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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Lord Valentine

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Brainsucker: I'm glad you enjoy it! Where the characters are concerned I will try to show pictures of them more often. However sometimes I don't have fitting ones (for example out of a much latter point of the game with different traits, ages and titles).

Anyway I just wanted to inform you all that there will be a slight delay with the next update. It will be up at some point during the weekend.

Furthermore I would like to encourage all my readAARs to cast their votes for the AARland Choice Awards Q2 2008 if they haven't done so yet. Every vote is and every award in my eyes becomes more important the higher the number of participant was.
I am so glad nobody will be able to interpret this as shameless self-promotion since my AAR is not eligible for this vote. :p

~Lord Valentine~
 

ragot

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Finally my favorite AAR is back in business! I have to say that this is probably the only AAR that I've read entirely (many times) and have for a long time wanted to do something similar (planning to start when the 2.2 patch is released). What makes this so great is the way you have transferred the gameplay and characters into a story, it feels like I'm reading a real history book.

I love this AAR, keep up the good work!
 

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Just wanted to inform everyone that the next update is 75% finished and will probably be up in one or two days. :)

ragot: Well what can I say to that! I suppose no author can ask for a more thorough and flattering praise of his work! I am really glad the story feels like a "real history" since this was my ambition when I started it. I am delighted to hear that you want to start one yourself. Make sure to drop me a line when you do so!

Brainsucker: Don't worry! A lot of twists are ahead in the next 100 years...


~Lord Valentine~
 

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Delayed as usual, but here is the next update!


Ranald I "the Conquerer"​
Born 1135 - Died 1183
Ruled 1140-1183


4-3.jpg

Part Two: Steps to Glory


The Cast:


Ranald I, King of Scotland, Ireland and Wales
Frédéric de Bourbon, Count of Orléans and royalist commander
Guillaume de Nevers, Duke of Flanders and rebel
Geoffroy I, King of France
Charles Capet , duke of Anjou, pretender to the French crown as "Charles IV"
Gaston de Purvier, Constable of the rebel forces


After the great victory of Vexin and with the season of the year already well advanced the Scottish army retreated into their winter camps in Normandy. In spite of this the following months where not spent idly. Even after such a short campaign the issue of finances was once again a burning one. Since Ranald I had always insisted that he was coming to France as a liberator and not a foreign invader he could not resort to plundering to pay and supply his army, which was in parts compromised of extremely expensive mercenaries. The fact that he now also had some 12.000 French captives to attend to seriously worsened the already difficult situation. Therefore the king once more had to resort to a dangerous policy. The most important nobles (including Vermandois) where ransomed while the rest of the army was released after they had sworn to return home and never to take up arms against Geoffroy and his successors again. But this still left the financial issue unresolved. The parliamentary subsidy would probably only suffice to pay and supply the troops until spring. Common sense therefore would have dictated to retreat from the war after the grandiose triumph at Vexin and to reenter it when circumstances permitted.
But young Ranald was a ambitious young monarch determined to press his advantage and not to let an opportunity pass. He therefore began looking for foreign financial support. Unfortunately the three logical choices where all totally unrealistic. Ranald's father in-law Geoffroy was himself facing great problems financing his own military campaigns and both the Holy Roman Emperor and the Pope where unsympathetic, if not hostile to Ranalds cause. But in the end another way was found. The king gained a minor subsidy from the duke of Britanny, a vassal of the English crown but continuously struggling to regain his independence. He hoped that a Scottish influenced France would further weaken England and thereby support his quest for independence. Furthermore a bank loan from the Orsini, the first of the many emerging Italian banking families, was secured. With these additional means Ranald could hope to campaign for another year. Furthermore the king received the happy news that his wife had given birth to a healthy boy named David.

Encouraged by these events the king resumed his campaign as soon as the spring of the year 1154 had arrived. The king advanced into the Somme valleys where he was joined by royalist forces under Frédéric de Bourbon, Count of Orleans, which brought the size of his total force up to 27.000 men. With these he advanced into Flanders to subjugate it's rebellious duke. Duke Guillaume was smart enough to avoid a direct confrontation with this massive army, probably hoping that they would pillage and ravage the countryside and move out again. Ranald however was determined to bring this part of his campaign to a swift conclusion. He divided his army into three units and through swift action, the employment of the most sophisticated siege weapons of the day and in some cases bribery, quickly seized all the major strongholds in the area. This forced Guillaume of Flanders to humbly submit to him and make his peace with the new succession to the throne of France.

By now the rebells had clearly seen that Ranald was probably more dangerous than feeble king Geffroy and amassed a huge host against him. Once again Ranald decided to rather take the initiative than wait for his opponents to make the first move. He lead his army south towards the heartland of the rebellion and their capital Bourges. The rebel army, lead by the pretender Charles of Anjou (styling himself "king Charles IV") himself, marched to intercept the Franco-Scottish forces and they eventually met near Chatres.

The French army numbered some 34.000 men while the summer campaign in Flanders and the need to leave behind garrisons had depleted the forces at Ranalds disposal to some 21.000. Therefore most his generals advised him to disengage and rather strengthen the royalist strongholds in the area so that the enemies strength might be blunted in a series of sieges. The king however knew that he did not have the resources to keep his forces under arms for yet another year and therefore was determined to force a decisive engagement here and now. Like in so many medieval battle the weather had a n important influence on the outcome. During the days before the battle, from the 16th the the 19th of August it had been raining day and night, making the plains of Chatres a mud field that would be hard to cross for knights and men-at-arms. The rain even continued into the day of the battle itself in combination with massive fog.
The two armies where encamped some three miles away from each other. Charles of Anjou however was a seasoned general himself and was not going to be cough off guard by a surprise attack like Vermandois a year before. He placed strong guard and scouting battalions in his vanguard to inform him of any possible surprise attack Ranald might launch during the night or in the early morning hours. This was a idea that Ranald however had already given up due to the unfavorable terrain conditions. Instead he opted for a different strategy. The left flank of Charles bordered on a large forest. During the night of the 19th, with rain and fog still providing a perfect cover, Ranald ordered some 5.000 foot-soldiers into these woods.


1-4.jpg

This modern re-enactment of the "Battle of Chatres" might convey a image of how king Ranalds infantry was equipped.


When morning came small contingents of arches sallied from the woods and began harassing the French army thereby alerting Charles to the presence of enemies in the woods. Thinking it to be a minor force that should menace his flank once he advanced, he ordered some 3.000 infantrymen to clear the forest of enemies. They directly ran into the superior Scottish troops and where routed. The Scots however did not pursue them but stayed in the save woods, thereby confirming Charles believe that they could hardly be a serious threat. He ordered a second assault this time with some 8.000 men. This time they ran into different Scottish tactics. The Scots had dispersed into small groups, laid ambushes and engaged the enemy, whose troops where too heavily armed to fight effectively in the woods in a guerrilla style warfare not dissimilar to the way the Germans had defeated the Romans at the Teutoburg Forest over 1.000 years before. As the hours dragged on and the frustrated Franks where still unable to drive the enemy out of the woods Charles lost his temper. Taking the knights of his household with him he personally took command of the troops fighting in the Chatres Woods. This was a fateful mistake. The fighting in the woods had already become so chaotic that Charles was completely unable to bring any sort of order into it. More importantly Charles was out of touch with events outside the woods as now at 11:45 am the main Scottish army appeared out of the mist and assaulted the Franks. The main Forces where concentrated on the Scottish right which, which once again lead by the king in person, smashed through the Frankish lines and thereby cut of the French troops in the woods from the rest of the army. Panic spread around the army, and even more chaos broke out when the constable of France Gaston de Purvier was pierced by a Scottish lance trying to bring order into the French ranks. With the command structure of the army now completely collapsing Charles made a desperate attempt to break out of his encirclement and reach his main army. In his hurry he ran directly into a Scottish ambush and was pierced by more than half a dozen arrows. Thus ended Charles "the great Pretender".

When news of the death of their "king" reached the French their resistance seized at once with some begging for mercy from a Scottish ruler who by now had acquired the reputation of a benevolent victor, with others trusting only in their feet and making a run for their live. The French that day lost some 30.000 men dead or captured while the Scots and their allies suffered some 6.000 casualties. This combined with the death of "Charles IV" was a severe blow to the insurgency. Ranald could take comfort in the thought that his mission had been accomplished. From now on the French royalists should be strong enough to finish the job.



civlwar3.jpg

The situation in France in the aftermath of the Battle of Chatres. While the rebels have succeeded in expanding their influence in the south the whole of north and centeral France has been pacified by Ranald.



When king Geoffroy heard the news of the victory at Chatres and the death of his cousin Charles he is to have been overjoyed. He and his court at once set out to met Ranald. The two monarchs met near Orleans where they embraced and the French king showered his son in-law with honors and gifts. It was the start of two weeks of feasting and celebrating that would continue for another month in Paris. The climax of the event was a great joust in which young king Ranald, at that point still only 19 and yet already as renowned Alexander the Great had been at this age, himself participated and triumphed, once again displaying his unsurpassed martial virtues.
The French campaign had been the greatest triumph in Scottish history and truly glorious. Yet both Ranald and his soldiers, now greatly packed with gifts and honors longed to return home...




Cateau-Cambresis.jpg

A 15th century illustration depicting the historic meeting of king Ranald I (crowned person left) and king Geoffroy of France (crowned person right)


~Lord Valentine~
 

gigau

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Nice update, and good work. :) Besides helping his father-in-law, what has the Kingdom of Scotland gained ?

I see The Platters commemorate Charles of Anjou :D
 

Lord Valentine

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The next update is allready in the pipeline and should be out within the next 48 hours.

gigau: You mean apart from securing the succession of Scotland's heir to the throne to a fairly intact kingdom of France. :p Nothing I suppose. :D
But "The Platters"? Never heard of them. You'll have to explain that for silly me.

phargle:Lol. If it came to that I suppose the hard fisted Scotsman Ranald would send his opponent down in no time. But that would be an inappropriate treatment of ones father in-law, wouldn't it?

asd21593: Glad you liked it. I am already making good progress with the next update.

Spothisto: I fear Geoffroy is to busy at home to go gallivanting through world history. But somewhat I still don't think king Robert II of England is feeling to comfortable at the moment.

~Lord Valentine~
 

Lord Valentine

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I'm sorry folks. I had an update nearly finished (and I really liked it) but then my computer crashed. I'll have to start almost from scratch again once my anger has cooled down. :mad: :mad: *grrrhhhh!*

~Lord Valentine~
 

unmerged(87106)

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Computer problems are always frustrating

Take it out on virtual Europe and conquer more!

:p



:) asd
 

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Brainsucker & asd21593: Thanks for your compassion. :p Hope you enjoy the update!

Ranald I "the Conquerer"​
Born 1135 - Died 1183
Ruled 1140-1183


4-3.jpg

Part Three: The misguided warrior


The Cast:


Ranald I, King of Scotland, Ireland and Wales
Lord Marthachus Dunkeld, Duke of Atholl and Strathclyde, later Constable of Scotland
Guillaume de Nevers, Duke of Flanders and traitor
Geoffroy I, King of France

Ranald I returned to his homeland in triumph in October 1154. The city of Edinburgh and virtually whole upper nobility of the realm greeted the conqueror on his entrance. After giving thanks to God for his victory and hearing a high mass the king vowed to build a church more splendid than any other that would be dedicated to the warlike St. George. Although building works already began the very next year the massive building would not be finished until the reign of Charles IV over 100 years later. After the collective mood had cold down again both the king and his subjects settled down for what would be quiet 6 months. The only notable events of this time in fact where only the birth of a daughter named Constance to the king and more significantly the death of Roger Dunkeld, duke of Atholl and Strathclyde, in January 1155 aged 60.* He was succeeded by his only son Martachus. He hoewever was a mere shadow of his fathers greatness.

Aged 43 in 1155 he, in spite of his fathers great wealth and importance, had never held any military or political position of importance. He was of a strong physic, being both tall and muscular and therefore quite a sight to see. One chronicler however cynical remarked that: "Had he made a vow of silence and lived the life of a mute he might have been considered a truly majestic prince." All our accounts on Marthachus indicate that he was a man of low intelligence. Although he was tutored by some of the best scholars of his day he remained virtually illiterate his whole life and his lack of oratory talents where so infamous that the contemporary monk and scholar Benedick of Carrick pointed him out as a striking negative example for why princes should be trained in the art of rhetoric in the forword to his work "de Oratio" ("About speeches"):

For he who was without peer where wealth and family honor was concerned, lost all the influence that should have been his since he could not move the hearts of his countrymen with words fair and powerful.

In spite of his own shortcomings he was vain and arrogant and even considered himself the equal if not even the superior of his father. With his obvious lack of talent and culture these claims where just laughed at by his peers and even a man as wealthy as the duke of Atholl and Strathclyde could not hope to influence royal policy significantly without a certain amount of support from the other barons. And while his fathers fearsome reputation had always secured him a certain following, Marthachus was left powerless and isolated. The only area in which he had a clear talent was that of fighting. Since his father had denied him any political role he had spent all his adult life improving his martial capabilities and as he quickly realized that even after the death of his father his political influence would remain negliable, he made war his calling.


4-4.jpg

Martachus, last of the "great" Dunkelds

To the great relive of Marthachus and other warmongers the fragile peace on the continent quickly collapsed in spring 1155 and once again sucked Scotland into the conflict. Although the rebels (now using Charles 8 year old son "Louis VI" as their legitimation) where on the constant defense ever since Chatres, the loyalists made little progress in pushing them back, which meant that half the kingdom de-facto defied king Geoffroy's will. This was the situation in which the duke of Flanders decided to rejoin his old friends and hoist the flag of insurgency in the low countries once more. The already strained resources of the loyalists where unable to react to this new act of treachery and petitioned to Ranald once more for help.

Ranald however was highly reluctant to go to war only a year after his last expedition, probably rightly figuring that the crown could not amass the necessary quantities of gold. This is where Marthachus entered the stage. He offered to serve on the continent in the kings name, while paying the army from his own treasury, on the condition that Ranald appoint him "Constable of Scotland". **
Seeing it as an opportunity to lend support to his father in-law without diminishing his own funds and glad to be rid of troublesome Marthachus the king agreed.
Marthachus at once set out to patch together an army compromised of his own retainers (not all enthusiastic about the idea of their new master), all sellswords in the area he could afford and even a healthy amount of criminals released from prison or even saved from the gallows on the condition that they serve in the dukes army. By these means Marthachus managed to assemble some 6.800 men with which he sailed for Flanders in April.

Once in Flanders the duke was determined to seek a quick engagement but renegade duke Guillaume de Nevers avoided battle just like he had done against Ranald and instead strengthened the castles and major towns of his realm. Lacking both Ranalds talent and knowledge for siege warfare and the necessary equipment and troops Marthachus instead ravaged the countryside. This however in an army largely force conscripted and in parts even made up of knaves soon led to a complete breakdown of discipline. Many troops left the army to plunder for their own benefit while others simply took the opportunity to desert. By the end of May Marthachus army swelled only 2.800 men of dubious quality.

Under these conditions continuing the campaign was not an option. The duke gave order for the army to pack up the plunder and march on the city of Calais, which was controlled by loyalists and was the main supply station for the Scottish enterprise. From there Marthachus planned to return to Scotland not laden with glory but at least with the riches of Flanders. But it was not to be. Guillaume had been shadowing the Scottish force well since it's arrival and with moral being as bad as it was, found it easy to buy himself a net of informers within the Scottish host. Once he got wind of Marthachus plans he quickly gathered a army compromised of his household knights and esquires as well as the lightly armed but superbly skilled militia infantry of the cities of Flanders and set out in pursuit. Heavily laden with booty the Scots had no chance of outrunning their enemy and thus on the 5th of June Guillaume's army of 3.500 fell upon the completely unprepared Scots near Ghent. While most of the rabble in Marthachus army at once threw away their weapons and tried to flee with as many of their riches as they could grab, the duke himself led the men of his household directly into combat slaying many a man and forcing the French forces in his area to fall back to regroup. The second French assault however annihilated all Scottish resistance. Even the men of the dukes household abandoned the fight, cursing the man who's incompetence and vanity had lead them to their doom. Abandoned by his whole army Marthachus himself eventually tried to make a run for it. Legend has it that even after being unhorsed he managed to evade or kill his pursuers for several hours before he was finally trapped on a hill nearby and slain. Since he left no heir behind this disastrous campaign meant the end of the great Dunkeld dynasty.
According to a contemporary chronicle less than 50 of the men that had set out on the campaign returned home to Scotland since the men of Flanders, embittered at the destruction of their homes and families, gave no quarter in and after the battle.


1-5.jpg

An illustration glorifying the death of Marthachus Dunkeld

*I plan to do an Interim-update some time soon on "Persons who shaped the Scottish Empire" with Roger Dunkeld as a principal character
** The Constable is the overall commander of the Scottish army in the absence of the king and therefore a highly prestigious office.
 
Last edited:

Lord Valentine

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phargle: Glad you liked it. Perhaps we will have a growing isolationist sentiment in Scotland now. :p And with the picture I had a hard time finding one that sort of fitted the situation is was trying to portray, so it's very gratifying to hear that it's "perfect". :)

Spothisto: With the one significant difference that Spartacus had a few victories before he got crushed. :p

There is one question I wanted to ask my audience. I have noticed that all my updates since the death of Malcolm IV cover a remarkably little amount of time in some cases even only a year or a year and a half. Partly this is of course because now in the latter stages of the game where Scotland has established itself as a power to be reckoned with more things worth reporting happen but of course also because I have gone into greater detail for every happening of the reign. Nevertheless this has lead to the situation that the reign of Ranald (which hasn't even reached it's half time yet) covers some 9 out of total of 21 updates!

Therefore my question is: Should I stick to the pretty detailed update style I am using at the moment which will naturally mean that the pace at which this AAR progresses will be quite slow or should I try to make the reign summaries somewhat briefer like in the earlier updates. Things like the foreign adventure of Marthachus Dunkeld in the last update for example could be dealt with fairly briefly.
What say you?

~Lord Valentine~
 

Zanza

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Very well done AAR. :)