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Kamelot

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A short while ago I was playing an HTTT-game with France when a series of events happened that were in such a perfect coordination with each other that I began thinking up a story behind it all. It takes place during 1570 and 1650 and involves all your favorite elements: France, catholics, huguenots, foreign interventions and court intrigues. And it is possible that the Cathars might have a role in this all.

Updates will be when I feel like it, but at least weekly. I hope you will enjoy this AAR!

Book 1

Chapter I: Unrest in the south
Chapter II: The Articles of Purity
Chapter III: The First Spanish Intervention
Chapter IV: The Gastonist Conspiracy and the Catholic League
Chapter V: The Burgundian Desintegration
Chapter VI: Civil war in catholic France and the Treaty of Limousin
Chapter VII: Protestant consolidation and catholic confrontation
Chapter VIII: Catholic unification
Chapter IX: The Estates General of 1575
Chapter X: The Fall of Occitania
 
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Kamelot

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Chapter I: Unrest in the south

In 1570 France had been united as a country. Burgundy remained but was no longer a mortal threat when the republic of Flanders had been proclaimed and thus taken away a large part of the Burgundian wealth. South of the border lay the kingdom of Spain with whom France was on reasonable terms, although tension remained concerning the border and more specifically Rousillon. In the southeast lay lands of Naples which they had gained through the Provincial Inheritance. French king Charles VI had taken the western parts of the inheritance by force but had not managed to secure the southern provinces, which were called the Provence.


King Charles X had been raised to the throne in September 1568 and was a young king. He was 23 years of age when the unrest began in the Provence. Religious tensions had already existed for a decade when protestants had begun forming the majority in the Provence. France, as a devout catholic kingdom, had urged Naples to take action against them. The king of Naples however had always refused as he had been a tolerant man, who had his regular quarrels with the pope. His son, Giorgio II, who rose to the throne in January 1570 wasn’t as tolerant as his father had been. Giorgi II sought to integrate the Provence further into the kingdom of Naples while at the same time curbing religious freedom.



Charles X

On the 15th of March 1570 protestants in the Provence rose up in revolt and in a week they took control of the entire Provence. Charles X had responded by sending the Armée Royale, consisting of 15,000 soldiers (6 divisions of cavalry and 9 divisions of infantry) to the border provinces. They could however not interfere as Naples refused the French access to their territory and the Burgundians were eying the massed French army. For two months the king of Naples and the rebels were in stalemate. The fleet of Naples blocked the rebels access to the sea while the French did their best to close the northern and western border of the Provence. Religious and social unrest however wasn’t limited to Naples. The presence of French catholic soldiers, recruited in the north of France, began to irritate many of the, largely protestant, Occitans. With the inadequate pay that they were give, they were prone to take whatever they needed from the local population. The 7th of June saw the first clashes between soldiers and the city militia of Toulouse. Three days later several cities saw the storming of French garrisons and by June 12th the rebellion, that originally began in the Provence, was spreading in southern France. Charles X however only saw it as local problems that the Armée Royale and its commander, Louis d’Ambleteuse, could solve on it’s own. The king himself was too busy putting down a revolt in Normandy of local nobles who sought independence, had taken the most important cities and had stirred the peasantry on the countryside. By the beginning of July 1570 however, the Huguenots had taken Provence, Avignon, Dauphiné, Lyonnais, Languedoc, Périgord and Armagnac.



The Huguenot flag


The Battle of Caurs/Cahors


1 August 1570, 20:00h

General d’Ambleteuse walked inside the tent where the other commanders had gathered. The evening before, just before sundawn, the Huguenot First Army and the French Armée Royale had found each other. Each had now made its camp on the other side of the river Lot, the French army also having set watchposts at the Valentré bridge leading into the city. d’Ambleteuse had opted not to enter the city since he had realised that the burghers were probably Huguenot sympathisers and he did not want the risk of getting into street fighting with the city militia when night began falling. He laid out his plans to his officers:

Tomorrow, just before dawn, fivehundred men will enter the city. They will secure the bridge, the city gates, the town center and arrest the prominent Huguenot citizens. I am pretty sure that they will alarm the Huguenot army which will then be forced to come to the aid of the city. While the men inside the city hold off this Huguenot attack, our main army will cross the river and attack them from behind and pin them against the city walls.

Colonel du Fournay frowned and asked permission to speak, which was granted.

Crossing the river is indeed possible with the boats we have taken from nearby fisheries. But that will take a while and we won’t be able to establish a good foothold for at least an hour or two. And our cavalry won’t be able to cross in those small boats either.
That is why we need the five hundred men in the city for. They must open the gates and while the city is under our control, our cavalry will ride inside and charge at the Huguenots. This will force them to use the greatest part of their troops to fight our cavalry so establishing a bridgehead on the other side will not be much of a problem.
But what if the cavalry is repelled and forced back into the city. If the Huguenots would manage to get inside…
Bah, a little bit of patience please! You weren’t in the war ten years ago when we smashed the Bretons. I was there when we destroyed their main army in such a way. I am sure this will work too. And remember, the Bretons were a trained army. What can a rag tag bunch of city militias do? They will probably run off to their own city after the first cavalry charge.
But general, these are not just peasants. They are Huguenots, fighting for their faith…
BAH! What you dare call faith. I will not allow you to speak one more word! Tomorrow we shall triumph. Not only for the good king Charles X but for God Himself! Gentlemen, that shall be the end of this discussion.

The remainder of the meeting was dedicated to assigning colonels to the various units of the army, then preparing for the assault. Confident of their victory, the French army went to sleep. What they didn’t realise however, was that their camp had been infiltrated by Huguenot spies. During the night they managed to steal or destroy part of the lists of Huguenot citizens that were to be arrested the next day. One of them also managed to overhear du Fournay when he was talking to a fellow officer in his tent, complaining about the plan of attack. When they arrived back in the city that night and reported their findings, the Huguenots formed their own plan.

2 August 1570, 05:30h

Without any light and making hardly any sound the fivehundred handpicked men had begun their march to the city. Leading them was Jules de Chambronne. Encountering not any resistance they managed to take the bridge and secure the city gates. Jules de Chambronne then took 150 men with him to secure the city hall, which they also did without any resistance, lowered the red/yellow flag of the Huguenots and hoisted the French fleur-de-lis. Then he send out most of the 150 men to arrest the Huguenot citizens, based on uncomplete lists. Since it would take time for the soldiers to find their way through the city, de Chambronne installed himself comfortably in the city hall.

As expected, an hour later a soldier came reporting that the Huguenot army had begun making their way towards the city. de Chambronne, not in the least worried that none of his men had yet returned with arrested men, got up and ordered three Arquebusier-shots as the sign that the Huguenots were approaching. In the French camp the cavalry began marching towards the city and the infantry began preparing to cross the river. When the cavalry arrived at the city hall, de Chambronne came to greet them.

Greetings commander. We’ll give them quite the beating in a few hours! I sure hope you are ready for some battle.
I sure am. But monsieur, I was wondering about something…
Go ahead, speak then.”
Well, there are currently a few hundred cavalry soldiers inside the city. Your men have made the arrests I presume and you have hoisted the fleur-de-lis on city hall. I haven’t however noticed a single person on the streets. The city is awfully quiet. And pray tell, why didn’t you raise the fleur-de-lis at the city gate through which we entered? The Huguenot banner is still flying there.
But I did lower the…

Shutters from a nearby shop were thrown open and before the soldiers knew what was happening, four crossbowmen shot at de Chambronne and the cavalry commander. The commander was hit in the face, fell off his horse and was dead before he hit the ground. de Chambronne was hit in his legs but managed to crawl into a nearby shop. But before he could think of what happened, he found himself in the company of armed militia men who killed him on the spot. The cavalry in the city soon discovered that the city gates were manned by the Huguenots and that the men sent out to arrest the leading Huguenot citizens had been ambushed and killed. Light panic broke out among the cavalry when the got into street fighting with what seemed to be a part of the Huguenot army that had marched into the city that night.

d’Ambleteuse was overseeing the preparing of the river when his men were forced to retreat from the river banks because of a hail of arrows. To his great surprise he quickly saw that the Huguenot army on the other side of the river had only been a small force and that the largest part of the army was actually on his side of the river and had managed to remain hidden from his scouts. d’Ambleteuse had figured he had found the main host so he hadn’t send out any other scouts and now found himself surrounded. Messages to his cavalry in the city never reached them as the messengers were, just like the cavalry in the city, cut down. The French soldiers, presuming they wouldn’t need to be ready for at least three more hours, were completely surprised when the Huguenot army stormed their camp. Only through their experience did they manage to eventually stand their ground at the edge of the nearby forest where d’Ambleteuse and other survivors soon met them. The Huguenots, having killed or wounded half of the French Armée Royale, allowed them to retreat towards royal territory.

This became known as the Shameful March as the Armée Royale, or what was left of it, disintegrated more and more along the way. Some units even joining the Huguenots, others were deserting and others getting killed by local militia’s who ambushed then while foraging for food. Eventually the remains Armée Royale, only numbering 2,300 men, was slaughtered outside Bergerac on the 12th of August 1570 by another Huguenot army. d’Ambleteuse had been killed three days earlier during a Huguenot ambush.

This would be the offset to a conflict that would return several times in southern France for almost a century.
 
Last edited:

Kurt_Steiner

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Guise must be quite happy: another chance to see the crown hubmled and to kill heretics.:D
 

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Chapter II: The Articles of Purity

19 August 1570 - King Charles X of course was furious when he heard about the destruction of the Armée Royale. However he couldn’t leave Normandy as he was overseeing the military campaign there which kept dragging on. Almost every village had to be stormed and almost every city resisted him. But in his eyes the revolt in the south were only a few rebellious cities and he figured that a new army would soon be raised and that the rebellion could be quelled by the end of the year. He however did not foresee the next turn of events. By October 1570 the campaign in Normany was making progress but wasn’t finished.

The Huguenots profited from this and assembled in the village of Issoire. Men from all classes were called in an Estates General of the Hueguenots. From 7 to 12 October they debated on laws and how they should resist any further attacks from the king. When the Armée Royale had been forced to leave, a power vaccuum had existed. Several royal officeholders left southern France in fear of attacks on holders of royal authority. The Huguenot assembly was split in two. One side called themselves the Petitioners who sought to petition the king to accept the Huguenot’s right of religious freedom. The other side called themselves the Separatists who found that, since the king of France was in league with the catholic church, they could no longer be a part of France. During the debates the Separatists found support in the Occitans who felt that their culture was being suppressed by France. Eventually, after a long and hard debate, the Estates General decided to declare independence. They wrote down the Articles of Purity in which they established on the Occitan soil a “Divine Republic”. Although they called themselves a republic,it would still be the nobles who were in power and would decide on policy. A few articles of The Articles of Purity were:

and we thus conclude that we cannot live under such a rule that is sanctified by the roman-catholic devil who has corrupted the Holy Scripture and filled the minds of the people with lies. Therefore […] we declare the Divine Republic of Occitania founded on the lands of the Occitan people and defended by the free men of Occitania.

[…] that every church of the devilish roman-catholic rite should be made into a house of God as He intended it to be and that every roman-catholic priest would be forbidden to wear any sign that shows him as a member of the roman-catholic clergy.[…]

At the gathering Henri de Rohan was elected to lead the Divine Republic in the war against France. Unbeknownst to the French king there were representatives of the king of Naples. Although the king realised that his lands were lost he had sent diplomats to negotiate a financial settlement and trade privileges in the coastal cities in order to compensate for his losses. Having been given certain trade privileges the king of Naples agreed not to pursue any offensive action against the Divine Republic. Furthermore he agreed to openly recognise the Divine Republic as an independent state as soon as they would make peace with the king of France.


Henri de Rohan

When news of this gathering had spread towards the other countries a shockwave went through Europe. The protestant faith had been fought wherever it had sprung up. Only a few decades back Austria had crushed the Silesian protestant stronghold. Now the south of France had not only become Huguenot, they threw off the French political and the Roman religious rule. Soon protestants in Spain found an example in Occitania and begin revolting too. A month after the proclamation French king Charles X had to daily meet with foreign diplomats urging him to crush the Occitan rebellion. Which he promised to do, just after he would be finished with the Norman revolt. Relations with Spain were once again severely under strain when the Spanish diplomats reported that if Charles X couldn’t handle with the revolt, Spain would have to step in and do what the French king seemed unable to do. This led Charles X to speed up his plans and send the newly formed Armée du Nord in Calais to Occitania with hardly any training or supplies. Badly disciplined, insufficient supplied and without any training the Armée du Nord never even got close to Occitania. When they arrived in Normandy to rendez-vous with the king and get orders from him, discipline completely broke down. The army pillaged Normandy and took whatever they needed, killing and violating many of the local population. It even went so far that Charles X needed to use other soldiers to force the Armée du Nord back into order. Several soldiers were killed for mutiny and the army, mostly consisting of Flemish, had to be send back to Calais and disbanded.

The French king was humiliated by this event, even more so because of the presence of several high ranking foreign diplomats. A new Armée du Nord would be formed, but until then the Divine Republic would keep on existing. By the end of November 1570 the Divine Republic had control over the whole of southern France, save for the Atlantic coast. Nobles and clergymen were dissatisfied with the king for not putting enough effort in putting the rebellion down. It would take until February 1571 until the new Armée du Nord would be ready under the leadership of general Jaques de Richemont. Worried about the events in France, and put under pressure by the Spanish king, pope Pius V send a letter to France and the neighbouring countries.

Rome speaks

On Christmasday the bishops were to read out the following Papal letter titled “Never forgotten”

The Papacy has through its great history fought many evils. Has it not been Rome that united the European nations to fight the great crusades that brought joy to the heavens? And has it not been Rome that stood firm when darkness descended upon the peoples of Europe and they sought for the brilliant light of God? And was it not the French king Louis VII himself who defended the Church of Jesus Christ? It is thus that the Papcy can hardly rest his eyes on France without drowning them in tears. For there, where once heresy was stamped out as God commanded it, now the thorns of satan once again blossom.

It is therefore that the Papacy asks, no demands, of every Christian nation to attack and stamp out that filthy nest of vipers before they can contaminate more righteous people.




The Divine Republic and the Norman rebellion

Charles X was furious that by writing out this letter pope Pius V had de facto said that every nation could come into France to attack the heretics. He suspected the Spanish had a role in this and he was soon proven right. It was a mild winter and by mid January reports were coming into Paris that Spanish soldiers were gathering at the border and that the Spanish fleet were preparing to set sail. The papal letter had triggered the First Spanish Intervention and would eventually lead to the Italian Campaigns
 
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Kamelot

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By the way, since I'm taking this as an opportunity to train my photoshops skills, be sure to scroll back from time to time as I might change and add stuff :p
 

tuore

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Hey, if you got Photoshop, I think that this would look better as those maps:



I made it with Photoshop, looks better IMO. I would have given it to you already before, I just wasn't sure if you used PS.

Other than that, nice AAR!
 

Kamelot

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Hey, if you got Photoshop, I think that this would look better as those maps:

I made it with Photoshop, looks better IMO. I would have given it to you already before, I just wasn't sure if you used PS.

Other than that, nice AAR!
Thanks. I might change style between "books". But this part will be with the mapstyle I'm using now ;)
 

tuore

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Thanks. I might change style between "books". But this part will be with the mapstyle I'm using now ;)
I actually like the effect you applied to the southern french rebels (are they rebels?). What effect is it? I don't care much about that effect the rest of countries have, but the south french is interesting... underpainting?
 

Kamelot

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Chapter III: The Spanish Intervention

The First Spanish Intervention (February 1571 – September 1571)

On the 1st of February 1571 the Spanish king declared before the gathered Cortes that “The Spanish Claw will crush any heresy” and then left with his troops towards southeren France. He claimed that if the French king wasn’t able to destroy heresy and rule his lands that Spain would fufill that duty. In the half of February 1571 45,000 Spanish soldiers had entered southern France under the leadership of general Diego de la Vega while the Spanish Armada was blocking any Hugeunot seaport under admiral de Mendoza. The French diplomats threatened to wage war on Spain but realised far too well that France did not have the army for such an undertaking. They could not even bring down a coalition of rebels, let alone stand Spain.



Spanish soldiers entering southern France

Suprisingly the Huguenots stood firm and their unity did not break. Several times did they manage to break the blockade and Occitan pirates even managed to sink several Spanish ships. Peasants also managed to ambush small Spanish supply groups which led to an inadequate amount of supplies for the Spanish army. This led to the Spanish capture of Corsica to have a naval base that could be used to station part of the Armada since the portcities of the Occitans did not fall as soon as the Spanish had expected. Corsico however was in Genuan hands which led to the brief Spanish-Genuese war. Although the Spanish quickly destroyed the Genuese army, they had to divert resources away from Occitania to combat the Guenese. When the Spanish eventually secured Corsica they got into a new conflict with Naples who refused to accept the Spanish taking of Corisca and even less liked the prospect of Spanish soldiers entering the Provence where they held significant trade interests.


Ships of the Spanish Armada​

Insult followed insult and Spain and Naples went to war in March 1571 after drunk Neapolitan soldiers attacked the Spanish ambassador in Naples, who barely escaped alive. The Spanish Armada was diverted towards Sicily, along with 15,000 soldiers and soon Pius V saw that his papal letter had only achieved war among catholics in the western Mediterranean. The Battle of Palermo saw the army of Naples destroyed by the capable Diego de Toledo but also the destruction of a quarter of the Spanish Armada by the fleet of Naples. Spain had taken Sicily from Naples but the Napoltenian fleet still ruled the seas around Naples. Ships had to be diverted from the blockade of Occitania in order to reinforce the Spanish armies in Sicily who could not cross into Naples. Eventually Naples was brought down and had to release Sicily as a Spanish ally and recognise Spanish rule over Corsica. Further they had to allow Spanish soldiers in the Provence.

In April 1571 Spain had taken the border provinces of Occitania with Spain and seemed to be rolling back the Huguenots. When going through the documents of a local Huguenot magistrate they started finding clues that led them to believe that the republic of Flanders was supporting the Huguenots with gold and weapons through Burgundy. Spain decided that after having smashed the Occcitans, they would let loose their might armies on Flanders. The Huguenots however retreated and didn’t risk an open battle with the Spanish army. They continued their piracy against Spanish ships and in July 1571 they had managed to stop all Spanish ships bringing money for the troops. This not only brought down Spanish morale and discipline but also filled the coffers of Occitania.

Late Augustus 1571 saw the Spanish army descending into anarchy where mutiny and desertion were everywhere. Occitan attacks also began increasing and eventually the Spanish giant was halted. One by one the Spanish armies lifted their sieges and began pillaging the countryside. Occitans also managed to take back the provinces at the Spanish border, thus cutting off most of the Spanish supply lines. Much like the Armée Royale before them, the Spanish Tercio’s left in shame and were harassed all along the way back. Occitan pirates together with other ships, Spain suspected Napolitean corsairs, also destroyed most of the transport ships of the Armada, which now only numbered 1/3 of its original size with admiral de Mendoza among the victims of the Napolitean navy. The Spanish soldiers were forced to march back over the mountains during one of the harshest winters that century. Occitans took back the lands that the Spanish had taken and by October 1571 they were back in control while Spain had to rely on Portugese soldiers to stop the muting Spanish troops that managed to survive and get back in Spain. Even the Spanish general de la Vega joined the muting Spanish soldiers and would like a fox remain out of Spanish hands. He was never captured, most historians agree that he probably set sail for the New World and started a new life there.

While Spain was fighting the war against Naples in March/April 1571, France had recruited a new Armée Royale and a new Armée du Nord. de Richemont would be given command of the Armée du Nord and de Mayenne over the Armée Royale. The armies would however need training and were only ready to put into the field in November 1571, which was too late in the year to use them. The French offensive would have to wait until the winter would be at an end, while it was the harshest winter that century. Until March 1571 no hostilities were made and the period was called “The Three Peaceful Months”.



Spain and the provinces in which the Spanish army and Armada were active

The Burgundian Incident (March 1572-May 1572)

The Armée du Nord and the Armée Royale soon began laying siege to Limousin and Auvergne in early March 1571 and sending small units of soldiers into the Languedoc to forage what they could carry and burn the rest. Several attempts were made to lift the siege but were repulsed every time by the able French generals. During the middle of March 1571 the Burgundian ruler and the French king agreed on a joint military campaign. Burgundian soldiers would march into Dauphiné and try and capture this important province as it was the stepping stone towards the Provence. The Provence, with its trade center, supplied the Divine Republic with gold, mercenaries and supplies. During the Spanish blockade the Armada had great troubles in maintaining the blockade because of Occitan pirates. Capturing Dauphiné and Provence however would take away the financial and economical base of the Divine Republic and bring it to ruin.

On April 2nd the Burgundian Second Army, led by general Denis de Bonnefoy, marched into Dauphiné. It was composed of mostly Brabantian soldiers who were considered to be loyal, despite their reformed faith. Tensions in the Low Lands between protestants had made the Burgundian duke that the two had a great hatred for each other and considered it thus to be the most effective soldiers to be used. General de Bonnefoy however soon experienced how wrang that was. The bulk of the Second Army, composed of 24,000 soldiers and forming 80% of the Burgundian armed forces, set up camp outside Lyon while other units were send on scouting missions to prepare the campaign. Only a third of them returned, which greatly disturbed de Bonnefoy, and those that returned spred propaganda of the Divine Republic among the Second Army. de Bonnefoy was forced to break up camp earlier and without less preparation than planned after the catholic city militia of Lyon had clashed with some Brabantian reformed soldiers inside of Lyon. Only with great effort did the French royal magistrate and the Burgundian general manage to prevent any bloodshed. The army left for Dauphine but once they arrived there contacts were made, unbeknownst to de Bonnefoy, with the Divine Republic. The 14th of April saw de Bonnefoy being captured by his own soldiers and most catholic officers killed. His men gave him a choice: lead them into battle against the catholic foe or die. General de Bonnefoy was forced to lead the army towards Languedoc where they joined forces with the army of the Divine Republic led by de Alagon, a Spanish general who had defected to the protestant cause.

When general de Mayenne was told the Burgundian army was approaching on the 27th of April 1572 he was surprised. According to what he had been told, the Burgundians should be busy conquering Dauphiné and not march for Auvergne. He assembled a small company of knights and rode out to meet the army and ask what they were doing there. It is said that when they saw the flags of the Burgundian army, de Mayenne pointed at one flag and asked a junior officer in his company: “Shouldn’t there be flags with the Burgundian red cross on a white field?” Some Burgundian cavalry arrived and caught the French general’s company off guard, as they hadn’t expected to be attacked the Burgundians. de Mayenne and three others knights managed to escape barely, but the general would die just before arriving back in the camp. Since several of the high ranking commanding officers had accompanied him the Armée Royale now had lost more than half of its highest ranking officers and arguments broke out over who should be in command. Before that could be decided the joint forces of the Burgundian second army and the Divine Republic stormed the siegeworks around the city. Seeing the French Armée Royale struggling, the protestant city militia conducted a sortie and soon the Armée Royale was once again beaten back.



The Brabantians forming the Burgundian Second Army descend upon the French Armée Royale

This would be the second time that the Armée Royale had been driven in disorder from Occitania and Occitan bards would sing for centuries to come: “When Charles send his Armée Royale. Mighty with their swords and guns. Or so they sought until we killed them all. Praise God and his grace be sung. For that day showed that God is an Occitan.” Soldiers from the defeated Armée Royale retreated back to France although a small number of units managed to get to the safety of the Armée du Nord that was laying siege in Limousin. When de Richemont heard of the defeat and of the prospect that he could now face the combined strength of 40,000 men, his Armée du Nord only numbered 12,000, he too was forced to retreat. On his way back north his soldiers set fire to unfortified villages and slaughtered any cattle they found to deprive any pursuing army of supplies. Cities closed their gates from them and the army was pelted by dung from several city walls when they passed during their retreat. By May of 1572 the French armies had once again been driven from the Divine Republic. Charles X called for a general war council and summoned all his vassals and military leaders to Paris in the first two weeks of June 1572. Little did he know that a similar council had already been held without him being informed.

Burgundy now too started falling apart. The desertion of the Second Army showed that the duke no longer had any control over his armed forces. The Brabantians stormed the Burgundian garrisons and killed several of them. This triggered the Burgundian Desintegration.
 
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blsteen

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Burgundy collapses and the Spanish were unable to contain the Occitan. Plus if I were the French I would be renaming the Armee Royale something else but hey the 7th cav still soldiers on so...
 

Kamelot

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Chapter IV: The Gastonist Conspiracy and the Catholic League

The Gastonist Conspiracy and the Catholic League

7 June 1572, 10:30h - The French king entered the room where the vassals had gathered. A cardinal opened the session with a prayer but was interrupted before he could finish. The noble Gaston de Bourbon, surrounded by other nobles, arrived later than the others and was fully armed. When some nobles shouted their disapproval at him for disrupting prayer and daring to enter the king’s company with weapons, they were punched to the ground by the nobles and soldiers that entered with Gaston. Charles X sat motionless on his throne when Gaston approached him. He stood next to the king and turned to the gathered nobility and clergy:


Gaston de Bourbon​

Men of the true faith! Do you not see what is going on here! This king, as if he even deserves that title, makes no haste in fighting for the true faith. Multiple times our armies, our nation and our church were humiliated by his slow actions! This cannot go on. Therefore a council of nobles has decided to dethrone Charles and have granted me the honour of kingship. Join me and we shall rescue France from the brink of heresy!

For a minute there was silence. Some French nobles whispered to eachother, but no one seemed to know what to do. Then the gathered nobles all started shouting at the same time. Some proclaiming Gaston de Bourbon as Gaston I but the majority shouted “Vive le roi Charles X!”. At the same time general de Richemont, who had received word of the plot only an hour ago, arrived at the building with a few hundred men. They were fired upon by arquebusteries and crossbowmen from the windows but managed to fight their way in. When the fighting reached the courtyard the gathered nobles looked through the windows to see what the noise was. Gaston de Bourbon his attention wavered which Charles X used to jump up and use his royal scepter to punch Gaston in the face. de Bourbon rolled back while the king was surrounded by loyal nobles who protected him with their own bodies and started escorting him to the courtyard. de Bourbon commanded to kill the king, but none of his conspirators or soldiers dared to kill a king and after a few minutes, Charles X was in the company of de Richemont and his men.

While marching towards safe houses in Paris de Richemont discovered that men of Gaston had taken several strategic positions. Before entering Paris however, de Richemont had ordered the Armée de Flandres, who were stationed only two hours from Paris, to enter Paris if he had not returned by noon. de Richemont and his men and Charles X locked themselves in a nobleman’s house on the Ile-de-Paris. Gaston de Bourbon gathered some of his men and tried to fight themselves inside, but were repulsed by the Breton knights who formed the core of de Richemont’s company. During the fighting de Richemont was killed by the blow of a halberd. When Gaston de Bourbon was told a few hours later that an army was approaching he realised that staying in Paris would mean his death. He gathered his men and nobles and fled Paris. Charles X gave de Richemont a state funeral and proclaimed him a national hero of France. His children were given domains in Champagne as a reward for their father’s loyalty.

Gaston de Bourbon fled to western Bretagne where he proclaimed himself Gaston I de Bourbon. Charles X his legitimacy as a king had been severely undermined and a number of nobles had joined him. Many feared this would plunge France in a civil war while the threat in the south remained. By the end of June 1572 Gaston de Bourbon had formed an alliance of cities and militia’s into the Catholic League which was to support his claim to the throne in order to then fight the war in the south with renewed vigor. He quickly gained support in much of northern and western France as he promised the Normans, Bretons and Flemish considerable rights and a policy of decentralisation.



The Catholic League in red

Tension also flared up between France and Spain. Considering the fact that Spain was ruled by a Bourbon, Charles X was sure that they had known of this plot. And if they did not assist in it, they also didn't in any help France to stop it. For the Divine Republic this ment that they got more time to prepare themselves for war and further strengthen their position. It also forced Charles X into action as he was now facing Catholic opposition. His priority was to crush the Catholic League however as the Occitan revolt was something that he figured wouldn't spread outside of Occitania. Gaston de Bourbon however was a direct threat to his throne. Charles X now had to consider the following matters:

(1) Was Spain involved in this plot?
(2) Were clergymen involed in this plot? And if not, in what way would they support the Catholic League?
(3) Since the Catholic League based itself on the principle that they sought to defend the catholic faith, Charles X would need the support of the Church. They could make or break this revolt.
(4) In what way were the armies loyal to the king?

Charles X decided to act fast. Before news of the revolt had spread throughout France, he summoned the nobles and clergy again and appointed cardinal Galard to the new post of Chief Minister of the French king. He then claimed that Gaston de Bourbon was himself an apostate and that he had revolted because Charles X wanted to appoint a cardinal to the post of Chief Minister. This would turn out to be a brilliant move as it not only eroded the support of Gaston de Bourbon in the higher echelons of the clergy, it also created an office where later other prominent figures would dominate French history. Almost the entire remainder of 1572 would be used to gain support from the nobles by both the French king as the Catholic League under Gaston de Bourbon. The situation of the catholics would however soon detoriate as the Burgundian Desintegration began as the rebellious Burgundian Second Army had arrived back in southern Burgundy.



Cardinal Galard
 
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Chapter V: The Burgundian Desintegration

The Burgundian Desintegration

The Burgundian Duke had been assembling a new army, dubbed the Armée du Comte, and had prepared his defences in southern Burgundy against any attack on his lands. The desertion of the entire Second Army was only the culimination of the process of disintegration that had plagued Burgundy for a few decades now. When the Flemish republic successfully declared and maintained independence it had given the Brabantians a symbol. They too soon revolted but the French Army had managed to crush them by using excessive force, fostering a deep hatred in Brabant for France. Now the Brabantian lands had recovered from the French pillaging and once again they started making plans for revolt. Unfortunately for the duke of Burgundy, the Brabantian lands were also by far the richest and densely populated ones of his realm. He was even forced to allow the reformed communities to celebrate mass in public and allow them full participation in ruling the cities.

When the Second Army deserted the cities of Brabant feared that France and Burgundy would once again lay waste to Brabant as a revenge. The Estates of Brabant gathered on the 25th of April 1572, as had been planned long in advance, in Mechelen where the duke of Burgundy would also be present. However the duke was preoccupied by the deserting second army and was building up new forces in Franche Comté to defend Burgundy in case the Second Army would come back. The Brabantian Estates saw this a sign that the duke was planning of laying waste to Brabant again and voted to fund a Brabantian Army to defend their lands. Representatives of the duke reported this and a few days later a message arrived that the duke forbade the forming of a Brabantian Army and ordered the arrest of the nobles that had proposed it. Three days later Brabant was in full revolt against Burgundian rule. Flemish men crossed the borders and joined the Brabantian forces in laying siege to and eventually killing all Burungdian garrisons. Representatives of the Estates of Brabant that were send to the duke demanded far going decentralisation, which the duke refused. The duke now started building up his forces. The storming of the Antwerp garrison is considered the first act of the Brabantian Uprising and the start of the Burgundian Desintegration.

Duke Jean IV was now facing a great rebellion in the north of his lands. When he tried to send troops there to restore his authority in September 1572, reports came in that the Second Burgundian Army had appeared on the Burgundian border.They had thrown away the Burgundian flags and now marched behind the Brabantian lion. They were well equipped and trained with ample supplies for a long campaign. Jean IV quickly realised that they had been supplied, armed and trained by the Divine Republic. Instead of the ill-discplined army that had revolted now stood a formidable force and hardly anything to stop it. Duke Jean IV was overcome by fear and fled to his cousin, the King of Austria to seek support. The Burgundian cities saw this as a betrayal of the duke towards his duties and gathered to discuss the situation in October 1572.



The Second Army of Brabant approaches Burgundy

4th of October 1572 – The Burgundian representatives of the Estates General had taken their places, prayers had been said and the debate began.

Messieurs. I do not need to remind you of the dire situation in which our lands are currently engulfed. The heretics in Brabant are in full revolt and have killed the garrisons stationed there. As we have been told so far we can conclude that 11,000 of our soldiers have been killed. The rebels of the Second Army are approaching our borders in an orderly and well disciplined fashion, their numbers are estimated to be around 15,000. In the north the Brabantians have formed their own armies, which they are calling the First Army and Third Army which indicates that the Second Army is under their control. They will probably try to meet each other and then subdue our lands. We Burgundians have ruled the Dutch peoples for centuries, now we stand on the verge of being ruled by them. And let us not forget, these are not catholics. We fought the Flemish with bravery and they were protestants. But these reformed Brabantians are much more zealous and fanatical. Reports from Brabant have also told us that they have destroyed statues in the churches and smashed in windows depicting saints. As Rome once fell before the barbarian onslaught, now too we Burgundians are threatened with the same fate.

The speaker was right in several regards. During their stay in the Divine Republic the Brabantians had split into several armies that were trained and supplied by the Occitans. After marching through Occitania and routing the French Armée Royale their soldiers numbered 20,000. They were split into two columns who were send into Burgundy to take control of the Franche Comté, then meet up with the armies of the Brabantian Estates General in Lorraine and so march back to Brabant. They however did not seek to rule southern Burgundy as they considered it a nest of popery. After debating for days the Burgundian Estates General failed to reach an agreement on what to do until cardinal de Vaudrey spoke. He proposed that the Burgundians would submit to the French king. In return he would guarantee their liberties and rights. Although only a minority supported this, the majority did want to negotiate a settlement with the French king for his support against the Brabantians. An envoy was send on the 14th of October 1572 and returned a week later. The message of the French king said that he would accept the Burgundian submission and would guarantee their liberties in exchange for their oath of loyalty to him. Furthermore he would send the newly formed Armée de Loire to Burgundy to hold off the Brabantian Second Army.



Cardinal de Vaudrey

When the message was read out there was great consternation. At not any moment had there been agreed to submit to the French king, let alone allow him to send troops into Burgundy. What had happened was that cardinal Galard, Chief Minister of the King of France, had send the Burgundian cardinal de Vaudrey to the Burgundian Estates General to propose negotiation with the French king. After this had been agreed upon, cardinal Galard had send his spies to the Estates General with a false document containing the will to submit before the French king. In a clever ruse this document replaced the original one and was send to Paris. The Burgundian Estates General of course voted in majority against the actions of the French king, but he now held a Burgundian document showing that he was right in his actions. In the beginning of November 1572 the French Armée de Loire marched into Burgundy, led by the Burgundian in French service Simon de Montfaucon. And although the Burgundian Estates General protested this state of affairs the majority of Burgundians cheered the arrival of the French soldiers. As a final masterpiece Charles X had town criers announce throughout Burgundy that the Burgundian Estates General refused to do as they had told to do. Therefore Charles X, “in all his goodwill”, would not march into Franche Comté where the Estates General were gathered and only send troops to Nevers and Bourgogne. The resulting events were expectable. Without ample soldiers to recruit and without money to hire mercenaries the Brabantian Second Army moved into Franche Comté almost unopposed and, during a daring and well-executed raid, even managed to storm into the city where they had gathered. The resulting battle led to the death of most high ranking officials of Burgundy, giving Charles X the excuse he needed to replace them with French loyal magistrates.

The Burgundian Estates General were considered responsible for the onslaught in the countryside that followed in Franche Comté. When the Brabantians left to the north, leaving a burning and pillaged Franche Comté behind them, the local leaders in Franche Comté too submitted before Charles X. At the same time the Swiss declared themselves an independent republic that was split between catholics and protestants. The Brabantian revolt became a great success and the Reformed Republic of Brabant was proclaimed. When the Second Army arrived great festivities were held and less than a month later the Brabantian armies marched north, conquering the northern part of the Low Lands.



Brabant on the offensive as Flanders is quickly dwarfed by them

The Flemish Republic had supported Brabant in the beginning and had even paid for their army in the very start, but were not dwarfed by them. Between October 1572 and April 1573 the Brabantians had not only gained their independence, they had also overrun Hainaut, Luxemburg and the northern Dutch lands. They held no tolerance for catholics, or protestants, and began an aggressive campaign of “reforming” their lands. The Flemish Republic prepared itself for what they feared would be further Brabantian expansion as soon as they had stabilised their position. And for the French this too spelled trouble. Although they had gained control of Burgundy and was finally rid of the Burgundian duke, who would never return to his former lands, they were now also bordered by a powerful and zealous new state in the north which had strong ties to the Divine Republic in the south. Gaston de Bourbon said that Charles X now had demonstrated his satanic goals by annexing catholic lands while allowing heretical reformed armies to link up and carve out a strong reformed state to the north. He repeated that he would take the throne of France as he believed God wanted him to and would then descend upon the protestants in Occitania like a mighty lion. The Catholic League and Charles X now prepared themselves for a confrontation in the field as negotiations had failed since both Gaston de Bourbon as Charles X had refused to even listen to the other one. Both sides now prepared themselves for the inevitable preparing to use the trumps they had been holding back until now.
 
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  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Mount & Blade: With Fire and Sword
Three updates within 5 hours? This AAR is going very fast.
 

Kurt_Steiner

Katalaanse Burger en Terroriste
Feb 12, 2005
19.876
599
"Tension also flared up between France and Spain. Considering the fact that Spain was ruled by a Bourbon"

Unless something in this alternative realitive has changed something, the Bourbons didn't replace the Austrias in Spain until the 1700s.


Anyway, thanks to Gaston and Charles's obstinacy, France is open to become a Reformed nation at this pace.
 

Kurt_Steiner

Katalaanse Burger en Terroriste
Feb 12, 2005
19.876
599
In my game the Bourbons ruled Spain because of in-game events.
Ok, I see. This way we can forget about the War of Succession and to focuse in some other wars :D