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Old July 7th, 2011, 07:11 AM
galileo-034 galileo-034 is offline
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Do you remember Troy? - v1.0

Discussion thread

Pas même l' épée d' un assassin n' aura pu nous séparer [1,2]

« Te souviens-tu de Troie? », Armand de Hauteville, Éditions du Moulin, 1902

In 1609, during a ballet, one of the servants of the queen dazzled the king of France. Her name: Charlotte Marguerite de Montmorency.

As soon, King Henri IV broke her engagement with the marquis of Bassompierre, to marry her with his cousin, Prince Henri II de Bourbon-Condé, reputed for his loving of men.
So, Henri IV began to woo the princess of Condé, but the Prince, jalous, decided to leave the court. However, the king followed them, and under many disguises, attempted to encounter his love. Furious, the Prince of Condé went to Brussels with his wife, under the protection of Spain, the sworn ennemy of France.

Charlotte Marguerite de Montmorency

To find again his love, King Henri IV was prepared to do anything, even to go at war.
The pretext, the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II gave him one by occupying the united duchies of Jülich-Cleves-Berg. In the controversal succession of the Duke John William, France was supporting the claims of Duke Wolfgang William and Elector John Sigismund of Brandenburg.
By the summer beginning, France was at war with Holy Roman Empire and Spain.

[1]: In English: "Not even the sword of an assassin could separate us"; I have some doubts about the translation.
[2]: This the POD: in OTL, this sword kills the king the 14th may.


Siege of Arras

Using lessons learnt from the siege of Paris some years earlier, King Henri began to besiege siege Arras on June 24th. Because of the determination of the defenders, the first assaults failed.

On July 10th, a relief force under general Spinola arrived near to Arras, but instead attacking, the Spaniards decided to cut french's supply lines. Avesnes-le-Comte was soon occupied.
Marshal de Hautemer rushed up to Amiens and organized quickly a supply convoy. King Henri left Arras with some thousands of men to make jonction with Hautemer. On August 2th, the junction was made without resistance near La Herlière, but in the same time, general Spinola with his 32.000 men, profiting of this occasion, overran the french lines around Arras.

The success of Spinola would have been total if the determination of King Henri hadn't been so strong, allowing the French to regroup. The 3th august, French forces, about 47.000 men, encamped near the village of Beaumetz-lès-Loges. Spinola prepared his troops for the inevitable battle. The main attack took place on 5th august. The french advance was halted by the fortifications of Arras, but the main fights occured near a ford, northwest to Arras. The first battle of the Scarpe river was a tactical victory for the Spaniards but a strategical defeat, as the French managed to hold the southern bank and trenches near to the suburbs of Arras. The following day, the French occupied Avesnes-le-Comte, thus securing their supply lines.

General Spinola tried again to cut the french supply lines but he failed at the battle of Avesnes-le-Comte on August 19th.

King Henri IV of France at the siege of Arras

At the 2nd battle of Scarpe river which occured from 3th to 5th September, the French managed to break Spinola's lines. On September 6th, Arras was completly surrounded.
Spinola escaped to the encirclement with 24.000 men and retreated to Avion.
Inside Arras, only 7.000 men remained, but they could rely on heavy fortifications built under Spinola and on sufficient stocks of supplies and ammunitions for several months.

A last attempt was made by Spinola to relieve the besieged town, but the battle of Mont-Saint-Éloi on October 15th was inconclusive.
Finally, on November 5th, Arras surrendered.


Campaign of Lombardy - Part I

In accordance to the treaty of Bruzolo, the King of France sent an army of 22.000 men under Marshal de Lesdiguières to help Savoy to conquer the Spanish Milanese and Genoa, and to cut the Spanish Road, the main supply line of the Spaniards in Netherlands.

Marshal de Lesdiguières

Arrived at Turin on July 3rd, the french army joined the savoyard army. Two armies were then formed. The first, consisting of 27.000 men under Marshal de Lesdiguières, was intended to take Genoa. The second, consisting of 21.000 men under the savoyard prince Victor Amadeus and the French general Balthasar Juven, was initially intended to repulse any attempt to relieve Genoa from Milan.

On August 4th, on the road between Milan and Genoa, Asti was taken. Then, after having taken Capriata, Novi and Rossiglione, the Franco-Savoyard army arrived near Genoa on August 21st. The siege of Genoa began.

Siege of Genoa

At the same time, Prince Victor Amadeus fought the Spaniards at the battle of Novara, on August 19th, but, the fights being inconclusives, the Spaniards retreated. On August 23th and August 24th, a french detachment supported by swiss troops invaded and took the control of the Valtelline valley, a strategic position on the Spanish Road.
On September 23th, a Spanish relief fleet dispatched from Naples arrived before Genoa, but soon, they learnt that they were arrived one day too late. The previous day, after a month of failures, the Franco-Savoyards managed to break the defenses of city. Thereafter, the Spanish fleet returned to Naples.

After leaving a garrison in Genoa, the Franco-Savoyard army marched toward north, in order to invade Milanese from south, simultaneously to an attack led by Prince Victor Amadeus from the west.
Even if the battle of Torvnavento that occured on October 17th proved to be a defeat, the focus of Spanish efforts on the army of Prince Victor Amadeus permitted to Marshal de Lesdiguières to take Pavia two days later, in a single day.
At the same time, the Spanish commander, the Count of Fuentes, died, aged 85[1]. Taking advantage of the momentaneous disorganization, the Franco-Savoyards attacked Milan itself.
Inside the city, the Spaniards under Count of Gelves, managed to repulse the first assaults. The siege of Milan began.
At this time, in Naples, Spain was preparing a counter-attack.

[1]: In OTL, he died earlier.


Campaign of the Maas

In 1609, the Dutch, under the Landsavocaat Johan van Oldenbarnevelt, had finalized a Twelve Years Truce with Spain, against the opinion of Stadtholder Maurice of Nassau.
In 1610, when the crisis of the Jülich succession erupted, the statholder decided to ally with France and the protestant princes, knowing that a war with Holy Roman Empire would lead Spain to renew war with United Provinces. Van Oldenbarnevelt, althought vehemently opposed to this, could not prevent the move.

Maurice of Nassau, Statholder of the United Provinces

So, the statholder planned a campaign with an ambitious aim: Maastricht, a strong fortress located deep in Spanish-held territory.
To create a diversion, he ordered to his cousin Ernst Casimir to attack Antwerp with 17.000 men, and immobilize as many Spanish soldiers as possible, and, of course, without risking his army.
The first battle occured on June 17th at Roosendaal and resulted in the defeat of a small Spanish vanguard.
Ten days later, he arrived before Antwerp and began a sham siege.

Count Ernst Casimir (right) accompanied by Prince Frederick Henry (left) near Antwerp

On July 4th, the main Spanish army, about 28.000 men under the general de Guzmán, arrived near Antwerp and attacked the Dutch the following day. It was the battle of Kallo. Count Ernst Casimir managed to inflict serious losses to the Spanish army before retreating.
After the battle, the
general de Guzmán began to pursue the retreating Dutch, but renounced as alarming news from east reached him.

Indeed, in accordance to his plans, while the Spanish were counter-attacking the dutch offensive upon Antwerp, he marched along the Maas. On June 25th, he took by surprise the fortified town of Venlo. From June 28th to July 5th, he besieged Roermond.
On July 18th, he was at Maastricht. As soon, he built circumvallation lines around the town. On August 1st, the Spanish relief force reached Maastricht. An attack was ordered but resulted in a serious blow, as having to fight the French at Arras and protect Antwerp, the
general de Guzmán could not have sufficient forces to confront Maurice of Nassau. Following this failure, he decided to cut the dutch's supply lines. But the Dutch, defended by strong circumvallation lines and with sufficient supplies for two months, decided to simply ignore him.

Siege of Maastricht

On September 11th, Maastricht finally surrendered.


Campaign of Rhineland

When the war erupted, members of the Protestant Union, mostly the little states, were reluctant to involve in an european war. Only powerful states as Palatinate and Brandenburg joined the fight in the beginnings.
A notable exception was the margrave of Baden-Durlach, Georg Fredrich, who raised an army of 12.000 men to join an other army gathered in Palatinate by Prince Christian Ist of Anhalt-Bernburg.

Prince Christian Ist of Anhalt-Bernburg

Margrave Georg Friedrich of Baden-Durlach

Together, they were able to align more than 28.000 men.
At the same time, in Bavaria, the Count of Tilly gathered an army strong of 35.000 men for the Emperor.

Johann Tserclaes, Count of Tilly

The first goal for the Protestants was logically Jülich.
To besiege the town, the Protestants recieved the help of 4.000 English under Edward Cecil, and of 3.000 Dutch. In the first times, the siege was led by the Prince of Anhalt-Bernburg, but soon, the new of an imperial offensive upon Upper Palatinate reached him.

Edward Cecil

Indeed, the Count of Tilly had taken, without great difficulties, the Upper Palatinate, Nürnberg and Bayreuth in July.
Leaving the task to besiege Jülich to Georg Friedrich of Baden-Durlach with only 11.000 men, he joined the Elector of Brandenburg near Frankfurt and launched a counter-attack against Tilly but, even with forces of the same size that the army of Tilly, he was severly defeated at Kitzingen on August 19th.

Battle of Kitzingen

Pressured by the emperor to relief Jülich and to restore the link with the Spanish Netherlands, the Count of Tilly made his way to Cologne instead attacking Heidelberg. On September 10th, he crossed the Rhine. However, the situation had degraded upon his arrival.
Jülich had surrendered on August 30th, and a detachment of 5.000 men sent by the Dutch, after having taken Rheinberg, a Spanish stronghold on the Rhine, joined to the forces of Margrave Georg Friedrich of Baden-Durlach.
Although in a situation of numerical inferiority, he managed to hold back the army of the Count of Tilly near Bergheim on September 13th.
Hearing the arrival of the Prince Christian, he decided to attack and destroy the Protestant armies one by one. He managed to prevent the junction of the Prince of Anhalt-Bernburg with the Margrave of Baden-Durlach by winning the battle of Meckenheim on September 16th. Then, he prepared to pursue the Protestant armies and retake Jülich but news from Bavaria prevented him to do so: a french army was threatening Munich.

Battle of Leuven

At mid-september, the situation of Spain wasn't very good. Maastricht and Jülich had just fallen, cutting the Spanish Netherlands from Holy Empire, making the Army of Flanders very reliant upon naval supplying, already hard because of the naval fights with the Dutch navy. And of course, Arras and Genoa were besieged. So, when Maurice of Nassau, after having taken Maastricht, began to march upon Brussels, it appeared to everyone that the end was imminent.
To confront the Dutch army, the Archduke Albert of Austria, who had taken personally the command, gathered all the men he could find, even by taking troops in the forces defending Antwerp and in the forces of Spinola.

Archduke Albert of Austria, sovereign of the Spanish Netherlands

On September 30th, the two armies met near a town called Leuven: the 29.000 men of the Archduke against the 30.000 men of the Statholder. Fortunately for the Archduke, the best tercios of the Spanish empire proved to not usurp their reputation. During the fights, where a young Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba distinguished himself, the Spanish army routed the Dutch.

Battle of Leuven

The threat on Brussels disappeared definitly after an other victory at Turnhout on October 14th.


Campaign of Burgundy and Swabia

In June, King Henri ordered to Marshal de Beaumanoir to bring the war into South Germany.

Marshal de Beaumanoir

An attempt was made to make alliance with the Duke of Lorraine, but it was repulsed as the Duke Henri II wanted to stay neutral in the ongoing conflict. The Spanish County of Burgundy became the only way to go into Alsace where the Bishop of Strasbourg was gathering mercenaries to fight the Imperials.

Leopold of Austria, Bishop of Strasbourg

An invasion was planned. While the Bishop's forces had to raid the north of the county, an army of 28.000 men under Marshal de Beaumanoir was intended to take Dole.
The attack upon Dole occured on June 23th, but the determination of the defenders prevented the French to break the fortifications of the town.
The siege began.
Week after week, the assaults were repulsed. But no relief force came to rescue the city, as the Imperial Army was too occupied to lead an offensive into Rhineland.

Siege of Dole

Starved, bombarded, Dole finally surrendered on July 31th.
Without a relief army to save the County of Burgundy, the other fortresses surrendered without oppose any resistance, and Burgundy was pacified by mid-August.
After these successes, Marshal de Beaumanoir made junction with the Bishop's army and some reinforcements. On August 31th, he departed from Strasbourg with 36.000 men.
In a first time, he didn't encounter resistance and forced the Duke of Württemberg to participate to the war [1]. He arrived at Ulm on September 13th then marched upon Augsburg.
The city was attacked on September 19th, and besieged.
Learning that Bavaria was threatened, the Count of Tilly left Rhineland. Too weakened by the previous fights, the Protestant armies in Rhineland were unable to prevent this move.
The imperial counter-attack materialized at the battle of Elchingen on October 5th, when the Count of Tilly attempted to cut the french's supply lines by taking Ulm. The Count won the battle over a french rearguard and captured Ulm the following day. Marshal de Beaumanoir had no other choice but to retreat to Freiburg via Memmingen where the Count of Tilly attempted to intercept him on October 9th. The French managed to escape to the disaster by scoring a victory, but a pyrrhic one.

Battle of Memmingen

The Count of Tilly, hero of Holy Roman Empire, was soon recalled to north where the Protestants had launched again an offensive upon Würzburg.

[1]: Württemberg was one of the neutral states.


The Triple Union, a new empire

On July 4th, at the battle of Klushino, a Russian army under Prince Dmitry Shuisky, although that it was outnumbering the Poles, was severely defeated by the polish hussars under hetman [1] Zolkiewski, while it attempted to relief the siege of Smolensk.

Polish hussars at the battle of Klushino

When the news of this defeat spread across Russia, any support to the Tsar Vasily IV disappeared and the Polish convinced the Russian forces at Tsaryovo to rally itself to the prince Wladislaw [2] and move towards Moscow.
The Tsar Vasily IV was soon removed by the Duma and was put under arrest.
Shortly after, the Polish army under hetman Stanislaw Zolkiewski, and an other army under the second False Dmitry, arrived before Moscow. There were tensions, confusions, then skirmishes occured, but the Poles finally took over and were admitted in the capital.

Hetman Stanislaw Zolkiewski

On July 27th, a treaty was signed between the boyars and Zolkiewski creating the basis of a personal union with the Commonwealth: the same vast privileges that those of the Polish szlachta for the Russian boyars, religious freedom, elimination of trade barriers, free movement of people...
Some days later, a sad new for Poland reached Moscow: King Sigismund was dead. While he was at Smolensk, he was accidentaly wounded by its own soldiers and died in a few days[3].

King Sigismund III at Smolensk, little before his death

After leaving a garrison at Moscow under Aleksander Gosiewski, hetman Zolkiewski immediatly returned in Commonwealth where he secured the election of the prince Wladislaw as King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania, as Wladislaw IV Vasa.

Wladislaw, IV of Poland-Lithuania, I of Russia

Two months after, on September 30th, he returned to Moscow where his new king was crowned Tsar of Russia as Vladislav Ist.
The Triple Union was bornt.

From its creation, the Triple Union was facing serious, but no insurmountable, problems. For the Russians, the main problem was the religious question. The Russians had reluctantly accepted a catholic tsar, admitted the non-orthodox religions that were persecuted before, but they were fearing the polonization as in Lithuania and Ruthenia.
On the military plan, there were always the Swedish in north-west and the army of the second False Dmitry.

A first success in the strenghening of the new empire was scored at Smolensk in November.
After the crowning of Tsar Vladislav, the Poles had attempted to offer a honorable surrender to the defenders of the fortress but the commander, Mikhail Shein, had refused.

Siege of Smolensk

On November 19th, advised by a traitor, the Poles discovered a weakness in the fortress walls and managed to create there a breach [4]. An assault was ordered and after violent street fightings, Smolensk fortress was taken.

Surrender of Mihkail Shein

[1]: Hetman is equivalent to general in the Commonwealth.
[2]: The crowning of the prince was proposed by pro-polish boyars in earlier 1610.
[3]: Effect butterfly
[4]: This treason occured in OTL but 8 months later.


Campaign of Brandenburg

During the summer 1610, the archduke Matthias of Austria gathered in Bohemia an other army for the Holy Roman Empire. Its goal: the Brandenburg.

Archduke Matthias of Austria

On September 2nd, 26.000 men were ready to march.
At first, the Protestants thought that it was reinforcements for Tilly, but when their spies taught them that Archduke Matthias was marching towards Silesia, the invasion of Brandenburg appeared to everyone as an evidence.
Immediatly, the Elector of Brandenburg left Rhineland.

John Sigismund, Elector of Brandenburg

The Imperial army reached Breslau on September 10th. On September 18th, the Oder was crossed.
In Brandenburg, only the small army of the brother of the Elector, the Duke of Jägerndorf, was able to oppose itself to the advance of the advancing imperial army. The Duke, knowing that he would not be able to fight the Imperials in a open battle, decided to harass the ennemy.

John George, Duke of Jägerndorf

Although this permitted to delay the advance, this was not sufficient.
On October 10th, at the battle of Potsdam, the Elector, who had just arrived, was severely defeated by the Archduke Matthias.

Battle of Potsdam

He retreated to Magdeburg, and on October 12th,the Imperials began the siege of Berlin.

Siege of Berlin

He called its allies of the Protestant Union but he could not find help because of an offensive launched in south to support the French in Swabia.
So, he turned finally towards Denmark. He attempted, supported by the French and Dutch embassadors, to convince the king Christian IV.

King Christian IV of Denmark-Norway and his wife Anne Catherine of Brandenburg

Even the Queen consort Anne Catherine, sister of the Elector, tried to to intercede in the favour of his brother.
The Danish king was attracted by the idea of making Denmark a great power in Europe, to secure his dominion over northern seas by extending his influence over northern Germany.
So, despite the reluctance of the Rigsraadet [1], he declared the war to the Holy Roman Empire on November 8th.

At the same time, the garrison of Berlin, commanded by the Duke of Jägerndorf, managed to hold off all the assaults.
Fearing to be outnumbered, the Archduke Matthias decided to abandon temporarily the siege of Berlin and confront the Elector's army before the arrival of the Danish.
His strategy worked well in the first times. Indeed, he inflicted a serious blow upon the men of the Elector of Brandenburg at the battle of Zerbst on November 22th, and at the battle of Bernburg on November 30th.
The Archduke soon marched to north to confront the Danish who had just entered into Brandenburg.
On December 12th, the battle of Fehrbellin resulted in a stalemate.

Battle of Fehrbellin

Unfortunately for the Archduke, a imperial rearguard was defeated by the Duke of Jägerndorf at Spandau on December 13th. The Imperials soon retreated towards Saxony.
The Danish pursued them but were defeated again at the battle of Wittenberg on December 29th.

Battle of Wittenberg

While the Imperials entered in Saxony, the Danish made their junction with the forces of the Elector of Brandenburg.

[1]: The danish parliament.


Campaign of Lombardy – Part II

After the failure of the relief of Genoa in september, the Spaniards prepared a larger army.
During the winter, ships and soldiers gathered in the port of Naples.
On January 11th, commanded by the Marquis of Santa Cruz, the fleet appeared before Genoa.
The Genoeses, seeing the Spaniards as liberators rose up against the franco-savoyard garrison. Thus, the Spanish Army under the Duke of Frías entered easily in the town.

The liberation of Genoa by the Spaniards

At the same time, an austrian army of 19.000 men under the Archduke Ferdinand of Austria attempted to reconquer the Valtelline valley but this army was ambushed by a franco-swiss force, and the Archduke barely escaped to the capture.
While the Marshal de Lesdiguières was still besieging Milan, the Spanish army crossed the Ligurian Apennines in earlier February.
Under Prince Victor Amadeus, the savoyard rearguard managed to delay the Spanish advance before to be joined by the main army, led by the Duke of Savoy himself and the french general Juven.
On February 7th, it's the battle of Marengo, near Alessandria: 31.000 Franco-savoyards against 25.000 men of the spanish army.
In this battle, the tercios of the Duke of Frías proved to be superiors to the Franco-Savoyard infantry.

Battle of Marengo

Although Marengo was a great victory, it no permitted to relieve Milan.
Indeed, the Marshal de Lesdiguières had entrenched his 16.000 men into circumvallation lines with sufficient food and ammunition for three months.
As far back as February 13th, the Spanish army encamped at Magenta, and on February 14th, the franco-savoyard lines were attacked, without success.
At the begining of the fights, not yet knowing the fate of the Archduke army in the Valtelline valley, the Duke of Frías hoped its arrival. Three other weeks of failures occured without reinforcements.
The Spanish commander is unquiet.
On March 6th, confirming the fear of the Spaniards, a Savoyard detachment under Prince Victor Amadeus took the town of Acqui then cut the road between Milan and Genoa.

Prince Victor Amadeus of Savoy

So, on March 12th, to avoid to be traped in the padan plain, the Duke of Frías ordered the retreat. The Spanish army, harassed by the Franco-savoyards, managed to cross again the Ligurian Apennines and reached Genoa on March 29th.
On April 2nd, at Milan, seeing his situation desparate, the Count of Gelves surrendered.
Having cleared the padan plain from the spanish presence, the Marshal de Lesdiguières left the Po valley for Liguria .
On April 17th, the second siege of Genoa began.


Campaign of Picardy

After the fall of Arras, the winter stopped for a time the operations.
The french army wintered at Arras and King Henri began to plan a siege of Cambrai.

In Spain, the succession of spanish defeats had seriously weakened the Duke of Lerma. To reverse the situation, a serie of offensives aimed to bring the war in France were planned. Thus, while were gathered a fleet in Naples, and an army in Catalonia, reinforcements were sent to Archduke Albert.
In the Netherlands, a defensive stand had to be adopted against the Dutch, while an army had to invade northern France, to take Amiens in a first time, then to attack Paris.

On January 15th, the French began to besiege Cambrai relatively unopposed.
On January 29th, the archduke departed from Mons with 34.000 men. To distract the French, he sent a small detachment to delude them. The stratagem was succesfull in the begining.
On February 14th, the spanish army crossed the Canche river at Avesnes [1], thus entering in France.
King Henri remained unaware of the invasion until February 26th, when he heard that the Spanish army was approaching Amiens. He soon abandonned the siege of Cambrai and headed towards Amiens.
On March 3rd, after a week of assaults, the Achduke took the fortress of Corbie, so cutting the French from Amiens. But the Spaniards [2] failed to take immediatly Amiens, forcing them to besiege the town [3].

King Henri arrived at Ancre [4] on March 5th. He attempted to retake Corbie but his 39.000 men were unable to defeat the superior tercios; it was on March 7th.
Worse, the French army was threatened to be trapped. However, at the battle of Bray [5], the behaviour, and the sacrifice, of the french rearguard under the Marshal de Hautemer permitted to King Henri to retreat safely towards Saint-Quentin.

Marshal de Hautemer

Once in Saint-Quentin, he ordered to the Marshal de Beaumanoir to dispatch him about the half of the french Army of Swabia. An additionnal raising of troops was also ordered across France. The garrison and the fortifications of Beauvais and Paris were reinforced.
At Amiens, the general Spinola organized the siege under the command of the Archduke.

In the first times of the siege, everything seemed to go well for Archduke Albert, but in late april, the true problems appeared.
Firstly, the new of the siege of Antwerp by the Dutch reached him. Secondly, small french detachments had begun to harass his supply lines.
As Antwerp resisted, the Archduke decided to remain at Amiens.

Siege of Amiens

In mid-June, King Henri launched a new offensive to relieve Amiens.
Having gathered about 55.000 men, on June 22nd, the King retook Doullens, which had been taken by a spanish detachment in late March.
Hoping to use his numerical superiority to outflank the spanish tercios, he marched again towards Amiens.
On June 26th, it was the battle of Canaples.
Even being outnumbered by an army near twice his size, the spanish army managed to hold off any french attack, but no without heavy losses. The most notable action of the day was a french charge of cavalry which was very impressive but which was a failure.
Although this was a defeat for King Henri, the spanish army was seriously weakened.

Battle of Canaples

On July 10th, the Archduke decided to retreat to the Netherlands.
Indeed, Amiens still resisted, a beginning of epidemic diseases appeared in the spanish army and the Archduke was threatened to be trapped in Picardy as he had failed to dislodge or destroy the french army at the battle of Doullens on July 3rd.

[1]: To not confuse with Avesnes-le-comte; this town is laocated near Montreuil in Pas-de-calais
[2]: By extension the Spaniards themselves, plus Italians, Portugueses, Walloons ...
[3]: In 1597, the Spaniards had taken the town by ruse; Amiens was retaken after a siege of six months by King Henri. I assume that after this event, precautions were taken and the fortifications reinforced.
[4]: IOTL, the actual Albert, northeast to Amiens.
[5]: IOTL, actual Bray-sur-Somme


Campaign of Languedoc

No without difficulties [1], the Marquis de Almazán as Viceroy of Catalonia, gathered during winter and spring an army of 35.000 men to invade Southern France.

Francisco Hurtado de Mendoza y Cárdenas, Marquis of Almazán, Viceroy of Catalonia

By the beginning of April, the invasion force was ready.
On April 15th, the Marquis de Almazán arrived at Salses where a Spanish fortress no far from the strategic french fortress of Leucate commanding the road to Languedoc, defended by the Françoise de Cezelli, the woman who had defeated the Spaniards during a previous siege [2].

Françoise de Cezelli

Since the declaration of war, she didn't spare any effort to reinforce the fortifications of his bastion.
After a week of fights, the french fortress was surrounded.

Siege of Leucate

In Carcassonne, the Marshal de Montmorency attempted to levy a relief force but the request of the King for Picardy having priority, it took a long time.

Henri Ist de Montmorency, Marshal and Constable of France

Taking advantage of this, the Marquis of Almazán left 6.000 men to besiege Leucate and pursued his way to Narbonne. Using naval support, he managed to take the defenders of the town from the rear. Narbonne fell on May 9th.
Still in a situation of numerical inferiority with a spanish army twice his size, the Marshal de Montmorency decided to elude battle and harass the Spanish army by guerilla attacks.
The Spaniards arrived before Carcassonne on June 1st.
Unfortunately for the Marquis de Almazán, the french defenses proved to be too strong to permit a frontal assault. The siege became the only possibility but the Marshal de Montmorency managed to prevent the encirclement of Carcassonne by winning the battle of Pezens on June 4th.
Little after, the Marquis of Almazán heard that an army created from dispatched elements of the army of Italy, militias of Provence and Upper Languedoc was marching upon Narbonne.
The general Balthasar Juven, nephew of the Marshal de Lesdiguières, led this army. On June 1st, he was at Montpellier and on June 6th, he was at Béziers.
The Marshal de Montmorency, who had also heard the coming of Juven, began to pursue the retreating Spanish army as soon as it departed from Carcassonne, but still avoiding an open battle.
Finally, on June 14th, Montmorency and Juven made their junction at Narbonne: together, their armies were able to line up 35.000 men against the Spanish army.
At the south of the town, the Marquis de Almazán, who had failed to prevent the junction, put his army in order of battle.
The battle seemed to go well for the Spaniards until that the Marquis of Almazán be grievously wounded. Taking advantage of the momentaneous confusion, the French attacked the Spanish right wing by using a combined charge of infantry and cavalry. Under the pressure, the Spanish lines began to crumble. However, a last-minute counter-attack permitted to secure a retreat in good order.

Battle of Narbonne

As Leucate still resisted, the Spanish commander decided to continue towards Salses where he arrived on July 2nd.

[1]: This will be developped in a future update.

[2]: IOTL, in 1590, the Spaniards captured her husband and executed him after she refused to surrender. Henri IV, gratefull, granted her the governorship of Leucate, previously held by her husband.

The Countries that almost were : Discover the story of a Russian Alaska into present day

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