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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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Secret Master

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The Lives of Famous and Noble Castilians: A Chronicle of the Kingdom of Castile

It is time once again for me to do an AAR. For those of you who have read my other ones, this one will be a little different in both style and intent.

First of all, I will be writing in a more narrative style than a log style. As such, rather than just logging game information, I will be weaving characters in and out of the story, glossing over periods in history that are of little interest, and taking great time with ones that are.

Also, I have deliberately played this game with specific goals that are grossly ahistorical. Some of these goals are even counter-pragmatic, and from a purely wining the game standpoint, hurt my progress with winning the game. But I did so because I figured anyone can win the game as a historical Casitle/Spain. After all, Spain did win the "game" in real life. Rather, I decided from the outset to set goals that are specifically ahistorical because they would be more fun to write about. What I did was weave them into the game in a way that makes sense. I wont spoil them for you, since it would ruin the impact. But, for example, if I wanted to specifically crush a country for my goals, I would wait until in-game conditions made it sensible to do so.

In addition, I have kept myself to a few rules that make for more "sensible" game play. For example, I do not declare war without casus belli, with one exception. If I would have been able to annex a country in a war, but the 1 province rule prevented me, then I reserved the right to declare war without casus belli to finish the job. Also, I tried to follow religious guidelines wherein I wouldn't go to war with co-religionists except under great duress (read: they are a ruthless bad boy or they start it first).

Finally, I start the game in 1419, but I end it in the 1750s. I did so because the game got ridiculously easy, and patch 1.03 came out. After applyingthe patch, the economy of the game got realy screwy AND most of Europe fell apart in civil war. The game was built using the war exhaustion rules from 1.02, and when I suddenly applied patch 1.03, several house of card empires just collapsed under their own wieght. So, for those keeping score, it will be a completed AAR once I get to the 1750s.

On final thing: If it seems like I am doing something "stupid", its not because I have no idea how to play the game. Rather, it is more fun for dramatic purposes to do it a certain way. Also, just be prepared for history going out the window after 1420....
 

Estonianzulu

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Ok, I'm looking forward to see how you stomp Grenada...
 

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"Papa, what is war?"

The young lad, dressed in his princely clothes, looked up at his father with large, inquisitive eyes. His father smiled at his son, the future heir of Castile. His son was still young, but he was strong in body and curious in mind, traits that Juan II of Castile wished to cultivate in the future king.

"Enrique, a war is the ultimate way to gain justice. In war, you hurt your enemies and help your friends."

Some smiles spread across the faces of the assembled nobility. Juan loved to have his son around during courtly discussions. It showed the nobility the visible face of an heir, and it prepared his son for the life ahead.

Juan glanced around to the Duke and Duchess of Galacia, paying particular attention to the Duchess's response to the discussion. While the Duke of Galacia was a good Castilian, his wife was a younger daughter of the Marquis of Oporto, a vassal of the King of Portugal. Through her, Castile maintained strong ties to Portugal. It was also through her, since she was also the god-daughter of King Joao of Portugal, that Juan gauged the reactions of him to Castilian actions. She was smiling gayly.

"But papa, how did the Moors in Granada become our enemies?"

The Bishop of Leon smirked. Juan shot him a glance to remind him of his place, while he spoke loving and gentle words to his son.

"Because, my little Enrique, they are not children of Christ like we are. They serve dark and evil powers. Many centuries ago, they invaded our lands. They killed our people, laid waste to the villages, and tried to drive out our savior Jesus Christ. But, we have slowly driven them back. It has been a long time coming, but our good friends the Portugese and the Aragonese..."

At his point, Juan nods amiably to the Duchess of Galacia and to the teenaged Alfonso, a young son of King Alfonso of Aragon, here in Castile to effect his marriage to the Count of Murcia's youngest daughter.

"...have helped us drive them back. But we cannot leave the job half undone. They must be crushed completely. And soon, we shall do it."

Little Enrique was smiling now and clapping his hands.

"Papa, I want to go to the war! I want to ride my pony and fight the Moors. It sounds like such fun!"

The nobles and clergy laughed, as did Juan.

"No, my little prince, you are to young for such things. You must stay here, and let Father Carlos teach you Latin. Even I won't be going off to this war. That is something that the Duke of Toledo is better suited for. Isn't that right?" Juan smiled slyly at the young, virile, Duke of Toledo.

"My dread lord, my life is nothing if it is not in service to you. You can be rest assured that the Moors will quake in fear of you and Christ!"

The Duke of Toledo took the cue and gave the scripted response. Juan was pleased that this little show had played out for the nobility as well as it had. Having one's son and a few well placed speakers to respond to him worked wonders to draw attention away from the central element underlying Juan's desire for war.

Juan could care less about Moors, Christ, or repaying centuries of Moorish occupation of Iberia. The only thing he wanted was land...

And he would get his war. On May 3rd, 1419, a messenger for King Juan II of Castile told the Moors of Granada that a state of war existed. The official message left off the ending normally on such messages that said, "May God have mercy on your souls."

Apparently, their souls were less important than their lands.
 

Sharur

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Alright, another SM aar! :) I'm looking forward to see how you handle the narrative side of things. Good job so far!
 

Blademonkey

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Nice start SM. Looking forward to this one playing out.
 

Syt

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Oh, playing Spain myself at the moment, conquering north Africa. Looking forward to compare my exploits with yours. :)
 

unmerged(6748)

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Great!

Oh boy another SM AAR!
I loved your Burgundy one as it was the first AAR I've ever read,and I"m excitedly awaiting the next installments.
It already looks very promising
btw: Will one of your 'ahistorical events' involve sucessfully recreating the Spanish Armada?
 

unmerged(6777)

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I'm looking forward to this too. I like the way you clevery handled telling us of the RM's you have formed, etc. Nicely subtle.

Now, of course, you've peaked our curiousity as to just what kind of little "surprises" we have in store for us along the way. Whatever they are, I'm certain they will be a joy to read.
 

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The Duke of Toledo, Jose Jimenez, stood outside his field tent to greet the morning sun. The Army of Castile was camped on the plains near Andalusia. With him were 6,000 of the finest knights the realm could muster, with over 12,000 assorted rabble: archers, cross bowmen, pikemen, etc.

"Hmph, all this rabble does is eat food and look pretty. Bloody peasants to the last one of them." Jose was unaware he had spoken aloud.

"My lord duke, did you say something?" The Duke's servant asked somewhat playfully. He had heard full well what was said, but he wanted to have a little fun with his master.

"Oh, it is nothing. Have my scouts returned with reports of the enemy's movements?"

"No, my lord duke."

"Bastards. How can I move the army forward without knowledge of the movements of the damned Moors?"

"So, we will not be striking our camp today, my lord duke?"

"No."

The servant proceeded into his lords tent, and procured some wine. He prepared breakfast for the duke as the sun began to rise. There would be little to do today. Perhaps on the morrow, news would arrive about the movements of the Moors. It has been a month since the war began and nothing has happened at all.

The Duke sat around for most of the morning, twiddling his thumbs while reading Plutarch's lives of famous Greeks and Romans. He continually sipped on the wine his servant readily made available.

But then, towards dusk, the scouts finally returned. By now, the Duke of Toledo was quite drunk and reveling in tales of famous battles, beautiful Egyptian queens, and final defeats. The servant ushered the scouts to the duke's tent.

"My lord duke, we have news of the army of the Moors."

"Tell me, you rascals, where they are marching! Or it shall be your heads that will pay the price of your incompetence!" His voice was far louder than it needed to be for this discussion.

"My lord duke, they are marching to make a stand at Gibralter."

"What did you say? Gibralter? Quick, sound the trumpets! Order the army to break camp! Get my knights into marching order! We strike at once!"

The servant and scouts stood dumbfounded at the drunk duke.

"My lord duke, should we not wait until the new morning comes around so we may see where we're marching?"

"Not enough time! We can set off now and be in Gibralter by the next evening!"

At this point, Sir Percy, a lower knight, walked up to see the commotion. He managed to hear the words "..Gibralter by the next evening..." and had done the math, realizing that it would take days to reach there.

"My lord duke, I hail you! What says you about the Moors?" The clever knight was all smiles.

"Ah! Loyal Percy. They are marching to Gibralter. We mush leave quickly so we can beat them there."

"But of course, my lord duke. Why don't I help you pack your tent so we can march out straight away?" The knight was still smiling, though the servant and scouts were quite confused.

"Thanks, gentle Percy." They walked into the tent, when a loud thud was heard, followed by a collapsing sound. Within a moment, Sir Percy reappeared from the tent.

"Sir Percy, what has happened?" The servant had a raised eyebrow.

"It appears the duke took a stumble. He's not going to be going anywhere tonight. In the morning, I expect him to have a headache. But, we will be ready to march by then." Sir Percy was grinning.

"Oh yes, quite a stumble it was. The poor duke, couldn't even get his final orders out before he fell. I didn't hear what he said for us to do tonight. I guess we will just have to wait until morning."

"Oh yes, I guess so. Well, good night. Tomorrow is a big day for us."

"Good night, Sir Percy."

And so, the next day, the Army of Castile awoke, broke camp, and marched to Gibralter.
 

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The morning of June 30th gave good omens to the Castilians under the command of Jose Jimenez, Duke of Toledo. The men were refreshed, having arrived in Gibralter ahead of the Moors. The horses were grazed. The weapons and armor of the army was in good repair. And the duke was sober.

Toledo occupied one of the many points of high ground in the area surrounding Gibralter. By having beat the Moors there, he wisely chose the best piece of ground from which to fight. The Moors numbered only half of Toledo's men. The plan was simple: place the rabble on the crest of the hill, hide the cavalry behind it, and have the knights swoop around the flanks once the Moors engage the rabble from below.

By 10:00, everything was going according to schedule. The Moors advanced up the hill, cautiously. Then, it all began to go wrong. The signal for the cavalry was sent accidentally, and they left their hidden positions on the back of the hill. They began to charge, only to fumble when they realized the grievous error. They were half charged down the hill, with their infantry still in their starting position, only to realize that the Moorish infantry was still in good condition. The Moors formed their infantry into line while their horse swooped to take the flanks of Castile's knights. The 6,000 Castilian knights began to fall back in disarray and confusion, trying to flee uphill. Meanwhile, the rabble were getting nervous at seeing the knights already retreating. It was at this point that Sir Percy saved the day.

While Toledo was trying to rally the knights, Sir Percy got of his horse in front of the rabble. On foot, this brave knight ordered the archers to rain death on the advancing Moors, while he pulled his sword from his sheath. Brandishing his weapon thus, he ordered the pikemen to charge down the hill with him. His energy and charisma moved them so much, they forgot the absurdity of the charge order. After all, they were carrying huge pikes and halberds. How could they really charge?

As it turned out, Percy made brilliant use of this bizarre situation. Normally, such rabble could not charge. But they held the high ground of a hill that was fairly steep. Gravity would charge for them. The sheer weight of their weapons would carry them quickly down the hill, swooping into the enemy. It was a huge mess at first: retreating Castilian knights, pursuing Moorish horsemen, arrows raining down, and Moorish infantry trying to march up the hill. Percy kept his men organized, and soon they reformed a coherent line of battle. While they did so, the Duke of Toledo rallied the knights. With a sturdy line of infantry to block the pursing Moorish horsemen, they easily reformed. Once they did so, they swept around the rear of the Moors that Percy had engaged from the front.

The result? By noon, only 1,000 of 10,000 Moors lived to flee from the battlefield. The Battle of Gibralter saw the breaking of the back of the Muslims of Grenada. Within a month, all of their castles were under siege.
 

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Mohammed the Left Handed paced inside his castle. Soon, it would be time to pray, but Mohammed was very troubled. The 10,000 Castilians sieging his castle were not the cause of the his problem. Nor was it the 7,000 Castilians sieging Gibralter. Rather, Mohammed was troubled by the lack of news from his allies, Algiers and Fez.

The last Mohammed the Left Handed had heard, his ally Algiers had defeated Castile in the Battle of Almeria Gulf. They landed troops and began pillaging the countryside before settling for a siege in Murcia. This was certainly good news, but the Battle of Almeria Gulf was July 16th. 1419. It was now a new year, and he had heard no further word. The Castilians were intent in not letting any messengers through.

Mohammed slowly walked to the tiny mosque that served the garrison's spiritual needs. His head hung low as he walked, half in contemplation of Allah, half in contemplation of his fate. He heard a shuffling up ahead, and his faithful servants of the Prophet were holding a Moorish man who was not of the garrison. He was wounded, but appeared to be carrying a message. Mohammed moved forward quickly. The wounded man was out of breath, but still trying to speak.

"I.... have.... a message... from outside... the walls..." The man was clearly in shock and barely able to speak, but he was holding out a scroll that contained Arabic on it.

Mohammed took it in his left hand, and began to read it silently. His face grew darker as he read the dingy scroll.

"It is easy to see why the Castilians have let you through, faithful messenger."

The garrison's soldiers looked upon their monarch with dreaded anticipation.

"Our allies in the Prophet, Algiers and Fez, have abandoned us. We have been sold out for a white peace it seems. Even worse, the country of Navarra has joined Castile's alliance and is at war with us as well. We stand alone."

The Moorish soldiers looked at him in fear. Not because they feared him, but because they feared the result of his words. Mohammed shook his head, and continued to the mosque. His final remarks were said only in passing.

"Tomorrow, we shall surrender our castle here. Come, let us pray to Allah one last time before the followers of Christ sack our castle and burn our mosque. Make your prayers carefully, for this may be your last time to pray to Allah before your deaths."

The soldiers followed their ruler into the mosque and prayed.

On the next day, February 28th, 1420, they surrendered the castle. The great irony is that Gibralter did not know there was no hope for relief, and they held out until July 18th. Only after the siege was successful did they realize their effort had been futile.

Juan II dictated terms of peace to Mohammed the Left Handed. Granada would cede Gibralter and pay every gold coin they had in the treasury. The First Reconquista War was declared over on August 1st, 1420.
 

unmerged(6777)

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Nice updates SM. I like the shift in the last post over to the "enemy's" point of view.

You really must be careful where you stow your stuff in your tent, eh. If you're not careful you can trip over things. :D

Out of curiousity, did you propose the white peaces with Fez and Algiers or did they? I'm also curious how Portugal is doing with their war (IIRC they start at war w/ those two).
 

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In answer to your question, MrT, they offered the white peaces themselves. Truly, they sold out Granada for something less than 12 silver coins.

About Portugal, they hit a white peace with them as well. This was played under 1.02, and it seems Portugal had a really hard time doing the amphibious thing to get at them.

Oh, and just to let you know, I didnt make up the name Mohammed the Left Handed. Seems thats the real name of the ruler of Granada during this period. History is stranger than fiction....
 
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Juan II took note of the diplomatic situation in Europe. Even while Castile had been at war with the Moors, Europe had remained busy itself. During peace negotiations with Mohamed the Left Handed, news arrived from Germany that Hanover and Wurzburg have been annexed by force by Bavaria and Oldenburg respectively.

This results in Juan marrying his nieces off to Bavaria and Oldenburg, just to keep the peace. While Juan does want land, he is mindful that it would not do to have Castile at war with other powers, simply because of a conflict of interests. At the moment, Castile has enough land to take in her own backyard.

During the next few uears, things remain quiet for Juan and Castile. Little Enrique continues to grow into a fine young lad, while the German states continue to crush each other. In 1422, a huge war breaks out in Germany when Brandenburg annexes Magdeburg. Juan specifically declares Castile neutral, for she has royal ties to combatants on both sides of the conflict.

Besides, as Juan dryly remarks out of earshot from the German representatives at his court, "How can I go to war with them if I can't tell the difference between this ‘burg and that ‘burg? They are all so tiny."

Also, Juan begins upgrading the tax collection system. He hope to one day make Castile completely efficient in terms of revenue. The only place he does not want to promote them are where Muslims live, in Murcia and Gibralter. Juan wisely chooses to leave them alone for the moment.

By 1425, Juan notes that the treaty Castile has with Granada will soon expire. He gathers a council of war together, including the young Alvaro de Luna, Constable of Castile. Luna makes it clear that Granada cannot hope to resist annexation if war is declared, and Juan is inclined to agree with him. Other members of the council are somewhat jealous with the attention Juan pays to Luna. Luna is young, dashing, and eager to serve his king. The older nobles at the council, including a few sons of Ferdinand of Aragon, begin to whisper to one another about his young upstart.

Because Luna is so helpful in preparing the war plans for Granada, Juan places him in command of the King's Army in Andalusia. When the treaty expires, war will be had.
 

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On September 1st, 1425, Mohammed the Left Handed received the declaration of war from Castile. He sent word to his allies, and Fez and Algiers responded. Mohammed was noted as remarking, "Great. Now they have to wait a few months at least before selling us out again."

The mood around the Moorish castles in Granada is dark. The army of Granada is smaller than the reputed force of Alvaro de Luna sitting in Andalusia. With the Castilian navy deployed in the Gulf of Almeria, Mohammed figures that Fez and Algiers may not even be able to help.

So, he strikes upon a plan. Rather than wait for destruction, he orders the army forward to attack the King's Army in Seville. Mohammed figures the worst that will happen is that Granada will lose and be annexed, which would be the same thing as if the army stayed home.

And so, on September 25th, the Army of Granada marches to face Luna at the Battle of Seville.

The area for the battle was a flat plain, with a grove of trees to one side. It was a bright, sunny, typical Iberian day as the 34,000 man Army of Granada marched onto the field. They only had 4,000 horse to cover the infantry advance. Yet, as they marched onto the field, they could only see the infantry of the King's Army. Where were the Castilian knights?

This question became more pressing as the army advanced. The 4,000 horse for the Moors scoured ahead, scouting, but seeing nothing. The Casitlian halberdiers stood firm, unflinching in the sun. The Moorish horsemen could not even see the leader of the Castilian army. Were they mad?

As the Moors formed their final battle line in preparation for advance, one of the horsemen caught a glint coming from the tree line. He tried to warn the leader of the army, but to no avail. The Moors began to advance. Just as they entered the range of Castilian archers, a loud cry rose from the line of trees. In that instance, 11,000 Casitlian knights, under the leadership of Alvaro de Luna, charged from the line of trees.

But they didn't charge the Moors. They charged the part of the plain behind them.

The Moorish horsemen moved to block them, but it was immediately clear that their 4,000 horsemen would be no match for 11,000 heavy knights. With the main body of the army already taking fire from the archers, the Army of Granada surged forward to charge the Castilian line.

It was a fruitless move.

Once Luna was completely behind the Moors, his knights turned and charged them across the open terrain. The field was so flat and free of pothole that the knights easily covered the distance. The Moorish horsemen tried to block the, but were cut down quickly. Soon, the 30,000 infantry of the Army of Granada was sandwiched between a line of halberdiers and the charging knights.

Within half an hour, the Moors were slain to the last man.

Mohammed the Left Handed would only hear of their defeat from the detachment of Castilians who besieged his castle. There was no one left from his army to tell the tale of their defeat.
 

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All hail him indeed! :cool: