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DensleyBlair

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So it is - congratulations on making it this far! It's been a ver enjoyable ride, and I look forward to more :)
 

Lord Durham

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Gotta love them Normans...

Pretty impressive job on a very enjoyable AAR, Hjarg. Great way to spend a year of your life, eh? :)
 

hjarg

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The Norman Greece

Thessalonika and Demetrias


With the lands of Albion pacified, the Normans had pretty much nothing left in Northern Europe. So, it was time to sail the armies of Adelise back to the Mediterranean area. Huge fleet, over 600 ships, gathered from nearby vassals took the soldiers and started their long journey across the Bay of Biscay, Straits of Gibraltar and all most of Mediterranean, bringing them to Greece. Normans had two targets- independent Duchy of Thessalonika and last province of Duchy of Athens, Demetrias.

Demetrias was easy- de Jure claim on the Duchy, while the Duchy of Thessalonika had demanded some fine crafting of claimans. On side note- Adelise has still plenty of claimants for Byzantine areas, but the peace treaties slow her advancement to the areas down a bit.

Anyways, preparations to move Norman armies started in March 1269 and by August, everything was ready. War was declared on Doux Andronikos of Thessalonika and Doux Stephanos II of Aegean Islands. The target of this was war 3 provinces and Adelise had 3 armies- so one for each province.

sicily401.jpg

Normans taking each of the target province, while Aegean islands gathers troops in the south.

Normans marched to siege, and Doux Andronicos reacted as expected- hiding inside his castles, hoping that bad men will go away. Stephanos on the other hand gathered his forces, over 10 000 men in total, and went out to search the Normans in open battle. Adelise was quick to react- instead of just using her armies, she recruited her host from Sicily and Calabria. Over 29 000 soldiers, fresh, well-rested and well-trained, sailed from Palermo to Hellas and attacked the Greeks in battle outside Lidoriki. The battle took place in November 1269 and with that, the efforts of Stephanos were exhausted.

sicily402.jpg

The fighting spirit of Stephanos was killed in that battle

Some assaults later, Stephanos was the first to give up, giving Normans the county of Demetrias in March 1270. Andronikos didn’t hold for much longer, in April 1270, the Duchy of Thessalonika was also in Norman hands. 3 counties and 1 Duchy gained- not bad, but is it worth enough to send all the Normans from Albion to Greece?

War for Achaia

The peace treaty with Emperor Ioannikios of the Byzantine Empire was about to expire. In fact, it was about to expire in September 1270, so Adelise decided there would be no point in moving the armies. Instead, she gave them half a year of break and when the truce expired in September, was was declared on Ioannikios, claiming Duchy of Achaia.

As usual, Byzantines were happily busy with infighting, so the prediction was that Normans would encounter zero resistance. And of course, the were right. Basileus was too busy with Doux Eugenios of Damascus (controlling Damascus, Moldau and Walachia) and his faithful ally Doux Antemisos of Paphlagonia (controlling Paphlagonia, Samos and Armeniacon) fighting for the claim of Eugenios on the Empire itself (Eugeonios Doukas being the grandson of Basileos Konstantinos XIII Doukas and by many, considered more rightful ruler then Ioannikios of Sarmin.

In any case, Norman forces poured over the borders of Achaia in September 1270 and started their sieges. 4 provinces, 3 armies- a bit short on that one. Plus, the provinces were traditionally heavily defended, with great castles, ample garrisons and strong walls. No easy cakewalk there.

So, Adelise had devised a new tactic- siege and run. She recruited her personal host from Sicily and Calabria, over 29 000 soldiers and a fleet to transport them all. In January 1271, she sailed them to Achaia, and the total number of Normans sieging exceeded over 40 000 soldiers. Quite enough to quick assault, and assault they did. After some looting and pillaging, Sicilian troops marched back into their ships and sailed to Methone, assaulted there, pillaged and looted and moved on to Korinthos, where they repeated the pattern.

sicily404.jpg

First tests of the siege and run system- Norman armies are sieging, while host of Adelise is approacing the first target

Meanwhile, Basileus had convinced King Istvan of Hungary to join his cause, and indeed the King had joined, marching his 11 000 soldiers to Thessalonika, where smaller Norman army was besieging the sole holding of the Basileus. Hungarians took Normans by surprise and defeated them, then gathered their troops and started their march towards Constantinople.

Adelise was not going to let it be- instead, she gathered her host, put them onto ships and sailed north. In the province of Philippopolis, halfway from Thessalonika to Constantinople, the surprised Hungarians found themselves surrounded by Normans emerging from the sea. Light cavalry circled quickly inland to completely close the circle while other troops were preparing for an all-out assault from two fronts. Hungarians formed a circle to fight the Normans off, but failed to keep the Normans away. Most of the Hungarians died in Klokotnitsa, while the survivors hurried themselves back to home. The battle of Klokotnitsa took place in June 1271, and with the defeat of his Hungarian friends, Basileus was out of money, soldiers and hope. He signed the peace just a few days after the battle, making most of Greece Norman.

sicily405.jpg

Hungarians marching to Consntantinople when being surprised by Normans- and the result

With that, Normans continued their advancement into Mediterranean areas. Only lands that are still remaining are the Byzantine lands- rest is Norman. And soon, the East Roman Empire will fall to the barbarians from the North and after a thousand years, there will be someone to call the Mediterranean “Mare Nostrum”. A new Roman Empire...

sicily406.jpg

Norman Greece- does have a nice sound to it...
 

hjarg

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And back from Albion to the Mediterranean area. Norman conquest of the known world continues unopposed. Now, if only i could get Mongol CB-s, i'd win it all soon :D

DensleyBlair- yea, i'm surprised myself. A whole bloody year. But yes, more is coming! :)

Lord Durham - indeed, a year very well spent :) And as for Normans, one of my favorite nations... glad i could surpass what they managed historically :)
 

DensleyBlair

Yma o hyd, o hyd (they/them)
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Norman Greece does have a nice ring to it - I eagerly await the day Mare Nostrum becomes a reality.

An enjoyable update, as always.
 

SirkTheMonkey

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Hauteville green is a much more pleasant colour than Byzantine purple. I hope you're going after all those temporarily independent lords next/soon before you're stuck waiting for a truce with the Emperor to expire.
 

grumphie

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well, so much for me following again. then live hit with a wall of exams coming up.

anyway, nice additions to the empire: scottish and greek lands. any chance on taking your ancestors ancesators lands back: cold scandinavia?

also, whats your retinue cap and how do your retinues look? spammed horses, mixed, support for levies? i bet your cap is large enough to outnumber most realms with them alone. and you got a new thing to throw money at if you want to achieve that.
 

Nikolai

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Norman Greece sounds like Anna Komnena's worst nightmare.:p
 

hjarg

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Quest for Mediterranean

Final Imperial Duchy in the Mediterranean


Granada was a special Duchy. Not because it was especially powerful or especially rich. No, it’s value was elsewhere. It was the Last Duchy, the last holding the Holy Roman Empire had on the Mediterranean coast. To be more precise, when Granada would be lost, the closest port Germans had to Mediterranean was in Flanders! That move would really isolate the remaining Imperial provinces in Iberia and give Normans almost true, unhindered power to the great sea. For let’s face it: most of the Mediterranean coast is held by Normans. Rest is Byzantines, mostly in Anatolia. Aegean sea and areas around Cyprus and Asia Minor are still contested, but the Byzantine navy is in shambles and their armies unable to oppose Normans, so it is just a matter of time.

As for first step- it was Granada’s time to fall. In September 1273, after nearly 2 years of peace for the Norman Empire, it was time to go to war again. Kaiser Leopold would lose yet another of his precious holdings. This time, it was simple. Granada was really isolated from rest of Imperial lands. Even the holdings in Iberia had hostile Norman lands between them and the Iberian lands, ruled by imprisoned queen Peronelle, were not the most loyal of lands anyways.

sicily408.jpg

Normans swarming Granada, no Germans in sight

Basically, Norman forces poured over the borders of three provinces of Granada in September and by January 1274, all three of them were under Norman control. Kaiser Leopold saw no chance but to give up and the last ports of Mediterranean were now Norman. Well, there is still Island of Corsica that is under Imperial control, but that doesn’t amount to much.

Coming of Age of Prince Simon

In December 1273, Prince Simon de Hauteville, officially nominated heir of the Empire, came of age. Continuing the secret behind Norman success (you know, brilliant rulers), he was a genius, well-learned in financial matters and no stranger to the rest of the arts. He was married to a lowborn Norman woman from Ceuta, called Ermyntrude. Again, keeping up the Norman tradition of not marrying the most important, but the best available woman. If this keeps up, one day Norman Empire will be ruled by Kwisatz Haderach de Hauteville.

sicily407.jpg

Future Emperor and his wife

Final Fall of de Castilla Family

de Castilla family had started as counts of Asturias de Santillana. From there, they rose to greatness, finally becoming more powerful and rebelling against their rightful rulers, Kings of Castille. Then, the Normans happened. Holdings of de Castille family were one by one conquered by Normans. To be fair, de Castillas survived longer then Jimenas of Castille, whose lands were also incorporated to the Norman holdings. Aragonata II the Kind was the last ruler of de Castilla family, and the family was again pushed back to Asturias de Santillana. Her last holdings, Duchy of Murcia, were taken by Doge of Valencia a few years back and now... well, the family had their glory. It was time to go to history books.

War was declared in June 1274 and by September, the powerbase of Castilla family was overrun by Normans. Asturias de Santillana fell, de Castillas were expelled, Aragonata would spend her remaining years as a courtier in Upper Burgundy, where her daughter is a countess and for Normans, that meant that the title of King of Castille was available for creation. Duke Robert de Hauteville of Castille was also crowned as King of Castille- and he is a 9th King in Hauteville Empire.

sicily409.jpg

Ninth King of Hauteville Empire and the mostly green Iberia

Final Fall of the Shia Caliphate

Shia Caliphate of Fatimid Caliphate was the power that made all Christians tremble. Rich, more soldiers then lands of Europe could put out at that time, united under Muslim power. Then, the Normans happened. In war lasting 1132-1138, Normans defeated the Fatimid invaders, kept their lands in Africa and forced Caliph to pay over 1000 gold in indemnities, not to mention loss of about 100 000 soldiers and mysterious death of Caliph and his 3 sons. Normans quickly answered with Crusade of their own and started taking the lands of Jerusalem. As a result, the Caliphate crumbled. Even worse was when leader of Seljuk Turks, Sultan Arslan, second power in the area, got his son and heir Danismend I as the leader of Shia Caliphate. In theory, that created the biggest Muslim country at that time, reaching from Lower Egypt to Persia. In reality, the Danismend didn’t manage to hold into his lands. Civil wars left the once prosperous lands into ruin, the realm was at constant warfare, Normans took big chunks of it- including Egypt and rest of Jerusalem. Then, as a final nail to the coffin, the Mongols came, taking almost everything that was left.

By 1272, the once powerful Caliphate that was the envy of the entire world was reduced to two provinces in Georgia, part of Duchy of Drebent. Incidentally, Drebent was the place where Oswulf II, Duke of Crete, resides in. And what Normans started, Normans will finish. In 1272, Oswulf declared war on Caliphate, claiming the last remaining counties of the Caliphate. By 1274, the war was over, 2 remaining provinces overrun and Normans had finally destroyed the Caliphate. Muslims were pushed back to the Arabian peninsula and their expansion that had started almost 600 years ago, was finally over.

sicily410.jpg

End of the Caliphate- former Caliph gazing down his last lands, now safely Norman
 

hjarg

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Now, this chapter was full of endings- final Mediterranan German Duchy, end of de Castilla family and most importantly, end of the Caliphate. As for next chapter, i think you want/need something fresh. Let me give you a sneak preview ;)

sicily411.jpg


That should prove challenging enough!

DensleyBlair- it might still take quite some time though. 100 years or so... And thanks!

SirkTheMonkey - agree, green is better. As for these Dukes- working on it, but the buggers need claims! I'm playing the claimant game and have some coming up soon, but unfortunately, being Cathar doesn't mean Holy War CB on Orthodox, so i have to do things the old-fashioned way.

grumphie - no worries, it's not like these chapters have best before date :p Cold Scaninavia is on my todo list, but... well, you know, don't want to overextend. If i get some good lands closer to Scandinavia, then...
As for retinue cap, it's 122k currently, about 100k of them is used. I field 3 regular armies with about 50 000 soldiers in total, with lot of heavy cavalry, but overall mix of everything, not including light infantry. They have been my main strike units for a while, levies are rarely needed/used

Nikola- hehe, indeed :D Poor Anna would turn in her grave if that really happened. Expecially concidering that even the Porphyra she was born in is quite Norman at the moment.
 

SirkTheMonkey

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Ah, I didn't know that aspect of heresies and holy wars. I should try a heretic game one day.
That is a crazy amount of claims that Mehmed has there. I don't remember ever seeing that many in the games I've played. I wonder what the four kingdoms were. I guess Egypt, Persia, and Arabia but what was the 4th? Africa or Abyssinia?
Good luck against the Mongols. I look forward to the battle of the deathstacks.
 

cyrileom

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I hope the Golden Horde is stronger than it was previously. If they somehow absorbed the Il Khanate, then they might stand a chance. Also, with your massive armies/levies, no wussing out. Crush all their deathstacks.
 

DensleyBlair

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If this keeps up, one day Norman Empire will be ruled by Kwisatz Haderach de Hauteville.

He is going to hate school with a name like that ;)

Wonderful to see progress is being made towards a truly Norman sea. I am excited for war with the Horde next time!
 

unmerged(58610)

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King Robert isn't much of a d'hauteville. You're scraping the bottom of the barrel with those stats. That's a satisfying amount of progress, though especially in Byzantium. Finally, you're about to fight the Mongols.

On a passing note, the Normans put an end to the Caliphate and it only took you a mere 150 years, give or take.
 

DensleyBlair

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I am now not really sure if you know the Dune as Kwisatz Haderach is, AFAIK, not a name but a title instead.

I did a quick Google, but in the context it sounded like hjarg was using it as a name - you would be correct in your assumptions. I've never read/seen Dune.
 

Athalcor

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I did a quick Google, but in the context it sounded like hjarg was using it as a name - you would be correct in your assumptions. I've never read/seen Dune.

Then I would recommend it to you ;) (even if you dislike sci-fi).

And Kwisatz Haderach is, simply put, an übermensch.
 

cyrileom

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an übermensch.
Not just any übermensch. A perfectly prophetic übermensch that has no use for actual sight because (s)he can just constantly look one second into the future and know exactly what is going on around him. And, if the extensions to the series by his son/relative (not sure), are to be believed, the way to get the übermensch of all übermensch is to die and constantly be reincarnated with the genetic memory of all your past selves until you are practically perfect.
 

Athalcor

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Not just any übermensch. A perfectly prophetic übermensch that has no use for actual sight because (s)he can just constantly look one second into the future and know exactly what is going on around him. And, if the extensions to the series by his son/relative (not sure), are to be believed, the way to get the übermensch of all übermensch is to die and constantly be reincarnated with the genetic memory of all your past selves until you are practically perfect.

That's why wrote 'simply put' there ;).
 

hjarg

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Doomstacks on Horizon, Part I

Might of the Norman armies


The war on Mongols was declared on January 1275. Original plan was to send in personal armies of Adelise and end the war quickly, but before the plan was put into motion, the news from Crimea changed that plan very quickly. A Mongol Horde, over 100 000 soldiers in strength, was spotted in Tmutarakan, just across the Crimean peninsula. That meant that personal armies of Adelise would be totally inadequate for the task. Instead, the Normans begun mobilization of their fleets and armies. Not total mobilization, but selected armies and fleets from vassals all over the Norman holdings.

sicily412.jpg

First sighting of the Doomstack

King of Jerusalem gave about 20 000 soldiers, Kings of Egypt and Nubia also managed to get about 15 000 troops in total. The vassals from around Palermo (Italy and Sicily and Croatia and Africa) gave about 50 000, with personal hosts of Adelise. The Mauretanian and Iberian Kings, Dukes and Doges gave about 30 000 soldiers. Thus was formed the Grand Army of Normans, totalling to about 165 000 soldiers. Making it the biggest army the world had seen since the ancient times.

It also showed the diversity of the Empire. Of course, there were Normans. Most of them were Normans, be it from Sicily, Jerusalem, Egypt of Africa (most properly Normanized), but there was also plenty of Italians, Croats, Levantines, Egyptians, Andalusians, Castilians, Greeks, Mauritanians, Bedouins, even some Catalans and Basques. In total, there was 11 different languages spoken, but most of the soldiers understood a language called the Mediterranean Norman, with French and Scandinavian roots, but taking great influence from the different cultures of Mediterranean and overall, becoming the trade and science language of the whole Mediterranean area.

To transport these troops, a total 2000 ships were used, also a fleet not seen since the ancient times. And in this war, fleets payed the most important role. Since the war was fought on the shores of the Black Sea, and Mongols lacked any meaningful fleets, it gave the Normans a huge advantage in mobility and speed- but only if they remained in coastal provinces...

Invasion of Crimea

In June 1275, most of the fleets had gathered in the area around Crimea. By that time, it was also clear that Mongols had 2 armies operating in the area- the Horde itself, with 100 000 soldiers, and a vanguard, collection of vassal troops from conquered lands, with about 40 000 soldiers.

It was decided to lure them in- to give them a solid target. So, in the beginning of June, all of Adelise’s personal armies landed in Crimea, sieging the province there. The castle of Bakhchisaray, their main target, was heavily defended, with over 3000 defenders. But there was also over 50 000 Normans and now, it was Mongol time to watch in desperation as the attackers, not even bothering with envoys, just assaulted the castle walls. Good on horseback, not so good on solid ground, the Mongols were no match to Normans. Every soldiers defending the castle was killed, so were killed any people who looked like Mongols (and some who didn’t, of course). After the massacre of Bakhchisaray, Normans had an open port and ability to bring troops in at moment’s notice. Two armies were sent back to the ships, while one remained in province, taking the rest of holdings and happily pillaging the province.

News of the enemy on their soil still reached the Kagan- as was intended. And both the Golden Horde vanguard and the main Horde itself begun moving towards the Crimea. Both armies moves slowly, especially the Horde. It was only by August when vanguard had reached the province of Lower Dnieper and started their march to Crimea, expecting to find only 15 000 Normans in province. Horde was still entering the lands of Crimea, being stuck in Tana.

sicily413.jpg

Mongols are slowly advancing

Battle of Dzhankoy

The Mongol vanguard met the Normans in fields outside the city of Dzhankoy. As was predicted, the vanguard was mostly Mongol vassals, consisting of various troops from their conquered nations. Precious little horse archers, the backbone of Mongol forces. Plenty of other troops, though also lacking in proper heavy knights. Led my Mongols, but consisting of mostly Russians and Cumans.

Still, there were 40 000 of them. Enough to be called a huge army in Europe, but in Mongol terms, just a vanguard, expendable troops. Not with the highest morale, or the best skills. Their Mongol generals thought the pure number of the soldiers would be enough, after all, they were outnumbering the Normans almost 3:1. So, the Mongols charged...

... and Normans endured. Until the night put an end to fighting. Both sides took some losses, but neither managed to achieve anything. When Mongols saw the dawn rising, what they saw made their hearts sank. Under the cover of the night, rest of Norman troops had been landed and they had moved quietly to positions few kilometers from Mongol positions. Mongols were surrounded and their hearts sank as they saw the amount of Norman troops.

sicily414.jpg

The battle in the beginning and when suddenly, more Normans arrive

Slowly, the wall of steel started moving towards the Mongols. Sun glinted on the armour and shields of Normans as they marched towards the enemy. Ground was trembling and air was filled with Normans singing Cathar hymns and some recently made-up rude songs about the Mongols. The sight alone was enough to wet the pants of the non-Mongol part of the Mongol army, but when Norman heavy cavalry did what they did best- charge, then the battle was decided.

J%C3%B3zef_Brandt_-_Potyczka_Kozak%C3%B3w_z_Tatarami.jpg

Norman light cavalrymen charging the famous horse archers

Instead of fighting, Mongols fled, thus exposing their vulnerable backs to Normans, who hunted them down without mercy. By noon, Normans held the field of battle, victorious, while over 30 000 Mongol minions laid dead on the field, with a bit over 10 000 running for their lives.

Battle of Dzhankoy, fought in September of 1275, saw an end to Mongol vanguard- and end of the legend of undefeated Mongols.

sicily415.jpg

The end of the battle

The Mongol Horde

Two armies of Adelise were sent to hunt down the Mongols, who fled to the Lower Dnieper province. Rest of the soldiers were sent back to the ships. In 1st October, the armies managed to reach the surviving vanguard and in a battle of Kyzyl-Yar, surrounded the desperate soldiers and killed them to the last men. The vanguard was beaten.

The armies had quite a specific tasks- after dealing with vanguard, they were to break hell in the province. Take the cities and castles, burn them, burn the villages, force villagers to flee, kill cattle, poison wells. Then retreat back to the Isthmus of Perekop. The armies had very little time, for the Horde was approaching, but they managed to pull it off. Before the Horde arrived, the province was in ruins.

Shevkal.jpg

Normans burning Lower Dnieper to the ground

Still, 103 000 of best Mongol soldiers, lead by Kagan himself, were approaching... The greatest battle in all of Europe and Asia was approaching. In this battle, the fate of people in both continents would be decided...

sicily416.jpg

Doomstack, not on horizon anymore