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Second Lieutenant
Mar 3, 2007
Chapter 1: Setting the stage

[Hi readAARs! This is my first AAR, and nearly my first time playing a game like EU3, so expect lots of mistakes! Expect a mixture of high drama and low humor; I’m trying to balance the two approximately in alternate entries, we’ll have to see how it works out. As a technical note, I played a few decades before I decided to make an AAR, so screenshots will be sparse for the first while.]

It was the summer of 1453, and Europa appeared to be on the edge of collapse. The West reeled before the Ottoman onslaught which had finally destroyed the last vestiges of the Roman Empire; Moors still ruled southern Spain; and Germany, France, and Italy were disunified masses of petty statelets constantly fighting among themselves. Peasant families prayed, “From the Turk and the comet, good Lord, deliver us” [1] Europa needed a savior to unite a fractious Christendom and focus a continent’s potentially vast might against the Infidel..

Into the breach stepped the Kingdom [2] of Austria. The Habsburg patriarch Ladislaus Posthumus called all his nobles together in solemn conclave, and, assembled them in his throne room. On the dias before the throne there stood a table covered with a cloth of the finest red velvet. On the table was a large chest worked of solid gold. Ladislaus put his right hand atop the chest and addressed his nobles, so:

“My Lords, you all know the crisis facing Austria and Christendom. I call you here to bear witness to a vow, the most sacred vow I know how to make. This chest contains relics of our own Saint Leopold [3], just canonized ten years back by his Holiness the Pope. He will carry my words to the Almighty.

“For many years Austria has been protected and guided by the holy Martyr Saint Koloman. In this time of trouble we need a more martial protector. Recall then the deeds of Saint Leopold, who, with Divine help, saved us from the Hungarians. Who, with Divine help, cleared the forests for towns and monasteries. Who performed miracles which none can deny.

“Only Leopold can save us.

“My Lords, I hereby rededicate Austria to Saint Leopold. My family and my nation will never rest until Europa is free of the Turkish yoke, and the One True Church is respected and glorified in every corner of the continent. My sword I lay at his feet. It will never be sheathed until the Turk is chased back to the wilds of Asia whence he came. Amen”

Ladislaus then drew his bejeweled sword, and laid it reverently before the golden chest. There was a moment of silence, then, as one, the gathered nobility of Austria drew their own swords, and, some openly weeping, placed them along with the King’s.

The Long Crusade had begun.

[Next … Whither Austria?]

[1] Historical note: this prayer was actually introduced in 1456 when Halley’s comet showed up

[2] It’s a little unclear whether we can call Austria an Archduchy or a Kingdom right now, as in real life the Duke of Austria was the emperor of the HRE, which is not the case in-game. So we’ll call it a Kingdom and be done with it.

[3] Saint Leopold (1073-1136) was an extraordinary fellow … he really did all the things Ladislaus listed. Margrave of Austria defeated a Hungarian invasion, established monasteries, and *turned down* the crown of the Holy Roman Empire. In real history he was canonized in 1485 and made the Patron of Austria in the 17th century (replacing St. Koloman). I have sped this up for the story’s sake.
Chapter 2: Whither Austria?

Chapter 2: Whither Austria

Ladislaus had a problem. Austria did not have a border with the Ottoman Empire. Also, Austria had a detached province, Breisgau, on the far side of Wurttemburg, next to the devil trickster troublemakers of Baden. Most of the actual neighbors of the Kingdom: Poland-Lithuania (for they always seemed joined at the hip, a metaphor which caused no end of snickers at court), Hungary, Bavaria, and la Serenissima were all hostile.

Enter Ladislaus and his advisors:
Elsbet Habsburg: his wife
Artur Sheckel: treasury and domestic minister
Fritz von Krain: naval minister
Johan von Warner: army minister
Albert Metz: bishop of Wien [1]

Ladislaus: Well guys, now what? How can we start?

Von K: I feel this almost … genetic … instinct to attack Venice. Crush them now on land and take their ships, then we can attack the Turks directly by sea!

Von W: Are you out of your mind? Venice is the most defensible spot in all Europa! Besides, they have lots of allies. I don’t see you offering to sally with the fleet, Herr von Ship-for-brains.

Elsbet: Please, sirs, let us not fight. In fact, that should be the basis of our strategy. We cannot fight on two fronts, much less three. Let us make friends with Venice, and as many of the German states as possible, to keep them off our backs. We can make trade agreements and bonds of marriage with them.

Ladislaus: Yes! Yes! Dynastic marriages all ‘round! Especially with Switzerland and Wurttemburg [3]. We will win them over with love, if it takes us generations! Send them rosy-cheeked maidens! The men of Austria will be our sword, and the white-limbed women of Austria will be our –

Von W: Scabbard?

[POW! Elsbet smacks von W so hard his head spins round three times]

Elsbet: No true Wiener would speak so in the presence of a lady!

Von K: [Gleefully] And if anybody could be called a Wiener, it’s von Warner!

Elsbet: [Glares balefully at von K] I believe my husband meant to say that the women of Austria will be our shield.

Ladislaus: Okay, that part is settled … we send out the legions of Austrian womanhood to seduce the other, lesser, peoples of Germany to our side. Ignore Venice. Don’t build ships [von K chokes back a sob] to provoke them. They are noodling around in Italia anyway, and we have no interest there. Sheckel!

Sheckel: Sire?

Ladislaus: How are we doing with our Grand National Idea?

Sheckel: Sire … I don’t know how to put this to you, but um … we’re … a bit too … primitive to have ideas.

Ladislaus: WHAT?

Sheckel: Sire, I must’ve clicked on the Kingdom tab a thousand times but nothing happened! It said our government is too primitive.

Ladislaus: [Crestfallen] But what about the Turks? What about the Crusade?

Sheckel: …

Elsbet: Well, can’t we sort of think about them on the sly? I mean, who’s going to know? Maybe it’s not official yet, but I mean for God’s sake we’re Austrians! *Of course* we’re supposed to be thinking about the Turks!

Ladislaus: [Mollified] Maybe we can even sneak in a thought or two about Hungary! Heh heh. Okay, clearly we cannot continue like this. Sheckel, direct half the research budget into getting us a better government infrastructure, and put the rest into army research.

Von K: [sighs]

Von W: [preens]

Ladislaus: Now, our Navy is bad and isn’t going to get better. We’ll have to get at the Turks by (ahem) going through someone else. I’ve dedicated Austria to Defeating the Turk, not Crushing Whoever Happens to Be in the Way … this could get tricky.

Von K: [darkly] Or maybe they’ll come to us.

Ladislaus: Thank you Von K for that vote of optimism. Look, we don’t have to decide right away. Let’s build up our nation’s economy and infrastructure. Sheckel! I want marketplaces in every province, stat!

Sheckel: [By now, ashen and trembling] Sire, gentle Sire, I regret to inform you that we are too … oh, what to say, too …

Ladislaus: [Sourly] Primitive?

Sheckel: Yes, sire.

Ladislaus: [Furious] Y’know, I’m starting to get just a little peeved here. Von Warner, build me an army. Heavy on the cavalry. We’ll be needing it soon. Elsbet, get the Bridal Brigade ready to rumble. Sheckel, send out word: it is now illegal to be Agnostic, Animist, Atheist, Buddhist, Deist, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Orthodox, Pagan, Protestant [4], Shintoist, or Zorasto—er, Zoroasti --, ah #$@#@#$. You know, that Z religion.

Sheckel: I can’t spell that Z religion either. How should I put it on the decree?

Ladislaus: Alright, alright, I hereby decree tolerance of Catholicism, religions starting with the letter Z, and nothing else. And no tricks like ZSunni Islam or Zhintoism. Got it? Everyone dismissed. Except Elsbet. I am feeling a little … primitive.

Elsbet: [blushes]

[Next … Hungary, Hungary like the wolf. Expect this over the weekend sometime. This is where the real action begins.]

[1] “Wien”, pronounced “veen” is the Austrian [2] way of saying Vienna. This fact has often caused … prestiege problems … with the neighbors.

[2] The state language is now Austrian, as those plattdeutsch podunks in other German lands all have funny accents.

[3] The idea is to eventually inherit or diploannex one or both, allowing land access to Breisgau. The Austrians have forgotten for the moment that Switzerland is a republic and sneeringly dismisses attempts to bribe them with women. They want cash.

[4] Protestantism is not invented yet, but Ladislaus is in a bad mood and wants to be ready.
Hungary, Hungary like the wolf

From the Diary of Elsbet of Austria

May 20, the Year of Our Lord 1455

The world is black, and there is no joy. It has seemed this way so since the death of my beloved Ladislaus in January of last year. I know he would chide me, and remind me that he is in a better place. That has never been more true than today. Mary, weep for Austria. With Ladislaus gone, dear Johann Leopold is King, but he is not his father. No-one could be. With the Great Work barely begun, Johann has lost focus on the goal, and has plunged us into a senseless, evil war with Hungary. Has he forgotten where his own mother was born? Has he forgotten I was christened Erzsébet? The Magyar were supposed to be our strong right arm against the Turk, but now Johann Leopold has stolen their destiny.

What has happened to my brave little boy, all scrapes and tumbles (and occasional sudden tears) who would wave his wooden sword about dispatching imaginary Jannisaries by the legion in between snacks and kisses for his mama? He has grown into a cold-eyed warrior, with all the martial and diplomatic virtues of his father, but none of the vision. I fear he … enjoys … the clang of battle. Sometimes, I fear him.

I write this in a military camp near Pecs; Johann is so confident after his victories that he brought half the court, including his dear dowager mother to view his conquests. I wept when I saw the ruin of the town where I spent so many happy days as a girl. Johann of course dismissed this as womanly sentimentality, but I was not weeping just for the ruined buildings, and the bleak-eyed burghers of the once-proud town. I wept also because I saw the face of the military observer from Baden. I could tell immediately what he would tell his masters. He would tell them that our crusade was false, a mask to cover naked aggression. And he would be right.

= = = =

Excerpts from “Anguished Ascendance: the Rise of the Kingdom of Austria”, by Ingtol Blaeuw

The dream of King Ladislaus Posthumus of Austria as the bulwark of Christendom against the Ottoman menace gained his nation unprecedented political capital in the German lands. The Germans were tired of constant squabbling amongst petty statelets barely reigned in by the Holy Roman Emperor in Ansbach, and they leapt to the cause of Austria. The principality of Wurttemburg voluntarily became a vassal of Austria, and several states seemed to be leaning in that direction. Imagine if Ladislaus had lived, we could have seen a peacefully united Germany in the 16th century.

But it was not to be. The brief, meteoric career of his son and heir Johann Leopold would throw back the Christian and Germanic causes by decades, and burn though Austria’s once-soaring prestige. Shortly after he took the throne in January of 1554, he launched a massive invasion of Hungary, on the thin (and seen as thin in Europe) pretext that previous aggression from Hungary had proven their treacherous natures and that the Crusade against the Turk could not commence until Hungary “could never hurt us again”.

The military campaign was swift and ruthless. Johann had devised a stratagem he called “Hammer and Anvil”, where he would divide his forces into pairs of armies: a “Hammer” army comprised entirely of cavalry, tasked with deep penetration of enemy territory, and an “Anvil” army, tasked with occupying lands cleared of large enemy forces and besieging important towns.

During the conflict, known at the time as the Grasslands War, the Austrians had two armies of each type. First and Second Hammer lunged past the weak and confused Hungarian border forces – the war was started by Austria, after all – and pushed deep into Hungarian territory. First Hammer raced for the Hungarian capitol and defeated the mobile forces there, while Second Hammer played tag with a larger Hungarian army in the Northeast of the country, even up to the Polish border. Meanwhile First and Second Anvil moved to Pecs and Sopron to set up sieges.

Eventually through maneuver Johann Leopold was able to isolate one of the main Hungarian armies between First and Second Hammers and swamped them with both Hammer forces (Johann Leopold himself was riding with First Hammer; whatever their other crimes, the Kings of Austria never held back from leading on the battlefield). The second Hungarian army then engaged Second Anvil in Sopron. Second Hammer then reoccupied the capital while First Hammer raced to relieve Second Anvil. The Hungarians were defeated here as well, and, retreating, were pursued by First Hammer to keep them from regrouping before the capital fell.

When Buda was forced to open its gates, the war was over. Hungary was forced to cede Pecs, Sopron, and Croatia, their only coastal province. An indefensible Slavonia was then nearly surrounded by Austrian lands, and served as a guarantor of good behavior.

All was not well for Austria, however. The war was seen as pointless aggrandizement in Germany, and many of the friends gained by Ladislaus’ diplomacy were lost. Only Wurttemburg remained loyal, apparently believing Johann Leopold’s claims that Austria had to secure her back before taking on the Turk. The main enemy of Austria in Germany was the small but potent state of Baden, which bordered the detached Austrian province of Breisgau.

The Badenites had amassed a formidable alliance, which they called the Shield of Germany: Baden, Saxony, Bavaria, the Palatinat, and Ansbach itself. They were worried that Austria and their strong ally Wurttemburg would try to establish a land connection with Breisgau at the expense of their neighbors. One might suppose that Switzerland would also be concerned, but they deemed that their mountains would protect them from all invasion and kept out of the matter. Austria for its part believed that the Badenites – for it was Baden who controlled the Shield of Germany with unmatched diplomacy – wanted to surround and destroy Wurttemburg, their only ally, and take Breisgau as soon as the Austrian’s backs were turned.

Thus the stage was set for the First Badenite War:

Just a side note here...

I have been watching with interest the other current Austria game "The White Blob Strikes Back":
to see the differences and similarities.

Key points:

* WBSB starts later, in 1571, with an Ottoman border that I envy.

* Where the Little Pinkies' (stated) goal is to expand south against the Turks, the White Blobbies have not yet identified a specific target.

* The WB is, of course, white, where the Pinkies are a reddish color. That's where I got the name for the game: Red (the EUIII color for Austria) plus White (the One True Color for Austria) is Pink. Plus, I was going for a Vienna sausage joke. Anyway.

* Somehow neither Austria has benefited from massive undeserved inheritances, though that appears to be the AI-Austria's biggest strength.

I can't wait to see what the other osterreichers do!
From Baden to Wars

The scene: The Royal Conference Room in Wien.

Enter Johann Leopold and his advisors:

Johann Leopold: King of Austria and Select Portions of Hungary
Elsbet Habsburg: His mother
von Krain: Naval minister
von Werner: Army minister
Albert Metz: Bishop of Wien
Artur Sheckel: treasury and domestic minister
Fritz [1]: King of Wurttemburg

JL: Well boys, mother, what next? Those mingy Magyars will never trouble us again!

von K: I'm concerned, Sire, about the Badenites. They've been making a lot of noise about us.

F: Baden been pressing border disputes with Breisgau and Wurttemburg. I think it's a pretext for something...

von W: Clearly they have Baden 'tentions!

von K: You mean it's a Baden switch?

von W: Just you wait, von Krain, I'm just Baden my time.

Elsbet: [angry] Gentlemen stop this, this --

von W: [Innocently] Badenage?

Metz: Don't you think we're forgetting something here?

Elsbet: [Glares at the vons then turns to the prelate] Please tell, your Excel

Metz: [Rises to his feet and thunders] We have a land border with the Turks! While we were busy fighting the good Catholic nation of Hungary, the Ottomans annexed Serbia and Banat, and forced the Transylvanians into servile vassalage. We must strike a blow for Mother Church!

von K: If you want it Baden 'nuff, do it!

JL: Mother, your Excellency. I know you two don't think I'm paying enough attention to the Turk, but we can't take them on now. Not with Wurttemburg surrounded by this preposterous "Shield of Germany" alliance! They'll be all over Fritz in a heartbeat if we move on the Turk.

von W: Yes, he'll have Baden Ansbach.

[Everybody, even von K, cringes]

JL: von K, von W, will you PLEASE BE SILENT? We must make a pre-emptive attack on the Shield to secure our rear before we can take on the Osmans.

Sheckel: But if we attack fellow Germans and Christians it will look bad internationally. Very bad.

Metz: The Sultan will be laughing at us.

Elsbet: We could wait. The Badenites and their puppets may become distracted by Brandenburg, or Burgundy. We could build up against the real enemy.

JL: Or they could finish their preparations and strike us! No, we move now.


[1] "Fritz" is not the given name of the King of Wurttemburg; it's a nickname he has, but nobody knows why.

[ Next Chapter ... Be Afraid, Bavaria 'Fraid ]
Pepperpum said:
I must say that this is very well written! Please bring some more on, I'm eagerly awaiting :)

Thank you very much! I do appreciate hearing from people, it's gratifying to know that someone's enjoying the tale, that is the reward for taking the time to type the stuff up.

I'm working on the Badenite war, and hope to post it this weekend, as well as the cataclysmic events of the First (Yes, we restarted the numbering. We're Austria, we can do that!) Crusade against the Turks. Some weird things go on in that one. Not to mention the sad, sad story of von Krain's one and only naval battle. And ruminations on trade ... our Osties may be mighty on the battlefield, but they're remarkably naive traders.

Overheard in the market of Venice:
Venetian merchant: Glass beads, getcher glass beads here! Fresh from exotic North America! [1]

Austria merchant: REALLY? I MUST have them! Name your price!

[All Arabic merchants close their eyes in pain]

Venetian merchant: [Eyes aglow with evil glee] How much do you have?

Austria merchant: [Digs around in pockets] Lessee ... 1.51 ducats, that's all King Leopold staked us.

[Dutch merchants close their eyes in pain]

Venetian merchant: Oh dear, I'm sorry, these cost 5 ducats.

Austria merchant: But - but -

Venetian merchant: [Closing in for the kill] Of course we offer easy *financing terms*...

Austria merchant: Where do I sign?

[Communist hippie merchants close their eyes in pain]

Venetian Trade Minister: This is an outrage! No merchant this incompetent is allowed to exist in la Serenissima. Herr Foolundhisgeld, you are hereby evicted from the city. The expulsion fee is, hmm, a mere 7 ducats.

Austrian merchant: But - but -

Venetian Trade Minister: Don't have 7? Well, of course we offer easy *financing terms*...

[1] The Amsterdamese traded these beads to the Lenapians for Manhattan.
Be Afraid, Bavaria 'Fraid

Letters from Konrad Neustett, a simple Soldier of Austria, to his Brother. Excerpted from "Anguished Ascendance: the Rise of the Kingdom of Austria", by Ingtol Blaeuw.

Dear Willi

The war is ... confusing. Much different from the sweeping cavalry charges I wrote you about during the Hungarian war. The terrain is hillier, and often wooded. A pure cavaly force would be chopped up in no time. You just have to have an infantry bulwark.

When it all started back in September we thought it would be so easy. The King spoke to the men before we crossed the border into Munchen. The Badenites are the heart of the evil alliance, but the Bavarians are the body. If we force them to terms, the Badenites will have to give in. (My friend Linz is quite the cynic ... he says darkly that taking Bavaria would give us a better land connection with Wurttemburg, hence Breisgau. He is an Easterner, from Steiermark ... they seem obsessed with connecting territories. We Westerners are less concerned about that.) Well anyway, we poured into Bavaria trumpets blaring 4000 foot and near 2000 horse, and smashed the Bavarians outside their own capital! We thought the war would be over in a week.

It didn't quite work out that way. They withdrew in good order and poured down into Tirol, just as the Badenites -- we found this out later -- marched into Wurttemburg. It was crazy; nobody was in control of his own territory! I wasn't there for this, but I saw the boys come back. The King sent a detachment to root the Bavs out of our beloved Tirol, and they got hammered. Hard.

Then the news came. Baden had also taken Konstanz; the whole of Wurttemburg was under their heel. The Wurttemburgers are the only ones who have been with us from the beginning... we had to do something.

Finally, today, some good news. The Ansbacher have probed into Breisgau with 1000 horse and have been repelled by the garrison force. Still, word is that the Shield is nowhere near giving up. This war could get ugly. Why won't they leave us alone? Don't they see they are playing into the hands of the Turk?

Yours in Christ,

Dear Willi

Linz is dead. He took an arquebus ball to the chest during Third Konstanz. I swear to you, he was standing right next to me. I can only thank the good Lord that I was spared. I know you read these letters to Mutti and Vater, but don't tell them how close I was to death. I don't want them to worry.

Konstanz was horrible. We had no choice but to slog right forward, and the combined Ansbach and Baden forces knew we were coming. It was like advancing into a sausage grinder. But we had no choice -- we had to relieve the Wurttemburgers. Three times Willi, three times we got spanked and came back, and the fourth time looked just as bad. Then the miracle occurred. The lines were wavering, and all seemed lost. Then our King, our beloved King appeared *behind the Badenite lines* with 2000 horse! Nobody knew he was there, everyone thought he was with the Southern Force cleaning out the Bavarians from Tirol. He waved his sword and shouted something; I don't know what, we were too far away. Then he and his men smashed into the Badenites and wreaked a fearful slaughter. They were still outnumbered, and in danger of being overwhelmed, but then Major Stollburg screamed "To the King! To the King you laggards! Forward pikes!" And we made one last charge. The Badenites were ground into paste between us. And, ha! You should have seen the Ansbacher run!

Well, that was all the fun we had for quite awhile. The King left again to oversee seiges in Bavaria, and we're here in Wurttemburg province. We bought our way in with blood. I think the Badenites are getting desperate. The Ansbacher never came back, the Bavarians, well who knows where they are, but the Badenites fight us for every foot. They pushed us nearly back to Konstanz twice, and they still seem to think they can win.

I wonder what happened to Ansbach? Did they get paid off, or are they just hiding? I'm just as glad to see the last of them, but to think that the Emperor's Own would just abandon the war like that ... I don't know how they can show their face in Germany ever again. Not that I'm complaining! I wish these verdammte Badener would go hide with them!

Yours in Christ,

Dear Willi

It's over! The day after Christmas we managed to outflank the Badenites, thanks to a unit of Wurttemburgers who somehow managed to keep together under the occupation and hooked up with us a few days ago. They fought like the very Devil. With all of Bavaria occupied, and the main Badenite forces defeated in Wurttemburg, the Badenites had to sue for peace. I don't know what the final settlement will be, but there's no doubt that it's over. Our good King Johann Leopold holds the whip hand. And best of all... I'll be home by February!

Yours in Christ,
P.S. One troubling note ... a dispatch rider from Krain told me that Turkish warships have been seen in the Adriatic.

= = =

These letters, not atypical for the time, show that support for the Crusade was still high among the Austrian rank-and-file, even though no actual Turks had been fought. Historians are divided on whether the Austrian war against the Shield Alliance was a naked power-grab, or whether Austria really did fear for their ally-and-vassal of Wurttemburg.

What is certain, however, is that Bavaria, Baden, and above all Albrecht Achilles of Ansbach, the Holy Roman Emperor, were humiliated. After Albrect died, Ansbach would never again wear the mantle of Imperator.

The main loser was, of course, Bavaria. While Ansbach and Baden escaped with subsidies, Bavaria lost the provinces of Niederbayern and Schwaben to Austria. Moreover, the other alliance members blamed Bavaria's lackluster defense for the loss of the war, and within a year of the war's end, they were at war with Bavaria itself!

This led to problems, exemplified by the map below:


As you can see, Bavaria was now isolated, tucked away inside the Austrian Empire along with Salzburg. One might think that Bavaria would be safe from attack. Not so ... in an effort to avoid further wars in the Germanies, Johan Leopold quickly offered military access to all his former foes, thereafter to anyone who asked. As he put it, "Austria will be Europe's highway. Transit through the East-Kingdom will be too valuable to risk fighting us."

Never did he realize the oceans of blood which would be spilled because of this policy. That was a crisis for the next generation.
Quite a cliffhanger…

Anyway, you’re doing a good job of balancing two different tones.
You got the there-and-then serious type stuff done well.
(e.g. i like the stark opening of the letter - probably read verbatim to mater and pater.)
And the collective winces from various merchants was good for a few chuckles.

Look forward to more updates.

(Oh, and brilliant title!)

Tskb18 said:
Quite a cliffhanger…

Anyway, you’re doing a good job of balancing two different tones.
You got the there-and-then serious type stuff done well.
(e.g. i like the stark opening of the letter - probably read verbatim to mater and pater.)
And the collective winces from various merchants was good for a few chuckles.

Look forward to more updates.

(Oh, and brilliant title!)

Thanks for the good words! I do appreciate it.

The part about the merchants is, unfortunately, true. I just cannot keep a merchant active for more than a few months. I may try for shrewd trading practices for my 2nd-and-a-halfth national idea (the extra 1/2 is the unofficial "Turks out of Europe" idea).

Stay tuned for Turkish Diplomacy!
Some silly little thing in the Balkans

The scene: Border between Austria and the Ottoman empire. Sultan Yu'semmi'te Suleyman and Johann Leopold sit at a table in a pavillion, each with an advisor at hand.

Sully: Well, O pestiferous leader of indifels, you called this meeting. What is on your mind?

JL: I have come to tell you to evacuate Europe.

Sully: [Boggles] ... Evacuate ... Europe?

JL: [Beaming] I knew you'd get it! Just move all your soldiers and Muslim population back to Asia Minor.

Sully: But --

JL: Oh, I know there'll be logistical problems. But we're prepared to offer a subsidy of 200 ducats just to get the ball rolling. This isn't easy for us -- we'll really have to dig deep to come up with that kind of cabbage.

Sully: But why would I want to leave Europe? I was born in Europe!

JL: Well ... I'm sure you've noticed how your people don't exactly fit in around here. I mean, the whole turban thing and all. And what have you ever gotten from your European lands but grief anyway, right? What do the locals do all day? They wait till you're not looking then sneak out to gobble pork, drink ouzo, and start massive uprisings. Tell me I'm wrong. It's all for the better this way. [ Holds up pix ]


Serbians and Banatese flout anti-drinking laws


Serbians and Banatese routinely ignore anti-pork statutes


The inevitable rebellion

Turkish Advisor: Say, there might just be something to that...

Sully: [Glares at Advisor, then rests his chin on his hand] And ... who exactly would administer our vast Balkan lands if we leave? [A bit sarcastically] Austria, I presume.

JL: Heavens no! Do you think we want those people in our empire? They'll just have to muddle along by themselves.

Sully: You are mad. Completely insane. Barking, raving mad. Do you have any idea how hard we had to fight to conquer the Balkans, oh King of Unwashed Germanics?

JL: Hey, no need to get personal. I know new ideas often come hard (by about 40% if I recall) to you Turkish types, but think of all the lives you'll be saving.

Sully: Lives? Saving?

JL: [Cheerfully] Yes, you'll be personally saving the life of millions of Turks!

Sully: I'm not sure I'm following you, chief.

JL: Oh, well, if you refuse we will have to extirpate the entire Turkish nation root and branch, level your towns, salt your fields, and kick your dogs. Nothing personal, of course -- it's our destiny.

Sully: Well that makes it alright then.

JL: I'm glad we see eye-to-eye on this.

Sully: There's just one small problem.

JL: Yes?

Sully: Just that it is our destiny to spread the Sword of Islam across all of Europe.

JL: Hmm. Isn't there anywhere else you can spread it?

Sully: Well, most of our neighbors are already Muslim.

Sheckel: [Whispers to JL]

JL: Sully, don't try to pull a fast one on me. Lots of them are Shiite, and everybody knows that they don't really count.

Sully: Okay, you got me on that one. But the point is that we're not leaving Europe. Ever. It is our land now, we live here and we like it. AND we like our turbans thank-you-very-much. Advisor! Does this Austrian madness count as a causus belli?

Turkish Advisor: Hard to say, sire. People kind of expect this sort of thing from Austria these days. It'd be a stretch. I remind you sire, that Austria is still on our waiting list ... we aren't scheduled to inevitably defeat them for several more decades.

Sully: Pity.

JL: There's still time to reconsider. I understand Anatolia is lovely this time of year.

Sully: Have you ever BEEN to Anatolia? There's a reason we all left. [Holds up brochure]


Sunny Anatolia

JL: Serbia's no prize either. All those pine trees? Murder in the summer, just murder on the allergies. And it's just crawling with Serbs.

Turkish Advisor: [Wavering] Sire, you know how your nose stuffs up...

Sully: [Enraged] Don't let him brainwash you! You, MISTER Habsburg, are a nincompoop. The Ottoman Empire is the mightiest nation on Earth. If you want us to leave, why don't you gather up that pretty little army of yours and MAKE us?

JL: [Dangerously] Is that a dare?

Sheckel: [Sotto voce to Turkish advisor] Don't let it be a dare, you don't know what he's like about dares!

Sully: [Leaps to his feet] It's a double. Dog. Dare. I'm the rootinest, tootinest, shootinest hombre north, south, east, AAAAAAAAND west of the Danube!

JL: You realize, of course, that this means war!


= = =

Side note: The Sultan is exaggerating. There is some lovely land in Asia Minor. Just go here: http://www.tourismturkey.org/broshures.htm . Also Serbia is absolutely gorgeous http://www.serbia-tourism.org/index_e.php; you'll see!
Just read this and I like this AAR, very well written and funny. One of the funnier AARs iv read in fact and its still written very professionally.

Keep up the good work!

(and also keep in mind theres always the "lurkers" reading your AAR who never say anything :))

and great point about dues vult (or whatever), didnt we have that like, since 500 AD.
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Very good! Drive them out of the Balkans!
Feedback -- more than an annoying whine!

Cyrus -- Thank you for the kind words. I've been having a lot of fun with this AAR; it makes the actual game much more interesting, trying to come up with reasons for all the silly things that happen.

Corbett -- With respect to cleansing the Balkans, we're ready to go! The Turks have an advantage in Land technology (I believe 3 to 1), but we utterly outclass them in important categories, like ...

... wait for it ...

Dessert! (We have the dessert/entree slider slammed all the way over to 10.

What do they have? Turkish Delight? Yawn.


Pastry ... or Masonry? You decide.

Far outclassing this in Heartburn, Calories, and Sugar is the awesome array of Austrian post-dinner treats:


The elegant hazelnut torte


The almighty Apfelstrudel.


And plenny more where that came from.

Clearly, unless we Austrians all die of cholesterol poisoning, victory is assured.

Allez Cuisine!
Full disclosure

In the spirit of honesty, let us mention that there is one nation whose cuisine we fear.


I don't know how they do it, but they can pump out quality desserts and entrees like there's no tomorrow. They're at like Pastry-10, Sauce-18, and Soups-9. Their only weakness is that sometimes they go too far, get overextended, and lose the diner. I'm thinking the whole frog/snail/head-cheese deal here.

Pray that we don't have to take them on unless we can get some Italian minors on board to counter their sauces, and add a strong pasta element. Even better, if we can wait until Texas is discovered. France has no answer for Tex-Mex barbequeue. But this is a task for the far future.

[ Editor's note: I'd planned to write about the struggle for Banat tonight, but, um, ... I got sidetracked, and couldn't sustain the mood for a serious chapter. Sorry! ]
Scare them diplomatically, threaten them with eating English cuisine for the rest of their lives if they lose to you!!!!! After you rewaken the poor French ambassador, who will have no doubt fainted then, he will likely be willing to renounce all claims to everything east and south of Champagne!!!! :rofl:
Serbia right!

Disaster! Just days after the failure to negotiate a Turkish withdrawal from Catholic Banat, Johann Leopold died in his sleep, in an army encampment. His meteoric reign of three years had seen Austria transformed from a sleepy backwater of Europe into a military machine both admired and feared. It was believed that only personal fear of Johann Leopold was the only thing that kept Poland-Lithuania from feasting on the remnants of Hungary. His heir, the 20-year-old Karl Joseph, was an untried youth, who had inherited a just-declared war against the mighty Ottoman Empire. There was no time to go back to Vienna to present his sword to the relics of Saint Leopold; the Turk was a few mere days' march away.

There are days when the world changes, days when destiny balances on a knife's edge and can easily fall either way. Such a day was December 28, 1459, when Karl Joseph led the assembled might of Austria into Banat to challenge the Turk. The Ottomans, led by their sovereign Suleiyman, awaited eagerly, for had they not humbled Europa's best for centuries? Had they not led the rising tide of Islam over the remnants of the Roman Empire? Had not the Sultan promised to winter them in storied Vienna? They were ready.

The Austrian host numbered some 5,000 foot and 4,000 horse, and faced a slightly larger Turkish army on a level field near the town of Resiczabanya. A parley had been had earlier in the morning, but it was clear to all that there was no compromise, no middle ground between the two sides, and that the true negotiations would be on the battlefield.

Karl Joseph turned to Kurt von Schonnbrun, his father's oldest and most trusted captain. Von Schonnbrun was a slight man, carrying a hint of a stoop from his near-60 winters, yet still vigorous and canny. "Von Schonnbrun," said Karl, "remember the plan. Your force will drift further and further left, and tempt the Turk into throwing more and more weight your way. All you have to do is hold until he weakens his center and von Trent and I can punch through."

"All I have to do...," mused the aged general. "Gladly, Sire, I will play Parmenio for you. Just don't wait too long! [1]"

The forces had approached to almost within bowshot. Karl Joseph made one last address to his troops.

"Men of Austria! For too long has Europa groaned under the Turkish yoke. For too long has the call to Crusade gone unheard. No longer! The Turk denies Christ's divinity. He massacres villagers, monks, and nuns who wish to worship in peace. No longer! Constantine the Roman saw a cross in the sky, but I see each of you has a cross in his hand." He held up his sword with the hilt pointing upward. "How much longer will the Cross be denied?"

"No longer!" shouted the men.

"How much longer will we suffer the heathen to live?"


"Jesu-Maria!" The ancient battle-cry of Austria [2].

"Jesu-Maria!" roared the men.



And battle was joined.

For three days the battle raged; both sides were utterly convinced that God would give them victory. The Turkish cavalry was more maneuverable, but the heavily armored Austrian knights could not be matched head-on. Finally, late on the third day, Karl Joseph saw that Suleyman had deployed the last of his reserves in an attempt to cut off von Schonnbrun on the left. Seeing his chance, Karl Joseph led a charge into a thin point in the Turkish line, and broke through. The Austrians punched straight through the Ottoman foot and circled back to smash into their rear elements, and their spears reaped a bitter harvest among the infantry. Seeing his infantry being threshed into nothing, Suleiyman despaired of victory, and sounded retreat for all units not intermixed with Austrians; the Turks withdrew south, toward the forbidding mountains of Serbia.

Karl moved between the victory bonfires, looking for von Schonnbrun. He found the old man sitting in his plain white tent, looking over some maps.

"Von Schonnbrun!"


"Scouts have reported that the Ottomans seem to be headed toward Prizren in Serbia. They are slowed down by the remnants of their infantry, and won't get there for another two weeks. I intend for the two of us to be there waiting for them."

"Sire, how can we overtake them?"

"We will leave the infantry here to consolidate control over Banat -- we still haven't taken the Resiczabanya fortress and we can't ignore the garrison. You and I will take the horse south in two columns and, God willing, can get to Serbia's capital before the Turks. We have them on the run, and I intend to keep them running."

"But the men -- they're exhausted."

"There is no rest this side of Heaven, von Schonnbrun. We can allow the men to sleep tonight, and still overtake the Turk with an all cavalry force. Prepare to depart in the morning."

"It will be done. Adjutant!"

= = =

The next few months saw a firestorm of combat all across the Balkans. Karl Joseph and von Schonnbrun were indeed able to bounce the Turks out of Serbia into Macedonia, while the last resistance Banat finally fell. But the Turks were far from done. Soon after, von Schonnbrun was dispatched to Silistria to "cause some trouble", and a sharp counter-attack from the reinforced Sultan was able to push Karl Joseph out of Serbia; not back to (relatively) safe Banat, but deeper into the Empire ... into Bulgaria. The King was almost entirely cut off from Austria! Only fleet couriers could make it through to Banat, and only about half those sent actually made it.

New forces were being raised in the heartland and drilled mercilessly under von Krain, but it would take time to get them ready to move. The situation was serious.

It was von Schonnbrun who had the flash of genius. Rejoining the King after the Silistrian jaunt, the two stayed closeted up in the King's tent. Next morning he departed -- south! -- with 2/3 of the Mobile Force.

The next several months saw little movement, just inconclusive, snarling combat on the borders of Banat, Serbia, and Bulgaria. Then, in a maneuver painstakingly coordinated via couriers, the new Austrian reinforcements flooded over into Serbia, while Karl Joseph led his men North. The Sultan's forces were caught in the middle, and forced to retreat into Albania, though taking few losses. The war seemed far from decided.

Then, on October 18, the year of our Lord 1461, von Schonnbrun reappeared, looking more than half-dead. Gray with fatigue, and now past thin to almost skeletal. Some had grumbled about his absence -- where had he been when the young King needed him the most! -- but he brusquely shouldered past generals, and guards alike into the King's pavillion. Instantly the King ordered everyone else out, and the two remained talking deep into the night. The next morning, heralds were sent to Suleiyman in Albania, for an immediate meeting.

= = =

Followed by advisors and minimal bodyguard, the Sultan strode into the pavillion set up by Austrians for the meeting. He eyed King Karl Joseph warily, and said, "Unless this meeting is to discuss your immediate departure from my lands and massive tribute, we have little to discuss. Be aware that all across Anatolia I have had forces drilling, and by December you will be swept away for ever." [3]

Karl Joseph did not flinch before the fire of the Sultan's glare. No longer a youth -- his youth had been burned away in the savage battles over Serbia -- but a cold-eyed King of men. "My dear Sultan," he said, "we are here to discuss the reasons you are about to cede Serbia and the Banat to me, and pay an indemnity to Wurttemburg."

The Sultan exploded with rage. "Whelp! You're just as bad as your dog of a father! Why do you --"

"STOP!" Karl's voice was iron. Even the Sultan drew back for a moment. "Suleiyman, you are never to defile my father's memory with your voice again. But speaking of family..." He snapped his fingers.

The aged von Schonnbrun, gaunt and grinning, entered the pavillion. With him, shackled together, were the Sultan's wives and seven sons. Suleiyman gaped in shock. "How--"

von Schonnbrun bowed to his King, and addressed the Turk. "My lord Sultan, the incomparable Karl Joseph has been busy. While you dithered in Serbia, he sent me to Constantinople to see the sights. I've always wanted to see Constantinople. Turns out, so did about three thousand of my boys. Since we were there, we figured why not pick up some ... souveneirs."

Karl Joseph continued. "You will give over Serbia and the Banat and 50 pounds of gold. In return, you will receive your family back, and a five-year truce."

The Sultan whispered, "There is no hell deep enough for you, Karl Joseph Habsburg. Don't think you've beaten me. If you slay my sons, they will die as martyrs; I will have new sons and they will think of nothing save revenge."

"Suleiyman, we are not savages. We have no intention of killing your sons. They will be far safer with us than with you, in fact. You Turks are very hard on one another, yes?" [Historical Note: the Turks had a custom where a new Sultan must have all his brothers murdered, so as to forstall potential civil wars] "But you misunderstand, Sultan. If you do not agree, we will keep your sons, give them the finest military and religious educations, and when you finally grace this world with your death, we will ... set them free. All of them. At the furthest corners of the Ottoman empire, each with as much gold as we can spare him. I presume you can imagine what would happen then."

The Sultan's face was a study in agony, a vision of a man being ground to paste between his duty as a sovereign and his duty as a man and father. He stood in grim silence for a full three minutes, thinking, then said, "Alright, Habsburg. I will sign. Give me back my family. But I warn you, when I sign this treaty, I am signing your death warrant. I will see you die. Count on it."

Karl shrugged. "'For if God chooses that it should rain, it is right that it should rain; and if he desires that any man should die, then is it right that he should die.'[4] Your threats mean nothing. Take your family and go."

= = =

Game Notes:

In game terms, Schonnbrun's raid on Istanbul was actually the taking of Thrace. I wanted to juice it up a little, and make Karl Joseph come across as half Rennaissance King and half dangerous lunatic, so I put in the part about the Sultan's family. I really was in danger of a bad loss with my King cut off from Austria, and Turkish manpower starting to churn, so I needed to do something to end the war quickly. Once the capital fell, the Turks were quick to accept a peace.

For brevity's sake, I had to leave out a number of important elements, like how tiny, stalwart Wurttemburg never flagged in their support. They did not get any land in the settlement, but I made sure they got some ducats to keep them happy. I always get some money in the settlement ... I want to train my allies to realize that they always make out when they make war on my side.

I also left out Austria's one and only naval battle, which was lost -- badly -- about 10 minutes out of port. Phooey.

[1] Parmenio was one of Alexander's generals. A favorite tactic of Alexander was to leave a force (almost always under the long-suffering Parmenio) in an exposed position to draw the enemy's forces, setting up Alexander for the decisive stroke. Parmenio reminds me of Kenny from South Park... "Okay, Team A will strike where the enemy is weak and rout them, gaining all the glory at little risk. Team B will just have to sit there and take it up the (ahem) until the enemy collapses. Team A will consist of Alexander, Ptolemy, Seluceus, and Antigonous. Team B will consist of ... Parmenio."

[2] I believe that this battle-cry actually became used in 1683 after the relief of Vienna, but I've appropriated it some 200 years early for story's sake.

[3] This was largely true. There was no way I was going to win against the tidal wave of soldiers that was getting ready to boil up out of Anatolia.

[4] A quote from Anselm (1033-1109) book: Cur Deus Homo (Why God Became Man)

[ Edit ... Removed Wurttemburg attacking Hum; this doesn't happen till later, an overenthusiastic scribe just couldn't wait. Grr. Sadly, the disastrous naval battle of the Adriatic has to stay. ]
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Catching our breath

This is an OOC post to give an idea of what's what in Europe at the end of the First War of European Liberation.

First, and foremost, Austria herself:


Note that Austria once again is the Big White Blob. We have earned it, nicht wahr?

Things to note...
* Where did Sopron come from? It revolted to us during the confusion of the war or thereabouts, when Poland-Lithuania took massive chunks away from poor Hungary.
* Austria has no "heartland" ... that is, if you look closely, there is not one province without either a coastline or a foreign border. That makes us nervous.
* While Austria took white (for purity), the Papal States took Austria's old red (for the Blood of the Lamb). We'll be seeing more of these guys... soon.

The Enemy:


The Ottoman Empire is neither down nor out

Things to note:
* Karaman (north coast of Anatolia) is allied to the Ottomans. Candar has good relations with them.
* Crimea is allied to Ottomans.
* I'd hoped that the Otts would focus East -- away from us! -- but, as we'll soon see, that is not the case.
* Naxos and Knights hate the bejabbers out of me, but they won't say why.

Western Europe:


The West is a very dangeous and unsettled place.

Things to note:
* Both France (blue) and Burgundy (purple/gray) are tough and aggressive.
* Savoy (light gray) looks pretty unassuming now, but hoo-boy, does that change! That's foreshadowing, yes, very lit'ry.

Eastern Europe:


This is a very dangerous arena to play in

Things to note:
* Poland (pink) and Lithuania (purple-gray) are huge, nasty, and allied. I'm tempted to ally with Poland, just to keep them from attacking me, but then they'd drag me into wars against my future vassals in Germany. Arrgh.
* Tiny Riga (under the "Pause" button, heh heh) is our best friend ... they even support us for Holy Roman Emperor! I don't know how to protect them from Poland-Lith.


So, now I need some advice, O Loyal Readers. My main problem is to convert Serbia (and in the future a bunch of other provinces) to Catholicism, so I need missionaries, but I'm afraid to go too Narrowminded, as I don't want to fall behind in technology. Here are my sliders:


Remember the overall goal: Smash the Ottomans and win over Germany to my side with Blushing Austrian Maidens (tm). I also wouldn't mind getting some traders to succeed, though that may be more a function of bad reputation. Any advice is appreciated.
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