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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

volksmarschall

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Looks like Prinz Karl is in a lot of trouble within his own ranks -- the worst thing for any officer is to be hated by his own men. Still, the war with Hanover IMO is going to be tough for the small Grand Duchy, but with you in command, I can picture the sweet success this German Minor may have against a more established German minor. :p

Excellent stuff Hardraade, just excellent!
 

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Kurt Steiner: Nice to see you over here, Kurt!

The_Guiscard: Uphill indeed. I went into this expecting the usual difficulties presented by being a small nation with some big neighbors, but I quickly realized that economic factors may end up being my biggest foe.

volksmarschall: Hopefully I can do justice to the confidence that you're displaying in me. Karl is definitely in a rough spot and the campaign is off to a less than glamorous start to say the least.

Treppe: Thanks. When it happened I knew that I had to come up with some cause for it and I'm glad that it worked. I'm eager to conquer Hannover myself. Hopefully I can get it done.
 
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Prince Karl


V. The Hanover War: Part II

Following having been fired upon by his own troops, an understandably upset Prince Karl rode directly back to the main camp and ordered his regulars into battle formation. The agitated state of the Prince and his entourage and the order to fall in to do battle caused confusion amongst the regulars (who were not fully aware of what was happening), but they sprang to obey as they had been trained to do. No doubt spurred on by the sounds of gunfire that were coming ever closer, the regulars were formed up in a battle line by the time that the rioting guardsman came into view.

The renegade force hesitated at the sight of the regular troops and the two forces stood staring across the field at one another for a time. The rioters then resumed their advance and confused mutters began rippling down the ranks of the regular troops. Many of them had assumed that they were under attack by the forces of Hanover and were stunned to see their own comrades bearing down on them. When the order was given to make ready to fire on the advancing mob, many of the regulars were visibly hesitant to do so.

This reluctance evaporated when the regulars began taking fire from the mob. It's effect was light as the rioters were firing sporadically and without direction and from too far off. It did, however, have the effect of showing the regulars exactly what was happening as did Prince Karl who, on horseback behind the firing line, pointed his sword toward the rioters and shouted, "Those are no comrades of ours, my friends! There are traitors to the Crown and to the Fatherland. They deserve no mercy and we will show them none!"

The regulars waited grimly for the rioters to come into range of their muskets and, on their officer's command, sent a deadly volley into the mob. The advance of the rioters was stopped completely. Some began fleeing back the way they had come while others began firing on the regulars. A second volley ripped into this stubborn group and they too fled the field.

Prince Karl ordered his men in pursuit and was leading them forward when several excited messengers galloped up to him with reports from the other divisions under his command. The picture the messages painted was one of wide-spread confusion. Evidently the force he had just driven off was not the whole of the rioting force, and some groups had attacked the other National Guard divisions in hopes of opening a path to the south. All of the divisions under his command were experiencing fighting of some kind and were requesting support. Karl sent the messengers back with a description of the situation as he understood it and orders for all of his divisions to press the rioters hard. The rioters were essentially trapped in a box made up of the five divisions of Karl's army and if pressed could be squeezed between them and destroyed, and Karl was determined to see just that happen.

Over the next several hours the rioting force was slowly wiped out. Though various groups managed to inflict serious losses among Karl's troops and some even came close to breaking out, the rioters never really had a chance. By late evening all that remained of the nearly 10,000 men that had begun the riot was a force of about 1200 who had taken refuge within the town of Minden itself. Karl's men surrounded the town immediately, their advancing ranks leaving thousands of dead rioters behind them. Prince Karl was studying the town in preparation of ordering an attack when he was surprised to see several men carrying white flags emerge from the town.

Karl did not deign to ride out to meet them, instead forcing them to walk to where he sat his atop horse. According to eyewitness accounts, the Prince stared down at the the men for several minutes before finally demanding to know what it was they wanted. When one of the men replied that he was here to discuss terms, Karl turned red with anger and shouted back, "I will not discuss terms with your like! You men will lay down your weapons immediately or I will attack and no quarter will be given!". The men returned to the town and relayed Karl's message after which the rest of the rioters decided to comply. Karl had them all put in chains and marched back to Hesse-Darmstadt in disgrace save for some who were identified as the major instigators of the revolt. Those men were sentenced to death by hanging on the spot.

The revolt had been crushed, but the cost was high. Karl's reports put his own losses at over 5,700 men, most of which were suffered by the National Guard formations. If one was to count the lost division of rioters, Karl's army had lost over 15,700 men in one day- more than one quarter of his army. The cost in morale, already low at the time, probably cannot be measured. How can one possibly put in words how these men felt at having to slaughter their own countrymen? The biggest cost of the revolt in terms of the whole campaign was in time lost. With a quarter of his army gone, Karl was obliged to remain camped near Minden (much to the chagrin of some very distressed local Prussian authorities) until well into October while he awaited reinforcements and worked to improve his army's shattered morale. He walked or rode through camp every day and always stopped to talk to the soldiers. With them he exuded nothing but confidence, but in letters home to his wife, Princess Elisabeth, he expressed concern over the less than auspicious start of the campaign.
 
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Kurt_Steiner

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Following having been fired upon by his own troops, an understandably upset Prince Karl rode directly back to the main camp and ordered his regulars into battle formation.

Stonewall Jackson could have told him some tricks about that. Had he survived his own "trouble" with his own trouble. In the distant future of this AAR, of course.:D

The difference, perahps, it was with Jackson it was a mistake and with Karl... well.. a bit of resentment, I guess :D:D:D
 
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unmerged(61356)

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Stonewall Jackson could have told him some tricks about that. Had he survived his own "trouble" with his own trouble. In the distant future of this AAR, of course.:D

The difference, perahps, it was with Jackson it was a mistake and with Karl... well.. a bit of resentment, I guess :D:D:D

Yeah, it was certainly no accident that Karl found some bullets whizzing by.

Next update later today.
 

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Looks like Prinz Karl finally got a hold of things within his own ranks, at least with the riot over, he can proceed to the the war with little opposition and problems from within - nothing is more concerning for a commander than having troops not willing to fight for him when he hasn't even reached the battlefields yet.
 

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Looks like Prinz Karl finally got a hold of things within his own ranks, at least with the riot over, he can proceed to the the war with little opposition and problems from within - nothing is more concerning for a commander than having troops not willing to fight for him when he hasn't even reached the battlefields yet.

Indeed. With some tough fighting on the horizon he will need the loyalty of his men. Hopefully the next phases of the campaign will go more smoothly.

Next update in a few minutes.
 

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adolphusfrederickdukeof.jpg

Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge and Viceroy of Hanover


VI. The Hanover War: Part III

In mid-October, his reinforcements having finally reached him, Karl broke camp and marched into Hanover proper with 50,000 men. He made directly for the capital city of Hanover, hoping that by directly threatening the city he would force Hanover's army to confront him. Though he carefully kept it hidden from even his staff, as the army neared Hanover Karl was constantly plagued by worry. His arrival in Hanover had not come until six months into the war, much later than was originally planned. That was surely enough time for the British to have dispatched troops to back up Hanover's army. The idea that he was marching his men toward an unknown number of British troops was one that was of great distress to the Prince.

As it turned out, he need not have worried. No British troops were encountered on the march to Hanover. In fact, no troops at all made an appearance save for a few scouting parties that were driven away after some light skirmishing, and Karl and his army arrived at the outskirts of Hanover's capital city having been almost completely unopposed. What Karl did not know due to being in the field with the army was that events both within Hanover and on the international scene had severely delayed Britain's ability to respond to the threat to it's Hanoverian territories. As a result of these events- which will be covered in brief- there were in fact no British troops in Hanover at all and there would be none for some time to come.

The complications to British-Hanoverian cooperation took the form of a war on the other side of the world, an international crisis in the Middle East, and finally a rather sticky succession problem in Hanover. All of these things rather luckily (from a Hessian point of view anyway) popped up either just before the declaration of war or just after it. We will take a quick look at these now in the order they occurred.

In early March, just a month prior to the declaration of war by Hesse-Darmstadt, Great Britain had elected to invade the Punjab region of India. The region was at the time controlled by the Sikh Empire and Britain, as tends to be it's want, decided that a change in ownership was necessary. What was supposed to be a quick campaign against the Misls of Punjab would actually turn out to be a long, drawn-out affair that would tie down British troops for some time.

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British troops fighting in Punjab


Within days of Hessian troops leaving Giessen for the march on Göttingen, the great powers of Europe were thrown into an uproar over the sudden outbreak of war in the Middle East. Egypt, a vassal state of the Ottoman Empire, had rebelled against Ottoman rule. Led by the Wali of Egypt, Muhammad Ali Pasha, Egypt's armies dealt several crushing defeats to Ottoman forces and Istanbul itself was soon vulnerable to being attacked by the Egyptians. Fearing the collapse of the Ottoman Empire (which would disrupt the delicate balance of power in Europe), Britain gathered the other major European powers together in an attempt to avert this disaster. This diplomatic conference, in which the prospect of aiding the Ottomans militarily was discussed, was underway at the time of the Hessian invasion.

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Muhammad Ali Pasha of Egypt & Ottoman Sultan Mahmud II


Given the war in Punjab and the possibility that British troops would need to be sent to prop up the Ottoman sultan, it could be understood if the British viewed the invasion of Hanover by Hesse-Darmstadt with something closer to irritation than alarm. After all, wasn't Hesse-Darmstadt just a tiny nation in southern Germany? How could it be a serious threat to Hanover's army? However, an underestimation of the size of the Hessian army (which the British assumed would only be about 10-20,000 strong) and the two rather larger international considerations were not all that caused the British to be rather slow to act. On June 20, while Hessian troops were besieging Göttingen, King William IV of Great Britain and Ireland and King of Hanover died. As he had no surviving legitimate children, the throne passed to his niece, Victoria.

445pxtheyoungqueenvicto.jpg

Queen Victoria


While this was not a very big deal in Britain, it was a bit of a problem in Hanover. Hanover recognized Salic Law which excluded women from hereditary title. That being the case, Hanover refused to recognize Victoria as it's sovereign. This despite the rather sizable complication of a foreign army currently invading it's territory. This, of course, went far beyond simply recognizing a certain person as sovereign or not. Hanover's denial of Victoria was a denial of the British Empire. If Hanover chose someone else as king it would mean Hanover's independence and breaking away from the Empire altogether. As Göttingen fell and Hessian troops began marching toward the border of Hanover proper, the feeling among the British was that Hanover should be left to fight the Hessians on their own. Hanover, for it's part, felt the same way. It's army was a highly professional one of the British model and was sure to be more than a match for the Hessians. Things progressed to the point of Hanover declaring independence from Britain and offering it's crown to one of William IV's male relatives until Hessian troops began advancing into Hanover.

00008613gardegrenadier2.jpg

Hanoverian Grenadiers


Hanover's Viceroy and leader during the succession issue, Prince Adolphus- Duke of Cambridge, was alarmed to receive reports that the Hessian army was much larger than anticipated. He canceled his original plan to attack the enemy force and retreated with his 12,000 men to the capital and began preparing defenses. While his men worked through the day to construct trenches and redoubts around the city he sent messages to London describing the situation and asking for troops to be sent to his aid. He also called upon Hanover's leaders and urged them to settle the issue of succession immediately even if they had to rewrite the laws and end the observation of Salic Law. He then threw himself into planning the defense of Hanover with the hope that he could hold the Hessians up long enough for help to come to him.

So, though Karl was not fully aware of how or why, he had gotten his wish despite being terribly behind schedule. Hanover's numerically inferior army would face him alone, and he would have the opportunity to crush it and occupy the whole of Hanover before facing the prospect of British troops being landed. Upon reaching the city and observing it's defenses, Karl ordered his army into position to surround the city. His army was in place and prepared to assault the city by October 27 and Karl ordered the attack to begin the next day.


The Battle of Hanover

Just after sunrise on the morning of the 28th of October 1837, Hessian troops assaulted the defenses of Hanover. The defenses, which consisted of a series of trenches anchored by redoubts, proved formidable despite the limited amount of time given to prepare them and no less than four assaults were turned back over the course of the day. Particularly damaging to the Hessians were the guns that each of the redoubts bristled with. The grapeshot they poured into the oncoming Hessians went a long way to evening the odds for the greatly outnumbered Hanoverian troops.

The fighting dragged on in this fashion for weeks. Karl would send his troops against the trench lines again and again only to watch them be thrown back each time. Karl was frustrated with the losses he was suffering and the amount of time being wasted, but he continued battering the city's defenses with his army. He reasoned- in a rather cold-blooded fashion perhaps- that each time he attacked the enemy line his foe sustained losses he could not replace and his line thus became weaker. Eventually it would simply break. On December 10, after nearly two months of fighting, it would do just that.

On that morning Karl launched several diversionary attacks designed to force the thinly stretched garrison to commit resources to several areas of the line around the city simultaneously. Once these diversions were well under way, he ordered his entire regular division to storm the defenses on the western side of the city. They came forward at a full charge, bayonets gleaming and breath streaming behind them in the cold air. Their focus was what the Hanoverians called Reboubt 3 and the trenches surrounding it.

battleoffredericia71768.jpg

Hessian troops overwhelm Redoubt 3


The defenders sent first solid shot and then grapeshot into the oncoming Hessians, causing terrible casualties. Each time the artillery ripped holes into their line, however, the Hessians closed ranks and came on. Soon they were pouring into the trenches and swarming up the redoubt. The artillerymen atop the reboubt defended their guns bravely but were overwhelmed and the Hessians turned the guns around to fire into the trench line. The defense line now broke completely and the defenders began to flee toward the city. When word reached Prince Adolphus of the breakthrough he immediately grabbed what men he could find and personally led them in a desperate counterattack, knowing full well that if the Hessians could exploit their breach the battle was lost.

Adolphus and his men charged into the Hessian regulars around the redoubt and vicious hand-to-hand fighting broke out. The Viceroy and his men fought with desperate bravery but failed to drive off the Hessians, and when Adolphus himself fell gravely wounded the fight went out of the men of Hanover. Some broke for the rear, but most simply through down their weapons and surrendered. Word of the breach spread like wildfire throughout the rest of city and similar scenes of surrender were played out all along the line. The next day Prince Karl would ride into the city and meet with Adolphus where he was lying wounded in a military hospital. It was there that the surrender of Hanover and what remained of it's defenders was made official.

1809karl1725587.jpg

Prince Karl of Hesse-Darmstadt


The Battle of Hanover had lasted a month and a half and had cost Prince Karl over 9400 casualties. Despite the high price the battle was a complete success. Hanover's capital city had fallen and it's army was completely destroyed. Karl was now in position to occupy the rest of the country completely unopposed and immediately began drawing up plans for the next phase of the campaign with his senior officers.
 
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volksmarschall

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Excellent update! It looks like Prince Karl has done his job, despite the heavy losses for Hanover no longer in British/Hanoverian hands; perhaps because of the problems the Brits are facing in India, but that's war at it's finest.

Looking forward to the conclusion or reprisal for seizing Hanover!
 
Aug 3, 2008
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very nice updates! It seems that Hesse-Darmstadt's good fortune with Britain's engagement in India equals the scales of her bad fortune with the revolt. Now for a favourable peace settlement with Hannover...
 

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volksmarschall: Yes, Hanover has been brought to it's knees. Now the question is whether or not Karl can finish the job before the Brits can complicate things.

Treppe: Thanks. That is certainly the plan.

The_Guiscard: The lack of British involvement thus far is certainly a welcome relief and does indeed take some of the sting out of losing an entire division before having even engaged in battle.
 

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1809karl1725587.jpg

Prince Karl of Hesse-Darmstadt



VII. The Hanover War: Part IV

Poor weather would keep Karl from marching his army out of Hanover for the rest of the month of December and on into January. Karl, despite being somewhat frustrated, used the time well. He worked tirelessly and conducted daily staff meetings to discuss bringing the campaign to a swift and successful conclusion. Aside from staff meetings Karl also met frequently with the army's quartermaster to ensure that his men were well supplied and as comfortable as possible, and continued his practice of touring the various camps and speaking to the soldiers, often asking them directly if they were in need of anything. On one occasion, when a group of soldiers complained that they were short of warm blankets, Karl returned within the hour and passed the much needed blankets out personally. Evidently having learned a valuable lesson after having Hessian bullets crack past his head in September, Karl's concern for the men under his command was sincere and his soldiers recognized as much. By the time that the army broke camp and marched away from Hanover, Karl's popularity with the men was soaring. The strong bond formed between the army and the young prince was one that would last the rest of his life.

The terrible weather that kept the Hessian army trapped in Hanover finally let up in early January. The army was immediately made ready to march and left Hanover behind on January 10, 1838. Just north of the city the army divided itself into two columns. Prince Karl retained command of the first column which consisted of 30,000 men while General Ott took command of the second column's 20,000 men. Karl's plan was for the two forces to split up and operate independently of one another in order for the rest of Hanover to be occupied as quickly as possible. Karl would take his army west to Lingen and then north to Emden. Ott would lead his men north with his final objective being Stade.

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The intended path of the two Hessian columns in Jan. 1838


With Hanover's army having been destroyed, there was no real resistance to the Hessian advance, though in some of the more populated areas of Hanover militia forces were occasionally scraped together and tossed in front of the Hessian army. These poorly armed and trained groups were no threat to either Prince Karl or General Ott's formations, but they did make enough of a nuisance of themselves to slow down the Hessian rate of advance. Still, one by one, Hanover's major cities began to fall. By mid March, Nienburg and Luneburg had fallen and Hessian troops were at the gates of Osnabruck and Stade. Given the ever darkening situation for Hanover, Karl was not surprised when a messenger from Hanover's parliament arrived with peace terms.

The Hanoverian Parliament, which had fled to Emden and was in control of the country due to the lack of a monarch and the capture of the Viceroy in December, offered to cede Hesse-Darmstadt the provinces of Osnabruck and Nienburg in exchange for peace. Hessian war aims having been set much higher, Karl rejected the offer outright and sent the messenger back with terms of his own. Hesse-Darmstadt, his message explained, would agree to peace only after Hanover offered it's crown to the Grand Duke and became a vassal state of the Grand Duchy. Further, Hanover would release claim to all of it's territories save for the province of Hanover itself and transfer ownership of said territories to Hesse-Darmstadt.

When this message arrived in Emden, Hanover's parliament was thrown into an uproar. Faced with such a harsh peace, the parliament decided to finally take the advice of the Viceroy and sent a diplomatic mission to London. The diplomats carried a plea for funds and military assistance. In addition to this, the diplomats carried a promise that Hanover's crown would be offered to Victoria once the conflict was over.

With Hanover now offering to recognize Victoria and thus remain a part of the Empire, Great Britain finally stirred itself on behalf of the German nation. Funds were quickly sent to Hanover's parliament and an armed force began to be prepared for deployment on the continent. Rather ironically, this force was to be commanded by the very man that had nearly been offered Hanover's crown earlier in the war- Ernest Augustus, Duke of Cumberland.

ernestaugustusiofhanove.png

Ernest Augustus fell just short of being King of Hanover


As this was all going on, Prince Karl was continuing to pursue his campaign having received no response to his peace offer. By the end of May the war's conclusion seemed in sight. General Ott had captured Stade and Karl himself was advancing on the city of Emden. The Prince's expectation was to march into the city virtually unopposed and force Hanover's parliament to accept his peace demands. Unfortunately for Karl, things would not quite work out that way. Hanover's parliament had put the money it received from Britain to good use, and had managed to arm and equip a force 20,000 strong to confront Karl's force which by now numbered around 28,000.

Advance elements of Karl's column encountered these troops just south of Emden on June 9th. Initially assuming this to be another group of local militia, Karl pressed the attack immediately. Instead of quickly dispersing, however, the Hanoverians stood their ground and as the battle grew in intensity, Karl quickly realized that he was facing a large, determined force and called for the attack to halt. He withdrew his army from the field and sent a message to General Ott in Stade asking him to join him.

While Karl waited for Ott to arrive, the two sides remained camped not far from one another. Though there was occasional skirmishing between the two forces, no major battle occurred for the rest of the month of June. On July 7th Karl received word that Ott was just a few miles off and prepared his force for battle. The Hessians moved out of their camp at 8:00am in a long battle line and began attacking Hanover's army, commanded by a veteran of the Napoleonic Wars named General Rathjen, all along it's line. As they had in the first encounter, the men of Hanover stood their ground against everything that the Hessians threw at them and as morning gave way to afternoon the Hessians had gained not one inch of ground for the blood that they had shed.

Karl's attacks had, however, not been meant to gain ground, but to hold the Hanoverian force in place. Throughout the battle the Prince had been in touch with Ott and had directed him to arrive on the flank of the enemy force. Ott's men arrived on the field at 2:00pm. Though exhausted by the morning's forced march, they enthusiastically charged onto the field and slammed into the enemy's left flank. Taken by surprise, the entire left of Rathjen's army collapsed and he was forced to order a retreat. Karl immediately began pursuit and chased Rathjen all the way to Emden. There Rathjen was able to rally his army and Karl found himself confronted by a series of defenses even more formidable than those he had faced at Hanover.

With the rest of the country under his control, Karl decided against an assault on the enemy defenses and began to settle in for a long, drawn-out battle. He would, however, find his hand forced when word reached him that 20,000 British soldiers had landed in Stade. Karl had no time to spare now. If he did not quickly defeat the Hanoverian force in front of him, the British would be able to liberate the parts of the country he had occupied. Marching against the British was not an option because Hanover's army would then be at his back, and he certainly couldn't afford a long battle in Emden because the British force would eventually arrive and trap him between it and the defenses of Emden. Karl had no illusions about the kind of losses he would suffer in storming the defenses and it was with a heavy heart that he would order the attack to begin.

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Shells fall on Emden's defenses prior to the first Hessian attack


The battle raged for five days with Hessian troops being thrown back again and again. Some assaults would carry Hanoverian positions, but each time the Hessians would find themselves unable to hold their gains in the face of furious counterattacks. Losses were staggering on both sides and Karl began to fear that he would have no army left to fight the British if things continued on as they were. Perhaps due to this concern, Karl was willing to listen when a party came through the lines with a new offer of peace from Hanover's parliament. Karl read the offer- which stated that Hanover would surrender the provinces of Emden, Lingen, Nienburg, Luneburg, and Stade in exchange for peace- and asked for a period of truce while he notified the Grand Duke and awaited a response. The truce was agreed to and both sides were given a welcome respite from the terrible bloodshed of the past days. Karl's army had by this point suffered losses of 14,400 killed or wounded against losses of 13,800 for Hanover (these are totals for both the assault on Emden's defenses and the battle that had taken place just prior).

When Hanover's peace offer reached Ludwig II in Darmstadt, he called together his Council of Advisers to discuss the matter. The two main points of the discussion other than the offer itself were the arrival of the British and a letter sent by Karl explaining that while he could take Emden, he did not feel that his army would be in any condition to then begin fighting the British to a successful conclusion. The discussion was a short one as all were in agreement that, with British troops now involved, this was the best peace that they were likely to get. Though somewhat disappointed at not being able to achieve his original goal of completely subjugating Hanover, Ludwig II sent word to Karl instructing him to accept the peace offer. Karl was also instructed to ask Hanover to pay war indemnities to Hesse-Darmstadt for a term of five years, though he made it clear that Karl was to back down from that position if it became necessary to get the peace signed.

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Ludwig II- Grand Duke of Hesse-Darmstadt


Upon receiving his father's response, Karl met with representatives of Hanover's parliament and explained to them his father's stipulation. Though there was some debate about it, Hanover did agree to pay indemnities and a peace was signed in Emden on August 19, 1838. The war was not over, however. The treaty that Karl signed applied only to Hanover and a state of war still existed between Britain and Hesse-Darmstadt. Karl began marching to meet the invading British army even as diplomats from both sides met to try to come to an agreement. An agreement, as it turned out, was easily reached. With the war in Punjab still dragging on, the British had little interest in fighting in Hanover, especially now that the Hanoverians had given up the fight. On August 25th, a treaty was signed in which the British recognized Hesse-Darmstadt's new territorial gains. A few days later, on August 29th, Victoria was crowned the first Queen of Hanover and British troops began to return home. The war was over and Hesse-Darmstadt could now weigh both what it had gained, and what it had lost.

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The Grand Duchy of Hesse-Darmstadt (in white) after the Treaty of Emden in August 1838
 

volksmarschall

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Amazing gains by the looks of it! Hesse-Darmstadt is going to be a force to be reckoned with now after such impressive gains against one of the more powerful German Minors. Bavaria and Saxony must be trembling in fear. :p The only problem with the Duchy is the separation of the regions as the entire Duchy isn't connected within her own borders, but that is something alliances couldn't help to alleviate.

Another great update!
 

Kurt_Steiner

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I bet that Queen Vicky is thinking about making a shirt for her out of the Great Duke's whiskers...
 

unmerged(61356)

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volksmarschall: Good gains to be sure, but a bit short of what I was going for. The separation of the regions may pose a problem, especially with my limited military resources. Not only is my new territory separate from my home, but the new territory is itself divided. A bit of a mess really.

Kurt_Steiner: I'm sure that she's not overly pleased, but my invasion did keep Hanover in the British camp. What she did end up with is better than nothing right? I'm sure that she'll see it that way eventually.

Treppe: I expect that he would at that. Perhaps he'll even stay awhile... like permanently.

Enewald: Not bad, but hardly enough to satisfy a growing young power like Hesse-Darmstadt.
 

unmerged(61356)

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1809karl1725587.jpg

Prince Karl of Hesse-Darmstadt


VIII. The Hanover War: Part V- Aftermath

With the signing of peace with Hanover and Britain in late August 1838, Hesse-Darmstadt's soldiers began marching home save for the members of the Grand Duchy's professional force who stayed behind to keep watch over the former Hanoverian territories. Prince Karl would be remaining behind as well. His father had named him governor of the conquered territories and Karl, absorbed with this new responsibility, sent General Ott south to bask in the glory that they had both won for themselves.

The returning National Guardsmen were paraded past the people of Hesse-Darmstadt who came from even the remotest communities to cheer the victorious soldiers, all of the anger over their being called away in the first place seemingly forgotten in the rosy glow of victory. Indeed, support for the Grand Duke and his war had taken a complete turn during the course of the war. With the only information filtering down to the people coming from a tightly controlled state-run press, the population of Hesse-Darmstadt had throughout the war and most notably over the past few weeks been inundated with stories of Hesse-Darmstadt's valiant soldiers and their great fight against Britain and Hanover. While Hessian and British troops had never actually faced one another on the battlefield, the image of the tiny duchy's troops besting the British giant was fed to the people and they ate it up with enthusiasm. As far as they were concerned, the Hessian lion had roared and the British lion had slunk away with it's tail tucked firmly between it's legs. An inaccurate image to be sure, but as history tends to be made up of what people would like to believe, it was an image that would endure for many years.

The numerous victory parades culminated in Darmstadt where the entire National Guard paraded by the Ducal Palace. Following the parade, Grand Duke Ludwig II delivered a speech praising the guardsmen and then formally dismissed them from service. With the cheers of their countrymen ringing in their ears, the National Guard marched out of Darmstadt and began returning to their homes. Among those present at the ceremony was the liberal political leader Heinrich von Gagern. Far from pleased with the people's change of attitude, he would later lament to a close associate, "It's an amazing thing how easily a bit of marching and flag-waving can cloud the minds of the people."

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Heinrich von Gagern

Now that the ink had dried on the peace treaties and the National Guardsmen had returned to their homes, Ludwig II could take the time to assess what he had gained from his first foray into the realm of imperialistic aggression. The most obvious gain was in the large piece of Hanoverian territory he had claimed. The five provinces ceded to Hesse-Darmstadt by Hanover dwarfed the Grand Duchy's original territories in size and brought with them a population increase of around 685,000. While the new provinces offered more resources for export and more people to tax, they did not contain the one thing that Ludwig II had set out to acquire: Hanover's industry. Hanover had been adamant about not ceding any of it's industrial centers and with his army being bled white at Emden while a British army advanced on their rear, Ludwig II had not been in a position to press the point.

Other than this larger tax base and new resources for export, the gains made did not amount to much other than the added benefit of now giving Hesse-Darmstadt access to the sea for the first time in it's history. This was nice and all, but as Hesse-Darmstadt naturally had no ships it was unable to take advantage of any new trade opportunities for the time being.

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Grand Duke Ludwig II


Despite what the people of Hesse-Darmstadt were being told at the time, these gains were actually rather minimal and the fact remained that no matter how much territory had been won, Hanover's industry (the true objective of the war) had not been captured and Hesse-Darmstadt was not one step closer to becoming an economic power: something that it would need to be in order to become a respectable military one.

Against these gains Hesse-Darmstadt had suffered casualties of 32,804 killed, wounded, and missing. If one were to add the loss of the mutinous Guard division, the casualty numbers went up by another 10,000, though some 1200 of those men were actually now in prison camps throughout the country. Though not formally charged or sentenced as of yet, these men would continue to be held for the time being until the ducal government came up with something to do with them. More serious to the Grand Duchy was the financial loss it suffered during the conflict.

As was explained in previous chapters, Hesse-Darmstadt's economy was weak and the Grand Duchy was far from able to afford the war. The cost of paying and supplying it's troops throughout the conflict had been more than the treasury could bear and the Grand Duchy found itself deeply in debt. The intention had been to use the boost gained by seizing Hanover's industries to pay off the debt incurred by the war. However, as Hanover's industry had not been captured, Hesse-Darmstadt had no way of paying off the debt and the interest payments on the loans (mostly from Prussia) alone were enough to nearly grind the Grand Duchy's economy to a halt. Added to this problem was a dramatic downturn in exports over 1837 and 1838. With so many thousands of farmers away in the army, many of the fields whose produce was so relied upon had gone untended. These two factors would combine to threaten the Grand Duchy with a major economic crisis and combating this would absord the energies of the ducal government for the foreseeable future.