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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Legosim

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This AAR will be an attempt to start a "serious" AAR using Greece. I've some experience with writing simple gameplay AAR's, but I want this to be something more, most likely a mix of the history book and narrative styles, with limited cut-and-dry gameplay explanations. I doubt the character development will become too involved, but I will try.

The goal of this AAR is to reform the Byzantine Empire, using custom events. They shouldn't be too unbalanced, and don't make me an instant super power. On the dry run, when I formed Byzantium I was still only the 16th power in the world.

Also, some historical liberties will be taken at the beginning of this AAR, for storytelling purposes. King Otto's original three regency council members, and later advisers have not been dismissed by 1836, and will be mentioned a good deal. Also, there is very little information about Greek military commanders of the time, so liberties will be taken in this regard too. Also (getting bored yet? :p) since I plan to "co-publish" this both here at Paradox, and also at the AH.com forums as a somewhat proper timeline, I thought it prudent to mention that I will be quite limiting in my application of the butterfly effect, as Victoria does not seem to follow said rules. I will still use it after a point, but it will be limited.

Disclamer aside, I would like to give a shout-out to Rensslaer and his Prussian AAR; Fire Warms the Northern Lands for much inspiration to write (and finally finish) a decently in-depth AAR. Also, I would like to make mention Green Beret, and his Greek/Byzantine AAR for the base ideas and names for many of the events used in this AAR.

Anywho, I hope to get the first update up tomorrow, or maybe even later tonight. Thanks for reading!
 
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unmerged(86922)

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Sounds good, I like Byzantine AAR's.
 

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I'll be following this one. Always have had a love for Byzantiem. :)
 

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Update #1

3 Febuary, 1836

Josef Ludwig von Armansperg strolled down the hallway of the Royal Palace dreading what was coming. People have been known to call him a penny-pincher, a shrewd economist, and other things, but he was good at his job. But what he assumed he was going to be ordered to do once he reached his destination made his stomach turn. The last time the King called a meeting such as this, he There was hope though, perhaps he was assuming the worst.

Armansperg rounded a corner, and came face to face with two rather burly Palace Guards. The guard on the left scanned him through his helmet, and reached around to open the door. Armensperg entered the well-lit room.

King Otto I of Greece put down his pen and stood up. "Ah, Josef, come in come in! We have much to discuss! Please, sit down, the others should be here soon."

Before sitting down, Armensburg managed to catch a glimpse of what the he young King's was writing. He has taken a map of the Balkans and "modified it". He noticed a blue line labeled "Greek/Turkish border".

It was a significant distance inland in Anatolia.

"Crap" was the only thought Josef could muster.

Just as he took his seat at the over sized table, the large oaken doors to the King's study opened once more, and four men entered. First among them was Georg Ludwig von Maurer, then Karl von Abel, both former members (along with Armensburg) of the King's regency council, now serving as advisers. After them came General Papaioannou, ranking general of the Greek Army, and after him, Admiral Nikilopoulos, head of the Hellenic Navy. All together, these five men were for all intents and purposes King Otto's 'court', each having their own area of expertise, and opinions of each other.

1openingr.png

South-eastern Europe and the Middle East, c. 1836.

After all men were seated, Otto got up, and unraveled a large map of south-eastern Europe onto the table. "Gentlemen, this is the Balkan Peninsula. Unfortunately, as the map shows, most of it is a rather unpleasing beige-ish color. Our goal, in this meeting, is to find a way, be it short term, or long term to cover this map with a much more pleasing blue tone. To do this we are going to need a strong military, big friends, and most importantly, we need to industrialize on a large scale. So first order of business, Georg, Karl, give me a run down on our relations with the Great Powers. I want to know who we can count on if, no, when war comes back to the Balkans."

Maurer spoke up, "Well, we have pretty good relations with most of the Great Powers, Austria and Russia specifically. If and when we decide to move against the Turks, we will probably be able to rely on both of them to provide at least some support."

"The Russian ambassador here has expressed the possibility of a military alliance between Greece and the Russian Empire could be possible in the near future," Abel interjected, "I would say right now at least, moving closer to the Tsar would be our best bet.

Otto though for a moment. "Then that will be our goal. Alright, next, Admiral, General, what is the status of the military. Obviously we cannot fight the Turks by any means right now, but still. Is it possible with some work?"

2army1836.png

Overview of the Greek Army, c. 1836.

Papaioannou's forehead wrinkled a bit, then he replied. "Well Highness, right now we stand at four active divisions, about 7600 men. We could easily reinforce them if need be to full strength, we have the equipment. The only problem is trained soldiers. We just don't have any more manpower. After the reserves are called we can throw approximately 40000 second rate reservists into the fray, but other than that, we just don't have the manpower needed to run a protracted campaign, even with Russian and Austrian support."

3fleet1836.png

Overview of the Hellenic Navy, c. 1836.

"We're in the same position with the Navy sir," Nikilopoulos interjected, "we currently have two frigates, and a squadron of clipper convoys in the fleet. If we need to, we can transport a division of soldiers for landing operations and the such, although doing so with such small forces would not be the best use of resources, I'm sure the General will agree with me."

Papaioannou nodded his head.

Otto rubbed his forehead quickly. "Josef, is there room in the budget to begin the expansion of the military?"

"Here we go. The fool is going to bankrupt the whole ruddy nation. NO, THERE IS NOT!" About three fifths of a second before he blurted that out, he thought it wouldn't be the most prudent course of action. "We'll see what we can do, but unfortunately, not likely. The budget surplus is barely £0.1 a day, and we do not produce any of the goods we need for expansion here in Greece. Clipper convoys are almost impossible to get on the world market, and the necessary manpower for army expansion does not exist. I recommend a slow expansion technique. Let us save money enough to afford a factory, or some of those new railroads before we try to conquer the world. Me cannot go too fast my King."

Otto thought for a moment. "My father told me to trust your judgment. I see your points, but we must take at least some steps to strengthening this nation's position in the world."

Papaioannou spoke up again, "I recommend, the drafting and training of 25000 new recruits. It will give us the manpower we need to at least make our current divisions reinforce-able. Armensburg, can we afford that?"

Josef thought quickly, then replied, "Yes if we pace ourselves. It will cost approximately £2500, which we do have, but barely."

Otto nodded his head, then stood up. "You are dismissed gentlemen. I want a plan from each of you drawn up by the end of the week, on my desk. We must become stronger. I will see a Greek Empire, and I will see the collapse of the Turkish state. Good day."

~~~

Alright how was it? I feel as if my writing style is rather tacky and bland.
 
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Looks very interesting.

And your writing style seems fine, don't worry.


Good Luck! :)
 

unmerged(74032)

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I'm just having issues with not destroying myself in a war against Egypt.

knew it :).
Land two divisions (with artillery if you have some) in Sinai and hold it at all costs. In my games they always have all their troops northeast of Sinai and almost none to defend Cairo and Alexandria. Next step is to bring in your 2 other divisions and land them somewhere on the eqyptian cost and march them to Cairo quickly. After that the egyptians will begin to spam you with peace offers. For a short graphic explanation see my orange sig.
 

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Hmm, thanks! The problem is, I only have one clipper transport, so I need to make another.

I think I may end up invading some small Indian minor and selling off the land to Great Britain, just to afford the war with Egypt.
It's ridiculous too, I can't get positive manpower without making about 75% of my population soldiers.
 

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Update #2

Excerpt from The Byzantine Empire in the Victoria Era: 1836-1936 by Prof. Charles Whitsford:

During the early period of Otto's reign as King of Greece, the nation's economy was not a strong one. the budget was barely balanced, and on a good day brought in a a very small surplus. Otto's decision to invade the Sultanate of Oman on July 10, 1837 can be attributed to Greece's stagnating economy. Oman controlled vast areas where Opium was grown. This crop, as proved by the British can be very profitable when exported. This theory is proven in Otto's diary. He mentions multiple times that Greece needed a good natural resource to export, and the sulfur mine in Naxos was not living up to expectations in this area. Even with the sorry state of Greek's military, Otto thought (correctly), that Oman was "ripe for the picking". At the time of the declaration of war however, the Greek fleet consisted of only one squadron of clipper transports, so in order to land soldiers in Arabia and Africa, Greek soldiers would have to endure a grueling two month journey from Athens to the Indian Ocean. On 1 October, 1837, 10000 men of the 1st Infantry Division (1o Syntagma Pezikoú) under the command of General Konstantinidis landed near the city of Mogdishu, meeting no resistance, and capturing it. The troops onshore then began a long march down the coast of Africa, capturing any Omani outposts they encountered on the way.

4africaomaninvasion.png

The landing of Konstantinidis's forces near the Omani trading post of Mogdishu.

The problem with the overall strategy of the First Omani War, was that Otto had not taken the four month round trip journey it would take for the Navy's ships to go from Zanzibar back to Athens, pick up the 2nd Infantry Division (2o Syntagma Pezikoú), and transport them back to the African East Coast. On the first of October, the second force of Greeks, 10000 strong landed on the island of Zanzibar, meeting no resistance. Konstantinidis' division, only 6348 of the original 10000 men still in fighting condition boarded the transports for resuply, and on 18 November were ordered to land in Tanga, and begin the occupation of the Omani African coast.

5africaomaninvasion2.png

Konstantinidis' newly reinforced division landing in Tanga.

The Omani military was not totally silent however. Although having no soldiers garrisoning their African provinces, the Sultan sent a transport flotilla of five ships to engage the Greeks. However, the Sultan neglected to send any escorts with the fleet, and all five ships were intercepted and destroyed by the two Greek Frigates HN Amalia and HN Loudovikos, sending nearly 3000 Arab soldiers to the bottom of the Indian Ocean.By Christmas of 1837, all Omani possessions on the African coast had been secured.

On January 8, the second squadron of clipper transports (II Miora Metaforon), and set out, empty for Dar Es Salaam. Two months later, both Greek divisions linked up, and boarded the transports for the invasion of Oman proper.

6omaninvasionmainland.png

The landings at Masqat, the capital of the Sultanate of Oman.

The same day Greek soldiers landed in Oman, the Ottoman Empire declared war on Egypt, bringing the 2nd Oriental Crisis to a climax. Otto's diary reveals that he was indeed very worried that if the Omani campaign lasted any longer than a few months, Greece would miss it's chance to invade and claim Crete and Cyprus, while Egypt and the Turks were distracted. When the Sultan asked for peace in late June of 1839, Otto readily accepted. Otto easily could have pushed for the total annexation of Oman, but Greece didn't have the time, or need. The Treaty of Zanzibar, signed on July 1, forced Oman to surrender all of their African land, plus the provinces of Shedjec and Raschid to Greece.

8greekoman1840.png

The land in Arabia ceded to Greece in the Treaty of Zanzibar. Note: Oman's color has been changed to green for this game in order to easily show the border with Greece. Just nitpickings.

Before the First Omani War, he did not hold the respect or admiration of most Greeks. The treaty however boosted the King's popularity enough so that there was no major revolt, when only five days after the ending of the previous conflict, Otto declared war on Egypt. The ships of the Hellenic Navy had to make the agonizingly slow trip around the Cape of Good Hope and back into the Mediterranean before any troops could be brought to bear against Egypt, as the Suez Canal did not exist yet. The already overstretched Egyptian army could only dispatch an understrength division of 7800 men to the island of Crete. On the eleventh of November, General Konstantinidis and 20000 men landed on the Greek province of Iráklion, securing it by Christmas. On the 27th, Konstantinidis ordered his army to march westward, and engage the 7800 heavily entrenched Egyptian soldiers. The Battle of Haniá was the biggest clash of forces the Greek Army had yet faced. So far the largest battle in this series of conflicts had been rooting out a hastily organized militia force of just over 2000 during the landings at Masqat. This battle would prove to be the biggest test of Greek metal.

Despite the Egyptian's well built defenses, the combination of superior numbers and technology won out, and Konstantinidis was able to swing his entire left flank around like a door, and come at the Egyptians from the side, totally collapsing their line and sending them running to the harbor (this would later become known as the "Haniá Maneuver". Unfortunately for the Egyptians, the Hellenic Navy had blockaded the harbor for most of the day, and had captured, and burned the entire Egyptian flotilla. With their backs to the sea, the commanding Egyptian officer, Colonal Ahmed Al Kazar surrendered to Konstantinidis at 11:28pm.

The war was not voer however, and very soon after the liberation of Crete, Otto gave the orders for Konstantinidis to load his soldiers onto their transports, and sail to Cyprus. On the 29th of February, the first elements of the 1o Syntagma Pezikoú landed on the docks of Nikosia. Within a month, Cyprus was occupied and secure. On March 9th, 1840, Ottoman forces marched into Alexandria, finally driving out all Egyptian forces from the north 1/3 of the country. The day after, Queen Victoria and Prime Minister Jean-de-Dieu Soult of France declared that the war had gone on long enough, and would intervene if hostilities on the part of all three parties did not cease immediately. Alexandria was chosen as the meeting place for the peace talks. Negotiations went on until July, with out too much progress. Egypt insisted that it must remain a completely independent state, while the Turks argued for complete annexation into the Empire, including Crete and Cyprus. The Greeks argued they had won Crete and Cyprus, and thus belonged to Greece. Eventually all three powers were able to come to an agreement, although only after much insistence by Great Britain and France. On July 3, 1840, the Treaty of Alexandria was signed.

The treaty outlined the following:
  1. The Ottoman Empire would annex all Egyptian land north of the Sinai Peninsula, and gain the province of Oulid Aly.
  2. Egypt remained an independent state, free from Ottoman control. However they had no claim to the title "Caliph" or any other religious title.
  3. Greece gained the islands of Crete and Cyprus.
  4. Egypt's army would be limited to 40,000 men, and it's Navy would be abolished.

7europeangreece1840.png

Mediterranean Kingdom of Greece after the Treaty of Alexandria, 1840.

The First Omani War and the 2nd Oriental Crisis turned out well for Greece, and expanded their influence in a few ways. First, acquiring the islands of Crete and Cyprus increased Greece's population by 810,000 souls, almost entirely Greek. The wars and aforementioned treaties also strengthened the Monarchy, by increasing the general popularity and acceptance of the Bavarian King Otto. They showed that Otto could lead the country through multiple crisis' and come out on top. Greece also gained access to a good export commodity, opium. It didn't bring the Greek economy totally out of stagnation as Otto had hoped, but it provided a base to expand. Also, due to popular support, due mostly to the recent Greek successes, Great Britain agreed to hold a referendum on the status of the Ionian Isles. Eighty-four percent of the population voted for the return of the islands to Greece. On November 7th, 1840, full control of the islands was given to the Kindgom of Greece. The last, but most important result of the two wars, were that Greeks gained new confidence in their nation. Before, they were a small backwater country, having done nothing. After the wars, they had defeated two nations, united over 800,000 oppressed brothers and sisters under the Greek flag, and gained the confidence that their nation was going somewhere. These two wars set the stage of what was to come, a strong, revived Byzantine Empire.
 
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Update #3

Excerpts from the diary of King Otto I of Greece:


12 December 1840;
I called Armansberg, von Maurer, and Von Abel into my office for another meeting today. Armansberg argued that I need to set up a stock market for Greece. Apparently most western countries, including Bavaria have them. It's rather odd, I've never heard of the darn thing before. It seems this stock market will increase foreign investment into Greece, and help to jump-start our economy. I bid him well in setting up this market, for I trust that he knows what he's doing, he hasn't let me down in anything money related...yet. Also, von Abel seems to have talked the Russian ambassador into doing a sort of "technology trade" with us. Russia did not have a stock market, and was interested in learning from Armansberg how to go about setting one up in St. Petersburg. That seems like a good sign for it's usefulness. The Russian minister agreed to help with the freedom of trade in our economy, which according to Armansberg and the Russian minister could increase our daily income by up to 120%! Abel also mentioned that along with their economic knowledge, the Russians were willing to give us £3400 in cash, along with the plans to go about the mechanization of our sulfur mine on Naxos. I have agreed to this deal, and gave permission for Abel to carry it out. Also, I ordered Armansberg to set about constructing a fabric factory in Negropont. Greece lacks any sort of industrialization, no railroads, factories, anything. In Bavaria we had factories to spare, and a much stronger economy than we have here now...Greece must industrialize...

6 June 1841;
I ordered Konstantinidis to begin the organization of two divisions of Arabs to garrison Raschid and Shedjic. It seems that the residents of these lands aren't content under my rule. They shall be content, even if they have to smile at bayonet point.

15 December 1841;
The factory in Negropont is done! I have ordered Armansberg to organize the training of craftsmen and clerks to work it. Unfortunately, according to Josef, the factory will only be about 80% staffed, Greece is suffering from a mass exodus of it's people. We just need more people...

13 March 1842;
I have ordered Armansberg to begin the process of constructing a cement factory on Crete. Armansberg seemed a bit agitated, but that is not my problem. He argued that the last factory was only making a profit of £0.71 a day, but, it is a profit none the less. He grudginly walked off, probably cursing me under his breath, but it need be no matter. There is a reason I am the King, and he is not.

14 June 1842;
I was informed by the Russian minister in the city today the the Tsar would not be renewing his military commitment with us. He did however assure me that Russia would come to the defense of Greece if anyone attempted to attack us. It seems that our standing with the great powers is starting to diminish. I must work on this

12 March 1842;
The cement factory is complete! Armansberg showed me plans today to train workers from all across the islands of the Aegean. Things are looking up for the economy, finally.

15 March 1842;
I recieved word from von Maurer today that the nation of Yemen has gone bankrupt. Our Arabian possession border Yemeni lands, more specifically, lands that produce opium. I have ordered Konstantinidis to ready his two divisions, and embark once again to Arabia. I don't think the world will mind too much if an unimportant backwater looses some land to a rising star, such as Greece.

12 June 1843;
Some Farmers on the Ionian Isles have 'let the public know' their displeasure at my tax practices... I will not stand for this! They demand compensation from "bad taxing practices". I will show them... I am starting to get rather worried though...a recent pole shows that over 78% of the population identifies themself as Liberal...I won't have this dissent in this country!

3 September 1843;
The Russian ambassador has delivered a message from the Tsar today. He has asked for an alliance! It appears my attempts at getting his favor have worked! I see a bright future for Greece. If only I had a bigger army...

7 September 1843;
The Russian minister delivered news that the Tsar has declared war on Krakow. I had to go to the map on the wall to even find out where Krakow was. Turns out it is a small Polish city-state stuck in between Russia, Austria, and Prussia. I agreed to the Tsar's request to declare war on Krakow, not that we could do much. I don't foresee this particular war to last too much longer.

2 March 1844;
I received word from Konstantinidis today that Yemen has been completely occupied. I fear annexing the whole of Yemen will overstretch our already limited garrisons in Arabia. I think I shall demand only the lands of and to the east of the opium fields...

20 May 1844;
I fear the people grow more liberal every day. A major author in Athens has written an essay on the abuse of power and curruptedness of my government. He has been jailed, but I fear that his spouting of hatred has already caused many ripples through the countryside... Have I not been a good king? I only want the best for my adopted country. Amalia says I shouldn't worry too much. We are the leaders of this country. We shall pull through...