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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

kakatua

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The Legacy of the White Knight

A Historical Hungary AAR




Since the beginning of the fourteenth century the Hungarian nobles have, by custom, elected kings of foreign dynasties to lead them. This guaranteed them both the things they wanted: a high degree of autonomy, for the kings did not have a strong local power base or cared more about their other possessions; and protection against invasions from the south, initially by Serbians and Romans and, later, by the Ottomans.

The economy is concentrated mainly in the northern and western part of the country, on the borders with the Holy Roman Empire, where most of the population is concentrated. With a small gold mine on the border with the Kingdom of Poland, the kingdom that once had the richest king in Europe now has an economy similar in size to that of an Italian city-state, but border much richer and powerful countries, most of them unfriendly. Forts protect the Slovakia and Croatia regions, as well one in Transylvania.

Since 1102, the Crown of Croatia and Dalmatia are in personal union with the Crown of Hungary, although the ceremonies in the first are only of a symbolic character. Recent dynastic disputes in 1420 made Dalmatia itself be lost to the Republic of Venice, which had bought it from one of the claimants to the throne and quickly occupied it in the midst of the confusion. After the civil war, tensions between the monarchy and the republic were notorious and the long Hungarian-Venetian war was resumed, but after a disastrous battle, Sigismund, the King of Hungary, accepted the losses in a peace treaty signed in 1433.

From the year 1437, the Royal Crown of Hungary, and also of Croatia and Dalmatia was over the head of Albert II, the Magnanimous, of Germany, of the Habsburg dynasty. When Albert died in 1439, he left in his testament to his unborn child, Ladislaus, hence known as Posthumus, all his titles, rights and possessions. The Austrian Royal States accepted Ladislaus declaration as the ruler of Austria Proper, the region around Vienna, but the Kingdom of Bohemia, which was also reigned by Albert, rejected the hereditary right of Ladislaus, but did not elect any king.

Elizabeth, Ladislaus mother, fearing that it would occur in Hungary, took the Royal Crown of Hungary and crowned her son as King of Hungary in Székesfehérvár before the king elected by the Hungarian lords, Wladislaus III of Poland, arrived at his new kingdom. The Hungarian nobles feared that an infant king would not be able to protect the kingdom from a Turkish attack, even though it had a powerful dynasty behind it, looking for a warrior king instead. Elizabeth took her son, as well the crown, and left the country to Vienna, to live in the Frederick's III court in Wien, uncle of her son.

The civil war lasted for two years in the divided kingdom and was won by the Elected King, with the army under the leadership of John Hunyadi, known as White Knight due to his many military achievments in service of the two former kings of Hungary, mostly against the Ottomans. In the peace table, Elizabeth recognized Wladislaus as king, but kept her son's claim over the kingdom and it would revert to him, as Wladislaus had no heir yet. After unify the kingdom, Wladislaus began preparations for the Crusade of Varna, dying in the process without a heir after the betrayal of the Republic of Venice and leaving Hungary again, and this time Poland too, without a king.

The Hungarian noblemen then wanted to swear allegiance to Ladislaus, but, being just a child, the power would indeed go to his guardian, Frederick III, Roman Emperor, someone who would have enough strength to subdue them if he had the law and the cities by his side. Fearing the loss of his autonomy, but still desiring the protection of a foreign king, the nobles proposed to accept Ladislaus like king, but Frederick needed to renounce his guardianship over him and also return the Real Crown of Hungary, in his possession since 1442.

Frederick's de facto lands - Inner Austria, in the center
Frederick's rule through regency over Ladislaus, his nephew - Austria Proper, on the north
Frederick's rule through regency over Sigismund, his cousin - Further Austria, on the west

Frederick refused and his allies invaded and occupied several castles and towns in Western Hungary. In response, the Diet of 1445 named John Hunyadi, the most powerful, prestigious and wealthy nobleman in Hungary, as regent of Ladislaus rule in Hungary. Further negotiations between Frederick and Hunyadi established that Ladislaus would remain in Frederick’s court, in Austria, whereas Hunyadi would govern Hungary in his name until he reached the majority at the age of 15.

Finally enjoying internal peace, the Kingdom of Hungary must face that external peace won’t last forever. The Turks are stronger than ever in the South and the Emperor holds the Crown of Hungary to support his own claim while keep the rightful king as a hostage. The White Knight has his own enemies internally, in Slovakia, and externally, in Serbia and despite being a legend himself, the age starts to claim his share.



 
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The Number 9

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Interesting intro.
Good luck ! And consider me subbed.
 

NightmareSSV

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I like your writing style :) subbed!
 

volksmarschall

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Great! I love playing as Hungary. Have thought of doing a Hungary AAR, but am too busy.

And you're doing a "historical" AAR too! Everything I enjoy should be wrapped up in this. Good luck.
Cheers!
 

kakatua

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My dears, time is scarce this days. A lot of extra work and my kid is sick, so I'm not having much head to write as fast as I like.
Probably the next chapter will be there in two days. I would like to ask some sources to medieval pictures, mostly men and women, christians and muslims.
My sources normally are just texts and books :/

Edit: I didn't notice this next chapter already had 4 pages while the introduction, which I think it has a good size, has just one and a half. I'll just format now.
 
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kakatua

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The Legacy of the White Knight

A Historical Hungary AAR

Cap. I - The Two Wars



John Hunyadi, the White Knight. Governor of Hungary, Voivode of Transylvania, Defender of Christendom.


As early as April 1445, just one month after the Diet, the Governor ordered the construction of a fortification in the province of Temes, so as to cut off the Turkish supplies if they dared to invade Hungary directly. In May, the Ottomans assembled a huge army around Edirne and marched to war. Not against Hungary, but against Albania, a small princedom that suffers from long-standing Turkish pressures from the east and Venetian from the west, but still, it resisted.

The man responsible for this had a name, Gjergj Kastrioti, but was more known for a title given by his enemy while serving him, Skanderbeg, the latin translation of Iskander Bey, literally Prince Alexander(the Great), in Turkish. In 1443, still serving the Turkish armies, was campaigning in Serbia against the Hungarians and Serbs, having on the other side none other than John Hunyadi, when he led a revolt against the Sultan and took the fort of Krujë, thus liberating central Albania, home of his family. The following years were a very successful guerrilla against the Ottoman sultan and a peace was never achieved. In the face of the new conflict, Hunyadi sent as soon as he heard a messenger informing this living legend that the Hungarians were marching to war.


Skanderbeg, Prince of Albania, former Ottoman officer/captive, Scourge of the Turks, Bulwark of Christendom.
On the right a statue built in XVI century in his honor.
(Spoiler! Albania lives!)​

Not only the Hungarians, but also the Serbs, under the leadership of Durad I, who saw in support of Skanderbeg a chance to maintain their newly acquired independence. The Ottoman army was divided into two equal parts, one to subjugate Albania and the other to Serbia. Knowing that the guerrilla would no longer work, Skandenberg joined his army, left a garrison in his capital and went to the Serbian capital. Even with two armies, only half of the Ottoman army was larger than both, and therefore its commander, Hadim Sehabeddin, believed that would be sufficient.


Durad Brankovic, Despot of the Serbs.
Couldn’t find any representation of Hadim Sehabeddin even from Turkish Sources.​

Sehabeddin was, again, beylerbey (governor) of Rumelia, administrative division of the Ottoman Empire that includes the entire region under Ottoman dominance at west of Marmara strait, the richest part of the Ottoman Empire. Sehabeddin had been removed from this position two years earlier after being humiliatingly defeated by Hunyadi in Wallachia and had personal reasons not to fail to the Sultan again. What he did not expect was that things would become even more personal.

After occupying without resistance the provinces of Kosovo and Nis, he marched towards Branicevo, capital of Serbia, where the enemy armies met. He was caught completely off guard, counting only 15,000 men, for the 21,000 Hunyadi crossing the river behind him. In the ensuing massacre, Sehabeddin managed to escape through Bulgaria, but his army was crushed and destroyed humiliatingly on 25 June. All men were captured but the general's guard were killed or captured.

The Christian armies lost no time and marched to free Albania from the siege, crushing the second Ottoman army on 31 August. After two quick and overwhelming victories, morale went high. "God is on our side," said men and women, civilians and military, soldiers to the generals. But "Prince Alexander" and Hunyadi knew that they had not yet won, even because the Republic of Venice had also declared war on Albania, trying to get it before the Turks and also enforce more control over Dalmatia Coast.



The hit was felt by the Sultan, Mehmet II, who ordered all forces at his disposal to be summoned for war. Mercenaries felt the smell of gold and thousands were hired by the Sultan from Crimea, Georgia, Armenia and Mesopotamia. What was only the reconquest of a rebellious province, became a open conflict for the fate of the Balkans and the Sultan had no desire to be the one to fail after a great succession of successful sultans. The Hand of Allah was over him, after all.

Instead of taking advantage of the victory to start an offensive, the Christians only occupied part of Bulgaria, camped and waited separately, celebrating Christmas and New Year in allied territory. Sehabeddin joined an army of 16,000 men and rushed to attack Durad at Nis before receiving the 6,000-plus reinforcement that was on his way, but was surprised by Hunyadi again and was forced to retreat after disastrous battle, ended on March 2, 1446.


While the forces were focused on Serbian-Albanian-Ottoman border, Croatia was invaded by the Republic. Hunyadi asked to his allies to maintain the defensive while he expelled the Italians, but the confidence was so great that Durad decided to surround the Selanik fort with his little less than 9 thousand men, while Skanderbeg remained in Albania, occupying the Ottoman and Venetian parts. Both men wanted to reconquest what was lost to their common enemy.

After only six months, Sehabeddin had under his command about 28 thousand men, being 6 thousand of the spahi cavalry and 22 thousand of infantry, among janissaries, levies, slaves and mercenaries. The first test of this new force was to end the siege in Selanik, which he succeeded with immense ease, crushing the Serbian army and almost captured the prince, which abandoned the army as soon as he noticed all was lost. Hunyadi had already returned from Croatia after a summer without fighting against Venice, which retreated to Italy, and attacked a minor Ottoman force that gained reinforcement in time, being defeated but with similar losses and an orderly retreat. [I’ve lost print due to F12 hating me, sorry.]

Back to the capital, Buda, Hunyadi was informed that the royal coffers were empty. He ordered the creation of a new war tax on the bourgeois, but had already been made in his absence and a new tax would inspire rebellion. It was not the moment. Hunyadi then sent emissaries to the Pope, Frederick III, and the Republics of Florence and Genoa, asking for support, but he secured only two loans from the republics, rivals of Venice, and a daily pray from the Pope. Meanwhile, it was the turn of the Ottomans to plunder Croatia, almost reaching the Austrian borders. Calling the Serbs, Hunyadi led a victorious army that had far fewer numbers than the enemies in Varasd, expelling the Ottomans from Croatia after some months of pursue and, more importantly, killing Sehabeddin in combat in April 47, leaving the Turks for some time busy picking one new man to lead them.


At home, however, the Hungarian army was declining in numbers, as was the money from the loans. The Republic of Venice took the opportunity to put a siege in the fort of Zagrab while the enemy’s army recovered. The Duke of Milan, Venice’s rival, offered a loan to Hunyadi with low interest, almost a donation, that was used to hire German mercenaries who would be vital in the future defeat of Venice at the end of June, which had a high cost in lives.


The Turks came back while the Hunyadi army were recovering, sieging Temes, Branicevo and raiding the interior of Serbia at same time, trying to shut down the people’s willing to fight and make them protest for peace or just surrender themselves to the Turks to end the raids. By this time, the treasurer Tamás Esterházy has to be dismissed, as the crown had no money to pay for his services and the war showed no signs of an end. Tamás had served the court since the Diet of 1445 and did just a little effort to centralize the taxes, but had no success. Dire was the situation of the Kingdom of Hungary to do such thing. Reduce the court expenses wasn't seen as a act of power, but Hunyadi was pragmatic at this point, wanting all the possible money to the war cause.


As de facto war leader, Hunyadi took the priority to free Temes from the siege, consolidating the damaged regiments into full ones and the mere scout made the siege being relieved, as the Turkish force was much smaller. During the march, the Ottoman army which were raiding Serbia started a siege in Albania again. A meeting was called by Skanderbeg to argue why they should save his capital before Branicevo, despite Branicevo be much closer, safe and accessible than Albania this time. It was a tough call, as Branicevo was at siege already for months and Durad could possibly just make peace with the Ottoman to save his city, as he already in the past. Hunyadi and Skanderbeg knew he wasn't the most trustful ally, as he already betrayed them once, blockading the way to both armies meet some years ago, but the Serbian participation was vital in this war and, if Durad switched sides, the gates to Europe would be open again to the heathens.
 
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kakatua

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The Legacy of the White Knight

A Historical Hungary AAR

Cap. II - The Meeting


The tent used by John Hunyadi, Durad Brankovic and Gjergj Kastrioti in the night of 1st December of 1448.

Hunyadi, Durad and Skanderbeg had ate separately before join to discuss. Hunyadi and Durad were curious to know what was passing through Skanderbeg mind to suggest such absurd. All three entered by the same side, as allies should, but a tension from Durad’s part was visible. He had a much bigger army than Skanderbeg, even after the first army be decimated, so a bigger participation and importance than him. Branicevo, also, was a bigger city than Krujë and in a much more important location, the gate to Hungarian plains, a fact that made Hunyadi also be inclined to defend it first.

Skanderbeg was asking to a man abandon his people in the fourth siege they were suffering in two years, in a punishment from help him, while Krujë suffered only two and both lasted less than two months. But he knew it. He knew what he was asking and so prepared according. All three facing each other in a circular table, Durad didn’t move his eyes from the other prince. Hunyadi, as war leader, started the meeting. The following dialog happened in tent in Szerem, a Serbian province conquered by Hungary in an earlier war, in the first night of December.


Hunyadi: Good evening, my friends. God bless us in this desperate times which test our faith using our enemies. - followed by amen from the princes, he continued. - Skanderbeg, I’m glad you told the subject of this meeting beforehand and, despite not mind a reason to do what you asked, we will give you the doubt benefit.

Skanderbeg: Thank you, my friends. I will try to be fast and clear as I can. My friend... - looked to Durad - we both served the Sultans and we both rebelled against him when we could. But you did much more years before than I did. I know the new Ottoman commander, as I was under his command, for some time. I know his mind and is not in self-interest I say to relieve the siege in my land before yours, despite the way it looks. I hope I can convince you both, as I can’t do it myself.

Durad: My people is suffering continuous raids from the Ottomans because I helped a rebellious province, you! They don’t invade your lands continuously due to the mountains and guerrilla, Serbia is much more accessible and rich to plunder. I was glad we won the first battles and imagined the glory to defeat such evil beast and make Serbia great again. What I see now is a horde of beasts killing and plundering my lands while yours are safe. And now, when we have a chance to end, at least for now, my people’s suffering, you ask to save yours first, miles from where we are. Tell me, how can I not see this as self-interest?!

TRIVIA - Durad and Gjergj(Skanderbeg name) comes from the same name, Georgios, from greek. Which means both princes have “the same name”.

Durad is, normally, a quiet and calm man, but this time he was furious. And Hunyadi conceded him a margin to be outraged, despite his past mistakes, as it was expected after such proposal. Skanderbeg still was alone in his task and all eyes were on him.

S: I understand your anger, but even in the battlefield it won’t help. Soldiers can anger themselves, commanders don’t, as it blind our judgement to conduct our men. They gave their lives in our hands trusting we will take care of them. - It was a clear he was mentioning Selanik fiasco, letting Durad furious, but couldn’t talk anything as it was just simple truth. - And this Turkish commander don’t do this…

Hunyadi smiled quietly as it was a weakness he knew how to use. Durad was confused. It was or wasn’t about Selanik? It broke his defences allowing Skanderbeg continue his speech, or would we call it a maneuver?

S: ...this man is personally leading the siege of Branicevo. He settled in his mind Branicevo is the key to the victory and he isn’t wrong about that. But how many months your city can hold a siege?

D: Eight.

S: They are there for just two months. In one month we can reach Albania and slaughter the other army, which is just under a captain, and come back to rescue your people.

At this time, Hunyadi intervened.

H: And how do you plan to do that? They can just join armies and defeat us in a pincer move, attacking from our rear and front. We won’t receive any message from Branicevo if the siege was relieved or not as their army would be between us and the city.

Durad just crossed his armies in his chest, fixing his eyes in the Albanian leader again.

S: We will. Not from the city, but from our scouts. We will move through the west of Morava River. The new commander won’t stop the siege, just do some preparations from a river crossing attack, but won’t attack crossing the river too. We will be in a higher ground, easier enough to march through the night without being noticed. I know the land, trust me. You - looking to Hunyadi - will move to Albania and relieve the siege while we both make much more fire than we need to make them believe your army still is with us. He will think we are preparing from a assault and prepare according, putting less focus on break the walls, maybe even asking to the other army move to him. If he does, you can catch them on move, unprepared, if not, you can catch them sieging, unprepared. When they see, will be too late anyway.

Hunyadi liked the strategy. Enderum Academy notably created some good fruits and he was looking to a golden one. Thank to God, this fruit turned against them and never achieved a higher command rank before. This plan could work, but had just one problem…

D: What if a Ottoman spy or garrison alert them of this movement? We will be separated, cutted of Hungary with no margin to retreat. What now “Gjergj”? - pronounced in an incorrect way.

S: It is a risky move for a reason. If they know, both sieges will be relieved and we will achieve our goals, free to supply our cities again and come back to Hungary.

H: And they can just start the sieges again, putting an army between our way this time. As well scouts.

The discussion moved back and forth for almost half hour, heated up, with shouts and offenses between Durad and Skanderbeg, with Hunyadi trying to calm down until he requested intervention from his soldiers who were outside the tent to calm them both on the tip of the spear.

Hunyadi: So...what if after I reach Kosovo, you both march to Albania few days after I move?

Durad and Skanderbeg said at same time: What?

H: You would be protected from a direct attack, being in the other side of Morava and at higher ground. It is a 20 days march, so you can have supplies enough to reach Albania, which will be freed from the Ottomans. Buy food from Bosnia and we will be fine, victorious and well supplied.

S: The King of Bosnia isn’t much cooperative with me. I’ve tried.

D: He is my allied. He will sell me if I ask. He dislikes Venice and Ottomans too.

H: So, we have a plan. That God, the virgin Mary and all the saints bless us.

D and S: Amen.

H: Now, my friends...we need a map.

The meeting lasted three hours, as all of them knew the region they would pass from another wars, deciding what would be the better ways and taking care of the winter. They all let the tent confident and in agreement, with all animosity between both Georges left behind. The confidence was passed to their troops, despite they didn’t knew their plans. The Albanians were leaded by Skanderbeg in worse odds than now(10:1) and were much confident getting help. The Hungarians were used to Hunyadi skill at battlefield, as he commanded them for many times against bad odds. The Serbs, despite hadn’t a military genius, had two as allies.

They proceed with the plan. The march was forced through the winter and hadn’t faced any Turk scout, getting the men in Krujë completely surprised of an attack in the winter during the Christmas.


The news of attack achieved the Turk general too late. When he raised the army to march to Albania, it was already too late. Fastly, caravans with food and fresh water went to Serbian capital to be distributed among the poor and prepare the capital to the next siege, which wasn’t longer. When knew the other army was obliterated, the Turkish commander came back to siege Branicevo.

During the next months, the Christians passed cleaning Turkish garrisons in Serbia, as asked by Durad. Hunyadi took another loan, this time from the Republic of Ragusa, and recruited Czech and German mercenaries to reinforce the battle which would took place in Serbian capital. Even at lower numbers, the Christian morale overcome the superior Ottoman troops, freeing the city from the siege in 21 June of 1448 even taking more losses.[F12 problems hating me from take so much pictures]

Again, the Republic of Venice sieged Zágráb with a bigger army than Hunyadi. Again, Hunyadi asked to his allies to keep the defensive. Again, Skanderbeg went to siege Ottoman-controlled Albania and Durand went to siege Selanik trying to achieve some glory on his own. By this time Hunyadi said, furious: Judas betrayed Our Lord to pay his debts. The Republic betray Our Lord consistently just for personal profit. If Judas should be punished with death, why we still allow the Republic to exist?


Hunyadi took just one month to consolidate his force and gather some new men and attacked, being victorious killing twice the losses, making no prisoners killing all as long as he could, while didn’t stop to chase the Venetian leadership. The forced march gave results in the Austrian province of Görz, capital province of Frederick III which gave access to Venice to harass Hungary. No man of fortune was let to live this day and many of their corpses were delivered to Frederick’s capital in a threat. Only the support of Austrian nobility, pissed about Frederick’s cowardice to help the Christian cause, avoided an open conflict. The Emperor was later known as Frederick, the Fat, due to this episode.

The New Year of 1449 wasn’t celebrated. The Kingdom was in heavy debts and no signs of peace were on sight despite the many victories it had. Neither was any permanent success, as hadn’t men, money or time to siege any Ottoman or Venetian fort. The fields lost many men due to the war and the harvest wasn’t so good as before. The Sultan’s armies weren’t in good shape too, just organizing some raids, all of them repelled, through the year. Even without any siege, the Christian morale was crumbling, mostly among the Serbs, the target of the wise sultan.

In the end of year, the Republic counter-attacked, even after the last events of 1448. Hunyadi now had the numerical advantage and took no time to attack, leaving Buda by the Christmans with a 20 thousand men army, slaughtering the Venetian army in middle of January. The Senate knew no more men would be willing to march to certain death, as again no man could live, even their leader, the noble Constanzo Monceningo, ending the Italian participation in the war. Peace was finally achieved just in 11 Setember 1450.



In August, the Ottomans finally organized an army set to siege the Albanian capital again. The Christian armies were depleted. The Hungarian army, even using the power of the money and excepting the nobility from taxes to get more men in return, had just 11 thousand men. It was the last effort from both sides and the winner didn’t knew if could sustain a siege. Just for stubborn, the young Sultan attacked, just to be defeated again, losing another commander in 21 October.



The following peace treaty was almost a white peace, with the Sultan conceding some money, which most of them went to Hungary, and recognizing the Princedom of Albania as free and independent(revoke core), ruled by Gjergj Kastrioti, nicknamed Skanderbeg, forgiving him from his treason and desertion. The peace treaty didn’t contemplated the Durad desire to recover the province of Üsküp, lost in an earlier war, deeply irritating him, as he could probably gain it back if changed sides. Peace had finally a place to settle in the Balkans just through exhaustion of all countries on it. The coffers were empty and the creditors already started the preparatives to take their money or negotiate a delay the payment in return for even more money. "Peace in our time!" some said, but for how long?
 
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RyuDrago

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Great victories for Hungary! Albania indipendent, Ottomans and Venice humbled, and a kingdom settled for Balkan domination...

Just to ask, why Hungary didn't attempt to gain Dalmatia and/or Istria?
 

kakatua

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Great victories for Hungary! Albania indipendent, Ottomans and Venice humbled, and a kingdom settled for Balkan domination...

Just to ask, why Hungary didn't attempt to gain Dalmatia and/or Istria?
Because Ottomans would siege Branicevo or Albania much faster than I would siege one of them. Lv1 Forts vs Lv2 Forts + Sea. If Serbia left the war, I would lost.
 

RyuDrago

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Because Ottomans would siege Branicevo or Albania much faster than I would siege one of them. Lv1 Forts vs Lv2 Forts + Sea. If Serbia left the war, I would lost.
Well at least was still a good peace. Hungary will go on over a diplovassalization offensive on the Balkans or expand elsewhere?
 
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Make Hungary huge!
 

kakatua

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The Legacy of the White Knight

A Historical Hungary AAR

Cap. III - Peace? In the Balkans?


Picture of Bricovo, a Serbian village burned by the Ottomans in the Turkish-Balkanese War in 1448.

The signs of destruction were everywhere. From Croatia to Bulgaria, passing through Serbia, Albania and Macedonia, the view was of a desolated land. Fields, villages and even cities razed and burned to the ground. Walls of the forts still were destroyed and the general poverty installed took the morale of the troops to fix them. Even the legends, Skanderbeg and Hunyadi, were resting, as well their troops, freed with some money to rebuild their homes.

The hit was felt from both sides and a big period of peace was expected, but peace doesn’t like to stay in the Balkans for much time. Letters of war reached Buda again in the hands of messenger which entered running at Hunyadi’s office without a breath in his lungs, offering the letter to his governor. Hunyadi took a time to move from the comfortable position he was, ignoring the rush of the servant. Took the letter, looked to the messenger again and opened.


The Kingdom of Hungary had some claims over some Bosnian lands, but the accounts weren’t favorable. Call the men back to the army to wage a indirect war wasn’t possible as the treasury had the pressure of the creditors to deal with and the men wanted to rebuild their lives. Despite being a rival of Venice, the Republic of Ragusa was also protected by the Ottomans. If the Sultan had to move his men again, more stress to him. “Let them kill themselves”, he thought. The only regions that were saved from the devastation of the earlier war were now to know the reapers. Again. The war was won by Bosnia one year later, which annexed the city after to have the entire interior ravaged by Ragusan mercenaries.

It was seen as a good decision, as in 1453 a new political, philosophical and artistic movement was raising. The movement was called Renaissance by his own adepts, claim to recover the old glories of Greece and Rome, burned by the barbarian invasions. The movement was strong in Italy, a rich land of various populous independent and semi-independent cities-states. The movement in Hungary was welcome. Many parts of the capital were open to artists, artisans and free workers, bringing some famous and various minors, increasing the population of Buda in the following years, spreading from there to other parts of the country.

In 22 February of 1455, Ladislaus was crowned King of Hungary, bringing the Holy Crown to home. Touched by the Renaissance values, viewed in John a Renaissance King. Maintained John’s status, rights and possessions, reaffirming him as Governor and Captain-General of Hungary. He did it because recently received horrible news: he was infertile. A doctor ensured him of that confirming the suspicious after a disease in his childhood. The doctor was well paid to keep the silence, but was killed by Elizabeth’s orders. Hating his own family due to be kept as captive for so longer, wanted to free Hungary of being ruled from them. "A family of sinners, degenerates, lustful, perverse, corrupted, and who gave their souls to the devil." he writed in a paper just found in XXI century.

During his brief reign, Ladislaus tried to give support to Hunyadi decisions, including more measures to bring liberty to city workers. Even said in a meeting to the nobility “As King of Hungary, I would have no better successor than the man which already leaded you all this years.” Just some days later, Ladislaus marked his name in history, suiciding in 20 March, less than one month after his coronation. The news were a shock to entire Europe, as since Roman Empire no Christian King or Emperor committed suicide. The Muslims, Orthodox and Reformists used this as a sign of decadence of the Catholic Church. Habsburg’s enemies put the guilt in the family, accused of many sins, included kill their own family.

While so many condemned the family, the Habsburgs tried for whatever means to give Ladislaus a Catholic Burial. Not for love, in fact he was hated now, but to don’t have this black spot on their history. The nobility of Hungary made no effort to help them, but used it to refuse any Habsburg as candidate to their throne. Frederick tried for whatever means get the favor of the pope, offering money, support, lands, even a crusade! Habsburgs emissaries became more common in Rome, but nevertheless gained the Pope's favor. Suicidals have no right to a Christian Burial. It is the law.

The Diet of 1455 was convoked to discuss the most important matter of the time: the election of a new king. The Jagiellons and Habsburgs were discarded just in the beginning, the firsts due to have much power in form of Polish-Lithuanian Union, the last had a sight of not being in God’s favor. The Luxemburgs had no lands anymore, so wouldn’t bring any more power to fight against the Turks. The King of Bohemia was a heretic and it wasn’t time to make more foes. People far from it wasn’t a good option either. Modern historians can think it was a manipulated election, but it was obvious to anyone in the Diet that they had to elect a local king this time.

The most prestigious, rich, popular and powerful of them was obvious to anybody: John Hunyadi. Many of them reached him to say would vote for him if he was a candidate, to the point that he was invited formally to do. Some well based rumours said he was a bastard of King Sigismund, and in fact he was, so the only one with a possibility of have royal blood between them. Knowing all this, Hunyadi asked a permission to speech. All were expecting a speech about glory, fight the Turks, defend the Christianism and keeping the law as it was. They couldn’t be more wrong.

My dears. It is a great honor to be the men which most of you trust to leader you. I did it many many times during my life, since Sigismund times. Most of this times were in battlefield, against dissidents, against the Republic, against the Hussites and, many times, against the Turks. I’m happy that this confidence you put in me is a sign that I was a good leader. So good that you want me to occupy the highest position in our realm. But I’m tired.

I’m tired of so many troubles, so many battles, so many fights to death against bad odds and for God’s sake I’m tired of this papers! - the audience emitted a contained laugh - God blessed me all this times...But my hands are old and don’t grasp the sword as before. My hands are old and full of blood and, despite we need a warrior king, we need someone better than just a warrior. So if you want me, hear my proposal first.
As a king I wouldn’t have time to pass my last days with my son. My only...son. He is smart, strong, much younger than me and, most important, has no blood in his hand. He still is too young to be king, but will be in age soon. I will educate him to be even better than me. I will educate him to be the best king this Kingdom ever had and a even better warrior and general than me.

So, brothers, I want to pass my days with him and you want a king. We both can have what we want if he become king in my place. If the time is dire and the kingdom needs me, I can take the burden as long as it needs like Murad did. But if we are in peaceful times as we are now, my cousin can take care of the kingdom business while I prepare my son to be the best king you will ever hear about.

Some still had doubt if it was a good proposal, still afraid of a Turkish attack while the king was young and Hunyadi could have lost the practice. But the majority still remembered how Murad saved the Ottomans while they needed and if a man could do such thing, this man was in front of him. The votes started as no one even dared to launch himself as a candidate. As the men started to raise their hands, it was clear that Hunyadi had a majority. The others, don't wanting to be out of the new King's favor, also raised their hands resulting in a unanimous election of Mátyás Hunyadi as the new King of Hungary, to be crowned at age of 15 years.

Mátyás still had just twelve years when was elected and passed two learning and training. The last year of his regency, he was in fact in charge of everything. In 23 February of 1458, 3 years and one day after the coronation of his predecessor, he was crowned King of Hungary, resulting in a revolt. In the North, a man called Vencel Kinizsi got enough local support to think he was able to overthrown the Hunyadi forces. As the coffers were empty and the man in the fields, it was needed many time to call them back.


Coronation of Mátyás Hunyadi

As a test to the new king, the man were left to finish the harvest, but needed to come back. The pretender already sieged three loyal provinces with no support of the king, decreasing Mátyás’ legitimacy. Kinizsi were already sieging a major fort in Érsekújvár[really Hungarians. Why so many accents?] when, by Christmas, the King’s army arrived. Despite to have 12 thousand men against 10, the cavalry numbers were the same for both and the Hungarian combat relied on them, not in the foot soldiers. The one which win in the cavalry combat would gain the battle in a big majority of times.

Well versed in the arts of war, Mátyás decided to use a strategy of an ancient enemy of the Roman Empire, the Allamannics. The cavalry shouldn’t charge as soon as possible, but advance at the same speed as the infantry until the charge time. The reason was simple. Hiding in the middle of the 4 thousand horses, 500 foot soldiers were waiting with spears. When the battle started, the cavalry shocked with each other even before the infantry clash the pikes. The men with spears then walked between the horses and killed many horses as could. The enemy men now on foot with a heavier armor than normal couldn’t fight well in a disorganized place as in the middle of a cavalry fight. When the infantries started to fight, the battle were already won.

[Trivia: the names for Germany in latin-based languages(Alemanha, Alemania, Allemagne...) came from the Alamanni tribe, despite Germany to come from the latin word Germânia.]

The rebel leaders were killed on action despite beg for pardon. All nobles involved lost their lands and titles, handed to the Crown, turning Mátyás the direct owner of more than half of the Kingdom. The common men which surrendered were left to live after left all the weapons and money they could have. The first test of the king was easily won, restoring the confidence on him. The army liked him, as his smart mind saved many of his subjects lives. The order was then restored on the North and the king could now focus on more mundane and boring problems: the economy.


Modern reconstruction of the Battle of Argentoratum, the battle which inspired Mátyás' strategy. Focus on the Alamanni cavalry.
 
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KingJerkera

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This AAR is amazing! Keep up the good work!
 
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guillec87

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subbed!
 

kakatua

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I'm really enjoying this, the battles that you've been posting are very intresting!
Thank you, sir. I'm reading about some famous battles(some, like this last one, not so famous) since last month and had this battle with equal cavalry numbers and the need to represent the geniality of Mátyás made me use this one...More tactics will be described through the AAR when convenient.

The next chapter will be there in no less than two days, but I hope no more than three. My kid isn't letting me sleep well(poor sick boy), so productivity is pretty low this days.

Edit: Also, I want to know if this select group which read this thread prefer a more strategic view of battles, like in the first chapter, or more tactical, like this last one. I will use both as convenient, but I can use the public opinion as vote of Minerva when I need to choose one and have no preference.
 

KingJerkera

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Honestly there are times where strategy on a grand scale is preferable, but if an epic battle does happen it would be appropriate in my mind to go to the tactical depth.
 

stnylan

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A great start to this AAR. A very enticing read. That war was very well conveyed.