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You really dispatched Sweden nicely. I wonder for how long peace between the Fanco-English alliance and the twin Habsburg Empires can last. Perhaps more pressing is the concern over whether or not an alliance between France and England can really keep going. Surely the interests of these states will lead to an end to the alliance and a future war?
 

dinofs

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Now that you've taken Delaware, what's your next target?
 

unmerged(137648)

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So much territory gained only to win Delaware...hrm Was it really worth it?
No, it wasn't worth it. I didn't even really want to fight that much, and hadn't planned on taking Delaware. The AI was just being stupid: "Me have bigger army, me win war." It wouldn't accept a white peace even at the height of my occupations (had something like 30+ warscore). Then I just got so fed up and tense having to assault a lvl 6 fort while a 30,000 man army marched around the gulf of Bothnia, I made them give something up for my troubles.

You really dispatched Sweden nicely. I wonder for how long peace between the Fanco-English alliance and the twin Habsburg Empires can last. Perhaps more pressing is the concern over whether or not an alliance between France and England can really keep going. Surely the interests of these states will lead to an end to the alliance and a future war?
As for the Habsburgs, I feel confrontation will happen sooner rather than later. As for the divergence of English and French interests, I can't say. As in our time line, France and England are together against Spain. Once that common foe is gone, who can say? I will not accept French domination of the continent. When Big Blue begins to blob, I will act as spoiler.

Now that you've taken Delaware, what's your next target?
I have a few ideas in mind as to what to do next. I want to fight at least one more war during Braddock's lifetime. I might engage Spain before he expires, or I may just expand in India. We shall see.

*​

I'd like to take this time to let everybody know that for the next week or so updates might be sparse. I said in the first post that my early efforts were haphazard, and I wasn't kidding. These first six chapters were from my first play session. I played twenty-some-odd-years in one sitting, having no idea if the notes and screenshots I was taking would be adequate. I took 400+ screens and have slowly been digesting them into these updates. I haven't played again since I started this thread three weeks ago. Creating a lot of content beforehand had its pros, but many cons also. Therefore, I am pretty certain my future game sessions will be conducted differently. Throughout the next week I will be experimenting with different ways of going about this, and I don't know how this will affect the rate at which I post chapters in the short term.

Thanks everyone for reading and commenting. This AAR will return next week: same time, same station.
 

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Trust me, rushing out updates always feels bad, take the time you need to enjoy making the AAR, this is a great idea and in my time playing EU3, I have never seen a ECW AAR as good as this, Good luck and enjoy the experimentation, Thanks for the time you are putting into the AAR.
 

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I'm looking forward to what you bring next. It's fun, entertaining and well written.
 

unmerged(137648)

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Trust me, rushing out updates always feels bad, take the time you need to enjoy making the AAR, this is a great idea and in my time playing EU3, I have never seen a ECW AAR as good as this, Good luck and enjoy the experimentation, Thanks for the time you are putting into the AAR.
Thanks so much. I think I've found a happy medium with regards to balancing playing the game/taking notes and screens, writing the chapters, and editing the images. I've played a bunch today and I'm on track to have an update out at the end of the week.

I'm looking forward to what you bring next. It's fun, entertaining and well written.
Thank you very much. I hope you enjoy the future updates.

I don't want to spoil anything but the phrase "Braddock, you mad man, what have you done!" might be involved.
 

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Wonderful AAR so far. I've always been fascinated with the Commonwealth :D I'll be watching :cool:.
 

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Excellent! Looking forward to seeing more.
 

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Great stuff so far!:)
 

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Chapter Seven
Wherein Stock is taken, the Middle Sea is cruised, Goodwill is Ill met, and a Poet goes with God

As it turned out, peace would not last. On May 17, three short days from the peace with Sweden, the French called England into its war of oriental conquest. Their primary objective--Annam--had already been defeated. What they now fought was a vestige of that war, and a low-intensity one at that.



The Commonwealth’s involvement was limited to moral support. The New Model Army had yet to even fully reinforce from their Scandinavian adventure. Likewise, Blake’s fleet was still refitting after the long blockade. Though England would not have expended much effort towards France’s cause, regardless.

Braddock, newly returned to the capital after the lengthy campaign, reacquainted himself with the matters of state. The Lord Protector continued his policy of colonial fortification. Like his settlement projects, special attention was given to the West Indies.



Similar to his previous building project, fortifications were erected abroad while war making capacity was expanded in England proper. The shipyards in the southwest were aggrandized. The scope of Braddock’s construction was limited only by the availability of men to oversee each undertaking. Plans were drawn up for a third “grand shipyard,” but construction was stalled for want of a foreman.



When Parliament was summoned in the Fall of 1664, they passed measures for a thorough census to better determine policy goals. Their findings were largely encouraging.


The population was somewhat religiously fractured, but no religiously-motivated revolts were likely.


My cup runneth over

Economically, the Commonwealth was well-to-do. The merchant enterprise of the England was coming to dominate world trade. English merchants enjoyed monopolies in some of the richest centers of trade, and a large presence in others. Unsurprisingly then, they led the world in some of the most significant trade goods; for instance, English merchants had a nearly 70% market share of the all-important spice trade. (An anecdote popular in the court of the Mughal Padishah at the time held that “he who controls the spice controls the world.”)

Of the world’s most major economies, England’s was the most efficient. Its income was two-thirds that of Spain. Compared territorially, this was truly significant--not to mention the fact that Spain had access to more gold deposits than any other nation, while England earned its riches with industry and commerce.

The only worrying bit of news to come from Parliament’s investigatory commissions was England’s military standing.



The Commonwealth had one of the smallest armies of the great powers. Further, it had to split already meager numbers to fulfill defense obligations on two overseas continents. It was estimated the nation could support an army of 63,000 men, nearly double the present ranks. Yet with no pressing need, Parliament made no provision for the expansion of the New Model Army.

When Braddock received the most recent reports of of comparative army strength, he was not as concerned. He had managed to best the Swedish Empire with two-thirds their number (albeit in Fabian fashion, avoiding engagement). The Captain-General of the Commonwealth’s forces was not of the “quantity” school of thought. He believed that the strength of the New Model Army lie in its superior discipline. He commissioned--and contributed to--a new edition of the “Soldier’s Catechism.”


It was said there was no higher-quality soldier on the battlefield than the Englishman

More troubling was the numerics of the Commonwealth Navy. The fleet contained more first-rate ships than other nations, excepting Spain who had three times the number. Though in overall numbers, even the quintessential land power France was more advanced. This would not do. Therefore, Parliament allocated funds for the construction of new ships once the Grand Shipyards were completed. The admiralty reported the Commonwealth could maintain no more than 96 ships at sea. The intention was to eventually reach that capacity.



With a limit on its own military strength, the Commonwealth of England needed allies. It currently had only two, France and Denmark, both allies of convenience against English rivals Spain and Sweden, respectively. Efforts were made to shore up these relationships.



Furthermore, the foreign office was instructed to cultivate possible alliances built on more substantial common interests. In March of 1665, General at Sea Robert Blake and the Blue Squadron were sent on a “goodwill cruise” through the Mediterranean for this purpose, ostensibly. Truthfully, their purpose was much less benign.



The first order of business was to reconnoiter Spanish Armada positions. Only one Spanish squadron was found in Iberian ports--and an anemic one at that. It contained only one ship-of-the-line. Spain may have had the largest navy in the world, but they too had worldwide defense obligations spreading them thin.

Further survey revealed that Spain had no forces, land or sea, in the Mediterranean. This fact prompted the next phase of the mission.

Agents provocateur were dispatched to Spain’s Italian possessions. Their mission was to organize and arm the Neapolitan peasants into a nationalist movement. Failing that, they were given resources with which to contract one of the many companies of adventure that populated the smaller northern Italian states. In any eventuality, armed rebellion against Spanish rule was the aim.

In his campaign against Sweden, Braddock made little use of clandestine operations, but nevertheless returned to England with utmost confidence in their potential. He envisioned a perpetual espionage campaign. His goal was to illicit a feeling of paranoia in the Spanish king, one which would convince him to garrison all of Spain’s disparate territories. The Spanish forces, thus diluted, could be defeated piecemeal by the New Model Army.



Braddock’s vision was not to be. Instead of fomenting rebellion in every corner of the Spanish Empire, the Commonwealth’s supply of espionage agents was exhausted on the singular mission in Naples. All efforts, save one, were fruitless. Even the one that “succeeded” was a failure in the long run.



In Apulia, the people of Naples had already risen up. This seemed like a good opportunity: England would fund more regiments to augment the Nationalist ranks. Unfortunately, the man Commonwealth agents found to lead these regiments was of the di Medici family. The leaders of the Neapolitan revolution, in particular Gaspare del Rosso, did not want the banking clan to have influence in the new state they meant to create. The Commonwealth-funded nationalists were put down by the organic revolutionaries.

The people of England never heard of these failures, of course. They were demoralized nonetheless. John Milton, member of the Council of State and greatest author of the English language, passed away.



Milton was absolutely indispensable to England's recovery directly after the Civil War. His writing brought many to the republican cause--the Good Old Cause--and restored stability to English society. Though that period of unrest was long past, and Milton’s contribution towards stability no longer required, he had been kept on the council, for they also serve who only stand and wait.

Inwardly, the Commonwealth of England mourned the loss of such a tremendous man. Outwardly, Braddock’s machinations against Spain continued. A squadron of warships under Samuel Hudson was sent across the Atlantic. It carried reinforcements for the Colonial Army, and Thomas Fairfax to lead them.



February was pleasant in the Caribbean, much more so than the dreary English winter. Yet, the men of the Colonial Army knew they were not on holiday. They could read the writing on the wall. War was coming.
 

Milites

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Any war against Spain a de facto a thoroughly just war. Financing rebellions in Italy will serve you well when the show down comes.
 

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Well done, Muad'dib. It looks like the Commonwealth is looking good.
 

unmerged(137648)

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Wonderful AAR so far. I've always been fascinated with the Commonwealth :D I'll be watching :cool:.
Thanks for the kind words, and your readership.

Excellent! Looking forward to seeing more.
Thank you, more is on the way!

Great stuff so far!:)
Thanks! Hope you like what's to come :)

Any war against Spain a de facto a thoroughly just war. Financing rebellions in Italy will serve you well when the show down comes.
You think so, and so do I, but then we're very much alike you and I, Mr. Milites. Hehe sorry about that, wanted to get a Bond reference in last chapter (what with all the spying and the fact it's in folder "007" on my harddrive) just had to get it out of my system. Hope you enjoy the war with Spain to be seen next chapter.

Well done, Muad'dib. It looks like the Commonwealth is looking good.
Thanks for commenting! The Commonwealth does indeed appear to be in good shape, but the next chapter will really test her mettle.

*​

Thanks to all readers and commenters. I've been working on the next chapter for a few days. A lot of stuff happened, to say the least, and it's hard to keep the narrative from getting clumsy and cluttered. I'm gonna clean it up today and if I have time do the images. So maybe it will be posted later tonight, if not almost certainly tomorrow. Thanks again!
 

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Chapter Eight
Wherein certain Declarations are made, Wars are fought, Disloyalty begets Confusion

On February 2, 1666, the Commonwealth of England declared war on the Kingdom of Spain. This was the culmination of the Anglo-French pact of alliance, and the latter dutifully joined. Besides, they offered generous subsidies, deeming England’s war effort “too big to fail.”



Several factors determined the timing. The foremost being the fact Spain was currently at war with the Ottoman Empire, with whom they shared a border in North Africa. The opportunity to engage Spain whilst they were at war with another major empire could not be missed. Unfortunately this line of thinking was not unique to Commonwealth leaders. Three days after England’s declaration against Spain, Scotland threw off the bonds of vassalage and declared war.



The Scottish would come to regret their haste. Though the Commonwealth was engaged with a mighty foe, fully half of the New Model Army--16,000 men--remained in England proper. The force would be more than enough to subdue the Scottish. Braddock immediately began the march north to fight a familiar war.

Summer 1666 was a season of defeat for Scotland: By late May their army and navy had been destroyed; Early June saw their capital once again occupied; Come mid July, they had had enough.


Precedented victory

Scottish delegates came to London with an offer of white peace, and it was accepted. However, this would not be the end of hostilities between the two nations. When England agreed to return to the status quo antebellum, it was understood that meant Scotland’s return to a subordinate government. Scotland argued that declaring war was separate from declaring independence, and indeed required sovereign powers. By their logic, then, returning to the status that existed before the war meant they were sovereign. This was quite unacceptable to the Commonwealth, which continued to consider Scotland a vassal, de jure if not de facto. This misunderstanding would remain a point of contention between the two nations, and England would go on to extend their hostility to any nation that recognized Scotland as independent. Whether it could be resolved peacefully or required more armed conflict was a matter for the future.

Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, the war against Spain began in earnest. Before the war, extensive planning was undertaken. Braddock himself drew up plans for an amphibious campaign in the Caribbean, the primary theater of operations. War declared, the Colonial Army under Fairfax immediately began embarkation. Samuel Hudson’s White Squadron would escort their transport throughout the campaign. This escort fought the first action of the war.



A Spanish line of three ships, later joined by a Portuguese of the same number, came upon the transports as they embarked troops off Antigua. Hudson’s squadron met and destroyed them. The victory was as absolute as it was inconsequential. The Spanish enjoyed such a numerical superiority on the seas that the loss of three ships-of-the-line was strategically meaningless, but it was a start.

Safe passage secured, the Colonial Army was able to make three successive, unopposed landings, capturing all Spanish possessions in the Lesser Antilles.


The three points of the so-called "Wedge Antilles"

The well-executed operations based on well-conceived plans in the Caribbean served as a contrast to the frenzied French front. On the outset of war, the sleeping giant awakened. Regiments were raised across the French country side, while the standing army moved into Spanish territory in the Low Countries, Franche-Comte, and Roussillon.



Spanish and Portuguese armies too crossed the border, and began sieges of French territory. Frustratingly, the French never used their local superiority, never concentrated force, and generally never sought engagement with the enemy. As May ended, only one battle had been fought. At Cambray, two similarly sized armies met, but Spain won the day.


The war as of May, 1666

France had unbloodied armies in the area that could have overwhelmed the Spanish victors with superior numbers and morale, but did not. An unwillingness to fight characterized both combatants on the French front.

In the Caribbean, such inaction was unknown. The Colonial Army left Puerto Rico and was back at sea. Its target: Hispaniola. As the transports and their escorts approached that island, they were set upon by a Spanish fleet--one with a slight numerical advantage over Hudson’s squadron. Hudson was not deterred in the slightest. He used the fact he had fast ships loaded with soldiers to his advantage. His van escorted some of the transports in close for a boarding action. Two Spanish wargalleons were seized in this daring move.



The four ships that escaped the melee took refuge in Barahonas. They were quickly forced from port by the Colonial Army, and met the guns of Hudson’s ships. Though Hudson won a great victory in the Eastern Caribbean, his ships were not unscathed. The transports that had participated in the boarding action were especially damaged. Ships with broken spars were towed to the shipyards at St. Lucia. There the naval component of the Caribbean campaign would repair and resupply while Fairfax subdued Hispaniola.



While this drama played out on the seas, English colonial possessions on the Spanish main were set upon by a large Spanish army.



This was unfortunate, but not unexpected. Braddock knew of the Spanish forces on the mainland, and the occupation of English territory there was written off as inevitable. Therefore, news of these defeats did nothing to damper the high spirits felt for the naval victories in the Caribbean.

The Battle of the Eastern Caribbean would be the most significant naval battle in that theater. Before and after, Hudson sunk several small Spanish squadrons, but no further noteworthy battles took place. Meanwhile, Blake had yet to meet a Spanish ship in his patrols of the home waters. The reason for Spain’s poor naval showing is apparent when reviewing intelligence reports from Madras.



Large Spanish fleets were constantly spotted off the Coromandel coast. Apparently, Spain was maintaining a large naval presence in the Pacific. This strategically questionable move by the Spaniards suited English purposes just fine.

In Fall, attentions again turned to the Mediterranean. Spain’s war exhaustion made certain populations seemingly more susceptible to rabble-rousing. Efforts at espionage were renewed, and yielded similar results. Also of interest in the area was Spain’s war against the Ottomans. The only thing that could be gleaned through the fog of war was that Tunis was occupied. Braddock hoped Spain was expending considerable strength against their North African neighbor.



By mid-September, Hudson was back at sea. New intelligence prompted swift action in the Caribbean. It had come to be known that Spain hastily fortified some of their possessions there. Such fortification would slow the island hopping considerably, putting the Commonwealth war effort at a major disadvantage by allowing Spain time to marshal force against it. There was hope, however, in the fact these fortifications were not yet fully garrisoned. Through a series of swift landings and assaults, Fairfax and the Colonial Army prevented that eventuality.



As a new year dawned, the Anglo-French war against Spain seemed to be going well. Cuba was taken without opposition, and French sieges in the Spanish Netherlands were bearing fruit.



Though, much to Braddock’s chagrin, France still refused to apply the considerable force it had mustered in the north, where they outnumbered the Spanish more than four-to-one. In the south, the French position benefitted from similar behavior on the part of the Iberian invaders.



Braddock went as far as drawing up the marching orders himself. The French could crush the Spanish in the north, he reasoned, then, leaving behind only a small sieging force, could bring their might to bear on the mostly-Portuguese armies in the south. Having done that, the French could cross the Pyrenees in force and win the war. That the French made no effort to execute his expertly-planned maneuvers infuriated Braddock to no end.

Alas, his military planning could not be limited to such hypotheticals. The Colonial Army had achieved all its original objectives, but the Spanish were obstinate, and their surrender was not forthcoming. Victory required more action on the part of Commonwealth forces.

On 15 February, 1667, one year and thirteen days after the war began, the Colonial Army again disembarked. This time their destination was Commonwealth soil. They sought to lift the Spanish occupations of Belize and Peten.



It was thought that once Spain lost this leverage on the bargaining table, they would consent to Commonwealth demands. Commonwealth diplomats had no such luck. Therefore, the Colonial Army’s mandate was expanded. Braddock ordered Fairfax to capture all unfortified coastal provinces on the Spanish main.



Entering May, the war was turning even more in England and France’s favor.


The war as of May, 1667

Though the most trying time was yet to come. The Summer of 1667 would be decisive.
 

Ashantai

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Oh wow! I almost missed this update, but I'm glad I saw it!

An epic war...epic! Well done! :D
 

Seek75

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Leave it to the French to just sit there and do nothing as a war rages on :D

I'm assuming that Braddock's anger at French laziness takes the place of your anger at incompetent AI? :p
 

unmerged(137648)

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Oh wow! I almost missed this update, but I'm glad I saw it!

An epic war...epic! Well done! :D
I'm glad you saw it too ;) Thanks for commenting!

This war was certainly something. IMO, it gets even better in the second half.

Leave it to the French to just sit there and do nothing as a war rages on :D

I'm assuming that Braddock's anger at French laziness takes the place of your anger at incompetent AI? :p
Thanks for the comment! You hit the nail right on the head. I was getting a bit frustrated with a lot of things about the AI and the war, and some mistakes I made. I have some gameplay notes with which I wanted to annotate this war, but I'll save them until after I post its conclusion.

Speaking of its conclusion, hopefully I'll finish it by tomorrow. I wanted to put this war in one chapter, but it was just too much, so I don't want to delay its conclusion.
 

dinofs

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Very well done! Let's hope your good luck with the AI lasts.