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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

IamWhoa

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"The Greatest", as if no more after him should even try :p

Fantastic work on the Empire's history.
 
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Wow, great empire and great history update!

I always love it when the AI is able to keep Germany in one piece - it happens rarely enough. But only seldomly have I seen it do so well. Looking forward to future relations between the Franco-Scottish realm and the Holy Roman Empire.
 

Lord Valentine

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So here I am back for the weekend from my seminar! If things go right I should have another update ready before I return on Monday.

Kurt_Steiner: It's truly magnificent isn't it? At first I was really impressed with what a powerhouse Bohemia became but when they got swallowed by the HRE I began to get really concerned about my possible future western border...

Spothisto:Yep, it's one of those few cases where the AI pulls of some great moves. Looks like there might be two strong commonwealths lined up for domination of the Christian world.

IamWhoa: Well normaly I would have simply called him Otto the Great but that sobriquet is allready attached to this predecessor of his.
Anyway I'm really glad you liked it. :)

The_Guiscard: Good to hear that I managed to convey the greatness of this newly forged empire.
From my experience in DV there is about a 60:40 chance that the empire collapses. If it remains stabil initially I have seen it grow into quite a superpower several times vassalizing or conquering vast stretches of southern France and Spain.

asd21593: Thanks! A strong empire always makes thing interesting.

~Lord Valentine~
 

Enewald

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Gratz for the showcase!

And I just read this. Impressive work!
What of the rest of Europe?
 

Maximilliano

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Just read through this aar, found it through the showcase and i have to say its fantastic! great read so far, can't wait to see whats next
 

czam2007

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New update soon?
 

Lord Valentine

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Sincere apologies

I must admit I feel really bad folks. Not only have I not logged on to the board for a month and thereby not continued my work here but also not noticed the kind and in this light undeserved honor The_Guiscard has granted me.

Although work, seminars and preparations for Christmas bogged me down quite a bit they can be no excuse for me completely ignoring the kind interest all of you readers have showed to my work over all this time. Therefore I wish to offer my sincere apologies to The_Guiscard and all over readers. I greatly appreciate your interest, comments and consideration and hope to show myself worthy of it as soon as possible.

A repenting Lord Valentine
 
Aug 3, 2008
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No apology needed, Lord Valentine. We all know how it can be with real life.

And the showcase award was by no means undeserved. I did not nominate you because of your future writing, but because of what you had already written for "High Kings", and because I thought that more people should be exposed to it.

Anywayz, good to have you back. :)
 

Lord Valentine

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Back!

Hi folks! After a longer absence from active participation (although I have continued to lurk...) due to real life issues like my national service taking up a lot of time I have returned. I have finished my national service and have almost three months time before I (hopefully :D) start studying. So that's at last ample time to continue my Scottish venture and hopefully bring it to a worthy conclusion.

So expect the first update today or tomorrow.

Sincere regards
~Lord Valentine~
 

czam2007

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Yay!!
 

Lord Valentine

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czam2007: Glad to have you on board and enthusiastic as usual!:)

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


4-3.jpg

Part Six:The Clash of Giants


The Cast:


Ranald I, King of Scotland, Ireland and Wales
Henry V, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, King of Italy, Bohemia, Burgundy and Poland
Fergus I, king of France and son and heir of Ranald

With the end of the civil war and young king Fergus firmly established on his throne in France most Scots hoped for a period of peace and prosperity after over 10 years of almost continuous war. But it was not to be. In the Holy Roman Empire Otto V had lasted only 3 years before succumbing to sickness. He was succeeded by his at that time 11 year old son who became Emperor Henry V of the Holy Roman Empire and one of the most enigmatic figures of the middle ages. Even centuries later the tales (and myths) about his life inspired the famous German playwright and historian Friedrich Schiller for a play.

lew.jpg

Richard Oberhübner, perhaps the most celebrated 20th century actor to represent Henry V, in the Schiller play "Life and Death of King Henry V"

The regency which ruled the empire during Henry's minority was extraordinarily successful in keeping law and order so that the young and dashing monarch was able to take over the reins of state without any greater difficulty at the age of 18 in 1169. He had matured into a young man whose talents and inclinations drew him with irresistible force towards combat, glory and conquest. He was determined to strike devastating blows with the empire his grandfather had forged. He longed to compete with the feats of a Caesar, Hannibal or Alexander to make his place in history. Therefore not looking for an easy start the young emperor instead prepared for war against the strongest foe at hand: the Franco-Scottish commonwealth.

Fortunately Ranald was not completely unaware of this. In view of the incredible power the Empire had acquired Ranald had as early as 1154 sent Brian Mc Lulloch as his permanent representative (and informer)at the imperial court. And for the last few years Mc Lulloch had been reporting the young emperors great interest and admiration for Ranald. Especially Henry's remark that his imperial dignity would only be "true" once nobody questioned his position as "the greatest warrior in Christendom", a sobriquet so far reserved for Ranald in polite western Society, made everyone within the king inner circle aware that great tribulations awaited them.

Thus when Henry began moving towards the the imperial border with France he did not catch Ranald unprepared. The king had moved his court to Nottingham to be closer to events and at once crossed the channel with a large number of personal retainers who had been ordered to keep ready for service on a 48 hour notice. In France the kings 16 year old son king Fergus had also worked hard to prepare for the invasion, but found that most French noble families, still mourning their dead from the civil war, were highly reluctant to take up arms for the sake of a foreign king against the over mighty Empire. Thus Fergus could lead only 18.000 men to add to Ranald own 8.000. Henry meanwhile was moving a massive juggernaut of 60.000 men towards France...


ll_Medieval_story_070321.jpg

The knights of the Imperial Guard advancing towards France. These warriors where probably the best armored and armed men in the whole Latin world and the whole pride of Henry's army.

But this campaign would show that Ranald not only possessed valor but also cunning. He realized that against such opposition no outright victory could be won. He therefore decided on a indirect approach. He used most of his troops (some 20.000 men) to reinforce the castles and fortresses along Henry's line of advance. The remaining 6.000 (mostly heavy and medium cavalry) was organized into a mobile field army under the kings personal command. Thus when Henry crossed over into France and wished to advance towards the Loire valley he found his way blocked by a great number of well defended fortresses. At first the young, hot-headed emperor tried to storm several of them but despite personally participating in the assault and leading from the front was repelled with heavy losses most of the time, capturing just 1 out of 8 fortresses.


KnightsSteps.jpg

The strong defenses of the French fortresses allowed the Franco-Scottish forces to compensate for the far greater numbers of the Germans, especially as their much feared cavalry was useless in siege warfare.

The German situation was further aggrieved by the fact that Ranald's mobile army operated in their rear. Destroying small German collums whenever the came upon them and especially making the suppling of so vast a host incredibly difficult. By now most captains in the German army agreed that a quick victory seemed unlikely and urged their emperor to retire to the Reich, rethink his strategy and relaunch a different assault in the next year. But the proud young man just got mad and threw himself into the siege warfare with more fury. And thus the German numbers continued to dwindle while the seasons progressed. Slowly the Frankish forces began to erode as Henry took a further two fortresses, thereby almost clearing a path for his army towards Paris in the next 2 months. Sensing the danger Ranald reinforced the final fortress in the emperors path with the forces of his mobile army. The next two months saw a bitter struggle, with frontal assaults, catapult bombardments and mining operations by the attackers, as well as day and night sorties by the defenders. In the end the defenders prevailed as in late December the weather became so intolerable that the even the German emperor had to accept the fact that there was no alternative to withdrawing back to Germany to resupply and winter.

The joy in the Franco-Scottish camp was great but even greater was the consternation when Ranald ordered them to pack up and prepare to persue the enemy. Although the Germans had suffered great casualties their fighting force still numbered some 28.000 men while the allies had little over 8.000 men left. But Ranald sensed that he would have to defeat the Germans for good or else they would be back next spring. Therefore he took a deliberate gamble. He quickly cought up with the Germans after having been reinforced by 5.000 fresh soldiers from Scotland. Once he neared the Germans what the king had hoped for happened. Henry at once turned his host to face the Scots for the final definitive showdown. Ranald now turned his troops once again into French territory with Henry following as quick as his exhausted army could. The Scots where perhaps some 8 hours ahead of them but it was enough. In whatever village they came they seized all victuals to be found and then burned it to the ground thus depriving an already tired enemy both food and resting place. Thus it went for 4 days until Ranald finally halted his troops on a good defensible position on a hill to give battle. It would be perhaps the most famous of Ranald life. The battle of the White Moors.


48858874_bb5d2e2b42_o.jpg
Laurence Olivier as Ranald I giving the kings world famous pre-battle address to his troops in the widely acclaimed 1944 TV adaption of Shakespeare's "King Ranald".​

In many ways this was not the hardest of Ranalds many victories since the terrain completely favored him. His troops where safely stationed on a hill overlooking the entire valley, which allowed his archers to shower down arrows on the helpless enemy. A small wood also allowed him to conceal most of his heavy cavalry for a deadly surprise stroke. The Germans had to march across an open moor which made their progress slow and strenuous. In spite of all these disadvantages the Germans fought. They had to since another retreat was a option Henry would not consider. Now at last he had the chance to directly challenge the great Ranald of Scotland!

At first the battle developed completely predictable with masses of German infantry storming uphill and being easily thrown back by the well entrenched Scots at horrendous costs. But all of this changed when the emperor lead the heavy horsemen of the Imperial Guard into battle. These men, many of them veterans of Otto the Greatest's campaigns, claimed never to have been defeated in battle where probably the hardiest warriors in the Christian world and when they hit the Scottish line, with their emperor at their head the Allied lines almost broke. Ranald had to commit all his reserves including himself and his personal retainers into a hard effort to stabilize the line.


tarnow3.jpg

The clash of the Imperial Guard with the flower of Scottish and French chivalry was the climax of the battle and something the like of which the world had not seen for centuries.

The fight was fierce and protracted with especially Henry fighting furiously in his attempt to force his way towards Ranald. After almost half an hour of fighting the two households did indeed clash. It was in this violent melee that Ranald struck down the Emperors standard-bearer. This caused panic among the imperial rank and file who thougth their emperor had fallen. Most of the remaining imperial soldiers immediately routed. With only the professional core of the army remaining the Germans where quickly overwhelmed and if it had not been for 20 deeply committed Imperial Guardsmen the Emperor himself would have been captured or even cut to pieces. At the end of the day the entire are was littered with tens of thousands of corpses, visible prove to the devastating bloodletting and the final victory which Ranald had sought...
 

General_BT

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Ranald's tactical genius was too much for even that behemoth of a Germany. Perhaps we should also call him 'Ranald the Giant-Killer'?
 

Kurt_Steiner

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Feb 12, 2005
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At this pace, a couple of victoreis like that and Ranald will have no army to fight with...
 

Enewald

Enewald Enewald Enewald
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Woot, it's alive!

The Germans be beaten for now, but they will strike back.
Unless you strike first.
 

phargle

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That's a bloody-minded conquest. I dig the evasion strategy - it makes Ranald come off as quite cunning. I also liked the intro:

Ranald I, King of Scotland, Ireland and Wales
Henry V, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, King of Italy, Bohemia, Burgundy and Poland
Fergus I, king of France and son and heir of Ranald

RANALD! King of the Scots!

HENRY! King of the Germans!

. . . and. . . uh, Fergus.

I had to recommit my mind to seriousness in order to properly appreciate your depiction of the slaughter.
 

Lord Valentine

Lord Protector of Britain
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Ok folks I'll try to finish the next update before end of the week (it might even be the last for Ranald), but I can't promise since I'll be fairly busy the next few days.

General_BT: Well he's definitely far closer to competing with Alexander, Hannibal and Caesar than poor unexperienced Henry is at the moment. But where sobriquets are concerned I prefer to keep them short.:D

Kurt_Steiner: Yes it was definitely a highly costly victory but since it brought a decisive conclusion in Scotland's favor it was at least no Pyhrric. But in gameplay terms I didn't really ask how man men I had to sacrifice to win. I was simply happy that I managed to win at all!

Edzako: Thank you very much. I'm glad you liked it!

Enewald: Oh yes this AAR is like a cat. It's got at least seven lives. :D
Well and where the Germans are concerned one can always hope that they get bogged down at one of their numerous borders.

phargle: Well is suppose the intro was quite fitting insofar as Fergus really had to take the back seat in this war. But hey he's 16 and green and his dad's the greatest conqueror of his time. So just give him your army and daddy will settle things...

~Lord Valentine~