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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Tommy4ever

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Tommy4ever

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I'm returning to these forums yet again, this time with a shiny new laptop, to make yet another AAR. This time I will be playing as Persia from 1836 with the obvious goal of Westernization and modernization. Its been a while since I last wrote an AAR and I only recently went back to playing V2 after I got AHD so my skills might be a bit rusty at first :p. On with the show!

Contents

Chapter I, 1834-1848
 

Tommy4ever

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Winter has its end
Chapter I
1834-1848

For millennia Iran stood at the heart of some of the proudest Empires the world had ever seen and oversaw the blossoming of a rich culture. However, by the mid-17th century Iran appeared to have fallen into an inexorable decline. With revenues falling and territorial reverses abundant the corrupt Safavid court continued to live in luxury. Following the eventual collapse of the Safavid dynasty Iran entered a period of anarchy and civil war through the middle 18th century that was only ended when the Qajar dynasty came to power at the end of the century.


Persian efforts to reassert its traditional control over the Caucuses led to conflict with Russia and over the course of two disastrous wars with the Russian Empire Persian power in the Caucuses was effectively destroyed – the Treaty of Turkmenchay in 1828 sealing Russian control over the region. With crushing defeat to a European power and the growth of a technological chasm between Persia and the West, Iran had reached the nadir of its power. But things were about to change.


As Mohammad Mirza rose to become Shah, following a brief succession crisis in 1834, at the humble age of just 26, Persia’s fates were about to reverse. Under Mohammad Shah’s 24 year reign the first green shoots of the Westernising process that would take off in earnest under his successor began to become visible. But unlike the man who would succeed him, Mohammad was not enamoured with every aspect of Western civilisation – merely the potency of European armies.

In his first years as Shah Mohammad quickly fell under the sway of an ambitious clique of Generals who were in turn heavily influenced by the British. The British had been desperately alarmed by the Russian triumphs over Persia in the Caucuses and feared that Russia’s southward march could threaten both India on one hand and the Balance of Power in Europe on the other. They had therefore looked to bolster the regimes in Tehran and Istanbul. The first effect this had on Iran was the importation of British military equipment and the granting of a green light to Persia to make war in Central Asia – something which might in turn cause instability along Russia’s Southern border and lure the Tsar’s attentions away from new conquests.


With the rifles and diplomatic support from London the Persian army crossed the border into Afghanistan and moved to seize the city of Herat, which had been lost during the previous century. As the city fell, a chain reaction was set off that brought several Turkic armies from central Asia southward into Afghanistan and Eastern Iran in opposition to the Persian Empire.


The Herat War lasted from 1837 until 1840, the Western equipment gave Persia’s armies a clear fighting advantage – but they still suffered horrendous casualties against their supposedly inferior enemies. Despite achieving far more than they had originally set out to in 1837 with the annexation of all of Western Afghanistan as well as the once proud ancient city of Balkh from, which had been ruled form Bukhara before the war, the Persian government remained dissatisfied with the state of its armed forces. Against a modern European Army it would still be ineffectual. Reforms in the military were therefore deepened during the 1840s with the Imperial government sponsoring the education of officers in the West. Continuing this push for greater education the Dar ul-Funun was founded in Tehran as early as 1841 – becoming the first modern University in the Middle East.


Throughout the 1840s Persia’s new Eastern border remained unstable and porous. Inter-tribal conflict and assaults on every sign of the new Persian administration in the Afghan lands were frustratingly common. Believing the Emir surviving in Kabul to be in a prime instigator of the troubles in the border region the Persians invaded the remainder of Afghanistan in 1848 – crushing the state within 3 months with the aid of troops from Central Asia.

Following victory the Shahanshah had made the long journey from Tehran to his new possession in Kabul – which was now the 3rd city of the Persian Empire. Yet the journey severely weakened the often sickly Shah and by the time he arrived he had already caught ill. His condition worsened in Afghanistan but he was too ill to be returned to Tehran, eventually expiring on October 3rd 1848. He was just 40 years old. He was to be succeeded by his Europhile teenage son Naser al-Din, under whose rule Iranian society was to change almost beyond recognition, forever.
 

TristramShandy

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I always love a good Persia game; they're in such a prime location to become a regional superpower. Keep going!
 

Thoctar

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Sounds pretty awesome! Too bad there isn't any events to add Turkic cultures to your accepted, which would be historically plausible.....
 

Avocado Aguila

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Nice start. As westernizing is the key - please Could you at the ends of chapters state your literacy and the position among uncivs?
 

Tommy4ever

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Westward winds
Chapter 2
1848-1872

At the death of Mohammed Mirza in October 1848 Iran appeared to have achieved a whole new level of strength through its triumphant conquest of Afghanistan and the continued process of military modernisation. In reality the Shah’s relentless focus on Eastern campaigns and the army had left the regime exposed to threats both internal and external.


From the early 1840s the Babi religious movement at swept Iran, winning converts in their hundreds of thousands. Following a messianic preacher known as the Bab the Babists formed a powerful force in Iranian society that stood outside the traditional religious structure of the state and were therefore regarded as a major threat. The faced persecution throughout the existence of the movement – but it was to be in 1848 where their greatest imprint on Iranian history was made. In the dying days of the old Shah’s life political wrangling back in Tehran – where various factions sought to secure the best position come the succession – meant that a new Prime Minister was appointed who happened to be staunchly anti-Babist. In September he called for the exile of the Bab from Iran. Rather than bringing about the quiet evacuation of the Bab and a few close confidants from Persia the call for exile caused an explosive insurrection as long frustrated Babists took first to the streets and then to arms against the regime. By November the Babists had been joined in their revolt by wide sections of Iranian society – ethnic minorities, Zoroastrians, the grow swathes of urban unemployed who could no longer find work due to cheap Western imports, peasants aching for land reform. Iran was rapidly descending back into the chaos of the 18th century.


As the new teenage Shah was crowned with his country in disorder the Sikh Empire of the Punjab chose its moment to strike. The Sikh Empire was a powerful force in the politics of the region – it had defied British attempts to bring North-Western India under their sway and was deeply alarmed by Persian expansion into Afghanistan. The Babist rebellion was seen as the idle opportunity to roll back the Persians from Central Asia, exerting once and for all the supremacy of the Punjab in the region.

Initially, the Sikhs were wildly successful. Kabul fell in January 1849, in March the Emir of Khiva joined the war on the side of the Sikhs, the following month Kokand threw its lot in with the Persians. By the end of 1849 the Sikh army had occupied virtually all of Afghanistan and stood outside Herat – ready to plunge into Eastern Iran. Yet a year is a long time, and in Iran itself things had changed. The rebellion had been largely crushed by the Summer of 1849 whilst the Khivan invasion was largely a failure – the Emir’s army being forced out of Northern Iran by the early Autumn. Amassing a mixture of troops that had faced defeat in Afghanistan, those who had won victory against the rebels and fresh faced recruits the Persian army moved to confront the Sikhs at the Battle of Herat.


It was a stunning triumph for Iran. The Punjabi army – tired from the long campaign across Afghanistan and with its supply lines stretched to the limit – was totally and utterly destroyed. Lured close to the city itself the Sikhs found themselves surrounded by an outlandish Persian manoeuvre. With the invaders defeated the Persians began to once more rapidly advance Eastward.


By the late Summer of 1851 the Persian advance had been halted. With the Punjab’s vast population allowing for the rapid recruitment of a large army to replace the losses in Afghanistan the Persians found themselves unable to advance any further than the mountainous borderlands of Peshwar and Afghanistan. That was until December 1851 when the Sikhs made the fatal mistake of attempting to take the initiative once more. After being defeated in a large battle with Kokandian and Persian troops just East of Kabul the Punjabi army was pursued across the border and laid to waste at the Battle of Attock. Unable to even defend Lahore the Sikhs begged for peace with Persia and were granted it at a heavy price.


As peace was agreed in February 1852 Persia was allowed to annex the Emirate of Khiva as well as the tribal borderlands North of the Punjab. Iran was once again becoming a major power in the world as Central Asia and the Persian Gulf started to once more come under the influence of Tehran. Yet the ever growing power of Europe was becoming more and more apparent. From the early 1850s Russia started to take great interest in Central Asia – a region tied by culture and tradition to Iran, by 1863 the city of Ashgabat was under Russian control and Kokand looked to Moscow rather than Tehran in foreign affairs, shortly after their humbling by Persia the Punjab came under British influence whilst the French were starting to show an interest in the Arab world. The ways of the West were clearly the ways of the modern world, and the Persian court was very aware of as much.

The 1850s and 60s were a time of rampant modernisation within Iran. Systemic educational reforms were introduced, the modernisation of the army continued at pace and as early as 1857 there were industrial experiments in Tehran. Iran was visibly changing as new technologies and ideas began to permeate through society. Reaching maturity in the early 1850s Shah Naser al-Din was clearly deeply influenced by the westernising clique at court and made a number of journeys to Europe – visiting Moscow, Paris, Berlin and London – where he presented Persia as a vibrant regional force, greatly improving his Empire’s image in the West. It was in part thanks to Persia’s new image in the West that Tehran was able to play the Russians and British off one another in order to facilitate a Persian invasion of Baluchistan from 1869-70 – an invasion that established Iranian power almost as far as the Indus.


It was in 1871 that Persia made its real great leap into the modern world. In that year the, in large part thanks to monster cash loans from European financiers, began a programme of massive capital investment with the aim of turning Iran into an industrialised and modern nation. The investments began a process that within a short space of time totally changed Iran and the Iranian people.
 

TristramShandy

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Great update. Were you in a sphere at the time of your Westernization, and what techs did you get when you westernized? Also, what's your infamy like - low enough to start establishing protectorates on your neighbours?
 

Rensslaer

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Great start!

I've always wanted to play as Persia (in a number of these games) but never have. Seems like it would be a fun country to play. Lots of advantages, but not so easy because you're surrounded by potential rivals. Everything that makes these games fun! :)

Rensslaer
 

Mkoll13

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This is a very well written AAR and I will be following it :D
 

DBtotalwar

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thread necromancy or w/e its called.


Look at the date of the last update before posting please.
Necromancy is considered a 6 months difference between posts... whereas he posted with 2 month difference
 

DBtotalwar

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