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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

CatKnight

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Prelude: Once Upon a Time


Baltic Crusades

The northern crusades officially began with Pope Celestine III's blessing in 1193, but in truth efforts began much earlier, first with the Wends of northeastern Germany, then in Finland. In 1199 Albert von Huxhoeveden, began Christianizing the Baltics by force. He founded a market at Riga in 1201, was appointed Bishop, and ensured a permanent military presence by creating the Livonian Brothers of the Sword in 1202. For decades the Livonians fought, cutting a bloody path through the Pagan ranks before meeting their match fighting Samogitians at Schaulen in 1236.

While the Livonians enjoyed a great deal of success during their time in the sun, Masovia did not. Duke Konrad tried twice, in 1219 and 1222, but every victory would be countered by defeat, every raid with counter-raids that only emphasized the duchy's weakness. Masovia itself was barely Christianized, and in real danger of reverting when Konrad called for help.


Remember Us?

By this time the Teutonic Knights, formally the Brothers of the German House of St. Mary in Jerusalem, were homeless other than scattered holdings throughout the Christian world. Hochmeister Hermann von Salza founded the order with Celestine's blessing in 1198 at Acre. As Christianity suffered setbacks in the Levant they migrated to Hungary in 1211 to defend against bordering Kipchaks. King Andrew II expelled them in 1225. They arrived one year later in Prussia with the blessings of Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II and coordinated with Duke Konrad to push the pagans away from the coast and Masovia proper.

If Konrad expected the knights to simply turn over their new home however, he was in for a surprise. The Golden Bull of Rimini, Emperor Frederick's 'blessing', guaranteed the Order's new holdings as did a Papal declaration in 1234. This did not sit well with the Poles, who considered Masovia and by extension all of Masovia's claims their sovereign territory, starting centuries of mutual ill will.

The Brothers of the Sword, leaderless and desperate, joined the Order as an autonomous branch in 1237. They then pushed east against the Novogorod Republic, suffering a humiliating defeat at Lake Peipus in 1242.

For the next century the Order flailed at all comers: Their rivalry with Poland continued to build, especially as the latter began to covet the port city of Danzig. The Russians were schismastics in their eyes. The Lithuanians might have been worst of all: Part Catholic, part Orthodox, part Slavic pagan, entirely dangerous. Their vacilliating between east and west, hoping for the 'best' deal, through the 14th century only made the Teutons angrier. When Jogalia of Lithuania married Queen Jadwiga of Poland, converting to Catholicism and all but uniting the realms with one stroke, it may have taken away the Order's reason to fight but not their will.

Relations with their other neighbors remained frosty as well. During this time the Teutons owned the strongest navy in the Baltic Sea. When the Victual Brothers, a 'guild' funded by the Hanseatic League, went rogue and began raiding shipping indiscriminately, the Swedes promised the Order the island of Gotland as a fief in exchange for their destruction. This the Order did in 1398, holding it for eleven years.

They also claimed Samogitia, now possibly the last Pagan region in Europe other than isolated pockets, in 1404. Unfortunately the Teutons considered pagans subhuman and their ideas of conversion ran to fire, torture and death. This was too much for the Samogitians who rose up in 1409. To the Ordenstadt's surprise, Poland-Lithuania announced the Samogitians were under their protection and warned the Knights off. Hochmeister Ulrich von Jungingen declared war.

Tannenberg

It was already late summer when the war began. In the one campaign of the season, Von Jungingen attempted to force Poland out of the war by a thrust through the Dobrinland towards Krakow. The Poles repulsed his strike and retook Bydgoszcz (Bromberg). The warring nations then declared a truce until June 1410.

The Teutons would have liked to extend the truce further, to give more western mercenaries time to join the ranks, but on June 30 the Polish/Lithuanian army, reinforced by their own levies as well as banners from Smolensk, Masovia and Moldavia, crossed the Vistula River and thrust straight at the Teuton capital of Marienberg. Von Jungingen chose not to endanger his city and marched his host to meet them. On July 10, the two forces collided at a field near Tannenberg some 100 km SE of Marienberg and 50 km SW of Allenstein (Olstyn).


Tannenberg, Grunwald and Ludwigsdorf.
The buildings at the center are probably a monument.


Estimated forces vary widely: The Teutons had perhaps sixteen thousand men as well as numerous 'volunteers' from around Europe. The Poles responded with sixteen, while Lithuanian offered eight more. They also probably had their own 'volunteers' from throughout eastern Europe. This gave the 'alliance' a definite advantage, but what the Teutons lacked in numbers they made up for in discipline and bravery.

And foolishness, for much as like Hastings 350 years earlier the Teuton left flank was fooled by a false retreat and chased their Lithuanian counterparts from the field. The center and right held, a brutal melee involving thousands of men, until King Wladyslaw II (Jogalia) engaged with his reserve. Von Jungingen replied with fresh troops of his own, but betrayal by Nikolas von Renys, a Polish sympathizer, as well as the return of Lithuanian forces undid him.

What followed next was pure slaughter: While the unwritten rules of war stated nobles should be taken alive if possible (for later ransom), the bulk of the Allied army consisted of peasantry who would not benefit from this and wanted revenge. Before order could be restored the heart of the Order, including most of its leadership, lay dead.

The alliance also failed to follow up on its victory. There were revolts and the occasional castle surrendered, but in all the army held in place. When they were ready to move again the new Hochmeister, Heinrich von Plauen, had already won passive support from western neighbors and made Marienberg impregnable. By autumn the restive nobility wanted to go home, so the army collapsed.

The Treaty of Thorn (Torun), signed in February 1411, solved absolutely nothing. It was a near status quo peace, with the Poles gaining the Dobrinland (Doberzyn) and the Lithuanians asserting their 'defense' of Samogitia. It certainly wasn't the death blow that King Wladyslaw promised his nobles. Nonetheless, they reasoned, it was a good start. They'd come back for the rest.

The Teutons were wracked with four years of heavy war reparations to pay off the ransoms on those men the Poles did capture. This resulted in higher taxes on a peasantry who couldn't afford it, and a middle class that simply didn't want to. When Thorn and Danzig both begged off paying, Hochmeister von Plauen responded by blockading the port until they yielded.

For the humiliated and battered Order, this loss proved nothing. They, too, would be back.


Teutonic Order, 1411
 

CatKnight

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COMMENTS:

If you're getting a feeling of deja vu, you're absolutely right.

Beyond Tannenberg: Black Eagle Rising was my first attempt, an EU2/AGCEEP game that ultimately failed because I didn't realize that changing my map 'mod' would inevitably break my save. So I went to...

Beyond Tannenberg II: The Knight's Tale was an EU2/WATK game. This was probably my best effort, lasting from 1419 into the early 17th century, but I left the forums for a time and when I returned the impulse had left me.

Sometime later I went with Beyond Tannenberg III: The Last Crusade, an EU3/WWM attempt. This was buggy from the get go: Advisors living over 100 years - ALL of them, an oversized Ireland which, once conquered by England, gave them an enormous advantage. At one point some of the Divine Wind betas were...not quite right, and though I was able to save it twice, ultimately the game decided the Order didn't need to be a theocracy. Or anything at all.

This game will use a mod as well, though I intentionally picked one making the least amount of changes possible. The 1399 mod does just that: Allows play from 1399 with the information already stored in the history files. I ran one test game in observe mode and another playing for a few years and haven't run into any difficulty. Obviously any mod disables achievements, but that's alright for this run.

I do tend to play 'Ironman' anyway, so you won't see any reloads barring any system issues. I am trying to tell a tale however, and since I'm not as good at making events now as in my EU2 days, that leaves the console. I intend to use it sparingly if at all, and will try to be explicit if I do it and why.

Speaking of which, to mimic the Treaty of Thorn:

1. Reduced starting cash to 0. I bought nothing first.
2. Nor may I until February 1415, unless at war or an event forces me, to represent indemnities.
3. Cash will be reset to 0 one last time in February 1415, unless at war.
4. I took two loans. This cash has also been zeroed out.
5. Reduced stability to -1.
6. Reduced manpower to 0.
7. If Poland/Lithuania declares war on me before February 1416 (5 years), I will forcibly end the war in a white peace.
 

LordTempest

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First Teutonic Order AAR for EUIV? 1411 start? Count me in. :)
 

Enewald

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Will try to follow. Planning to stay as a monastic order for long, or going for Prussian goodies? :p
 

unmerged(58610)

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Looking forward to see how it plays out this time. A sense of foreboding, though. Great to see you writing again.
 

Ashantai

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Great idea! Looking forward to it!
 

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IIRC I think I read atleast one of your previous Beyond Tannenbergs, so you can count me in for this one. :)
 

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Remember Us?
Why yes I do. :) Great to see you take another stab at the Teutonic Knights. The other ones I still remember fondly (albeit dimly - passage of time, failing of my faculties etc. ;)), so I look forward to where you'll go with this iteration.

Good to see you back, too. :)
 

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Tanzhang: Welcome!

Enewald: I have no particular goals, I like to role-play these things. One of the big questions I usually wind up exploring is whether a monastic order can survive an increasingly secular world. I suspect the answer is going to be 'no.'

Chief Ragusa: Thanks, and good to see you again. As for foreboding, it's always confused me how I can be so decent at playing the game normally, but then when it 'counts' for AAR purposes, the AI starts walking all over me.

Seelmeister: Thanks and welcome!

Ashantai: Thanks!

Tommy4ever: Welcome back! Yes, I'd have to check but I think you may have been around for my EU3 effort. Let's hope this one goes a little smoother.

Stuyvesant: Thanks, and it's good to see you as well. It's hard to believe 'Black Eagle' started over seven years ago. (And I'm STILL trying to finish a Teuton game!!) Where did the time go?
 

CatKnight

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I: The Danish Menace


Heinrich von Plauen


Heinrich von Plauen, Hochmeister (High or Grandmaster) of the Teutonic Knights,was born between Thuringia and Saxony around 1370. He was a short man, well built with glaring grey-hazel eyes and short salt and pepper hair. Though a brother within the Order for most of his life, Von Plauen never aspired to higher office until the last few years. Most recently he served as Komtur of Schwetz (Swiecie).

Von Plauen did not fight at Tannenberg: He was home organizing the defenses. When the heart of the Order died he swung into action, winning support from western nobles, accepting mercenaries, and generally doing everything in his power to make Marienberg (Malbork) impregnable. In the end he succeeded, holding out long enough for Polish and Lithuanian nobles to tire of the game and so make peace.

With peace signed, Von Plauen immediately swung into action to repay war indemnities and ransoms. "We will not be beholden to those evil pagans," he explained to his Tressler (Treasurer): "Nor will we allow ourselves to be attached to their purse for long." (Diplomatic Insult: Poland and Lithuania)

Heavy indemnities meant heavy taxes of course, which the merchants of Danzig (Gdansk) and Thorn (Torun) rejected. Von Plauen had already put up with a lifetime's worth of rebellions in his short reign however and so didn't truckle: He blockaded Danzig into submission, and Thorn quickly followed. He dealt similarly with problems in the grossgebetiger, the Order's executive council. When Grand Marschal Michael Kuchmeister von Sternberg complained about the grandmaster's aggressive stance he found himself demoted to Komtur of the Neumark. The Neumark, a swampy bit of land along the Brandenberg/Polish/Pommeranian border, was at best neglected and cut off from the rest of the Ordenstaadt. Von Sternberg's mission to pacify the population and bring them more closely into line with Marienberg couldn't succeed. (Mission: Spread Culture to Neumark)

The year following the Peace of Thorn went quietly. The Teutons made their first indemnity payment on schedule. England defeated a Welsh rebellion. The Poles enjoyed a complacent period to rebuild, the Pommeranians learned to fear their duke, and the Livonians bickered with merchants over city rights. (Events: Quiet summer for Poland, Fear and Loathing for Pommerania, Cities demand rights for Livonia)

Von Plauen, hoping to find an ally in the Bohemian emperor who'd helped negotiate Thorn, found himself rudely rebuffed. He retaliated by sending envoys to Austria and Denmark, while denouncing Vaclav IV as a 'snake.' (Set rivals- Bohemia, Poland, Lithuania)


You started it.

During the winter of 1412, merchants in Danzig made it clear they were tired of the Hochmeister's taxes. His answer was fairly typical:


I understand Novgorod is cold in winter, but really


The Danes Get Uppity

Any complacency the Order might have enjoyed as they tried to rebuild would be shattered when Denmark's Erik VII, (also Erik III of Norway and Erik XIII of Sweden), declared war on the Livonian Order. Similar to von Plauen, Erik could be energetic, firm and even visionary. Similar to von Plauen, he could be hot tempered, obstinate and tactless. In March 1412, Erik's vision of controlling the Baltic led him to covet Osel and Dago Islands (Saarema and Hiiumaa). Ready or not, the Teutons leapt to their brothers' defense.



The first battle began almost immediately and became typical of the naval war: Teuton patrol ships guarding trade off the Swedish coast blundered into a single Norwegian ship which fled before their presence. The Teutons pursued, straight into Svarte Toll's 11 ship Swedish fleet. This time the Teutons ran, sending a fast ship ahead. The bulk of the Order's navy sailed making it 15 on 12. This gave Holstein and Norway time to add two and six ships a piece: 20 on 15, and so the Knights retreated to Courland.

Von Plauen immediately ordered the seizure of all enemy ships in Teuton harbors and converted two of them into extra patrol ships. In the meantime however, the Kalmar navy enjoyed complete superiority and blockaded all Teuton and Livonian ports.

In May 1412 a small Swedish force began sieging the fortresses on Osel. Erik VII upped the ante, landing 6,000 men on Courland to try and drive the Teuton navy into Admiral Toll's arms. This was Hochmeister von Plauen's call to action: He appointed a young commander, who forsake his own name as an act of penance for an unknown crime then, confusingly, adopted the name of fallen grandmaster Ulrich von Jungingen. Jungingen, therefore, led ten thousand men to Courland and fought the Danish king off, losing about 1600 vs. 4000 Danes. (The game gives Jungingen as my free general. Hm.)

He couldn't do anything about Osel however, and indeed rushed home as a fresh Danish army of 4,000 under Christian von Troupe landed outside of Danzig. On August 30 the two armies met, with Jungingen once more inflicting heavy losses.

Meanwhile, the Teuton navy broke out of their prison in Courland, snuck past two Kalmar patrols, past Gotland, and so emerged into the Oresund where they sunk two Holstein ships and effectively ended the duchy's involvement in the war. Von Plauen won fleet basing rights from Mecklenburg, which allowed the Teuton navy to more or less continually blockade all Danish ports.

On February 1413, with the war approaching the one year mark and nothing solved, von Plauen made his second payment to Poland on schedule. In Narva, Konrad von Vietinghof took the bulk of the Livonian army - some seven thousand souls, into action against 6,000 Norwegians. Once more the allied knights won. Whereas up to now the best either Order could hope for was an honorable peace, now some thought they might eventually win. (Stability to 0)

For a time von Plauen toyed with the idea of a counterstrike into Denmark, but with his own ports blockaded and the Pommeranians stubbornly refusing free passage, he was forced to stay on the defensive. Instead, he sent a diplomat to reignite dormant claims in eastern Pommerania (Hinteprommern.)


The 1413 Campaign

In June, Osel finally fell. The exhausted Swedish/Danish navies, rather than using their new port, returned home to repair, restock and look for fresh recruits. This gave von Vietinghof the opportunity he craved: The Livonian rittermeister led his 7,000 man army across the Gulf of Riga into Osel. The Teuton navy, hoping to take advantage of this momentary weakness, ran for home hoping to capture or destroy a Danish barque patrolling the Gulf. Finally, the victorious Swedish army, having taken Osel, used ferries to land in Courland where they also fell to Jungingen's army.



In August the Teutons received even greater news: Admiral Toll had changed his mind and led his sixteen ships into an isolated harbor on Osel Island despite the Livonians' ongoing siege. Seizing the Gulf, therefore, meant pinning Toll against the land and possibly destroying his fleet entirely. The Kalmars awoke to their danger however: A lone Danish galley challenged the entire Teuton fleet on August 20, delaying them just long enough for seven more Norwegians to show up. Then Danish admiral Sigrun Nath with seventeen ships. Admiral Toll finally received word of his danger and put to sea, forcing the Teuton navy to once again flee into the port at Libau (Kurland).

So the war stalled, with neither side able to do more than hold the other in place through the winter of 1413-1414. At first the Teutons struggled to make their third indemnity payment, but von Plauen was nothing if not clever, and as it turned out the higher offices within the Teutonic Order were indeed for sale.


Alms for the Rich?

The Teutons made their third payment easily and had enough stored away to make the fourth, but people were getting tired of the ongoing war. The Orders' pool of fresh, young noblemen willing to die for God fighting fellow Catholics was dwindling fast, and there was no point filling the ranks with raw levies. Their navy was healthy, but pinned by overwhelming force. Alliances with Riga and Thuringia, while nice on paper, did nothing to help. (Thuringia offered. I figured von Plauen would accept since that's 'home' even though the two can't help each other. We offered an alliance with Riga, who accepted but wisely doesn't want to join the war in progress.)


March 1414


Sitzkrieg

In June 1414, Osel once more rejoined the Livonian fold, and still neither Erik nor von Plauen would bend enough to end the fighting. The 1414 campaign consisted of a great deal of watching and waiting.

Norweigian commander Torhild Amundsen snuck 9,000 men through a January blizzard into Narva, and as von Vietinghof's Livonian horde was still pinned, Jungingen's army trudged along the Baltic coast to deal with the threat. This seemed to awaken the Kalmarans from their slumber as the fleet dispersed to once more blockade Teuton and Livonian ports. In February 1415, as the last payment to Poland was being made, Jungingen crippled the Norwegian army.

In March, the fleet once more attempted to break out. Much like before a smaller fleet, this time seven Norwegians, slowed them long enough for the massive Danish and Swedish fleets to show and force them back to port. April saw Jungingen back in Danzig, this time to repel four thousand Swedes with seven thousand of his own.

After three years, what Erik VII meant to be a simple campaign still hadn't resolved itself. Their overwhelming superiority on sea was matched by Teuton dominance on land. Unfortunately, now the Teutons were out of recruits and Jungingen's army was weakening.


June 1415
 
Last edited:

Stuyvesant

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Stuyvesant: Thanks, and it's good to see you as well. It's hard to believe 'Black Eagle' started over seven years ago. (And I'm STILL trying to finish a Teuton game!!) Where did the time go?
Not to mention Resurrection. Don't get me started on the amazing disappearing ability of time...

I read the update and a sense of familiarity washed over me, in a very good way. The narrative constructed from the gameplay, the gameplay notes in a separate colors... It's a feast of recognition. Now add in endless wars with all your neighbors and I'll feel right at home. :)
 

Ashantai

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Nicely written introduction!
 

Warlord Skorr

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Out of manpower and just a year before Lithuania can come to 're-negotiate' the Treaty. This started well.

I hope you manage to pull it through, if only because I'd like to see a Livonian Order that survives a decent amount of time.
 

GulMacet

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Ouch. You've got a problem. Are there absolutely no allies that can actually help? How about Brandenburg, or Novgorod (who would certainly be interested in a slice of Finland)?
 

Enewald

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When you no allies in the neighbourhood, declaring every major neighbour as enemy might not be worth it. :p
 

unmerged(58610)

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Certainly a feeling of deja vu with the Danish attack. The only difference this time is that the Teutonic navy is still above the water. A better admiral might have tipped the balance on the seas and destroyed the Danish navies. I think Erik is adversely affected by all those different roman numerals attached to his name. Is there a white peace in the offing? A reunion of the Order lands after the peace? It's a pity von Plauen is lacking in the diplomatic arts. You've paid off the indemnities from the war with Poland and Lithuania, so I am slightly confident their interests would be turned in a different direction.. I'm keeping my fingers crossed they won't invade. A big ally like Bohemia would be a major step in the campaign for balance, at least whilst the Order is rebuilding.
 

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Subscribed! Ever since I wrote a big paper on the Teutonic Order I've been in love with them. It's kind of odd how the game gives you a Jungingen, but at least you didn't get a Hohenzollern! :p
 

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Stuyvesant: Endless wars? I can do that...

Ashantai: Thanks! As for the introduction, it's really cobbled together from my last three attempts. There are only so many ways you can explain the backstory for the same battle. ;)

Warlord Skorr: No, not the best start. It couldn't get any worse though. Could it?

GulMacet: In the 1399 scenario Brandenberg is in a PU with Hungary, so unapproachable. I figured von Plauen would be very reluctant to accept a schismatic's help against Denmark.

Poland or Lithuania? Yes. Denmark, No.

Enewald: Tell von Plauen that!

Chief Ragusa: Alas. Good analysis as always. This post does have a sense of deja vu to it.

Rebbrown: I imagine because in 1399 the Hochmeister is Konrad von Jungingen. Ulrich is his brother and successor. The history file probably doesn't clear his name from the leader file. Either that or it's one heck of a coincidence.
 

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In 1415, the Danish conquest of Osel was three years old with no end in sight.

II: Attacks of Opportunity


Outmaneuvered

The Teutons' situation in July 1415 was turning serious: Money continued to pour into the coffers from local taxes, but Baltic trade had been strangled by patrolling Danish and Swedish warships. The number of available young noblemen 'worthy' of joining the army was dwindling fast, and the ten banners that made up Ulrich von Jungingen's army were below half strength.

All these weaknesses Hochmeister Heinrich von Plauen hid with surprising skill. He also hid increasing dissent in the grossgebetiger regarding whether it'd be better to just give Denmark what they want or continue fighting.

In a speech before the council in July, von Plauen asserted that Teutons "do not cave in to bullies." He then ordered the fleet at Kurland to take advantage of a flaw in Danish/Swedish patrols to break out.

This they did, seventeen ships emerging in the summer twilight to dance between the two fleets at a distance of some 35 kilometers in either direction. The allied fleets converged, 34 warships under the combined command of Swedish Admiral Toll, but it was too late.

Three days later the Teuton fleet captured a Danish galley in the Gulf of Finland. With Teuton ports once more open, Von Plauen sent a courier to Copenhagen warning the Danes they could keep this up forever.

Erik VII of Denmark agreed.


(With my ports unblockaded my war score jumped to 11. That was enough to 'concede defeat.')


A Time to Sow

What followed were nearly four years of peace, a badly needed rest to allow the Order to recover. It took over a year for the army to reach its pre-war levels as visiting noblemen replaced those lost by years of fighting. Tensions at home eased, and if von Plauen still proved too abrasive for some (most) people, he at least had brought the Order through two storms relatively unscathed. (Stability peaked at +2, War exhaustion steadily fell to 0 by 1419.)

At home von Plauen learned to rely more on the grossgebetiger for counsel, especially Spittler (Hospitaler) Matthias von Amprigen, who used his influence through his 'good works' to create a web of intrigue through the Baltic as well as Tressler (Treasurer) Immanual von Roth, who worked tirelessly to bring the latest strategic and tactical ideas from around Europe to Marienberg. (My first advisors: Amprigen is a Spymaster (+1 Admin, +10% Spy Offense) while Roth is an Army Reformer (+1 Military, -10% Mil Tech) Von Roth successfully paid off the Teutons' loans in 1416.

He also began working to end the Teutons' isolation: A surprisingly difficult task not helped by his utter lack of grace and sincerity. Gradually alliances would be forged with Mecklenburg (after dropping Thuringia), the Hanseatic League, and following a great deal of angst and grief from the Council, Novgorod. Said von Plauen:

Their existence and strength is a political fact. Perhaps the day they return to Christ's fold will come, but until then we have more immediate threats.
More immediate indeed, for skirmishing along the Polish/Lithuanian and Teuton borders became commonplace with 'misunderstandings' a monthly basis. Officially treachery by the other side was blamed, or perhaps poor maps and surveying. Unoffically skirmishes through the Dobrinland and Grodno were a proxy for mutual ill-will and dislike.


Also Kalisz, Poland

Attempts to provoke a war in Pskov failed. (Can't forge a claim as we don't border them.) This is perhaps just as well since now attention returned to the homefront.

During the war von Plauen sold a number of offices, titles and privileges to fund the campaign. This was seen as justifiable, even admirable, but now the Teutons would pay. Many of these titles, gained at so little personal cost, were treated as toys or worse, ways to make money back. These abuses came to light when Grand Marschall von Jungingen complained that, during anti-cavalry training (Pike Square, Military 4), he learned half of his banner commanders and their lieutenants didn't exist.

Furiously, von Plauen authorized Jungingen to put his house in order. He then ordered the council to review their own bailiwicks. (Corruption: Eradicate, -1 Stability (to +1)[/i] The effort proved so successful that several men reported improved efficiency from their commands.




The Neumark Corridor

In the Neumark, Komtur Michael von Sternberg continued to work with minimal success to incorporate 'his' people into the Teutonic Order. The Neumarkers had an accent more suited to Berlin or Sachsen than their Baltic cousins. Their traditions, even sometimes their thought processes, differed. They had been left alone for so long, a forgotten remnant claimed by Poland, Brandenberg, the Order and others but administered by none, that the Neumarkers had forged their own identity, one borne of neglect, swampy terrain, robber barons, and a certain rugged independence.

Sternberg determined, correctly most agree, that the problem was his isolation: The roads between Neumark and the nearest Order castle ran through neutral (Pomeranian or Polish) territory. Repeatedly he asked the Pomeranians for access, repeatedly they denied him.

Von Plauen...didn't care. It kept one of his more outspoken critics busy, and so the Neumark might have been left alone in Bohemian emperor Vaclav IV didn't hint that maybe they should take over.



Not that Vaclav could make good on his 'offer': Even now he was losing an Imperial war against Burgundy and Hungary, so much so that they had invaded his homeland.

Here then was an opportunity - even a requirement to maintain the Orders' rights to the Neumark. Von Plauen recalled von Sternberg, and both agreed on the necessity of attaching it to their core territories. That meant an invasion of Pomerania or Poland.

Von Plauen voted for Poland - insisted on Poland, as revenge for Tannenberg, until reminded that Pomeranian Duke Waritslaw IX was the real criminal. Polish aggression was one thing, but during that campaign the Pomeranians, former Teuton friends, attempted to betray them in exchange for the Neumark. They Order had the motivation, the means (a claim on Hinterpommern), and frankly with their Bohemian protectors already defeated the Pomeranian campaign would be over in a year. The fact Novgorod dropped their alliance days before the war began meant nothing.

In April 1419, Sternberg and Jungingen crossed the border with 10,000 men.


April 1419: TEUTONS, Livonians, Riga, Mecklenberg vs. POMERANIA, Bohemia, Silesia, Trier

It promised to be a bloodless war: The Pomeranian army had long since been defeated, and while the Emperor did have a single banner raiding Berlin, a Burgundian force annihilated them in May. By the end of the month the entire duchy lay under siege and blockade.

In June, a Livonian army under Konrad von Vietinghof, veterans of the campaigns in Osel and Finland, bypassed Pomerania and Neumark to besiege Breslau. Home within the year certainly, perhaps even by Christmas.


July 1419

On August 23, 1419, Poland declared war.


Sh**!