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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Peter Ebbesen

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Tales of the Rus: Chapter IX, "Where Have All The Soldiers Gone?"

shield_RUS.gif
- Images of War, 1734-1757
shield_RUS.gif



The Mughal War of 1734-1735
And it came to pass that the mighty Mughal Empire had pissed off the Russian Court once too many times, and the Tsarina Anna decided in her great wisdom to show the ragheads the taste of cold steel! Come fall 1734, a great host had been assembled, and it swarmed south into the region of Afghanistan with the goal of conquering Samarkand, Surkhandarya, and Kabul.

Alas, it was not to be. The Sultan of Constantinople began making threatening sounds demanding that Russia end its war at once, which were duly ignored, but rather more importantly, France, monster of the west, invaded Venice in the winter of 1734. The Asian forces being too far from Italy to affect the outcome directly received no more reinforcements, and it was a grateful commander who accepted the Mughal offer of Samarkand, Surkhandarya, and Kalat the following year, at a time when Mughal reinforcements were finally coming to bear and his armies were being swamped. Apparently, nobody had informed the Great Mughal that Russian forces were desperately needed elsewhere, for needed they certainly were.



The War of French Aggression of 1734-1737
The French would-be hegemon attacked Italy in the winter 1734-35, and invaded with overwhelming forces. The valiant Italians fough desperate rear-guard actions aided by the Russian expeditionary corps under the best Russian commander at the time, General Tottleben, whom a gypsy fortuneteller had once foretold would live until 1765. She proved to be fatally wrong, as it were.

In a devious move, France had neglected asking its lapdog, Austria, into the war, in an attempt to bar the anti-French alliance of Poland and Russia from overrunning Austria on the way to Venice, but the deviousness was of limited scope, as Poland and Russia declared war on Austria, to force open the path. Meanwhile, the Russian black seas fleet transported reinforcements back and forth from Kerch to Venice itself, reinforcing the Venetian defenders.

Alas, the relief of Italy was not to be. With all the Northern Russian armies marching south for the assault on Austria, and the Polish armies fighting the first major battles against the Austrian armies, Sweden declared war on Russia. In retaliation, Poland declared war on the Swedish ally Denmark, but that was of scant relief to either Russia or Italy. With 200,000 high-tech exceptionally well led Swedes pouring into Finland and the baltic provinces of Livland and Estland, the Tsarina had to, regretfully, recall her armies before they reached Austria, lest the Capital and Russia itself fall to the Swede.

Without Russia to provide the bulk of the forces, Poland chose to abort its invasion of Austria in order to prosecute the Danish war, and Italy was now wholly without reinforcements, save the 50K-60K transported by sea every five months from Russia, and they were in no way enough. With the massive Ottoman buildup on the Turkish-Russian border requiring a significant army presence in case of attack and an ongoing war in the north, there were sadly no more forces to be found. It was even considered to recall the Manchurian Expeditionary Corps, but the logistics of marching across half the world meant that it would, undoubtedly, arrive too late.

In the end, Tottleben fell to the French and Italy was forced to make peace with France giving up Liguria and Emilia.

Italy is Lost
russia_1736_05_19.jpg



The War In The West 1735-1738 and 1738-1739
Spain, a silent partner in the Franco-Austrian undertaking under suspicion of funding France's partners in crime (a suspicion strengthened considerably when Sweden, declaring war on Russia, claimed to do it on behalf of France AND Spain), was itself attacked by England who Portugal, in a furious colonial war that ended with Curacao ceded to the Netherlands and Tobago and Trinidad ceded to England. Thus did the two mightiest non-French allies go out of their way to avoid offending the French, abandoning Venice to her fate.

But peace was not theirs to choose. In summer 1738, the French declared war on England. Who knows what moves the minds of politicians? No sooner was Spain defeated, than it switched sides and joined England, the Netherlands, and Portugal in fighting France and Austria. This was probably the shortest war of the decade, as it ended within six months with a status quo ante peace and nary a shot fired. A very poor show indeed.



The War of Swedish Betrayal of 1735-1738
With the Swedes pouring into Finland and attacking the baltic in fall 1735 and the Russian armies enroute to Austria turning around and force-marching to the relief of the North, St. Petersburg itself came under threat. Hastily raised forces managed to stall the initial Swedish assault while taking dreadful casualties, but in summer and fall 1736 Sweden was ascendant, destroying several Russian armies to a man.

Fighting in Finland, 1736
russia_1736_10_02.jpg

Yet Russias's greatest general won though again. General Winter supported by untold thousands of hastily raised infantry eventually ground down the invaders, and by summer 1737 Russia began retaking the conquered provinces. Meanwhile, Poland had occupied Swedish Vorpommern, and was overrunning Jutland in its separate war with Denmark.

Turning the Tide, 1737
russia_1737_06_14.jpg

By 1738 the weary Russian forced had finally evicted the Swedes and stood poised to invade Sweden itself, but the Russian casualties had been immense, and there was little support for pressing the war to its ultimate conclusion. Peace was settled with Vorpommern ceded to Poland from Sweden, but peace did not descend upon Russia.

The main reason against continuing the attack into Sweden itself was self-evident: The Ottomans had finally launched their attack.



The Turkish Invasion of 1735-1738
Invading with an advance guard of 300,000 men, the 110,000 valiant defenders guarding the Southern border were rapidly defeated. Massive recruitment efforts began throughout Russia, despite the ever growing war exhaustiong, which was finally beginning to hurt, and the armies of the North, newly victorious against the Swedes, hastened to the south, but for a month after the destruction of the southern armies, the Turk was unopposed.

The Turkish Invasion, 1738
russia_1738_08_02.jpg

Soon, with Russian forces hurly piecemeal into the fray, the Turk took heavy enough casualties, that his advance was halted pending reinforcements. Unfortunately, reinforcements were not in short supply from the Turkish conscription centres.

Turkish reinforcements arrive
russia_1738_10_30.jpg

Where were the Polish alliance forces at this time? Safely back in Poland, polishing their boots. Apparently, the Polish king had, without consulting with Russia, made a deal with the Sultan. If the Sultan would wait until the end of the French War to attack, Poland would honour her treaty obligations in word - but not in deed. The Tsarina was NOT amused. Meanwhile, the Polacks had conquered Magdeburg and Mecklemburg from Denmark. In this her hour of need, her ally chose to forsake her. To her death in 1740, she never forgave the Polacks.

But Russia was not beaten yet. With the northern armies arising, and fresh recruits from Moscow arriving on a daily basis, the great battle was fought on the plains of the Crimea.

Battle of Kouban
russia_1739_03_22.jpg

Despite numerical superiority and inflicting severe casualties, the Russian forces were in the end destroyed to a man, and all thoughts of a quick victory were abandoned. The Turks had the upper hand, and the Russian army prepared for a long defensive war.

Yet it was not to be. The Turk, wiser than many had expected, offered to make peace immediately in return for Daghestan, which offer was immediately accepted. Russia had bled enough.

Peace descended on Russia as the armies were turned to the dreary task of suppressing the dozen rebellions that had sprung up during the war and left unattended due to greater pressures. It was a time of healing, and it was needed. It was also a time of building the first conscription centres, as Russia had finally caught up in military technology some twenty years after her neighbours. A time of healing, yes, but also a time of nurturing dreams of revenge.
 
Last edited:

Peter Ebbesen

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REVENGE IS MINE, Sayeth the Tsarina, 1743-1745
With the PTC making a mighty donation in the cause of world peace by financing the first four Russian conscription centres, the Russian army was slowly regaining its strength, and a new crop of peasant lads were learning the joys of the soldier's craft.

They were going to need it.

Following the brief reign of Ivan VI, a new Tsarina sat the Russian throne, Elizaveta I Romanov, and she had sworn to destroy the Swedes and level Stockholm. When the Swedish monarchy in 1743, in its search for a successor, turned to Denmark for a new crown prince, she wasted little time in raising a fresh army for a Northern campaign. Six months later, Russian troops marched through Finland for the invasion of Sweden. Revenge for the war of 1735-1738 was on hand. This time, Denmark chose to stand by Sweden, and Elizaveta I set out to destroy the armies of both nations. Poland was not called to help: This was personal.

Initially, the Danish and Swedish armies put up a good show, with the Danish running interference on the baltic coast forcing Russia to keep a large army in reserve to stop landings, but over the months the Scandinavian forces were whittled down by the superior Russian manpower and indifference to casualties.

War Situation After 9 Months of War
russia_1744_06_23.jpg

Fall 1744 saw Russian armies crush the Danish forces that had been harassing the baltic, and Denmark began supporting Sweden directly in Sweden itself. It was needed. The Russian forces were slowly conquering province by province, from North to South, both Danish and Swedish, while reinforcements flowed in. Despite an estimated 50% casualty rate of reinforcements due to attrition on the way, the reinforcements were proving too much to for Sweden to match, led as they were by the able Generals Fermor and A. Golitsyn.

Danish And Swedish Armies Broken, January 1745
russia_1745_01_12.jpg

Finally, the Danish and Swedish armies were annihilated, and the Tsarina demanding Lappland and Västerbotten from Sweden and Finnmarken from Denmark for peace. The haughty Swedish king refused, time and time again, as his nation crumbled around him and even the large fortress of Bergslagen fell to a determined Russian assault. Fermor was ordered to march on Stockholm and the Swedish king stunned the world by offering up Lappland, Västerbotten, and Gästrickland for peace.

Peace was sealed, and Sweden gained a reprive from elimination. For now.



Rebuilding 1745-1757
Finally Russia entered an area of peace and tranquillity under Elizaveta I, the Just. It sorely needed it. While the nation remained unstable, at least there were no wars. Inflation was up, population down, and badboy sky-high, but slowly Russia healed from its wounds.



Map of the World, 1757
russia_1757_map.jpg



Regarding a Potential Kalmar Union II

The current attitude in the Imperial Court is that Sweden must be destroyed, root and branch, for breaking the Treaty of Finland and warring against Mother Russia, and that given Denmark's actions in warring against Russia on behalf of the Swedes in the past a de facto surrender by the Swedish nation to Denmark will impact this very little.

And yet, relations with the Danish crown have in days past been good, and it is possible that the Danish kings have felt forced to support Sweden in her attacks on Mother Russia out of necessity, not out of hatred.

In these enlightened times, an alternative to dire warfare might just exist, and in her immense grace and kindness, the Tsarina is willing to put an end to hostilities with the Swedes, accept the creation of Greater Denmark, and - in the spirit of foregiveness - lay aside her vow to level Stockholm to the ground and exile the entire population to Siberia. Her demands are few, namely that the following provinces be ceded to Russia as part of the transformation, in order that a more aesthetically pleasing border can be formed in the North, and to put a final end to the damn pirates of Gotland, who have interfered with Russian shipping for two centuries:
  • Finnmark
  • Narvik
  • Jämtland
  • The island of Gotland

Greater Denmark And Russia - Living In Peace
russia_1757_greaterdenmarkplan.jpg

If the Danish king accepts this reasonable offer of reconciliation, and the Swedish king is intent on carrying through the unification, LET IT BE SO: PEACE WILL REIGN IN THE NORTH.

If the Danish King does NOT accept this offer of reconciliation and carries through the unification anyhow, the Tsarina of Russia will reaffirm her eternal enmity against the people of Sweden.
 

Wyvern

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France - Part 3 - France undone?


It was the first time Diego had left the PTC headquarters in over two years, he was the sort who preferred to operate in the background and not get his own hands dirty and the PTC headquarters gave him direct access to de Rico and so a ready means to influence all PTC activities in this time period, access he generally preferred not to be without. Times however were changing and if Diego was right the future of the Underground, perhaps the very future of time itself was in danger and Diego was going to have to get his hands dirty if he was going to have a chance of sorting it out.

He materialised on the Florida shore with his companions in the year 1738. The war between England and France had been progressing for some months now with French armies having penetrated only a short distance north and large British forces still opposing them. A smaller British force however had just landed in southern Florida and was beginning to march north. This was what Diego was interested in.

Gathering his companions together they set off through the swamps and after a short way met up with a group of natives. Their leader stepped forward flint spear at the ready before his face broke out in a smile. “Howdy Diego, this is an honour. What brings you out to sunny Florida, de Rico finally tire of having you around?”

“Good to see you’re alive too Reny. How you live in this swamp and actually enjoy it is beyond me.”

“After the steel of Washington I find I prefer a little nature. You should try it yourself some time.”

“So what have you to report, any sign of the British or French?”

“Aye we tracked the British landing, they’re not far from here. A large French force is heading towards them from the west whilst a smaller force sits to the east luring them into an ambush. Looks like the English commander is going to fall for it too, you here to warn them?”

“No, I care not for the English or the French in general, we’re after a different fish today!”

The small group of natives and Portuguese began heading north and west, travelling by day, sleeping by night. If it hadn’t been for the native guides the land would have eaten them up, but after three days travel they finally broke clear onto drier land and within sight of the English army. Tomorrow the armies would clash and Diego would see what his plan was good for.

Gunfire awoke them at dawn as enemy scouts began to clash, skirmishing continued throughout the morning until by noon the two armies were finally fully engaged. As Diego had predicted the English had been caught by surprise, expecting to fight a small force of perhaps 5 or 6 thousand men, they found themselves up against over 30,000 men with barely two thirds that number themselves. Before long hundreds, then thousands were dieing and it was clear the English morale was about to break.

“There!” shouted Reny, his sharp eyes spotting the French commander. “Looks like you were right you old dog, he’s commanding this engagement himself!”

Diego just smiled and began moving, he didn’t have time for a reply. The ambush had had all the marks of Napoleons genius about it, Diego was just glad he’d guessed right. Now it was time to see if his own ambush would work.

Diego began edging his companions slowly closer to the battle and Napoleons position, God I hope this works, the chance I’m taking… Aiming the short stubby gun he pointed it at Napoleon and fired. The shot was soundless, the minute dart embedding itself in the general’s flesh, yet the action seemed to echo forever in Diego’s mind. For one moment Napoleon remained sitting upon his horse as though nothing had happened, the next an expression of confusion passed across his face as he slowly crumpled forward and fell to the ground.

The loss of their commander didn’t turn the battle, the English were too confused and outnumbered for that, it did however allow a large contingent to escape south back into the swamplands. With the coming of night a lull settled over the landscape and Diego began the last and most perilous part of the plan, retrieving the body of the little general. He had expected this part to be the most difficult and he was up against a time limit, but passing the French guards did not prove difficult, the last thing the French expected was for someone to try and steel the body of their dead commander. Slapping a time disk on his wrist Diego quickly punched in the coordinates and they both vanished, leaving the desolate swamps of North America behind.

With the loss of Napoleon and the influence he had had over French foreign policy the spirit for foreign adventure soon departed and peace was signed between England and France. A few whispered words by Diego in PTC chairman de Rico’s ear had hastened it along but it had quickly become clear that without Napoleon the French had little stomach for a fight. They still kept a large presence in North America and in other French colonial areas, and the French armies would still outnumber all others, but French ambitions had turned insular again and as the weeks turned into months and months into years Diego breathed a sigh of relief, the crisis had been averted at least for now. He still had a problem though, one kept in the bowels of his sanctum. What to do with Napoleon, for in there lay a mystery. He had known that killing the little general was not an option available to him for the man had a role to play in the future, as all time travellers would know. Yet the preservation of the past was necessary for all who dwelt in it and most especially for those who travelled through it. It was ironic Diego thought that those deserters from the Time Corps like himself, who wanted no part in the armies activities in the past should end up doing their work for them. Now it seemed he would have to complete it and somehow return Napoleon to his own time and destiny, unless he mused he could use him for his own purposes now…?
 

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France covering the period 1757 - 1781


“Ah de Rico, Barnius my good man, just the person I was looking for!” Diego strode purposefully down the corridor and took the arm of the flustered chairman of the PTC in a friendly manner.

“Um err Diego?” de Rico squinted up at Diego, “I err was just..”

“Now de Rico, what have I told you, be aloof my lord it inspires our subordinates, you are the great leader of our organisation, our inspiration, our reason for being!” Diego gently held the arm of the old man steering him along the corridor. “You are the font of knowledge” he continued to flatter, “the thinker of great ideas, the setter of policy.”

“Of course, yes of course I am, and I was just thinking…”

“And we, your humble servants” Diego forged ahead, “are here to advise you and provide the information your learned intellect so justly deserves, and I have just such a morsel for you today.”

“Eh you do?” stammered the old man.

“I do indeed. You will remember that young man we captured from the French” he paused, “but of course you do how silly of me to remind you. Well a cunning plan will no doubt have occurred to you by now, why don’t we make use of this individual for our own end?”

“Umm yes right, err use him…” the old chairman stumbled along for a few more step gently leaning on his cane before muttering, “use who?”

Diego smiled inwardly, “the man’s name is Leon, a most capable individual I must say with considerable power in France. With the right inducement and control, why I think we can make good use of him to further our own profits for the PTC. Yes soon just as you command it you will see the armies of France marching against those merchants in Holland whilst we both watch the money roll in.”

“Err Holland yes Holland. Erm but aren’t they’re in our alliance? Oh I’m sure we don’t want France attacking our allies.”

Diego broke out in a great guffaw, clapping de Rico on the back before wiping a tear from his eye, “oh a nice one my lord, very good very good. That is of course the attitude we must strive to present to the public, but we both know the PTC exists to make a profit and if you’ll cast your eye to these charts I have here why you’ll see that the Dutch are competing against our merchants in a number of markets, markets we could exploit most profitably whilst they’re distracted with France.

“So” he continued, “leave it up to me and my strategic operations department and before long you’ll see another record increase in profits.” Chortling to himself Diego left the chairman to stumble along, the sound of his cane faintly clicking on the stone floor and slowly echoing in the distance. As well as the increased profits to the PTC which would indirectly benefit the Underground, Diego also had another motive. The Dutch would soon be shipping a great galleon full of artefacts; china, porcelain and other oddities from their colonies in the East Indies. Diego wanted that cargo and planned to have it intercepted during the confusion, he knew a buyer in the 21st century who would pay a great deal for such treasures.

There was an element of risk of course as in any plan that offered great profit, but what was life without risk? Especially when the profits stood to be so great. Besides he Diego now controlled the great Napoleon didn’t he? Without Diego Napoleon was nothing, a man stranded out of his time and he’d proved he could take down the little general whenever he wished. Yes Napoleon would be a fool not to cooperate. He would order him to take France to war against the Dutch and with his old general buddies Diego was sure he could accomplish it. Portugal would of course have to defend their ally but assistance would be somewhat lax and slow in coming from the PTC. There was a risk though, Diego didn’t want France actually routing the Dutch, no that wouldn’t be good, so he would therefore have to make sure de Rico alerted their allies to the expected French attack. With the right preparations France and her vassal Austria wouldn’t be able to cause too much harm and in the mean time both the PTC and the Underground would accomplish their goals!

As with the best of plans, this like so many others failed to survive first contact with the enemy, and in this case the enemy turned out to be Napoleon. He was civil, oh he was cooperative, he agreed to all Diego’s demands promising to fulfil all that was required of him to the letter in return for passage from this time period, yet really Diego should have been suspicious, he was dealing with one of the greats of history after all. Napoleon returned to France with a PTC bodyguard. He took up his old contacts where he had left off and began once more spreading his brilliant influence across French policy, yet all things take time and especially such a great venture as this so that it was three more years before Napoleon and France was ready. Yet then it wasn’t the Dutch that Napoleon had France declare war on, to Diego’s horror it was Portugal and his beloved PTC. Napoleon it seemed was after Diego himself! Diego was both Napoleon’s nemesis and salvation, for only through Diego could he regain the power of the timelines. To the weak King Louis he had given one objective; conquer the Portuguese mainland and capture the heads of the PTC. Amongst them he was sure to find that which he sought.

And so it was that in the year 1760 France declared war upon Portugal and not on the Netherlands as Diego had hoped and over 300,000 men marched across the Spanish countryside towards the small country nestled along the west coast of Espania. With the Dutch there stood the ancient treaty drawn up so long ago that promised both nations and absence of warfare upon the others soil. Napoleon persuaded the frail King Louis that he could rely on this for a quiet eastern border whilst Portugal was routed, and he promised him even more, the friendship or at least neutrality of Spain for he knew that the Spanish King chaffed at the shackles placed on him by England and regarded his place as truly being with his cousins in France. Yet not even the great Napoleon could control all things and the Dutch invaded the French countryside anyway along with England, causing the withdrawal of much needed reinforcements from Portugal to march northwards instead. There, in Flandern and Picardie, Brabant and the swamplands of Zeeland did the great battles of the war take place. With the French artillery corps all stuck in Portugal, the raw recruits of the King’s army were brutally defeated all along the Dutch border by the massed artillery of the England and Dutch armies. Time and again Louis sent fresh men into the fray only to see them destroyed in their thousands, but Louis did have competent commanders besides Napoleon who recognised the need to change tactics and in time the invaders were destroyed, their armies routed as new artillery divisions were recruited.

Back in Portugal Diego had recovered from his initial shock. De Rico had not been so lucky, he had died of a stroke the poor man when Lisbon came under siege. No doubt one of the de Rico family nephew’s would arrive from the colonies eventually, but for now it left Diego in full command of policy. The first requirement was to remove the French armies from Portugal to which suitable payments were sent to the English for their assistance in accomplishing. After that he needed to track down Napoleon except that the little brute seemed to have gone into hiding. Worse news was then to arrive when the Spanish broke with the PTC alliance and joined once more their Bourbon brothers.

With France gaining ascendancy now in the Netherlands and all of Portugal once more under assault this time from Spain, desperate actions were called for. If Holland was to fall surely the French would redouble their offensive against Portugal and all would be lost. Diego therefore used his authority to dip into the PTC funds and sent a very large bribe to the Polish King to bring the weight of Poland, Russia and Venice to bear on the French and Austrian flank.

As the months passed one by one turning into years war continued to rage across Europe. In Austria the Poles were supreme, conquering great swathes of territory whilst France was busy fending off renewed offensives by England and the Dutch around Flandern whilst battling Venice and Russia in Italy. With the turning of the years Diego slowly began to breathe a sigh of relief, with the assistance from the east it was clear the tide had finally turned. Austria was defeated, her lands laid to waste or under Polish and Venetian control. French armies dominated Italy with all of the north under siege though now cities taken, whilst other armies storming Polish positions in western Austria and held the northern border with the Netherlands secure. Even so Austria’s loss spelt the end, for with their defeat the Poles would be able to direct all their forces freely against France. Demanding his due from Austria without consultation to his allies Poland negotiated the provinces of Erz and Bohemia from the Archduke leaving Austria at peace with Poland but still fighting Russia and Venice. Now the Poles marched on France with an army of 400,000 storming the great fortress of Hessen on the French border.

The 200,000 Frenchmen sent to stop them were no match for this colossus and the Polish King was ceded the province from France in return for peace, a peace sorely needed. When Diego heard of the Polish abandonment he flew into a terrible rage the like of which his colleagues had never witnessed for Diego was normally the calmest of souls, yet now with Poland out of the war Venice looked once more to be abandoned. In one of those quirks of fate, unexplainable by any reason apparent to man, the Ottoman Sultan came to the Doge’s rescue, allying with Venice and Russia and helping to repulse French forces from Italy, though not before France had re-conquered Istria for her loyal vassal. Even so it was clear nothing could now be accomplished in the east and peace was finally settled between the former warring parties for a sum of around 400 ducats transferred to the Russian purse. Poland conversely now found herself with neither allies nor friends, her former allies having been aghast at the Kings greed and abandonment, a greed Poland would come to rue.

In Portugal Diego was equally aghast. Here he was now with Spanish forces besieging his stronghold and the Algarve already under their control. In Europe France was once more free to direct her whole attention upon the Netherlands and there was no one left in Europe to save him. Even if France was tired of war by now Diego knew Napoleon would never give up whilst there was a glimmer of a chance of capturing Diego or his colleagues. He must therefore find Napoleon first even if it meant giving him part of what he wanted, a ticket out of this time.

Desperation can lend inspiration to the best of men and this was true in Diego’s case. In this war Napoleon had left it’s execution to the regular French commanders obviously fearing what had happened in North America. Diego had had his agents scouring the French countryside but he realised Napoleon would still need to maintain some control, some influence over the French commanders and especially the Royal court if he were to keep the war going. If he couldn’t find Napoleon then perhaps Napoleon would come to him? All he really had to do was cut off Napoleons contact to the French King!

Once realising the simplicity of the solution Diego cursed himself for not thinking of it sooner. This wasn’t a time to be subtle, let Napoleon know what he did and let him curse him. And if he tried to interfere well that would pinpoint him to his men as well. So it was that without the interference and influence of Napoleon goading King Louis and his generals, and with the common people of the kingdom crying out for peace, King Louis eventually signed a white peace with the Portuguese alliance bringing the war in Europe to a close after six years of fighting. France was shattered her economy in ruins and the economies of her allies Spain and Austria equally smouldering. All wanted peace.


A time of retribution

What happened to Napoleon? Did he quietly live out his life and swallow his bitter defeat? Did he try once more to take France to war knowing that Diego and the PTC had the French court under constant surveillance? Diego constantly asked himself these questions gnawing on similar thoughts during the months after the war.

The cost of the conflict had been astronomical and with the new chairman taking over Diego found himself no longer in favour. Loses to his own organisation had also been considerable both in wealth and individuals. The man sent as a bodyguard with Napoleon had unsurprisingly never returned and his loss especially gnawed on Diego’s mind. Had Napoleon captured him, tortured him? Had he managed somehow to force him to take Napoleon to another time for the individual had also been a member of the Underground? Diego had insisted on placing many security measures on the mans time disc just in case, but it was possible, just barely possible that Napoleon might figure a way around their use. In such a case there was only one time to which he could have gone to, the period the Underground used as their secondary base in the year 1780. Those coordinates would have been pre-set into the disc and of all the possibilities the idea that Napoleon had departed to that period was the only likely possibility.

Diego made his decision, it was time to relocate his operations, whether Napoleon was there or not he would travel forward to the year 1780 and join up with his colleagues in the PTC during that period. From there he could resuming the search for Napoleon from a new base of power, his operation here was in a shambles.


Napoleon staggered out of the forest, his shirt torn and forehead bleeding. His arm hung limply at his side, a nasty burn blistering the blackened skin where a laser had cut harshly into his flesh. He had barely escaped. Fool he shouted at himself. Why did you try to reach the king? You knew Versailles was being watched! But that they would fire on him in broad daylight with the palace guards there to see. Well he was just thankful he carried the disc he’d taken from the PTC bodyguard, without it he’d have died or been captured for sure. The time disc didn’t work as his other however, he could only get it to register a single set of co-ordinates, co-ordinates Napoleon had been loathed to try out in case they resulted in a trap. When the laser beams had begun criss-crossing the air in front of him and stabbing into his arm such worries had fled his mind.

January, 1781 - that was the year he had come to. Over the weeks and months of his convalescence he learned much. Another war had just ended in Europe, a war of revenge most said against the vile Poles. Abandoned by former allies and with Austria, France and Spain baying for blood to avenge the losses suffered a decade earlier, war had eventually broken out in February 1778. France had attacked through Hessen whilst Spain unloaded 1000 cannon and accompanying forces and stormed the fortress city of Danzig on the Baltic coast. All along the Austrian border armies clashed and were slowly worn down.

The Poles had never had a chance. The bulk of their forces had desperately tried to stop the French advance at Hessen, numbering 300,000 strong yet even so they had eventually succumbed to French numbers in a battle that raged throughout the spring and early summer until not a Pole was left standing. With Hessen taken the French forces now laid waste to Northern Germany storming one city after another to go alongside the Spanish and Austrian victories. It had not been a long war they said, and with no ally willing to assist the Polish King he had been forced to return the territory taken from the allies earlier with Erz and Bohemia going back to Austria and Hessen once more controlled by France.

Such loss of life Napoleon thought, such sacrifice. Europe seemed destined forever to these constant shifts backwards and forwards in territory. If only there was something he could do to end the strife, to bring permanent peace. Such would be worth much surely?
 

Wyvern

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Interlude

The next few years passed in obscurity for Napoleon. Young as he was he felt somehow as though he had wasted his life, missed his chance, his moment in history and now he was destined to drift like a leaf lost amongst an autumn breeze. The winds of fate had led him from one city to another; Paris held nothing for him now. Alone he was, his old compatriots dead or doddering old men. A new king sat upon the throne, viewed he was with equal if not more scorn than his father, there was no place for Napoleon any more in the courts of Paris.

In the summer of 1784 he found himself in Marseille, chatting to the old soldiers who congregated in the taverns and inns of the docks, his own obvious injuries, the loss of his arm marking him as one of their own and his charisma lending him standing in their community. He spent his days watching the ships come and go, the sailors shouting to each other as they unloaded their cargoes, carefree and at peace in the summers air and he tried to let a little of their peace and happiness seep into his soul. Perhaps he could have been contented there, happy to live out his life in this little niche of humanity, who can say, fate however was not finished with Napoleon.

One day whilst he sat on the wharf regaling a couple of companions with a tale only half made up, his gaze took in a small merchant vessel as it drew in to dock. A small cog it was, designed to ply the ports of the Mediterranean no different from many others except for the young lad who walked down her gangplank and gazed in wonder at his first sight of the city.

A jolt passed through Napoleon as he watched. Here was his younger self in his last days of freedom, his last days before his knowledge of reality had turned everything upon its head. If he was here then what of the others he wondered, the time-travellers? He cast his gaze around looking at everyone and everything in a new light. There, leaning against the crates was a young soldier gazing with equal interest at the boy. This was no member of their little community, he was a stranger. Napoleon continued to keep one eye on the man and the other on the boy until he was convinced.

Calling to his two companions, both slightly the worse for drink he pointed at the young soldier. “There walks a spy” he whispered “if ever I saw one, no doubt an agent of the English or cursed Portuguese. We should rid France of this man for we are soldiers are we not with a duty to perform!” Directing them to a small alley they waited for the soldier to move whilst Napoleon laid out his plan and send then on their way to lay in wait for the young man. When his younger self finally left the docks followed by the watching soldier Napoleon was ready and carefully left the shadows of the ally, following the young man named Pierre who would never know that he was to die at the hands of his hero Napoleon, the man he had studied and worshiped his whole life…
 

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The War for Spanish Caribbean (1650 – 1653)

- Spain bought services of our navy for Baleares and Canaries -
- Portuguese navy victorious against English and Dutch navies –
- Portugal the only naval power -

…Barnius VI de Rico, Duke of Lisboa, Chairman of the Portuguese Trading Company, receiving the reports on how Portugal achieved the complete naval superiority on the seas…

…Summer of 1649: preparations begin

Your Highness, as you know, England recently took even more colonies from Spain in Caribbean – they have the total of six islands and our ally wants them back.

Well, that’s only natural, but what does that have to do with Portugal?

Errr…I don’t understand what you mean, Your Highness. Spain is our ally…

Indeed she is, but aren’t we also a trading nation? Thee must be something for us there. Or perhaps some other kind of compensation…yes, that could be acceptable! Send the messenger with the urgent message to His Most Catholic Majesty King of Spain. We are ready to provide the help in this venture by securing domination on the seas. We will fight England and Holland on seas, while Spanish navy transports siege armies to Caribbean islands. In the exchange, Spain will continue the good practice of leasing us more European islands. Baleares and Canaries this time.

But Sir, is it worth it? I mean, it’s nice Portugal will get some more land, but what about PTC, whose navy will no doubt suffer most of the losses! And with only Spain gaining colonies…

That is true, it would appear that PTC is doing this without any profit in it whatsoever. But you must learn looking at things from the broader perspective: our competition will lose even more ships, and that’s what matters. We accomplished a great victory against Holland five years ago and practically destroyed their navy. If we can now repeat this with England under the excuse that we are only helping our allies, that’s what we definitely should do, because it would guarantee our total naval domination for decades to come :D.
What bothers me more is Portuguese non-aggression agreement with France. I just hope they will stay out of our way when things become serious and cannon balls start flying through the air.
But let’s see the latest data on strength of our navies in the world so we can make better assessments.


Certainly, Your Highness, here are the numbers from January 1649.

Code:
[font=courier new][color=white]
                                         ENG       HOL       FRA       SPA      POR
Warships                                 100        68        25        80       230
Galleys                                    0         0        18         0         0
Transports                                11         6        10         5        14
Naval Technology                          19        24        17        17        26
[/color][/font]

Look at Holland: they certainly invested a lot of money in navy in the last 5 years! Build almost 60 new warships and raised their technology – they were almost as backwards as England is now :D.
Spain will not be of any particular help, but our 230 warships should defeat the enemy. Technology is what will decide one more time: our navy is still superior to the Dutch by one generation (OOC: one CRT ahead) and by even two generations to English navy.


That is true sir, but again we suffer great lack of capable leaders, While the Dutch navy is still commanded by fierce de Ruyter (fire=6, shock=5) and Maarten Tromp (4-6). England has almost equally capable Monck (5-4), Blake (4-4) and Prince Rupert (4-4), while those 25 French warships are commanded by rather good Maillé Brézé (3-4).

We will have to rely on the skill of our captains, better training of our crew and superiority in number of warships! This chance can’t be wasted, history would never forgive us!

…spring of 1653: aftermath

Your Highness, the war was a complete success! Here is the map showing all the most important naval victories.

1650-1653-War for Caribbean-map.jpg

The first battle saw 162 our warships against 46 English commanded by admiral Monck. After the complete victory we chased English fleet to the French port in Biloxi. There they joined forces with France and tried to break through out blockade but still about 150 warships were too much for them.

Indeed, but something else happened there that will later cost us much trouble and money: unfortunately, 5 French warships were ended up at the bottom of the Mexican Gulf, along with even more English warships. French screams about Portugal breaking the non-aggression agreement could have been heard all around the Europe: “Half of our navy destroyed by Portugal!” In fact it was only 1/10 of their navy, and by their own fault: sailors must have been drunk or they are just incompetent, because the display of “skills” they showed was really pitiful!
But something else I find interesting: while their navy was being humiliated all across Atlantic, English parliament voted for some Act of Navigation :D


Well, in the end Frenchies escaped towards Europe, while our fleet continued chasing English one north. Most of their finest admirals leaded by Monck ended up blockaded in Roanoke with just 6 ships out of 56 they had just half a year ago. In the meantime our fleet lost just 15 weasels.
We tried to lure them out of Roanoke by attacking their patrol off the coast of Manhattan, but it appeared English have lost all the courage they had.

1650-1651-War for Caribbean.jpg

On the brink of the total defeat English must have somehow been very persuasive, because Dutchies found some courage and finally joined the war. News came De Ruyter was leading practically the whole Dutch navy and looting along the southern Brasil. Spanish Argentina was already in Dutch hands and they started marching north, through familiar countryside of the former Dutch colonies.
With English Moncks fleet practically destroyed, Portuguese fleet was ordered to one more time teach Holland a lesson.
On land main Dutch offensive was stopped and our army even start liberating Spanish Argentina. Only one middle sized Dutch army passed through and started looting our Brazilian colonies, but that had to wait reinforcements from Europe.
Apparently Dutch forces needed reinforcements too, so De Ruyter was on the way to get them. But our fleet intercepted him and in a series of battles forced him to retreat to Argentina, where he remained blockaded till the end of the war by larger part of our victorious fleet. :D

mach2_war1_blockade.jpg

The remaining part of the fleet, about 40 warships, joined forces with the new fleet just arrived from Europe carrying reinforcements that annihilated the Dutch pillagers in the province of Itaimas.

This new fleet was very much needed in Caribbean, where Spanish advance was put on hold by a new English fleet commanded by Prince Rupert. Apparently he was a very capable admiral, because Spanish reports kept mentioning bad news like “English navy is totally annihilating our when we meet."

Now, now, it surely wasn’t that dangerous, because I remember Prince Rupert tried escaping by sailing west as soon as he laid eyes on Portuguese fleet :D. Unfortunately for him, there is not much west to go when you are in Caribbean, so he was caught in the Tampico Bay and a few English warships ended up at the bottom of the sea before the rest of them managed to find shelter in the occupied Spanish harbour.

Exactly, Sir! And with both English and Dutch almost entire navies blockaded in rather dangerously unprotected ports, the war was practically over. Spain routinely finished occupying English Caribbean islands and on September 20, 1653, just three years after declaration of war, the peace was concluded with Curacao, Guadeloupe, Dominica and Tobago & Trinidad returned to their rightful owner Spain.

Do you have the report on total losses during the war?

Certainly, Your Highness, here it is, clearly showing our victory. While our losses were insignificant and mainly due to attrition, England lost almost all her warships :eek:. In the same time, Dutch were much more…how to say…careful ;) and lost only a small part of their navy: who said they don’t learn fast?

Code:
[font=courier new][color=white]
                                         ENF       HOL       FRA       SPA      POR
Combat+Attrition Losses   Infantry    56.071    38.076   143.179   132.625    39.673
(soldiers and ships)      Cavalry      6.302     6.126     1.822    31.766     3.869
                          Artillery       59        7         0         0         0
                          Warships        91        14         5        40        29
                          Galleys          0         0         0         0         0
                          Transports      11         2         1         3         2
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Costs of Army Losses (d)               1.120       730       730     3.040       700
Costs of Navy Losses (d)               3.190       510       390     3.220       980
Total Military Losses (d)              4.310     1.240     1.120     6.260     1.680
Total Costs / Disposable Income (%)      223        44        40       121        36
[/color][/font]

Indeed, our enemies suffered really high losses, but they don’t give up! We are still not completely safe, as you can see from the following report dating only two years after our victory against them! England completely recovered her strength, and Holland invested much money into naval technology research. We are not any more ahead of them. Now we can only rely on the sheer number of warships as well as shipyards and economical strength that will enable us to replace the losses faster than the enemy.


Code:
[font=courier new][color=white]
                                         ENG       HOL       FRA       SPA      POR
Warships                                 128        77        20        40       230
Galleys                                    0         0        18         0         0
Transports                                 0         5        10         2        12
Naval Technology                          21        26        18        17        26
[/color][/font]
 
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1645-1670
a Danish AAR


The protestant alliance that was formed in order to defend the religious border against the Catholics in the south had experienced its first defeat. Denmark was least hurt only forced to release Mecklemburg as a vassal. Sweden kneeled at the might of Russia and in the 1645 Treaty of Finland gave up Finland in return of gold and a peaceful border. Brandenburg was stripped of Prussia although the Emperor was merciful Austria took Kleves for 50 years as a punishment.

After this defeat Denmark was still ready to stand by its allies of Sweden and Brandenburg but the same attitude could not be found in the fellow neighbour nations. Brandenburg was in no shape to counter any aggressions from anyone and Sweden looked for revenge after their humiliating agreement with Russia. Knowing that Sweden would turn west for their revenge forced Denmark to change its diplomatical strategy. Denmark choose to build closer relations with England and Holland while simultaniously, secretly preparing for the coming attack from Sweden.

Dispite Denmarks naval ambitions, Sweden had historically in wartime exulted the Danish Royal Navy. This time it was vital that that wouldn't happend. Therefor a massive naval buildup was conducted by the Royal Navy. In order not to alarm Sweden, the colonial shipyards did some of the constructing. Much of the Army Regiments and Navy Ships was sent to the colonies so that Sweden would underestimate the Danish military strength.

Holding the great armies and navies costed Denmark much funds but in the end it was sorely needed. In 1668 Sweden attacked and Narvik and Finnmark soon fell at great losses on the Swedish side. Having the benefit of operating from the heavily fortified and mountanious Norwegian provinces the Danish armies could easily defend itself and also strike were Sweden was week. What was even more decisive was the Danish naval victory. The Swedish navy sailed up the Halland coast and achieved an inital victory with their unexpectedly great numbers. The Danish Navy fled into harbours in Norway and Denmark but was soon assisted by the hardened Colonial Fleet and the Swedish Navy was defeated and blockaded in the Älvsborg harbour for the rest of the war.

In January 1670 a great Danish victory was achieved in Oslo were almost 100 thousand soldiers were involved. After that and considering the Danish naval superiority and the Swedes being unable to even once siege Oslo or Trondheim it was agreed on peace. But it was in Copenhagen for a long time remembered that Sweden was neither strong enough to be useful as an ally nor trustworthy enough for accepting them as a friend.
 
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The Ottoman Empire, led by the Prime Minister

On the Austrian side of the Turko-Hungarian border, the village of Borovo January 10:th 1706 (though greatly delayed and sucking general ass)

It rained.
Ahmed al-Hassan walked the muddy main road with his horse, searching for an inn and a warm, dry place to spend the night. This close to the border, people didn’t care whether you were Turk, Hungarian or even German. They had seen them all anyway.
Borovo lay only a few miles away from the metropol of Beograd, the capital of the Turkish Balkans. At this time, Beograd had grown into a sproudling industrial city, producing the main part of Europe’s textile demand. Even though the city lay so close, you couldn’t feel it here.
-“It is so poor!”, Hassan thought. “Where are the lit up streets and the police patrols? Austria sure has degenerated from when I last was here.”
What had once been the seat of power for the Habsburgs and the entire Holy Roman Empire of German origin, had become a backwater for Bourbon, English and Polish politics and conspiracies. Whilst the west and east had boomed, Germany was seemingly left behind in the Medieval ages. Where in Turkey, robbers and marauding bands had become a myth, they were a major problem for the Austrian rulers. Arts and culture had ceased to exist in this God forsaken land and people went hungry and fell ill to even the weakest of sicknesses.
Hassan remembered the times in the army. He had been a lieutenant in the Balkan VI Div. and would perhaps have developed a future there if he hadn’t been summoned for more important purposes.
The highly advanced and agile Turkish armies had crushed the Austrian ones and in a matter of months, they stood at the gates of Vienna itself, capturing it, but not killing an innocent life, nor stealing the riches. Such was the nature of his country. Hassan remembered that they had to draw back when the infidel Russians had broken peace far in the east.
Now, the rulers in Istanbul had become quite itchy. Poland had made peace just a few months earlier and the Empire stood alone against two ferocious and uncivilized enemies.

That was what Hassan’s mission was about. His contact waited in Pécs, ready to transfer a large amount of money to a Habsburg noble or high ranking official. The Austrian government was corrupt and you only had to give the right official an undisclosed amount of money to bend their wills in a more agreeable direction. A peace deal was in the works, one that would favour his country very much.

Finally, he found the sign he was looking for. The Dancing Courtesan, a good name for a road inn….

Images brought to You by the Turkish Peace Legion

During a great many years the Ottoman Empire, having not had much to do besides expanding the economy to ever greater heights, invested alot of time in peace-keeping activities (or more like trying to get a look at what happened in Europe) by positioning minor armies throughout the continent, fighting rebels and making sure the inns were of fine quality.

From the war between Poland and Austria(various other nations involved too)

post-6-1071116749.jpg

post-6-1071116770.jpg

post-6-1071116858.jpg


The war with Russia

As i hope you know the Ottoman Empire at this time was the richest Empire in all of eastern Europe, also surpassing many of the western ones. Her manpower was immense and inflation was low. The lands controled by Istanbul spanned from Zagreb to Baghdad, from Zilistra to Zuakin and the entire North African coast payed tribute to the capital, as well as the fabled lands of Timbuktu, richer than ever and the crown jewel of Turkish colonial holdings.
The Empire was ruled by the Prime Minister, a title long held by the Köprölü family. The Sultan had long since been removed from the political scene, spending his life in Amman, proclaimed the monarchial capital in 1689 (the "city" of Amman being nothing but a shanty and some pigs did not bother the Prime Minister). Despite a few operations in European lands, the Empire spent its years by promoting self-perfection and economic growth. Good relations were kept with all her neighbours (Austria having accepted a peace skillfully negotiated by Ottoman diplomats) barring Russia, who had invaded a few decades earlier in "defense" of Habsburg Austria.
Now, the time of revenge was at hand. The time of attack was wisely chosen. Though the Poles lateron gave themselves the full responsibility that the declaration of war came after the great war where eastern powers tried to save Italy, it is not to any extent true.
The Turkish grudge with Russia was only one of hurt honour, not one of wishing to completely destroying the nation. Also, the fate of Italy lay in the hands of Russia and Poland, and Italy being a Republic, it had strong sypathys of the Prime Minister as he himself considered going down that route.
The Ottoman entry against Russia right during the war would have nailed the coffin into the Italian state(even though Italy was still defeated, it was to a lesser extent the Empires fault). No matter what the Tsar and king of Poland thought, this was the truth.

The Ottoman armies marched across the border capturing Georgia, but being kicked back because of her losses in the assault. Good thing was that reinforcements were in good supply and the Turks continued to march across the border. When the first winter had passed, the Ottomans were ready to launch their second offensive. Swarming across the border, the Tsars troops met them on the plains of Russia. Long was the battle, many reinforcements came to either sides help. Finally, after months of fighting, the Russians were defeated and severely decimated, they routed in front of the might of the valiant Turks. Soon Astrachan and various surrounding areas were occupied by the Ottoman troops, the Ministerial army pushing deeper into Rus territory.
Yet the Prime Minister saw that it was not wise. The Russians had been humbled and victory was his. There was no need to go beyond his initial war gains, something which would only cause more suffering and bloodshed. The Prime Minister offered a very reasonable peace to the Tsar, demanding Daghestan and nothing more. Thus, it served both nations a good purpose. The Ottomans did not have to fear the strategic danger of the Russians owning this vital province (with it, they could easily launch a major campaign into eastern Anatolia and Syria, an example from the decades before) and the Tsar was not too humiliated in the eyes of the world, and thus not feeling obliged to continue the wars in the future.

Italian Intervention
Years later, another war was raging across Europe. It had started somewhere in Portugal, spreading like a forest fire, now engulfing all the contient. The naval nations were trying to desperately hold off French troops and their cooperants in Austria and Spain. Italy, having suffered a major defeat a few years earlier, was happy to join in the fray. Consulting her allies, they also asked the Turks wether they might help with armies. The Prime Minister was reluctant, this would mean alienating the French, considered the mightiest nation in continental Europe. He could not however stand idly by as they raped every single neighbour not positively inclined towards them and Italy was considered a friend, the Republic being a nice experiment of freedom for the masses.
The Empire would start by sending monetary funds to help in the war, then as the French would inevitably get the upper hand, the Empire would join in on the side of Italy and fight the French out of the peninsula.
Why this was that the Turks did not enter the war from start; the navy was since long under-equipped, only able to ship armies of about 50k in strength. It had to be enlarged before they could intervene and during that time, no power was to know which side the Turks had chosen.
To make the story short, the French were beaten back, losing many valuable armies to the Italian Aid Army. The Turks shipped over a total of 400k, though not much, helped tip the war in favour of the Italians.
By not declaring a full blown war on the entire French alliance and only declaring aid of Italy, the Prime Minister acted very wisely indeed and avoided too muhc attention on the Turkish intervention.
 
Last edited:

unmerged(10146)

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War for Portuguese Brasil and South Africa (1667 – 1668)

- Enemy much better organized and our forces caught by surprise -
- France a backstabbing traitor –
- Spain a mild ally -



Yor Highness, the report on the unfortunate war against England, Holland and treacherous France is ready.

Why do you think I want to listen about the loss of three important colonies one more time??!! Prepare it in writing and leave it on my desk in one hour! :mad:


We knew England and Holland were to be regarded as Portuguese enemies, because it was clear they blamed us for defeat in the last war against Spain. They were preparing for war, but so were we. Our navy was ready to do her duty.
So, when Netherlands on April 1, 1667 declared war upon us, some even found it amusing, saying it must be a joke appropriate for the date :D, that Dutchies were coming for a third lesson in naval warfare.

But soon enough we found out it was far from a joke. To put it simple, we underestimated the enemy and made at least two major additional mistakes. Here is the list:
  • Judging from the experiences we had in the history, we expected the enemy to be disorganised, slow and careless. They were in fact extremely well prepared and organised, both in land and naval warfare. Two strong English armies of about 20.000 men each landed in the northern Brasil, while one equally strong Dutch army crossed the Parana River in the south.
  • We completely disregarded the element of surprise, which resulted in their complete initiative on all fronts and significant initial losses on our side, while we attempted some careless and rather disorganised counterattacks. Portuguese Brasilian defense at that time consisted of about 20.000 men, which were defeated by English forces in northern Brasil.
  • A major mistake was lack of proper fortifications. All our colonies were equipped with only minimal forts, which, to our horror, were falling to the enemy assaults in a matter of weeks :eek:.
  • But our hardest mistake was not military, but diplomatically one: we relied on our non-aggression pact with France. Never, not even in the worst case scenario, did we assume that France would totally disregard friendship between our two nations and without any word of even the mildest and destroy all chances of a defense in a swift backstabbing blatant aggression on Portuguese South African colonies. And while we are talking about diplomatic failures, we must also mention Danes. PTC practically invited them to colonize Angola and surrounding SW Africa, while in the same time we mercilessly crushed all other attempts to take this territory given to us by God. The goal was to form a buffer zone between our colonies and French Congo. Well, Danes somehow “forgot” not to deny France military access to their territory and thus French armies just marched through Danish colonies towards our South Africa.

The war started badly: just a month after they landed, English aggressors took control over Marajo and Para were by assault, while Parana and Uruguay were besieged by Dutch forces, who chose safer tactics.
The enemy was especially well organized on sea! Their navies constantly operated together and as such were almost as strong as our navy! The Portuguese main fleet of 300 ships was ordered to prevent the enemy to reinforce their troops in Brasil and if possible inflict losses higher than she would suffer herself. Unfortunately. Only in a few occasions the enemy was spotted separated and while Portuguese fleet immediately moved to intercept them, they regularly reunited their forces before the engagement causing us to postpone the attack. During the whole war not a single real naval battle occurred, but at least the enemy was prevented from receiving the significant reinforcement in Brasil.
Our Brasilian Defense was defeated by stronger English armies, so reinforcements were send to northern Brasil from Lisbon, with a new assignment: to avoid direct conflict with the main English armies and take control over provinces England occupied by using the same tactics: assaults on small English garrisons left there. The situation was serious, but far from lost. Our navy was still the strongest in the world, and all we had to do was to prevent the enemy to reinforce their troops in Brasil. In the same time our ambassador in Madrid urged Spain to start doing something fast, because a strange lack of the activity in Argentina was noticed. Sure, our allies were surprised as much as we were, but it was time to wake up and start fighting the aggressor. It was decided Spain to strike on Dutch forces from behind, while we would ship to Brasil the African Defense, a 20.000 well trained man, to lift the sieges in Parana and Uruguay.

And than a catastrophe happened: without a word of explanation – well, except if you count that later, much later, when all was over, they again raised the question of “half of their navy”, when in fact it was only 5 warships, 1/10 of their navy, sunk by our fleet during the last war for liberation of Caribbean islands - France attacked our colonies in Africa! Despite of proclaimed good relations, despite of non-aggression pact between our nations, they backstabbed us in the worst moment! :eek: A treason of a proportion never recorded by historians: Brutus was indeed an amateur compared with Prime Minister of France.

From June till December we lost control over Ovambo, Damara, Namaqua, Table and Bushman to France – 3 colonies and 2 cities in just half a year! In the same time in Brasil the aggressor was stopped. While we lost Recife to England, Para and Marajo were liberated. In the southern Brasil Dutch forces were defeated in a series of battles in Curitiba, Niteroi and Itaimas.

The next year saw some mixed results against English forces, which still controlled Recife, but had no strength left to do more damage, and victory together with Spanish forces against Dutch on south. Finally we were able to collect our armies and try to stop French incredible fast advance in Africa. On top of the 5 provinces under their control from the last year, until April they controlled Karroo and Ciskei and were marching over the river to Trtanskei. There our 25.000 men attacked 20.000 French aggressors and fought very well, but French armies were better equipped and eventually we had to retreat.

In July Transkei was occupied. Our army was in the neighboring province of Niteroi, preparing defense of our African centre of trade, but the situation was not looking good. More and more French armies were passing trough Danish colonies from Congo and soon French forces would be much stronger than our tired defense. What was that France wanted? Was it perhaps our centre of trade? We couldn’t risk it, so when England in Septembar offered peace for Recife to England and Table and Karroo to France, we accepted, although with Table we lost a valuable shipyard. After only a year and half we were defeated.

There are no many maps or paintings showing the battles of this particular war, probably because artists were not exactly inspired by the results :(. And the results were devastating for Portugal and our economy. Rebellions were raging all over the colonies, some even serious, like in Howrah and Japan, and many small, but still important, because they were causing our income to decrease.
The amount of the devastating impact of the aggression and loss of three valuable colonies is clearly seen from the following data:

1659

1659-income-table.jpg


1659-income-graph.jpg



1669

1669-income-table.jpg


1669-income-graph.jpg

What hurt the most was it looked like the glorious days of the Portuguese Navy were over, because the competition was no more behind us by a significant margin. Infact, Dutch Navy was reported to be better equipped than our navy, while England was close in the number of warships:

Code:
[font=courier new][color=white]
                                         POR       ENG       HOL       FRA       SPA
Warships                                 282       201       140        68        48
Galleys                                    0         0         0        18         0
Transports                                 7         0         5        19         2
Naval Technology                          28        26        29        18        17
[/color][/font]

Portugal was defeated, it’s economy hurt significantly, rebellions were everywhere, France finally showed her true face of a backstabbing traitor, Danish excuse that they didn’t notice French armies using their colonies to attack Portugal in Africa because of the war against Sweden was questionable, and Spanish assistance in the defence of Brasil was mild at most. It was definitely time for Portugal to reorganise, rely on it’s own forces and find out how the best to defend still the largest colonial empire on the world.
 
Last edited:

Peter Ebbesen

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Tales of the Rus: Chapter X, "The Injustice in Society"

shield_RUS.gif
- Transformations, 1757-1781
shield_RUS.gif

The Attack on Austria 1762-1766
During the Franco-Portuguese wars, the eastern alliance saw an opportunity to gain at the expense of the Franco-Austrian alliance. The alliance goals were Moravia for Poland and Istria for Italy, possibly with Erz going to Poland as well. With Elizaveta I and the short-reigning Pyotr III in their graves, this was the first test of the young Tsarina, Yekaterina II. As the first advances by Poland and Italy into Austria proved succesful, the Polish king sent repeated entreaties to the Russian court "No peace without giving me Moravia", he intended time and time again, a reminder that this was an alliance war for alliance goals. As such, the cours of St. Petersburg and Veneto must have been shocked when Poland suddenly without any negotiation with its allies declared separate peace with Austria for Moravia and Erz, letting the Austrians concentrate on the Italian troops and the Russian expeditionary forces, who were doing their level best impression of "starvation's children", suffering terrible attrition as the marched through Poland on their way to France. Soon afterwards, Poland launched a major offensive into Northern France and made separate peace with France for Hessen. Italy and Russia now faced France and Austria alone, and the alliance goals were in tatters, betrayed by the avaricious Polish monarch. Furthermore, due to ancienct protocols of warfare, despite the Polish perfidity, Italy was prevented from getting ANY gains under ANY circumstances, as the Russian-Italian-Polish alliance had already gotten three provinces. As such, victory for the alliance forces was impossible, and what had begun as an alliance war had been twisted to fulfilling the Polacks' desires. The Polish king had also used the opportunity to annex neutral Hannover.

With no victory possible, Italy and Russia had to sign peace with Austria and France.

Two weeks later, Poland was booted from the Russian-Italian alliance. Good riddance to bad rubbish. Though some counseled the young Tsarina that she should let this pass, as previous monarchs had let other Polish "initiatives" pass, she would not have it. If Poland was so happy to make separate peace without considering alliance goals or even consulting the alliance leader, it could do so alone. No more Italian or Russian blood for Poland's German ambitions.

Yet More Russian Reinforcements Arrive In Italy, 1765
russia_1765_10_23.jpg




The Duma and the legislative reform, 1767
Under the reign of Yekaterina II Velikiya, Russia began opening to the world. Long considered to be a backwards nation with the peasantry enserfed, religious freedoms restricted, and suffering from an oppressive government by the western scholars, Russia was to undergo a drastic reform of tremendous magnitude.

In 1767 the Tsarina Yekaterina II convened a commision to examine these issues thoroughly preparatory for a legislative reform and the creation of a constitution for Russia, based on an emancipation of the serfs, continuing the good work of Elizaveta I that had severely reduced the rights of the land-owners, that should drag Russia kicking and screaming into the modern world. Single-handedly, she would fulfill Peter I's dream of modernizing Russia, though using means he would no doubt have disapproved of. For many months the commision worked tirelessly before finally providing a draft constitution, so outrageously liberal that it was considered too freethinking to be published even in France.

Yet the dedication of the Tsarina to reform was unbending. Seing the hidebound aristocracy sweeping to power in Poland despite the best efforts of the dastardly Jan IV Sobiesky following the Sejm's Liberum Veto, it became clear that of the two evils, the evil of liberalising and the evil of reactionary behaviour, liberalising was the only viable option. With the officer corps firmly on her side, she began cracking down on the priviliges of the aristocrats and the owners of serfs: it was time to actually do something about the injustices in society. While retaining the Tsarina's rightful place at the top of society, of course. God-ordained, the power of the Tsar must never be diminished, only the administration of it changed.

Many bloody years were to follow, as reactionaries resisted her just policies to their death.


The New Navy
For many decades the great Russian Baltic and Black Sea's fleets had been based on outmoded galleys. Under the inspired leadership of Yekaterina II, Russia began a complete overhaul and modernization of the fleet. With the help of skilled Portuguese shipwrights, Russian ships began slowly, so slowly, to improve in quality. Still generations behind the modern fleets of the major nations of the world, the Tsarina was dedicated to catching up and making of Russia a powerful naval nation, capable of holding its own in the entire Baltic, and more importantly, in the mediterranean.

It was a project of vast scope and price, but the wealth of Russia was behind it: Some day, Russian warships would be second to none.
 

Wyvern

In the lands of Calradia
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France 1781 to 1803

The Time Commandoes continues...

The man and the woman stared dispassionately at the young man lying before them, coughing out the last drops of life’s blood. They gave no reaction to the swift departure of the man’s three assailants as they quietly left the alley to mingle once more with the milling populous of Marseilles. Even the man’s feeble cries for help when he saw them approach did little to alter their austere reserve nor cause them to pause in their task. To them he was seemingly nothing, a loose end to tidy up. His death just another pebble tossed into the river that made up the passage of human history, too insignificant to make a ripple.

As they gazed down at him, adjusting their instruments, one last question, a dying mans request bubbled past his lips, “why?” he seemed to ask, “why do you not help me?” before the glassy gaze of his eyes filmed over, his life finally spent.

“We could have saved him you know.” The woman finally said when the young soldier, Pierre Gascon had ceased to breath.

“To what purpose Elli? If we succeed he would die anyway and if he knew who we were he’d only try to kill us, he’d almost have to.” The man continued to calmly fiddle with the device he held, it was the size of a large book, the sort of book technicians like to place on their desks to impress colleagues but then never actually read, this however was no manual and sported a thick handle for holding it steady whilst most of the bulk was taken up by a high powered energy cell.

“I know. It just all seems so cold somehow, you know watching a life flicker out like this.” The woman was agent Eleanor Cortelli of the temporal intelligence corps, her partner Sean Evans was a near legend in the service. Eleanor was still coming to terms with being assigned to Evans for the first time on this crucial mission.

Pausing in his task the man looked across at her and softened his voice. “Preferable to doing the deed ourselves surely?” He considered for a moment, “We just do what we must and pray we can live with ourselves afterwards.”

“I know Sean. It’s just that I knew Pierre, you know back in our time. History mad he was, always dreamed of being an Observer poor boy, one of those select few who get to monitor the great men and women of history. I remember attending his graduation party when he first got the job as Napoleons historical observer, he was so proud, a chance to write the story of one of histories greatest generals from a first hand perspective” she sighed.

“Well he got his chance to meet his hero didn’t he?” Sean drawled with just the hint of a wicked sense of humour in his tone. “Now stop being so maudlin, it’s not as though this is the Pierre you knew, that’s the enemy lying there. Remember that. Now come on and help me manoeuvre him into that corner, we can’t be hanging around for long and want no trace of him left when the searchers turn up.”

Elli looked at Sean in exasperation before with a small sigh and characteristic toss of her head she acquiesced. “Right.” In silence now they moved the body over to the darkest corner of the alley before stepping back. The man then directed the squat device he held in his hands at Pierre’s remains and a force of energy as hot as the sun bled out engulfing the body and reducing it to blackened dust.

“Now we watch Napoleon and see what happens” he uttered and with that, their job complete they punch a new set of coordinates into their time discs and vanished.

============

Napoleon led his squad of soldiers slowly up the small rise, turning around often to urge the teamsters into goading their horses ever onwards as they dragged the heavy artillery up the hill. Finally as the sun began to set they reached their assigned position and the guns could be unlimbered and trained at last on the enemy fortifications. All across the landscape the vast army of the French began to dig in, laying themselves out ready to begin the greatest assault of the age, the battle for Madrid and the capture of the Spanish King! Tomorrow he judged. Tomorrow they would see battle and put the Spanish back in their place. All that remained now was to attend the officers briefing and retire to his tent to await the new dawn.

The last few years had been bloody as he learnt his trade first hand on the battlefields of Europe. He had studied the war of 1783 which had begun with the French invasion of the Netherlands, ostensibly in retaliation for the Dutch breaking of the non-aggression pact that had stood between the two countries for many decades ensuring the peace till the merchant republic had decided to tear it up and destroy any pretence at neutrality. The war had ended in defeat that time when all of Europe had intervened, Venice the Ottoman empire and Russia launching a joint invasion of South Eastern France whilst Poland rampaged through Austria coming to the aid of the Dutch in the Netherlands whilst the Merchant alliance fought Spain and France in the colonies and Europe. At the end it had been the Russian’s who had finally tipped the balance winning the decisive victory in Milan with their destruction of the French army and the forcing of the Italian Peace that had seen France return Liguria and Emilia to Venice and finally recognise the young Italian Republic.

By the time the war was over he was serving as a young officer in the French army slowly rising through the ranks. A decade later following the madness that come upon the Spanish King it was Napoleon who commanded the massed artillery regiments that were to now assault the last Spanish stronghold and end this short and brutal war so restoring law and order in Spain. Private Gevins wondered what the real Napoleon would have made of all this. Was he doing justice to the man’s name? He had never expected to have to maintain the role for so long and had begun to wonder if the real Napoleon would ever be returned.

When the briefings and last minute planning finally ended and he was free to retire to his tent the sky had taken on the colour of blackest pitch, only the glowing embers of the many campfires dotting the landscape lit his way as he returned to his tend and slowly drew the flap closed.

“Hello Gevins” spoke a voice out of the darkness, “remember me?” Napoleon, alias Agent Paul Gevins looked up, too late, before the final darkness of the night engulfed him.

“And so I reclaim my true identity” whispered the real Napoleon stepping from the shadows. With the charges I’ve prepared in the city walls and the illusion of my artillery brigade accomplishing the deed I’ll be the hero of the day tomorrow, and from there the world!

==============

The man and the woman remained at a safe distance, their infrared monitor trained on Napoleons tent. The man stiffened briefly as the red glow of a body materialised within the tent. “So, the wait is finally over.”

“You think they actually plan to kidnap Napoleon?” the woman asked.

“Either that or kill him, don’t discount that possibility.”

“God I never really believed they’d try something like this. If it hadn’t been for the death of Pierre” the woman pause momentarily, “well I never did think Pierre deserted the temporal corps, I knew him too well to believe that, and if he didn’t desert then Napoleon had to be the target somehow or other otherwise why remove Pierre?”

“And now your hunch pays off so come on and set your disc coordinates for his tent down there and we’ll go and pay our mysterious friend a little visit!”

A rustle in the undergrowth caused them to whip sharply around and stare for one brief fatal moment in surprised consternation at the man and the woman, their doubles to all appearances who stood directly behind them with lasers extended.

“Now I’m afraid we can’t allow that” the man said, sadly shaking his head and activating his laser that sent a beam of light drilling into the woman’s temple. A second beam stabbed out cutting down the man, brutally slicing through his body and severing ligaments. “Did you have to be quite so violent Elli?” the man asked sharply when both bodies lay motionless.

Eleanor just shrugged, “only making sure.”

“They never understood what was going on did they, not even there at the end. Most surprising.”

“Perhaps not so surprising Sean, what did they have to go on after all. Just one small mistake after another that led to the final catastrophe. It would have taken a miracle really all things considered for them to piece everything together.”

“Maybe” Sean replied, “yet all the evidence was there if they’d only looked.” He paused a second, “Now however we need to get rid of these bodies, it wouldn’t do to have them linked to Napoleon at this time, it’s still possible someone from their timeline might figure out what’s happening and we can’t afford that at this late stage.

“So let’s just destroy the bodies and get out of here then.”

Sean paused a moment, “No someone may know they were working in this particular time, I’ve got a better idea. Let’s leave them a new mystery to stew over in the future instead and throw them off our trail here and now. Damn but my double’s a mess” Sean muttered staring down at the blood-drenched corpse in front of him, “we’ll never be able to move that and make it look convincing. No choice but the incinerator” he said taking out his plasma arc. “Now we’ll just take your double’s corpse back a few years and leave her somewhere where the enemy is bound to discover her. That should keep them monitoring the wrong timeline until we’ve made sure Napoleon does what we need him to do!”

When the local Observers from 1786 discovered the body of a woman as well as a functioning time disc lying on a cobbled Paris Street, agents Eleanor Cortella and Sean Evans were long since gone.

============

Over the ensuing years Napoleon gradually took over full control of the French army until he was the most powerful figure in the country after the King and given the title of Archduke of Corsica in honour of his birth place and in mockery some said of the Austrian Archduke who cowered now under the thumb of his ancient enemy the Polish King having broken his vassalage to France during the latter stages of the war that began in 1783.

Now, with his grip on the country secure and order restored in Spain Napoleon intended to return Austria to the fold, by force if necessary for he had never given up on his dream of a unified Europe, one where war would then be unnecessary. He no longer cared that he had deviated from what was expected of him during this time, so much had changed from the history he had been told he was supposed to accomplish that he no longer really believed it. The American Revolution, the French Revolution, none of these things had happened and as far as Napoleon could see everything was now in chaos and he was free to make the best of it as he saw fit. The future is wiped clean, there will be no Waterloo he declared for I will not pursue the route of personal glory this time and will be ready for the Duke of Wellington when we inevitably meet!

With his armies assembled he crossed over the Austrian border in the summer of 1801 launching a swift and deadly campaign that left virtually all of Austria under French control by years end. Yet once again the monarchs of Europe would intervene on the side of Poland and Austria, with the English alliance first declaring war followed swiftly by an Italian and Ottoman attack upon Spain.

Seeing a glimmer of light the Austrians refused all demands of peace whether as vassalisation which Napoleon wanted or the loss of territory as others in the French court desired. Napoleon couldn’t remain in Vienna however to press the issue, the damnable Duke of Wellington had launched an invasion of northern France conquering Flandern, Brabant, Artois and now assaulting Paris itself. At the same time a Polish force numbering 800,000 strong was assaulting it’s way through Hessen and down into the French lowlands. By the time Napoleon could return to France Paris had fallen though it would not remain lost for long. Gathering his forces into one army of over 500,000 Napoleon destroyed the forces of the Merchant Alliance in northern France in a series of brilliant battles then returned to face the Polish behemoth outside the newly recaptured capital!

In a battle that would secure Napoleons fame across the land if not the world the Poles were put to the sword, 500,000 destroyed or captured in a weeks long campaign that left the capital secure and the Poles once more on the back foot.

Not all was roses however. The English had taken the opportunity to overrun the French colonies in North America, and Napoleon’s absence from Austria had allowed Polish forces to slowly re-conquer most of the country. A second invasion of northern France was initiated by the Duke of Wellington just as Napoleon had begun to march back to Austria, this forcing his swift return once more to Paris where the second titanic battle of the war occurred, 300,000 Frenchmen fighting against an equal number of English under the command of the so called Iron Duke. On the final day of the battle Iron would prove a brittle metal indeed, one that could not bend with events but would instead break, leaving his men to death or capture. With only 80,000 men remaining fit for service at the end of the battle, Napoleon would finally prove victorious and the death of Wellington would long be remembered in England with sadness, and with joy in France! In the east fresh Polish armies approached but reinforcements were swiftly assembling and it wasn’t long before Napoleon once more had a formidable force under his command, one he intended to use to deadly effect.

============

Eleanor lent from the Paris balcony watching the streaming crowds passing along the street below, their celebrations still boisterous despite the late hour and the sounds of carnival lingering in the air.

“So far so good” said Sean, wandering out onto the veranda, “I almost feel like joining the crowd below. A toast to our victory my dear”, he handed her a glass filled with champagne. “To the Iron Duke. May he long remain in his grave”. Eleanor took the proffered glass and tipped it to Sean’s.

“The timelines still haven’t merged though” Eleanor felt obliged to observe despite Wellington’s death. “The Observers from the other timeline still surround King Louis and now they’re in a dreadful panic. The hero from their time is dead and there’s no way for them to bring him back!”

“Indeed” Sean returned her wicked smirk, “they will grasp at straws now in feeble attempts to save themselves. Not knowing what to do they will likely blindly lash out and I expect their target will be Napoleon. It soon won’t matter though, Napoleon has nearly accomplished all that we require of him. We will look out for him just a little while longer and then it will all be over.”

”To the future”, Eleanor raised her glass once more.

“To our future” Sean replied meeting her gaze.

============

The man known simply as The General sat in his underground bunker reading all the reports that came in from his field agents. Pierre Gascon disappeared sometime in 1784. Eleanor Cortelli dead on a Paris street in 1786, her partner Sean Evans disappeared presumed dead. Agents Bishop and Wilkins killed Paris 1712. The list of his operatives was growing thin and still they hadn’t a clue as to their adversary. Who was disrupting the timeline and to what purpose? He had long ruled out accident as a possibility yet for it to be deliberate was almost as unthinkable. The only thing they had to go on was that whoever was causing the disruptions was now clearly trying to destroy their timeline. When reports on the death of Wellington came though the scientists had worriedly presented their report. One more major disruption they said or even a series of smaller ones and the timeline would be irrevocably destroyed. Whether this meant their future would just change or their very existence destroyed they didn’t deign to speculate, they merely suggested he did something about it, and fast.

Well there was little he could do. Sending more agents back was an equal danger. Every new person who went into the past put an additional strain on the timeline. With things as precarious as they were who could tell what would cause the final break. At the same time he needed agents in the past to do anything, desperately! There was only one solution much as he hated to use them and that was the Underground. Ostensibly they were outlaws but when it came right down to it they were outlaws who had a vested interest in maintaining the status quo of the past for their past and future was just as much at stake as everyone else’s. And as with all major outlaw groups the agency maintained its moles. From them he had found out about Napoleons exploits in the early 18th century, too late to do anything about it perhaps but still useful. Now he would have to get a message to their mysterious leader, the man called Diego and pray that he would help, for the fate of humanity and their timeline depended on it.
 

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From ‘The House of Habsburg, the rise and fall of an Imperial Dynasty’

Austria during the years 1781-1804. The end of Vassalage and the collapse of an Dynasty

The collapse of the House of Habsburg, like many things is a tragic tale. Denied expansion into Italy during previous monarchs as the desire to maintain friendship with the powerful ally of the Venetians, the Russians, meant that the riches of the Italian peninsula were lost to the Habsburgs. Had the Dynasty moved against Venice in the mid 1600s, the Habsburgs would have had greater riches to draw upon, indeed they could possibly have gained control over two Centres of Trade, giving them the much needed boost in trade that all the other powers of Europe possessed at this time, allowing them to field mighty armies.

This period saw the loss of Istria to Venice, as well as the loss of Saxony and Erz to the old enemy Poland. Who was to blame for such an outcome? Austria must take a large part of the blame, she was only maintaining half an army at this period, and foolishly threw it all into a fist which was crushed by nearly a million Polish troops, forcing Austria to be on the back peddle when it came to war with Venice. More blame however must go to France. They pulled Austria into foolish wars with powers that Austria had no quarrels with, causing them no end of problems, and also meant that their were no French troops to aid Austria against the Pole, which was the only reason that Austria allowed itself to become a French vassal in the first place!

Readers therefore will not be surprised to learn that Austria ended her Vassalage with the French court during the war. The French had time and time again failed in their promise to protect and reclaim the lost lands of the Habsburgs, and the Austrian court was well aware that the French would never be able to full fill their promises. With the ending of the Vassalage, Austria also left the military alliance with France and Spain, saying that she would stand alone. This lasted for all of 6 months, when it was decided that Austria would ally with her blood enemy Poland. The reasons for this, were no less valid then the French alliance of the past 60 years, Austria needed a strong ally, and for the small price of forgetting about the fact that the Poles had caused their great defeats, Austria could stand a chance of regaining lost lands, West of the Rhine. Alliance with the Turk was not an option, as what Christian nation, be they Catholic, Protestant, or Orthodox could consider an alliance with the Muslim hordes, unless it was during a war, in which case they would leave it as soon as it was formed? (Authors note. While the Ottoman Empire was not an aggressor for the bulk of the 17th and 18th centuries, the fact remains that they are Muslim and all Christians should keep out of an alliance structure with them. The fact that a defacto spirit of co-operation had existed between Poland and the Ottomans and then the Ottomans, Venetians and the Russians is another major reason why the Austrians collapsed, war with just one of these powers would likely mean that there would be a war on three fronts, and Austria’s might was limited)

With a huge amount of funds from various nations, Austria quickly gathered the largest army to date, nearly 600,000 men, to face France on her border. For it was well known in the Court, that France would seek to re-impose vassalage on the Austrians, saying something along the lines of visiting Vienna. This was even more true as the Corsican, Napoleon came to the forefront of France’s armies, becoming their top general. The French declared war around 1800, exact dates are hard to find from the surviving sources, but what is known, is that some 300,000 Frenchmen, under the damned Corsican, quickly destroyed the Habsburg armies, due to his superior skill and bad communications along the Front, and proceeded, with their Spanish lackies to all but conquer Austria.

The complete conquest of Austria was averted however. The merchant federation seeing that if they did not intervene, the whole world would be paying homage to the French, declared war upon them, causing a large French army to withdraw. A further piece of luck was the last Austrian army, drawn up in Transylvania, was able to sally forth and destroy a powerful Spanish army and begin the re-conquest of Eastern Austria.

Much praise should be given to the Polish. Their armies time and time again, were able to draw off the French, destroy armies of them, and bought time for Austria to try and pick themselves up. While at this point, most of Austria is back under their control, Napoleon is unbeaten, various estimates put the casualties of all who have faced him at around 3 million men, plus countless generals who showed some signs of promise before they faced him. Austrian and Polish fortunes at this point in time, we can see were balanced on a knife edge.
 

ForzaA

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During recent recruitment and funding activities all over the country, various pictures of conflicts, old and new, have been discovered. One of our top artists has made an interesting "combined picture" of these paintings. If you wish to view the full pictures, or buy these for your own collection, contact the nearest Dutch embassy and they will help you further.

artist_impression.gif
 

Wyvern

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Mirrored in this thread, a couple more entries to follow....

The Time Commandoes - 1803 onwards

The man looked a dishevelled mess as he was dragged into Diego’s presence. A black eye and jagged scar ran from nose to cheekbone marring his face and leaving him with a sullen and dangerous look. He was a brute of a man, built like a wrestler his dark shaggy hair unkempt and what remained of his left ear little more than a bloody mess where once the customary earring had hung. Diego has always considered that a foolish vanity, an obvious piratical touch to echo the life the man had seemingly been living, now ripped away.

“Oh Rodrigo, Rodrigo my friend whatever have my associates done to you.” Diego cried as the man was escorted into his office, his hands securely bound behind his back.

“Damn you Diego” the man glowered.

“Come my friend is that any way to address the man you work for?” As a reply Rodrigo just spat on the floor. Diego chuckled as he looked at his former colleague, so Rodrigo was a mole from the agency; who would have thought it. And now the authorities from the future wanted the Underground’s help! He’d have thought it a trick if not for the grilling they’d put Rodrigo through, not a pleasant process that but at least now he was convinced he wasn’t being led a lie.

“Release his bonds” he snapped at the guards, “we have much to discuss you and I, things to decide and plans to make. For the sake of humanity I’ll trust you, for your sake you better be on the level and fully co-operate, that was your orders after all” he half smiled at the man but resisted goading him further. “Now I want to know everything you know about the current situation!”

Spitting on the ground Rodrigo glowered at Diego, “Pah! What do you care for humanity? Money and power is all you’ve ever desired.”

Still smiling Diego replied, “Quite so and I seem to remember you helping me gain a good deal of it before turning traitor! But come my friend”, he paused for a moment regaining his composure, “if what you’ve described already is true my existence and that of all the members of the Underground is threatened by what’s happening out there in Europe. It’s not just our future that’s at risk here but the very timeline we live in, so I can assure you I care very much about the situation. Now lets drop all the pretences. For better or worse we’re in this together so lets just make the best of it.”

Grudgingly Rodrigo seemed to relax, falling back into his former roll as Diego’s assistant and filling him in on more detail than he was used to on regarding the happenings across Europe and especially in France.

“France as you know has long been at war with much of Europe following her invasion of Austria and the subsequent counter invasion of northern France by the English led alliance of Portugal, Denmark and the Netherlands. With France beset from the north and a powerful Polish monarch countering from the east France has seen all her gains in Austria reversed and lost significant areas of her own territory.

“On the surface it looks grim for Napoleon which should work in our favour, but he has just eliminated our greatest hope for a quick victory with his annihilation of Wellington’s army, effectively taking England out of the equation as a major player in Europe. He’s also scored a number of major victories over the Poles the last few months effectively reversing their own advance into France and is now looking in a position to take the offensive once more though I doubt he’ll return to Austria.”

“Why not?” Diego interrupted, “that was his original objective after all and he’ll surely want to bolster his eastern border…”

“Whilst that’s true our agents in Austria say the Archduke has little desire to continue the war and still has a great burning hatred for the Poles. His current alliance is one born merely of necessity not love, it would take little in the way of overture from Napoleon to turn Austria neutral and I’m sure he knows this. No I expect Napoleon to head north now, Holland is his obvious target now that Wellington’s gone.”

“Holland you say, you’re sure about this? But Denmark and England hold much of northern France and Poland has parts of the east…”

“In war such things matter little, their armies are defeated that’s what counts and they have nothing left to stop him retaking those territories at leisure. Mark my words Diego, in a matter of months the French will have driven off the last shreds of the invaders and be on the offensive again and if we’re going to save the timeline we have to stop them and kill or capture Napoleon!”


#######


Rodrigo’s projections were more true than he could have known, peace was quickly arranged between France and Austria with Napoleon promising to recognise Austria’s independence and territorial integrity in return for a non-aggression pact between the two countries and possible future joint actions against Poland, the nemesis of both countries.

This immediately placed Poland on the defensive and over the next 12 months French and Spanish armies went a long way to repulsing all foreign invaders from French soil, retaking Brittany from Denmark and sending the English scurrying back across the channel. Napoleon now gathered the bulk of his armies together and focused all his attention on a single target - the Dutch, whilst the Spanish were left to deal with the small Polish enclave operating around Milan.

For Napoleon he couldn’t have been happier, this is what he’d been born for, the march and feint, strike and counter-strike of war before manoeuvring his opponent where he wanted him and delivering the decisive final victory. When the English diplomats had begun making demands of him, him the Great Napoleon, he had laughed in their face. The English Prime Minister was a fool he shouted. Here they were demanding that he, Napoleon surrender Flandern to the Dutch Republic for peace as though they thought him beaten! Flandern when he’d defeated every army they sent against him in Europe! Did they really think France was beaten just because they’d conquered a few colonies in North America and Denmark barely held Brittany? Were they living in the same reality? He almost smiled as he thought about that but then the absurdity of the England temerity overcame him.

England and the PTC alliance was clearly out to try for an improbable total victory over him with the aid of Poland in the east. But why? There could be only one focus for such ambition, Diego! Curse the man, he must have followed him or tracked him to this time period. Well this time the man wouldn’t force him to flee again, this time it would be Diego destroyed and Napoleon reigning supreme, and this policy of total war only made final victory easier, for England was fast losing the chance to bring France to the peace table!

Marching from one end of the Netherlands to the other Napoleon began a swift yet methodical subjugation of the lowlands working first from the southeast and heading north, one city after another surrendered, in many cases the mere rumour that Napoleon himself led the army had the city elders rushing to open their gates, so fearsome was the image his name conjured after his staggering victories over the English and Polish forces. Heading back west Napoleon now marched on the Dutch capital where the final army of resistance gathered with more soldiers disembarking every day at the city docks. With little over 200,000 men left in his army and some 300,000 enemy forces awaiting him near Amsterdam yet still Napoleon recklessly threw his army at the cities defenders knowing that victory here would spell the end for the Dutch.

Yet it soon became apparent that victory could not be achieved as more and more enemy soldiers were ferried in by sea so that by the time his forces were in position the French army was outnumbered more than two to one with victory a distant dream.
 

Wyvern

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Elli watched the fleeing men through her scope as they staggered slowly throughout the marsh land wending their way inexorably to what they hoped was safety yet constantly harried by enemy fire. In clusters of a hundred here, a thousand there the once great army of Napoleon was in flight. This isn’t the end cursed Elli to herself, there’ll be other chances, other opportunities, just so long as he lives through the day! For what Elli knew was that Napoleon’s fleeing men were heading straight into a trap, a trap where the enemy wouldn’t be firing muskets.

This was it. The enemy had manoeuvred well, not only had they fooled Napoleon but Elli and Sean had grown complacent too, watching as Napoleon conquered 90% of the Netherlands in a vicious brutal lightening blitz and coming to think that any further help from them would be unneeded. Only when it was nearly too late had they spotted how the enemy drew Napoleon’s army to the Dutch Capital, how they marshalled their forces and slipped overwhelming numbers in at the final hour via their complete mastery of the North Sea. Only then had they seen the danger and finally called in their reserves.

Napoleon could well died here today through their lack of vigilance, before his destiny was fulfilled… The sight of lazer fire peppering the landscape broke her from her reverie and a touch of terror ignited itself throughout the French army as they came under fire from this new danger.

It was time.

Signalling her men forward and watching as their camouflage suits flickered and blurred against the surrounding scenery Elli knew that the same scene would be playing out across the whole of the marshland as over a hundred men of the elite temporal army spread out and began taking down the men of the Underground in a murdering rain of fire.


----------


“He escaped? You’re telling me he escaped!” Diego was livid, “Do you know how many lives we sacrificed to lure Napoleon into that trap? Do you? Our one chance of victory and you piss it all away.”

“Cut it Diego, I know you don’t give a damn about losses, what are the people of this time to you!” Rodrigo was bunching his own fists angrily as he watched the leader of the Underground rant and rage.

“Cut it you say? Cut it. I should cut you!” This wasn’t good Rodrigo knew, his own position here was still tenuous and Diego was visible seething in his fury. “Those were my men, my people who died out there today!” Diego cried. “They didn’t belong to your precious temporal agency, they weren’t soldiers paid to defend king and country. No they were volunteers, volunteers who helped you because I asked them to, asked them to try and stop what you said was a madman. And now they’re dead because we were stupid enough to followed your plan!”

“There was nothing we could do Diego, we nearly got him, it was worth the try. It doesn’t mean we give up, we’ve still got to fight them, we’ve still got to carry on.”

Diego just looked at Rodrigo as a guard handed him a printout flimsy. After giving it a quick scan he looked up and in a calmer voice addressed Rodrigo. “It looks like a few of our people escaped the ambush and they tell a rather interesting tale … guards, relieve our friend here of his side arm if you will.”

“Hey what the hell! I thought we were partners here…”

“Did you, did you really? I think this was all one big set up by your precious agency. I think this was simply a way for you to finally rid yourself of the Underground. Yes” he drawled, “the more I consider it the more it finally begins to make sense. Perhaps your bosses didn’t trust you with the information or perhaps they did. Either way we’ll know soon enough. In the mean time I don’t intend to be duped again!”

“You’re crazy Diego” Rodrigo almost whispered, “it’s been too much for you, you’ve lost it.” He tried to shake off the arms of the guards as they began manhandling him. “I’m not the enemy,” he shouted growing increasingly desperate as he watched the insanity flicker behind Diego’s eyes. “Napoleon’s the enemy along with whoever’s using him to destroy the timeline. They’re the ones who ambushed your men, not me, not the agency! You’ve got to believe me, if you don’t help me stop them we’re all dead men!”

“Liar!” Diego screamed back, “It wasn’t Napoleon who fired on my men. My men!” Diego knew he was losing it but couldn’t help himself, “It wasn’t Napoleon wielding lazers out there in the swamps cutting down my people in their scores. I ought to kill you now…” Diego cried advancing on Rodrigo.

A violent tremor shook the building briefly staying his hand. “What, what’s happening” he cried to no one in particular. Rodrigo’s face for his part had gone almost white, “oh shit” he murmured, a terrible thought crossing his mind.

“We have to get out of here” he shouted, “listen, listen to me for god’s sake” he shouted as another tremor shook the building. Slowly he saw his words getting through Diego’s rage as pieces of plaster began breaking off the walls and ceiling showering them all in a fine white dust. “Quickly, we have to get out of here before the whole building collapses.”

Stumbling outside they stared in horror at the dark mass looming on the horizon. “So it’s true…” Purples and blacks, dark blues with the faint throbbing of blood red down near the horizon, the seething mass of clouds was lit only by the intermittent flashes of jagged lightening as the rippling curtain sped across the horizon and bore down on them at a speed no weather formation could ever approach.

“Diego!” Rodrigo cried above the growing howl, “We have to leave, the end is upon us!” When Diego didn’t reply Rodrigo shook by the shoulders. It’s the timeline”, he shouted above the growing gale, “the timelines are merging! If we stay here we’ll die!”

“B but where can we go?” stammered Diego.

“We have to jump forwards” he cried as the winds buffetted them trying to throw them off their feet, “jump ahead of the confluence, ahead of whatever it was that cause our timeline to end or simply merge with theirs, merge with whoever’s being causing all these changes to history. We can’t go back, wouldn’t do any good anyhow because it’s not just our time here that’s merging it’s all of history, everything’s coming together and joining with this other reality, this other timeline.” He decided not to mention that it could just as easily be that their timeline was simple about to disappear completely, he was scared enough already not to voice that particular fear aloud. Even in these final moments he wondered what it was that had caused it, what was it that had been the final catalyst to cause the destruction of their reality. Probably Napoleon’s escape in Holland he thought, only 20,000 men left and 200,000 enemy soldiers pursuing and yet still he got away! No doubt he would go on to conquer the Netherlands now and possibly other countries in Europe, and with the knowledge he’d gained of the first Napoleons failure he’d avoid any disastrous march on Russia meaning France might never be defeated.

Not waiting to see if Diego was doing the same he quickly programmed his time device. He’d have to jump blind, there was no time to verify his coordinates so he might well end up inside a hill or in the middle of the ocean, but anything was better than sticking around here. Perhaps he was doomed already but even so as the dark shifting curtain passed overhead he keyed his device on and vanished into the ether.
 

Wyvern

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Napoleon was oblivious to his mysterious benefactors and whilst the defeat near Amsterdam was indeed a major setback he was utterly undeterred and swiftly rallied his men as they fled through the swamps quickly linking up with fresh brigades rushing to his aid. Now it was that the enemy made their most critical mistake for clearly they felt the French were beaten when in fact nothing could have been farther from the truth. Rather than keeping their forces together as they should they decided to split them and attempt to retake the many Dutch cities that had fallen to the French with a number of small isolated armies. No attempt was made to assault the French fortresses; there was no gathering together of men and artillery into one massed army capable of cutting through the great castles and forts that dotted the Dutch countryside. Napoleon knew Wellington would not have made such a foolish mistake, but then Wellington was dead! In time the French garrisons would still fall, the tide might be reversed, but the one thing the allies lacked was time and their timid tactics merely gave Napoleon the breathing space he desired to gather up his own forces once more and this time there would be no mistake.

Marching back against the now isolated English army at Amsterdam, and buoyed by 100,000 Spaniards, Napoleon swept aside the defences of the city and routed the English allowing none to escape. Eastwards then to Kleves he sped dealing a crushing blow to the 200,000 Poles gathered there sending the few survivors to flight. To the east more Poles gathered like wolves ready to strike whilst to the north Denmark maintained perhaps as many as 200,000 men laying siege to Bremen, one of the cities Napoleon had captured in his first sweeping invasion. Of the remaining Dutch territory only Friesen was still in Dutch hands though Napoleon’s army was down to barely 250,000 men and clearly outnumbered if the allies were only to co-ordinate their forces effectively. To press on would leave him isolated and at clear risk from Poland, yet he knew the Dutch government was on the verge of folding. Casting all other considerations aside he ordered his army north to Friesen in a race against time and was heartened to received reports from his scouts that the Danes fled at his approach. Fools, he wasn’t after the Danes, Friesen was his single and only target and the Danish flight only made the task of total victory that much easier!

Perhaps the Poles and the Danes didn’t realise the precariousness of the Dutch government’s position or perhaps they simply didn’t care to exert themselves in their allies defence. Certainly Napoleon knew it had been in their capability to prevent the Dutch defeat if they had only co-ordinated their efforts better, but then perhaps he was being too harsh for he always expected the best from his enemies, the better to avoid nasty surprises. Whatever the reason for his enemies’ failure, the fall of Friesen spelt the end for the Dutch, their government surrendering as they gave up all pretence of resistance. It was also the end of the merchant alliance’s power Europe.

Denmark agreed to an immediate white peace whilst Poland continued to manoeuvre her forces keeping Napoleon penned up in Friesen yet clearly not confident enough to actually march on his position. Their dithering simply allowed fresh troops to come up from the south and with the approach of these reinforcements and the clear realisation that Napoleon was ready to march on their position from both the North and the South, the Poles caved in to the inevitable and signed up to the general European armistice that brought the greatest war Europe had ever seen to an end with a resounding French victory.


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“We did it” Elli murmured as she lay in Sean’s arms, “Napoleon finally won.” Nuzzling closer she lay there content, the mission almost over. There would be no Waterloo for Napoleon now, no devastating retreat from Russia. “I know he might die some other way”, she raised herself up on one elbow and smiled at Sean, “but it won’t end in defeat for France this time. France will be dominant over Europe for the next century and that one simple difference will change so much.”

“Do you think they’d thank us?” Sean asked, “if they knew what it was we saved them from, their children the unborn multitudes? So much suffering they’ll avoid yet at what a price.”

“You mean no first World War or Russian revolution nor the seeds both events were to set in motion. Perhaps they’d thank us if only they knew; knew the whole truth. They’d been walking the path to destruction for so long I doubt they’d ever have recognised an alternate way. Hitler, Stalin, they were only the first, the first of oh so many who caused the deaths of millions and then billions. To save themselves from that future, from the ultimate destruction of their world, yes perhaps they would have approved after all.”

“You know it’s funny” Sean chuckled, “but maybe they did know, maybe they did choose this route… Have you ever wondered how our timeline came into being in the first place? We assume we’ve always been here but what if they created our timeline, what if they split it off you know sometime in their past so it could be used here and now as the means to foster their escape from that dark future?

Elli relaxed, “Yes, I’ll sleep better at night thinking that.” But then she felt Sean tense up, “what’s wrong?”

“Elli look, out the window”

“Oh my God” she whispered, “what’s happening…?”

“It’s the timelines, they’re finally merging.” The ground was beginning to shake as the percussion of the approaching storm enveloped them. Out on the street they could hear people milling around in panic, the sounds of terrified animals intermingled with those of humans. “Relax, it’ll be alright,” he whispered kissing her on the brow. “We’re going home…”


Prologue

In1812 revolution swept throughout the Spanish countryside casting away the puppet government of the Bourbons and installing a radical revolutionary movement in its place. Spain had just come out of a long crippling war with Venice and seen their colonial empire completely devastated and Venice take her place as the power in South America. Her people were ready for change.

Napoleon’s armies, which had been positioned for a new campaign in Europe, turned instead and marched on the upstart Spanish restoring swift order to the Iberian Peninsula. Seeing a chance for freedom the Dutch took the opportunity of this distraction to rise up and make their own bid for freedom prompting the Poles, English, Portuguese and Danes to come to Holland’s aid.

The ensuing war saw all of Western Europe engulfed in flame but this time Austria declared an unofficial alliance with France taking the opportunity to right her own wrongs against Poland and recover much of the ancestral lands lost over the previous two centuries. Napoleon for his part, after restoring law and order in Spain marched his army north defeating the allies in a series of set battles spanning the whole of Northern France before driving the few remaining invaders back into the sea. In early 1819 he led his weary army against the Netherlands and it is recorded that there he finally met his end to a stray shot fired by a hidden sniper whilst his army was subjugating the rebel province of Zeeland. It seems the Dutch swamps were to claim his life after all. A state funeral with full honours was held for the fallen hero; few questioned the strange cauterised wound that had spelt his end.

Of Rodrigo or Diego no word was ever heard again…


... THE END ...​