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CatKnight

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Lords of the Danemark

RoyalFlagSm.gif


Prelude

When Valdemar IV ascended to the Danish throne in 1340, he found his royal demesne reduced to a handful of estates in northern Jutland. The rest of what we would consider Denmark was held in 'mortgage' by various Danish or Germanic nobles who successfully ruined the country to the point where Denmark as a royal entity ceased to exist for eight long years.

Christopher II

No one could call his father's reign a success. Christopher II (1320-1326, 1329-1332) took the throne after signing agreements which crippled his power. Mortgaging estates wasn't anything new in medieval Denmark, but now he lost his tax base which not only prevented him from buying back any estates, but forced him to mortgage more to make ends meet.

Taxes imposed by Valdemar II were repealed. Christopher couldn't force his nobles to fight or outfit troops for foreign campaigns. On the other hand, he had to ransom any nobles captured within a year. He couldn't tax church property, nor fine or imprison bishops without papal consent. He also couldn't make any decisions without their consent - all while making required payments on the extant mortgages.

He responded by heavily taxing the peasantry, who naturally resented this. A rebellion led by Counts Gerhard III of Holstein and Johann I of Holstein-Kiel overthrew him in 1326. They then forced his successor, twelve year old Valdemar III, to cede Southern Jutland to Holstein.

Three years later Christopher returned at the head of a small, easily crushed army. Peasants in Skane begged Magnus IV of Sweden for protection and he happily took them in.

Count Johan returned Christopher to his throne, but he had no power whatsoever. Jutland was mortgaged to Count Gerhard for 100,000 silver marks which had to be paid back all at once for him to return the land. Johan took Fyn and Zeeland. Mercenaries burned his house and he died broken and ruined as a prisoner at Alholm Castle.

Gerhard

As stated earlier, for eight years chaos reigned. Denmark ceased to exist as a political entity. The Danish people belonged to either the King of Sweden, the Counts of Holstein, or various mortgage holders.

The most infamous of these turned out to be Gerhard. His brutal repression of peasant uprisings through Jutland triggered nationalist (or at least regional) sympathies which united peasants and gentry into a growing resistance. Pirates at sea as well as his own creditors added to the chaos while Imperial nobles rallied around young Valdemar IV's attempts to claim his birthright.

nielsebbesen.jpg

Niels Ebbesen

Gerhard was prepared to step down in exchange for having his debts dealt with, but before negotiations could begin in earnest a rebellion erupted in northern Jutland. While campaigning a squire turned folk hero, Niels Ebbesen, snuck into his camp and killed him. His sons continued negotiations and yielded their claims in exchange for a favorable settlement.

Valdemar IV

Valdemar (b 1320, r 1340-) spent much of his childhood in Imperial Bavaria biding his time as Denmark fell apart around his father. As a young man he won growing support for his restoration to the throne from nobles either worried about Holstein's power or the lawlessness on Germany's northern frontier. An assembly at Viborg proclaimed him king on June 21. Through marriage he now controlled about one fourth of Jutland.

ValdemarIV.jpg

Valdemar IV

He realized that his power, and Denmark's very survival, depended on regaining the territory 'mortgaged' in previous generations. He used his wife's dowry and crushing taxes on the peasantry to retake lost estates. In the late 1340s the bishop of Roskilde gave Copenhagen city and castle to the king which gave him some control over Sound tolls. He paid off numerous Holsteiners in exchange for central Jutland, and when money ran out he resorted to force. He sold Danish Estonia to the Teutonic Knights for 19,000 silver marks and took Nyborg Castle through trickery.

Not all went well, of course. He launched an inconclusive crusade against Lithuania in 1346 then went on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem without papal permission. The latter earned him a place with the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre and Clement VI's censure. Then, in 1348 the great calamity of the late Middle Ages slammed into Jutland.

Legend states a ghost ship brought the Black Plague. The crew and passengers were dead, but eager looters boarded the ship and brought it back with them. For two years it cut through Denmark like a scythe reducing the population by at least one third. Valdemar remained healthy and reclaimed more land from his sickened rivals. He refused to reduce taxes despite having less people to farm the land. Up until now nobles more or less tolerated Valdemar's efforts to consolidate his power, but as they saw their own income decrease while taxes remained steady, unrest increased.
In 1354 he met with nobles to work out a peace arrangement. It didn't work when rebellions continued while Valdemar simply ignored the terms.

Meanwhile Erik "XII" revolted against his father, Magnus IV of Sweden. Scanian nobles and bishops eager to escape taxes championed his cause while local magnates in Lapland hoped to increase their autonomy. In a classic case of 'cutting off his nose to spite his face', Magnus promised to return Helsingborg Castle (and so effectively all of Skane) to Denmark in exchange for Valdemar's help. Two weeks before Christmas he agreed.

OpeningScreen.gif

January 1356

The Year is 1356

Valdemar IV, "Atterdag" ('Day Again'), spent his adult life restoring Denmark from the brink of extinction to prosperity. While his methods could best be described as ruthless, no one doubted his effectiveness. He'd restored much of the land lost by his father and done much to restore royal prestige and power.

Denmark is slowly awakening from her nightmare.

It is a time of enlightenment.

It is our darkest hour.(1)

*********

(1) - Honorable mention to whoever can tell me what I'm paraphrasing with the last three lines.
 

CatKnight

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RoyalFlagLg.gif

House Estridsen
Royal Arms of Denmark


Hail and well met!

This sojourn will take us (obviously) to fourteenth century Denmark using the MEIOU:pH Mod (v 4.2, using HTTT 4.1b from 2010/04/29).

I first downloaded MEIOU after reading 'Children of the Sun' by Malurous. Some parts of what the MEIOU team has put together look incredible and in limited play I found it very immersive - though somewhat intimidating due to the large number of provinces. Unfortunately my older computer had trouble with its intensive graphics and so I put any thought of actually writing a MEIOU AAR aside...

...until this weekend when I bought a new laptop that seems to handle MEIOU just fine.

As for Denmark, I longed to return to Europe after my last two AARs (India and Japan), and looked for a country that was small enough to be challenging, but large or powerful enough not to be easily crushed if I choose to roleplay a bad decision or three.

In 1356 Denmark is coming back from near extinction. Valdemar IV has built a regional power through cunning and ruthlessness. He only needs to regain Skane to restore Denmark to prominence and secure a foothold on the Scandinavian peninsula. As it so happens, 1356 sees Valdemar begin his campaign against Erik of Sweden to do precisely that.


I apologize in advance to any nice Danes out there who are about to watch me butcher their history. Obviously once Valdemar dies all bets are off.


House Rules

As you may know if you've read my previous works, I try to role play my rulers for better or worse. I also try to avoid exploits, though I may inadvertently run into some especially as I'm not that experienced with MEIOU. I don't play that far ahead of my writing, so feel free to offer comments and/or advice, bearing in mind that I try to keep my exploits plausible as opposed to a world conquest.

MEIOU settings are default.

Welcome to Denmark. Long may we remain.
 

jjja494

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I'll read, but Grr I want the beta testers to be done so I can play this on DW...
 

Milites

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Ah, Valdemar Atterdag, the restorer and upholder. He was quite possibly the greatest king to ever have sat upon the Danish throne - although sadly it seems MEIOU hasn't altogether recognized this (4/5/6 - wtf?). I enjoyed your last few AARs Catknight (I still have the pictures I took at Hampi to show you) and I trust the Danish history won't be butchered too badly.

A fun thing about the nickname of Valdemar IV is that some historians believe it to have origins in the Low German phrase 'ter Tage' which IIRC translates into a something akin of a resigned ''such times we are living in"
 

morningSIDEr

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I greatly enjoyed your Vijaynagar AAR thus another AAR from yourself is excellent news, especially with MEIOU thrown into the mix. Thus I'm very much subscribed and looking forward to this.
 

Avindian

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A fascinating start; I will follow, as I'm trying to see how good this mod is, for the day when DW does work with it.
 

Malurous

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Well, you're pretty much forcing me to follow this, aren't you? :p Seriously, I'm happy to have introduced more people to this great mod and it's cool to see more AARs using it.

Denmark indeed has an interesting 1356 start, looking forward to this.

Oh and just out of curiosity regarding MEIOU performance, would you disclose the specs of your new laptop?
 

CatKnight

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jjja494: I'm looking forward to seeing what MEIOU can do with DW.

EnragedKiwi: It's an interesting opening. Of course, my inexperience with MEIOU will show real soon.

Boris ze Spider: I enjoy MEIOU, though as I mentioned in the prelude all those provinces can be intimidating and hard to follow. I like the mechanics Gigau et.al. have put together.

Milities: As you'll see in the next post, I decided 4/5/6 was too low for Valdemar. I gave him a small boost. (ADM 7)

One of the problems I face when writing these AARs is, barring a great deal of research, it's hard to find the level of detail I'd like. For example, I knew 'Atterdag' had an alternate meaning in low German, but the source I read completely missed the resigned tone so it didn't make sense to me. I note the non-English wikis usually have significantly more detail than the English one. Unfortunately I'm monolingual.

morningSIDEr: Welcome!

Avindian: I'm not the best source for 'how good a mod is,' as I don't write gameplay style and I'll purposefully make less-than-bright mistakes. Still, I'm adding more pics than I usually do so you can see the beautiful graphics. Still, welcome aboard!

Morrell8: Good to see you!

Omen: This Denmark is weaker than the one we're used to with a 1399 start. Let's see if we can fix that.

Malurous: Yes, you've discovered my evil plot. :)

I think the big difference is RAM, which jumped from 2 GB on my old refurbished laptop to 4 GB.

*******

COMMENT: I've split this first post into two as I apparently had much more to say than I thought. I'll probably post again tomorrow or Monday.

This is also more graphics heavy than you might be used to from me, though I imagine that'll slack off a bit once we get into high gear.
 

CatKnight

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Lords of the Danemark

RoyalFlagSm.gif


Chapter I: Valdemar IV
Part 1: Erik Magnusson's War (1356-1357)


Preparations for War

As historians, we are fortunate that one of the men appointed to the Rigsraadet (Privy Council) early in Valdemar's reign was Henning Podebusk. He was a natural mediator who easily bridged the gap between his headstrong sovereign and the Danehof, ('Court' - a sort of early parliament) which slowly transformed into the protector of nobility and clerical rights as well as the natural center of any resistance to Valdemar's rule. He was also a gifted writer and his diaries, at first informal and somewhat personal, became the beginning of the famed Roskilde Chronicles which greatly enhance our understanding of Danish history from about 1353 until the Reformation.

Another influential member of the Rigsraadet was Magnus Lovenorn who emerged as the king's marshal in 1352. Lovenorn was part of Ebbesen's raid against Count Gerhard in 1340 and too old to fight, but he proved to be a master at making do with next to nothing. During the early years of Valdemar's reign, when he had next to nothing and committed that much to buying back his homeland, Lovenorn traveled the countryside finding nobles loyal to the Danish cause and convincing them to outfit troops. When those ran out he hired several mercenary companies which he then had Valdemar use as 'forlorn hopes' while storming enemy strongholds. Many companies simply died while Danish troops remained safe. Others were so decimated they had no chance of securing payment for contracts Lovenorn had no intent of honoring.

1356Advisors.jpg


Up until Erik Magnusson's rebellion in Sweden, Valdemar hadn't faced a serious enemy in combat. He'd performed quite well in small scale actions against hostile magnates and indifferently against Lithuanian pagans with little organization or structure. Erik had the support of Swedish nobles who despised his father as well as bishops fed on rumors of King Magnus' homosexuality. His army, like Denmark's, relied on peasant levies supported by a handful of militiamen with better training and equipment, as well as armored knights. (In game: Western Medieval Infantry and Chevauchee)

Facing a foe of this scale required more money, which Valdemar wasn't shy about taking from peasants and traders too weak to resist. He also imposed a tax on beer, mead and other 'spirits' arriving from Germany or other Hanseatic ports. Fortunately it wasn't a brutal tax and lacked the heavy-handedness seen elsewhere, but it was noticeable and alarmed those favoring a weak monarch.

1356Economy.jpg

1356Liquor.jpg


(I couldn't reconcile Valdemar's legacy with an ADM 4. I raised it to 7. While he overtaxed his peasants and encouraged unrest, you don't buy back your country from a OPM to regional power while holding nobles and clergy at bay without being skilled. For various reasons I thought DIP 5/MIL 6 was justified and left them alone.)

Externally, Valdemar solidified his alliance by offering his first surviving daughter, Ingeborg, to the Swedish Duke of Kronoberg on the 'Scanian' border. He betrothed his younger daughter, Margrethe, to Haakon VI of Norway (Magnus' younger son.)

At Nyborg Castle on Fyn, the Danehof plotted. A large portion of the nobility consisted of Holsteiners and other Germans who profited during previous years of misrule. While they'd sworn oaths of fealty to Valdemar, they expected the son to be as weak as the father. When he proved adept at regaining mortgaged lands they worried. When he taxed them heavily despite declining revenue they grew angry. When he crushed the occasional revolt with surprising ease they feared and saw Holstein itself as their salvation. The Danehof opened negotiations to, at best, have Holstein serve as a balance against Valdemar's ambitions and, at worst, replace him entirely.

1356OpeningDiplomacy.jpg



Erik Magnusson's Rebellion, Part I

As we have seen, Magnus IV promised Helsingborg Castle in exchange for Valdemar's help against his son. Control of Helsingborg practically guaranteed all of Skane and so fit nicely with the Dane's ambition of regaining land lost by his father. What one may find remarkable here is that Valdemar, who outwitted and outlasted a dozen local magnates, was so easily fooled by what many considered an incompetent monarch. (Magnus: A3/D3/M3) He would soon learn a harsh lesson in basic politics.

Regardless, Valdemar invaded Skane in the dead of winter with nine thousand men hoping to catch Erik off guard. He landed on January 13, 1356 expecting to surprise the prince only to find he'd also seized the initiative and now sat in front of Kronoberg with four thousand.

(Unfortunately my screen capture program didn't get this one, though you can follow the action by looking at later screenshots. Basically I crossed the straits into Skane, while the Sverige army ignored me and went into southern Sweden.)

Magnus was caught off guard and struggled to force reluctant nobles to take the field. In lieu of fighting he reiterated his promise to yield Helsingborg Castle and ordered 'loyal' towns to open their granaries and warehouses to the Danish army.

1356WarSubsidies.jpg


By summer the Swedes took the field with 7,000 men. After investing Kalmar on the Scanian east coast they relieved Kronoberg in a fierce battle. Subsequent action brought them to Halland near the Norwegian border where Erik's army surrendered. By mid September Helsingborg was in Valdemar's hands while all of Skane had either surrendered or was under siege. The front line shifted to Finland where Valdemar's fleet of twelve galleys and six cogs blockaded a rebel navy one third that size. All would have gone well if the Danehof remained quiet.


Unrest and Revolt

At Nyborg Castle, Henning Podebusk fell under the Danehof's influence. This wasn't surprising, for with all of Valdemar's strengths he tended to obsess about his current project to the detriment of everything else. In this case he had settled in Helsingborg to oversee the war and ignored the home front. Into this vacuum the Daneholf continued their bid to ally with the duchy of Holstein.

Through the summer they traded missions, all the while assuring Duke Niklas von Schauenberg that they were the true power in Denmark. Matters reached a head when the Duke of Vendsyssel offered his daughter to the duke's son along with a handsome dowry.

1356HolsteinPlots.jpg

(Let's see...RM, Give and receive access, guarantee independence, and finally a gift)

Forging a pact with Holstein was bad enough. The fact Niklas was son of Gerhard, one of the men who ruined Christopher II, made it intolerable. When Valdemar learned of the plot he sailed home, sans army, and declared Vendsyssel a renegade. Podebusk tried to calm him with reassurances that a strong southern ally would ensure Denmark's security while reassuring angry nobles. He suggested renewing ancient claims on Osel instead of pursuing claims on southern Jutland.

1356NewMission.jpg


Valdemar had none of it. He insisted that Holstein stole southern Jutland (Schleswig province) when Gerhard forced the twelve year old Valdemar III to sign it away in 1329. Further, he'd sold Danish Estonia to the Livonian Order earlier in his reign. He saw no value in renewing the claim. He wanted to avenge Danish royal honor. It's a tribute to Podebusk's diplomatic skills that he saved his own position, let alone held his king at bay long enough for his temper to settle. Rather than go through with his initial plan of summarily arresting and executing the entire Danehof, he settled for ordering Vendsyssel to surrender his titles and person.

1356ValdemarReacts.jpg


Duke Johan of Vendsyssel declared independence and appealed to Holstein for protection. Niklas von Schauenberg had his own problems regarding trade disputes with the powerful Hanseatic League and chose to stay neutral. Vendyssel's most loyal retainers were fighting in Skane and didn't learn of the 'rebellion' until the matter was already decided. This left Johan with a few thousand irregulars who tried unsuccessfully to subdue those castles still loyal to Valdemar.

Through the winter of 1356-57 the war continued its lazy course. Johan's men marched about more or less unmolested as Valdemar chose to raise fresh soldiers (paid for by the frightened Danehof) rather than recall his army and give up on Skane. Indeed Holger Krabbe, a commander who'd proven himself at Helsingborg, led four thousand men into Varanais Suomi (western Finland) to force Erik to surrender.

By April Valdemar's new army was ready. He pushed three thousand well-equipped, but raw soldiers at Vendyssel. With him marched thirteen year old Christopher, the heir apparent. Christopher was a large brute. A naturally quiet and introspective child who grew flustered when asked to speak, constant taunting by his peers and a father who was rarely home made him cruel, especially once he learned fists answered where his tongue could not. He shared his father's vision of a united, powerful Denmark, and if he succeeded would no doubt have become the classic warlord.

It was not to be. The Battle of Vendyssel turned into a basic medieval brawl with neither army trained well enough for any tactics more advanced than 'charge.' Vendyssel's center quickly broke. Christopher, in nominal command of the center, charged and found himself flanked. An axeman killed his horse and split his helm asunder. (I tried to add Christopher as heir since, though he didn't outlive his father, he was alive and well in 1356. For whatever reason it didn't take, so I need to get him out of the way.)

King Valdemar's wrath was terrible. He won the initial battle losing some four hundred to 1,700 rebels. The remaining three hundred, including Duke Johan, surrendered after being promised leniency. Valdemar broke his promise almost immediately and ordered his men to butcher the enemy. It's unfortunate this was common enough during the medieval era. What wasn't so common was his ordering Johan and his two sons drawn and quartered as common criminals with the parts scattered through the realm.

What follows is perhaps the great romance of early Danish literature. Reminiscent of medieval French chivalric cycles, Pondebusk's writings took on a life of their own after his death making it hard to tell exactly what happened in the next few months.

We know that Valdemar was married to Helvig of Schleswig and had several children through the 1340s, only three of which survived any length of time (Christopher, Ingeborg and Margrethe). We also know that their marriage grew worse over time: She kept her own court and finally 'retired' to become a lay sister of Esrum Abbey in the early 1350s. Rumor at the time accused her of adultery. Pondebusk is silent about this charge, but with Valdemar away from home so much trying to rebuild his kingdom its perhaps understandable. Valdemar took a mistress named Tove who followed him on campaign.

Helvig's Redemption said:
....and great was their sorrow (at Christopher's death.) Valdemar therefore rode day and night, driving one horse after another into exhaustion, until reaching the gates of Esrum Abbey where he sought his wife, and... (after apparently singing her a ballad and gifting her with the fief of Vendyssel) ...forgave her. They then returned in a great procession to Vordingborg (his personal residence)...and she bore him a new heir.

The tale ignores certain evidence however: First, Helvig almost immediately went into 'confinement' with doctors lamenting her poor health. She wouldn't be seen again until after the child was born. Second, young Christian was born seven months after Valdemar 'forgave' her and yet seemed healthy enough. (Heir.) Ugly rumors spread about the child's parentage.


Swedish Betrayal

Having impregnanted..someone, Valdemar returned to the Helsingborg. By summer 1357, all of Skane had surrendered to Danish or Swedish armies. Erik Magnusson surfaced in Lappland to take command of Finnish levies completely unprepared for modern warfare. The Danes sieged the west coast and landed in Karelia while Swedes pounded at the center. Valdemar sent messengers to Scanian nobles offering mercy and semi-autonomy in exchange for switching sides. (Peace Treaty) Having witnessed his actions in Vendyssel they refused.

Magnus IV didn't want to chance them changing their mind and so promised Erik and those who supported him much the same. Negotiations continued through the summer into September 1357. By the Agreement of Kalmar, Erik would remain Sweden's heir. Other than a handful of territories Magnus demanded to secure his domain, Erik could keep the rest of 'his' territory as a personal fiefdom. Those nobles and bishops loyal to Erik could live in peace, while Magnus ridded himself of most of the men who troubled his reign.

1357SwedishBetrayal.jpg


Denmark received nothing. Nothing but a general assurance that Sweden would come to Denmark's aid in future wars. Valdemar continued occupying Helsingborg through 1357, but with nothing left to fight over he tore the castle down and abandoned it in November.
 
Last edited:

Malurous

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Very good start to the story. Those Swedish bastards! :mad:

Varanais Suomi

You're changing the "Proper" in Finland Proper (Varsinais-Suomi) into "Backup woman". I wouldn't necessarily point out a typo in Finnish (especially when the game isn't entirely correct as it lacks the hyphen) but the end result is too fun to ignore - I mean who wouldn't want a backup woman, just in case? :D
 

CatKnight

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Malurous: Wow. It's amazing what a missing letter or two can do to a word!

Boris ze Spider: No, in game I'm not surprised at all. Valdemar's rather upset though.
 

CatKnight

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Lords of the Danemark

RoyalFlagSm.gif


Chapter I: Valdemar IV
Part 2: We Built this Kingdom (1357-1361)


Smoldering Peace

As we've discussed, Valdemar reacted very poorly to being shut out of Skane. He returned home in late autumn and prepared for what he termed 'retribution.'

Henning Podebusk remained on the Rigsraadet despite his role in trying to forge a lasting alliance with Holstein. He continued to agitate in favor of taking back Osel from the Livonian Order and for awhile seemed confident of victory. He even forged an alliance with the Pomeranians which could be valuable in any extended war against the Baltic holy orders.

Innocent VI died after six years on the Papal throne in October. After a lengthy election Cardinal de Hautemer succeeded and took the name Pius II. De Hautemer, like his predecessor, was a Frenchman who ruled from Avignon and generally favored French policies. Also like Innocent VI, he supported the idea of Reconquista and re-authorized Castile's holy crusade against the Granadan Emirate.

Christian was born in November. Two days later Helvig emerged from 'confinement' looking surprisingly well which only added to speculation concerning the boy's parentage. She replied by having Tove, Valdemar's mistress, assassinated before turning the child over to a wet nurse. Later on Podebusk quoted her:
Helvig of Slesvig said:
That woman had poisoned enough people.

Valdemar didn't publicly react. Indeed, he proved as indifferent a father and husband as always and spent his days planning his next war. Through the winter of 1357-58 he built support for an 'extended campaign,' though remained unclear about his opponent. Podebusk reiterated his arguments: Holstein could be a powerful ally and a conduit to Imperial politics. A fair number within the Danehof were Holsteiners by birth or ancestry. Far better to settle in and rebuild or, failing that, to attack Osel and the Livonian Order. Osel Island could be used as a base for attacking Erik's holdings in Finland, while Holstein represented nothing but...

1358DoWHolstein.jpg

(A decision made easier because the Livonians are vassals of the Teutonic Order, so I wouldn't be able to peace them out separately.)


Retribution

Officially the war began over southern Jutland, an area ceded to Holstein by 12 year old Valdemar III in 1329 by force. Duke Gerhard of Holstein incorporated this area with Slesvig province. Now Valdemar IV claimed both by repudiating the 'false' treaty his predecessor signed and insisting Slesvig was part of his wife's dowry. Duke Niklas' allies included Mecklenberg as well as Erik Magnusson, who feared a strong Denmark reasserting their claims to Skane. This in turn brought in Magnus IV of Sweden who wanted to force his son's submission and saw nothing wrong with ignoring a treaty less than six months old.

1358Combattants.jpg


Holger Krabbe (F0 S1 M2 Sg0), who earned some notoriety in western Finland by actively seeking backup women, led the attack on Holstein. Valdemar himself stayed home, realizing chaos would result if he died before Christian was ready to take the throne. Instead, in a nod to the fuming Danehof, he gave command of the northern army to one of their favorites. Torbald Knutzon (F0 S2 M0 Sg1) was a mercurial soul with a gift for unpredictability. Armies plunged north and south while the Danish navy blockaded Mecklenburg to keep them out of the war.

1358HolsteinBegins.jpg


Krabbe's five thousand men met at Aarhus in eastern Jutland. He then thrust into Slesvig and met Duke Niklas' army with militia holding the center and two thousand horse in reserve. Once Niklas' crossbowmen fired into the footsoldiers, Krabbe's nobles charged. Axemen boiled from the trees piercing the Holsteiners cutting off any retreat. The duke escaped to his fortress at Kiel and remained there for the duration of the war.

Knutzon received a surprise when he landed in Skane. He expected to find Erik's army or that of a vassal, numbering no more than one or two banners: Erik simply didn't have time to recover from the last war. Instead he found a full field army of German mercenaries under the command of 'Fredrik I', a Flem who claimed the Swedish throne by virtue of a distant relation to Birger Magnusson (r 1290-1318), Magnus IV's father who died in exile.

This was a much closer battle with little in the way of tactics. Infantry slammed into each other across a quarter of a mile while two thousand horse on each side milled about in the reserve awaiting their chance for glory. The Danes gained the advantage through superior numbers and greater ferocity: While mercenaries held back killing blows or hesitated in the hope of ransoming noble prisoners, Knutzon's men had no such qualms. A lucky thrust on the right flank pierced all the way to Fredrik's banner, and when it felt amidst the crush of soldiers the Germans lost their paymaster and will to fight. Survivors fled north to unlucky Kronoberg only to be ridden down by Swedish knights.

1358OpeningShots.jpg


Here the war went into slow motion. Erik's vassals raised a small army easily crushed at Halland by 3,000 Swedes. Valdemar invested the rest of Skane and took back what was left of Helsingborg Castle in July. The Mecklenburgers stubbornly insisted on reparations for lost trade from the Danish blockade. Erik himself sieged Aland Island in the Gulf of Bothnia with two thousand men, while his fleet played cat-and-mouse with the much larger Swedish navy preventing a counterattack.

1358JulyProgress.jpg

(Notice the Swedes don't have enough men to take Halland (Fort-2). This becomes important.)

Valdemar continued to run the war from Nyborg Castle and even took the time to look in on matters of state. He authorized a series of projects designed to begin reclaiming land along the Danish Archipelago from the sea. (Land Enclosure) That winter news of the Lollard heresy spread to Denmark.

The Lollards (possibly from the Middle Dutch 'lollaerd' - mumbler) were generally followers of John Wyclif, though over the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries the term would mutate to first include all heretics, then through Middle English to 'loller' (lazy vagabond, idler, fraudulent beggar) in the sixteenth. In 1359 Wyclif was a scholar at Oxford University whose critical review of the Church led him to believe it was corrupt. Temporal wealth, he argued, was incompatible with and led men away from true spirituality. Priests who 'feigned a power higher than the angels' weren't truly a part of Christ's church. He argued for predestination and consubstantiation - that the spirit of Christ attended communion as opposed to transubstantiation - the belief that the bread and sacramental wine at communion are the body and blood of Christ. He believed idolatry was everywhere, from the aforementioned transubstantiation to praying for the dead at 'roods and blind stones' and images of the crucifixion. Wars without some sort of special revelation were inherently evil, and certain crafts (goldsmiths and armorers for example) invited material sin.

In post-Plague Europe, with disease and famine rampant, taxes high, the gulf between the social classes wider than at any time since the Dark Ages and the rich doing everything in their power to remain so, anyone arguing the nobility or clergy were over privileged was inherently dangerous. The Popes at Avignon didn't move against Wyclif right away. Perhaps they hoped it would blow over, or it would give them an excuse to excommunicate hated England. Regardless, Valdemar wasn't taking chances and accepted a Portuguese cardinal's offer to coordinate his bishops' response. Teodosio de Faria (Inquisitor 6) was a small, dark man who ruthlessly punished dissent. Those priests and scholars who showed dissatisfaction with Pius II soon found themselves cast out or tried in canonical courts.

In January 1359 Holstein and Skane surrendered. This let Valdemar begin the second phase of his plan, which was to simply drive Mecklenburg from the war. The Mecklenburgers had nothing he wanted, but he couldn't move soldiers to Finland without risking their breaking his blockade and sending reinforcements into Holstein. Through the winter five thousand men landed in Pomeranian then crossed towards Gustrow.

On March 1, Holger Krabbe arrived outside of Gustrow with three thousand men to find his way blocked by four thousand Germans under Johann von Mecklenburg. Mecklenburg proved to be a rash general and marched headlong into Krabbe's crossbowmen. Nonetheless they persevered leading to a general melee. After several hours Krabbe withdrew, but darkness prevented Mecklenburg from following up. On the next morning he found himself facing two armies: Two thousand reinforcements appeared overnight and Krabbe launched a pincer attack. This time the Mecklenburger line buckled and Johann retreated to Schwerin.

By now Duke Niklas von Schauenberg of Holstein arrived at Vordingborg as a prisoner. At first he proved obstinate and insisted his 'army of lions' would spring forth and 'cut the head of the snake.' When no lions appeared and Slesvig surrendered in July, Schauenberg crumbled. Ultimately he agreed to the same terms Christopher II of Denmark had upon his restoration in 1329: House, meager salary, and the honor of playing puppet to Danish interests. With the Holstein matter decided, Johann of Mecklenburg agreed to peace weeks later.

1359HolsteinSurrenders.jpg

(Apparently Schleswig was the Holstein capital for some reason. I would have settled for that province, since that's where my core is, but I couldn't ask for it. So I took it all. The Empire has so far not argued, perhaps because their capital wasn't in the Empire (though Holstein province IS.)


End of Prince Erik's Rebellion

With Holstein under Danish rule, Mecklenburg pacified and the fortresses in Scania under Danish control the front shifted, yet again, to Finland. The sole exception to this rule was Halland where the Swedes continued to force the nobles there to yield with no effect.

At this juncture Magnus IV asked Valdemar to send his fleet into the Gulf of Bothnia to blockade Erik's navy or perhaps force it into a foolish battle.

Magnus IV said:
All of Skane shall be yours (as previously agreed). (Erik's) ships shall also be yours. My banners will strike through Finland and end this.

Valdemar IV said:
(I) agree with your proposal, however there will be a delay. I intend to send men to Karelia and points west. As you say, let us end this.

Helping to end Erik's rebellion made sense, but in Podebusk's writings he suggests an alternative reason for Valdemar's delay. As long as Eric's navy remained active in the Gulf, nine thousand Swedes hoping to counterattack through Aland Island remained in place. This prevented Magnus from reinforcing the siege at Halland and perhaps reincorporating it into his kingdom. It also served as revenge for Magnus' betrayal two years earlier.

1360May-Tactics.jpg

(The Swede navy is one province south. It's a predictable cycle: The Swede army moves towards Aland. The Sverige navy blocks the strait. The Swede navy comes out to intercept. The Sverige navy goes back to port. Swedes do the same and move their army. It might be a little gamey that I didn't use my navy to stop Erik's, but given Valdemar's desire for revenge and probable understanding of how war works in 'his' world, I could understand his hesitation.)

Karelia surrendered to Holger Krabbe in December. He then marched westward towards Uusimaa and encountered Inge Oxenstierna.

Oxenstierna was another pretender. He enjoyed Magnus IV's covert support in overthrowing his son and ruling Erik's domain. This would make Oxenstierna the most powerful nobleman in Sweden, though records suggest Magnus had no intent of honoring his end of the agreement. Following Erik's capture or death, Magnus planned to cut off Inge's support and take back his kingdom in the resulting chaos.

Inge squandered his subsidies on buying backup women of his own however, and could only muster two thousand mercenaries and Finn locals when Krabbe appeared. On April 28, 1360 they fought in -10 degree weather (+10 deg F) and snow where Inge's lighter troops lost their advantage in mobility. After two hours he crushed Inge's army resulting in several hundred prisoners.

Torbald Knutzon arrived on the Finnish west coast in June and destroyed two of Erik's armies in rapid succession. It was a foolish, desperate campaign. The first attack was to involve a second army arriving from Aland, but the Danish navy finally appeared in the Gulf to block Erik's transports. Therefore one thousand men arrived to fight Torbald's three and were annihilated. Another thousand, perhaps planned as decisive reinforcements, arrived two days later and suffered the same fate. Resistance collapsed.

Erik saw he couldn't win and so negotiated with his father. On August 10, 1360 they agreed to an antebellum peace with Erik once more his father's 'loyal and favored' son and liege lord to all of Scania and Finland. (White Peace) Magnus sent Valdemar an urgent letter glowing with praise and asking him to honor the truce and return his armies to Denmark. The king's response was terse and perhaps translates best in modern vernacular.

Valdemar IV said:

Instead he sent fresh levies to siege Halland and opened negotiations with Erik, who refused to consider giving up all of Skane.

By terms of agreement between father and son, Magnus should have intervened. Technically Erik was his vassal though he didn't pay tribute, scutage, or provide troops. Magnus didn't want to risk war with his aggressive neighbor however, and instead summoned Erik to Stockholm to work out a compromise.

What happens next is unclear. On his deathbed Erik accused his mother, Blanche of Namur, of poisoning him and his wife. Doctors believed it to be the plague and later scholars examining their records agree. The end result was Erik's death and Swedish unification. It would take years for Magnus to put down the last rebellions related to his son's aborted legacy.

This left Skane. With Helsingborg and Blekinge under Danish control and with an army nearby to enforce those claims there wasn't much point in arguing about those. Halland was a more sensitive issue, as Magnus himself annexed it during the darkest years of Christopher's reign. Local officials feared Swedish retribution as well as the taxes that set off Erik's rebellion in the first place and appealed for Danish protection. Valdemar curtly informed Stockholm that any lasting peace must include Halland. Magnus agreed.

1360EndWar.jpg

(Obviously a scripted event, though what triggered it I'm not sure. Historically Erik died in 1359. Skane and Blekinge immediately became mine while Viipuri in Karelia reverted to Sweden. Halland was initially Swedish, but at the beginning of November Sweden 'honored the agreement' which shifted ownership to me. Normally I'm not crazy about scripted events: It's useful for teaching history and I didn't mind it so much in EU2, but EU3 is another story. This one is probably necessary though to prevent Sweden from being nerfed.)

The agreement left Denmark as one of the strongest powers in northern Europe. In twenty years Valdemar took his kingdom from virtual extinction to dominance over the Baltic trade and completely erased the shameful aspects of his father's reign. Denmark now controlled all three straits between the Baltic and North Seas.

1360EffectsofEndWar.jpg


All that remained was Valdemar's restive nobles as well as peasants increasingly insecure and unhappy. Winning the war wasn't quite enough. If Denmark was to survive and prosper, he'd also have to win the peace.

1361JanPostWar.jpg

Denmark, January 1361
 

Malurous

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Well done. So how is it, everything but Holstein cored?

I agree that the scripted event in question is kind of necessary. The other option would be just representing Sweden as one nation from game start, and I find this division pretty fun.

Holger Krabbe (F0 S1 M2 Sg0), who earned some notoriety in western Finland by actively seeking backup women

:rofl: I actually literally laughed out loud. But hey, being a general is a good choice for guys like that - no better place for backup women than the campaign trail, right? :D
 

Omen

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Fascinating update. I love the combination of a lot of screenshots, gameplay additions and story.

You seem to be in a good place, with the mission to take Osel still active (unless I missed something). How are your relations with Norway?
 

morningSIDEr

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Mar 31, 2008
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Very good stuff. Valdemar is proving a very astute and able ruler, I had to chuckle at his simple, 'Make me.' response to Magnus. Very much enjoying the intrigues of court, by they the machinations of the Danehof or questions as to the parentage of Christian, questions which were resolutely answered by Helvig's ordered assassination I feel! Despite all of this, things seem to be going very well, you are in a strong position now and I rather think all those neighbouring Denmark will want to stay on good terms with Valdemar.