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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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“When the Archbishop surveyed the breadth of his domain he wept, for there were still far too many worlds to conquer.”

The day is January 1, 1419. Dietrich von Mors, Archbishop-Elector of Cologne, was restless. When he acceded to the Archbishopric in 1414, he had resolved to recapture the seat of his Archbishopric from its rebellious guilds. It was important to insure that the Archbishop’s prestige was more than a matter of simple theory. Besides that, Dietrich didn’t care that much for Bonn. Ever since 1414, Dietrich’s life had been consumed with the problem of retaking the city of Cologne for its rightful sovereign. He managed to assemble a mercenary army 10,000 strong without alerting his enemies in the guilds and “forgetting” to tell the Emperor Sigismund of his little enterprise. The Archbishop and his army had made their surprise entry into Cologne in December 1418, when Dietrich felt that the guilds would be unprepared. The guilds were indeed caught completely unawares and surrendered without a fight provided that the Archbishop continued to allow the city its customary economic privileges as a free city of the Empire.

By January 1 of 1419 the Archbishop found that his lust for conquest had not been quelled. Cologne had been regained, but why stop there? Dietrich’s Archbishopric remained a small island in a decidedly hostile sea, no matter how great the purely hypothetical prestige of the office was. Dietrich wished to be a man of stature and prestige in truth as well as in theory. Dietrich certainly knew he was vulnerable, it required nearly all of Cologne’s resources to maintain the Archbishop’s army of 10,000, despite the fact that Dietrich rarely paid them more than half of their promised salaries. He knew that the Dukes of Burgundy and the Kings of France ate 10,000 men armies for breakfast on an almost daily basis, and even the lesser princes of the region (and Dietrich hated to be thought of as a lesser prince) could be a potential threat. Nevertheless, the region’s only real powers, France and Burgundy, hated each other with a passion. If Dietrich could successfully play the French off the Burgundians while annexing his smaller neighbors, he might just to be able to pull off his real goal—to make Cologne into a great power. It would take skill and cunning to pull off this trick, but fortunately Dietrich was amply endowed with both.


The motivation for this AAR was my recent trip to Germany, which included a stop in Cologne, which I enjoyed the most of all the German cities I visted. I'm aware that is sort of cheating to start a new AAR with an old AAR already in progress, but I promise to make every effort to finish both AARs.

Settings:
EU2 v. 1.08, no mods
Normal/Normal (Difficulty/Aggressiveness)

Goals:
1. Make Cologne a power in its own right, equal or surpassing France, Austria, etc.
2. Survive (This will be my second attempt at playing Cologne, the first met a sorry end in 1426 with me being annexed by Luxembourg (but we won't ever mention that again)
3. Ideal: Grossdeutschland :D

House Rules and other notes:
1. Take German-culture provinces only in Europe (colonies are fair game, assuming I get that far)
2. Cologne, being an Archbishopric, must remain Catholic no matter what
 

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As Dietrich set about consolidating his power in Cologne, honoring traditional rights in theory while increasing his own power in stealth (+1 Centralization), he also surveyed his surroundings for an easy conquest. For some reason, the Archbishop felt he would be infinitely safer with 2 provinces instead of one. Dietrich’s greedy eyes soon fell on the nation of Luxembourg; small, poorly defended, and allied with the powerful yet safely distant nation of Hungary. Besides, who the devil were the Luxembourgers to hold the Imperial Throne? Dietrich cemented his foreign policy by forging an alliance with himself, the Duke of Kleves, and the Elector of the Palatinate. Dietrich also married off his cousin to the Duke of Kleves as a sign of his goodwill.

The Archbishop had to put off the campaign against Luxembourg while the Palatine Elector dragged the alliance off to war with his neighbors in Mainz. The success of the Count Palatinate in the wars that followed stunned the Archbishop much as it did other contemporary observers. In short order, the states of Mainz, Hessen, and Baden were conquered and added to Empire of the Palatinate. The Palatine Empire proved short-lived however as Helvetia and Würzburg immediately attacked the Palatinate. Dietrich and his in-laws in Kleves quickly abandoned their warmongering ally. While the ire of the international community still bore down on the Palatinate, Dietrich suddenly doubled the size of his army, well beyond what his resources could reasonably be expected to support. In 1427 Cologne attacked Luxembourg with the purely nominal support of Kleves (they joined the war but did absolutely nothing). Thankfully, Dietrich had little need of his allies and had successfully conquered and annexed Luxembourg by 1428.

The Archbishop would not forgive the treachery of Kleves and abandoned those faithless allies at the first possible opportunity. By 1432, Dietrich had cut his ties to Kleves and joined an alliance with Austria, Württemberg, and Bavaria. Dietrich was not done alliance-hopping quite yet; he abandoned Austria’s alliance in 1437 to finally find a suitable partner in the French in 1438. Then in 1440, Scotland declared war against Brittany, Dietrich joined the other alliance members in abandoning the warmongering Scots. Dietrich offered France a new alliance proposal, but the French King would not agree to join an alliance led by the Archbishop, though he later welcomed Cologne into a French-led alliance in 1441. Dietrich did not have to wait long for the French alliance to bear fruit. France declared war upon Auvergne in 1444 and to the Archbishop’s surprise and delight, Auvergne numbered Kleves among her allies. Knowing that the cowardly Duke of Kleves would not lift a finger to defend himself, the Archbishop dispatched his army to Kleves, annexing the lands of his former in-laws in 1446. The rest of the action took place well beyond Cologne’s borders, and the Archbishop waited with patience until the automatic end of hostilities arrived in 1449. By then it had been 30 years since the Archbishop-Elector had regained his city; the size of Greater Cologne had been trebled, allowing the maintenance of a respectable army and significantly expanding the Archbishop’s horizons.


Cologne and her neighbors as of 1449
 

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Nice work, and a promising start to the story! All that alliance-hopping at the start can be a pain, but you pulled it off nicely to Cologne's advantage, which of course is all that matters! :D But what about Burgundy? The French are bound to be dragging you into a war with them soon - will you join or not?
 
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I think that you should have taken some sort of allience with Burgendy. You could have used them as a buffer agaisnt the french in the early years. Still great start I look forward to your next update. :rofl:
 

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Farquharson: I was actullay hoping the French would involve me in war with Burgundy, I figure it'll be easier to beat up on Burgundy than on Spain or Austria.

Silver Legion: I figured at the start that Cologne would only be viable if allied to France or Burgundy or Austria. I ultimatley chose France since I aim to control Germany (and thus will probably be in conflict with Austria) and because I get the sneaky suspiscion that France has more staying power than Burgundy.
 

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Dietrich von Mors would continue to rule as Archbishop-Elector of Cologne until 1463. If the early part of Dietrich’s tenure as Archbishop had seen an almost exclusive focus on foreign affairs, the years after 1449 were devoted largely to internal affairs, as Dietrich was determined to leave Cologne in a strong position for his eventual successor. Towards that end Dietrich continued to downgrade the power of Cologne’s merchant class, largely by arrogating ever more powers over the administration of the Electorate for himself, but also by favoring the landed aristocracy of the countryside over the urban merchant families. To ensure that Cologne remained competitive technologically, the Archbishop encouraged innovativeness among the populace wherever it was found (to give you some ideas of my DP settings).

When Dietrich finally died, his office was passed to a clergyman called Rupprecht, who hailed from the territory of the Rhineland Palatinate. For the first six years of his reign, Rupprecht continued much as Dietrich would have done, offering moral support to the King of France in his interminable wars with the English, the Aragonese, and the renegade vassals of the French crown while searching for new opportunities to expand the territory and influence of Cologne. All this changed during the winter of 1469. One night, the Archbishop’s aids were awoken by loud yells and screams from the Archbishop’s bedchamber. When they arrived they discovered Rupprecht tossing and turning in the throes of some terrible nightmare. After he had been awoken and downed 2 glasses of Cognac, Ruppercht related the contents of his most horrible dream—Rupprecht had seen the last Duke of Burgundy cut down in the thick of battle by Swiss troops. This part of the dream was not unwelcome by Rupprecht, who viewed the Duke of Burgundy as a deadly adversary. It was the second part of his vision, where Maximilian of Habsburg married Burgundy’s Duchess and annexed her wealthy lands to the crown of Austria, that had sent the Archbishop into a terrified frenzy. That very night, Rupprecht summoned his top generals and began planning an invasion of Burgundy.

The biggest problem facing the planned campaign was the simple fact that the resources commanded by the Duke of Burgundy greatly exceeded those under the control of the Archbishop-Elector of Cologne. To succeed, the war with Burgundy would require 3 things: meticulous planning, flawless execution, and French support. The Archbsihop felt his units were exposed in Cologne, sandwiched uncomfortably between the Duke of Burgundy’s northern and southern possessions. After careful discussions and wargame simulations, the Archbishop and his advisors finally drew up their plan of attack. Phase one was launched when the Archbishop acquired treaties of military access through France and the Duchy of Würzburg. Then the army of Cologne, now numbering over 25,000 men, was split into 2 units, one unit was sent to the province of Hessen (owned by the Duke of Würzburg) to attack the German possessions of the Duke of Burgundy. The second unit was stationed in the French province of Picardie, poised to attack Flanders, the economic powerhouse of Burgundy. After making sure that the French would support his endeavor, the Archbishop-Elector of Cologne issued a declaration of war against Burgundy on 22 January 1470.

Both of the Archbishop’s units proceeded to attack their pre-ordained targets, beginning sieges in Flanders and Münster. Burgundy’s armies chose Luxembourg as their target and were soon in place. The Archbishop’s men proved skilled in the arts of siege warfare, Flanders surrendered in August of 1470 and Münster capitulated in November. The army in Germany proceeded to lay siege to Oldenburg province as the Lowlands regiment moved back to the capital, which was being besieged by Burgundian forces. March of 1471 would bring good news and bad news for Cologne—the good news was that the Burgundian army outside the capital had been defeated and was in retreat, the bad news was that Luxembourg had fallen to Burgundian forces. By May of 1471, Oldenburg had fallen and several additional Burgundian attacks on the capital had been repulsed. By summer of 1471, Rupprecht decided to go on the offensive once more, sending his northern army to besiege Zeeland while the home army pursued Burgundian troops into Brabant and scored another victory. With French units beginning a siege of occupied Luxembourg, the Lowlands regiment rode south to challenge Dijon itself, defeating the Burgundian home guard and beginning a siege in April 1472.

The war seemed to be going splendidly at this point, and additional good news was on the way. The Duke of Savoy entered the French alliance in May 1472, pledging support in the war against Burgundy. By January of 1473 Dijon surrendered and the Rupprecht harbored hopes that Burgundian threat might be neutralized once and for all. However, things soon began to unravel for the Archbishop, as the peasants of Münster revolted in May 1473. Rupprecht was forced to dispatch an army badly needed for other tasks to quell the rebellion, which had been put down by August. August would also see Aragon declare war against France, opening up a 2-front war for the allies. With French and Savoyard troops now occupied with Aragon, Rupprecht decided the time had come to end the Burgundian war. He summoned the Duke of Burgundy to a peace conference in Heidelberg, receiving news of the fall of Zeeland just in time to strengthen his hand in the negotiations. A peace treaty was finally reached on 29 September, 1473. By the terms of the treaty, Burgundy was forced to cede the provinces of Oldenburg and Münster to Cologne and the province of Artois to France.


The Empire of Cologne begins to take shape. Note the Polish acquistion of Bremen and the Bohemian annexation of Bavaria
 

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You're off to a good start! And this AAR is a pleasure to read, also.

Don't worry about writing two AAR's at once... just don't fail to complete them both. We'd have to protest that. :)

While much enlarged, your empire is thin... it would be easy for an enemy (and they are all enemies, aren't they :D ) to capture one province and cut you in half. The solution is obvious: grow, grow, grow!

Keeping an alliance with a strong partner is, in my experience, very wise. An alliance with France will involve you in a lot of wars... but hopefully NOT get you into a war with France. That's dangerous-to-fatal for most small countries.

Again, congrats on a great start. I wish you the best of luck.
 
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Good the German Empire begins to take shape. Who is your next target. :rofl:
 

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Congratulations on the war with Burgundy - brilliantly planned and fought! I suspect some poor helpless Germany state is going to be the next victim - ahem, I mean the next fortunate nation to have the privilege of becoming part of Cologne! :D
 

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Director: I am humbled that one such as yourself should even read my AAR. If this AAR is half as good as "Building a Better Bremen" I will be a happy man indeed.

Silver Legion, Farquharsan: Being a minor state allied to France means you rarely get to choose your own targets. The years to come will see Cologne frequently fighting to hold her ground against France's many, many, many enemies.

The province my greedy eyes have set on as the next target is Polish Bremen, German and safely isolated from the rest of Poland.
 
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Bermen does seem like a good target, but be carefull the Poles may have military access through some other countries.
 

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A good start to your AAR, well-played and well-written.

I agree with the French alliance - they tend to warmonger like mad in western Germany (particularly if the English are as ineffective as they always seem to be in 1.08) and getting caught between them and the Austrians would be a Bad Thing. Be careful about inviting them to your wars, though - they have a lot of leaders to steal sieges with.

Taking Burgundy's German possessions off them before they got inherited was definitely a good move, if a bit gamey. ;)

Bremen looks like a good target, though your may have problems getting enough warscore to persuade Poland to give it up. You might also want to consider Hessen (Wurzburg's second province and the gateway to Central Germany), Mecklemberg (ruled by Pommern, you can get the CoT without an annexation) and Swiss-ruled Alsace & Baden. Anything you don't take in the south will eventually join the Blob, so don't hang around too long.
 

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The war with Burgundy was over, but being allied to France meant that Cologne was rarely at peace for long. Gelre had entered an alliance with the English and launched an invasion against the Archbishop’s territory in 1474. By 1476 the armies of Gelre had been crushed and a siege was in progress in Friesen when the French settled with the Dutchmen for a few ducats. However, peace was not at hand, for France had accepted Venice into her alliance, and as Venice was at war with Austria, the other members of the alliance were called upon to join the war against Austria and her allies Ragusa and Lithuania. The Habsburgs used their imperial authority to march troops into Cologne, though thankfully not in significant numbers. Rupprecht may have been able to resist Austrian invasion, but his allies in Savoy were not so lucky. Savoy had received the worst of Austria’s attacks as yet and was rapidly crumbling against the advancing might of the Habsburgs.

With the war not going well for the alliance, Rupprecht looked for a way to aid his allies. Though he asked with all the correct diplomatic refinement, Rupprecht was unable to secure a treaty of military access through Bohemia. In 1477, with Piedmonte occupied and Chambery threatened, Rupprecht remembered his treaty of access through Würzburg and kicked himself repeatedly, even as he sent an army southwards to besiege Habsburg-controlled Württemberg. He was too late to save Savoy however, as the Austrians annexed the Piedmonte and forced the Duke of Savoy to submit to vassalage. Württemberg fell to the Archbishop’s forces in May of 1480, upon which the Austrians offered the Archbishop 250 ducats in a separate peace. Though guilt-ridden at deserting the French, Rupprecht accepted the Habsburg offer. Back in Cologne Cathedral, Rupprecht eased his troubled conscience by repeating his Hail Marys many times over and using his armies to defeat the rebels pouring from the Burgundian borders into France. Burgundy had fallen into anarchy in the years following 1476, mainly due to the Ducal government’s ludicrous assertion that Charles the Bold was not in fact dead. As rebels spilled across the borders into the lands of France and Cologne, the Dutch territories of Holland and Zeeland declared their independence from Burgundy. It was the last news Rupprecht would ever receive, for he was carried off this mortal coil in the spring of 1480, to be replaced as Archbishop-Elector by Hermann IV of Hessen.

Hermann IV had many of the same problems in foreign affairs as his predecessors did; namely the fact that his French allies were almost perpetually at war with someone, somewhere. These wars remained safely distant until 1487, when France declared war on England and England’s allies in Würzburg rose to the challenge. Cologne naturally answered the French call for aid and the Archbishop’s armies engaged the forces of Würzburg even as the French and the English began their fighting in the north of France. Hermann’s armies quickly invaded his native Hessen, which Hermann believed to be unjustly occupied by the Duke of Würzburg. The Duke did not agree and sent his army to repel Hermann’s, but the soldiers of Cologne carried the day. The siege in Hessen was proceeding slowly but surely to its inevitable conclusion when Burgundy, backed by her allies Gelre and the Palatinat, declared war upon Cologne on 28 July 1488. The Archbishop’s allies in France, Saxony, Holland, and Eire rallied to Hermann’s defense, creating a giant conflagration that threatened all of northwestern Europe. The Burgundians began their assault by invading and besieging Luxembourg. In March of 1489 Hessen fell at last, and Hermann was able to end one war, putting off the liberation of his birthplace in exchange for 136 ducats in reparations from the English, who bought their allies in Würzburg a reprieve.

The army in Hessen was quickly rerouted to Mainz, then the property of the Count Palatinate. By April Cologne’s forces had defeated a Rheinish army and laid siege to Mainz. Meanwhile, Luxembourg had once again fallen to Burgundy and the Archbishop’s remaining forces marched southward to regain the province. The army elected instead to attack the Burgundians in Brabant, where they scored a victory in December, the Burgundians finally flying the white flag on Christmas Eve. The northern army then captured Flanders from a gang of rebels. At this point the army began to suffer from delusions of grandeur and pushed further south, where they were met and defeated at the walls of Paris by a superior Burgundian force. August of 1490 would see Mainz fall to the Archbishop’s forces even as the northern army was defeated while trying to return to Luxembourg. By 1491, the war began to turn to Cologne’s advantage. The northern army received reinforcements and then proceeded to smash a Burgundian army in Champagne and lay siege to Dijon, even as the German army settled in to recapture Luxembourg. Dijon fell in September 1492 and Luxembourg followed in January of 1493. Hermann was now in a position to dictate peace terms. In February the Count Palatinate offered Hermann 186 ducats and the province of Mainz, which was gratefully accepted. The Duke of Burgundy followed this lead, paying 102 ducats to the Archbishop for peace in March. For the moment anyway, Cologne was free to breathe.

P.S. My 300th post, how the time flies.
 
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Well since you already "liberated" all the way to the North Sea, then your targets are as follows [in this order]: 1) Baltic Sea, 2) Mediterranean Sea, 3) Red Sea, and then 4) Yellow Sea.
 

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Lt.Col.Kilgore said:
Well since you already "liberated" all the way to the North Sea, then your targets are as follows [in this order]: 1) Baltic Sea, 2) Mediterranean Sea, 3) Red Sea, and then 4) Yellow Sea.
Let's not get too far ahead of ourselves here :D . First I need a port, Oldenburg being one of those bothersome provinces with a shoreline but no proper harbor. Another reason I want Bremen.
 
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The Yellow Sea are you insane. I never made it past the Aral Sea.
 

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Yeesh! You leave your AAR for 2 days and it's practically on the second page already! Much has been happening in Cologne, so much in fact that what I planned as one update I have decided to break into 2 somewhat more managable pieces. Part 1 is below this little blurb, part 2 (with screenshot) goes up tomorrow.

Part 1:
The proper beginning of this chapter in the story of Cologne is the sudden appearance of Poland in the German Reich. Poland’s career in Germany had begun in 1450 with their annexation of the free city of Bremen. Through lengthy negotiations with the Dukes of Hannover, Poland had eventually persuaded that state to enter into an agreement of vassalage leading to ultimate union with Poland in 1486. From that date onwards Emperor Frederick had promised to reward any German prince able to free these pieces of Imperial territory from the clutches of the Poles. Few princes in the Empire were quite as enthusiastic about this project as Archbishop-Elector Hermann IV of Cologne, who hoped to take Frederick up on this project at the first opportunity. However, as readers of the last chapter are no doubt aware, Hermann’s attentions were distracted in 1486 while he joined his French allies in their fight against a large consortium of enemies. But by 1493 Cologne was at peace once more and the opportunity seemed ripe, particularly since Frederick had died and been replaced by his son Maximilian, a far more capable military leader than his predecessor, and a man far less tolerant of the pretensions of non-Austrian German states to greatness, the expansive Archbishopric of Cologne foremost among those states whose power and influence he wished to reduce. The time was also ripe in that the warmongering French were occupied fighting the Muslim people of Algiers, who had gained a toehold in Europe by their recent annexation of Provence. The French were sufficiently confident of victory in this conflict that they had not bothered to invite their allies to join the fray.

Maximilian claimed it was a sign of the growing French influence in Cologne when Cologne declared war on Poland in 1495 after only 2 years at peace, an action Maximilian claimed was decidedly un-German, despite the fact that he was involved in a continual stream of wars himself. Nevertheless, Cologne pressed ahead with the campaign against Poland. Though the Polish Army in the fifteenth century was by all accounts both large and scary, it was also safely distant from this particular theater of war that the Archbishop’s troops meant with practically no resistance during their invasion of Polish Germany, and the territories of Bremen and Hannover had been occupied by the Archbishop’s troops by the spring of 1496. A stalemate then developed in the war, with neither side able to reach the other. The Polish King refused all peace offers involving the transfer of land to Cologne, while Cologne refused all Polish efforts to buy their way out of the conflict. The stalemate was finally broken in June of 1496, when in an action remembered in Polish history as simply “The Great Mistake,” Poland elected to enter an alliance with the feckless Duke of Würzburg, who joined Poland’s war on Cologne. In Würzburg, Cologne found an enemy she could beat up on to her heart’s content and by September of 1497, with Hessen occupied, Würzburg under siege, and the Duke’s armies scattered to the winds, the Duke called upon his Polish allies for salvation. For reasons Hermann could scarcely fathom but was intelligent enough not to question, the Poles agreed to part with both Bremen and Hannover so long as the Archbishop promised to leave their clueless allies in Würzburg alone for at least 5 years. Though Hermann was saddened at ordering yet another pull-out from his native Hesse, he had begun to see certain advantages in leaving the province in hands of the incompetent Dukes of Würzburg.
 
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It's growing in due time a nice green blob will cover all of Germany on your screen shots.