or status. Lastly Hochmeister von Plauen would appoint von Kniprode to be the combined Orders' Grosskomtur.

They scheduled the vote for June 24. If Georg von Kniprode had waited he might have prevailed. Certainly he had the political connections and wordly outlook his brother lacked. As it stood passion overrode common sense and on the night of the 23rd he hired an assassin to kill the Hochmeister.

1422Jun-EndoftheLivonians.png

Centralization +1

Two Livonian loyalists distracted von Plauen's guards while the assassin crept into von Plauen's room. He expected to find the old man asleep. Instead he found the Hochmeister reading his bible with a broadsword by his side. He'd anticipated the attack and reinforcements captured the intruder. (The 3K Pretender stack appeared right on top of von Plauen's 10K, but unmaintained stack. Von Plauen won... barely.)

The assassin broke almost before duress was applied. He was a mercenary and had no particular love for the Livonian cause. At the Conclave meeting the next morning he implicated von Kniprode, but Georg was already fleeing towards Riga with some 90 followers.

A shaken Conclave debated what to do in the face of this overt betrayal:

Livonian Conclave of 1422 said:
Question: Should the Livonian Order dissolve entirely with all members and property joining the Teutonic Order?

Yes: 7
No: 4

Karl Joseph sent a message demanding his brother be returned to the Order to defend himself. Johann VI ignored him.


Political Leanings

In September 1422 Poland annexed Masovia. The Teutonic Order prepared for renewed battle with Lithuania, but this time von Plauen was busy consolidating his hold on Livonia and showed no interest in fighting. The Lithuanians fought rebels near the Polish border and weren't eager to renew the conflict either.

One month later Hungary declared war on Serbia, Moldavia and Wallachia. Lithuania, Brandenburg and Venice answered. The Teutons did not.

In responding to the Hungarian envoy, von Plauen noted the Order had nothing to gain from fighting in the Balkans. Further, since Hungary couldn't be bothered to send troops against Lithuania in the last war, and indeed allied with them in the intervening years, he saw no reason to risk men and resources for the Crown of St. Stephen.

This hurt the Order's reputation of course, but von Plauen received at least partial compensation when Bavaria joined the alliance weeks later.
 

unmerged(58610)

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Von Plauen sure is popular back home for his heavy handed responses to troubles in Livonia.

Riga is cozying up to Lithuaia. That's worrying. Certainly don't want Llithuania gaining Riga through any other means than violent conquest.

Linking up the Neumark with the rest of the Order's land through Pomerannia is a good option. Austria and Bavaria are a pretty good counterweight to Poland or Hungary's alliance.

Von Plauen may feel that going after novgorod is the best thing -gain some provinces and force convert. Maybe even gain Novgorod's northern colonies.
The forced conversion of Muscovy would be a crowning glory for von Plauen's stint as Hochmeister.
 

dublish

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Ah! CatKnight's resurrected his Teutonic AAR once again, and I missed the beginning. I'll be following this one as closely as I did your prior attempts. :)
 

unmerged(90806)

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Von Plauen may feel that going after novgorod is the best thing -gain some provinces and force convert.

interesting plan:
there's the Baltic coast and the COT to take; the Northern provs - i'm not if they're worth taking, but controlling Novogrod in- or directly will weaken Muscovy and help build up against Pol or Lith
 

volksmarschall

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So Latvia is under your reign, and the Baltic Sea (outside of Sweden) is a Teuton Sea for the moment! :cool: But it looks like internal politics and strife is eating away at your newly found empire of the north; so what is to become of the Livonian Order? Certainly losing her and all the while bordering a very powerful Lithuanian State can't be in your best interests.

*Will be watching with great interest to see what happens next* ;)
 

CatKnight

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blsteen: I agree about the Lithuanians. Hopefully someone will weaken them enough for me to move in.

Chief Ragusa: Plans change rapidly of course, though I kinda like your idea concerning Novgorod and Muscovy. We'll see what happens.

dublish: Hey! Long time no see! Have a seat, this party's just warming up.

gabor: In Beyond Tannenberg (I) I did take the northern Novgorod provinces. Worthless pieces of crap. The Rus are welcome to them!

volksmarschall: Losing the Livonians centralizes the Order -which on paper is good, but can lead to restive minorities in the former Livonian lands. One or two major mistakes is all it would take for that region to erupt. And yes, with Lithuania next door.

aldriq: It is a bit ironic, though I don't think von Plauen can keep it up. He's getting old and starting to lose control of events around him.

COMMENT: I am going to try to get a European map up later today. The 3D map thwarted me somewhat, so I'm still figuring out the best way to handle this.
 

CatKnight

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smallteutonflagyc4.png


VII: Down to Earth (1423-1428)


Looking Back

In the beginning of 1423 Hochmeister Heinrich von Plauen had reason to be pleased with himself: He'd completely healed the Order's economic and spiritual wounds following Tannenberg. He continued the Order's holy mission by subjugating Pskov. This, along with the Knights Hospitaller falling into heresy and ruin, gave him a great deal of influence in Papal circles which he used to finally unify the Teuton and Livonian Orders in fact as well as name.

Not everything he did ended well, of course; the Lithuanian debacle in particular stung, but prosperity and strength brought security, and a secure man could afford to be generous. In early 1423 he finally forgave the Danzig merchants for their treachery a decade before. He established secondary residences in Danzig and Memel. (Manor House) More importantly, the Knighthood sponsored merchants in Lubeck once more.

Von Plauen was 53 and beginning to feel his mortality. He wanted one more victory to crown his career and so turned his sights on Riga. There the Archbishop Johann VI continued to cozy up to the Lithuanian regency while protecting the traitor Georg von Kniprode.

In a letter simply dated 'Monday', written sometime in the summer, von Plauen delivered his ultimatum: Return the traitor or see Riga suffer the same fate as Arensburg. (Insult)

As previously stated, Johann VI could count on support from Lithuania - but this was a Lithuania ruled by a baby and allegedly still at war with Hungary. (I misread my notes last time: Lithuania is helping the minor Balkan states against Hungary. Neither country can get to the other though.) Riga was also a member of the HRE, but the Bohemian Emperor was once more busy trying to convince Burgundy to stop invading. Lastly, Riga (like Danzig) was a member of the Hanseatic League.

The League did not want to fight over Riga, not when the Hochmeister's obvious response would be to blockade Hansa goods from reaching or leaving Danzig and possibly Lubeck as well, so they instead opted for bribery:

1423Aug-RigaSafe.png

(This happened five days after insulting Riga.)

This made the Hochmeister hesitate, but not by much and he'd committed to an early spring war when Denmark decided to define von Plauen's career for him.


The Danish Menace

Since taking the throne in 1397, Erik VII Gryf of Denmark enjoyed a long rule as the head of the Kalmar Union effectively founded by his mother, Queen Margaret. He'd coerced the Teutons into give up Gotland in 1399, and more recently led a successful campaign that gave the Dane control of Hamburg, Slesvig, Holstein and Vorpommern. Unsatisfied with what he considered only modest success, Erik returned in 1410 to subjugate Bremen.

Bohemia answered of course, but Erik completely underestimated German response. Within two weeks he was at war with half the Empire. Worse, his English and Polish allies abandoned him to his fate.

1423Oct-Danesactup.png


The Grossgebetiger, the higher officers of the Order, scrapped plans to invade Riga. Here was an opportunity to reclaim Gotland and even the Order's enemies would be hard pressed to argue the justice of it. On November 14, Austrian envoys formally encouraged the Order to intervene. One month later, having purchased or requisitioned supplies from the populace, Heinrich von Plauen complied. Within weeks Bavaria and Pskov joined as well, though neither would play any kind of role in the coming melee.

At the start of hostilties, the Order's army was split into three commands: The first, obstensibly under von Plauen's command though the Hochmeister spent most of his time at the capital of Marienburg, was based in Estonia against further trouble. The second, under Grosskomtur Karl Joseph von Kniprode, stayed in Thorn along the Polish border. (Von Plauen reasoned that having the former Livonian landmeister operate in Livonian lands might prove too tempting.) The third command, a rag tag band of mercenaries loyal to the Tressler's purse, lived in the Neumark to help former Grosskomtur von Tettigen suppress robber barons as well as keep an eye on him.

The plan, therefore, was for the part of the Estonian command to land in Gotland and the second part of said command to land in Bornholm (an island north of Pommerania) while von Kniprode defended the Order against Swedish counterattack.

Like most plans in warfare, this one didn't live very long.

Grand Admiral Walter von Erlichshausen, commander of the Teuton navy, was a favorite appointed by von Plauen due to his ability to brownnose and not from any real grasp of naval tactics or strategy. It's also been suggested he was a drunk, and in fact was drunk when his thirteen galleys and five cogs met Danish admiral Erik Daa and his seventeen warships off the coast of Osel.

Even had von Erlichshausen been a tactical master, he fought at a disadvantage. His fleet had moved towards shore earlier in the day to pick up the first detachments of the Estonian command and so he found himself pinned against the land with the wind against him. The sail borne cogs were caught in a hopeless position and immediately disengaged. The galleys did better but failed to break the Danish line.

The two admirals agreed to an overnight truce. The dawn found a Swedish navy with seventeen more warships closing in on Osel. Admiral Daa pressed his advantage and broke the Teuton in three places. Only two galleys made it to the dubious protection of Arensburg's castle.

When von Plauen heard of this disaster he dismissed von Erlichshausen, but strangely his command never made it to the admiral's ears. He then told von Kniprode to invade by land through Pommerania while the Estonians moved south towards Marienburg.

In March 1424 a multinational force sieged Hamburg while a pretender defeated Erik VII's royal army in Holstein. Meanwhile von Erlichshausen, attempting to recoup his shattered honor, successfully snuck his fleet down the Baltic coast to Danzig. There he contacted the grand master.

The Hochmeister was at first enraged that his ex-grand admiral still commanded a fleet. In a moment of remarkably poor judgement he chose to dwell on the fleet's successful run down the coast rather than the disaster at Osel and agreed to von Erlichshausen's plan to once more carry an army to Gotland.

This was a trap: Erik Daa let the Teuton navy 'escape' and waited at Gotland for news. When he learned the Teutons planned another invasion he moved at the head of a combined Norwegian/Danish fleet of 24 ships. Once more he pinned von Erlichshausen to the coast, and once more he wreaked general havoc. Indeed, Daa's only mistake was in not allowing the Knights to finish loading soldiers before sending their entire navy to the bottom of the sea.

Von Plauen took command of the Estonain contingent as they passed near Marienburg. With any hope of an island invasion gone, he split his command: Some five thousand stayed behind to defend the homeland, while von Plauen moved to support von Kniprode.

Von Kniprode, meanwhile, didn't stop until he reached southern Jylland (Sonderjylland) in late April. There his six thousand defeated about 2,000 Danes in a pitched battle and he settled in to siege.


Decision at the Neumark

Nor had Georg von Kniprode, Karl Joseph's brother and the traitor who'd tried to murder von Plauen, been idle. After the Hochmeister's ultimatum, Archbishop Johan VI of Riga ordered him to leave. Von Kniprode knew he'd find no support either in Livonia or the Teuton lands, so he instead worked his way to the Neumark.

He reasoned with former Grosskomtur Werner von Tettigen. Von Tettigen had many good reasons to dislike von Plauen, but he wasn't prepared to rise up - certainly not in the middle of a war. Instead of refusing outright, he urged von Kniprode to wait until the end of hostilities then they would talk again.

Georg had talked enough. He went into the countryside and unified the Saxon robber barons with the promise of independence. On May 27 he returned to Landsberg to deliver his terms.

On the morning of May 28, guards found Werner von Tettigen, slain with a knife in his back.

That afternoon the robber barons attacked. (Saxon Patriot rebellion) The confused mercenaries sworn to protect/watch von Tettigen dissolved before their assault. They seized Landsberg and von Kniprode offered to swear fealty to the Poles.

The Polish king was still a boy and his regents had no interest in upsetting a balance of power currently in their favor. Anyway, at the time Landsberg fell the Hochmeister was less than fifty miles (80 KM) away with reinforcements.

When word reached the grandmaster two days later he halted his army at a large field in western Pommerania and offered a terse tribute and memorial to Grosskomtur von Tettigen.

Heinrich von Plauen said:
It is no real secret we disagreed on a great many things. I always knew, however, that I could count on Werner to do what he thought was best for our Order and our people.

There are no further records regarding this tribute. The chronicler was obviously distraught and almost certainly overestimated the grand master's sorrow - certainly his claim that the entire army wept as Adam and Eve must have when expelled from Eden can't be taken seriously. Indeed if further actions can be trusted, the overriding feeling within the army wasn't sorrow - but rage.

In early June, Heinrich von Plauen's army of five thousand knights descended on the Neumark. Though they showed surprising, even remarkable restraint towards the general populace the robber barons weren't so lucky. For two weeks von Plauen's army destroyed every fort and manor house it could find. A riot, in von Plauen's favor, erupted in Landsberg as he shattered the mechanisms that kept the Neumarkers in fear for so long.

Finally on June 13th his 5,000 men assembled in front of Landmark. Von Kniprode led the robber barons with some 5,500 men at his command. Like in Russia, the Hochmeister enjoyed the advantage in cavalry. Unlike Russia, he didn't rely on deception and instead ordered a direct charge.

The battle lasted for most of the morning. As the barons' army wasn't well funded nor modern, they noticeably lacked in pikemen that could have stopped the Orders' charge. The knights drove a twenty yard wedge through the heart of the rebel formation, skirmished briefly with their cavalry, and so chased them from the field. Now the melee began in earnest. Von Kniprode enjoyed greater numbers, but his men lacked discipline and their leaders were busy fleeing before the knighthood. Finally they too broke.

After three days of rest and celebration, Heinrich's bloodied army resumed their advance on Denmark. They'd lose perhaps 1,000 dead or wounded, while von Kniprode lost twice that. The traitor fled into northern Bohemia hoping to find support for a renewed offense. Unfortunately for him Wenceslas IV took his obligations as Emperor seriously and so valued the Teutons as co-belligerents. He agreed to meet von Kniprode, captured and executed him, then sent his tarred skull to von Plauen as a gift.


The War Drifts On

While von Plauen resumed his offensive, Karl Joseph von Kniprode (oblivious to his brother's fate at this time) fought off a Norwegian assault consisting of exactly 298 infantry. The next attack was significantly more credible and he retreated towards Hamburg.

In August and September von Plauen fought a series of running battles with Karl Schlien. Schlien was a mercenary in the employ of Hansa merchants near Rostock until they dismissed him over a petty contract dispute. He felt, with some justification, that they wanted an excuse not to pay him for fighting in a war the League didn't stand to benefit from. He therefore turned on the Hanse as von Plauen showed up.

The Knights disengaged - Heinrich von Plauen had no interest in contract disputes - and continued marching west towards Lubeck. Schlien chased him, pinned the Teuton army against the Oder River, and forced battle. (A rebellion started in Mecklenburg as I was passing through. I did disengage as soon as possible. The rebels must have broke at that moment, because they chased me into the next province.)

At this time von Kniprode learned of the Hochmeister's advance. Eager to unify their commands he marched towards Holstein - and ran into the Danish pretenders who'd crushed Erik VII's army and now claimed sovereignty over Slesvig. It wasn't much of a battle and no records survive. The Teutons were badly outnumbered and caught on the march. Less than 100 survived. Von Kniprode arrived in Holstein on a litter.

Von Plauen showed little mercy to his fallen commander. He'd expected to find at least a few thousand men ready to help him take on Denmark, and now he was virtually alone and outnumbered. He sent the badly wounded commander home by Hanse ship to raise another six thousand men and order the army currently defending the Teuton homeland to advance and meet him.

The Hochmeister may have had no Teuton support, but soon after investing Holstein an equal army of Bohemians appeared on the horizon. Their leader eagerly agreed to let von Plauen enjoy joint command, then presented him with Wenceslas' gift.

It is written von Plauen had a strange expression on his face as he accepted the skull. His words meant nothing to the Bohemian:

von Plauen said:
A pity you did not arrive a few days sooner. I would have given my deputy a gift to keep him company.

Arriving at Danzig, von Kniprode fulfilled his grandmaster's commands, but medicos agreed that he dared not renew the fight himself. Slashes to his torso stole the strength from his muscles and the breath from his lungs. The former landmeister spent the last years of his life either bedridden or moving with the care of a man twice his age. The news of his brother's death broke him entirely and von Kniprode fades from history.

In Denmark, the Danes were in trouble. Southern Jylland and Holstein fell.

1425May-DaneSiege.png


..and the middle of the peninsula fell soon afterwards throwing the Danish capital into danger.

About this time Erik VII started sending offers for a status quo peace. Von Plauen refused: If he couldn't have Gotland, he could certainly force the Danes to release it as an independent entity. Anyway, Bremen was still endangered. Instead, the Hochmeister attempted an end-run by Slesvig to help the alliance in northern Jylland.

He changed his mind when the 'end run' brought him in contact with eleven thousand Swedes and Norwegians sieging Bremen. Instead, the Hochmeister waited for reinforcements to arrive In August, reinforced to ten thousand men, he attacked.

The Battle of Bremen showed the two armies deploy identically, with cavalry on the wings (favoring the right) and infantry in the middle. The two sides met in the farms and fields surrounding a small village, partially nullifying the Teutons' slight cavalry advantage.

The Kalmar army was led by Alf Norheim, a veteran of the first Danish war to conquer Hamburg, Slesvig and Holstein. Norheim's crossbowmen pivoted left and right to fire into the Teuton cavalry as they charged, then the fight began in earnest. Around noon a Teuton offensive on the right wing crumbled and they fell back to the village. Von Plauen realized that he just might prevail, but not without losing the overwhelming majority of his force. Runners negotiated a truce in place and the Teutons fell back...

....into Slesvig. Word reached the grandmaster that a small army of some 1,000 Norwegians wanted Holstein back and von Plauen wasn't going to let pretenders with delusions of grandeur stop him. Anyway, he felt avenging von Kniprode's crushing defeat would be good for morale (and his legacy).

On September 15, he deployed against the fourteen thousand man Slesvig army. They were a formidable force, almost half heavy cavalry from the last age with sword and lance. Von Plauen only had ten thousand to respond with, most of them infantry.

The Slesvigers moved slowly, almost lazily, never dreaming von Plauen would be desperate enough to take the offensive. The grandmaster attacked at dawn while the Danes were still eating the last of their breakfast, praying and forming lines. His infantry pinned the Slesviger lines while 2,000 cavalry wreaked havoc with the camp itself. The Danes fled with minimal casualties.

Before the Teutons could relieve Holstein, a fresh army of 24,000 Austrians under Karl I did it for them. The two armies linked up.

By the winter of 1425 the war began to peter out: The Hanse stood down first, followed by Bavaria. In December Bremen swore fealty to the Danish king. Erik VII wasn't there to receive Bremen's sword though - he was fighting for his life against the Austrian/Teuton army.

On December 4, the allied army shattered Erik in Hamburg in the largest battle of the war: Some 30,000 against fourteen thousand Danes. They chased him through Jylland where Erik received Swedish reinforcements to no avail.

By February 1426, von Plauen finally succeed in reaching northern Jylland. The Danes wanted peace. Von Plauen wouldn't negotiate a peace that didn't include releasing Gotland, so Erik VII turned to Trier. Trier's terms were equally harsh, but on the other hand Trier negotiated on behalf of the entire German alliance. Denmark agreed

(Denmark cancels the vassalization of Bremen and releases Gotland.)


The Long Road Home

When word reached von Plauen concerning the terms of the peace treaty he was more than satisfied and immediately sent a messenger accepting Erik VII's status quo peace - except it was no longer on the table. Denmark wanted to send a message to the Teutons about interfering in local affairs and the German alliance no longer cared to fight. When word reached the grandmaster that he was bereft of allies in northern Denmark he yielded briefly to despair - then gathered his army and marched home.

Of the five thousand (eleven with reinforcements) von Plauen began his campaign with, four marched through the Jutland peninsula to reach the safety of Holstein, Teuton held albeit sieged by 1,000 Danes. He faced constant harassment from farmers and militia but prevailed and reached Viborg on May 1. South of the town he deployed with the Guden River guarding one flank upon word of 2,400 Swedes blocking the road ahead.

The Swedes did not engage however. Erik VII had raised a fresh army out of Copenhagen and had just landed in Arhus to the east. When von Plauen learned of this he tried to force the road, but the Swedes held firm with several hundred casualties per side.

When Erik arrived, the Hochmeister was outnumbered 2:1. He deployed along a small ridge with crossbowmen and swordsmen in front and cavalry to the rear to fill any gaps in the line. On May 9, he held another service for his soldiers even while messengers rode back and forth between the two battle lines trying to stave off battle.

von Plauen said:
Today will be hard, and I will not hide the truth from you. I expect you to defend your banners to the last, as well as your men-in-arms. Fail me not in this. Let these Vikings see how the soldiers of Christ meet their fate, and I promise you that tonight we shall dwell in the house of the Lord.

Not quite. Erik didn't need a vengeful Order with four thousand martyrs to venerate on his flank, and anyway he felt he'd made his point. Towards midmorning diplomats met with the grandmaster: The Knights would not be allowed free passage through Danish soil. It could be purchased, however: (Peace Treaty: 25 ducats to Denmark)

After arranging payment in a single installment, von Plauen returned home in autumn 1426. He returned much older than he left, having been betrayed (in his eyes) by his Germanic friends and left to fight alone. Von Plauen spent much of his time in Marienburg organizing a more modern army with professional soldiers taking the place of ill equipped heavy infantry. (Land 5 = Men at Arms, also Production 5)

As his armies once more built, von Plauen turned his attention to the shattered Teuton navy. (Cancel Mission: Protect vs. Lithuania, New Mission: Restore Fleet) He also wrote several friendly letters to the new Archbishop of Gotland, Johan, despite (or perhaps because) Norway using Gotland as a port to obstensibly fight piracy. (Gotland joins Norway's SoI)

Despite his apparent activity, the Hochmeister's attitude grew steadily more despondent. He no longer spoke of vengeance, Baltic crusades, or much of anything other than whatever task was at hand. News of the Hansa establishing a trade station closer to Marienburg (in Warmia) didn't help either. More and more, he felt the Order's destiny might not belong to the knighthood anymore but to other powers.

Due to this sentiment, von Plauen felt the Neumark was undefensible in the event of future war. He declared that 'if rogues and thieves want it so badly, they can have it.' It's one of the ironies of history that, following his destruction of the robber barons led by von Kniprode, Hochmeister von Plauen was well regarded and even loved by the people there.

He didn't realize this, or he didn't care, and after several months of negotiating sold the 'New March' back to Brandenburg for 140,000 grosschen. Brandenburg initially ceded the land to the Order in 1402.

In April 1427 Bavaria attacked the Palatinate and asked for the Order's assistance. As all the fighting would be in southern Germany (vs. Palatinate, Saxony and Pavia) von Plauen accepted ... then did absolutely nothing. He wasn't needed, as Bavaria won in August.

Von Plauen's apathy should have been taken as a sign of weakness. Perhaps it was, but rather than open defiance this just gave more moderate voices room to speak and be heard. Even Paul von Wattzau, the Papal Legate, turned on him ever so slightly by declaring this would be 'past time' to reconcile with those minorities within Teuton lands that felt they were treated unfairly. In this way the Estonians won broad acceptance and their revolt, like the Danziger merchants, faded into memory. (Estonian is now an accepted culture!?)

June 1428 saw Siegfried Balder attempt a coup within Riga itself. Balder's motives are unclear: Rumor spread at the time that von Plauen bore responsibility, but this seems unlikely. The Hochmeister, while rousing somewhat from his apathy, was entirely focused on rebuilding the Teuton navy and could care less about Riga's internal politics. Johann VI prevailed and Balder's dream of a duchy for himself died with him.

The next month Bavaria declared war on Ansbach and once more asked for support. This time von Plauen refused, angrily asserting that the Order "isn't a dog to be used by others for their aims!" This turned out to be a brilliant move, for Bavaria's other allies deserted her except for Alsace, and together the two did battle with nine Imperial states.

On August 1428, the broken and battered Karl Joseph von Kniprode, last Landmeister of the Livonian Order and Grosskomtur of the Teutons, went to God. He hadn't enjoyed close relations with the Hochmeister since losing his army in Denmark, but even so von Plauen was moved to tears.

The Hochmeister of the Teutonic Order, at age 58, was all alone.
 
Last edited:

TheHyphenated1

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Terrific start, CatKnight! I'm glad I'm coming in on this early!
 

germanpeon

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This is terribly depressing! I hear of nothing but slaughter and no gain for the good knights of the Teutonic Order.

Perhaps, with the army modernized and the navy rebuilt, the next Hochmeister will be able to breathe some life into the Order and lead it to some measure of greatness.

I certainly hope that the Order's fortune improves.:(
 

CatKnight

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TheHyphenated1: Thank you. Welcome aboard!

germanpeon: It is. Very depressing. Hopefully von Plauen will get another chance to add something to his legacy, but as you'll see in the below maps there aren't really any easy targets.

***********

Interlude I: Europe in 1429


europe1429ne.png


Muscovy did a number on Novgorod: No surprise there.

That light green splotch on the Swedish border is: That is Karelia, who apparently revolted from Novgorod.

The gap in Lithuania is Smolensk, who successfully revolted away early on.

As you see, the Horde is in trouble from various sources including Crimea to the south.

europe1429nw.png


England is a bit of a mess: York started as a vassal and has yet to be reincorporated. (They absorbed Lancaster a few years ago.)

I'm shaky on what happened in Wales: I believe they revolted away, England beat them, but instead of conquering the Welsh they took away some territory and forced Wales to release that second nation.

France hasn't done much yet, and the HRE is a mess. That purple on France's border is not Burgundy; it's Bars.

europe1429sw.png


That splotch west of Switzerland IS Burgundy. Their belligerent stance has all but destroyed them.

The Reconquista finished well ahead of schedule.

It's hard to see with them split between multiple maps, but Bavaria and Austria have both done well so far.

europe1429se.png


As has Naples, which controls Rome and much of Greece.

Hungary's done a fair job absorbing the Balkans, but Serbia's not giving up.

The Byzantines hold Thrace and a tiny bit of land in Greece (east of Naples).
 

dublish

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Venice and Aquilea also look to be doing fairly well. What do you think the chances are of a semi-historical Ottoman invasion of Hungary?
 

unmerged(58610)

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The wholepoint about giving up Gotland in the first place was to avoid tangling with the Danes and their navy, in particular. Big ships are the future, but in the immediate future cogs and a few galleys are all you'll need to take Gotland -having embarked on a course of action, you ought carry it through. Von Plauen showed the rationale brilliantly, he must have been a secret dissenter not believing how destructive to the fleet it would be. He should have stayed on his take Riga course. And fight Lithuania to retake Samogitia and force Lithuania to renounce its claims to said province. Lithuania would then make a good ally against Muscovy.

Sold the Neumark -that'll have to be reclaimed. Pommerania was there to be taken, too.

How could you turn down the chance to exile the unwanted to the northern colonies to be taken from Novgorod?

Gotland, Pommerania, Riga and land from Lithuania. Then "try" Novgorod before the God of battles.
 

merrick

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Just caught up - this is a really, really good AAR. I particularly like the way you've blended the narrative and gameplay elements into the history-book format and the way you've tried to stay within the historical bounds of the Order's limitations and the characters of its leaders.

Anyway, I like it so much that I've nominated you as WritAAR of the Week.

Congratulations - now go deal with those Lithuanians!
 

unmerged(90806)

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congrats on Writaar of the Week, well-deserved!
i somehow do not feel sorry for von Plauen, he seems an unlikeable person and, truth be told, quite misguided strategist

i think gotland is not worth the hassle (not yet at least), even if you get it it'll be pain in the... to protect it in case of war; as merrick said Lithuania should be your goal (or Poland, just wait for a moment of their weakness)

the maps in this mod do indeed look nice as regards the western Europe, but central and eastern parts of the continent could do with some tweaks imo: e.g. Silesia, your region
i also worry a bit about the balance: 10-prov Ireland!?
 

germanpeon

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  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Warlock: Master of the Arcane
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Pride of Nations
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Stellaris: Necroids
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Arsenal of Democracy
  • Hearts of Iron II: Armageddon
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Darkest Hour
  • Deus Vult
  • A Game of Dwarves
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • For the Motherland
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
  • Heir to the Throne
Well deserved indeed! Congrats! :D