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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

NACBEAST

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titlecard.png


Table of Contents


Charles VII de Valois (1422-1466)


Louis XI de Valois (1466- )

Chapter 6: The Prudent
Chapter 7: The Burgundian Wars​


___________________________​


To say that I've had trouble completing AARs I've started in the past is to be rather kind with my track record. Whether because of university or real life concern I've put off my previous two aars for several months. Upon finding that my interest in completing them had returned (as well as the time to do so) I found that none of the old files remained, not one picture or save game.

I decided to try and start fresh, and begin (and hopefully finish) a new AAR. Anyone who's recently been reading Chris Taylor's magnificent AAR Porta Atlanticum, Portus Classis will have probably seen me, as of late, dropping my two cents into his work. As such, it should come as no surprise that, in order to better my own manner of AAR crafting, that I should take notes (and stylistic choices) from the good man's good work. Of course, credit also goes out to axzhang's Repubblica di Genova, an amazingly crafted AAR that serves as the root for this style of AAR.

Of course, I am neither the artist that axzhang or Chris Taylor are, nor do I have the tools that they must have to craft such truly impressive graphics or images. I shall attempt to do my best with what I have, although if any of you have any suggestions for (preferably free) programs that would help with graphics, I would be deeply indebted to you.

The mods I'm using are the MMU 1.26 mod, alongside the superb Firenze Submod. Others might be included as I become more confident that I won't utterly ruin the program while trying to mod things in for 'flavor'. :D

And now about the elephant in the room: my country of choice, France, the infamous BBB. MMU, in my opinion, makes playing the game as France quite a bit more difficult if you have any aspirations of growth beyond the borders of France, its vassals and its starting cores, which made for an interesting pick.

Also, while I'm not a newbie, I'm not the greatest when it comes to Magna Mundi. So France, being powerful but also restrained by its position, seemed like a good choice when it would come to playing the game.

Some will say that I chose this simply to contrast with Chris Taylor's AAR. I will flat out state that this is not true. (Although I do encourage Chris to weep openly if/when France sends the Royal Navy to the bottom of the sea).

As for goals, I'll be trying to go for the state of France during the First French Colonial Empire. However, I'll be keeping my mind open for opportunities that would arise elsewhere (both with colonies and with Europe) as France had quite a few goals that weren't met (or, were met and soon enough lost).

Finally, a quick thanks to the Magna Mundi team. I've been playing with this mod for years now, and I must say that I have greatly enjoyed it and that it has enriched my experience with this game.
 
Last edited:

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I can enjoy a France AAR as much as the next guy. Even though it will undoubtedly lead to things that will make my inner Plantagenet weep. ;)

Good luck and vive le Roi !
 

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_________________________
Prologue:
The Early Life of Charles VII

_________________________

Yolandadearagon.jpg

The young Dauphin Charles accompanied by Yolande of Aragon

To say that the early years of Charles VII were turbulent would be a tragic understatement. Long before becoming the King of France himself, Charles would witness one of the darkest times his kingdom would ever witness. Indeed, Charles' crown, his kingdom and even his life would have been lost to him if only some events had not turned out the way they had.

Born February 22nd, 1403, Charles was the fifth child to his regal father Charles VI, King of France, and Isabella of Bavaria-Ingolstadt. His four elder brothers; Charles, Charles Louis and John each held the title of Dauphin of France, the heir apparent to the throne, at one point in time before passing onto the after life heirless. While a tragedy for the family, the deaths of his older brothers left Charles with a large number of titles, alongside the position as heir to his father's throne.

Of course with this position would come young Charles exposure to the (already) decades old conflict between England and France that was The Hundred Years War. Soon after coming of age, Charles would find himself repeatedly rolled over by one setback after another.

Almost immediately after his accession to the title of Dauphin, Charles was forced to face the threat to his inheritance, being constrained to flee Paris in May 1418 after the soldiers of John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy attempted to capture the city. In the following year, Charles attempted to make a reconciliation between himself and the Duke, meeting him on a bridge at Pouilly, near Melun, in July 1419.

This proving insufficient, the two met again on 10 September 1419, on the bridge at Montereau. The Duke, despite previous history, proved over-trusting in his young cousin, assuming the meeting to be entirely peaceful and diplomatic, and bringing with him only a small escort; the Dauphin's men reacted to the Duke's arrival, however, by setting upon him and killing him.

Charles's level of involvement remained questionable ever afterward: although he claimed to have been unaware of his men's intentions, it was considered unlikely by those who heard of the murder, and furthered the feud between the family of Charles VI and the Dukes of Burgundy. Charles himself was later required by treaty with Philip the Good, John's son, to pay penance for the murder, but he never did so.

Nonetheless, it is claimed, the event left him with a lifelong phobia of bridges.

466px-Assassination_of_the_Duke_of_Burgundy_John_the_Fearless.png

The Assassination of John the Fearless would set up for the long standing tension between the Duchy of Burgundy and the Kingdom of France

________________________​

Despite an apparent new-found fear of bridges, Charles was noted for his bravery and style of leadership in his adolescent: after becoming Dauphin, he led an army against the English, dressed in the red, white and blue that represented France; his heraldic device was a mailed fist clutching a naked sword. However, two events in 1421 broke his confidence: he was forced, to his great shame, to withdraw from battle against Henry V of England; and his parents then repudiated him as the legitimate heir to the throne, claiming that he was the product of one of his mother's extramarital affairs (for which she was notorious). Humiliated, and in fear of his life, the Dauphin fled to the protection of Yolande of Aragon, the so-called Queen of the Four Kingdoms, in southern France, where he was protected by the forceful and proud Queen Yolande, and married her daughter, Marie.

Despite Charles safety in the presence of the Queen Yolande, the situation in France was ever deteriorating for those loyal to the young Dauphin. Upon the death of Charles VI, the succession of the nation was thrown into great question. If Charles, as his parents claimed, was not a legitimate heir to the throne, then the Kingdom of France would be passed to the Duke of Orleans, a man currently in English captivity.

Thus, this left the Kingdom with Henry VI, of England, whom had been mandated in the Treaty of Troyes, signed by Charles VI in 1420, to be made France's heir apparent. Although many loyalists would call foul on such a move, they had little leverage. Despite the death of Henry V, England still held onto much of northern France, including Reims, the traditional location in which the Kings of France were crowned, and Paris.

Even if the nobility of France had the force to, which after disastrous defeats at the hands of Henry V and at the dreadfully remembered battle at Agincourt it could be questioned if they did, with England in control of northern France they could press their will. Even as Charles claimed the throne of France for himself, he never attempted to cast the English out of France. Repeated defeats, demoralizing events and indecision kept Charles south of the Loire Valley.

It seemed as though that all it would take would be for the Duke of Bedford, Henry VI's uncle and regent in France, to secure the entirety of France for England would be to complete the control of northern France and then roll over Charles in southern France.

However, not everything was as it seemed. In 1429 Charles would meet a young woman who would guide Charles through a series of victories that would see him crowned King of France and that would turn the tide of the war.

_________________________

447px-Ingres_coronation_charles_vii.jpg

Jeanne d'Arc (Joan of Arc) at the Coronation of Charles VII

In the little village of Domrémy, on the border between Lorraine and Champagne, a teenage girl named Jeanne d'Arc, believing she had been given a divine mission after apparently hearing the voices of angels, demanded of the Duke of Lorraine the soldiers and resources necessary to bring her to Chinon, and the Dauphin. Granted an escort of five veteran soldiers and a letter of referral to Charles by the governor of Vaucouleurs, Robert Baudricourt, Jeanne rode to Chinon, where Charles was in residence, arriving there on 10 March 1429.

What followed next would later pass into Legend and French Catholic lore.

When Jeanne arrived at Chinon, Charles—testing Jeanne's claim to recognize him despite having never seen him—disguised himself as one of his courtiers, and stood in their midst when Jeanne (who was herself dressed in men's clothing) entered the chamber. Jeanne, immediately identifying him, bowed low to him and embraced his knees, declaring "God give you a happy life, sweet King!" Despite attempts to claim that another man was in fact the King, Charles was eventually forced to admit that he was indeed such.

After a private conversation between the two (during which, Charles later stated Jeanne knew secrets about him that he had voiced only in silent prayer to God) Charles became inspired, and filled with confidence. Thereafter, he became secure in his intention to claim his inheritance by traveling to Reims. Jeanne d'Arc then set about leading the French forces at Orléans, forcing the English to lift the siege and thus turning the tide of the war.

Jeanne managed this feat by twisting the direction of the French armed forces. After being (reluctantly) granted co-control of one of France's armies, Jeanne led an offensive attack in Orléans, whereas previous French tactics had the army attempting to hold defensive positions against the English armed forces (which, when viewed through the spectrum of history, were as much a part of the reason for France's losses as the English use of the longbow).

After the French won the Battle of Patay, Jeanne and Charles were able to march through the English-held territory to Reims (while the English had mistakenly assumed an offensive was approaching in the direction of Paris). Charles was crowned King Charles VII of France on 17 July 1429, in Reims Cathedral as the de jure king.

425px-Trait%C3%A9_de_Troyes.svg.png

A map showing English, French and Burgundian territories in 1429, detailed in it are the English invasions in northern France in 1415, the trail Jeanne traveled to Chinon and the eventual war path that lead Jeanne and Charles to Reims

Jeanne, however, would not survive to see the eventual removal of the English from her home country. After a minor action at La-Charité-sur-Loire in November and December, Jeanne traveled to Compiègne the following April to help defend the city against an English and Burgundian siege. A skirmish on 23 May 1430 led to her capture, when her force attempted to attack the Burgundian's camp at Margny. When she ordered a retreat into the nearby fortifications of Compeigne after the advance of an additional force of 6,000 Burgundians, she assumed the place of honor as the last to leave the field. Burgundians surrounded the rear guard, and she was unhorsed by an archer and initially refused to surrender.

She attempted several escapes, on one occasion jumping from her 70 foot (21 m) tower in Vermandois to the soft earth of a dry moat, after which she was moved to the Burgundian town of Arras. The English government eventually purchased her from Duke Philip of Burgundy. Bishop Pierre Cauchon of Beauvais, an English partisan, assumed a prominent role in these negotiations and her later trial.

The trial for heresy was politically motivated. The Duke of Bedford claimed the throne of France on behalf of his nephew Henry VI. Jeanne had been responsible for the rival coronation, hence condemning her was an attempt to undermine her king's legitimacy. Legal proceedings commenced on 9 January 1431 at Rouen, the seat of the English occupation government. The procedure was irregular on a number of points.

Several court functionaries later testified that significant portions of the transcript were altered in her disfavor. Many clerics served under compulsion, including the inquisitor, Jean LeMaitre, and a few even received death threats from the English. Under Inquisitorial guidelines, Jeanne should have been confined to an ecclesiastical prison under the supervision of female guards (i.e., nuns). Instead, the English kept her in a secular prison guarded by their own soldiers. Bishop Cauchon denied Jeanne's appeals to the Council of Basel and the pope, which should have stopped his proceeding.

The twelve articles of accusation that summarize the court's finding contradict the already doctored court record. The illiterate defendant signed an abjuration document she did not understand under threat of immediate execution. The court substituted a different abjuration in the official record.

At the trial in 1431 she was condemned and sentenced to die.

Eyewitnesses described the scene of the execution by burning on 30 May 1431. Tied to a tall pillar in the Vieux-Marché in Rouen, she asked two of the clergy, Fr Martin Ladvenu and Fr Isambart de la Pierre, to hold a crucifix before her. A peasant also constructed a small cross which she put in the front of her dress. After she expired, the English raked back the coals to expose her charred body so that no one could claim she had escaped alive, then burned the body twice more to reduce it to ashes and prevent any collection of relics. They cast her remains into the Seine. The executioner, Geoffroy Therage, later stated that he "...greatly feared to be damned."

419px-Stilke_Hermann_Anton_-_Joan_of_Arc%27s_Death_at_the_Stake.jpg

The Execution of Jeanne d'Arc

_________________________​

Conspicuously missing from attempts to rescue or return Jeanne to French hands was Charles VII who, by all accounts, owed his renewed confidence, the war and his crown to Jeanne. Although it cannot be stated with unerring certainty, there seemed to be a long-term series of calculations on the side of the French as it concerned Burgundy, with Jeanne d'Arc seemingly only the start of it.

The fruit of these calculations was the Treaty of Arras. During the original Congress, which the English had viewed initially as a peace settlement between France and England, the French delegates and clergymen would attempt to convince Phillip III, Duke of Burgundy, to reconcile with Charles VII (the latter being complicit in the murder of the former's father).

The resulting Treaty of Arras reconciled the longstanding feud between King Charles VII of France and Duke Philip of Burgundy. Philip recognized Charles VII as king of France and, in return, Philip was exempted from homage to the crown and Charles agreed to punish the murderers of Philip's father John of Burgundy.

With this event, Charles attained the goal that was essential: that no prince of the blood recognised Henry VI as King of France.

Over the following two decades, the French recaptured Paris from the English and a great deal of other territories. Enclosing in on the year 1453, France was poised to knock England out of the mainland, forever.
 

NACBEAST

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Sweet. Another MMU/Firenze AAR. Love it.

Well, in my opinion, the MM mods make for some of the best history book styled AARs. Love 'em, so I'm in agreement with you.

Just one word: Blob! :D

Oh, I can't help but shudder at that word. Nearly impossible for any nation in any Magna Mundi mod. I'll keep your advice in mind though.

I can enjoy a France AAR as much as the next guy. Even though it will undoubtedly lead to things that will make my inner Plantagenet weep. ;)

Good luck and vive le Roi !

Indeed, vive le Roi. I'm actually very pleased to see you comment here. Hopefully I'll be able to tickle your interest from here on out, while making your inner Plantagenet weep!


Everyone: Now then, I know the first update wasn't an ahistorical gameplay update and that most of the information here could also probably be gotten out of any research book or website, but really I liked the idea of introducing the first king of this aar more completely (even if he wouldn't live for too long). Charles VII, even if short lived from a 1453 starting point, was a gravely important King of France. He created the Compagnies d'ordonnance and launched the first standing army for a dynastic state in the Western world. He brought France back from the brink during the war, and would eventually push England out of what was traditionally considered to be core French territory in the day.

His life, also, was a very interesting tale in my opinion. One worth telling. I'll get the first gameplay update out tomorrow. We've already got something interesting outside of France happening in Europe, in the first two years of the game.
 

Milites

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I have subscribed to this AAR with the intensity of a thousand burning suns. Vive le roi et vive la France!

The Assassination of John the Fearless would set up for the long standing tension between the Duchy of Burgundy and the Kingdom of France

If the illustration is anything to go by, he didn't quite live up to his nick-name in the very last moments of his life.
 

Chris Taylor

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Good overview of the reign of Charles VII, and nice artwork selection too. I look forward to the first gameplay post!

If the illustration is anything to go by, he didn't quite live up to his nick-name in the very last moments of his life.
:rofl:
Bahaha. You are a bad, bad man for making me laugh out loud at the murder of the poor duke!
 

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Very good start! Will be looking intently at this. :)
 

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Looking forward, as always, to what will hopefully be yet another splendid MMU AAR. After coming into contact with this accursed mod, I cannot abide reading about the 'vanilla' gameplay, much less play it myself, so it's always a joy to see something like this. Might even be starting my own, soon-ish, so I hope you don't mind if I take notes.
 

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_________________________
Chapter 1:
The Victorious

_________________________

Charles_VII_by_Jean_Fouquet_1445_1450.jpg

Charles VII of France


In the months following May 29th, 1453 Charles VII was finding himself in the midst of a fight that, while easily won, would take years to win. The English, aside from their tiny continental possession, were utterly isolated on in their islands, their massive navy easily protecting them from the threat of french invasion. Charles assumed, correctly so, that even if he captured and held the port of Calais and the last English holdings in Gascogne, that the English would not surrender their territories in a proper treaty, believing they could blockade France into submission.

Charles VII was in the tricky situation of this strategy possibly paying dividends to the English.

Advisersandtreasury.jpg

The Hundred Years War, having almost entirely been fought in French territories, has greatly constricted the French economy.

Even with new advisers aimed at helping to move the war effort forward, decrease its cost and help manage the budget, Charles was having a difficult time wrangling the amount of spending in order to avoid the need to take out loans. As such, the size of the French armed forces, numbering 35,000 in May, were quickly reduced to 25,000 (which would be further reduced to 20,000 after the capture of Gascogne).

This cut in the military still kept France's armed forces in a good range to crush the limited English presence on France, although it would only stall France's budgetary issues. Until France could get the English to stop blockading their ports, or find a way to stop intermittent English raids on French terrain, the economy would remain stagnant. These money problems would be so traumatic that France would barely be able to keep up its own war effort, let alone that of its vassal states.

unabletohelpvassals.png

The vassal's economic troubles, while not stopping them from greatly contributing to the war effort, would lead Charles VII and his successors to curb the influence of the more powerful members of the nobility and centralize power for the King

Still, France's money problems, while indeed severe, were not entirely without their bright spots. Although taxes and other forms of income for the state were lacking thanks to the war effort, the government was perfectly capable of handling the retrieval of these taxes and of implementing to the laws of the land.

Additionally, King Charles was given a boon that had done as much to damage the financial situation of France's various higher nobles as it did help the King of France. The War Council of the Second Estate (a body entirely comprised of the nobility, including that of the Duchies and Counts loyal to France) authorized that portions of the reserves and taxes of the realms should be granted to the King of France.

governmentandwarcouncil.jpg

France's bureaucracy didn't have a lot to work with, but it was effective at handling what it had.

Policiesandsliderchange.jpg

Additionally, King Charles brought more power into the crown, had earlier established the Compagnies d'Ordonnance and gave assistance to France's more populated centers in order to make the army, bureaucracy and economy more effective and efficient.

_________________________

contestantsoftheFrench-basedwars-1.png

Diplomatic situation for/around France in 1453.

Soon after beginning to move the, much reduced, armies into position to finish off the English in the Hundred Years War, Charles VII went to work organizing a deal with Duke Philippe III of Burgundy. In the hopes of securing Burgundy's assistance in the war, Charles promised the good Duke the port city of Calais and surrounding territories, to be secured only when France had obtained Gascogne and only if Burgundy stayed in the war as long as the French had.

Philippe III was not as excited about this prospect as Charles VII appeared to be. Philippe, while indeed looking to extend his influence in the lowlands to strengthen Burgundy, knew that war with England would be a very costly game. Burgundy would garner nothing from gaining Calais if the English destroyed their ports. Thus, while giving Charles VII permission to move through his territories to get to Calais, he would not declared war on England.

It was a position that he would take to his grave on November 1st, 1453.

Immediately after the death of Philippe III (given the title 'The Good', posthumously), Charles I, his son, was crowned Duke of Burgundy. While Charles was indeed the military man his father was, the younger Duke was far from being the level-headed diplomat or great administrator his father was. Fostering dreams of a new Kingdom of Burgundy, Charles saw the possible acquisition of Calais as the first step towards securing the position in the lowlands, increasing Burgundy's prestige and allowing them to challenge the Emperor for a kingly crown.

Thus in November, several months after France would begin efforts to secure Calais, Burgundy would enter the war, bringing with it the Duchy of Brittany which had, in July of 1453, signed a separate peace with England.


398px-Charles_the_Bold_1460.jpg

Charles I of Burgundy

_________________________​

Although Burgundy's support would only come several months after first asked for, Charles felt much more comfortable with fighting the English on their terms, even if Burgundy would only, at the time, allow their troops access to their supply lines. The various Dukes and Counts of the land would ensure that the Kingdom would be safe from English armies, while Burgundy, once entered into the war, with its desire for Calais, would ensure that Calais, once secured, would not fall to the English.

Securing Calais and Gascogne could now be the first priority of the French government. Immediately after the army reorganization and cut in June, Jean Bureau was sent with 4,000 knights and 11,000 men at arms and archers to secure Gascogne from the English. However, the English army that was based in Gascogne, at the time led by King Henry VI of England himself, had made a move to try and topple Armagnac by securing the city of Bayonne, almost immediately destroying the army sent out by Count Jean V, leaving Bayonne with only a scant 2,000 men to defend them against the invading English forces of 4,000 knights and 10,000 longbow wielding archers and men at arms.

Jean Bureau redirected his army to relieve the Armagnac stronghold, but in doing so set a clever trap for the English. Arriving before Jean Bureau and soon after the English left, various armies of France's vassals had congregated in Gascogne, with the intent being to secure the province in the name of France. When Jean Bureau would engage the English forces on the outskirts of Bayonne, a battle he would win, he would direct King Henry VI and his forces back towards Bordeaux in Gascogne. A city that would have, by the time Henry would arrive, fallen to the vassal forces. With the combined might of their armies and the local town militia and garrison, the English forces would be totally routed, with thousands of men captured.

Upon the destruction of the main English army in France, Charles would order that 1,000 knights and 4,000 soldiers be removed from Master Gunner Bureau's army and sent to the Dauphin to bring the region back under his control before disbanding them. Dauphin Louis, Charles' son, had been treating the region as his own personal kingdom, all the while not paying mind to any of his father's summons to court. When the armies arrived Louis fled from France to Burgundy, where Philippe III would take him in, frustrated Charles.

Despite the jubilation of capturing the last held region in Gascogne held by the English, Charles final falling out with his son would sour his mood. The unfortunate occurrence ensured that father and son would never see each other again.

EnglishlossofGascogne.png

Despite issues with the Dauphin, the Gascogne offensive could not have gone better in the minds of the French military. Henry VI escaped, just barely, from the rout, riding a small ship out to sea before being intercepted by the English Royal Navy

_________________________​

At the same time, a similar offensive was taking place in the north in an attempt to gain control over Calais. Recently appointed to served as the Marshall of France, Jean Poten de Xaintrailles was put at the head of a 10,000 man strong army (3,000 knights, 7,000 various soldiers) and was told to march to Calais. Having been a driving force in the reconquest of Normandie from the English, it was believed by Charles that Xaintrailles would be the man best suited to take the coastal areas around Calais, though less vast than those of Normandie.

To the surprise of Xaintrailles, he found the surrounding area near Calais to be empty of soliders, with only the local garrison and militia hiding behind the city's walls for protection. Xaintrailles set down for a siege, knowing that the rest of the region could be easily captured if Calais would fall.

In mid-November Xaintrailles got word that an English army, lead by Richard Neville, had set down some odd miles of Calais. Almost entirely composed of longbowmen, it seemed that it was the English intent to surprise the camping French army during it siege. Having served as a chief Lieutenant of Jeanne d'Arc, Xaintrailles had learned the advantage of taking the fight to the English. Leaving some men at arms behind to continue the siege, Xaintrailles took the rest of his army and marched for the English position.

They found the longbowman several days out from the coast, approaching the city of Calais on foot. The English only numbered in the few thousand, obviously hoping for a similar victory to occur in Calais as had occurred in Agincourt.

Richard Neville found that, even without Jeanne d'Arc, the French were still capable of driving the English back into the sea.

In a series of two battles Xaintrailles routed the English, first forcing Richard Neville to retreat to the coast. Richard, hoping for the Royal Navy to assist he and his men, found that the Navy had moved on, nowhere in sight to pick up the retreating army. When the French arrived only a few hundred men bothered to try and fight off the French, inflicting minor casualties. Richard Neville surrendered to Xaintrailles, effectively destroying the last up and running English Army at the time, and allowing the French to take Calais in mid-January of next year.

EnglishlossofCalais.png

Xaintrailles_and_La_Hire2.jpg

The Battles of Calais, the fall of the city and a portrait of Xaintrailles with Étienne de Vignolles, more commonly known as La Hire, a common companion of Xentrailles before his death in 1443

__________________________​

With Calais and Gascogne secured, Charles was very well ready to just sit back and wait out the English, knowing that soon enough the regions would be rid of the last bit of Anglo-influence and would formally recognize Charles as their rightful King. However, a large contingent of noblemen and merchants, seeing their lands either raided by small English bands of soldiers transported across the Channel, or having their ships seized by English blockades, wanted Charles to push the envelope and attempt to either blockade a series of English ports or, at least, invade English held Ireland in the hopes that it would force Henry's hand (or, at least, his regency's, as Henry had already begun to show signs of losing his mind after the tremendous defeats in Gascogne and Armagnac lands).

Charles knew that such a move was fool-hardy at best, the English Royal Navy severely outclassing France's and stood magnitudes larger. It would crush France's navy if it got the chance, leaving the French little to no way of defending its coasts from even the most simple of threats for decades. Still, Charles saw that an extended wait would only leave France in a worst state than it was at the beginning of the Gascogne and Calais offensives. Perhaps a gamble was indeed in order.

Caution and patience, as Charles later learned, would have been proved to be the wiser choice to make. As the ships left the ports of Normandie, attempting to blockade English ports on the Channel and try to size up the English military presence on the home island, was quickly intercepted by the British Royal Navy. Days of fighting and pursuit later, the French quickly returned to port in Normandie, much worse for wear and reduced from its already meager size.

Navalloss.png

Although the losses of the Lys and Furieuse were a great blow to already weak French naval strength, it was seen as fortunate that the entire navy wasn't lost.

_________________________

France1455.png

Diplomacy in/around France in 1455. Charles would spread the members of the Valois family to different parts of Europe to secure friendships with useful states and to reintroduce Valois blood into regions of interest to France.

After the failed attempt to invade the coasts of England, Charles was now more firm in his conviction to just have France sit and wait for Bordeaux and Calais to capitulate to his (and Charles of Burgundy's) wishes. It would take several years of diplomacy and spy work in order to accomplish this task, but Charles knew that this was the way it had to be done.

Aside from a loan that the crown had to take up in 1455 in order to cover the cost of his attempts to win over Bordeaux and Calais, Charles, by and large, was right.

Although Burgundy would sign a separate white peace with England in 1457, with Charles 'The Bold' finding that his father's judgment had been quite right (and with goals elsewhere in the lowlands), it only allowed Charles to shrug his shoulders and eventually claim Calais for himself. Although the English would launch numerous attempts to reclaim Gascogne or Calais, none would be successful and all would only drain the English will to fight. Eventually, Calais and Bordeaux capitulated to Charles demand, forsaking Henry as their king and aligning themselves with France (both in early 1460). Despite English complaints, the rest of Europe didn't raise a peep over France's annexation over these two territories.

Eventually, the English signed a peace with France on the grounds that the kingdom would cancel its deal for military access with Burgundy. France agreed, but then quickly resigned similar agreements months later, which the English could do nothing about except quietly curse the 'impudence of the false King of France'.

Indeed, rather than go out with a bang, the English went out quietly cursing in the Hundred Years War. France had finally removed all traces of England from the continent, taken back the Bordeaux and increased their relevance in Flanders all in a single stroke of a pen, rather than the firing of a cannon.

However, it should be noted that, though these events were certainly celebrated in France, they were not on the forefront of the French conscience. England had become little more than a pest nibbling on the back of France, allowing the French to turn their gaze elsewhere in Europe.

Charles would indeed gain the title 'The Victorious' from his victory over England. However, the storm he saw rising just south of France's border would also greatly contribute to the namesake.

_________________________

90px-Arms_of_the_Kingdom_of_France_%28Ancien%29.svg.png

France c. 1455

Charles VII de Valois (ADM 7/DIP 5/MIL 7)
By the Grace of God, King of France and Dauphin of Viennois (in absence of Louis de Valois)

Dynastic Links:

~ Orléans (Duke Charles I de Valois)
~ Provence (Duke Charles VI de Valois) (Regency)
~ Lorraine (Duke Jean II de Valois)

Treasury: 174 million ducats
GDP (estimated): 358 million ducats
Domestic CoTs: Paris 113.6

Army: 6,000 Knights (Armored Knights), 14,000 Men at Arms
Reserves (potential levies): 43,093
Navy: 5 Carracks, 2 Pinnaces, 2 Gallies, 5 Cogs
Discipline: 116.80%
Tradition: 21.30% Navy: 0.00%

Prestige: Ninety-eighth (-4.20)
Reputation: Honorable (0.00)
Legitimacy: 100
 
Last edited:

NACBEAST

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I have subscribed to this AAR with the intensity of a thousand burning suns. Vive le roi et vive la France!



If the illustration is anything to go by, he didn't quite live up to his nick-name in the very last moments of his life.

Wow, thank you very much. I hope that this recent post will help keep that intensity alive. Also, yes, poor John. Although, I don't think 'John The Fearless up until the point when he was about to be assassinated in which he was very much afraid' is a title that rolls off the tongue so well :rofl:

Good overview of the reign of Charles VII, and nice artwork selection too. I look forward to the first gameplay post!


:rofl:
Bahaha. You are a bad, bad man for making me laugh out loud at the murder of the poor duke!

Here's hoping I didn't disappoint.

Very good start! Will be looking intently at this. :)

Much appreciated, thank you.

Looking forward, as always, to what will hopefully be yet another splendid MMU AAR. After coming into contact with this accursed mod, I cannot abide reading about the 'vanilla' gameplay, much less play it myself, so it's always a joy to see something like this. Might even be starting my own, soon-ish, so I hope you don't mind if I take notes.

I think that's true for just about anyone who has ever played a Magna Mundi mod. Also, good luck on your own AAR, although I would advise you to take more notes from Chris Taylor than myself.
 

Chris Taylor

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Well, this is where the inner Plantagenet weeps for what once was.

But on the upside, I don't think you could ask for a better start. No vassals split from the herd; Calais and Gascony taken via long wait; the fleet largely intact. The Battle of the Straits of Dover wasn't a technical win, but it's about the best outcome under the circumstances. Losing two ships is a "teachable moment", and beats the hell out of losing say, a third to a half of the navy.
 

unmerged(90806)

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I enjoyed reading this. It's rather standard opening for France, with this interesting twist of disbanding a large portion of your army to cut costs - sth I always loathe to do. :)

You hint the Douphine is going to be some trouble for his father; I wonder what the details of the conflict are.

The vassals may desert you in MM, you surely know this. Going centralised and ignoring their pleas for help may speed the process up. Of course you might be planning to let other powers first gobble them up and 'release' (that is incorporate to the crown) them later. You'll have nice cbs and it's cheaper in bb points.

Of course I expect you to respect His Holiness's rights to Avignon. :D
 

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Kick ass! This is the perfect counterweight to Porta Atlanticum Portus Classis. Great to see things from the other side of the channel.
 

NACBEAST

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Another MMU AAR! This looks great NACBEAST, look forward to an update.

Heh, working on the next one as we speak. Got the custom maps done, now I just have to work with the gameplay images. Needless to say, 1453-1458 was a very, very interesting time period, even (or, in a sense, especially aside from the Hundred Years War).

Well, this is where the inner Plantagenet weeps for what once was.

But on the upside, I don't think you could ask for a better start. No vassals split from the herd; Calais and Gascony taken via long wait; the fleet largely intact. The Battle of the Straits of Dover wasn't a technical win, but it's about the best outcome under the circumstances. Losing two ships is a "teachable moment", and beats the hell out of losing say, a third to a half of the navy.

Yes, the tears of your inner Plantagenet sustain me. Mmmmmmm...

Anyway, one thing that could've made this just a tiny bit better would've been if Scotland bothered to run interference for us. But the Scots proved themselves rather useless during the Hundred Years War (no surprise there). After the Hundred Years War it's usually a good move to cut Scotland loose (especially if you're France), as we'll cover in the next update.

I enjoyed reading this. It's rather standard opening for France, with this interesting twist of disbanding a large portion of your army to cut costs - sth I always loathe to do. :)

You hint the Douphine is going to be some trouble for his father; I wonder what the details of the conflict are.

The vassals may desert you in MM, you surely know this. Going centralised and ignoring their pleas for help may speed the process up. Of course you might be planning to let other powers first gobble them up and 'release' (that is incorporate to the crown) them later. You'll have nice cbs and it's cheaper in bb points.

Of course I expect you to respect His Holiness's rights to Avignon. :D

Eh, it's none too different than England's need to cut some ships from the Royal Navy. The fact of the matter is that the army was far larger than I needed it to be (also, bigger than I could afford).

Funny thing about Louis is that he's a historical figure in all this. He might've fled to Burgundy a couple years earlier in this timeline than in the OTL, but by and large his background will be based off of his historical counterpart (more on Louis when Charles kicks the bucket).

On the vassals, I'm not quite so gamey. Besides, say a vassal like Armagnac split and England used its core to pick it off. I'd rather not take the risk of going through 'another' Hundred Years War for Armagnac.

Also, so long as the Pope gives the Kings of France good reason for him to have that territory, we'll be just fine :D

Kick ass! This is the perfect counterweight to Porta Atlanticum Portus Classis. Great to see things from the other side of the channel.

Glad you approve. Although this isn't the 'perfect' counterweight to Porta Atlanticum Portus Classis. For that I'd need more of Chris Taylor's writing ability, and his skill with graphics.

I'm subscribing to this

This is an awesome EU3 AAR, and I would like to see what would happen with the Dauphin d'Viennois

Thank you, and the Dauphin d'Viennois, for now, is technically Charles VII (lots of history behind Dauphine, will probably get into it when Louis ascends to the throne). Louis will make a quick appearance in 1463, and then we'll likely won't hear from him again till he's King of France.

Alright then, I'll be working on the update so... hmmm, expect the next update sometime within the next two days.
 

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An ominous end to an otherwise victorious (hehehe) chapter. After you've cut away the Auld Alliance, who'd be the next ally? You need some continental backing if you're going to retake the land between Picardie and Calais.
 

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Chapter 2:
The Oncoming Storm

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After the end of the Calais offensive and the woefully unsuccessful attempt at scouting out a naval invasion of England, Charles VII found that France in 1454 was in a position it had not found itself in for decades: not requiring further military action against England. Although the blockades would continue, England would be repeatedly pushed from attempts to take Calais by the Burgundians, while Charles' many vassals would ensure that landings in Normandie or near Bordeaux would be idle flights of fancy that would cost the English thousands of lives at a time. This meant that, for once, Charles' sole focus no longer had to be war against England. After all, the war was all but won.

Matters if the church, the state and of foreign policy could now be attended to. What's more, even if the economy was rather anemic in it's growth, it was still growing. Combined with the cut in the size of the army and a larger degree of stability returned to France, the treasury was finally not on the brink of bankruptcy. So, not only did Charles have the freedom to handle other happenings in France and Europe, he had the money to do so as well. Charles first matter was an affair that had captured the attention of many a French Catholic, one that he'd been largely leaving to the side for the past couple decades.

The retrial of Jeanne d'Arc.

In 1452, at his own behest and at the request of Jeanne's mother, Isabelle Romée, the Inquisitor-General of France, Jean Bréhal, had begun an investigation into the trial of Jeanne d'Arc, in an attempt to get her a retrial that would, hopefully, rehabilitate her name in the eyes of the Catholic church. Initially, Charles was not too involved with the push for a retrial. Although it can't be sure if these two were connected, but at the same time Jean had begun investigating for the mistrial, Charles had begun trying to drag Burgundy into a war with England. With Burgundy's place as those whom captured Jeanne d'Arc, it wasn't inconceivable to think that the possibility of being declared heretics for assisting the English in a retrial would make the Dukes of Burgundy rather unhappy with the French.

However, now that Charles had Burgundy where he wanted it, a series of reforms seemingly aimed as pressing the Papacy into allowing a retrial began to take shape. The Suffragan Bishop act made it so that diocesan (otherwise known as suffragan) bishops in France could appoint auxiliary bishops in order to assist them, increasing the number of clergymen amidst the French Catholic Church. Such a move made it easier to send many clergymen to the College of Cardinals, allowing France to increase its influence. At the same time these auxiliary bishops could help diocesan and metropolitan bishops in quelling the populace.

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The retrial efforts would be difficult, as Burgundy and England had a great deal of influence in the Papacy at the time

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In 1453, it seemed as though God had abandoned Christendom to the heathens, as the Turkic horde, lead by Mehmed II, captured the city of man's desire; Constantinople. After the past hundred years of a slow, lethargic death the Byzantine Empire finally fell, and this time there didn't look to be a chance of revival. To many Catholics, the situation seemed dire: the Ottomans had steam rolled over the Byzantine Empire, the Kingdom of Albanian followed shortly thereafter, and even as the Hundred Years War was drawing to a close in the west, the Ottomans were crossing through Wallachian territory in order to invade the Hungarian Kingdom through Transylvania. Indeed, it seemed likely that the Ottoman Empire would extend it's control into Hungarian territory, rolling over the Hungarian army and taking yet more territory for itself.

Still, it could be said that God's favor would soon enough return to Christendom. After all, one nation could hold onto such amazing favor for so long, and as Mehmed would personally learn, the leaders of men were just men themselves. Just as capable of mortal mistakes as any other person. The mistake that Mehmed would make would bring over a decade of chaos to the Ottoman Empire, and all it would take was one strategic move on the part of the Ottoman Empire.

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Mehmed II riding into Constantinople, the greatest moment of his reign

In an attempt to break through the Transylvanian lines, which the Hungarians had heavily fortified the line to hold Mehmed at bay, Mehmed loaded up the remainder of the Ottoman Army into the navy stationed at Constantinople. Mehmed had hoped that landing the rest of the army in Croatia would split the Hungarians' attention between two fronts, allowing Mehmed to break through both. Either that or the Adriatic invasion would occur while the rest of the Hungarian Army was busy in Transylvania, allowing the Adriatic invasion force to march for Budapest uninterrupted.

As the Navy, made up of every single galley and cog in the navy as well as much of the pirate hunting squadrons of the Aegean Sea and the Sea of Marmara, news of this massive naval movement reached the island of Rhodes. The Knights Hospitaller, an old Crusader Order which had taken up residence on the island, took in this news with great glee. Long having since lost the capability to fight the heathens on land with equal force, the Knights of St. John had taken up pirating tactics, hitting the heathens with great raids along their coastline before quickly withdrawing. Hearing that Constantinople would soon be, effectively, defenseless elicited a great deal of excitement for the Knights, a mood similar to that of a fox watching over an unguarded hen house quickly seizing their fortress on Rhodes.

When the scouts reported the Ottoman Navy's exit from the Aegean, the Knights quickly loaded up as many of their members onto as many ships as possible and made their way to Constantinople. With the city still badly battered from Mehmed's own bombardment alongside the chaos of transplanting thousands of Sunni Turks into an area that had been traditionally the home of Orthodox Greeks, the Knights were able to swoop down onto the city, their ships bursting open the city's walls and destroying it's ports while the Knights climbed over and through the wall.

For two weeks the Knights wreaked havoc upon the Muslim population of the city, reconverting churches from mosques, destroying recently constructed mosques and slaying any Muslim that dared stand in the Knight's path, expelling many of the rest. With news of Mehmed rushing back to Constantinople from the frontline swiftly approaching, the Knights reboarded their boats and sailed back to Rhodes: leaving a Constantinople even more devastated than it had been in their wake. The full cost of the raid was not made apparent till Mehmed returned to the city. Amongst the many Muslims that the Knights had slain, many of the women and children of Mehmed's own house were amongst them.

Included amongst the bodies was Bayezid, Mehmed's oldest child and heir to the throne.

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The Knights Hospitaller would prove their worth to Europe with this raid, with donations, new ships and recruits pouring in from much of Christendom. This included Charles VII who, amongst other Kings of France, would contribute heartily to the Knights of St. John from that point forward.

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As the religious matters of the Kingdom were being settled, Charles VII turned his eye towards an area that he had always had a talent in: administration. The state of the French bureaucracy was, to say the least, terrible. Repeated conquests and reconquests and the changing of territory amongst vassals had left the General Estates rather messy, the only saving grace of this time being the general skill of those involved in governance. However, Charles realized that France might not be so fortunate to have able leaders about: a system like this would crush any lesser man, and leave France paralyzed under its own weight. Additionally, France's already existing difficulty with it's territories, quite surely, would forestall any attempts to further extend France's borders, a necessity if France was to truly secure her place in Europe.

Thus, Charles VII initialized a new system of bureaucratic reforms for his own personal office and that of the Estates. Under this reform a new bureaucratic class of secretariats would be formed to serve for members of the Estates, great officers of state and other nobles at the court of France. This new group of bureaucrats would take care of the day-to-day functions of the Kingdom in an independent manner, leaving the more weighty matters of state to the, hopefully capable, hands of the higher officials of the Kingdom. The reform, although taking some time to be implemented, would immediately bring France to a state of bureaucratic efficiency it had not known for decades.

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The new reforms would greatly help in the governance of France's numerous and diverse territories

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Finally came the matter of what to do with France's military might. All but sitting on their laurels since the end of the Calais offensive, the mighty French army was ready and capable of enforcing the will of France wherever the King would send them, but they had nowhere to go. With Burgundy, at the moment, nominally allied with France they were out of the picture and as Brittany was at war with England themselves, keeping them around as a distraction could prove valuable to France.

To the south the Iberian Kingdoms were unified in a join defense of each other through a series of alliances and royal marriages, making them a rather unattractive target for France's European ambitions. Charles would soon find the answer to his question of 'where next' to be formed for him, as the nobility and clergy of France lined up behind one area in Europe that they claimed France needed to claim a part of in order to secure it's place as a major power on the continent. A place with very little in the way of complex alliances, very little in power but grand in wealth.

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The Italian Peninsula: a patchwork of independent states perfect for conquest

After some examination, Charles could not lie: the choice was quite excellent. Italy represented both a powerful religious, cultural and financial base in Europe. One of the most urbanized lands in all of Europe, the tax base Italian territories could supply to France would be enormous. The peninsula's strategic placement in the Mediterranean would give France a solid place in the region's trade should it take just about any of the territories from the Italians. Additionally, Italy was the home of the Pope, settled within the ancient city of Rome. If France could secure territory in Italy, that'd just give the Valois dynasty one more ounce of pressure on the Pope for their future designs. Additionally Italy stood as the heart of the Renaissance that was quickly spreading across Europe, leading Charles to think that France could benefit greatly by possessing territories amidst this hotbed of intellectual revival.

Still, not everything about Italy was ideal. Almost all the northern states, while possessing no great alliances themselves, would be protected by the Holy Roman Emperor should France intervene. The one exception to this was Venice, but getting to Venice could mean years of protracted war; something France couldn't afford at the moment with a similar situation still at a head with England. Naples and Sicily, on the other hand, were protected by Aragon, whom as previously mentioned found itself sitting pretty with the other Iberian Kings. His Holiness possessed much of the remaining bits of Italy, with the Duchy of Urbino being largely claimed by the Pope as well.

This left France with the unenviable position of having no obvious in with Italy that wouldn't result in a tough war or excommunication. Still, this didn't stop Charles from prodding Italy altogether. Charles' daughter was already married to the Duke of Savoy, establishing a Valois link in the Duchy. In Milan a similar tactic was taken, a minor Valois noble being married into the Sforza family in order to consolidate previously present Valois claims to Milano. In addition Charles kept a close eye on the claims that the Lorraine-based Valois family had on Naples, all the while securing a trade compact with Genoa to better relations with the merchant republic, and to help bolster a flagging French trade network.

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The deal increased French presence in the region, while also improving French trade​

Charles would keep a close eye on all parties involved in Italy, just waiting for one to turn it's back to France, to allow France to sink it's sword into their exposed back.

As it would turn out, not long after France would expand it's bureaucracy to handle France's current territories and to prepare for new ones, Charles would be presented with a golden opportunity.

On June 25th, 1455, The Kingdom of Aragon declared war upon the Kingdom of Navarre. It was clear that the Kingdom of Aragon, lead by Alfonso V, desired to annex the Kingdom of Navarre, which had belonged to his brother, John II. This was seen as inexcusable by the rest of the Iberian peninsula, leaving Aragon highly isolated. The King John of the Kingdom of Castille would outright declare war on Aragon, nullifying their alliance, while Portugal would abandon Aragon to the whims of Castille.

For Charles, this was as good an opportunity as he was going to get. While the relationship between France and Castille was amiable at the moment, Castille did not wish to risk English wrath while her navy would be preoccupied with fighting the combined Catalan-Neapolitan Mediterranean fleet, forestalling the possibility of an alliance. This problem, however, was not present with Navarre who, by and large, did not possess a coastline for the English to blockade, or a navy they were dependent on. Thus, French-Navarre talks, starting on July 3rd, would be aimed at signing an alliance between the Kingdom of France and the Kingdom of Navarre. On July 12th, the treaty would be readily signed by both parties.

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(Left side) John II of Navarre, (Right side) The Franco-Navarre Alliance, with John II swiftly calling in France's alliance​

With John of Navarre quickly called in the newly forged alliance with France, a call that Charles was all too happy to answer.

On July 16th, 1455, France declared war upon the Kingdom of Aragon. Alfonso V of Aragon quickly prepared for the worst, knowing that the oncoming French storm would be a bruising, devastating affair.

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France c. 1455

Charles VII de Valois (ADM 7/DIP 5/MIL 7)
By the Grace of God, King of France and Dauphin of Viennois (in absence of Louis de Valois)

Dynastic Links:

~ Orléans (Duke Charles I de Valois)
~ Provence (Duke Charles VI de Valois) (Regency)
~ Lorraine (Duke Jean II de Valois)

Treasury: 174 million ducats
GDP (estimated): 358 million ducats
Domestic CoTs: Paris 113.6

Army: 6,000 Knights (Armored Knights), 14,000 Men at Arms
Reserves (potential levies): 43,093
Navy: 5 Carracks, 2 Pinnaces, 2 Gallies, 5 Cogs
Discipline: 116.80%
Tradition: 21.30% Navy: 0.00%

Prestige: Ninety-eighth (-4.20)
Reputation: Honorable (0.00)
Legitimacy: 100
 
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