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Prologue
The era of the Crusades began in the year 1095, when Pope Urban II called upon the warriors of Christendom to liberate the Holy Land. The Crusader states established in the Levant by the Crusaders would not prove sustainable, as there were never enough colonists to create a permanent European presence. The Muslim reconquest began shortly afterwards, as the disparate city-states banded together to drive out the invaders. As Outremer began to collapse, European Princes still enamored of the Crusading spirit began to look elsewhere. Their attentions soon focused on the Baltic coastline, an area of swampy and difficult terrain inhabited by tribal peoples still practicing unreconstructed paganism. Several Crusades were launched into the region by Princes and Kings of the north-central European states, but it was not until Albert of Üxküll founded the Sword Brothers at the turn of the 13th Century that a Crusading Order devoted to the Baltic mission created a permanent armed crusading presence on the Baltic.

In response to the intensification of the Crusading attacks, the peoples of the Baltic began to band together for common defense much as the Muslims had done in the Levant. The most interesting of these characters from our perspective is Prince Mindaugas of Lithuania. When he came to power around the year 1219, he was one of a host of minor Lithuanian princes, but Mindaugas quickly began to change all that, launching a series of wars that would make him sole prince of Lithuania by the 1240s. The newly founded state of Lithuania soon began expanding again, absorbing many of the lands of the old Kievan state as that country disintegrated in the face of internal disunity and foreign invasions. By the time of Mindaugas’ death in 1263, Lithuania had become a territorial colossus capable of launching effective military resistance to the Crusaders. Lithuania was ruled by a group of mounted solider-aristocrats, openly pagan in their ways. These barons ruled largely as tribute takers, leaving a large degree of local autonomy among Lithuania’s diverse population.

As Mindaugas’ successors in Lithuania continued to expand territorially, a protracted war of attrition was fought on the Baltic between the Lithuanians and the Teutonic Knights, who quickly displaced and eventually incorporated the Sword Brothers as the main crusading presence in the north. Eventually, Lithuania would develop close ties with the neighboring kingdom of Poland. Poland was also a frequent target of the aggression of the northern crusaders, despite the fact that the Polish kings had accepted Christianity as far back as 966. When the Polish King Louis D’Anjou died without an heir in 1382, the two states were merged by the marriage of Jogalia/Jaigellio, Grand Duke of Lithuania to Queen Jadwiga of Poland in 1386 (The Union of Krewo). The combined forces of Poland and Lithuania were enough to deal the Teutonic Order a decisive defeat at the Battle of Tannenberg (1410), establishing the new kingdom as a force to be reckoned with in European politics. However, not all in Lithuania were happy with this arrangment, and under the leadership of Vytautas Lithuania revolted from Polish control. In December of 1418 Vytautas and Jogalia, now calling himself Ladislas II of Poland, signed a treaty confirming Lithuania’s existence as an independent state. The Treaty further stipulated that the 2 nations would consider each other as allies in perpetuity.

EU2 1.07 + Mar2 betas
The date of Vytautas’ revolt was moved forward to accommodate the game timeline. I don’t pretend to be an expert on Baltic History, so feel free to correct any errors I may have made in the this introduction.

This is my first stab at an EU2 AAR, any comments/suggestions will be most welcome
 
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Chapter 1: The First Baltic War

Having successfully defeated Polish attempts to annex Lithuania, Vytautas began his reign as Grand Duke in January of 1419. The treaty of peace he had signed with Poland made the 2 nations allies and despite the recent revolt, relations between Poland and Lithuania remained extremely good (+190). Vytautas now settled down in the capital city of Vilnius and set about organizing the Lithuanian state. There was much to do, but Vytautas had not even finished handing out government jobs to all of his relatives when his Polish allies declared war on Prussia and sought Lithuanian support (January 1419).

As Vytautas had an army much larger than he could ever hope to pay for, he agreed to support Poland and marched his forces off to face the Teutonic Knights, allies of the Prussians, expecting many of his soliders to get themselves killed, thereby easing the troop support problem. Vytautas' rather sinister plan worked out quite well, as the army of the Teutonic Knights put up quite a fight before folding in the face of a gigantic horde of semi-Christianized Lithuanian warriors. The harsh winter conditions at the siege of Kurland killed even more Lithuanians than the army of the Teutonic Knights had done. Some time during 1420, Kurland surrendered and Vytautas drew up new battle plans against the Order. These plans would not get the chance to go into operation however, as the Poles elected to end the war, taking the province of Danzig from Prussia and forcing the Prussians to pay them 186 ducats in reparations.

Vytautas was upset that the Poles had agreed to peace without consulting him, but his feelings were soothed when Poland agreed to a 50-50 split of the reparations money. Vytautas returned to Vilnius and continued appointing his numerous cousins to posts in the new government. Vytautas was particularly fond of appointing tax collectors, but these officials were not popular among the peasants, who staged numerous revolts. After the peasants in Belgorod had announced their unhappiness by revolting in 1422, internal stability hit an all-time low (-3). A basic distrust between the government and peasantry would become an unfortunate mainstay of Lithuanian history, and the next peasant revolt was often just around the corner.

Also around this time, Poland offered Lithuania the chance to become a Polish vassal. Vytautas was a cheap man, and felt that this monthly income was small enough without giving half of it to Poland. After considering his reply, he sent a letter back to Krakow kindly declining the most generous offer of the Polish King and offering the hand of his daughter to Ladislas of Poland. Ladislas was already married so he gave Vytautas' daughter in marriage to one of his more important aristocrats and reminded Vytautas that the Catholic church frowned on bigamy. The recently-converted Vytautas was most unhappy at this piece of information, but elected to remain within the fold when he remembered that his eastern borders swarmed with Russians, Mongols, and other unpleasant things. Thus, Vytautas downgraded 3 of his 4 wives to the status of mistress, and his conscious and his confessor were satisfied.
 
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Estonianzulu

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Great start. Too bad about not getting to stick it to the Teutonic Order.

I do have one peice of advise. If you cut it down into numerous paragraphs rather than just one, it will make reading the AAR much easier. Besides that, I think its great.
 

Braedonnal

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Aha, starting an EU2 AAR, I see. I think I'll write one for this Scotland game I just started.

A shame Poland didn't hold out longer but they like to grab n' dash over Danzig. At least you got to use your troops for something. :D
 

coz1

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Great start. Not sure when the last Lithuanian AAR was written so this should be very special. Good luck.
 

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Good start, keep it comming! But with more paragraphs, please, and with a blank line between them! All right? ;)
 

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zacharym87 said:
...that the Catholic church frowned on bigamy. The recently-converted Vytautas was most unhappy at this piece of information, but elected to remain within the fold when he remembered that his eastern borders swarmed with Russians, Mongols, and other unpleasant things. Thus, Vytautas downgraded 3 of his 4 wives to the status of mistress, and his conscience and his confessor were satisfied.
You packed a lot of provocative thoughts in that one passage! Your eastern neighbors probably don't like being called "unpleasant things" but as long as your army is big that should be all right. Good luck!
 

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Chapter 2: The Miracle of Muscovy

Russia was a focal point for Lithuanian foreign policy in these days. Lithuania’s goal in its Russian policy was to prevent a strong and united Russian state emerging from the collection of cutthroat principalities that inhabited the Russian land in the early 15th Century. Towards that end, Vytautas had proclaimed guarantees of the independence of Pskov and Ryazan. War had erupted in Russia while Vytautas had been fighting in the Baltic. As a result of these wars, Pskov annexed Tver, Moscovy vassalized Suzdal, and Novgorod the Great was attacked and dismembered from all sides, after which it was known as Novgorod the Used to be Somewhat Greater.

Lithuania had stayed out of these early wars, both due to the fact that they were fighting a war of their own in the Baltic and the fact that Vytautas was too cheap to raise and maintain a sufficiently large army to tackle the Russian question. All this changed in 1423, when Muscovy and her Suzdalian allies declared war upon Ryazan. This declaration was in violation of Lithuania’s guarantee of Ryazanian independence and Lithuania responded by declaring a war of her own against Muscovy. The Lithuanian army had been divided into 2 units, the northern army, 11,000 infantrymen commanded by a Knight calling himself Sir Robin the Brave and the southern army, consisting of 13,000 cavalry commanded by the Grand Duke himself.

As hostilities opened, Robin and his men were sent against Muscovy while the cavalry was held in reserve for possible fighting on the grasslands. Robin had the land ahead thoroughly scouted, and only when reports indicated that the Muscovite army was elsewhere did Robin and his men lay siege to Moscow. The Lithuanians had been camped outside Moscow for nearly 2 months when scouts returned to camp reporting that a Muscovite army of 20,000 men led by a general so feared by the Lithuanians that Lithuanian historians referred to him simply as the Muscovite Monster (The Muscovites had a leader and I omitted to write his name down) were approaching from the north. As soon as this news reached him, we are told that Robin’s complexion lost several shades of color before he turned to his troops and yelled “Run Away!” We do know that the Lithuanians engaged in a policy of defensive warfare designed to avoid major confrontations with the enemy’s army. After the Muscovites arrived outside the city walls and searched in vain for Lithuanian forces to engage, they moved on to the Ryazan front. After Robin made sure the enemy was safely outside the vicinity of Moscow, he and his forces moved back in and resumed the siege. Meanwhile, the army of Ryazan engaged 33,000 Muscovite-Suzdalian forces outside their capital. It was a grand human struggle, 17,000 men fighting for their land and their freedom against cruel foreign usurpers. Naturally, they lost.

As Muscovy and Suzdal settled in for a joint siege of Ryazan, the Lithuanians continued their siege of Moscow. This siege was interrupted several times by the approach of Muscovite troops, but this game of cat-and-mouse at least kept the bulk of Musvocy’s army on the move and away from Ryazan. At this point, Vytautas requested the Prince of Ryazan to grant Lithuania military access to his lands so that the besiegers could be confronted by a joint Lithuanian-Ryazanite army. The Prince of Ryazan stubbornly refused Vytautas’ requests, with the sad result that his principality was annexed by Suzdal. The annexation meant that Ryazan was fair game for Lithuanian soliders, who moved in shortly after the annexation and began a siege. The exhausted garrison of Ryazan surrendered soon afterwards. Back in Moscow, Polish troops had arrived at the front and marched with Robin’s soliders back into Moscow. At this point, Robin’s scout system failed him and the Muscovite Monster and his troops were able to force an engagement. Vytautas brought his cavalry to the battle to even the odds. In an outcome that surprised a great number of contemporaries, the Lithuanians scored a decisive defeat over the Muscovites and the Muscovite Monster was among the dead. Credit for the victory went to Vytautas as eyewitness reports suggested that Sir Robin had spent the entire battle shut up inside his tent with his eyes closed.
 
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But but, Sir Robin is not in the least bit scared to be smashed into a pulp or to have his eyes gouged out and his elbows broken, to have his kneecaps split and his body burned away and his limbs all hacked and mangled, Brave Sir Robin! :rofl:

Novgorod the Used to be Somewhat Greater. This made me laugh a bit. :rofl:

Moscovy huh. Good to deal with them sooner than later. Keep plugging away at them. :)
 

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Chapter 3: The End of the Russian War

It was nevertheless Robin’s troops who stayed on to siege and capture Moscow. Polish troops had meanwhile occupied Vladimir, the Suzdalian capital. Poland also laid siege to Nizhny Novogorod at this time. Vytautas briefly brought his cavalry in to aid the siege, but when the Polish commander insisted that he retain command in the name of his King, Vytautas marched his troops right back out again.

By now, after 3 years of war, the time had come to make peace. We are fortunate to have the following recorded exchange between a diplomat from Lithuania and an ambassador from Suzdal. This should give you some idea of how peace negotiations were carried out in the early 15th Century. This will be your reading assignment over the weekend.

Lithuanian diplomat (LD): We have occupied all of your lands and destroyed your armed forces. We now demand that you give us many things of value. Have you any gold?
Suzdal diplomat (SD): Nope.
LD: Why not?
SD: Well, our Muscovite overlords get half our monthly income, and as that isn’t very much to begin with…
LD (sighs): Well, what else have you got?
SD: We have the province of Ryazan, on sale this week for only 10% warscore.
LD: What’s in Ryazan?
SD: Lots of sheep. There’s also some grass there, I’m told.
LD: How much money does the sheep trade generate in Ryazan?
SD: Not much. As the place also has wrong-culture and wrong-religion for you Lithuanians, your taxcollectors will probably only get about 1/3 of the taxes the peasants owe you, but it’s the best we can do.
LD: We’ll take it (Peace between Lithuania and Suzdal: Ryazan to Lithuania)

Not long after this exchange, Muscovy tired of the war as well and paid 71 ducats reparations to the Polish-Lithuanian alliance. Poland was rather upset that Lithuania had shorted them in the peace with Suzdal, and Vytautas tried to calm them by giving every Polish noble the Ryazan Discount Card, which gives the holder a 50% price reduction at participating hotels and tourist attractions in Ryazan, like the annual sheep-shearing tournament and the Russian Serf Experience Village, where visitors can experience a day in the life of a serf, working from sunup to sundown from some petty local baron and getting nothing to show for it. Records from the Polish archives suggest that this gift was not quite what the Polish court was hoping for.


This is a copy of a political map used in Vytautas' Lithuania around 1427. The scale drawing of Ryazan was included in an attempt to bolster Polish tourism.
 
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Braedonnal

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Little Pskov took Tver, I see. At least that will help keep down the BB. :D

So, are you planning a crusade against the overly bloated Golden Horde or are you sticking to the Moscovy first policy? No need to answer of course as you want to spoil it. :)

I do have a question. What are the settings you are playing under?
 

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Well, this has proven to be rather interesting. I can hardly wait to see what you do next!
 

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Nice work, and funny too. I knew that Robin wasn't so brave after all. ;) Now go ahead and take out Muscovy before they get too big.
 

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Chapter 4: The Conquest of Polotsk

As Vytautas returned to Lithuania at the head of his victorious armies, he sent out messengers to tell all in the land of the great Lithuanian victory. When the peasants heard of their nation’s great successes in war, they announced their unhappiness and revolted. Vytautas offered brave Sir Robin the chance to defeat the rebels, but Sir Robin pointed out that rebel-bashing was really the Grand Duke’s job and Vytautas and his Lithuanian Hussars scattered the peasants on their own.

If 1426 had ended on a bad note, 1427 would be even worse. Woes began in March, when a group of drunken peasants observed a meteor streaking across the night sky. When word of this astronomical happening got around, panic spread amongst the peasantry. Vytautas tried to explain to the peasants that the weather was really outside his control, but the peasants insisted that the meteor was part of some sinister plan of the Grand Duke’s. In the midst of these domestic woes, Prussia declared war on Lithuania. Vytautas had to abandon the finer points of astronomy to give battle orders. 28,000 Prussians were moving on Vilnius and soon started a siege of the Lithuanian capital. Vytautas sent his fearless general Sir Robin to face the Prussians while Vytautas rode north to meet the Teutonic Knights. He collected his cavalry and his pikemen and preceded to Welikia, where he camped his forces on the right bank of the Ran River. Some of his soldiers questioned this strategy on Vytautas’ part. “Surely the Teutonic Knights won’t be so asinine as walk straight into this trap?” they were heard to ask. Legend has it that no sooner had these words been spoken than forces from the Teutonic Knights began to attempt to ford the river despite of the Lithuanian army on the other side of the banks. While the legend may not be true, the Knights did indeed make such a horrific tactical blunder, as many as half of the Teutonic Knights were cut down by Lithuanian bowmen before reaching the right bank. The other half of the crusading army survived the river crossing just long enough to throw themselves at a line of Lithuanian pikemen. All contemporary chroniclers agree that the battle was very short, and that the Teutonic Knights were very dead when it was over.

As Vytautas and company settled in to siege Polotsk, word reached the Grand Duke that his capital of Vilnius had come under Prussian occupation. Where was Brave Sir Robin? The Grand Duke sent out a messenger to his commander asking this poignant question. Robin wrote back that he and his men had been unavoidably detained in Mozyr, but were marching on Vilnius as of the moment. Here, Lithuania’s Polish allies would once again make substantial contributions to the war effort. The Polish army reached the Prussians before Robin’s troops could get there and routed them utterly. Along with its own fearsome army, Poland had brought additional troops from the lands of Brandenburg, a Polish vassal as of 1426, and Bohemia, another nation that the Poles had added to the Polish-Lithuanian alliance. Vytautas wished that the Poles would consult with him more frequently on alliance affairs but now was not the time to complain, particularly after Vilnius was liberated by Polish troops. Robin and his men arrived just in time to join the celebrations marking the driving out of the invaders.

Elsewhere, Polotsk had surrendered to Vytautas. Vytautas now split his army, sending the infantry the besiege Kurland while he and his cavalry charged over the Order’s remaining territories, looting villages and scattering whatever reinforcements the Teutonic Order attempted to raise. Meanwhile, the Polish army left Vilnius to march on Königsberg, the Prussian capital. Robin elected to remain in Vilnius on guard duty. By 1429, both Königsberg and Riga had surrendered to allied forces, and a treaty was negotiated giving Polotsk to Lithuania and 179 ducats to be split amongst the alliance members.

Victory having been achieved, the Lithuanian army still had revolts in Chernigov and Poltava to put down, as the peasants became unhappy once again and internal stability was so low as to verge on Civil War (-3). Vytautas took advantage of this popular antagonism to announce new domestic policies designed to increase the Grand Duke’s power at the expense of the magnates (+1 to centralization). These new policies proved every bit as unpopular as the old policies, but stability stayed level, largely because there seemed to be no way it could drop even further.

After living a long life full of fighting, Vytautas the Great, resurrector of the Lithuanian nation, died peacefully in 1430. His realm was at peace barring the fact that the government was utterly loathed by all sectors of society.

P.S.
For those who want to know, the settings for this game are Hard/Normal (Difficulty/Aggressiveness).
P.P.S.
200th Post—yay!
 
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zacharym87 said:
After living a long life full of fighting, Vytautas the Great, resurrector of the Lithuanian nation, died peacefully in 1430. His realm was at peace barring the fact that the government was utterly loathed by all sectors of society.
Nice epitaph for a monarch! That just about says it all! This is a very nice story and I wish you continued success. Your allies really helped you a lot in that war. :)
 

Braedonnal

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Nice, Zach. The AI certainly helped you though with their river assaults. :) I do much the same though when I can, attack smart and defend even smarter. :)

I look forward to more exploits of Brave, brave, brave, brave Sir Robin.

P.S. I heard he nearly fought the vicious Chicken of Bristol, any truth to that? ;)
 

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jwolf: Thanks for the compliments. Poland has been a big help so far, Lithuania is a rather poor country so I tend to keep the army as small as I can get away with and take advantage of the fact that Lithuania and most of its neighbors are filled with high attrition provinces that can really cut through a big army (like the ones Muscovy/Russia likes to raise).

Braedonnal: Yes, the near-fight with the Chicken of Bristol was among the highlights of Sir Robin's resume.
 

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Chapter 5: A Restful Interlude

Upon the death of Vytautas, Svitrigalia became Grand Duke in a contested election. Svitrigalia was the brother of the Polish King, which led the more nationalistic Lithuanians to support candidates less bound to the Kingdom of Poland. However, the magnates as an entity were opposed to a powerful Grand Duke, and elected Svitrigalia by a modest margin. Svitrigalia was a disappointment to those who expected a Polish puppet, as he pursued a policy aiming at the continued independence of Lithuania, but Poland hoped to add Lithuania to its domains and proposed vassalage to the Lithuanian Diet in 1432. The Diet reacted violently to this suggestion and, in a rare moment of nationalism, demanded a Grand Duke without connections to the Polish royal family. Svitrigalia was compelled to resign after only 2 years as Grand Duke, and the nobles elected Zygimantas Kestutatis (5/5/6) as the new Grand Duke of Lithuania (r. 1432-40).

The reign of Zygimantas Kestutatis was a time of peace, at least by Lithuanian standards. Revolts were common, but there were no foreign wars to occupy the nation. The prolonged period of peace led to the expiration of the Polish-Lithuanian alliance in 1439. Lithuania faced an important turning point in her history, as foreign nations lined up to invite Lithuania into their alliances. The first among these was Genoa, an Italian city-state with holdings in the Black Sea region. They were at war with the Golden Horde when they requested Lithuanian assistance, and many in Lithuania were tempted as a crusade against the Mongols was a cherished goal of the Lithuanian Grand Dukes of the period. However, Genoa was allied to a host of Italian nations such as Tuscany and Modena, and the Lithuanian Estates refused the Genoan proposal, fearful of being dragged into wars in Italy and Western Europe. Sweden also proposed that Lithuania join it’s alliance with Prussia and the Teutonic Order, but this prposal went nowhere, as there was virtually no one in Lithuania who desired to ally with Prussia or the Teutonic Order, both sworn enemies of the Lithuanian nation. The Swedish offer was refused as well. Poland proved slow in recreating its alliance, so Lithuania took the initiative instead, creating an alliance with Poland and Brandenburg under Lithuanian leadership. Sadly, Bohemia elected not to join the new alliance.