Avindian

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Avindian

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Oh well... time to salt the frogs, is it?


... And fry some flies as well.

Hopefully!

Update is probably going to be Friday; it's been a busy few days. :)
 

Avindian

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Chapter 15: Pedigree or merit?

1 March 1549, Verdun

Marshal Markus Asch studied the report in front of him as he sat in his tent.

frenchforces.jpg


He was surprised how even the odds were. Yes, the French had much larger cavalry armies, but Markus was convinced of the superiority of his infantry. He had fully five regiments of artillery to commit to the fight as well, and it might well prove a difference maker. That was his hope, anyway. The meetings of the Reichsrat grew increasingly bitter as a group of nobles, led by the Graf von Schwyz, Gottfried von Habsburg, increasingly insisted upon virtual independence as a condition of contributing arms, money, and men to the war effort. Kaiser Clemens I simply stared during those debates with his sad brown eyes. Markus had no idea what he was thinking, but hoped it was something. Without unity, an advantage the French certainly enjoyed, Bayern was doomed to failure against the French yet again.

Markus poked his head outside the tent and shouted for a runner. When the runner arrived, Markus dictated orders for General Gumpenberg, commander of the southern flank.

Philipp,

Move to Saluzzo with all possible speed. 1st Army will join you there. Repulse any French assaults, but do not engage in any offensives.

southerntheater.jpg


The runner saluted and departed. Markus then sent for the commander of the northern wing of the Bavarian army. Ernst Riedesel, of one of the most prominent military families in Europe, was a relic of a bygone age; a cavalry general in an army that looked increasingly to firepower as its solution for greatness. Yet there was potential in this theater that did not exist in the south: the chance for an offensive.

northerntheater.jpg


With the Armee von Salzburg rapidly approaching, Markus intended to order an assault on French territory, perhaps blunting the French offensive or, failing that, threatening Paris. The Kaiser had asked for every effort to seize Valenciennes (a charge from his father), and Marshal Asch would certainly try to do that for him, but not at the cost of failure.

23 March 1549, Piemonte

Louis XIII, King of France, shouted for his artillery to hurry up and take their positions. He'd gotten word that his men in the north had caught the Bavarians in transition in Verdun, and his own portion of their general offensive similarly disrupted the German plans. That was what he believed in -- disrupting the plans of the less intelligent.

firstcontact.jpg


Louis briefly glanced at the man to his right. Gottfried von Habsburg had very quietly slipped through the Bavarian lines and brought detailed plans of the Imperial advance. King Louis clucked his tongue. He is no strategist, this boy Emperor. Why not concentrate your forces? While Louis considered the battlefield unfolding before him, Gottfried thought of something very different.

Gottfried had little reason to return to Bayern unless at the head of a conquering army. He had tried to stir up a revolt, but while two other Grafen had offered money, nobody else so much as verbally supported him. If Gottfried's plan was successful, he'd very quickly find a majority of the Reichsrat all of a sudden friendly to him. The only person with the courage to openly oppose Gottfried in the Reichsrat session was Oberst Bahar, who threatened to behead him. Archbishop Joseph had disapproved of such a violent approach, but quietly assured Gottfried after the session that Rome would never sanction the deposal of the Hohenzollerns. Herzog Maximillian of Österreich did the same, but seemed slightly less forceful. Gottfried suspected that if he promised them independence, the Herzogen would almost certainly support a Habsburg on the Bavarian throne. If, that is, he could take the throne.

28 September 1549, Nürnberg

Clemens I sat uneasily in his throne. Many of his subjects thought him stupid or just foolish; he was neither. Clemens preferred to act subtly, to exert the minimum amount of force to achieve his results. The Kaiser had suspected the Habsburgs of disloyalty, but not that they would align themselves with France. Clemens had no illusions: if Nürnberg was sacked again, he would have surrender territory to satiate Louis XIII. The early weeks of the war certainly showed the French King would have little trouble.

averyhorriblesign.jpg


The first Graf to openly welcome the French into his lands was the Graf von Forcalquier.

updateonfront.jpg


Clemens knew that he would hardly be the last. He trusted his inner council, but the rest of the Reichsrat was suspect. The Baronen were especially agitated with most of the interior lands of Bayern stripped of all manpower to build new armies. The Kaiser still possessed reserves of nearly 100k men, but knew his French opponents possessed even more. Losses like Verdun and Piemonte would certainly not make that any easier. How can I make my subjects loyal without granting them independence? He sat deeply in thought, until a clerk jogged his arm. "Your Majesty, the latest reports from Verdun."

agreatvictory.jpg


The Kaiser audibly sighed relief. "Excellent news! General Riedesel may have just saved my Kingdom." As the clerk turned to leave, Clemens placed his hand on his shoulder. "What is your name?"

"I am Adolph von Ungern. The grandson of Archbishop Albrecht."

"That's right, he began as a diplomat, not as a man of the cloth. He was a good man, your grandfather."

"Thank you, sire." Adolph bit his lip for a moment, then blurted out what he was thinking. "You should have those cowards executed for treason, my Lord."

"Who's that?"

"The nobles. We men of the civil service support you, sire, and we know you will keep our realm safe."

The Kaiser thanked young Adolph distractedly. The nobles... could it really be that simple? I should think on it.

24 December 1549, Monferrato

General Riedesel pursed his lips as the bitter cold tore through his army. He heard screaming a mile down the road and smiled. Oberst Bahar certainly does not lack for enthusiasm. General Gumpenberg had lost all of his seniority after the disaster at Gevaudan, when he led his army into a French ambush, led personally by the French King.

adefeat.jpg


The shock of that defeat caused a fresh wave of discontent to ripple through the kingdom. Somehow, the rebel Habsburg had gotten more Grafen to openly declare support for him. It was not legally a rebellion, but they nonetheless started choking off needed supplies and manpower for their own "defense against the Frankish hordes." The discovery of Japan by Gelre, an Imperial state, briefly distracted the people of Bayern, but the surrender of the Graf von Saluzzo only redoubled the strength of the Habsburgites.

japandiscovered.jpg


preparingacounterattack.jpg


Riedesel, unlike some officers, cared less for his own advancement than the family he loved so dearly. If he were to keep the Hohenzollerns on the throne, he needed a dramatic victory, and he had over 40,000 troops with which to deliver one. His target? Capturing the French King.

20 March 1550, the Reichsrat chambers

Klaus Treuberg, Graf von Augsburg, had been wavering in his support for the crown. He'd even smuggled Gottfried von Habsburg into the Bavarian capital in exchange for a sizable payment. Klaus didn't have the courage to openly proclaim support for Habsburg either; he wanted to see which side was going to win. News that the King of Castille had pledged almost 100 ducats over the next year to keep the Bavarians fighting finally convinced him to go speak to the Kaiser. The dramatic victory of General Riedesel and dramatic escape of King Louis from the trap at Monferrato had revitalized the kingdom, and the Kaiser had promised an amnesty for any noble who turned himself in.

amightyblow.jpg


When Klaus got to the council chambers, he curiously found the door barred. "Excuse me, Captain, I would like to go in." The guard captain simply stared at Klaus. "I'm the Graf von Augsburg, Captain. I need to see the Kaiser and the Reichsrat." Again, nothing. Klaus started sweating. "C-can I wait here for the K-Kaiser's return?" No response. Klaus turned to leave when Steward Dulac approach the chamber.

"Hello, My Lord Graf. What brings you here?"

"Graf Dulac! A pleasure to see you. I am trying to enter the Reichsrat chambers."

Anton Dulac nodded pleasantly. "I see. Why is that?"

"To take advantage of the Kaiser's generous offer."

"Ah! So you're one of the scumbags who tried to betray his kingdom."

Dulac's expression hadn't changed one bit, but Treuberg's blood ran cold. "Uh..."

"No need to answer. Siegfried, please let the good Graf von Augsburg join his comrades!"

The guard -- Siegfried, apparently -- opened the door. Immediately, a stench of stale air greeted his nostrils. "What is going on?"

A club to the back of the head finally silenced Klaus Treuberg.

8 July 1550, the dungeons underneath Nürnberg

Klaus Treuberg had no idea he happened to be in the same cell that Maxicatl had once occupied. He probably didn't care. Klaus was just delighted that he remained alive. He knew of three other Grafen who had not been so lucky. French forces might be losing battles, but they were winning sieges, and Klaus prayed that Louis XIII might free him every day.

thingslooksemigrim.jpg


The Reichsrat had been disbanded. Ostensibly, the Kaiser had only disbanded it "for the duration of the war", but Klaus was no fool. Too many nobles had bet on Gottfried von Habsburg, and they had failed. The now 21 year old Clemens kept the same sad eyes and quiet disposition he'd had as a child, but had a level of viciousness no Kaiser had ever displayed. He'd even executed two Barons himself.

Klaus laid back on his small cot. Why do I remain alive? Why have I survived where so many more innocent have died? Does the Kaiser mean some other fate for me?

1 August 1550, Toulouse

Louis XIII and Gottfried von Habsburg bowed graciously to the newly crowned Duke of Toulouse; one of the objectives of the war had been achieved. The French king's glorious victory at Piemonte and capture of General Riedesel finally broke the resolve of Toulouse.

caughtagain.jpg


toulousesurrenders.jpg


The 727 ducats would allow Louis to raise even more soldiers to complete his conquest of Bayern. He had even sent General Riedesel back to Nürnberg to seek peace from Kaiser Clemens I. The Kaiser responded back with a cryptic message:

I am returning one of Habsburg's followers, Klaus Treuberg, with my answer.

Gottfried smiled triumphantly. Treuberg had been a childhood friend, and would be a tremendous asset in his new Duchy of Bavaria. He and the King of France waited expectantly, and were not disappointed when a white charger with rider trotted up the pathway. Gottfried's expression changed as the rider got closer. It was indeed Klaus Treuberg, but he looked a little bit shorter.

Specifically, his head was missing. Pinned to Treuberg's chest was a note:

I did this one myself, Gottfried. It has been so long since Gotteszorn drank blood that I was concerned it would break. You will be pleased to know that it did not. When you can take it from my cold dead hands, I will accept French dominion.

Gottfried vomited in the bushes, while King Louis chuckled quietly. The Frenchman had never liked Gottfried, and it was good to see him taken down a peg.

31 May 1551, Schwaben

Ernst Riedesel was furious. The French kept moving farther and farther east, and while idiots like Armansperg were given chance after chance, even when they failed horrendously, Riedesel had been stuck in Nürnberg studying sheets of casualties.

liegerout.jpg


Marshal Asch had his hands full keeping the Bavarian armies full. 22,000 men of military age remained in the draft pools; almost 75% fewer than had been around in May of 1550. Both France and Bavaria's coalitions began with about 100,000 men. Bavaria had lost about a third of her men; some to desertion, some captured, some killed. France had actually gained men, almost as many as Bayern had lost.

depressionsinksin.jpg


Riedesel was no defeatist, and neither was Markus Asch. But the simple fact that Riedesel's new command in Schwaben was within riding distance of Nürnberg certainly did not bode well.

victoriesyetstilladvanc.jpg


Things in Nürnberg were not much better than at the front. Most of the Bavarian nobility was either arrested, exiled, or dead. A few loyal Grafen -- Abdul Bahar among them -- served on a makeshift council to advise the Kaiser, but increasingly provinces were administered by men of low birth. Yet these new Stadtholders, or Governors, saw their new provinces not only survive, but thrive. Barons were increasingly finding employment either in the army or at court.

General Riedesel was unsure what to think of the changes. If the Hohenzollerns reign, will it have been worth it? Ernst had no answers.

8 June 1552, Nürnberg

The new Herzog von Kleve sat quietly as he watched Louis XIII, King of France, approach Kaiser Clemens I.

cleveswin.jpg


The Herzog couldn't help but feel impressed by the quiet dignity of Clemens I. It certainly paled in comparison to the trembling man standing next to Louis XIII, who had begun to urinate on himself. Coward. He should be lucky our beloved Kaiser even allows him to look upon him!

Bayern had won an impressive victory at Schwyz. That impressive victory, however, was underscored by the tale of the tape.

lookslikeawin.jpg


French numbers were down, but Bavarian manpower was almost tapped -- less than 1000 men of fighting age. When a few weeks later, French armies began to expand again, Kaiser Clemens I quietly began seeking a peace.

asurrenderagain.jpg


Clemens I did have to release Provence from vassalage and pay a small sum in reparations, but it amounted to a Bavarian victory. The Pope had even asked if Clemens wished to declare himself Defender of the Catholic Faith. The Kaiser thanked the Pope but declined. Instead, he used the money to help weather the storm from a dramatic currency revaluation.

The Herzog von Kleve smiled as the trembling man had his hood removed: Gottfried von Habsburg. I'd heard that Clemens had insisted upon this condition... The Kaiser picked up the sword laying across his lap and stood. Gotteszorn!

The blade sang as it sliced through the air. It only took one stroke to remove one of the most vile traitors Bayern had ever seen.

Contest time! This will run until Monday at 10 PM. The next update is a 50 year update!

1. How much total manpower does France actually have? (Referring to the ledger entry.) Closest guess wins (if anybody gets it exactly without trying to pull a save I'll give you two characters!)
2. Which COT is the wealthiest in the world?
3. How close am I to actually hitting my force limit? (If you think I'm under the limit, respond with "-" and a number; if you think I've over, use "+".)

If you have no character or it's dead, you are eligible!
 

jeeshadow

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I guess we guess for each of the questions, so hear I go
1. 140424
2. Constanstinople
3. +7524
 

SirkTheMonkey

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I sense a change of government coming up soon. Good to see Habsburg getting the fate all of that name deserve. :p
Curse my ineligibility for a(nother) character. I should've given that other one away so I could fling random guesses now.
 

Michaelangelo

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The Hohenzollerns may have lost, but the peace terms weren't that bad and Clemens I did execute the Habsburg traitor. And it was a beheading too! Adbul Bahar would be so proud. :p

I suppose I should stop complaining about the BBB being next door to you. It sure provides for an exciting AAR. :)
 

oskar-kar

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My character made a mark on history of empire, but he died, so I think that I can try to win content, here are answers:
1. 125 436(But we are guessing manpower after war, right?)
2. Ferrara (it's province name used in converter, because converter changes some province names)
3. -10 000 (again, we are guessing this numbers after war, right?)EDIT: In number of regiments it would be: -10
 
Last edited:

Avindian

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To clarify: by force limit, I mean number of regiments. (As it's displayed on the army and navy screen). Nobody's close on the answers yet, so keep guessing!
 

varetta

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1. 398 regiments or if you prefer 398.583,5 men (the last is Tyrion Lannister :D )
2. Ille de France (if you say that this was Gen. Marshall answer, then my answer is Andalucia)
3. - 12 regiments or if you prefer -12.000 men
 
Last edited:

Avindian

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Nobody's right yet (although some are close); keep trying!
 

Avindian

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We can't guess more than once, can we? ;D

When I tell folks that nobody is right, you may treat that as an invitation to guess again. :)