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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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BootOnFace

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It's amazing that the Timurids are still around and that you only have 130K manpower. I would like to know how both happened. Do you just not build army buildings?
 

Avindian

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so the Irish get to rule the English ... ahem, this could be fun. Interesting shift of tone, its as if the Empire is settling down to the grind of its own daily business (or was that just the consequence of the regency?)

Wars until 1650 will be a little less frequent, so it is a temporary shift in tone.

The Empire seems to be needing the Gustavian reforms, to take the war to their (many) enemies. Pietro did well during the regency, now we'll see what Francesco can do

I was excited that I got that now, before I faced real competition!

It's amazing that the Timurids are still around and that you only have 130K manpower. I would like to know how both happened. Do you just not build army buildings?

Timmies are still around because the AI takes forever to colonize horde lands. And no, I don't build army buildings for the most part; I focus on production, trade, and (recently) government. I don't really lack for manpower at the moment, so I doubt I'll change that policy in any meaningful sense.
 

Avindian

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Chapter 34: The Empire of Italy and the Last Crusades*

*Sorry, I couldn't resist. :p

1 October 1637, Castle St. Maso, Rome

Francis II, the new Emperor of Italy, had a very unusual problem for an Emperor. He was incredibly shy. He was never happier than when he was corresponding with a friend from another country, which gave him practice in foreign languages. He was one of those rare sorts who liked doing paperwork, who liked everything very neat and organized.

Addressing a huge crowd, needless to say, filled him with terror. While his uncle had avoided a coronation day speech, Alexander I had been disfigured. There was nothing wrong with Francis apart from his own nervousness. He'd even tried to foist this duty on his father, but to no avail. He sighed and polished his glasses, before putting them back on to study the speech he'd written. It looked good to him, but he always knew he was a gifted writer. The trick was not sounding like a fool.

He cleared his throat, took a big gulp of wine, and walked on to the balcony.

"Good day, citizens of the Empire of Italy. I'm glad you all could make it to my coronation; it's really very kind of you to take the time out of your busy schedules."

The gathered crowd looked with disbelief at the round figure that addressed them. This was an Emperor? They all had a good laugh when he lost his notes, although they had the decorum to laugh quietly.

"Er, yes, ahem. Well, since I've lost my notes, I'll have to improvise. Oh, dear."

He mopped his brow and cleared his throat. He closed his eyes tightly for a few moments, took a deep breath, and continued from memory as best he could.

"With our war against the British over, and the British Isles well on their way to becoming a province of the Italian Empire, I pledge to support peace and stability against our brothers in Europe. We will turn our attention to the Muslims of North Africa. For too long, they have been pawns in the game of influence between the Europeans. We shall take them under our protection and help them flourish, as all citizens of the Empire do."

Many in the audience began to reconsider their initial impression of the Emperor. He might not look Imperial, but he certainly sounded like one.

"The Council of Ministers shall remain as it is currently situated. The recent illness of General Galilei has required Marshal Gentileschi to return to the field. His Chief of Staff, General Brutus Porcius Cato, will undertake the Marshal's duties in the meantime; please know that he speaks with my voice and he has the trust of the Marshal and me.

"I have one final bit of news. I've just learned that my dear wife, Julia, is pregnant, and all the doctors insist it shall be a boy. So take heart, citizens, that the House of Farnese shall continue to watch over you and your Empire. Glory to the Empire!"

Francis II bowed, turned, and left. As soon as he was out of sight of the crowd, he collapsed into the nearest chair. He'd done it! He made a mental note to hire a gifted speaker to deliver his speeches in the future, however. It was not a pleasant experience and he didn't care to repeat it.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
12 April 1638, Florence

The Timurids invaded Damascus on 9 November 1637. To the soldiers on the frontier, the attack came entirely without warning. It was later discovered that a junior diplomat buried the Timurid's declaration of war in a stack of other papers; his career in the Foreign Ministry was cut regrettably short. Thanks to some skillful tactics, the regions of Al Karak and later Badiyat Ash Sham were added to the Empire of Italy.

Some students in the region of Liguria used this new war to begin discussing some of the new religious trends outside the Empire. When a university administrator wanted to arrest them, the Emperor himself issued a decree guaranteeing the freedom of expression, at least within the confines of university walls. This locally unpopular decision was opposed by many Lutheran clergy throughout the Empire, but they could do little about it in the short term.



The most immediate event, however, was the death of General Galeazzo Galilei.



As was custom, the General's body was taken from Rome to the grounds of the Germanicus Academy for the Imperial Legions in Florence. As the procession moved north, a farmer and his young son watched.

"Father, what's going on?"

The farmer stood up and squinted at the caravan. "The flags say there's an important person in that caravan. A dead one, if I'm not mistaken."

The boy, no more than 11, looked on with curiosity. "Why do important people get caravans and we don't?"

The farmer chuckled. "Jacopo, my son, that's an excellent question. When you find an answer, you let me know. I'm just a simple farmer."

The son considered that. "Father, have you ever wanted to be more than a farmer?"

"Wanting has nothing to do with it. My father was a farmer, and his father was a farmer, and so on. Nothing wrong with that."

"I want to be important, though."

"Farmers are important, son. Without us, who would feed those great big armies the Emperor's always so proud of?"

Jacopo looked up at his father. "I don't know if I want to be a farmer."

At that, the old farmer frowned. "Well, what else would you be?"

Jacopo thought very carefully, unusually for a young boy. "I think I want to be a soldier."

The farmer was so surprised that he dropped his hoe. "A soldier? That's an awfully dangerous job. Lots of soldiers die, and then what would we do?"

"Farming is dangerous too, Father. Remember cousin Michele? He was kicked in the head by a horse and now he can't feed or change himself. If I got to be a big shot in the army, I could send home my salary and you could hire some laborers to take my place."

The farmer admired his boy. "How long have you been thinking about this?"

Jacopo smiled shyly. "For a long time. Can I do it?"

His father tousled Jacopo's hair. "You have to be 14 to join the legions. If you still want to by then, we'll go up to the Academy together. Okay?"

"Okay!"

As Jacopo returned to work, his father was both very proud and very worried. Who knew what could happen to his only son?
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
18 August 1640, Germanicus Academy, Florence

Chief of Staff General Brutus Porcius Cato looked at the new recruits with some measure of concern. This batch was to join the Legio VII 'Asia' in North Africa, which was already earmarked for the assault on Morocco.



With Marshal Gentileschi taking personal command of the attack, Brutus was inspecting both the Academy and the Van Dijk College of War. He didn't anticipate too many problems with planning; the Moroccans only had two African provinces, Atlas and Marrakesh. The word from the Emperor was that he greatly preferred Marrakesh. With Moroccan possessions overseas, that was probably as good as could be accepted.

As Brutus thought about the Emperor, he quickly said a prayer for young Pietro, the Emperor's son. Although the baby boy was happy and healthy, Francis II had forbidden any public look at his son. In fact, neither priest nor soothsayer had been able to shed any light on the boy; he was a complete mystery. [1]



As Brutus returned his attention to the task at hand, he noticed one of the recruits had taken to the marksmanship drills like a duck to water. In fact, he hadn't missed a single target on the range! The General knew he had to meet this lad.

"What is your name and rank, son?"

"Jacopo, General. I'm a new legionnaire."

The General frowned. "Jacopo? Don't you have a last name?"

The recruit shook his head. "No, sir. My father is a farmer a few miles south of here; he's always been called Giovanni the Farmer."

"Then we'll call you Jacopo Contadino. [2] And you have the wrong rank too, soldier."

Jacopo looked puzzled. "I'm sorry sir?"

"You're a Corporal, not a Legionnaire. Your marksmanship is phenomenal, better than mine if you want to know the truth. I need to know you can handle combat and leadership. If you distinguish yourself in Morocco, I will personally promote you to Sergeant and make your our firearms instructor. Does that sound acceptable, Corporal?"

Jacopo brightened and saluted. "Yes sir, General sir!"

"Very well. As you were!"

As the new Corporal hurried back to his training, the General smiled to himself. The one thing this new crop of soldiers had was pride. Some of the more vocal were arguing for the annexation of new land on "nationalist grounds," whatever that meant.



The General heard the bells ring 4 o' clock. He had to get back to Rome for a cabinet meeting the next day. The whole concept of a cabinet still confused him. It was apparently the same thing as a Council of Ministers, but for some reason the change in name made the rest of Europe look more kindly on Italian affairs. He shrugged his shoulders. He was just a soldier, what did he know about politics?


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1 May 1641, Marrakesh, Morocco

Corporal Jacopo Contadino stood as rigidly as he could. Even being at the peace negotiations was a considerable honor, but he had been given the incredible honor of being part of Marshal Gentileschi's escort. While the army and navy had been roughly in balance in the past, Francis II had started to strengthen the power of the army within the Imperial Cabinet. He even promised three new legions would be raised shortly, while the navy would have to make do with current resources.



As the Sultan of Morocco signed the treaty, the Corporal was nearly bursting with pride. Marrakesh was now a region of the Empire of Italy!



Jacopo had done very well in the brief war. With a specially modified musket that he designed himself, he'd killed ten enemy officers in a single battle, earning a commendation from Marshal Gentileschi.

More interestingly, he'd found he loved the soldier's life. As a farmer, he was hardly a stranger to manual labor, but now he could feel good that he was helping the Empire. His father could barely hide his pride when he returned home a newly promoted Corporal. Now he was going to be a Sergeant, and one of the youngest in the history of the legions, at 15 years of age. General Cato had already signed the paperwork, but he wouldn't get his promotion until he returned to Florence.

Lost in his own thoughts, Jacopo nearly missed the signal to depart the chamber. As he hurried to rejoin his friends, he couldn't help but smile.

Did anybody have a better life than a soldier?
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
13 September 1643, office of the Foreign Minister

Pietro Leopoldo Farnese looked at his grandson fondly. Now four years old, he was getting very large already; Pietro thought he was sure to be taller than Francis, at the least, and maybe even his uncle Alexander. His fondness quickly turned to terror as little Pietro knocked over a pile of documents.



The Foreign Minister sighed, and began to pick up the documents. These were official deeds to the Imperial core territories in Egypt and Anatolia that the Chancellor had brought the day before. A purchase order for some materials for the new Fine Arts Academy in Napoli fell out of the stack, which Pietro Leopoldo signed. With the documents now placed in a file cabinet against the wall, he turned to a letter from General O'Connor.

Dear Foreign Minister Farnese,

As the oldest living member of the House of Farnese, it is my honor to present to you the legionary crest of our newest legion, the Legio XX 'Farnese'. It has been wrought of the finest British iron, to symbolize the eternal links between the British Isles and the Empire of Italy. May your family rule long over our glorious Italian Empire.

Sincerely,

Alexander O'Connor, Governor-General of Britannia​

Pietro Leopoldo smiled. After the eighteenth legion was named after the Cato family and the nineteenth after Jupiter, he wondered if the Farnese family would get some recognition. He was pleased to see that it did. His good mood vanished when he saw the most recent dispatch.



That meant instability in North Africa, which would probably mean armed intervention by the Empire. Pietro Leopoldo sighed. He knew why his son was so aggressive towards the Muslims of North Africa, and didn't necessarily blame him for it, but he and Ambassador-at-Large Gian Carlo Buti had worked so hard to repair Italy's reputation that it was a little off putting to see another war so soon. It was even against a newly independent country -- Algiers. [3]


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
9 February 1644, Castle St. Maso, Rome

Francis II, still unused to public appearances, had assigned his new Foreign Minister to the role of representative for the Empire in the treaty negotiations with Algiers.



Carlo Emanuele di Ferrari had originally been hired to replace the late Gian Carlo Buti, who legend had it died of a heart attack upon the declaration of war against Algiers. It wasn't true -- Buti had died of cholera -- but it was impossible to correct the "facts" that had already spread. di Ferrari had been the Praetor for the Proconsul of Egypt for about five years; his new job earned him the title of Count, something he was very pleased about. He hadn't expected to be promoted to Foreign Minister almost instantaneously, but Pietro Leopoldo had been working for far too long and welcomed the chance to retire with a capable hand at the reigns.

Another soon-to-be-promoted official looked on the proceedings with interest. Sergeant Jacopo Contadino had just been accepted into the Germanicus Academy's Officer Course, the first commoner to be granted that honor in a long time. Young Jacopo had made a strong impression on the Marshal and the Marshal's Chief of Staff, however, and his outstanding skills at marksmanship had done nothing to harm his candidacy. The course would be grueling and take the better part of a year, but in February 1645, the Sergeant would become a Lieutenant and earn a patent of nobility, at the tender age of 19.

The King of Algiers was probably the only unhappy person at the entire ceremony, which was certainly understandable. Not only was he being insulted by having a mere Foreign Minister sign the treaty, but his lands were being annexed to the province of North Africa. He himself had just recently become King; he'd had less than two years to enjoy his position.


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
[1] Totally forgot to take a screenshot; there might be one in the next update, but I'm not sure. :rolleyes:

[2] Supposedly, that means farmer in Italian, according to Google Translate. If I'm wrong, please let me know. I thought about calling him Agricola, but in the Empire I've envisioned, Latin is part of the educated upper class, of which Jacopo is not a part. Most people speak Italian and have Italian names.

[3] Born from the collapse of Morocco. I think Morocco still exists overseas, somewhere, but I won't swear to it.

I'll try to squeeze in an update early next week.
 

Bear_Jew67

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Man, it's been a while. Just caught up with the AAR. I'm really impressed with what you did with O'Connor's character. And to have control of Britannia so soon. Did not see that one coming. Keep it going, man. This just gets better and better
 

CivandEUIII

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when I look back I think that you really, really should have made a form rome decision.
 

loki100

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Jacopo is an interesting character ... hopefully we see his rise through the ranks. How useful is that CB ... not sure what now forms your culture group.

Contadine, is indeed a word for a peasant, but its gender specific -- female (its the plural of contadina). Now actually I think that makes it better as here is a member of the ruling class trying to show competence in the venacular and getting it wrong and a young boy from the countryside so proud he doesn't even think to correct or reject the name.
 

Avindian

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Man, it's been a while. Just caught up with the AAR. I'm really impressed with what you did with O'Connor's character. And to have control of Britannia so soon. Did not see that one coming. Keep it going, man. This just gets better and better

Thanks for the kind words! I've really enjoyed designed characters based on others' templates; if/when I do another historybook AAR like this one, I'd consider doing the contests again.

when I look back I think that you really, really should have made a form rome decision.

You might be right. If I were REALLY ambitious, I would have created one for each provincia which renamed all the in-game provinces and gave me cores once I had certain territories. In fact, if an enterprising reader wants to give me some code, I'll do that when I play some more.

Jacopo is an interesting character ... hopefully we see his rise through the ranks. How useful is that CB ... not sure what now forms your culture group.

Contadine, is indeed a word for a peasant, but its gender specific -- female (its the plural of contadina). Now actually I think that makes it better as here is a member of the ruling class trying to show competence in the venacular and getting it wrong and a young boy from the countryside so proud he doesn't even think to correct or reject the name.

It's nothing world-beating, since I'll get Imperialism in a few years; it really only would have effected my eventual war with Savoy and some more Italian territories in Austria. That's about it.

Is Contadino the appropriate spelling or do I need to fix it?
 

Avindian

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Interesting update, nice to get that lump of cores digested.

Thanks!

My goal is to update twice (twice!!) tonight; once for the years up to 1650 and then the State of the Empire for 1650. I'll be on a trip in Omaha this weekend, so I won't get a chance to play EU 3 (my netbook can barely run Darkest Hour; I shudder to think how it would feel about EU 3 + DW) until Sunday at the earliest.

EDIT: Also, the ACAs are back. Emperor Francis II commands you to vote! (Even if you don't, it's a great way to find the cream of the crop in AARland!)
 
Last edited:

Avindian

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Chapter 35: Italian adventures

12 July 1644, Tabouk

Jacopo Contadino was not very pleased about his situation. Instead of finishing his lieutenant's course, the Commandant of the Academy had ordered him to Oman, where his experience in desert warfare was to prove valuable. The Sergeant knew he couldn't very well refuse, but he was still annoyed.

He was assigned to the Legio XI 'Hispania.' At least he had an interesting new job; he was a spotter for the legion's artillery regiment. Jacopo, like most thinking soldiers, knew that artillery was the wave of the future. A small part of him missed fighting on the front lines, but he developed considerable respect for the awesome power of artillery. The superior weapons technology of the Empire of Italy allowed a tremendous victory over Oman, and the Battle of Tabouk would be one that later historians would study.



Oman could not fight after that. It signed a white peace with Emperor Francis II, and the war over Algiers officially came to an end.


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
17 October 1645, chambers of Francis II

The passing of Innocenzo Buti was an unwelcome event for Francis II. He'd come to depend on his reliable Chancellor to make sure that circumstances in Italy were well controlled while he, the Emperor, focused on foreign policy.

One of Chancellor Buti's last major moves was to annex the formerly independent country of Modena to the Empire of Italy proper.



After allocating all available funds to repairing stability in the Empire, Buti planned to take a much needed vacation, leaving a deputy in charge. He was going to Greece, where he was to formally sign the papers acknowledging the ex-Greek lands as core Italian territories. He'd never been to Constantinople and was looking forward to the wonders it held. An unruly horse had a different idea, however, and Chancellor Buti died shortly after landing in Greece.

This created a problem for the Emperor. He really hadn't groomed a replacement for the the Chancellor. He did hire a missionary to take Buti's spot in the Imperial Cabinet, somebody that could speed up the conversion of the Muslims of North Africa, Egypt, and Anatolia to Lutheranism.



A descendant of former Court Theologian Carlo di Campofregoso, Carlo Emmanuele di Campofregoso was no simple priest. He was also an intelligence agent, a spy. Under the name Karl von Kaufmann, he posed as the third son of an entirely fictitious Baron. His mission throughout the Holy Roman Empire was to gather information on the Catholic Church and what plans the Pope might have for the Empire of Italy. For both of his talents -- his unwavering faith and his uncommon skill at espionage -- Francis II had no qualms about hiring another Count di Campofregoso. However, he could not make such a man Chancellor.

The Emperor had five real candidates in his estimation. The first, the current Minister of Industry, Maurizio Carafa, had considerable business experience and some talent in administration, but such a choice would likely anger the older Imperial families. The second choice was Octavius Tullius Cicero, who was one of the brightest men in the entire Empire. Unfortunately, he'd never been interested in politics in the least. He wouldn't even agree to succeed his father as Chief Magistrate of Constantinople; Julius's youngest son, Josephus, had taken that position.

The most prominent member of the Cato family was Brutus Porcius Cato, who was too invaluable as a military mind. With Marshal Gentileschi insisting on serving in the field, the General simply couldn't be spared. Gaius Andreas Germanicus, the Proconsul of Egypt, was a viable alternative in terms of experience and political skill, but was getting on in years. Given that Pietro Leopoldo wasn't willing to take the position, the only other person that Francis II closely trusted was the Governor-General of Britannia, Alexander O'Connor. Alex seemed to truly enjoy his assignment, however, and probably wouldn't agree.

As Francis II mulled this over, he briefly considered his own son, Pietro. The Emperor smiled. It was rare to see that a son was so much brighter than his father at an early age, but it seemed that Pietro was certainly that. He'd inherited his father's talents at administration and diplomacy, but also had one of the finest military minds in the entire Empire. He would be a fine Emperor. [1]

One of the best things he could do was give his son a capable administrator, and so he vowed to himself that he would give this matter a week's consideration.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1 September 1646, Germanicus Academy, Florence

It had taken him a little longer, but the newly-promoted Lieutenant Jacopo Contadino had finally earned the coveted rank of nobility. It wasn't hereditary, but he'd only been married for a couple of months and had no children, so he had plenty of time. He'd met his wife, Cristina, in Jerusalem. She was distantly related to the Mayor of Jerusalem, but the only thing Jacopo cared about was that she loved him and he loved her. He'd used some of his new wealth to purchase a very small villa about ten miles from Florence, a short trot by horseback.

His skill with artillery observation gained an important new job; he was consulting on the development of the Imperial Legions' new Swivel Cannon.



Smaller and lighter than the old cannon, Jacopo was particularly impressed with how quickly they could move. No longer would artillery drastically slow down an army. General Cato had been discussing a new type of legion with some of his commanders, and the new Lieutenant had heard about it at the officers' mess. All Jacopo knew was that the General was talking about removing cavalry from the new legions.

That sounded good to Jacopo; after all, less cavalry meant more artillery (probably), which meant more opportunities for promotion.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
3 January 1648, Rome

It had come as something as a shock when Emperor Francis II finally named his new Chancellor; instead of making a decision in a week, it had taken him nearly two months. What Francis kept from the candidates was that he made his decision very quickly, but had to come up with a way to ease the egos of those who weren't chosen.

The Emperor eliminated O'Connor and Germanicus right off the bat. O'Connor wouldn't have accepted it, and Germanicus was just too old. Octavius Tullius Cicero formally withdrew himself from candidacy almost instantly. That left Brutus Porcius Cato and the Emperor's personal choice, Maurizio Carafa. General Cato was in an awkward position. Marshal Gentileschi continued to insist on serving as commander in the field, which he was admittedly suited for. That left Cato back in Rome in the staff job, which he was admittedly suited for. However, some of the staff generals were giving Cato a hard time, since he technically wasn't their superior in terms of rank or seniority.

He'd first tried changing Cato's job title to Chief of the General Staff, but that didn't make a difference among the most obstructionist generals. Francis knew he couldn't use General-in-Chief, as that was reserved for field commanders, which Cato wasn't. Gentileschi wouldn't accept a demotion from Marshal, which even the prestigious (and more exclusive) title of General-in-Chief would certainly be.

It turned out that the solution was far simpler than the Emperor had made it; there was nothing in any Imperial law that said that there had to be a single Marshal. A quick conference with Cato and Gentileschi established that Gentileschi would recognize Cato's superiority in matters of planning and overall command, while Cato would defer to Gentileschi's judgment in the field.

To make the deal even sweeter for everybody, a bout of pneumonia from the cold climate of Great Britain had brought General O'Connor home to stay; he immediately was named Chief of the General Staff under Marshal Brutus Porcius Cato. Alex's closest friend, Michael Sullivan, was named Governor-General of Britannia based on Alex's recommendation.

With that boondoggle settled, Maurizio Carafa was named Chancellor, and immediately made his mark by constructing a March in Macedonia, an Embassy in Atlas, and most importantly all, an Imperial Tax Assessor in Rome, which would greatly improve administrative efficiency and act as a brake on inflation. The Empire didn't have any inflation, but the Emperor knew that in case of war, some imperial funds might have to be diverted to minting new coins, and it was an excellent companion to the Imperial Bank of Italy.



Everybody was happy, and the Emperor had neatly solved a thorny domestic situation.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
15 November 1648, Rome

Marshal Cato and General O'Connor had been up for hours trying to plan for this war. What had started as a simple, limited war, had quickly ballooned out of control. Francis II wanted to unite the remaining Italian vassals with the rest of the Empire. Parma was slowly responding to gifts of gold, but Mantua was not. In fact, the Duke of Mantua had actually kept Chancellor Carafa waiting for four hours when the Chancellor intended to present the proposal. However, Mantua was also Catholic, which was the heart of the problem.

Savoy had warned Italian diplomats about an aggressive move on Mantua, which was to be expected, as Mantua was still legally part of the Holy Roman Empire. But France had also threatened to intervene as defender of the Catholic Faith. That was a considerable challenge.

General O'Connor had proven to be a genius at planning, even better than the Marshal, and Marshal Cato recognized how valuable it was to have a skilled General on his staff. He'd even asked the Emperor to issue a decree formalizing the position of Chief of the General Staff and including preliminary planning as one of the duties. That left the Marshal time to deal with administrative matters and questions of vision. The Imperial Decree and O'Connor's field reputation prevent much objection from even the oldest and most curmudgeonly general on the staff.

Even more important was an official Imperial Decree on Hierarchy in the Imperial Legions, which cleared up matters considerably.

1 November 1648

The chain of command in the Empire of Italy shall be thus for all time:

1. Marshal of the Empire -- Administrative head of the Imperial legions; second only to the Emperor in military matters and the Emperor's chief adviser
2. Field Marshal -- Commander-in-Chief of all forces in the field
3. Chief of the General Staff -- Head of planning for the Empire; among staff officers, second only to the Marshal of the Empire

All other generals will be ranked based on seniority, unless the Marshal of the Empire or Field Marshal assigns a specific assignment to a general. All other positions and ranks remain as before.

Francis II, Emperor of Italy, King of Great Britain, Overlord of Venice, Parma, Mantua, Corsica, Achaea, Morea, and Provence​


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2 May 1649, Piedmont, Savoy

The war with Mantua had ended as quickly as everybody predicted; Mantua's army was easily dispatched and the city seized.



Lieutenant of Artillery Jacopo Contadino was actually really worried he wouldn't get a chance to see any action. He was given command of a battery of five new swivel cannons and was eager to see their performance in the field. Unfortunately for the brave young Lieutenant, he got exactly what he wanted at the Battle of Piedmont.



Although Jacopo was glad not to be part of the cavalry, which either died or surrendered in toto, the two artillery regiments suffered just under 50% casualties. Jacopo was one of them, suffering serious injuries to his left arm. The arm wouldn't have to be amputated, thanks to a skilled field surgeon, but it would be nearly useless for the next year. He'd never regain full control of the arm. Jacopo knew he'd always have a job in the legions, if nothing else as a firearms instructor, but he was disappointed to see his field career cut short, or so he thought.

Although he only took command of the forces in Savoy shortly before the end of the war, his bravery in the field was recognized by a new General, Maurizio Paradisi.



Field Marshal Gentileschi appointed the new general largely for morale reasons, since the foolish Commander of the Legio XIV 'Aegyptus', the man who was responsible for the huge casualty numbers, died in the field. The Commander of the Legio II 'Sicilia', Jacopo's legion at the time, saved the battle with some brilliant tactics, and was promoted for his efforts. Although primarily a cavalry man, Paradisi recognized toughness when he saw it, and immediately promoted Jacopo on the spot to Captain, skipping him over Centurion. This wasn't as big a deal as it might sound, since Centurions were strictly field personnel, and at least in the short term, Contadino would not return to the field.

Although the battle had bloodied Italian forces, it also terrified Savoy, who signed a white peace on the spot.


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
27 November 1649, Venice

Peace would not last long, however. Francis II, eager to take advantage of Savoy's weakness, immediately chose a new target.



He knew one of two things would happen; either Venice would be destroyed in weeks or Savoy would give only token support. While Savoy did honor her guarantee, Venice had little real opportunity to defend herself. The Imperial Fleet immediately blockaded Corfu and Venice, scoring a victory over Venice's fleet.



With no real ground forces, Italian troops stormed the fortifications in both Corfu and Venice and the war, with Venice anyway, was over as quickly as everybody thought.



Corfu, not technically being a core territory of the Empire, raised some international eyebrows, but most stayed silent. Savoy remained at war with the Empire, but with no real army, peace was but certain as preparations for the 250 year jubilee began.

Francis II had a major announcement planned for the Imperial conference, but kept it to himself. But this announcement wouldn't just transform the Empire.

It would transform the world.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
[1] Pietro, I finally discovered, is 7/7/8. I've already got his funeral plot picked out when he dies three minutes after inheriting for a 3/3/3 monarch that can't pick his nose without detailed charts.

So, I promised two updates tonight, but since I'm close to the screenshot rule, you'll have to wait for tomorrow afternoon for the exciting conclusion, if not until Sunday. Because I'm such a nice guy, I left you with a cliffhanger. You're welcome! ;)
 

loki100

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as ever great stuff, now has the air of a powerful regime resolving a few local details as it settles down for the long term .. glad to see Jacopo's career develop - any chance he'll be modded in as a general at some stage?

.... & a nice cliffhanger ....
 

Avindian

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as ever great stuff, now has the air of a powerful regime resolving a few local details as it settles down for the long term .. glad to see Jacopo's career develop - any chance he'll be modded in as a general at some stage?

.... & a nice cliffhanger ....

Glad you enjoyed it! Not sure about modding in a general; I did add some extra last names to the leader file, though, so we might get a surprise or two down the road :)
 

BootOnFace

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I don't object to you modding a normally generated general to give him a name from the story. Or advisors. I think that'd be pretty cool.
 

CivandEUIII

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[1] Pietro, I finally discovered, is 7/7/8. I've already got his funeral plot picked out when he dies three minutes after inheriting for a 3/3/3 monarch that can't pick his nose without detailed charts.
What, you mean like a person who is so silly that he accidentally poisons the wine? THat kind? Would be a nice plot.
 

Avindian

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I don't object to you modding a normally generated general to give him a name from the story. Or advisors. I think that'd be pretty cool.

I know how to do that in comagoosie's save editor, but that doesn't work with DW (at least the most recent version) -- is that something you can edit directly in the save file?

What, you mean like a person who is so silly that he accidentally poisons the wine? THat kind? Would be a nice plot.

Maybe so -- we'll have to see if such an Emperor materializes, although I'd much rather have Pietro rule for the next 150+ years.

I should be back from my conference on Saturday evening; hope to have the State of the Empire (1650) done then or Sunday..
 

Avindian

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State of the Empire: 1650

8 January 1650, Castle St. Maso, Rome

Captain Jacopo Contadino was bored out of his mind. It was surely a great honor to be part of the Emperor's personal bodyguard, and would probably do wonders for his career, but it was neither exciting nor particularly challenging. He knew he would never serve in the field again because of his injury, but he'd at least hoped for a slot in the Germanicus Academy or Van Dijk College of War. Without a field command, it would be very difficult to get a promotion any farther than Captain without a very powerful ally.

As he watched the Cabinet gather for the Emperor's speech, Jacopo quietly hummed to himself. He recognized Chancellor Carafa, Foreign Minister di Ferrari, Minister of Internal Affairs and Religion di Campofregoso, Marshal Cato, Field Marshal Gentileschi, and General O'Connor. Unlike previous years, the Proconsuls and Chief Magistrates were not present at this meeting. The Emperor met with them earlier, and for the most part simply shook hands and smiled. All were competent, and the Emperor really hadn't had many concerns. He didn't even know who most of them were, if the truth were known.

As normal, the Emperor entered last, but for the first time, Prince Pietro made an appearance. Most eleven year old children would probably have been bored out of their minds, but the Prince was a genius and more mature at 11 than Jacopo had been. The prince quietly took his seat next to his father. Jacopo motioned to the Imperial cartographer, who'd been waiting for his chance to present the imperial maps.


The map of the Empire of Italy


The world


Italy and her vassals

Francis II, Emperor of Italy, King of Great Britain, etc. etc. rose to his feet. He still dreaded speaking in public, but at least with a small group like this, it wouldn't be as bad. One thing he wasn't nervous about was what had to be done. He'd kept a lot of people in the dark with his plans. In fact, only two men at the table knew his major announcement: Marshal Cato and Chancellor Carafa. He would save that for the end of the presentations.

"Gentlemen, our mighty Empire has lasted for 250 years. That is the good news. However, there is still much work to be done to unify what was once the greatest Empire the world had ever seen. Count di Campofregoso has shown me, through the Bible and the writings of our revered Martin Luther, that the world is going to come to an end in February 1821, yet it will be restored 14 years later by the grace of God. These are certainly odd predictions to make, but at the very least we know that time is short.

"The predictions of Count di Campofregoso are not his alone, but shared throughout Europe. As a consequence, those governments who are particularly blessed, such as ours, have been given a mandate to annex those who are less fortunate, that they might be best protected from the coming Armageddon. This mandate -- called "Imperialism" - shall be our world's salvation, and I intend to use it to make sure that our descendants shall awaken in a truly glorious Empire when our world is reborn!"

Most present were confused, but nonetheless politely applauded. Francis II nodded to Chancellor Carafa, who put his posters on the easel.


Monthly income


Imperial policies


Demographic data


Centers of trade

"Gentlemen of the Empire, our economy is strong. We may lag behind some of our smaller neighbors in trade, but our production and taxation keeps our research programs well funded. As you can see, our current emphasis is on funding for our glorious legions.

"Last year, we spent the most money on our fleet, which may be somewhat surprising to some of you. As ships get more advanced, we must spend more each year on maintenance, and we must continue to expand our fleet as our presence in Europe expands. If we hope to contribute to the expansion of the New World once our mission in Europe is completed, the fleet cannot be underfunded. Our yearly income has not changed much. Our artisans and tax collectors remain the biggest contributors to Imperial revenue.

"Our next policy initiatives will likely be to the benefit of our legions. I do not know which National Ideas we will pursue next; those will come at a later time. Our most immediate concern is with our people. Approximately 25% do not accept either Italian dominance as core territories or Lutheranism. Our Minister of the Interior is working on the latter, but the former will only improve with time. I would remind the Cabinet that some of our core territories have yet to be redeemed.

"Finally, our Centers of Trade are performing fairly well, but we are still well behind the most impressive regions. Our failure to acquire Andalucia, while sound in the short term, still gives our rivals in Castille a considerable advantage, especially when they also have the preeminent trade center in the New World."

Marshal Cato was the first to ask a question. "Chancellor, I notice we are losing money each month. Are we in danger of going bankrupt?"

"No, Marshal. Our yearly census taxes ensure we have a positive balance each year. In an emergency, we can easily mint coins to help build up our coffers, and thanks to the Imperial Bank and the Imperial Tax Office, it would even be inflation neutral. I guarantee you, no other nation has 0% inflation."

Minister of Internal Affairs and Religion di Campofregoso queried, "Will I have enough funding for my conversion programs in the coming months?"

The Chancellor nodded. "Ensuring we have loyal, God-fearing citizens is and always will be a priority for our mighty Empire. However, since missionary work is dangerous, priority will be given to areas which are near our legionary camps, in case riots break out."

With no other questions, the next presenter was Foreign Minister di Ferrari.


Nations sorted by income


Nations sorted by army size


Nations sorted by navy size

"As you can see, noblemen of the Empire, we are easily the greatest power in the world, by any measure. Even in technology, we are bested only by Ulm, although I did not bring that chart with me. Apart from a massive coalition of our enemies -- Austria, Burgundy, France, and Castille -- there is no military that could threaten us. Former Governor-General O'Connor has done a superb job; already, they have made considerable investments in both their army and navy, which will be a great asset.

"Our only true enemy would be Muscovy, but they remain our eternal allies. The only nation I might consider drawing closer to would be Sweden, but I fear that they and Muscovy are destined to war, and I have no illusions about who would win. My efforts to build closer ties to France have been for naught; they still consider us a major threat to their security, despite my protestations of our peaceful intentions."

That was a fair assessment of the foreign situation, and nobody had anything to add. The final presenter, Marshal Cato, had only a few brief words. After all, it was the Emperor's show, not his.


The Imperial army and navy

"I am, as always, immensely proud of our soldiers and sailors, who have performed exceptionally well. Our fleet is large enough to, if need be, transfer five legions at once to any trouble spot. We have 20 legions, the largest artillery contingent in the world, and the most brilliant military minds history has ever seen. I am confident we can handle any foe at any time.

"With cooperation from Field Marshal Gentileschi and Captain Contadino over there" -- Jacopo was startled into alertness upon hearing his name -- "I would like to propose an experimental new legionary formation. This new legion, which will be called the Legio XXI 'Fulmen', will be larger and more powerful than other legions. It will be comprised of eight infantry, two cavalry, and five artillery regiments. Although slower than General O'Connor's "quick" legions, the "thunderbolt" legion will be able to overwhelm any enemy with sheer firepower.

"I am also seeking approval for a new fleet of ships; 20 galleons and 20 merchantmen. This new fleet will add to our transportation capacity and give us even more power on the high seas. Thank you."

Captain Contadino was personally stunned by the announcement of the Marshal. Sure, he'd been recommending a larger artillery contingent in future formations, but to nearly phase out the cavalry was something he'd never thought possible. He almost asked a question, but quickly realized it wasn't his place. Field Marshal Gentileschi had no such restrictions.

"Marshal Cato, who could we possibly need that much firepower against? I know we are soon to annex Parma and Provence, but neither of them have a fearsome army."

Francis II sighed. He'd hoped to wait until the very end, but he had to announce his plans now. He surprised the Field Marshal by taking the question.

"Gentlemen of Italy, I have been working on something for the last few years. A plan. Despite our might, our brilliant and industrious citizens, and our incomparable economy, we remain disunited. Yes, Parma and Provence must be incorporated into our Empire, and sooner rather than later, but a much bigger challenge awaits us.

"I am speaking, of course, of war with Austria."

After a brief silence, everybody started talking at once. Only Marshal Cato's roar silenced the crowd.

"Please, gentlemen, the Emperor is speaking!"

After a grateful nod, the Emperor continued.

"I know this will come as a shock to many of you. However, the only way to take the Balkans and our core territories in Austrian lands is through war. I dream of a day when a fellow can walk from Paris to Constantinople without leaving Italian territory. That will not be soon, but it is our duty to live up to the honor of the Roman Empire. I know Austria has powerful allies; that is not our concern. The Muscovites will almost certainly assist, but even if they do not, we cannot fail to do what we must for the glory of the Italian Empire.

"That is all. An official declaration of war may not come tomorrow, or the day after, or next year, but it will come. For now, I have instructed Marshal Cato to begin planning and ordering legions to move into position. This will not be an easy process, and I have hopes that we might integrate Provence and Parma before the war. If not, it is of no consequence. Thank you, and good day."
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I'm all caught up with gameplay now, so the next update probably won't appear until next week.
 

Michaelangelo

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I've been waiting for so long for Italy to crush Austria. I noticed that they seem to be having rebel trouble, so perhaps you will attack them soon. ;)
Is mentioning that the world will end in 1821 and come back 14 years later a hint at that you will convert this save to a Victoria II game? :)
 

Avindian

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I've been waiting for so long for Italy to crush Austria. I noticed that they seem to be having rebel trouble, so perhaps you will attack them soon. ;)
Is mentioning that the world will end in 1821 and come back 14 years later a hint at that you will convert this save to a Victoria II game? :)

Very probably I will, although I've found history-book AARs with Vicky 2 to be quite challenging; we will see :)
 

ve3609

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Do you have press gangs? I see your ships are almost double your forcelimits