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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Peter Ebbesen

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Knights of Opportunity: In Hoc Signo Vinces

The Rules
  • The nation of choice is the Order of the Knights Hospitaller of St. John of Jeusalem
  • EU2 1.06, Very Hard/Furious, using the Superpower Scaled Random Events Mod. If I survive the first hundred years of mayhem, aggression will be lowered to coward to allow the AI to not waste all its time on wars
  • Due to the nature of the challenge (Johan teased me), I will allow myself to use all cavalry armies
  • I will, as usual, use some exploits (knowledge of events, leaders, BB system &etc) while disdaining others (synchronized looting, delaying answering of peace offers, &etc). There is no rational rhyme or rhytm to this
  • I will not play a conservative inflation strategy. If the Grand Master wants money, he mints it. He doesn't sit on his arse secure in the knowledge that it pays off better 40 years down the road if he prevents inflation from rising now
  • I mean it. Any comments about low inflation vs. high inflation will be dealt with swiftly or ignored. I know that a low inflation strategy is objectively the best, but I couldn't care less. Likewise, I will not keep a lot of cash on my hands (unless the Knights grow very rich) but rather take loans when they are needed. Much funnier to play that way
  • New exploits and bugs in 1.06 will be reported as they are found
  • No, I am not going to play a peaceful conservative game, slowly building my forces. He who dares wins, or at the very least gets honourable mention in the books of the fallen
The Goals
  • Survive
  • Thrive
  • Expand beyond the limits of safety
  • Straddle the 34BB border until I have land 41
  • Apply rule one
Comments
  • As I am currently playing/writing the immensely fun (to me at any rate) Persian tales and am also participating in the MGC4 AAR, not to mention burdened by real life commitments, posting will be infrequent. Perhaps once a week, two at the utmost.
  • Begging me to post faster will not help
  • Neither will threatening me with havoc should I not post faster
  • Sacrificing a thousand virgins to my honour might help, but it is frowned upon in these latter days
  • Yes, I know that my approach outlined in the rules is not optimal if you are going for a Knights WC. You don't need to tell me.
  • Likewise, when some of my plans fail (which they probably will), I don't need to hear "I told you so". If I am going to be bullied into playing a rebel-slaughtering game with the Knights Hospitaller, it will be done according to what I find fun, not what you find efficient. And should I fail, I will attempt to fail gloriously :)


But for now, let us be swept up on the wings of time and travel back through the centuries. Let us as disembodied spirits survey the world, even as the angels on high. See the world. Is it not beautiful? Is it not tranquil? From on high the antics of humans do not appear to be such a great part of God's creation.

Upon closer inspection, however... Well, judge for yourself. It is a tiny island, is it not? Destitute, sparsely inhabited, the ruler of the island barely manages to scrape together a reasonable living from the sale of fish. He has stature well beyond his means, by the nature of his calling, but stature is not the same as influence in the world of men, as well he knows.

Does he dream of greater glories? Does he dream of driving the saracen from the holy land? Or is he content with his lot, seeking to expand trade? Does he strive? Does he dream?


The Dream of Grand Master Philibert de Naillac

...It is the fourth day of battle. The dead outnumber the living and the fields are soaked with blood. The attack came without warning, but not unexpected. The Turks are ascendant, and Christendom quails before the might of the heirs of Osman. For three days the outnumbered defenders have held off the forces of the Sublime Porte, but the signs are clear. Barring a miracle the island is lost, and the cream of the Order with her. As the Turks gather for a new assault, they chant the name of their terrible leader, Süleymân I Kanuni. Their archers lay down a devastating barrage of fire and up goes the shields, yet here and there a man falls from the fortifications. Nevertheless, his duty is clear. The island must hold. And yet, it cannot. When duty makes war on practicality, only a strong man keeps faith with God. But the Grand Master is a strong man.

Broken, the scattered remnants of the island's defenders flee the island. For the next decade they will wander the world, beggars without a home, until they are finally granted the island of Malta by the Holy Roman Emperor. But never will they regain their former strength: They are a broken tool of God, worthy servants no longer.


The Grand Master shivers in his sleep

This is what will be. And yet, the sun does still shine over the realms of Christendom, and the joyful bells sing of the love of the Christ

And the Grand Master wakens

But the strength of the knights of the Church is as yet undiminished. Though few in numbers by any standards, none are their equals in battle

And bathed in the early rays of the rising sun he sees the sign of Constantine hanging in the sky, and he hears a loving voice whisper:

In Hoc Signo Vinces



"...When then was the turning point in the hundred years war? Some disreputable historians put it as early as 1405, while others, romantically, perhaps, would credit Joan of Arc. But to the impartial observer one day must mark the turning point. Not as early as 1405. The English were strong, then, and had fully a third of France under their control, and certainly not three decades later. No, the true turning point of the hundred years war was June 1419, when the Knights Hospitaller joined the turmoil of France fighting for the Dauphin.

What caused their entrance on the battlefields of France? History is unclear. It is certain that the Knights Hospitaller refrained from honouring their alliance with Cyprus during that island nation's most incompetent attak on Karamon earlier that year on the direct order of the Grand Master Philibert de Naillac. The early Hospitaller archives have been declassified for nigh on a century, and they are complete. However, as is so often the case, motivation is missing. Was it a petty act of treachery or just the first step in a deviously laid plan? Had the Grand Master already engaged in secret negotiations with the French? Or did he act on a whim, the destiny of nations changed by an act of God?

We will likely never know. But it is certain that the entire fighting strength of the order, nine thousand infantry and three thousand cavalry, well beyond the means of the Order to sustain for a longer period of time, were sent by galley to France and, arriving during the summer of 1420, proceded to invade English Gascogny and Poitou while the French fought the English in the North and Burgundy.

How he must have gnashed his teeth in January 1421, when the news arrived of the armistice between France and England. Wealth and men lost to the English, treasury depleted enough to force the Knights to take a substantial loan, and the sieges nearly complete. Any less headstrong monarch might have decided to cut his losses, but not Philibert de Naillac. Having removed the English from the war at a low price, the French now concentrated on the invasion of Bourgogne and Franché Comte. This opened a window of opportunity for the Knights Hospitaller: The surviving ten thousand men hastened north by northeast towards the Netherlands, and proceded to lay siege. They were soon reinforced by French fresh armies, and within a short time the fortresses had fallen. The terms of the treaty of Bourgogne (June 1422) were better than anything Anton Flavian de Ripa, newly raised Grand Master, could have anticipated. The French, valuing their new allies who had born the brunt of the war against Burgundy, granted the Knights Hospitaller Flandern and Zeeland while taking only Artois for themselves. Thus began a decades-long alliance, that proved its worth many a time, guaranteeing the ultimate failure of English hopes in France. From that point in time, the Knights Hospitaller pledged themselves to defending the North." - Excerpt from : The Hospitalization of France

A friend in need, is a friend in deed
knights_1422_07_25.jpg



And it came to pass that Brittany gathered a great host of men and arrayed them for war, and attacked the weakened France with the aid of Savoy, Münster, Savoy, Friesland, and Oldenburg in early 1426. But they had reckoned without the strength of the allies of France. While the French duchies warred in the South, the armies of the Knights Hospitaller surged north from their new holdings in the Netherlands. Brilliantly avoiding the numerically superior enemy armies, the Knights Hospitaller proceded to lay siege to Oldenburg and Friesen, and, when these principalities had fallen, forced them to acknowledge the Grand Master as their overlord and pay a rich tribute in gold, amounting to the sum of 450 ducats. Victories, the Knights retreated from the field of battle to rebuild their tiny army to the hitherho unheard of peacetime strength of eleven thousand men.

And it is well that they did so. Over the next years, the vassal of Friesland was annexed by France, which was seen as most discourteous, but of more importance was the big famine in Zeeland. Showing a ruthlessness at odds with original precepts of the order, the Grand Master degreed that no relief would be sent, as it was too expensive. A small part must suffer lest the whole be tainted. And suffer they did. One person out of twenty died in the famine, and even more died in the fruitless rebellions spawned by the hunger and the rage of the populace against their heavyhanded rule of the Order of the Hospital. Yet it availed them naught. The rebellions were crushed and the coffers of the Order maintained.

And that was surely to the better. All funds were needed in 1431, when France declared war on England. With France stood Provence, Bourbonnais, Scotland, and the Knights Hospitaller. With England stood Burgundy and Navarra. Under the brilliant command of Hugh Middleton, the armies of the Knights Hospitaller, now maintained at a full strength of seventeen thousand men, were once more first into the breach.

Casualties were monstrous and the mint was working overtime. while most of armies of the Knights besieged the Calais and Caux, a smaller detachment of six thousand cavalry roamed the plains of France, crushing the English Armies that had had evade the might of France. And thus battle raged across the plains of Francia for nigh on three years before England accepted peace. The Knights Hospitaller having been the main contributor to the victory, Charles VII rewarded them lavishly. Too lavishly, many would say, yet the Grand Master saw it as a just reward for the great sacrifices the Order had made.


Charles VII of France secures Calais, Caux, Poitou, and Gascogne for the Knights Hospitaller
knights_1434_03_10_peace.jpg



1434: European provinces 7, Badboy 8, inflation 4% - and rising

...To be continued...
 
Last edited:

unmerged(11633)

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Gah...:eek:

An excellent start Mr Ebbesen. I'm surprised they taunted you to use a minor with French, Italian, Greek and Maltese manpower. Somehow I get the feeling patch 1.06 won't be too much of an impediment.
 
Last edited:

Storey

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Hooray the epic starts. The mighty shall bow before the Knights Hospitaller of St. John of Jeusalem or die. I would like to officially mark the 13th of February 2003 as the start date of this WC contest. Good luck and may the best man or computer win.:D

Joe
 

stnylan

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Trust the Professor

The Professor is your friend :) :) :)

Good to see you in the WC saddle once more, but really, you should not be so thin-skinned ;)
 

unmerged(6159)

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I vote one month, because I don't think there is any way he can keep to his "I don't like to stomp on rebels" pledge for longer than a week.

Well I'm pretty proud that I came awfully close with my original prediction.

High inflation. I love it!
 

Lucius Sulla

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Good luck!

I wish you the best luck in your enterprise!

And I did vote for you to achieve WC before christmass. Very difficult but still doable by the professor ;), I am sure of it. And of course, not only you will achieve it, but make a very fine AAR in the way. After all, the knights are some of the best AARables countries, at least from my point of view.
 

J. Passepartout

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Yahahahahahaha. Yes!

I have one complaint. You have a recently acquired tendency to make your AAR posts wider than my screen, so I have to scroll back and forth.
 

unmerged(6159)

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It's the screen shots.
 

Peter Ebbesen

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Originally posted by J. Passeportout
Yahahahahahaha. Yes!

I have one complaint. You have a recently acquired tendency to make your AAR posts wider than my screen, so I have to scroll back and forth.
My images are 800x600. Given the added size of the left and right margins of a post, that means that my posts are wider than your screen if, and only if, you use a screen size smaller than 1024x768.
The only possible excuses for running a smaller resolution than 1024x768 are a) A 15" or smaller screen, b) A laptop (there is some overlap in the categories). I'm betting on b)
 

J. Passepartout

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I don't have a laptop, and my screen is rather larger than 15", so I geuss it got set to something too small and no one changed it.
 

metroncho

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Excellent!! :D

Inflation doesn´t matter , only the Glory of God. And God usually provides his loyals with good events :D
 

unmerged(10945)

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Ah, fantastic! Johan taunted you well. :D

I love how you play a crusader state and immediately claw out portions of Western Europe. I absoultely love it!
 

Syt

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Hm, this oughta be interesting. *grabs popcorn* :)
 

Norgesvenn

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Wow!

The Knights + Peter. Now that is an interesting approach. I do, however, feel that fighting your fellow Christians is wrong. Well, they might be All-Bigglesians? :D

Good luck! I'm quite sure you do not need luck, but still... :)