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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

volksmarschall

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Returning of the victorious soldiers, liberalist politics, heavy casualties (for the size of your country's standards) and an economic crisis facing the small Duchy in the wake of a successful war against Hanover - I do ever wonder what will be coming up next? I think the Prussians might be getting nervous of Hesse's expansion! :p

Excellent return! :cool:
 

Davisx3m

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Go Hesse!
 

Enewald

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Time to raid some other neighbour?
Like Netherlands? :p
 

unmerged(61356)

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volksmarschall: The war has left me in a difficult spot. Losses in money and men were high and yielded little return. I'm going to have to stabilize the economy before I can move forward.

Davisx3m: Indeed, sir! Welcome aboard.

Enewald: Maybe. They certainly are sitting right there next door after all. Of course, there's always whats left of Hanover in five years.
 

unmerged(61356)

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LoiusII.jpg

Ludwig II, Grand Duke of Hesse-Darmstadt


IX. 1838-1844: The Interwar Period- Part 1

Following the successful conclusion of the Hanover War in August of 1838, the affairs of the Grand Duchy of Hesse-Darmstadt were dominated not by deciding what to do with the spoils gained by their victory, but by the serious economic crisis that the war caused. As was mentioned in the last chapter, prosecuting the war had left the small duchy deeply in debt. The economy (never really very strong) had taken a serious hit following two consecutive poor harvests, and the added difficulty of paying back the extensive loans that the Grand Duchy had been compelled to take out was worsening the matter. The situation continued to deteriorate throughout the rest of 1838 and by the beginning of 1839, the small duchy was threatened with a complete economic collapse.

Not about to allow his country's rise to be derailed just as it was beginning, Ludwig II immediately began working to come up with a solution along with his Council of Advisers. Charged by the Grand Duke to present him a plan to turn the economy around, his advisers began bickering among themselves almost immediately. As the debate continued bitter divisions began to arise, only increasing the difficulty in coming up with a solid and workable plan to overcome the economic issues crippling the duchy.

As days passed with the Council deadlocked by endless arguments, three distinct factions formed. Each was at odds with the others to varying degrees and presented their own plan for economic recovery. The Royal Faction formed around the Crown Prince Ludwig and consisted of lesser members of the ducal family and the aristocracy. Their proposal called for an increase in the tax rate combined with dramatic cuts in military spending. They also suggested short-term cuts to education and public safety spending which would be reversed once the economic crisis had been averted.

210pxludwig3hesse827765.jpg

Crown Prince Ludwig of Hesse-Darmstadt


Completely opposed to this plan was the group that would come to be referred to as the Military Faction. Comprised of the leading members of the Grand Duchy's officer corps and led by Prince Karl who had returned from his headquarters in Nienburg, they argued viciously against any plan to cut spending to the military. Their plan called for higher taxes coupled with cuts to education, while increasing both the public safety and military budgets. They justified their call for increased funds by reminding the other members of the council that the Grand Duchy's goal of becoming an economic powerhouse could only be achieved through military expansion, and that meant a strong and well funded army. In addition they suggested that the Grand Duchy take advantage of it's access to the sea and increase trade by constructing or acquiring a fleet of merchant vessels.

The third faction to form within the Council of Advisers, dubbed the Scholar Faction, was made up of the Grand Duchy's leading religious figures and educators. Led by the most brilliant scientist and educator in Hesse-Darmstadt, Justus von Liebig, this group tended to agree mostly with the Royal Faction. They too called for dramatic cuts to the military and agreed that some short-term cuts to education and public safety funding would have to be made, though they felt that the cut to the education budget should not be as severe as proposed by the Crown Prince and his faction. However, they were completely opposed to increasing the tax rate as they felt it would be ruinous to Hesse-Darmstadt's poor.

justusliebig4303479.jpg

Justus von Liebig

The Grand Duke, for his part, had little patience for the squabbling going on within his Council of Advisers. With each day that nothing was done to solve the crisis, the Grand Duchy fell deeper into debt and the situation worsened. He ordered his advisers to present him with a final plan by the end of January.

As the factions argued amongst themselves it quickly became obvious that no one group was going to be able to bring the other two around to their way of thinking. Compromise was necessary and as the leaders of the three factions began meeting with one another, Price Karl began to find himself the odd man out due to the insistence of the other factions that military spending be slashed. Crown Prince Ludwig and Justus von Liebig eventually came to an agreement and took a proposal to the Grand Duke. Desperate that his precious army not be crippled by excessive cuts to it's budget, Karl also presented a proposal of his own. Though he knew that his father was favorably inclined toward the army, Karl was less than optimistic as he awaited the Grand Duke's decision. His faction was in the minority and who knew what the economic crisis was doing to his father's thought process?

Ludwig II, with whom the final decision rested, reviewed both proposals carefully. Though he had been the one who had pushed for the creation of Hesse-Darmstadt's first professional army, he was finding it hard to ignore the fact that the cost of supporting the army was having a seriously detrimental effect on the economy. In the end he decided to follow the plan put to him by the Crown Prince and Justus von Liebig, though he made some modifications. The military budget was cut severely, or as Prince Karl put it, "Down to the bone.", while education and public safety funding was cut slightly. The tax rate was raised 20%, far higher than any of the factions had imagined it would be.

While the Crown Prince and Justus von Liebig came away mostly happy with the plan, Prince Karl was furious and immediately prepared to return to Nienburg. As a means to mollify his second son, Ludwig II named him Commander-in-Chief of the Army and promised to follow his suggestion of acquiring a fleet of merchant vessels. These ships were purchased from Prussia in the spring of 1839 and though the purchase increased the national debt, the revenue that the trade vessels eventually produced would more than make up the cost.

128190043df303090613460.jpg


The economic plan put into effect by Ludwig II in late January of 1839 would eventually see the economic crisis resolved, though it created great hardships for the people of Hesse-Darmstadt. Crushed by severe taxes, the Grand Duchy's poor reached new lows and the once burgeoning middle class was nearly wiped out. The long-term effects of this would return to haunt Hesse-Darmstadt in the years to come.

An economic collapse had been averted, however, and as the Grand Duchy slowly recovered it was able to increasingly turn it's energies to further expanding it's influence in the realm of German affairs. It's efforts to do so would lead to another war and will be covered in the next chapter.
 

unmerged(37096)

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Interesting, looks like there could be a division growing in the royal family. Let's hope the rift doesn't run to deep
 

volksmarschall

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A good look at internal affairs. Hesse-Darmstadt is in a pickle when it comes to the economy. As you grow in power, other German nations are sure to take notice, especially Bavaria and Prussia... so I wonder what the next war is on as you've alluded to above?
 

Kurt_Steiner

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Crushed by severe taxes, the Grand Duchy's poor reached new lows and the once burgeoning middle class was nearly wiped out. The long-term effects of this would return to haunt Hesse-Darmstadt in the years to come.

But taxing the middleclass to death is never a bright idea.

I know just a bit of the game, but that's one of the things I've learnt by heart.
 

Enewald

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Middle-class be useless.
Conquering oversea territories?
Intriguing.
 

unmerged(61356)

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Quirinus308: That could certainly cause enough problems to derail things a bit. Whether or not it does become an issue remains to be seen.

Treppe: Thanks. Could have the forerunners of later political parties showing up for the first time there. Taxing the middle class is indeed not the best way to go, but I had no other way to put my finances back in the black. Hopefully I can get a stronger economy going before too much damage is done.

volksmarschall: The economy is easily my worst enemy right now. I don't know how long it will take for some of my bigger neighbors to start getting nervous, but I hope it's long enough for me to get into a stronger position.

Kurt_Steiner: Definitely not something I wanted to do.

Enewald: The possibility is certainly there. Right now I have enough going on at home to occupy my attention, but maybe someday.
 

unmerged(61356)

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1809karl1725587.jpg

Prince Karl of Hesse-Darmstadt


X. 1838-1844: The Interwar Period- Part 2

Following his political defeat at the hands of his older brother and his allies in the Council of Advisers, Prince Karl left Darmstadt and journeyed north to his headquarters in Nienburg. Karl was deeply stung by the outcome of the Council meetings and surviving correspondence from the time period indicates that he felt a great deal of bitterness about the whole affair. In addition to that bitterness, though, Karl was also deeply disappointed in himself. He had returned to the capital specifically to see to it that the needs of the army would be met, and had failed completely. Instead he would be returning to inform them that their reward for victory against Hanover was to be a reduction in pay and a decrease in the quality and availability of supplies. By all accounts it weighed heavily on him during the return trip.

Once back in Nienburg, Karl immediately resumed his duties as chief of the army and governor of the conquered territories. It was a daunting task. At his disposal were 10,000 men who were tasked with holding down a hostile foreign population of nearly 700,000. Rebellion was seething beneath the surface of the conquered provinces and Karl had no choice but to set up numerous garrisons which caused his force to be rather thinly spread. When what amounted to the abandonment of the army by the ducal government was added to this already serious situation, the result was not good.

Still, Karl was determined to keep fighting on behalf of his men and to keep his father's original program on track. To that end he sent numerous requests for funds and supplies back to Darmstadt and asked for permission to raise additional forces. He also conducted meetings with his top officers on a regular basis with the purpose of analyzing the performance of the army in the Hanover War.

The requests for funds and supplies were, of course, repeatedly denied. The economic collapse had been averted, but the Grand Duchy was still deeply in debt and struggling to keep the economy going. There were just simply no extra funds to go around. An exasperated Council of Advisers also informed him again and again that there was no room in the budget for additional divisions.

The regular staff meetings ended up revealing a serious deficiency in the army's performance. Despite having emerged victorious in the Hanover War, the fact was that the army had been badly bloodied in each encounter with the enemy despite having overwhelming numerical superiority. Hanover had met their quantity with quality and Hesse-Darmstadt's soldiers had paid dearly for it. Karl immediately began working on improving the army's tactics and organization as well as sending reports to Darmstadt concluding that better arms and equipment needed to be supplied to the army. Those requests were denied. Frustrated, Karl would eventually commission several of the Grand Duchy's gunsmiths to produce a new service rifle that would be an improvement on the army's muskets. When a muzzle-loaded rifle was developed that met with the Prince's approval he personally paid for the army to be outfitted with them when the government refused to foot the bill.

210pxludwig3hesse827765.jpg

Crown Prince Ludwig

While Karl was struggling to administer the conquered territories and provide for the army on a shoe-string budget, Crown Prince Ludwig was strengthening his position in the ducal government and expanding his power base. The sudden increase in the Grand Duchy's size had necessitated a revision in the way that the government operated in order to see to it that ducal power was felt throughout the duchy. As a result, the bureaucracy was greatly expanded and civil servants began bringing the will of the Grand Duke to all corners of the country- including the former Hanoverian territories.

The Crown Prince was quick to argue to his father that this increase in the size and scope of the government necessitated a change in the structure of the government itself. Together with his allies in the Council of Advisers, Ludwig proposed that new government ministries be created in order to ensure that the apparatus of government operated as smoothly as possible. Prior to this the government consisted of just one ministry- the Ministry of State- with the Grand Duke himself at it's head.

Ludwig proposed that the Ministry of State be divided into two new ministries. The first would be the Ministry of the Interior, the duties of which would be education, public health and safety, and justice. Three department heads would oversee these functions under the authority of the Minister of the Interior. The second new ministry would be the Ministry of Finance which would concern itself with taxation and the operation of the treasury. Overseeing all of this would be the newly created post of Minister of State.

LoiusII.jpg

Grand Duke Ludwig II


Ludwig II was resistant to the idea at first, but eventually agreed to his eldest son's plan and appointed him as Hesse-Darmstadt's first Minister of State. The Crown Prince immediately appointed the members of his own faction within the Council to positions in the Ministry of the Interior and appointed the educator Justus von Liebig as the first Minister of Finance.

In one quick bit of political jockeying, the Crown Prince had effectively put the apparatus of state at his fingertips. Given his faction's control of the Ministry of the Interior, he was also able to ensure that the droves of civil servants leaving Darmstadt for posts throughout the Grand Duchy were all political supporters. Karl's supporters in the capital were alarmed at these developments and appealed to him to intervene. Karl, however, seemed to have soured on politics and refused to get involved. In a letter to a supporter he wrote, "My father, the Grand Duke, still retains complete authority in all matters of government. Let my brother play his games if it pleases him."

A reply was quickly sent back, "Yes, but once so much of the day to day duties of governance are taken from his hands, how long will it be before your father leaves all matters to the Crown Prince and his hangers on?" If Prince Karl responded to this, there is no record of it.

justusliebig4303479.jpg

Justus von Liebig

The new government, run by the Crown Prince and Justus von Liebig, made it's main focus the improvement of the Grand Duchy's economic situation. The years following the Hanover War were frugal ones for Hesse-Darmstadt, and by late October of 1842 the national debt was completely paid off. It was a day that many had been waiting for. With the debt paid off there were now additional funds at the government's disposal and no shortage of ideas on what to do with them. Karl and his supporters in the military were hoping that money would finally start coming the army's way, while Justus von Liebig immediately moved that taxes be reduced and funds put back into education.

They were both to be disappointed. As Minister of State, the Crown Prince approved increases to the education and public safety budgets. However, he refused to increase the defense budget or to lower taxes. Karl appealed to his father, reminding him of his plans for the further expansion of the Grand Duchy, but his pleas apparently went unanswered and he was left to fume in Nienburg. Justus von Liebig, for his part, felt betrayed by his allies' refusal to lower taxes and resigned his post. He and his supporters were effectively shut out of the government after that and would eventually find themselves gravitating to Heinrich von Gagern's Liberal movement which was steadily growing in size as high taxes continued to crush the Grand Duchy's poor.

Despite the collapse of the Crown Prince's coalition, the fact remained that the economy had completely recovered. After allowing the treasury to grow for a few more years, Grand Duke Ludwig II suddenly reappeared in the realm of government affairs after a long absence. In early 1844 he ordered the National Guard prepared for campaign and sent word to Prince Karl that he should pull his forces in from their garrisons and make his men ready to march. The Crown Prince protested loudly, declaring that another war could put the Grand Duchy right back into an economic crisis.

The Grand Duke ignored him and ordered preparations for another war against Hanover to be made. In late March he set out for Nienburg wanting to be on hand when his army marched forth into combat once again. War was declared on Hanover on March 31, 1844 and the army marched out of Nienburg to much pomp and circumstance.
 

Enewald

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Annexing Hannover?
You could also go for Denmark... ;)
 

Kurt_Steiner

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A storm is brewing among the regal brothers...
 

volksmarschall

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Another war against Hanover? I wonder what this will have in store for the small Duchy... who will fight for who, or maybe it'll be a simple one vs one is your allies don't back you, and the worst thing that could happen, with the mighty British Empire probably out of regional wars, they may just find your actions against Hanover as a casus belli for war - and that's the last thing Hesse-Darmstadt needs, and that's the last thing that mainland Germany wants to see: British troops inside of mainland Europe, then the other major players may get involved.

My oh my, what could happen, to what probably will happen (just a simple war against Hanover I guess); hopefully the Duchy can emerge with another victory and no economic spiral. Excellent, excellent return!
 

unmerged(74032)

Count of Cayenne
Apr 10, 2007
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Excellent update Hardraade. But may I suppose to use different pictures to make every update stand out for itself?

May I ask you with whom Hanover is allied? It is 1844 right? So it normally wouldn't be aligned with the british but would be a member of the German Federation.
But I don't think that you would begin a war against Prussia, Austria and all the german minors. Therefore I guess Hanover is pretty isolated and it will be a cakewalk (just remember to seize the capital at once so the enemy can't mobilize).
 

unmerged(61356)

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Enewald: Yeah, time to finish the job. Maybe. I'll definitely be looking at future means of expansion.

Kurt_Steiner: Could be.

volksmarschall: Well, my allies won't be coming to my aid because I'm the aggressor and the German Confederation is a defensive alliance. So I'll basically be on my own against Britain and Hanover again.

Treppe: The picture thing is something that bothers me too. I don't want to bore everyone with the same pictures of these people, but I can't find any other images of members of the royal family. Really the only one who has a variety of images that can be found if the fifth Grand Duke, Ernst Ludwig. I've also had a great deal of trouble finding images of politicians from Hesse-Darmstadt or pictures of architecture and important sites that fit the period (they all have cars visible or tourists taking pictures). If any can help with this I would be very grateful. As to Hanover: Hanover remained allied with Britain because my attack on them prevented the event where Hanover joins the Confederation from firing. So I'll be going up against Britain and Hanover again. The plan is to beat Hanover quickly and then dig in and hold the British until they get tired and sign a peace.
 

unmerged(61356)

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1777ludwig8872464.jpg

Grand Duke Ludwig II


XI. Tragedy and Triumph

The order to begin bringing in the scattered regiments of the force occupying the former Hanoverian territories reached Prince Karl in late February of 1844. Over the next month he and his staff carefully arranged to do just that without arousing the suspicion of either Hanover or the people of the conquered territories. It was a slow process and was not completed until the end of March. This was chiefly due to unrest among the conquered population. Relations between them and the occupation force had been tense throughout the five and a half years since the end of the Hanover War. The problem was not just a matter of the usual resentment that follows finding a foreign power in possession of your home. Politically, the people of the conquered territories were completely at odds with the Hessians. They were, of course, used to the British style of government in which they could count on being represented by an elected official, and found it hard to adjust to living under the rule of an autocrat. The brutal tax rate imposed after the war wasn't helping matters either. Though there had been no major incidents over the years following the end of the war, the possibility of violence and rebellion lurked just under the surface and Prince Karl had worked hard to keep the peace. He had been so slow to pull his garrisons in due to a desire not to alarm the populace, and worried constantly that violence would break out once the declaration of war was announced.

By the end of the month he had the army ready to march and war was declared against Hanover on March 31, 1844. Grand Duke Ludwig II had arrived in Nienburg the previous day in order to personally see his troops off to battle. The Grand Duke had largely withdrawn from the affairs of the Grand Duchy during the time of economic difficulty, but now that the duchy was strong enough to once again follow the ambitious path that he had laid out for it, he seemed re-energized. A formal review of the army was scheduled for April 1. Price Karl would parade his men past his father who would give a speech wishing them well. After that the army was to cross into Hanoverian territory and march directly on the capital for the second time in five years.

The sky was gray and a light rain was falling as April 1 began. As the morning went on the sky seemed to darken and the weather threatened to ruin the day. However, by eleven o'clock, the sky had cleared and the sun shown down brightly as members of the Grand Duke's Leibgarde Regiment filled Nienburg's main square and began taking up positions in order to keep the crowd that was rapidly gathering from interrupting the proceedings.

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A typical member of Hesse-Darmstadt's Leibgarde Regiment in 1844

The Grand Duke himself arrived just before noon accompanied by members of the nobility as well as his twenty-year-old third son, Prince Alexander. Alexander had accompanied his father north from Darmstadt and would be leaving Nienburg with the army as a member of his older brother's staff. The Grand Duke and his retinue rode into the square and dismounted near a raised platform that had been erected for the occasion. Prince Alexander was handing the reins of his horse to an attendant when he saw a man duck under the outstretched arms of two members of the Leibgarde and run toward the royal party. The man was carrying a small object in his hand and Alexander instinctively moved to protect his father as the man hurled the object toward him.

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Prince Alexander of Hesse-Darmstadt

The bomb landed a few feet in front of the Grand Duke and exploded. Shrapnel flew through the air and tore into flesh. Blood ran over the stones of the square and chaos ensued as members of the Leibgarde attempted to come to the aid of the ducal party and to subdue the attacker. The crowd packed into the square panicked and surged toward the line of soldiers and fighting broke out.

A messenger raced out of the square and delivered news of what had happened to Prince Karl who was with the army just outside of the city. Without waiting for any kind of accompanying guard to be arranged he raced into the city and arrived to find a terrible scene. The wounded littered the square and blood seemed to cover everything. He saw Alexander lying in the middle of the square surrounded by soldiers, his military tunic rapidly soaking through with blood that flowed from multiple wounds. Karl leapt from his horse and ran to the group. His younger brother was unconscious and the men with him were trying to load him onto a makeshift litter. He grabbed one of the soldiers, a young looking Captain, and demanded to know where his father was. The Leibgarde Captain, with tears in his eyes, pointed off to his right and said simply, "His Highness is dead."

Karl released the man and moved in the indicated direction. It took only a moment to see that what he had been told was true. His father, the Grand Duke, was dead. He pulled off his jacket and laid it over the head and upper body of the bloody corpse and ordered the soldiers gathered around to take his father's body away.

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The army remained in Nienburg for two days following the assassination of the Grand Duke before Prince Karl finally gave the order for the invasion of Hanover to begin. As he and his men crossed into Hanover his father's body began it's journey back to Darmstadt for a state funeral. Prince Alexander remained in Nienburg hovering between life and death.

The assassination of Grand Duke Ludwig II would prove to be the only notable event of the 2nd Hanover War. Hanover had no real army with which to defend itself and the city of Hanover fell only a few weeks into the conflict after some minor skirmishing between the Hessians and a small militia force. The same day that the city of Hanover fell, Ludwig II was laid to rest in the family mausoleum at Rosenhöhe and the Crown Prince became the thrid Grand Duke as Ludwig III.

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The mausoleum at Rosenhöhe- last resting place of Hesse-Darmstadt's royal family

By the end of April the National Guard had assembled and began seizing what remained of Hanover's territory. By the end of May all of Hanover had fallen and Karl dug his army in along the coast to repel any invasion attempt by the British who had declared war on Hesse-Darmstadt in defense of Hanover.

The war continued on in this state until November with the British doing nothing save having Royal Navy vessels cruise offshore and occasionally lob shells at the Hessians. The fact was that Great Britain was in no position to engage in a large scale war with Hesse-Darmstadt at the time. It's troops were still tied down in the now six year long war in the Punjab, and Britain had also gone to war with China in January. Britain simply lacked the resources and the will to open up a third front.

Finally, peace delegates from Britain arrived in Emden on November 10, 1844. The new Grand Duke made the journey there to personally oversee the peace process and a treaty was signed on November 14. In the treaty Great Britain recognized the absorption of the remaining Hanoverian lands into the Grand Duchy of Hesse-Darmstadt. However, in a symbolic act meant to allow the British to retain a bit of pride, Ludwig III could not claim to be Hanover's king. That title would go dormant as it had during the Napoleonic Wars and would remain with Britain's royal family.

Despite the terrible tragedy of April 1844, Hesse-Darmstadt entered the new year as a respectable player in the realm of German politics- just as Ludwig II had hoped and worked for. 1845 looked to be the beginning of a bright future for the upstart little Grand Duchy, but the years that followed would be ones of turmoil and struggle for Hesse-Darmstadt and all of Europe.

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Ludwig III- Third Grand Duke of Hesse-Darmstadt
 

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Thank, we were missing a man and a grenade.

Here is our message to you:

"Hanover is still alive, and we will be united with the United Kingdom again!"

Robert E. K., Commander of the Queen´s Hanoverian Legion, Dover
 
Last edited:

Kurt_Steiner

Katalaanse Burger en Terroriste
Feb 12, 2005
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"Hanover is still alive, and we will be united with the United Kingdom again!"

Indeed, when Hesse-Darmstadt conquers the United Kingdom!

Mwahahaha!

:D