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Ripster8
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Tue Jul 26, 2016 12:15 am

April 1632 - April 1633

General Aldringer led an Imperial army northwards to besiege Minden. Since this was a direct threat to Christian IV's lines of communication the Protestants decided to attack. This was made possible only because Tilly's army had run out of supplies and had to return to Gottingen, leaving Kassel unmolested. In July, the Protestants struck and in two vicious battles the heretics drove back the valiant soldiers of Holy Mother Church.

JUL32.jpg


Aldringer lost 10,000 out of 18,000 men and quickly retreated to Wesel to regroup. But the Protestants may have won the battle and lost the war. Christian IV lost 14,000 out of 34,000 men but is unable to make good his losses since the Protestant coffers are empty. Unable to stand against Tilly's resupplied army Christian IV decided to make a final stand at Hamburg. The city has strong fortifications and is also protected by the Elbe River. Since the Imperials lack a fleet to blockade Hamburg it is an ideal place to dig in and pray for divine intervention.

As the campaign season for 1633 opens, the situation is as follows:

turn179.jpg


Tilly (CP2000) was able to capture Kassel in December 1632. Fully resupplied and rested, his army will move on Minden and then Magdeburg. Aldringer, having built a large depot at Wesel, is also ready for the fight (CP1800) and will attack Munster, Osnabruck and Verden. Bucquoy (CP1500) will remain at Prague as the Imperial reserve army. The Catholic coffers are full with 179 gold, 156 WS and an astounding 382 EP. Their position appears impregnable.

Christian IV made it safely to Hamburg and his army has recovered to CP1400. However his army requires 45 gold in order to be returned to full strength. Unfortunately, the heretics have 0 gold, 72 WS and only 13 EP. They are unable to recover losses, build new units or conduct diplomacy. The loss of Kassel is also a grievous blow since that city was the only source of income for the Protestant cause. It will be a grim year for the struggling followers of Luther and Calvin.

(I apologize for the sub-standard screen shot. Sloppiness on my part! I remain committed to fighting this campaign to the bitter end, which won't be much longer at this rate...)
Last edited by Ripster8 on Thu Oct 13, 2016 4:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Tue Jul 26, 2016 11:41 pm

April 1633 - April 1634

Count Tilly quickly overcame weak opposition to seize Minden, Hannover and Magdeburg in quick succession. He built a level 4 depot at Magdeburg to support the 1634 campaign. Aldringer was less successful, capturing only Munster before winter forced a withdrawal to the depot at Kassel.

As the 1634 campaign season opens the situation is as follows:

turn186.jpg


Tilly will march north to capture Havelburg before moving to what could be the final battle of the war at Hamburg. Aldringer will attack Osnabruck, Verden and then Lunebeck. If all goes as planned then 1634 will be the last year of the war and Holy Mother Church will finally be able to lay down the sword and take up once more the shepherd's crook. Si Deus pro nobis, quis contra nos? (If God is for us, who can be against us?)

There has been no change to the Protestant situation. They are still bankrupt, without allies and with dwindling hope. Christian IV and his army make their final preparations. The Papist scourge appears unstoppable...
Last edited by Ripster8 on Thu Oct 13, 2016 4:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Thu Jul 28, 2016 5:58 am

April 1634 - April 1635

After several years of grumbling the spineless King of France is manipulated by his chief minister, Cardinal Richelieu (a son of Beelzebub if there ever was one!) into declaring war on Spain and the HRE. Foul treachery! Pope Urban VIII, concerned only with Italian affairs, is easily bought off with French gold and does not respond to this outrage. It is a dark episode for Holy Mother Church! But at least it takes a few months for the French to muster something of an army at Metz. In the meantime, Catholic forces under General Aldringer are able to capture Osnabruck and Verden. Count Tilly moves on Hamburg and fights a series of vicious engagements with the last Protestant army, finally driving them into the city. As the 1635 campaign season opens the situation is as follows:

turn195.jpg


Tilly continues the siege at Hamburg. Indications are the garrison is starving and will soon surrender. Following that, Tilly will move on Lubeck and Kiel to complete the conquest of northern Germany.

Aldringer is at Kassel to cover any French move into northern Germany. A large Spanish army is mustered at Heidelberg, with a smaller force at Brussels. Bucquoy remains at Prague in reserve.

The Protestant cause is almost extinguished. What remains of their army is besieged in Hamburg on the verge of starvation. The French entry into the war brought much-needed money and EPs but it may be too little, too late. The French are besieging Trier, but outnumbered by 4-to-1 they have little chance of overthrowing the dominant Hapsburg position. Only the entry of the Swedes may be able to accomplish that.
Last edited by Ripster8 on Thu Oct 13, 2016 4:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Fri Jul 29, 2016 12:26 am

Congratulations, Sir! It seems you decisevely defeated the heretics and even that treacherous Cardinal Richeliu (how can such scum be a cardinal of the Holy Mother Church is beyond my comprehension) won`t be able to do much about it.

How do you rate the game now? Is it patched or are there some issues left? It must be very difficult for the AI to sucessfully represent such a long timeframe..

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Fri Jul 29, 2016 7:08 pm

Thank you, Count Tilly! As you can see your siege of Hamburg may well be the final nail in the heretic coffin. I doubt that even the intervention of the arrogant King of Sweden will be able to salvage their position at this point!

The game itself has many good points. It is the simplest AGEOD title that I have played, much more approachable than TEAW or PON. Organizing for combat is very basic and supply is straightforward. The AI is decent - I have lost to it at Lieutenant level (especially as the Protestants and with the AI having a significant detection bonus). However once the combat power ratio falls too much below 100% the AI is effectively beaten. As in some other AGEOD games repeated losses on the battlefield lead to a vicious circle of lost national morale, decreasing resources and poor combat effectiveness. This could be balanced out through scripting to reflect the inevitable arrival of Nemesis at the camp of the victors, pride going before destruction and all that. In this particular case the excesses of the Catholic side during their years of victory created the very forces that led to eventual defeat: wholesale appropriation of Protestant lands, forced re-institution of the Catholic faith, uprooting the established ruling class in conquered territories, the assignment of the Elector Palatine's electoral dignity to the Archduke of Bavaria, the depredations of the poorly supplied and largely mercenary armies and, finally, the inevitable reaction of other European states to the rising power of the dual Hapsburg monarchies of Spain and Austria.

In TYW this could be done by allowing the earlier arrival of France and Sweden to the conflict, perhaps triggered by the combat power ratio falling below say 70% or so, or when the Protestants lose Bohemia and the Palatinate. Another option is giving a player fighting the AI the option to periodically give the AI a 'care package' of national morale, money, WS and EP, (maybe 10 NM, 100 money, 25 WS and 25 EP). That way the player could bolster the AI to a level that he finds challenging. In my particular game the arrival of France is good for the Protestants but they are still in dire straits. And the French alone cannot defeat the Imperial, Catholic League and Spanish armies in the field.

So, anyway, I enjoy TYW. This particular time period has always interested me and I recommend the game to anyone who is likewise a fan of the 'pike and shot' era.

Videte, victor ! Et gladius non saturabitur! (Supposed to mean, 'Beware, oh conqueror! The sword is never sated!' But who knows since I don't speak Latin and just use Google Translate to find a phrase that sounds good in that language!)

Thanks for writing, good Count Tilly!
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Fri Jul 29, 2016 7:54 pm

I have quite enjoyed providing quality spectating to "A Fatal Conflagration" (although perhaps "A Fatal Defenestration" might have been a more appropriate title since that's a wonderful word to use in a sentence). Must agree with much of what Brother Ripster8 writes about the game and the AI but one can help it along some. I tend to impose severe restrictions (house rules) upon my game play, which tends to give the AI advantages. These are usually drawn from my understanding of the history and so things like attempting to raise sieges (often necessitating dividing the forces) often will place me at a disadvantage. Typically I will determine a plan with objectives for the next campaigning season across the bad weather months and then attempt to execute it when the weather breaks and this sometimes leads to unsatisfactory results as time for winter quarters approaches.

Many gamers don't bother to impose house rules upon themselves but for me it makes the AI more of a challenge and enhances replay value. AGEOD games (I also own the entire AJE franchise, RoP, RUS, Espana 1936, PON and WW1G) always get me to hit the books and find out more about the subject matter, which in turn facilitates determining what restrictions I need to place on my actions.

This has been a wonderful AAR and watching it unfold has been great even if the Papist apostates appear to be advantaged by their association with the Roman Antichrist and their entirely wicked Pope. All the poor, true believers wanted to do was to avoid any "Imperial entanglements" imposed by the evil HRE.

-C

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Fri Jul 29, 2016 8:26 pm

Thank you, my good heretic friend Master Random. It is always a pleasure to hear from you, even if you have left the path of righteousness to follow the whimsies of a crazed German monk. In any case you are exactly right about the AI. It must be handled gently and respectfully in order to maximize your gaming enjoyment. And since TYW is such a simple game (compared to TEAW - ay caramba!) it is easy to do this through house rules and self-imposed limitations. I have TYW, TEAW, and RoP and have enjoyed all of them, although TEAW shows the limits of the AI using this particular game engine (Athena?). I had PoN but the incredibly long turn-processing times made it impossible for me to learn if I was doing things right in terms of economic development and trade especially, so I gave it up. I hope to get into the AJE series this Christmas when Matrix usually has a holiday sale. RUS sounds interesting, too - a unique historical niche that probably suits the game engine admirably.

As for 'defenestration' it is indeed an interesting term. In fact the only time I have ever seen the word used is in relation to the event that marked the beginning of this terrible war. I wonder why someone thought it necessary to create a word to describe 'being thrown out a window', as if that were an everyday occurrence and therefore needed to have its own unique term? The mysteries of language!

In any event, I have appreciated your readership, Master Random, your kind words and even more your keen wit, heretic or no! I intend to continue this current game to the end, bitter or sweet, if for nothing else but to see how it all ends. I wish the current (game) pontiff, Urban VIII, was as invested in the struggle as I! He has abandoned his church north of the Alps, leaving the faithful to fend for themselves. Disgraceful! Hopefully our strong position will allow us to complete the subjugation, er, I mean the return of the lost heretic sheep to the one true flock, Holy Mother Church. Onwards!
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Fri Jul 29, 2016 10:01 pm

April 1635 - April 1636

Hamburg fell to Tilly in June 1635. He quickly follows up and captures Lubeck in September and Kiel in November. No other Catholic forces were active this year.

The French executed the worst siege in TYW history, suffering from a lack of supplies, disease, poor leadership and drunkenness (OK, I just made up that last bit but it was probably true!). The city defenders finally laughed themselves to death in November 1635, and the good Catholic citizens of the city opened the gates to the ragged remnants of the French army solely out of Christian charity. It was not a stellar moment in French military history.

As the 1636 campaign season opens the situation is as follows:

turn215.jpg


Tilly has one more city to capture in northern Germany (Luneburg) and then will remain in garrison at Hamburg. Aldringer will remain at Kassel unless the French cross the Rhine north of Frankfurt. Feria will stay at Heidelberg to guard the Palatinate. The other Spanish force at Brussels is too weak to challenge the French in Alsace and is separated from that region by the Ardennes and northern France - too much distance and not enough supply. Bucquoy (who, it is rumored, is developing a drinking problem of his own...) remains at Prague.

With still no sign of the Swedes the French are the only game in town for the Protestants. The fall of Hamburg removed all the Protestant leaders except Brunswick who is now holed up in Luneberg with no forces at all. The Danish fleet retreated to Copenhagen before Kiel fell, but there are no Protestant land forces left in Germany.

The French face the same supply challenges as the Spanish (In addition to the 'blocked' regions along the left bank of the Rhine from Koln to Breisach, shown in a darker shade on the map. No one can enter a blocked region.) and will have difficulty coming to grips with the enemy. Also, French military leadership at this point is questionable, the great Turenne having not yet risen to army command (he was only 25 in 1636). I suppose a push on Brussels is not out of the question, but it will take a few months to recover from the debacle at Trier before an offensive can be started.

Barring the intervention of the Swedes it may be a fairly boring campaign year. I may join Count Bucquoy in a glass of wine or two, or three...

(In game terms the CP is 24%(!!!), and NM is 82 for the heretics and 121 for the Catholics. The Protestants have 53 gold, 117 WS and 42 EP, to the Catholics 210 gold, 188 WS and an amazing 513 EP. I remain committed to finishing the campaign out of sheer pig-headedness, however!)
Last edited by Ripster8 on Thu Oct 13, 2016 4:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Sat Jul 30, 2016 11:40 pm

April - July 1636

In May Christian IV accepts the Emperor's very generous terms and leaves the war (not there was much left of the Danish war effort...). But immediately after this happy event, Sweden declares war and lands a large force at Stettin under the leadership of their able king, Gustavus Adolphus. The campaign of 1636 will not be so dull after all!

turn225.jpg


Tilly will take an aggressive posture, seeking to destroy a small Protestant force at Lubeck before it can escape. He will unite with another Imperial group there and await the Swedes first moves.

The Protestants choose to mass their forces at Stettin, building a large depot and organizing for the summer campaign. They have good leaders and a lot of artillery. The French continue to starve at Metz (I just cannot keep those lads fed!) and will stay on the defensive as the Rhineland is now completely open to maneuver. All of Europe awaits the first moves of the Swedish king!

(The CP has jumped to 53% and Protestant morale has also improved to 102, with the Catholics at 121. Still, the Protestants face a difficult prospect of having to defeat five separate Catholic armies. In the interests of balancing things out a bit, I will not move any more Imperial forces northwards and I will not take any offensive action against the hapless French. The Protestants are still short money and EPs but if Gustavus is able to rack up a few victories that may change. Interesting!)

(On a side note, I highly recommend the music mod EIN FESTE BURG by Philippe, available here on the main TYW Forum. An excellent selection of period music, just the thing to help you crush the heretics or combat the papists as the case may be!)
Last edited by Ripster8 on Thu Oct 13, 2016 4:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Sun Jul 31, 2016 12:48 am

July - November 1636

Gustavus Adolphus electrifies the weary Protestant world by capturing the city of Rostock in only a single month! The mighty Swedish guns knocked down the powerful walls of the city in just a few weeks and the garrison surrendered shortly thereafter. Additionally, the French (wisely) decide to take a more passive role in the war and focus on giving large subsidies to the more effective Swedish army.

turn230.jpg


As winter arrives, Gustavus is busy building a large depot at Rostock and preparing for offensive operations in 1637. A small Protestant force is at Stettin under the command of Johan-Frederick.

Tilly is entrenched at Lubeck awaiting the Swedish king's assault. His veteran army is confident of their ability to crush the Swedes but they are shaken by the speedy fall of Rostock. Better to await Gustavus and his army from strong defensive positions than to risk defeat in the fenlands east of Lubeck. Aldringer stands ready at Kassel to reinforce Tilly if necessary, and the Spanish keep an eye on the buffoonish efforts of the French army to capture Nancy. Life is good for the Spanish soldiers garrisoned in the rich cities of the Rhineland. The beer flows freely, the wenches are quickly learning Spanish, and the wealthy burghers are only too happy to provide subsidies to the illustrious 'Soldados de España' (soldiers of Spain). Well, probably not too happy...

But Spanish eyes, too, look to the north and there is talk of the mighty heretic king, the 'León de Suecia' (Lion of Sweden). Soldiers are a simple, superstitious lot and when they hear tell of the incredible Swedish artillery and how it leveled Rostock in a single day (the tale got much bigger in the telling) they take it as a sign of hard times to come. The only soldier who likes a cannon is the one who wields the slow match behind it! 'Cañones, la obra del diablo!' (Cannons, the work of the devil!) they all swear before returning to their cups. It may be a long, cold winter for the Imperial cause, even in the warm, safe garrison cities of the Rhineland.
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Mon Aug 01, 2016 2:43 am

November 1636 - Jun 1637

Gustavus' army falls upon Tilly at Lubeck, but the old campaigner is prepared. The heretics are massacred by the entrenched Catholic artillery as they cross the fields east of the city.

Battle.jpg


Over 7000 Protestants fall, compared with only 3000 Catholics. Amazingly the Protestant army is still in good order with plentiful supplies and replacements close at hand. Tilly is disturbed, his men shaken as they observe the Swedes making preparations for another assault.

In other developments, Feria's Spanish army crosses the Rhine and moves on Trier. The Archbishop-Elector of Trier would like his city back from the French which was captured after the infamous 'laughing siege' of 1635. The other Spanish army at Brussels is now at CP1500 and is contemplating a move on northern France. Supply as always will be an issue, however. Aldringer remains at Kassel, ready to move north should Tilly require assistance.

Diplomatically, the French have proven to be better bankers than soldiers. Cardinal Richelieu is pouring money into the Protestant cause, so much so that now the heretics have more gold than the Catholics. Unheard of! The CP is at 58%; NM is 119 Catholic, 101 Protestant. The Catholics have 235 gold, 216 WS and 568 EP (!). The Protestants have 320 gold, 214 WS and 36 EP. The lack of EP is hindering the Protestant diplomatic efforts, particularly in swaying Saxony and Brandenburg to enter the lists on the Protestant side. But with two powerful armies in the field (and the French...) the heretics are firm in their resolution to conquer or die trying!

It promises to be quite the hot summer all around.

(Game Notes for Senor Leibstandarte:
1. The city of Paris does not appear to be on the map. There is the name and an indicator that it is a level 8 city, but there is no city symbol, no fortress and no depot. Not sure what is going on here and what affect it has on the game.
2. In February 1636 there is an event that is displayed as 'swedish replacements2' but there is no apparent effect. A mislabeled and/or misfired event, perhaps?
3. After the fall of Kassel the Protestant do not have a capital. Does this affect the game in any way?
4. Sea transport. I have no idea why anything having to do with the sea, navies, naval movement, naval replacements, etc., was included in TYW. It is completely pointless. The Catholics did not, do not and never will have a fleet, so there is nothing they can do to hinder the flow of units from Denmark and Sweden to Germany. And moving those reinforcements from Copenhagen and Stockholm to Germany is tedious and often damaging to the naval units themselves. Each replacement point for a naval unit costs 10 gold and 4 WS, so I will never spend scarce resources on them. Danish/Swedish reinforecments should appear either at Lubeck or Kiel automatically. Keep it simple, my friend!)
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Mon Aug 01, 2016 4:41 am

June - July 1637

Count Tilly fell out of his cot when he heard the trumpets blaring and the cries of 'Ladda! Gud är med oss!'. Just then his body servant, Grundig, appeared at the entrance to his tent screaming, "Master, the Swedes are attacking!" It was all down hill from there for the good Count and his army. Walking outside he saw his soldiers running in every direction, torches blazing, drums beating, officers and sergeants trying to bring some order to the chaos. Away in the distance the Count could see columns of heretic soldiers streaming over the field works like so many ants. Somehow the enemy had mustered storming columns and gotten to within a stone's throw of the ramparts before charging. And to make matters worse the Swedes were already between him and the city of Lubeck. The Catholics had been caught completely by surprise. Disaster! There was no help for it but to retreat to the south, away from the city, leaving it to the heretics. Gustavus had beaten him with hardly a shot being fired. The Emperor would not be pleased.

turn227.jpg


(In game terms I am not sure how this happened. Tilly was entrenched with orders to defend normally. His army was fully supplied and in good cohesion. The Swedes were also fully supplied and in good cohesion with orders to attack all-out. But a battle was never fought. The message board had two entries stating that 'Tilly detachment engaged the Protestants on day 1' and 'Tilly detachment succeeded in retreating before battle on day 1'. Tilly ends up south of Lubeck and Gustavus is now besieging the city. But it keeps the game interesting so I am going to run with it!)

In other developments another Protestant army commanded by one of the Saxe-Weimar's has been spotted moving south from Stettin into Brandenburg. As this could threaten Magdeburg General Aldringer will move north to defend that key city.
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Mon Aug 01, 2016 11:59 pm

July - August 1637

The mighty Swedish artillery strikes again as Lubeck falls after a short siege. Concern grows at the Imperial court in Vienna, as do doubts about the aged Count Tilly's ability to stop the heretic king and his magic cannons. To make matters worse, a second army commanded by Saxe-Weimar is moving through Brandenburg and threatening Magdeburg.

turn227.jpg


Tilly's forces will remain at Hamburg, digging like moles to improve their positions. Aldringer will move north to Magdeburg to counter the second Protestant army. Spanish forces are besieging Trier (where they were unfortunately struck with the plague - has God turned His face away from our righteous cause?) and a second Spanish army is now investing St. Omer. Bucquoy, at Prague, is told to prepare his army for movement west. If Tilly is defeated Bucquoy will have to fill the gap. The once sunny prospect for the Catholic cause has considerably dimmed. Can anyone stop the conquests of the Lion of Sweden?

(As a reminder, I am playing the heretic side, too, since the AI collapsed earlier in the campaign. Gustavus will rest a month at Lubeck before attacking Tilly at Hamburg - he needs replacements. Saxe-Weimar will move on Havelberg to establish a link with Gustavus. If Tilly is defeated, Gustavus will pursue and destroy him before turning on Aldringer. Saxe-Weimar will work on capturing the major cities of northern Germany. In France I have purchased replacements for the French forces. The French are over-matched by the Spanish by 2-1, but they may move to attack at St. Omer, the weaker Spanish army. Overall the Protestant position is strong but they must continue their string of successes in order to build momentum. The Imperials still outnumber them and they have plenty of money and WS to buy replacements. I am amazed at the siege abilities of the Swedish army!)
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Tue Aug 02, 2016 2:33 am

July - October 1637

The Swedish magic died before Tilly's massed guns on the fields outside of Hamburg. In two terrible battles the Swedish King lost more than half his army, cut down by the entrenched Catholic artillery. Particularly heavy losses were sustained by the young volunteers from England and Scotland, who sought only to defend their faith and to serve under the mighty Gustavus Adolphus, the defender of Protestantism. Even the old campaigner Count Tilly was moved by the slaughter. In his account of the battle to Ferdinand II Tilly wrote, "They fell in great heaps before our guns, your imperial majesty. But how much better it would have been if they given up all this folly and returned to the Roman Catholic faith. I would sooner have rained holy water upon them than lead..."

battle.jpg


Tilly remains strongly entrenched and with his army intact at Hamburg. Aldringer drove Saxe-Weimar out of Havelberg and will attempt to winter at that city. A joint offensive against the Swedes next year is not out of the question. The Spanish continue to besiege Trier and St. Omer to little effect. The Imperialist position remains strong, militarily, economically and diplomatically.

turn229.jpg


(The Protestant View. Well I thought maybe Gustavus could pull off another coup at Hamburg like he did at Lubeck. That didn't turn out too well! Entrenched artillery is devastating, especially against infantry. The poor Protestants were massacred. Gustavus will retreat to Lubeck to lick his wounds. Saxe-Weimar's army is also in bad shape, having taken heavy losses during their retreat from Havelberg. But the coffers are still full so hopefully Fortuna will return to the Protestant side in the Spring. Perhaps we will let the Catholics try their luck at attacking this time! The French are massing at Paris with an eye towards attacking the Spanish army at St. Homer (Oops! That should be St. Omer!). The war continues!)
Last edited by Ripster8 on Thu Oct 13, 2016 4:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Tue Aug 02, 2016 4:27 am

Meanwhile at St. Homer, a new threat awaits the Papist murderers...

[ATTACH]39508[/ATTACH]

-C
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Tue Aug 02, 2016 5:05 am

I think that will keep the Papists at bay...I know it scares me! Now if I could somehow just wash that image out of brain...
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Wed Aug 03, 2016 2:54 am

October 1637 - April 1638

Trier and St. Omer fell to the Catholics in November. Unfortunately, both cities were pillaged by unruly soldiers and the Spanish forces suffered some attrition over the winter due to a lack of supplies (And probably from drunkenness, too...). Tilly and Aldringer are entrenched and awaiting the next Swedish move.

turn230.jpg


The campaign season of 1638 opens with an air of uncertainty. The Swedes were repulsed last year, but they had the winter to rebuild and reinforce. Tilly and Aldringer are also strong, but far from reinforcements and far from home. Munich and Vienna lay many leagues to the south. Additionally, Germany as a whole is growing weary of this war, weary of forced conversions and repeated requisitions, tired of soldiers-turned-bandits terrorizing the roads and villages, tired of tumult, disease and chaos. Religious slogans are seldom heard anymore as folk have had enough of conflict and controversy. More and more the diety that they seek is ancient Eirene, the goddess of peace. But she is nowhere to be found... Once again the drums and trumpets sound and the armies prepare for yet another year of war.

(Game Notes: The Protestants are now receiving money from Sweden, Berlin and France in addition to generous French subsidies. The heretics are positively awash in cash! The CP is at 75% - it hasn't been this high in years. Resource totals are as follows: Catholics: gold-212, WS-221, EP-628; Protestants: gold-384!!!, WS-237, EP-47. Protestant EP is still low and keeps them from launching a vigorous diplomatic offensive in Germany. As for 1638, I have reinforced Gustavus' army - it is almost at CP3000 - so I intend to strike Tilly at Hamburg once again. I will also move Saxe-Weimar forward to deliver a coup-de-grace or to block Aldringer. The French are massed at Paris and will now strike north at the weakened Spanish army at St. Omer {Master Random, that hideous cartoon must have had an impact!}, but that will leave Metz open to Feria's army at Trier. It promises to be a bloody year.)
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Wed Aug 03, 2016 3:30 am

May 1638

"Still another angel, who had charge of the fire, came from the altar and called in a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, 'Take your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of grapes from the earth’s vine, because its grapes are ripe.' The angel swung his sickle on the earth, gathered its grapes and threw them into the great winepress of God’s wrath. They were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed out of the press, rising as high as the horses’ bridles for a distance of 1,600 stadia." Revelations 14:18-20

Three great battles and blood flowed as from the winepress of the Lord.

Gustavus fell upon Tilly at Hamburg and was repulsed as before:
may38a.jpg


Saxe-Weimar joins Gustavus and both are again repulsed:
may38b.jpg


The French attack the Spanish at St. Omer and defeat them, mostly because the Spanish ran out of ammunition:
may38c.jpg


The Protestants are determined to prevail or perish at Hamburg. Tilly desperately calls for Aldringer's help. The French will pursue the retreating Spanish east of St. Omer. Metz is under siege by Feria, and Saxony decides to join the Protestant cause. Germany groans anew and the winepress of wrath will continue its bloody work...
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Wed Aug 03, 2016 4:09 am

June 1638

Tilly and his army are finally overwhelmed by the combined Protestant armies. The battle itself is not too bloody:

Jun38a.jpg


But it is the retreat that is catastrophic for the Catholics. Over the winter the Swedish king raised and trained a large force of Protestant heavy cavalry for just this moment. As the Papist army begins to flee from the field Gustavus unfurls a gigantic black banner, a company of trumpeters sound the charge and 5000 Swedish swords flash as one in the afternoon sun. Squadron after squadron of mounted death fall upon the battered Catholics in an orgy of slaughter and destruction. Tilly's army is almost completely annihilated (his army took 147 hits in the retreat). Only his artillery and supply train is salvaged, reaching the gates of Kiel just ahead of their merciless pursuers. And now this remnant is stranded in Kiel, unless Aldringer can defeat the Swedes at Hamburg.

jun38b.jpg


The weary Swedes dig in and prepare to meet the advancing Imperialists. It will be a desperate and momentous fight. If the Swedes win then northern Germany will be completely open before them. If Aldringer wins he can save what is left of Tilly's army and perhaps finish the Swedish campaign of 1638. All of Europe awaits the outcome of the next battle.

The twin defeats at St. Omer and Hamburg have shaken the Catholic world to its core. The Hapsburg alliance is showing signs of weakening as the French are invading the Spanish Low Countries and the main Imperialist army has been wrecked at Hamburg. And the Catholics are burning through gold trying to keep their armies at full strength. If this continues it will mean the wreck of the Catholic cause in northern Germany and perhaps beyond.
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Wed Aug 03, 2016 4:42 am

July 1638

Aldringer is defeated at Hamburg. The Swedish artillery shredded his columns leaving them weakened and in disorder when they reached the hasty entrenchments of the Protestants. After a short fight the Catholics flee...northwards to Kiel!

Jul38.jpg


And as with Tilly, Aldringer's army suffers heavy losses in the retreat (81 hits). Now both of the two main Imperial armies are badly weakened and trapped at Kiel. If they cannot get south of the Elbe before winter they will surely be completely destroyed. They will attempt a desperate forced march around the damaged Swedish armies and south to Havelberg. But morale is low, food is scarce and the soldiers of the Catholic army are weary and they are scared. They curse the Swedish King, but they curse this damned war even more...

Away to the south Ferdinand II dictates a private letter. His personal courier is standing by and has promised to ride non-stop until the message is delivered. The Emperor clears his throat and begins, 'My dearest, esteemed Count Wallenstein...'
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Thu Aug 04, 2016 12:36 am

July - November 1638

Hamburg falls to the Swedes after a bloody assault. Now all of northern Germany is open to attack. Tilly and Aldringer manage to escape the wreck. Aldringer, with his army mostly intact, will hold at Magdeburg for the winter. Tilly, with only his artillery left, will move to Kassel and await relief. Wallenstein is raising the few additional regiments the Imperialists can afford at Linz and will move north as soon as the weather clears. Feria repulsed the French army at Metz, but lack of supplies is forcing him to retreat to Mainz for the winter.

dec38.jpg


As for the Protestants, Gustavus will rebuild his battered army at Hamburg. Saxe-Weimar will winter at Lubeck. The French will move to Nancy and hope for the best. It may a cold winter for L'Armee de Roi! The heretics are making progress on the battlefield, but more importantly they still have plenty of money and WS to replace their losses. The Catholic coffers, however, are beginning to run dry...
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Thu Aug 04, 2016 3:58 pm

The Lion of the North has apparently awoken, surely God`s just punishment for the sins of his Church!

It seems extraordinary that the Swedish managed to replenish their forces so quickly after earlier bloodbaths at Hamburg. Who fights for the Protestants now besides Swedes and French? Did any of the states in Northern Germany join them after their victory? How does the game represent the fact that many of the princes and dukes of the HRE joined Gustav Adolph after his brilliant early victories?

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Thu Aug 04, 2016 5:40 pm

It is true, good Count Tilly! Holy Mother Church has fallen away from the path of righteousness! The Holy Father, Urban VIII, cares only for securing riches and positions for his own family in Italy, and neglects to care for the rest of his flock. We are ill-served by this fickle shepherd!

In any case, the money from France pouring into the Protestant coffers has been a flood! 300 or more gold per year. Along with income from Sweden and Berlin (which was captured in 1638, I think), the heretics are awash in gold. They also had plenty of WS to buy weapons for replacements. The only thing they lack is EPs for diplomatic efforts. 1639 could be a grim year for the Catholics, but we will soldier on!

When Gustavus appeared he received a large contingent of Swedish, English, Scottish and north-German Protestant forces along with leaders for each group. It was enough to make two armies of c. 2000 CP including a lot of artillery. They also received control of Stettin and Stralsund, so no large geographic gains. And as you read in my account they captured Rostock, Lubeck and now Hamburg and are in a position to recapture northern Germany in short order.

At this point it is just a question of who can keep their army at full strength. With the loss of Tilly's army the Imperialists are definitely hurting, while the Protestants are at full strength.
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Thu Aug 04, 2016 11:29 pm

December 1638 - May 1639

After a quiet winter the Protestants explode into northern Germany. Gustavus quickly captured Havelberg and will most likely fall on Magdeburg next. Saxe-Weimar captured Lunebeck and Kiel and is expected to move south on Hanover soon. Aldringer's army is digging in as fast as they can, but Tilly remains at Kassel awaiting the arrival of Wallenstein with reinforcements. He is at least three months away, however. For now, a weakened Aldringer faces the the storm alone.

Jun39.jpg


The French have once again moved on Trier, but the Spanish will not contest the siege at least for now. The Catholics are short of funds and the decision has been made to concentrate on keeping the two Imperial armies at full strength, hence the Spanish will avoid action.

The CP is at 77%. The Catholics have 94 gold, 178 WS, 682 EP and morale of 119. The heretics have 317 gold (!!!), 222 WS, 67 EP and morale of 97. The Protestants continue to work on Saxony and Brandenburg to enter the war, as well as repairing relations with the Dutch (they are at 20% Protestant support!).

Reports of continued heretic successes only serve to increase the sense of foreboding at the Imperial Court. With the treasury running low there is little that can be done except to pray. The Emperor spends many hours praying and consulting with his Jesuit advisors, but no word of counsel or support ever comes from Rome. The Holy Father Urban VIII, having once served as Papal Legate to the royal court of France, is thought to favor the Bourbons over the Hapsburgs. And this despite the consistent and perfidious French support for the heretics over the years! Just when Holy Mother Church needed a strong hand on the tiller, we are left with this Florentine schemer!

Caravaggio_Maffeo_Barberini.jpg

'Vae pastor ovium lupum!'
('Woe to the sheep when the shepherd is a wolf!' at least that's what Google Translate gave me...)
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Thu Aug 04, 2016 11:50 pm

June 1639

Gustavus defeats Aldringer at Magdeburg, but does not capture the field.

battlejun39.jpg


Aldringer will attempt to retreat to Kassel but the fear of the Swedish cavalry is heavy on his soldier's minds. Wallenstein is marching north from Frankfurt at speed but is still two months out. Heretic sieges continue at Verden and Trier.
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Fri Aug 05, 2016 12:24 am

July-August 1639

Aldringer escaped (after losing half his army!) and will rendezvous with Tilly and Wallenstein at Kassel. Together they will ponder the best course of action for 1640. Gustavus is besieging Magdeburg and has made a breach - the city should fall soon. Saxe-Weimar is at Bremen but has made no progress against the city walls.

sep39.jpg


The French are still besieging Trier but to no effect. The Spanish are content to keep on eye on things from a distance. Saxony and Brandenburg are close to entering the war on the heretic side. In other words the strategic situation has only gotten worse!
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Fri Aug 05, 2016 10:35 pm

September 1639 - March 1640

Both Magdeburg and Bremen fell to the heretics in September. Trier fell to the French (who might as well be heretics!) in November. An early Spring in 1640 will mean a long campaign season this year:

mar1640.jpg


Wallenstein gathered the best remnants of the armies of Tilly and Aldringer and now sits, entrenched at Kassel. It is expected that Gustavus will capture Hanover and Minden before moving on Kassel. Saxe-Weimar will likely attack the other major cities of northern Germany. Kassel is key, the gateway to the Palatinate and from there to Bavaria, Bohemia and Austria. The city must be held at all costs! Tilly sits at Frankfurt with a small force and the Spanish remain in observation at Brussels and Mainz, again due to a lack of funds to pay for any replacements they may need. Bucquoy still sits at Prague with CP1300.

The CP overall is at 87%. The Catholics have 96 gold, 194 WS, 736 EP and morale is at 108. The heretics have 348 gold(!!!), 248 WS, 80 EP, and morale is at 104. They are now receiving money from Sweden, France, Berlin and the Hanseatic cities so they have plenty of gold to buy replacements. It appears the only option available to the Catholics is to dig in and hope to sell their lives dearly. But barring divine intervention (which recently seems to be helping the Protestants much more than the Catholics!) 1640 may well see the heretics dipping their toes in the Rhine and knocking at the gates of Frankfurt.

'By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion!'
Psalm 137:1
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(Duplicate Post)
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Sat Aug 06, 2016 10:00 pm

March - June 1640

The heretics move quickly to capture Hanover, Minden and Osnabruck. Saxe-Weimar attacks Munster while Gustavus strikes at Kassel. He and Wallenstein fight what was essentially a drawn battle, the Protestants losing 8800 men and the Catholics 9700. Both armies are badly damaged.

jul1640.jpg


Seeking to put the Fulda River between himself and Gustavus, Wallenstein will attempt to withdraw to Gottingen. With another large Imperial depot there, Wallenstein hopes to recover and dig in before the next Protestant assault.

Spain has been rocked by revolt in the province of Catalonia. All Spanish forces are ordered to hold in place in preparation for possible redeployment to Spain. This would collapse the Catholic front in the west, leaving the Spanish low countries and the Palatinate completely open to the French.

But all is not rosy on the Protestant side of the ledger. In northern Germany the heretics are reaching the end of their supply lines and will have to build depots in order to continue the advance. Gustavus needs to withdraw to rebuild and resupply his army - the last battles at Kassel were fought strictly pike and sword as the Swedes had largely run out of ammunition. And the French army at Trier cannot stop eating! Despite building a level 4 depot at the city the ravenous French continue to be poorly supplied. Unless this issue is resolved it will end the French offensive on the Rhine. They will have to turn northwards into the Spanish low countries.

But the strategic picture remains unchanged. The heretics have plenty of money and WS to continue the fight, while the Catholics will be lucky if they can afford to rebuild Wallenstein's army at Gottingen. Only supply difficulties are keeping the Protestants from sweeping away the remnants of the once-victorious Catholic forces. How quickly Fortuna has abandoned the Imperialists!

'Sic transit gloria Mundi!' (Thus passes the glory of this world! - i.e., all glory is fleeting!)
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(Duplicate Post)
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