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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning
Chapter 14 : The Dacian Campaign: An abrupt end to a succesful war 223-227

Falhxer

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The Dacian Campaign: An abrupt end to a succesful war 223-227


In the spring of 224, Guntomar was ready with all preparations and initated his campaign against Dacia.
A glorious war that will make out of Burgundy a great and powerful kingdom after striking down a dangerous opponent in the south. Sacking the many wealthy cities in middle of important trade routes would bring astronomical amount of wealth to Guntomar, also a lot of manpower and many slaves, transforming Burgundy from a mere uncivilized tribe into a new rising kingdom.
Contrary to other tribe chiefs, Guntomar was higly educated, he travelled across all europe, reaching as far as Mauretania et Baetica and Roman Egypt. After the assassination of his father, he returned and stabilized the kingdom back. He was a knowledgeable man and was especially interested in roman style of warfare. He tried to emulate it, altough unsuccesful he was able to adopt some key features. Obviously it was impossible to copy it entirely, it was more complicated than the pure equipment and martial tactics. Logistics were a very important aspect, Burgundy simply did not have it. It needed infrastructures, developed cities, he understood this and focused only in copying what the burgundian army could exploit. Even the dacians were not able to adopt the roman style of warfare. They relied on mainly heavy infantry armies, which a small part was a permanent standing army, but even so, the art of warfare remained very... dacian.
Few similarities, like an organized army and line marching army was introduced. The dacian sword, the falx, was very effective. It was a weapon with curved blade, that was sharp on the inside blade similar to sickle in form, a tool adapted for war. On a lesser degree, the rhompaia was used too, mainly by thracians, it was a version with even a more curved blade. In the same way, dacian shield, evolved to be a bit bigger than their old counterpart but still smaller than the roman scutum, sometimes was completly absent when the falx was two handed. These troops became shock troops, as the one handed version became the norm, only a small part of the army was comprised of such troops and were used in weak points of enemy army to breakthrough, usually supported by the small but heavy armored cavalry, when was not busy protecting the flanks. Their use in battles was fairly limited since it was a mere simbolical military unit, used more for parades, representing the dacian superiority over its foes. In later imperial years, just a century before the start of the Dark Ages, it assumed more propagandistcal reasons than for martial ones.
The use of such units came completly out of use when the empire would also enter a slow but unstoppable period of instability. The small number of cavalry would be a serious problem for Dacia, in this war and in some of the most decisive wars in future. But, since this war was won, and the wars in between were succesful too, the use of cavalry still remained of very limited use, even during the Persian Wars, where the dacians kept pouring more and more manpower and resources to overcome the troublesome persian cataphracts, until the eventual persian kingdoms collapse.
It was mostly in part due to a double invasion. The Western Satraps, rivals to Dacia, were fearing the empire would become too powerful if it would successfully invade all of Persia. So the two empires began a race to conquer Persia, lenghty and very costly wars both in resources and manpower, would only result in a great disaster down the road, but thats for the future chapters.


Dacian soldier, heavy infantry, the backbone of any dacian army



Guntomar not only did learn from the romans, he also inspired himself from the scythians. The backbone of his army might have been the new type of barbaric heavy infantry he introduced, but the majority of the army was light cavalry, many of them being horse archers. They were not nearly as effective as the nomadic horse archers, since it was a newly introduced unit in Burgundy, but simply the sheer numbers made up for it. Despite the overall poor combat efficiency, they possesed speed, very important and essential in the new war, Guntomar had planned so carefully. Sadly for him, with the capacity of hindsight, we know, he quite used the cavalry not at the best capacity.


One year earlier he made a visit to the marcomanni chief, an old friend of his father, Vithicab, the old alliance he had with his father was renewed. Despite Being only two tribes invading Dacia, this time the invading armies were another beast. Vithicab, was also considered a strategist mastermind, never losing a single battle against the other tribes. They tried to invade Burgundy in a small alliance, he gained unprecedented prestige and power, as nobody dared to oppose him. Being able to destroy easily any attacking tribe army, using advaced tacticts, fainting retreat, ambushing the overconfindent armies and shattering their morale, was a common tactic for him to use. He fought against other tribes, with a smaller army and always came out victorious. Guntomar was a smart man recongnized for his genial military reforms.


The war for Dacia began in a sudden and dramatic way. The deteriorating health of Tarabostes did not help either, the old wounds did not get that much better and the king, was losing touch with reality isolating himself more and more and leaving the state affair to his trusted few men, that obviously abused the power behind the king's back, increasing corruption in the kingdom, cutting the army payment by a fourth and even reducing the pensions of retired veterans by half and speding the kingdoms money in building luxurious estates for them. The permanent dacian army, was underfunded and decaying, the recipe for disaster. Indeed that disaster, came in the spring of 224, not only the standing army was simply unable to be deployed rapidly on the border, but even the numerous peasant army could not be raised, at all. The answer was simple, this would have caused total economic collapse of Dacia, even for a couple of months. Decades of civil war and a pandemic were still hauting the kingdom. The king, despite his previous passive behaviour, reacted at the war, historians tell, reinvigorated, a new man. Maybe it was time for him to fight the past traumatic experiences. Historians agree that he suffered of post traumatic stress disease. He tought , he would fight back the invading horde and win, little did he realize that would employ old tactics against a new type of enemy, another recipe for disaster. As the dacian army was slowly responding to the invading threat.



Guntomar, used the cavarly to quickly capture poorly fortified cities and most of all, pillage and plunder, bringing immense wealth back to Burgundy. Pannensis and part of western Dacia were occupied in few months. When the dacian army finally reached the region in summer of 225, a whole year, while the kingdom was completly undefended. The army was met by Vithicab and soundly defeated. Vithicab despite directly controlling a smaller army and not as well equiped, killed a third of the infantry and almost anihilated the dacian cavalry. The sources are conflicting but it is likely that Vithicab himself suffered heavy casualties as half of his foot soldiers and a fourth of his cavalry. It was a costly victory but Marcomannia was able to refill the lost manpower for now, Dacia was not.


After this dacian defeat, marcomanni and burgundian forces started to move south, into Maladina. Guntomar did not want to invade the underdeveloped client-state. He instead wanted for them to revolt against Dacia and join them. Maladina was controlled by men deeply loyal to the previous king, Spartacos and they still remained loyal to Tarabostes, thus they refused. Maladina at this point was helpless and heavy raids were organized to further weaken the unstable puppet. The coastal cities, contrary to the rest, were very developed, since responsible for trade, and in a sense, were direct dacian territory, most of them were heavily plundered and some even destroyed, hurting the dacian trade for years to come. The reason these cities fell so easily it is that there were not any defenses to withstand attacks from mainland. No one ever tought about that, a myth of invincibility was shattered during those days. The kingdom, empire in all but name, after all, could fall as easily as it rose.



Vithicab did not only stop there but started to push further south, into Thracia.
This greatly alarmed the cappadocians, they feared soon the barbarians will be coming into their land too. Suddenly their empty promises of help, became concrete actions. In autumn 225, in the battle of Malva, near the borders of Thracia, a combined force of dacians, thracians and cappadocians, managed to stop the advance of a burgundian army, the main invading army split, while Vitihicab was busy plundering the west of the kingdom and Guntomar besieging cities in north-east. A less capable commander was unable to achieve victory and the army with heavy casualties had to retreat.
The Second Battle of Malva, saw the combined force, defeated. This time, Vithicab, personally led a quick counterattack with his army and what remained of the defeated burgundian force. The combined armies took different routes, the cappadocians retreated to Byzantion to reorganize, leaving alone the dacian army that was forced to head to the capital, while the small thracian contingent was completly destroyed. Upon arrival small skirmishes took place as several smaller burgundian forces were surveying the area. But since the dacian main force arrived, the best course of action was to retreat and regroup with the nearest army.





The Two Battles of Turdava, fought bitterly, saw a burgundian attempt to chase away the dacians from the capital or even better force them inside the capital and prepare a lenghty siege while the horse units would capture rapidly key cities across the kingdom and force Tarabostes to surrender. Guntomar, was sure, if the dacian army would collapse, Cappadocia, would eagerly negotiate with him, and in the worst case would immediately cease all the hostilities, while in the best case he would even gain great monetary compensation. He was not wrong at all. The great territorial conquests Cappadocia made, were very hard to maintain. They entered this war, with the conviction that would be the same as the first one. Getting on the friendly side of Dacia was of vital interest for Cappadocia, if they did not want to face threats from all sides, as the entirety of Anatolia was hostile to them. Cappadocia hoped for a limited if not total sphere of influence over East Rome, thus having friendly relations with Dacia, was a necessity. The policies of Spartacos and succedently of his son, have shown to the cappadocians that Dacia was not interested in the remaining part of empire. What was the king interested in, however, was a balance of power, they would never allow Cappadocia to grow too strong, the previous dacian guarantee made to East Rome, was inequivocable proof of that. As hard the peace was mainted the war could erupt in the easiest possible way.


Despite strong assaults, he failed both times, the dacians were able to repulse the enemy each time. Guntomar's army took heavy casualties while the defenders only light casualties. Tarabostes, even ordered to chase the fleeing enemy and even managed to capture in a weak position the rear guard and slaughter them all. After destroying the rear guard, Tarabostes felt confinded and decided to push further, this time, in burgundian lands, the rest of the burgundians did not expect dacians to chase them even in friendly territory and was accamped oblivious of the incoming threat, another slaughter took in just a few hours, even the prisoniers were all killed, not for cruelty but more for a practical reason. Keeping prisoniers in an already losing war would become nothing but an burden, any sudden counterattack could liberate all those men that would join against Dacia, again. Tarabostes could simply not take prisoniers with him nor leave them somehwhere, because it was potentially unsafe anywhere and Guntomar would only had to liberate them while the dacians were busy elsewhere, possibly with some diversion. He had the mobility Dacia lacked.





It was not far from a disaster for Guntomar, for sure was a heavy blow to his plans, he had lost one veteran army in a risky gamble. It all began with just one small indecision of Guntomar, he was unsure what was the real size of the dacian army entering Sarmisegetuza and if it had any reinforcement or cappadocian army behind it. The defeat of his scout groups, worried him, as he did not expect them to engage in any battle at all. Being unable to tell if it was a single army or more, he slowed his march on the capital. Tarabostes, caught up quickly with his plans and placed his troops near Turdava. He took an advantageous terrain and was expecting the enemy. Despite such a drawback, Dacia did not manage to recapture back any lost territory and was able to barely defend its capital, in the overall picture, Burgundy was winning this war.
Staying in burgundian territory was becoming more dangerous with each passing day. Tarabostes, himself, did not have any proper scouting units and was basically blind in enemy territory. As Guntomar, he too, took a gamble, potentially even bigger than his germanic counterpart. The only advantage he had was the absolute confusion of his enemy, when he engaged them on the different occasions and the fact the he was able to preserve much of his manpower.




While Guntomar was forced to leave his army and save his life, Vithicab was busy occupying Thracia. It was a lenghy process, as Thracia was protected by a line of fortifications, first built by romans to contain the dacians and later expanded by thracians to protect their kingdom from romans and even dacians, should Thracia one day revolt. The objective was to force Thracia out of the war, he was not a great diplomat to convince them to revolt and decided to just take down Thracia. It was a tactical error, even from the time's point of view. Altough it was not impossible, it would prove to waste a lot of time that could have been used to intercept the dacian army and destroy it definetly. The marcomanni chief decided to not pursue them. He was sure, his burgundian ally would be able to easily destroy the fleeying dacians. What he failed to forsee was the almost destruction in one unfortunate battle, of almost the entirety of burgundian scout units and the consequent tragic defeats. Vithicab decided to wait for Guntomar after occupying the subordinate kingdom. He was sure if Guntomar would come, Cappadocia would leave the war. The cappadocian army until now was waiting for the dacians, to come to Byzantion and literally escort their army. No cappadocian leader would take indipendent actions, without the dacian counterpart to take the most casualties. They were instead hastly improving the already existing fortifications and were preparing for a siege. In the end, it was a justified behaviour, as Cappadocia had manpower to reinforce their army to only a small degree and it already had suffered great casualties and monetary funds were also severly lacking, losing the only army would mean the end of the kingdom.

In the end, Guntomar would never come, he lost one entire veteran army and even a messenger would not make it in time.
With the defeat of Guntomar in Turdava, this event marked the beggining of a series of poor decisions that will undermine every burgundian-marcomanni success and will ultimately end the war in few decisive battles. The final joint push in Thracia never happened, Vithicab was intercepted by the dacians in the worst time possible. He was traversing a river and his army was split. Occupying the capital of Thracia was a hopeless pursuit without any proper burgundian assistance, the sent cavalry proved capable only to take over the newest and incomplete fortifications over the roman border. The older ones has been destroyed by the rebels trying to free themselves from the romans, as we know, only to find themselves defenseless against the invading dacians. Vithicab decided to take Adrianuopoli and march directly on Byzantion and wait there, he was getting impatient by the continous delay of his ally. He hoped to force the Cappadocia out ot the war by threatening its new capital, he had no more time, summer was ending he did not want to fight in bad weather.


On top of that, the cappadocian army, was approaching fast, this time, a joint dacian-cappadocian offensive was happening. Altough the dacians would suffer the majority of casualties, the cappadocians had their merits in bloking any escape route expect a narrow passage and while they tried to escape slaughter a great number and chase the rest with the cavalry killing practically the rest of the marcomanni army. After the battle of Pulpudeva, there was virtually no organized marcomanni army in Dacia except a few thousands under direct control of Guntomar. Of eighteen thousand a staggering 11.000 were killed in the first battle and the rest seven thousand were annihilated near Pulpudeva while attempting a desperate escape towards captured territories. While all this was happening the burgundian cavalry not far stationary not far away from there was totally unaware of this. Before a next dacian-cappadocian attack they were able to retreat safely towards west in Maladina. News of Guntomar were completly absent, some even tought he was killed and a valuable military asset left the dacian mainland barely fighting against the dacians. From that point on, Guntomar would not be able to use his cavalry anymore and would be forced to rely on fresh, inexperienced troops.




Vithicab was killed too, he was already in his sixties and despite his venerable age for the time, he still was a great military leader, few were better than him, even Guntomar was a less skilled miltary leader, he was more succesful in leadership but in pure military skill, Vithicab was unparalleled. Uncertain records, affirm he fought many defensive wars to preseve his tribe but never expanded. It is possible that Burgundy was saved by him too during the transition of power after the death of Sigismund.
It is unclear, even today, what really happened during that battle, how a commander of his caliber, failed to see not one army but two armies advancing on him. The most plausible answer that can come to mind is the weather. It was november when the three armies engaged and it is very possible that the weather was not one of the best. Recons were sent, but with high probability the heavy rains must have covered the sound of a moving army. In fact, the unusal approach of the dacian king, certainly saved the kingdom from more years of devastating war and conquest. Records write, that the lifeless body of Vithicab was lifted from the muddy ground and shown to the captured prisoniers before they were all killed. It was intended to be paraded on the streets of Sarmisegetuza along with other marcomanni chiefs and obviously later, Guntomar.


Burgundy was large, but was mostly undeveloped and the scythian population was not exactly cooperative, thus only a small part could effectively be mobilized into the army, despite adopting their cavalry methods and developing into a much larger scale of warfare.



The people of the north were at the same time both barbaric and not.


(Attributed to an anonimus pannonian historian)



This would prove a problem for Dacia in future, that would involve itself more and more in germanic geopolitics, first actively and later passively, always supporting a status quo and interviening against tribes that become too big or powerful to be left alone. This support was usually in monetary helps and sometimes even technological help. At the begining advantegous for Dacia, would have disastrous consequences down the centuries...


The death of Vithicab was a heavy blow to the invading forces but was not an unexpected one. Guntomar was aware of this and even Vithicab himself, said to him he would probably not return to Marcomannia and already appointed a successor. The situation would be stable in Marcomannia even with his death, the war would continue and have a succesful ending. Guntomar on the other hand, was heirless, he poured all his time and energies to prepare the kingdom for the Great Invasion, how he liked to call it. The burgundian people will settle in new prosperous lands and rule as conquerors. It was a very ambitious plan, realistically speaking, considering the subjects as part of one entity, could be called empire. Dacia was transitioning to become an empire, at least unofficially, the nation would become an empire only after the total invasione of Hellas and the dissolution of status of empire of East Rome, becoming an insular kingdom. A sort of merchant kingdom, an early version similar to the medieval merchant republics, where instead of a doge, the basileus once emperor that reigned over vast lands, now reigned the greek isles of Sicily, Crete and Cyprus and some other minor islands. With great probability the inspiration for the merchant republics came from this early version.


Upon arrival of news of the death of Vithicab, Guntomar had already another army marching, even with his absence Burgundy could still win this war, its presence in Dacia was still a very real threat. His cavalry was still doing great damage in the kingdom pludering and capturing cities, there was no way to stop them, too fast to be caught and always avoiding direct conflict, ambushing unware reinforcements of peasants or mercenaries, or was what he was thinking, many months of lack of contact between him and his cavalary deep into dacian territory under temporary command of Vithicab was a mistake. Maybe the cavalry itself was rebelling, historians are unsure. But in the his final battle, Guntomar had only two thousand cavalry of the total of ten thousand.


In 227 Dacia with support from Cappadocia, starts recapturing lands both in east and west. Guntomar has failed to destroy the core of the dacian army and capture Thracia and peraphs convince Cappadocia not only to leave the war but switch sides. Historically the most probable choice by the cappadocian king would be to wait a siege in a fortified Byzantion and leave the war if the collapse of Dacia was immninent, switching sides was out of question,the overall situation was too unstable. Having favours from dacians, Cappadocia could request help if the rebellions would prove too much. After all Dacia was still a huge empire and wealth would continue to flow inside, soon again. Guntomar was too ambitious after all.
Dacia managed to recruit a gigantic army of mercenaries, up to ninety percent of the whole army was formed of mercenaries. The costs to keep such an army were unconcevaible for some smaller kingdoms at the time. Despite this, the treasury would allow the king to employ such an army for years and years. It would prove unncessary, soon the fate of both powers would be decided. As Burgundy was left alone in this war, with a couple of thousands marcomanni warriors, the expedionary force of Vithicab has been defeated completly and no other reinforcements would arrive from the now neutral Marcomannia.


He expected the dacians would first try to recapture the lost cities, so he started to build the army for one more, the last battle. As his cavalry proved to be rather uncooperative, or rather no news of the cavalry at all in months. He tought his cavalry was destroyed with the marcomanni. It was not wrong to think so, except such army found itself isolated in Maladina, by the approaching armies of Cappadocia and Dacia. Its commander chose a rather passive behaviour and stayed there. Attacking one the both armies would prove a suicide move, since most of those armies were composed of heavy infantry. On the same hand, dacians and their allies were rather reluctant to attack an army that could easily outmanouver them. By the summer of 227, Guntomar, finally recevied news that his cavalry was stuck in Maladina. He became furious for the conduct of his commander and send messangers urging him to unite with his army. The response was negative, the cavalry refused to move. It is unclear if he saw this as treason or simply was not possible to move the army without significant casualties. As his twenty thousand were approaching, he sent another messanger with a clear order to support his new army to attack the army placed most north, it was the one with the biggest number as Tarabostes was expecting Guntomar would exactly attack that one. Guntomar was desperate and was running out of time. The war was becoming unpopular at home and summer was over already. He could not afford to wait another season and he was alone now.


In a ironic joke of fate, the same unforgivable weather Vithicab was forced to fight, Guntomar had to witness. He tought it was a good sign from the gods, approaching the dacians would be easier and he would lose less men. Also the cavalry would arrive any time, too...
The immediate attack was a success and one day passed, two day passed, the battle soon became extremly brutal. Many casualties on both sides and in the end Guntomar had to retreat hastily towards his territory, thru Pannensis. He had not recevied any support and as he heard the second army would soon approach him, he disheartenly disengaged from the bloody fight.


As the weather cleared a bit, the northen army was in a horrible state. Up to forty percent losses while the germanic army has lost even to sixty percent.
Winning now was out of the question, the most obvious choice was to retreat deeper into friendly land and regroup with what remained of any armies and reorganize and...there was not much hope left anymore. Guntomar, decided to stay and defend, the gate to his homeland. After two days of brutal fighting his army was completly devastated and he sent one last messanger, urging for the cavalry to come to his aid.
Guntomar was killed in the final last battle, his body was never found. He would fight a losing battle, he had already lost the war, his enemies close to home. There was not much more he could have done.





In the end, the disparity of forces was too great. But the most important question of all, why defend, why fight such a disavantageous battle? The answer was simple, most of all the venedi scythians were still rebellious and other conquered germanic tribes were deeply dissatisfied by his rule. They barely recognized Guntomar as their king. While at peace he was able to assert absolute control thru sheer brutality but he was now in a long war with no apparent end in sight. Him retreating would cause massive rebellions and he would have to fight both rebels and dacians and important supply roads would be cut off. He could see this all, he could even see the other powers aventing themseleves over Burgundy like hungry wolves ready to tear it apart. In that day he decided that he would die like a honorable death in combat.


In hindsight we can see that Guntomar used his cavarly mostly for quick strike operations and avoided fight, it was not the most efficient way to use it. The use in battle of cavalry was limited, he was sure his infantry was enough. It is clear if he had used more his cavalry he would have been able to destroy the core of the dacian army on more occasions than one. But we must look at the fact, that the disrupting operations were made to prevent recruitment of peasants into the army. The peasant militia could raise up the number to many thousands. Dacia was forced to use mercenaries, it was not a problem. Guntomar failed to realise this, he tought the empire was on the brink of collapse in case of a prolonged war and especially an invasion of such scale. There was the last one, the most important occasion to use it, it could have changed the war to a total victory and even cause the fall of Cappadocia by destroying its army too. The commander in charge decided to not act and ignore all orders. Was it a deliberate move, or he knew the war was over and it would prove a futile action that would leave Burgundy truly defensless afterwards, we will never know.
 

Falhxer

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Sorry everyone for the long update, but i was busy with personal life and i did not have much time. To think this chapter ended so long, but the more i was cheking my ingame screens the more complicated it was becoming and im still surprised today i managed to win that war somehow. Because i remeber it as a doomed one. I barely had any manpower and the mercenaries were able to save me. Can't wait to post the next chapter, since i have a lot of fun writting about other nations too.
 
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HistoryDude

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Nice to see this back!

Well, that was very close, but Dacia endured...
 

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Nice to see this back!

Well, that was very close, but Dacia endured...
Thank you! Yeah, sadly sometimes im not only out of time but even of ideas what to write so the chapters take even longer to come out. Yes it's true was a hard war and Dacia will still have to fight many tough wars to reach that size.

Can't wait to finish the next chapter, quite a few things happened.
 

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Before posting the next chapter i want to explain some things that might appear weird in the overall narration.
Usually during this period the total population in Germania was extimated to be more or less, no more than 1 million. While in Italy and Gaul the population for each was around 7-8 million (hope im not messing stuff up, and in the end its alt-history so i expect the populations in my game to be very different). With the assumption that the fall of the Roman Empire caused roman technology to spread far more easier, Germania developed earlier too. Previously in areas dominated by deep forest suddenly new villages were built and first big cities. By the time the narration takes places i assume the total population is around 4 million in Germania, thus stronger tribes and bigger war between them. On the other hand in Gaul and Hispania the population would stagnate and in Italy in barbaric controlled area would decrease, because of many years of war or while migrating south in a more stable Italy dominated by the League.
 
Chapter 15 : Chaos in the Germanic World New

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Chaos in the Germanic world 228 – 237




The weakening of Burgundy had harsh repercussions all over the germanic tribes. The power of Burgundy was so cemented and influential that with the fall of the giant the balance of power between the tribes shattered. Even the most isolated tribes were involved, not a few old powers fell from grace and new ones rose. Of one such was dramatic the rise that in just mere ten years massive alliances were forming to stop it from overtaking the Germanic world. While the North was imbroiled in bloody wars and conquests, the South was somewhat more peaceful. Some tribes tried to migrate South, a new kingdom was formed and finally a winner was declared in the North of the Italic penninsula. From the multitude of warring tribes, the migrating Alemanni managed to take over. Altough they did not become any significant power, the region finally met peace, after so many years of suffering and unjustice. Gallia of course played a role in such development too, they initiated a campaign into the area taking few major cities but the high casualties and the attrition of the armies outweighted the gains, the ambition to overtake all over the region was abandoned. The emperor was content the area was finally pacified and tried to establish friendly relations with the new neighbours.



Their main concern was rapidly shifted to the Franks that were becoming increasingly aggressive towards the kingdom. To counter this threat the king or emperor, as in Gaul the ruler was still called emperor. Dacia viewed Gallia as a kingdom while Gallia itself viewed as the last remnant of Rome. It was a blurry line similar case to Dacia, it was unclear when a kingdom was big enough to be called empire.


The emperor to counter the incresing threat of the migrating Franks decided to appeal to their enemies the Frisians. The Frisians were migrating west too, but they were less aggressive towards the empire and perceived the Franks as their natural enemies. Both germanic tribes went from small skirmishes to increasingly bigger wars. The Franks were prevailing slowly and at the same time were raiding heavily the empire's boundaries taking wealth and fuelling their wars of aggression. It became only natural for Gallia and the Frisian tribes to ally.


Not every tribe was of the same opinion, contrary to the Franks, the Frisians were fractured in many tribes, forming a weak federation, while the Franks were split in two major tribes with similar goals in mind and friendly to each other, a deadly combination. Even before the arrival of the innovations introduced by Guntomar to the Germanic people, they proved to be extremly aggressive and rarely back down. The Gallic emperor managed to convince the Frisians bordering his empire, more or less. The rest decided to remain uninvolved for the time being. It was a choice that at the same time saved and doomed the empire.


The Hispanic penninsula became a chaotic mess. While the Vascones Kingdom was towering mighty and powerful, another kingdom, Mauretania et Baetica, ceased to exist. It became known only as Baetica. With the death of the current dinasty the kingdom fell easy pray to the aspiring Berber kingdoms. They took most of Mauretania and only an isolated enclave managed to save that the attackers were unable to take, for the time being. A new ruling dinasty took power, it was local to Baetica, as the kingdom was mostly comprised of Baetica it simply was started to be called Baetica. The new king ruled poorly and raised taxes, corruption increased, crime became widespread and it took not long before a civil war started. Vasconia remained indiferent and the duchy of Tarraconensis gained new lands. Baetica was invaded, by a much weaker army and normally would mean the end of the much weaker aggressor, but Baetica was in huge debt, the army was barely payed at all. Some local governors did not desire to see the lands they ruled ravaged in a meaningless war so they revolted too. However alone they were weak prey, thus they decided to invite Tarraconensis to intervene. Lands directly bordering were easily conqured and the enclaves joined the duchy. The enclaves were not directly included into Tarraconensis but became vassal states. The war in Baetica went for almost a decade and it ended around 235. Tarraconensis did not stop only there, over the years, under the protection of Vasconia they built a rather impressive fleet for the size of the small state. Aquitania, was allied with Baetica and Mauretania in hope to gain something some day. Some historians doubt the utility of such alliance. They were subject to the will of Gallia yet they resented and always tried to find another way to escape their master's claws. It soon became very clear to them to they chose a losing side. They had to be punished too, Tarraconensis used its fleet to invade a small northern province, right bordering Gallia. They tried to push further south, after invading the poorly defended area but were defeated and at the same time, Aquitania did not have the resources for a war of reconquest. A weird peace was settled. Poor land, hostile population and a possibly powerful angry neighbour. That province was expensive to keep and provided nothing in return. Also it could easily erupt in a war, vasconian vassal expaning into Gallic zone of influence, wars started for less. Despite growing tensions, nothing happened, Gallia was too busy elsewhere. The ill state of Baetica and the arrogance and complacence of Vasconia were showing, not a good sight for the future.



In Italy the situation remained more or less the same. The League launched a very careful attack on few cities of East Rome, the League in itself was not interesed in those cities as they lacked riches, with the decline of East Rome, even its sohthern part started to decline rapidly. Cities losing population, economy weakening by each year at alarming rate and lack of proper armed forces in the region. The Kingdom of Sardinia became the new beacon of trade. They established small fortified key points around the island, turning all the trade profit in their hands. The Berber Kingdoms even had deals with Sardinia to raid any East Roman ship be commercial or military. It was mostly commercial ships as the Byzantine navy was completly wiped out by Egypt and ever since was very small and patrolling mostly the area around Hellas.


The invasion was initiated by a wealthy and powerful family ruling the city of Salernum. They had they own army, for the League as whole it could be considered a minor affair but for them it was a major investment. The empire, only in name, at this point sent few thousand men to defend their holdings in Italy. After few failed skirmishes and a minor defeat the empire simply retreated and left the cities in the hands of Salernum. Technically it was an aggression on behalf of the League as they were citizens of the League and almost every conqured city would go to the League, who better represented the League of Urbinum if not the city that founded it? Urbinum, but as the city was going thru serious turmoil, a few briberies here and there allowed them to keep most of what they gained, under their direct control. That family would become on the causes that caused the end of the hegemony of Urbinum over Italy.



The small duchy of Etruria emerged from the previous chaos that enveloped the north. It was comprised of few cities, to call it duchy it would be a stretch, but even so, this new etruscan entity emerged, reclaiming the lost legacy and maybe bring back the etruscan kingdom.


The Venexi gained the most. After the Gotinian aggression the kingdom found itself in a weak position. The zalmoxist barbarian-dacian state was very aggressive, to stop them, they forged many alliances with neighbouring tribes to stop them. It was a great success, they overall alliance became an overwhelming force for Gotinia to overcome. But in the latest years, Gotinia managed to befriend Dacia again and convinced them to embargo their enemies. The Venexi only depended on the trade thru the League. The highly taxed goods left the kingdom poor and stagnating. Once Gallia, Alemanni and even Etruscans started to shape the region and finally bring order, they expanded westwards and gained access to the other half of the mediterranean. It was a great success for the small kingdom, they finally had access to the wealthy trade routes that circulated thru Sardinia, wealth was flowing back in again.


Now to the main topic, the Germanic Wars. After the defeat, Burgundy lacked a leader in the immediate present. It did not take long for almost any neighbouring tribe to declare war and internal rebellions to uprise. Gothia, Gepidia, Quadi, Marcomannia and Rugii declared war, some on behalf of an alliance and some for the pure desire to aquire new territory or weaken the powerful neighbour. The barbarian kingdom had to fight for almost a decade, alone against waves and waves of endless foes. Not only the state lacked a ruling figure but the many tribal chiefs split and started to fight between them too while fighting the invaders and soon rebellions started to plague the entirety of the kingdom, yet it fought for nine long years. No one in Dacia ever expected events would take such an extreme turn, the entirety of the Germanic World was in uproar and the invasion of Burgundy was only the beggining. Another powerful kingdom was about to fall in just a few years, the Kingdom of Angles. The prolonged state of war weakened existing alliances, some tribes found themselves completly alone as the Germanic Wars were becoming bigger and bigger by each passing year. Even the old ally, Marcomannia, ruthlessly invaded. The successor of Vithicab perceived Burgundy as nothing but a dangerous and unpredictable neighbour. In the first half of the conflict Marcomannia invaded, Burgundy had chanches to recover, but with such powerful enemy invading it was over now for the kingdom. After the war with Marcomannia, Burgundy was able to hold for so long thanks to its technological and tactical superiority. Despite this all, the attackers were simply too bitter towards Burgundy. They wanted the kingdom destroyed and persisted, an unrecorded number of lifes was lost, entire villages were depopulated completly and some areas for few years became even became wild zones, human presence had been erased completly. As Marcomannia was familiar with the innovations introduced by Guntomar and adopted some, they defeated and destroyed most of kingdom's forces with in a lenghty war. Four and half years of conflict war took its toll on the troops. Marcomannia did not take any land in the peace deal, because there was no peace deal. No one in Burgundy had such authority to negotiate it, the kingdom was fighting an external and internal war and was facing the rebellions, it was simply impossible to find anyone. So they simply left, of course not without gaining anything in return. The Vandals, gained their freedom, finally free from the burgundian yoke, to repay their benefactors they sent very generous tributes and become subordinate state to Marcomannia while maintaning indipendence and freedom in internal affairs. It was pretty good deal for anyone involved, except Burgundy.


Gothia, Gepidia and Quadia formed an unlikely alliance, on their own each tribe was weak, but forming an alliance they became a signifcant problem. The war would continue for another four and half years, during this time, Rugiland would invade too, hammering the last nail in the coffin. Rugiland did not take any land but it plundered, sacked and took so many slaves, entire villages were transfered into Rugiland, some areas saw most of its population slaughetered in the south while in north was enslaved in terryfing numbers.


The small triple alliance was the one the close the war, at least the external war, as Burgundy would still have to face internal instability for a long time. Quadia gained the most, followed by Gothia and finally Gepidia. This alliance was short lived, surely Gothia and Gepidia desired more land but as soon as Quadia gained all it wanted it just left the war. Gothia shortly followed after taking few more bits and Gepidia found itself alone against a bigger and technologically superior army, even if they would not be conquered an hostile army roaming across their lands would be rather unpleasant so the weakest tribe left the war too by 236. The next biggest enemy to Burgundy, except its own warring chiefs were the scythians rebels in eastern territories. Willing volunteers did not hesitate to come from Antes and the chiefs even sent monetary help to the rebelling Venedi, their oppressed brothers were fighting for freedom.


Conflicts were far from over, meanwhile the war was raging brutally in East another war was equally reaping its victims. The Kingdom of Angles fell in an unprecedented way, Rugiland invaded brutally and slaughtered its path to glory. Lombardy was allied to them, the Rugii ravaged so badly their lands it forced them to migrate elsewhere. The North was being occupied by Rugiland so they logically fled South to escape them, further fuelling the conflict in Northern Italy. But as they were defeated by Alemanni and sent back further north west, they started to conflict with the fleeying saxons that were escaping from the aggressive Franks. The war between Rugiland and Angland started a bit later and ended before the conflicts in the East. Contemporary historians are sure, that the death toll was even bigger in that area. This period is referred in the Germanic World to as “The Madness of the Third Century”, only during the Black Plague the deaths were higher.


It is clear what caused the conflict in the East but in the West? Why so suddenly such destructive wars were fought?


The Rugii experienced a peaceful period and prospering. This brought an increase of population. The year before they had really poor crops and a famine would start soon. A smart man could see the problem as it was already manifesting in the poorest villages, Rugiland was on the verge. To make things even more problematic the old ruler was found killed..



People found new hope in the rise of a new king, an extremly ambitious man that despised the Angles, hated the Burgundians and loathed the Lombards. He made a deal with Marcomannia, before invading Burgundy that was technically allied with Angland, so the Angles were also at war with all those tribes too, well it went very differently, than one could usually expect. Rugiland gave free pass to Marcomannia on Lombardy and Hermunduria, allies of Angles. The Marcomanni were free to take anything they wanted, even annex the both tribes, for all that mattered to Rugiland, a new accord was made, and a sort of partition of Central Germany was happening. Neither of both tribe would interfere in the affairs of another. The parallel began, Angland was caught completly on surprise, it was a sudden ambush of their armies as they were heading to rescue Burgundy. The most expert and best troops were all killed in one single night and day. After this surprise attack the declaration of war followed, Angland would find itself on the losing side, as its kingdom would slowly collapse to never rise again. Marcomannia, meanwhile, on the other hand launched a carefully planned and very limited strike against the smaller tribes, their goal was not to annex them but to subdue them, small portions of land were taken in a simbolic act and now Marcomannia, had its first two subordinate states and later of course the Vandals too, as we know.


The Rugii chief was a less careful man, he wanted to conquer everything with sheer brute force and outsmart the enemy thru sheer brute force. After his very vile way of conducting war, he soon became a notorious personality all over the germanic tribes and his name even spread to Dacia and other powerful kingdoms. Such a rapid rise to power did not in fact go unnoticed. Despite Rugiland's growing population, Angland was still a much bigger and powerful kingdom. Gundbrand of Rugiland started a lenghty campaign after his first strike, capturing most of mainlaid europe holdings of Angland. After this massive defeat, the tribe of Jutes declared their indipendence from the Angles. They sent an envoy warning Gundbrand to not cross into their land as they are now free and have nothing to do now with him, the Angles and this, as called by them, pointless and ridiculous war. The Rugii king saw this as a direct insult to him. He found amusing their threats but bursted in a great rage when he heard how the called his conquest. He ordered the envoy to be executed a particularly cruel and brutal way and sent their remains back to the Jute chief and threatened him back how would he dare to insult the great king in such a disrepectful manner and if they did not submit immeditaly he would make an example of all Jutes.


It obviously was an exaggeration, an attempt to frighten the weaker, or so was thinking Gundbrand, into submission. It is not untrue to say that they Jutes were very disturbed and shocked by what they saw and did not even sent back an answer just killing his messengers and preparing for war. Gundbrand saw the answer never arrived and he understood what was going on, war. He marched into Jutland with any resolve to crush the Jutes and bring them under his rule. He saw initial successes in defeating their armies but as he went deeper and into their territory the fights became more and more vicious. The Jutes were using guerilla tactics, scorched earth and were fighting with extreme ferocity. Entire villages were evacuated, people moved elsewhere, fearing the wrath of Gundbrand. Even what remained of Angland, sent aid to stop him, as the rumour was spreading to Zealand, the island where Angle presence were still present. Rugiland did not expect these extreme actions to absolutly oppose and stop them. Gundbrand expected the army could live of the land, yet now nothing was left. He tought his army was unstoppable yet the Jutes were fighting a desperate war to the last man, bringing his casualties higher than ever and now even Angles were coming to assist them, but they did not fight as viciously as the Jutes. Some Angle chiefs believed it was just a rumour, the acts of cruelty of Rugiland. After two years Gundbrand gained nothing but a pile of corpses that could form a hill, as said by him.


The invasion of Jutland was halted, he launched the raids in Burgundy and at the same time he invaded the scandinavian holdings and even expanded them further more but he saw those lands as worthless and the people even more and he halted his expansion into Scandinavia. His next expansion would be South, into Lombardy. It was a violation of previous accord with Marcomannia, but as Marcomannia decided to only subdue the smaller tribes it is possible he saw this as an act of weakness or Marcomannia simply did not care. Gundbrad started a heavy handed way to deal with his enemies, plunder, burn, slaughter and take thousands of slaves to bring into Rugiland or to sell all across Europe, especially in Dacia that was experiencing a period of infrastructure renewal and many new were build everywhere. The kingdom was experiencing a severe lack of slave, years of stagnation meant less slaves and as the slaves, could earn their freedom and their children were considered not slaves, but freemen. The rule was willingly ignored or those children were forced back into slavery by the most powerful and influencial, nevertheless the slave population simply dwindled over the years. Many returned to their orignal lands and over simply became Dacians. The aggressive Rugiland was the answer, Dacian gold was flowing into Rugiland and Germanic slaves were transported into Dacia.



Lomabardy was to suffer a similar fate, Guntomar invaded with brute force, but soon he came to realize something was wrong, as he was marching to reach the Lombard capital he spotted a Marcomanni army. It was well equipped and it had a great size, outnumbering by more than half his decimated army in Jutland. Marcomannia took a firm stand, if Gundbrand was to invade Lombardy he would also have to fight Marcomanni and Hermunduri forces. His army was in a weakened state, victory was simply unrealistic. In anger he replied to the Marcomanni king that he would keep everything he gained if the Lomabrds wanted their land back then they would have to come and take it back. It was a provocatory move, Gundbrand was a master in ambush tactics and the Marcomanni king knew it so a cold status quo was established. Lombardy lost more lands, a great number of Lomabards started to migrate but they were beaten on many occasions, some returned to their homeland and some settled along the way. Gundbrand turned his eyes West, a rogue ramp state of Angland remained, it was time to put it out of its misery. But while he was busy fighting Jutland and later invading Lomabrdy, the west part of Angland made an alliance with both East Frisians and Franks, they would not tolerate another expanding tribe inside their turf. Gundbrand attacked and lost, he had to return back to his homeland, humiliated for the first time.


Towards the end of the third decade the wars seemed to cool down.



Brittania saw the end of one tribe. Votadinia was reduced to some islands in Caledonia. The previous establishment was divided between Ulster and Novant. A new unified entity rose up in Hibernia. The chief called the new duchy Ulster and rebelled against Votadinia, the weaker neighbour Novant, did not stay to watch and simultaneously attacked, after a few years Votadinia ceased to exist as a regional power. The two states almost immediatly began friendly relations and even marriages between powerful nobles were arranged. Novant was interested to expand in Southern Brittania while Ulster was seeking to reach absolute control over Hibernia it only became natural for these neighbouring tribes to ally.


Further south, Atrebatia subdued a smaller tribe and becoming a valid rival for Icenia. The stage for a war on Brittania was now set and ultimatly two powers will achieve control over Brittania and one would also control almost the entirety of Hibernia.



At the beggining of the third decade Dacia saw the decline of many merchants, the kingdom was stagnating. To appease the increasingly unhappy population, Tarabostes ordered many churches to be built. In 234 Maladina fell to civil war. A rebel army of ten thousand challenged the army of seven thousand, it appeared to a serious deal but when Tarabostes heard that whoever won would still remain loyal to Dacia and it was more than anything an internal affair. Any appeasement for help was rejected, he let them deal it between themselves and at the end of the day, the weaker the better, Dacia saw already too many wars on its territory and it seeked the much needed peace.


While the majority marched into Burgundy to aid the fellow Venedi, some few thousands mercenaries from Antes were hired into dacian military and even some commanders that were deemed worthy enough to command the armies. Antes was experiecing a period of peace and many warriors headed into Dacia too, to gain glory, money and power. With the great quantity of slaves brought inside Dacia, in 236, Tarabostes ordered the expansion of the royal palace in Sarmisegetuza and started an extensive project to fortify to the city. With this the economy saw reinvigoration as a great number of people were involved and from the capital this sparkle slowly reignited the economy of the entire kingdom. A year later, the naval question was raised again, Dacia lacked its own military fleet. Often they would rent or buy foreign ships to protect important trade routes and powerful nobles in Maladina would entire fortunes renting their fleet to Dacia. The kingdom was so wealthy with the flow of gold from the Carpathians that it barely mattered, the real problem was not the cost of relying on such fleets, but in case of war with a powerful naval state the trade thru seas would simply cease to exist. No amount of money could defend Dacia in that case, it needed a fleet, a proper military fleet. Greek engineers brought a solution, a new type of ship faster, more agile and with an old roman addition. The ship would ram then enemy one and the troops would simply swarm the enemy, it was a simple design that delighted the king. A limited production was already ordered in the same year.


East of Dacia, the Antes, Sarmatias and Alans were fighting again. The once regional power, Antes was reduced by many times its size. Before that...the Alans were aggressive and iniated many wars in every direction they could expand. At one point they lost steam and became unable to even keep khanate togheter. The Sarmatians that were totally conquered by Antes previous to 228, rebelled on the alan side. The Alans were defeated by them and Antes fell with ease. After almost a decade, by 235 war between Alans and Sarmatians started again and they were defeated again. Sarmatia could become a threat to Dacia again. The relations between the two were cold but stable. For the time being Sarmatia was more worried to consolidate its power on the vast land.


In Anatolia the situation remianed unchanged, but only a fool couldnt not forsee the incoming threat. Cappadocia was about to be hit by a storm so big, never seen before, that even the dacian ally could do nothing to stop this wave.
 
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Oh my, this has been a very chaotic update
It took me a fairly amount of time. Fortunatly the ridiculous amount of screenshots i took, helped me understand what exactly was going on. In certain sense it was a rediscovery, i completly forgot i had such chaotic moments around me. Once a kingdom falls, sometimes the precarious peace disappears in many tumultous wars. It was nevertheless a great chapter for me to write but i think it was the most challenging so far, so much happened at once.
 

NarcomancerPL

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I like this AAR, but could you maybe include some more screenshots or pictures?
It doesn't necessarily have to be map. It can be picture of soldiers or important city tied to the paragraph where you describe them.
You also commit many mistakes in spelling and grammar and it's sometimes hard to understand what do you have in your mind.
Think about it pls :)
 
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HistoryDude

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Well, the world is going mad.

I wonder who the Cappadocians will face? Too early to be the Arabs. Huns?
 

Falhxer

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Well, the world is going mad.

I wonder who the Cappadocians will face? Too early to be the Arabs. Huns?
The Arabs will rise in their historical timeframe and it was a roller coaster for me since i buffed and modified the original invasion, by a lot. The Huns, well, they tried...but in this timeline were not very succesful. There will be updates about them in future, but not much sadly.
 

Falhxer

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OK guys i have some bad news and good news.
Let's start with the bad news, the latest 1.30 update of eu4 kinda messed up the mod. Whenever I try to revert to 1.29 version and load the mod with my game saves, well, it's not working... It kinda messed up some late content i was planning for later. Like the chapters i put in the description, "History of the nations". Basically a sum up for every significant nation in these seven centuries. To be able to write them i need to go back in time and observe how the nations behaved, sadly i cannot do this anymore. I decided those chapters won't be included in the AAR anymore. I wanted to have them as a nice prelude to next "chapter" of my megacampaign, the middle ages, maybe make some events, based on past historical stuff, since i have fun writting back stories of every kingdom.

Now to the good news. I have more than enough screenshots to continue the AAR as it goes now. Sadly i dont plan to make it a megacampaign, since i feel it would be inferior to what i envisioned. I still plan to make a Dacia Megacampaign, but no longer in eu4. I still don't know how i'll start again and in what period of time.
I plan to continue the AAR till 700, where my screenshots end. I will keep the writting style more or less the same and make these custom maps.

Thank you for reading my AAR till now, it will, obviously still continue for a while, since i have a lot to write about but sadly i failed you in promising a megacampaign im not able anymore to continue. Without being able to check directly in game i lack too much information for the next part.
 
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