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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

CatKnight

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CHAPTER XXV: NETHERLANDS
Part 1: Humping the Empire
(1800-1805)


The Last Introduction

Welcome to the Netherlands! Res Publica in particular changed them up a bit, so let's take a look.

180001Setup_zps5c486412.jpg


Our Stadtholder...sucks. (0/1/4) Fortunately, the AI's already gone ahead and made Lodewijk VI a general, so maybe he won't be around too long. We won't be able to count on republican elections to help as the Orangists are firmly in power. There are two 'parties' (Orangists and Statists), and there are events and elections that help you shape which party is in charge. Despite the Republican malus from being an Orangist, our Tradition is at 100%.

180001Diplomacy_zps49d0311c.jpg


A few minor surprises diplomatically - Morocco, Ayutthaya and Japan rivaling us for example. We have an impressive ally in Russia, and having Thuringia and Inca along doesn't hurt. Actually Inca's all but worthless, as we'll see before this post is over, but so be it. We've also vassalized and RMed Switzerland, which really is worthless as it puts us at our limit for diplomatic ties. We can't diploannex Switzerland as they're too far away. (We couldn't theoretically core their territory.)

In 'Art of War' prices of trade goods are now controlled by events, and the fact we've banned slavery immediately drives down their value.

180001Abolition_zps0f2e1349.jpg


We are building two colonies, one in Hawaii and the other Maynas (in South America). Almost immediately 5,000 very aggressive natives annihilate our foothold in Hawaii. We will be back, but not before I can sail an army to the other side of the world to sit there.

Our army consists of 89,000 men in two armies, and 126 ships. The latter consists mostly of light ships protecting trade scattered across the planet. First thing's first. Let's....


Stomping Mitrehead

Right!

In February 1800 we move some merchants around, mainly because all trade notes reset with the new patch and I needed the monthly update to see what was really happening. We also move some of our fleets around to make our trade protection a bit more efficient.

We have a warning that, since we're embargoing nations we aren't rivaled with, we're suffering a trade malus. I switch rivals from Savoy to Spain, since we'll be dealing with them at some point, and revoke the embargo on Savoy. This only leaves an embargo on Portugal causing trouble. We try to ally with Savoy, but they seem to think we might be getting ready to cause trouble. They're right. We ally with Denmark instead.

In late February we decide to have a talk with Mitrehead.

180002StompMitrehead_zps9d62104e.jpg


Discussions are frank.

180002BattleofNassau_zps9c70dce0.jpg


Damn those soldier models are ugly up close. I imagine it's to encourage people to buy those little unit packs. I hope we get a way to turn those off. Ick.

Where was I? Oh yeah.

The Papacy did have one ally: Lorraine. Russia, Thuringia and Inca would have declined to join for various reasons. Denmark was willing to come in, but we really don't need their help. We leave a siege force in Nassau, then crush the Lorraine army in Rethel. 74K versus 14K equals no more enemies. By mid-March all of Lorraine is covered as well. Given the new war rules, I will need to subdue Lorraine to make Mitrehead submit unless I want to wait five years, and I don't.

In April we enter a RM with Denmark. Then I settle in to wait, but Russia asks me if I'd like have some more fun.

180005Russiaasksforhelp_zpscc65cc03.jpg


Sure. Why not. It's on the other end of the planet. What are they going to do? Have fun, buddy.

This leads to insinuations that maybe my stadtholder is a warmongering jerk. (Reputation tarnished) We silence our critics permanently for -1 Stab.

Then Thuringia comes by and asks if we'd like to help them stomp on Mainz and Liege. You know what: Mitrehead and Lorraine can't do anything, I still have plenty of men after sieging their provinces, the Russian war isn't going to affect me, Liege and Mainz are ALSO fighting Wurzburg, Palatinate, Bavaria, Hesse, Anhalt and Brunswick ... why not. It's August 1800 and we're now in three wars. By the end of the month Liege is occupied, and my armies are spreading through Mainz when...


Wait a minute!

180009WaitWot_zps93f81a90.jpg


When Dutch LaPlata, having staved off an Argentine invasion and launched a massive counterattack, ignored Great Britain's warning to back off!

Crapcrapcrap! Pause. Think. Most of Britain's army is on their island. Their fleet is weak: 4 heavy ships, 17 light. Most of my fleet is scattered, but we do have two very large formations: 40 warships (heavy and transport) at home, and another 40 light ships protecting our North Sea trade route. We leave the latter alone. The former spreads out, blockading the British southern coast as well as Wales (a British ally.)

Through October naval battles erupt world wide.

180010NavalBattles_zps71844187.jpg


At Lands End, our forty light ships meet thirteen of theirs and annihilates them. In December our Pacific fleet, rounding Magellans Strait, catches their last four light ships and destroys them. No more fleet.

Nassau falls in November, but it will take more time to finish off Mitrehead. Overall this is a surprisingly quiet period: My armies are busy sieging and my only enemy with troops has no navy.

This doesn't stop the Aztecs from declaring us a rival in May 1801. Keep it up buddy. You might be next.

By October 1801 Lorraine's done. I could ask for one or more of their provinces (for a large diplomatic power cost), or just take what I came for with my nationalism CB.

180110PapalDestroyed_zps47686d5e.jpg


Excellent...


The British Connection

Now, what to do about Britain. The colonial war has stalemated and may even be turning slightly against me, as Argentine has put 20K men together. Invading England itself is possible .. but difficult. They have 50K men in London led by King George himself. I have the numbers (or I will once Mainz gives up), but transporting enough men across before George attacked and wrecked my foothold would be an issue.

Fortunately, my allies are willing to help. Denmark, Russia and Inca all accept my calls to arms. Inca has 20K men of their own, but a massive tech disadvantage (Military-13). We'll....see what happens.

My own men benefit from Relentless Drill (+15 land morale) and Liege falls that November. Mainz falls in April 1802 and it's time for Thuringia to impose terms.

180204Liege_zps93da48c3.jpg


Wait...what?

Thanks guys! Anyone else you want me to kill? No? Okay, let me know!

If I seem a little wired up after that gift, you can blame the coffee.

180205Coffee_zpsc1f7f152.jpg


A little later we get a similar event concerning Tea. Coffee, Tea, whatever helps you get up in the morning. And brings down my revolt risk, as the people in Nassau and Liege are getting a little saucy. Fortunately it's not bad enough for me to have to give up any (more) autonomy and both will core next turn.

Honestly perhaps it is too much coffee, as I spent much of 1802 proving my ineffectiveness at politics. I picked up MA with Savoy to maybe 'delenda France', but France is allied with Austria and I'm not sure I want to go there yet. Then I MA Spain and Orleans to stick it to Burgundy. Then I notice one of Burgundy's allies is Bavaria, and between Bavaria and their flunky Hesse they have a 62K stack still at war with Mainz. Ugh. Who's left?

Of course by now I'm earning no diplomatic points due to being so far over my relations limit and having a moron for a Stadtholder. I end up cancelling all those accesses, then release Switzerland for good measure as a worthless waste of a slot. With my newer ally Denmark I'm still at relations limit, but now I have some room to maneuver.


War # 5

By September 1802 we have two active wars: Britain, which is turning into a bloody stalemate in South America and a sitzkrieg in Europe; and Russia's war with the Mughals, which seems to be going well on paper but nowhere near resolution. Ayutthaya takes the time to insist on just that when they catch and sink one of my trading fleets in the Sunda Strait.

Our war exhaustion is non-existent, and I think we can take on one more adventure. If not France and Burgundy, then perhaps Aachen. Aachen's allies include Denmark (who will dishonor), Lorraine (we just trashed them), Orleans (yawn) and France (ditto). Yeah, we should be okay.

180209Aachen_zps9a566337.jpg


In September we destroy Aachen's army. In October Orleans' 14K army dies, and in November Lorraine's 14K follows. We cover everyone, including the northern French territory (they have three, none of them connecting). France launched a brief counterattack.

180301Franceloss_zpsfb9c72ee.jpg


Emphasis on brief.


The Tide Turns

Still, there's a bit of a flaw in our wind and I'm beginning to feel it. Netherlands' manpower has been poor since we took over, and now all the attrition and battles are starting to catch up with us. France drives that point home when they successfully shove us out of Orleans with a fresh army killing 4K in the process. We beat them back, reestablished MA through Savoy and sat on if not sieged all their land by May... but the tide's starting to turn. We need to start disengaging.

First England. We could take two or three provinces, but at 50 diplomatic points each that's too rich for our blood. No...no, we're going to let them go for now. I don't need the money, but at least it says 'I won.'

180303EnglandPeace_zps7ecd95fd.jpg


The Mughals don't really care if we want to keep fighting or not, and agree to a White Peace. Russia can finish them off alone.

Then Thuringia twists the knife.

180209PapalBack_zps8a14b602.jpg


You...bastards!

Dutch West Indies piles on. I receive a warning that they've reached 50% liberty desire, then I get this beauty.

180307DWILiberty_zps5e233c2a.jpg


Fine. Just go away. Daddy's busy.

In June 1803, Denmark joins the Aachen war. Apparently the only thing holding them back was our being co-belligerents versus Britain. They have a single fleet of 85 ships which chews on two of my trading fleets. I order everyone to port to wait out the war and hire 12K mercenaries to help speed the sieges along.

Through 1804 four provinces fall, but with the new war mechanics and Denmark's entry I'm not sure when or if I'm going to get Aachen. I'm terrified of an amphibious assault as I don't have the army to repel a major assault anymore, but none comes. It's all too much for our poor Stadtholder.

180402Election_zps301f0575.jpg


Which is just as well. We'd earlier picked up an event which let us increase our Orangist leanings to 100%, so even this won't drive them from power. This means we should have a decent Stadtholder for a long time.

Next turn we'll take what we can, recover, and think about taking on Spain. Spain still has a somewhat decent army (79K) but ZERO navy, and Savoy's currently kicking them to the curb. We can at least 'thank' them for all the times they helped us in our previous wars.
 

Athalcor

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Three things:
- In the battle of Artois, your army composition is...interesting.
- Isn't it funny that Isaac van Oranje is a statist candidate?
- Well, imagine if you've gone Ayutthaya, you would now be standing on the other side of the barricade.
 

Stuyvesant

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Now this is the life! Stomping on Mitrehead (and surprise! You get to do it all over again! :p), rolling over adversaries left and right... I mean, you've taken out the Pope, you've gone mano a mano with the Brits and came out on top, you've humbled France (okay, not such a giant achievement in this particular playthrough, but it's the thought that counts), and you're chomping at the bit to have a go at Spain. Or has the wee detail of not having any manpower dampened your enthusiasm for any Spanish adventures?

This sure beats those turns where you were forced to tiptoe around, always in dread of your stronger neighbors! A happy to start to the final round of this AAR. :)
 

unmerged(58610)

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Life doesn't get any better. Annex Mitrehead and get another chance to do the same. Like Stuyvesant I'm amused by an Oranje as the Statist candidate. I hope you'll kill off France and stomp on Denmark for betraying your alliance. Really glad to see you're ready for an exchange of ideas with Spain. You're giving them the same amount of pain they've given you. They're giving you howls of pain. Perhaps you'll force release Luxembourg off somebody and Lan Xang from Ayutttaya or whatever.
 

LanMisa

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Yay! Push the Spaniards around just like they deserve it for being the worst ally ever - for any country you ever played that was allied with them....
 

Dr.Livingstone

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Just go and annex Europe. I mean really, what is there left to lose from such an endeavor?
 

Nikolai

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Wait, the statist candidate is an ORANJE? :eek:
 

SacredDatura

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With four-year terms it sounds like the regnal numbers can get unmanageable if you stay Orangist the whole game.

Also, I haven't played the Netherlands, but I t looks a bit like hovering around neutral would be the best policy for the Dutch Republic - get a terrible ruler, go Orangist; get a really good one, go Statist. Is that the case?
 

McGrey

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With four-year terms it sounds like the regnal numbers can get unmanageable if you stay Orangist the whole game.

Play a nation with only a few names in the country files. I endet my wales game with Owain VIII. And that was a normal monarchy...
 

Hiryuu

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Ah, a nice walk so far... just let your manpower replenich to don't be caught off guard... I'm sure money to mercs can't be a issue...
 

CatKnight

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oblio-: Now now, Victor Emanuel was forging a new nation. I'm just expanding.

Athalcor: I hadn't even noticed my army composition in that battle. All my infantry at that point was tied up in sieges.

Stuyvesant: Yep, throwing our weight around has been fun so far!

Chief Ragusa: It is VERY funny that a van Oranje is the Statist candidate. Maybe he's an infiltrator!

LanMisa: Hopefully we'll get to that!

Dr. Livingstone: Annexing all of Europe is probably still beyond me. I can make some inroads though!

Nikolai: Funny, huh?

Andre Massena: True. It's in the rules somewhere.

Blackfish: The regnal numbers ARE used with the Statists (4 year terms) so yeah, I imagine those can get out of hand quickly. I haven't played the Netherlands enough to give you an idea on a good strategy, but yours sounds the best. Plus, with one improving republican tradition and the other decreasing it, I think bouncing back and forth is probably a good idea.

McGrey: #I'm Owain VIII, I am I am, Owain VIII I am.#

Hiryuu: I'm trying to let manpower replenish, but that's not working so well. Money is not a serious issue. I think I ended this turn with 13K ducats.

Stuyvesant: No doubt it's not important to know the rest.
 

CatKnight

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CHAPTER XXV: NETHERLANDS
Part 2: Delendaing France
(1805-1810)


My Aachen Head

I know things are getting a little complex, so let's review: We declared war on Aachen because they are part of our cultural group: Potential Taxpayers. Lorraine, Orleans and France formed the Little Alliance that Couldn't to stop us, so we demolished their armies and occupied their lands. It should have ended there, but then Denmark decided they wanted to get involved. Other than losing a few trading ships their war contribution has been nil, but their mere existence gives Aachen ample reason not to surrender.

Meanwhile, our manpower is....poor. Very poor. We need to finish Aachen off and not get into any more adventures for awhile so we can try to fit in a showdown with Spain.

What we do have is money, so we raise an extra 10 mercs (7/3/1 I believe) to help speed the sieges along. We also begin building 22 three-deckers (heavy) and 22 East Indiamen (transports) because I really don't like Denmark having a larger fleet.

Meanwhile, Emperor Palatine, having tried to save continental Munster (recall their capital is in Iceland), is currently getting wrecked by Brunswick, Bohemia, Austria and Wurzburg. I notice the Emperor is desperately trying to get a reform passed that would ban internal HRE wars. Only 2 other princes agree with him. This would be why.

In May we force Lorraine out of the war, having already beat them less than five years earlier. All things considered it's a pretty lenient truce as I'm still worried about paying to core new provinces. Plus, I didn't have a clear cut strategy for the upcoming peace at the time.

180505Lorrainepeaceout_zps8457a958.jpg


I found a strategy through the Summer of 1805: Take just enough land to neuter my enemies. I tested this new strategy with France in August.

180508Franceout_zps9b5c1ef6.jpg


They're now a 2PM, said provinces don't border, and they're trapped between Spain and Savoy. Oh, and now they're going to have religious issues. They're done.

Let's check in with Orleans.

180509Orleansout_zps85f21a99.jpg


Ditto, except THEY are a OPM. Life is good!


Cleaning up the Map

According to my friends in the recruiting office, we are 46K soldiers below full strength. Okay, time to rest and relax for awhile. Hm...what's this?

180511Palatinateloses_zps03f998f3.jpg


Hi, Trier! I see you have no army and no allies. Would you like to join us? No, I really must insist.

By December 1805, Trier is under siege while the rest of our army continues to rebuild. The newest Mitrehead tries to buy peace.

180606Saint_zpsc0699683.jpg


We'll see. Saxony, his latest capital, isn't THAT far away. My timeline with Spain is starting to get iffy though. I have to settle down. Focus. Breathe. Relax. Serenity.

180606ColonialConflict_zps9f9dce06.jpg


Didn't I tell you guys Daddy was busy??

In September 1806 Trier admits they'd like to join us after all.

180609TrierDies_zps7a44c855.jpg


You know, especially now that I have a good excuse (Metz) I'd love to sit on Burgundy for awhile. They have 5 provinces, and only two of them touch. Still, as I told you before they're allied with Bavaria and with the help of their vassal Bavaria has quite the little army going.

Wait. They're at war with Bavaria??

180609AttackBurgundy_zps7f37abd6.jpg


Not only Bavaria, but Palatinate, Hesse, Milan, Munster, Polotsk, Anhalt, Hungary, Orleans, Thuringia, Mitrehead, Savoy, and the Horsehead Nebula! Yes please!

We siege the four provinces we border, and meet an Orleans army in the capital of Bourgogne.

180610Bourgogne_zpsacdb68d9.jpg


Given how this turn's going so far, I think we should discuss French martial vigor. Don't you?

french_zps56abf8c6.jpg


I thought so too.

There is one Burgundian province I can't get to: Alencon, which is surrounded by Spain. Spain will no longer give me MA - they're starting to get nervous about my intentions. To Burgundy's credit, they use Alencon to advantage rebuilding their army twice and raiding across the border as do their Swiss buddies. It's not until June 1807 that we're able to decisively destroy both armies.

Bourgogne surrenders in July, and by October 1807 the Burgundians call it quits.

180710BurgundyOut_zpsdf41adfc.jpg



Business at Home

For over a year it really is quiet. We're still holding Aachen, but thanks to Denmark's presence they aren't surrendering. It's been over five game years, so I think there's something here for Paradox to look at. It's frustrating.

Life goes on. I'm coring and switching religion on provinces as quickly as monarch points will allow. I hired some advisors to help with that, but honestly I don't remember the details. There's also a coalition building against us - I think Austria and Britain may be involved - but they will not find strength in mere numbers.

In January 1809 I've just noticed my remaining army is badly imbalanced against infantry when the local militias offer to help.

180901Catholics_zps5ea97ffd.jpg


Yes! That's right! Destroy the heretics in Aachen! No matter they haven't had an army in five years. Go and uhm... mill around aimlessly in the name of God!

180902Cardinal_zps0f1ad520.jpg


See? This guy agrees!

Incidentally, we now have six cardinals. This puts us in a tie for second with Savoy: Spain has seven.

In March 1809 Caraibas declares war on the Dutch West Indies, and at least initially has the advantage. Here's the bad news: As strong as Netherlands is, I don't think we can let this escalate and take on Portugal. Whether I simply didn't notice, or due to the conversion, Portugal's really buffed up. They have one of the strongest economies now, and as I saved this turn I noticed a 200 ship trading fleet off the African coast. If we do end up fighting Portugal, any hope of giving Spain a bloody nose vanishes.

This upsets those families who really want to fight Portugal.

180905FamiliesSad_zps230b53bd.jpg


It upsets me as well. It's now December 1809, and thanks to DENMARK we're only at +30% vs. Aachen. We can't keep going on like this. It's time to get out of the stupid war. But we can make them suffer.

180912Aachensuffers_zpscd385ab5.jpg
 

GreatUberGeek

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Burgundy ball! Perhaps this is the sign if more Polandball to come? ;)
And a reference to French military defeats! How could this AAR get any better? :D
 

McGrey

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The Horsehead Nebula is in a lot of wars lately. They have probably some manpower issues by now, you should pay them a "visit".
 

Stuyvesant

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"My Aachen Head" - wonderful. :) Oh, and that Google search result - le burn is strong wiz zees one. :)

More bullying of your neighbors and ignoring of you squabbling colonials. Sounds like a fun enterprise.

As long as Aachen doesn't re-up its alliances, you should be well-positioned to finish them off for good, right? Or can a coalition keep you from that noble goal?