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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Stuyvesant

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Not only is the TO still alive, you didn't even have a single war in the last update. A pleasant surprise, to put it mildly. Oh, and when you show that map, the Order looks like quite a decent state - goes to show that borders on a map don't tell the whole story. :)

I hope you get enough of a reprieve to keep the game enjoyable.

His ideal plan called for gathering allies and striking into their heartland, sticking Wladyslaw's head on a pike and parading it around, burning and salting Krakow, then claiming some disputed territory. In that order.
Lovely quote. ;) Fits Von Plauen very well, though the man seems to have mellowed a little at the end of the update. Perhaps it's now enough if Wladyslaw simply dies in his sleep?
 

InnocentIII

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Supporting rebels in enemy territory is all well and good, but why can't we support astronomers?

I'm loving the combination of story and gameplay. Let's hope your allies prove able and willing.
 

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Tressler Immanuel von Roth (a member of said group) asserted that submission to the Emperor was the only way to assure Teuton survival. Following a stern rebuke, Hochmeister von Plauen answered the diplomat. His response survives in the Marienburg Chronicles.
I'd strongly suggest adding all your provinces into the Holy Roman Empire as soon as possible - this will grant you protection of the Emperor and allow to wage war on other member of the Holy Roman Empire. This is probably the best way for the Teutonic Order to survive in vanilia version (the other is basing a lot on luck and possible allies).
 

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the Teutonic Order was my very first game in EUIII.
That said, I'm following your awesome AAR closely xD
looking forward to your survival :p
 

Nikolai

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Ah! An AAR by CatKnight. I must subscribe.:)
 

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Saulta: Thanks! EU4 makes it pretty easy - it's a roller coaster ride with lots to talk about.

Enewald: Very poor! However, I'm down to 12 loans from 17

aldriq: I'm not! Hopefully I won't be in that position again.

Chief Ragusa: Actually roughly 22 x 17 = 374 ducats as we begin. Masovia's a no-go, Poland's well on the way to diploannexing her. Riga or Pomerania are more likely, especially the latter I think since Bohemia's still weak. Still, I want to make sure Poland and Lithuania are distracted before I go ahead. We don't need a repeat of last time.

Stuyvesant: Von Plauen tried to mellow, but the game wouldn't let him! Wladyslaw's out of the way..and that's not the best thing that could have happened.

InnocentIII: Because astronomers find all the comets, and comets are bad!

Holy.Death: Probably not happening. Bohemia HATES me, always will (I'm on their enemy/'in the way' list), and I need +174 relations to add provinces to the Empire.

riknap: First EU3 game? Wow. I wouldn't recommend the Teutons as a person's first game in any of the EUs - far too much can go wrong.

Nikolai: Good to see you, sir!
 

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By 1425, the Teutons were on the road to financial recovery and relative safety. More needed to be done...

V: Time for Discretion


Recovery

Christmas 1425, a time for celebration for the privileged few within the Ordenstaadt. Peace suited the nobility/clergy just fine: A chance to lick old wounds, train the next generation of knights, and profit from their holdings. A small minority chafed at the lack of religious wars and general lack of direction, but elders quieted them with promise of future adventures.

The middle class, still small but strengthening with every year, also prospered. Trade through the Baltic seemed secure, and the slow thawing of relations between Marienberg and Krakow meant increased opportunities there as well. Further, Hochmeister von Plauen renewed his promise to start repaying the Order's debt, and given he didn't have to take that step the burghers were prepared to take him at his word.

The peasants alone suffered. Austerity measures such as summoning and equipping the army only in times of need did not stop or even slow Tressler von Freiburg's taxmen. Peace at least meant no rampaging armies, and not one comet could be spotted from one year to the next.

On the diplomatic front, the Teutons celebrated their renewed alliance with the Livonian Brotherhood, ringing the Polish/Lithuanian union with potential threats.

That ended the good news: The Bohemian emperor was weak, an afterthought, at least until the Duke of Burgundy had the poor manners to die without issue in January 1426.



The French immediately asserted their claims to the duchy's southern core. The northern lowlands defaulted to the Emperor. (I think this event is bugged, as Burgundy ceased to exist. Further, every nation in the region formed a coalition against Burgundy despite the fact it no longer existed, and did so continually throughout this episode. Hopefully it stops when I restart)

In May, those nobles who wanted a fight found their rallying point: The Livonian Brotherhood used a trifling insult as an excuse to attack and then conquer the city state of Pskov, pushing eastward beyond Lake Peipus to the Novgorod border.

One month later Zygmunt I (A3 D4 M5) rose to the Polish/Lithuanian throne, and if Wladyslaw had been leaning towards peace, the new ruler of Poland sought a Baltic corridor. In August Polish agents trying to stir trouble in Danzig were expelled, followed by Kulmerland in August. (Claims both.)

The Bohemians won a fiercely contested election upon Vaclav's death, and Vladimir I took the Imperial throne. Apparently the electorate preferred a weak emperor, for the troubled kingdom didn't strengthen. Indeed, they found themselves in a hopeless war against England over the Low Countries.

There wasn't much von Plauen could say to any of these, and indeed nothing needed saying. Instead the grossgebetiger accelerated efforts to bring the Kulmerland into the fold, flooding Thorn and surrounding cities with German settlers, officials and priests. The Polish majority naturally resented this, but with the last failed rebellion fresh in their memories the peace held. (Begin shifting their culture. Efforts continue through this chapter)

The grossgebetiger responded to Bohemian weakness by increasing pressure on the Duke of Pomerania to join the Teuton fold. (Claim on Vonpommern) Much later, in 1429, Hochmeister von Plauen made it his personal mission to continue exposing the emperor's weakness by sending agitators into Neiderlausitz. (Mission, and ongoing as of the end of this chapter.)

As Polish relations began cooling once more, diplomats began reasserting ancient claims to Posen and Samogitia as well. (Ditto.)

All this saber rattling had a predictable effect on international trade. Though some loans had been paid off, the Danzig burghers still held quite a bit of influence. Now they used it, urgently requesting the council in general and von Plauen in particular to back down.




The War of the Brothers

Von Plauen allowed himself to be influenced, believing that in general he'd made his point to the new Polish king: His alliance held and he'd shown his willingness to fight. If the Pole came...well, it would be the Teutonic Order claiming land in the resulting peace, not the other way around.

Indeed, the Hochmeister spent some time trying to return to the Order's roots. Flooding German immigrants into the Kulmerland was a good start: Indeed, bringing in settlers had been the Order's tactic of choice for pacifying an area for the past two hundred years. He dreamt of bringing the Hinterpomeranians around as well through similar means. By then surely an opportunity would arise for Crusade, either in Russia or Lithuania. (Admin 4. In the 1399 scenario you choose your first idea. I went historical with 'Religious.' This might not be the ideal move at this point, but I couldn't imagine the Teutons picking anything else.)

In March 1429, diplomats from Novgorod sailed into Marienberg asking for help against Muscovite invaders. The grossgebetiger met in emergency session. Von Plauen believed this was a sign from God, that returning to the Order's roots was the right idea. True, Novgorod consisted largely of schismatics, but the Muscovites were just as bad. Join the war, he counseled, then just sit there and watch as Orthodox kills Orthodox.

Good idea, except much the same discussion was being held in Wenden, the headquarters of the Livonian Brotherhood. Herrenmeister Konrad von Vietinghof had previously signed an alliance with Muscovy, and now the Russians asked for help. The Muscovites might be bad, but Novgorod was in the way.

Von Vietinghof agreed to join the war, but much like the Teutons expected to stay out of it. He had enough problems: A major Pskovian rebellion trying to retake their homeland plagued his east, while Hussite heretics seized Reval.

Here the herrenmeister blundered, badly. In an effort to intimidate the Teutons into truly staying out of it, he signed an alliance with Poland.



Even if von Plauen had been of a more even temperament, with Polish/Teuton tensions rising he couldn't have let this pass unchallenged. Given his temperament, he ordered Grand Marschal von Altenburg to mobilize his army and prepare for an extended campaign.

The Hochmeister then wrote Archbishop Johann of Riga, the de jure head of religious affairs in the Baltic, demanding he excommunicate von Vietinghof. Johann wisely declared neutrality, which didn't stop von Plauen from declaring his counterpart anathema one month later.

This didn't sit well with newly elected Pope Johannes XXIII, who reasonably felt that declaring people anathema was his prerogative. He issued a bull commanding his Orders to stop fighting. Von Plauen replied that he wasn't fighting anyone, but liberating Livonian souls from a tyrant with ties to the Orthodox faith. Von Vietinghof added that, while the fighting hadn't started yet, the pope would be able to tell when it did from the puppy-like cries issuing from Marienberg.

As increasingly agitated letters flowed back and forth from Romagna, the Teuton and Novgorod navies blockaded all Livonian ports, trapping von Vietinghof's army on Osel. This had the unfortunate side effect of allowing the Hussite heresy to spread, while Teuton armies marched into Kurland and Semigalia.


February 1430

This did not sit well with peasants in and around Konigsberg. Though Danzig was much larger, its at times troubled loyalty meant Konigsberg was usually thought of as the Order's 'second' city and a possible haven should Marienberg ever fall. While this earned the small Baltic city some prestige, it also meant Teuton officials paid significant attention to what happened there. Tiny little corruptions or vices that might pass elsewhere, such as 'miscalculating' taxes or service owed, were ruthlessly rooted out and punished by officials eager to prove themselves.

In February, with the army distracted, they decided they'd had enough and sent an ultimatum to Marienberg.



Right...
 

Enewald

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And peasants wont cross the border to Poland. :(
Maybe winter might kill a few. And the province being coastal, it might hold off very long.
 

unmerged(58610)

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That's a sizeable sum owed. Reduced somewhat after the Livonian campaign, no doubt. Livonia looks too big to make vassals, but you should be able to get some provinces linking up Riga in readiness for help with finances from there, trade power and pots of money. The Livonian Order had let the Hussites operate freely. They weren't just schismatics, but heretics in truth. Riga's continued neutrality won't please von Plauen.

That's one seriously good Polish king. It's good to see the game throwing up claims and counter-claims on lands to keep relations between the Order and Poland on the boil. Not so good to see Bohemia strengthened from the gift of the low countries. You'll need those peasant regiments to deter an invasion from Poland.

Astronomers find comets - kill all astronomers - problem solved.

The religious idea is the one the Teutonic Order would have gone for. Defensive, Quality, Offensive and Trade would be others I think they'd consider.

Best thing would be for a succession war over Masovia between Poland and Lithuania. Worst would be Poland diplo-annexes Masovia, inherits Lithuania, whilst Austria inherits Bohemia.

Taking more of Pomerania, making it a vassal and trying to do the same with Riga and the Livonian Order and even taking provinces off the Emperor are all secondary considerations to making the Order strong enough to take on Poland and win a rematch.
 

Enewald

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Remember, when servants of God require resources, or are facing bankruptcy, sometimes the rules have to bend.
Papal support might make a lot of loans 'vanish' or inquisition making the people that loaned the money vanish too. ;)

The God-Emperor protects!
 

Stuyvesant

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The big question I have is: are you now at war with Poland, or not? If you are, then... Ouch. Those 6,000 peasants might be a pleasant speed bump. If not, then it looks like things are well at hand.

The Livonian Order is royally screwed, what with its army blockaded, provinces under siege - oh, and Hussite rebels in Narva. That's a pretty neat curveball for the AI to throw at you. :)

While the peace and prosperity are good for all, fighting and bloodshed are good for Von Plauen. And since he is the Hochmeister, I guess that means it's good for the Teutonic Order as a whole.
 

Holy.Death

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It's really sad when I see two orders fighting one another. You're forced to do this because otherwise there is no other way to expand. The Emperor resides in Prague and you have land connection to Bohemia, that's why you can't make Emperor like you. I'd sell Neumark to someone (Poland? To make Emperor hate them, making them your common enemy?) and try to improve relationship with Bohemia and link all your provinces into the Holy Roman Empire. Cannibalizing fellow Knights of Christ will weaken both of you and open another border to defend (Novogrod, Ukraine, Moscov, etc.). I don't think this is worth it in the long run. Your borders are another problem: creating Fortress Order is right now infeasible.

Still, I enjoy seeing another AAR where nothing goes smoothly.
 
Last edited:

Canuckassassin

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Of all the EUIV AAR's I've been reading this is my favorite. I'm not going to tell you how to play the game, but I do hope you keep this up because its been highly enjoyable.
 

Panzer4life

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Nice start. i wouldn't have picked religion for my first idea for the Teutonic order, I probably would've picked something like Aristocracy or Quality ideas. They are military ideas, and thus don't eat up your precious admin points. Plus, you need your military as strong as possible early on, to deal with the fact that Poland and Lithuania will always be trying to take you over.
 

riknap

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well, I was actually playing the Teutonic Order in M2TW just before I played EU3 really.
though more accurately, the first "test" game I played was japan (I actually had ... I don't know, 200+% inflation by the time I united it ? ), but the first "serious" game I had was the Teutonic Order : more specifically Teutons turned Prussia turned "Russia" (I ended up expanding eastwards ).
that said, while I didn't exactly have trouble with Poland then, that was more of sheer luck on my side really - they collapsed rather early, and my main enemy for most of that campaign was Sweden :p

On another note, I'm loving your AAR writing style. Writing a narrative and showing the game mechanics in alt-text is just most immersive and engrossing :D
That said, reading your AAR also makes me appreciate playing smaller countries (and having nothing go just right :p ). The fun of imagining what's happening behind the scenes are half the story.

looking forward to the next updates :3
 

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All these comments are as of the beginning of this session. Things will change radically during this chapter.


Enewald: Oh don't worry, the peasants made no headway whatsoever.

Chief Ragusa: The one good thing about this session coming up is I continued to make headway into my debt.

I AM impressed how the game kept Polish/Teuton relations a bit hot for comfort. I'm pretty sure the Poles also have two missions (Vassalize the Order, take Danzig) to keep things from being too friendly.

Enewald: I don't think the Pope likes me either. Von Plauen is a real charmer.

Stuyvesant: Entering this session I was not at war with Poland. The Livonians are definitely well in hand, though complications arise when it's time for peace.

Holy.Death Well, attacking Livonia wasn't really an expansion attempt. If I wanted to expand, I'd finish eating Pomerania. When they joined the Muscovy war we ended up at war with each other. Second, Livonia joined the Polish alliance, and I simply can't afford to be surrounded like that.

Canuckassassin: Thank you and welcome to the forums! Your compliment is much appreciated.

Panzer4life: You're probably right. A big part of that decision was role-playing: Religious ideas isn't the best move for me, especially since I no longer border wrong religion countries, but it's the Order's 'default' first idea (and what they've chosen in the 1444 scenario), and it's hard to imagine the Order picking anything else.

Belgiumruler: Thanks!

riknap: Thank you. That sounds like a fun TO game you had. The Teutons are in a good place IF Poland falls apart and the personal union falls apart. If it doesn't....
 

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In early 1430, regional tensions spiked causing the unthinkable: A Teuton/Livonian war. Meanwhile, other states watched hungrily..

VI: Disaster


At the Peak

February of 1430 saw the Livonian war all but won: The Brotherhood suffered severe rebel problems as the war began, and Teuton warships prevented their army from interfering. Indeed, throughout the entire campaign there would be only one battle, and that at sea. Semigalia had fallen, the Kurland was under siege, and the Livonian capital would follow before the first thaw.

Indeed, through much of 1430 things seemed to be going fairly well. The Duke of Lithuania, on behalf of his Polish overlord, asked for and was granted military access; diplomats hoping that this would keep them pacified while the Order was otherwise occupied. In May Pskovian rebels reasserted their independence, weakening the Livonians further.

The Kurland fell in June. Marschal von Altenburg took charge of the siege of the Livonian capital in July. August saw German settlers displace or suppress their Polish predecessors in the Kulmerland. (Culture flip) In September Narva fell to Hussite heretics - surely the Livonians would cave any day.

Yet, not all was well. Peasants still stirred around Konigsberg, though ineffectively. The Livonians simply refused to negotiate and deferred to their Muscovite allies. The Duke of Masovia formally submitted all holdings to the Polish Crown. (Diploannex.) This meant....


Razing the Ordenstaadt

On October 2, 1430 the Polish/Lithuanian union and their Moldavian flunkies declared war on the Teutonic Order. Officially King Zygmunt cited atrocities within the Kulmerland, though in the coming weeks his true aim became clear. Zygumnt still wanted his Baltic corridor, and the rich merchant city of Danzig would make a nice jewel on the Polish crown.

The Prince of Novgorod offered his condolences, but alas he was busy fighting off Muscovite hordes to join in. Hungary was game though, and as the von Luxembourgs of Hungary still controlled Brandenburg, they joined in as well.

Marschal von Altenburg agreed with assessments that the Livonian war was all but won, so chose to press the issue arguing that it would take the Poles time to gather their armies anyway. Wenden capitulated in October, but the Livonian government had already evacuated to Osel. Nonetheless, Archbishop Johann V of Riga was suitably impressed: He declared Herrenmeister von Vietinghof anathema, signed an offense/defensive alliance with von Altenburg, and declared war on Poland/Lithuania in one day. (They offered alliance. Nice. We issued a 'Call to Arms' and they accepted. Better.)

By November, with Altenburg still occupied sieging the Livonian coast, Hungarians sieged Krakow, Brandenburgers moved into Posen and tiny Riga sent 2,000 men into Kaunas. It was a brave effort, but when Lithuanian marshal Kazmieras replied with 11,000 it was a foregone conclusion. He then proceeded to Konigsberg, shattered the Teuton peasant uprising, then retreated to winter quarters in Lithuania.

The southern front wasn't going well. Hungary was willing, but surprisingly weak. The Poles easily pushed them out of Krakow, then with Lithuanian and Moldavian support struck across the Carpathians.

December 1430

In 1431 it grew worse: Kazimieras returned, this time leading a combined Lithuanian/Pole force of 25,000, and shattered the Brandenbergers at Posen. Once more he hesitated: Where the devil were the Teutons?

In Livonia. The Hussite heretics marched on and seized Dorpat. The Livland coast fell to Altenburg in April. Their 5 ship fleet tried to break out against 7 Teutons, resulting in a captured galley, and still no peace: Von Vietinghof deferred to Muscovy, and at this point the Muscovites were on the way to trouncing their Novgorod rivals. It was, Russian diplomats argued, a matter of pride. (It didn't help that all of Livonia (less the heretics and Osel) only gave me 13% warscore, while Kurland was 14%. There's a penalty for asking for 'too much.')

Altenburg decides to let time argue with the Livonians and marched south. He hoped to skirt around Kazimieras' army and emerge in the heart of Teuton territory, but the Lithuanians were too quick. On June 25, the two armies clashed.



Dark times call for desperate measures, Hochmeister von Plauen argued. The Poles couldn't be defeated at land, but their alliance didn't have one ship in these waters. He ordered Altenburg to detach his mercenaries, have them regroup with the Brandenburgers who defiantly returned to Posen, and hopefully cause trouble. Altenburg's force would take to the ships and raid the coastline. He argued their eventual victory, one way or the other, depended on...



Unfortunately, as has been demonstrated repeatedly through history: The Jews at Masada, Crusaders at Hattin among many others, faith isn't always enough.

Altenburg's first raid was against 3,000 sieging Marienberg - the Teuton grossgebetiger had already retreated to Konigsberg. It went well, except Kazimieras was nearby and forced him to retreat before finishing the battle: 286 Teutons killed or captured, 858 Poles. (And here I blundered. First, the AI wisely kept a hunter-killer army two provinces away from the sieges so if I started trouble, it could run over and rescue the force. Second, I thought the army would still be able to recover/replenish on ship. No.)[/i[


January 1432

By now it was obvious the Hungarians would be no help whatsoever except as a distraction, and barely that.


Ditto

In 1432 Moldavian king Alexandru I took charge of the siege at Danzig. Danziger merchants appealed to Konigsberg for support, citing their 'lucrative' relationship and undying loyalty. First, there was no support to be had. Second, even if there were said merchants, many of them Jews and/or Poles, had been a thorn in his side for twenty years. He recalled Danziger clergy and administrators. Those soldiers left behind lacked internal support or logistics, so they holed up in fortresses determined to make the Moldavian invasion as difficult as possible. The city itself descended into anarchy.


(Plus, I was hoping the rebels would spring up and give Moldavia a bloody nose.)

Altenburg once more raided Marienberg in April with similar results. He tried yet again in July, but this time Kazimieras flanked the Teuton army, forcing them away from their landing points. By the time Altenburg regained his ships he'd lost 2,500 men.

Danzig fell in December, those defenders left behind put to the sword. Von Plauen grimly asked for terms, only to learn there were no terms to be had. Zygmunt had won everything he wanted except one thing: Humiliation. (Through this period I occasionally negotiated, only to learn I was over 100 points off. Modifiers for length of war, strength of alliance and such really add up. Pretty much I was left waiting for the AI to decide when it had enough.)

Altenburg returned to Marienberg yet again in January, but by now his army was dispirited from the last defeat, despairing over coming out of the war intact, and tired of living on ship. The 'defenders' needed no help pushing them back.

In February 1433 Poland/Lithuania pushed Teuton defenders out of Wenden, liberating the Livonian capital. This only made the Muscovites more obstinate. Finally, on May 5, 1433 Poles arrived outside of Konigsberg.

For the next three years the Teuton grossgebetiger would be based out of the flagship galley 'Hermann von Salza.' It is perhaps a miracle the Order held together as well as it did, with alarmed komturs receiving only occasional advice by ship. Naturally order in the interior collapsed entirely, with Neumark falling in September.


January 1434

And still the war went on. The grossgebetiger, facing the Order's possible destruction, sent their best and brightest younger priests to Rome for training, possible assignment elsewhere, and to beg Pope Johannes XXIII. (Event: Influence with Rome: 'Send him to Rome, +10 Papal Influence')

Johannes replied that, since the Teutons and Livonians had seen fit to shed each other's blood, he saw no reason to support either one of them. He declared both orders shamed, an embarassment to the Papacy, though stopped short of condemning either.

Altenburg's last raid on Marienberg took place in February, resulting in a crushing defeat that left him with 200 men. Finally, and far too late, his strategy changed: Debarking on friendly shores to recruit/press men into service and restore his strength.


Glimmering Hope

Konigsberg fell in May. Marienberg in August. In December, the Muscovites didn't even invite Teuton ambassadors to the peace table as they settled with Novgorod rendering their entire presence in the conflict meaningless. (Muscovy took Kholm)

1435 proved surprisingly quiet: The Teuton government was unassailable behind their wooden wall, and they were quickly running out of komturs to try and administrate. The Kulmerland finally fell in June.

Altenberg landed in Hinterpommern, continuing his ongoing mission to replenish his army by all means necessary. Spies and informants warned the Poles however, and Zygumnt himself marched at the head of his army to deal with the interlopers once and for all.

On October 13, with the Teuton army 'recruiting' in interior villages 20 km from the coast, Zygmunt's army emerged from the trees in battle formation - infantry in front, cavalry on the side. Altenburg was caught out of position but quickly redeployed, retreating to buy himself time.

Towards afternoon the two armies collided: 8900 Poles, nearly half of them cavalry, versus 4200 Teutons. It was simply too much: This rebuilt Teuton army could best be described as raw, desperate, and trained for raiding rather than battle. The Pole cavalry was lighter and faster than their Teuton counterparts and simply surrounded the army. Entire banners surrendered without a fight. Altenberg was captured, and for the second time in recent memory the Teuton army ceased to exist.

Memel fell in July 1436. Yet still the war went on.

On a sweltering night on the Baltic in mid August, Hochmeister Heinrich von Plauen had a vision, or so he claimed. His testimony is recorded in the Marienburg Chronicle.

von Plauen said:
And so I beheld a great comet lighting the sky. (-1 Stab) It continued to fill my sight, blinding me with its brilliance. From that light came a woman, the Virgin Mary whom the Order is dedicated to.

She told me the Order had fallen far in God's eyes, and this was our ordeal. We would be allowed one last chance of redemption however, one last chance to restore ourselves in His eyes and be forgiven. The way forward, she told me, was to go back.
Von Plauen's conviction during what was clearly the Order's darkest hour gave hope to those remaining faithful. He sent the grossgebetiger ahead, to Romagna to discuss his vision with the Pope and ask for guidance.



As for the Hochmeister, he traveled to Kolberg, in Hinterpommern, the last city in that region under Polish siege. On September 1st, when the gates opened before the startled King Zygmunt, he found the 66 year old grandmaster in full armor on his horse, but alone. He paced to his enemy.

Their exchange, however brief, summed up Polish/Teuton relations nicely.

Zygmunt said:
Z: "Have you come to kneel?"

VP: "I kneel to no one but God."

"Pride goeth before a fall, sir. You have fallen very far. Within a year this entire country will be mind and you will have no choice. Wladyslaw thought you might be an effective combat arm. Perhaps not so much, but I will still accept your fealty. Don't make me destroy you."

"You cannot destroy the Order."

"I can, and I..."

"I'm not finished. You can conquer Prussia, but what will that accomplish? The Order still lives in Germany. You can kill me, but the council is already safely beyond your reach. We will always be in the background, watching. Waiting. You've won today, but you will not live forever. What will you do when the Enemy comes for your soul?"

"The only servant of the Enemy I see here is you, von Plauen. If you will not kneel, I intend to make certain you will never have the power to disturb me again."
 

CatKnight

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Post Session Comments:

I can't win.

Call it skill, call it positioning, call it bad choices (perhaps Holy.Death is right and I should have beelined for the Empire), but regardless at this point I can't win.

The Order is down to four provinces. Except for Riga, we are the weakest power in the Baltic. Expanding into the Empire continues to be a fun idea, but of course I can't stand up to the emperor.

Poland, in the meantime, has never been stronger. With positive prestige and positive relations with Lithuania the union will hold indefinitely. Moldavia seems to be sticking by them. The Ottomans are busy chewing through Hungary 100 years later and may cause trouble, but... hm. Poland just took a -37 relations hit, and I'm sure their overextension penalty is pretty high right now, but who's going to stand against them? Bohemia's weak. Hungary's proven they can't. Perhaps Muscowy, perhaps Kalmar now that they're on the Baltic coast.

I'm going to play one more session and try 'von Plauen's' plan. It occurred to me after the session while looking to see what the rest of Europe was doing. If it looks like it might work, we'll continue. If not...hm, we may have to call this a defeat.

If nothing else, Kudos to the AI: It used the hunter-killer stack to fend off my raids masterfully, and of course has done a fine job declaring war when I'm in the middle of something.
 

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In 1436, The Poles shattered the Teutonic Order.

VII: In the Arms of God


Through the winter of 1436-37, the grossgebetiger, along with most of the remaining knights, made their way to Romagna. They received cool greetings from Johannes XXIII, who wanted nothing to do with Hochmeister von Plauen's 'insane' vision. Instead he began reassigning men to Teuton holdings throughout Germany. Those who had been particularly impressed with von Plauen's plan lingered as long as they reasonably could.

In the north, Hochmeister von Plauen ruled more or less alone. He appointed fresh komturs for all the regions conquered during the last campaign, and for a time it looked like he might actually turn this around. (Finally hit Military 6 and Administration 5. The former gave me Men at Arms.)

Practicalities eroded the Teuton political position. In September, perhaps hoping to eventually incorporate their weakened former masters, the new Livonian grandmaster signed an alliance with von Plauen. Herrenmeister Wilhelm von Huynighen was young (19!), but ambitious and almost immediately threw his realm against Riga.

Riga. The one 'country' who had stood with the Order through the last war and done reasonably well. Riga, who Hochmeister von Plauen had exactly zero men to spare to go help, even if he wanted to - which he didn't, the Livonians being the stronger ally. It did little good, for two months later von Plauen was forced to forsake the Livonian alliance when the Danes once more returned for Osel.

Politically isolated therefore, but not completely hopeless. There was still von Plauen's 'vision,' a mad dash into the Mediterranean to seize Cyprus and so serve as a gateway to the Mamluk occupied Holy Land. For the next several years he raised troops, but tax rebellions foiled him at every turn. Once the Livonians saved him, but that was before their alliance failed.

Another cause for hope was a spontaneous massive uprising in Danzig, some 35,000 strong. By 1440 they'd seized the Kulmerland, Hinterpommern and Danzig - but their leaders lacked the cohesion or wit necessary for an extended campaign. The Poles could only spare 3,000 men - the rest on the Hungarian border watching that country disintegrate before an Ottoman horde - but that 3,000 was enough to retake Danzig.

Finally, on November 20, 1439 von Plauen's fleet sailed for Cyprus. In so doing he completely abandoned 'traditional' Teuton territory. The lack of leadership quickly told, as revolts broke out in Warmia and Marienberg, both having fallen before 1440 was out.

In July 1440 the worn and seasick army descended on Cyprus and even won, for a little while. That was the end of the Teuton fleet however, who disintegrated in a series of rough gales and shattered on the Levant coast.

...

Over the next few years 'Prussia' disintegrated entirely into a dozen tiny city states. For various reasons Livonia, Poland and Lithuania were all distracted - the former by Denmark, the latter defending Poland from Turkish incursions. Polish soldiers fought off the 'Prussian' rebellion while officials investigated the assassination of their king, found with a sword in his stomach engraved with the seal of the Teuton grandmasters. Eventually they returned, taking the cities and churches.

The Cypriot invasion, dutifully authorized by Pope Leo X in 1441, fared little better. They found not a united Mamluk nation that could be reasoned with, but one where the entire Levant was a bloodbath of competing rebels, while Timurids closed in from the west and Najd from the south. When order returned to the Holy Land once more, it was under Ottoman flags, and the Turks had already had their fill of knightly orders on nearby islands.

By 1448, the Teutons had lost their last possessions outside of Germany. Some of those would last until Napoleon, after which they moved to Vienna.

The End.


*********

COMMENT: I tried, and much of what I wrote took place in game. LO offered an alliance - then attacked Riga - before being attacked by Denmark. I built 6000 men to take Cyprus, suffering a small delay from a rebellion that Livonia broke for me. Up until the end I hoped Denmark would want to ally, but they still considered me a rival.

I think it would have been interesting if I'd succeeded in my Cypriot gamble, but here I made my final blunder: I thought my ships would be okay for a few months so neglected to arrange fleet basing rights. By the time I realized my error, it was too late....any nearby state would have needed me to 'improve relations', and I was out of time. So...no fleet, fresh rebellions up north, and 6000 men in Cyprus. Never mind that Cyprus was wrong culture/wrong religion - I expected that - but there was the matter of the 26% likelihood of patriots rising up.

Unfortunately this game proves the TO fell for a reason...and indeed that it lived so long after Tannenberg is a compliment to their diplomatic prowess. Historically Michael von Sternberg overthrew Hochmeister von Plauen and led the Order down a more sensible path. Perhaps that was it.

I shall return with a new AAR, hopefully one that isn't quite so traumatic. For the Teutons though, after four attempts with varying skill and success, I think we can finally say...

Requiescat in Pace.