Good Bye, Charlie
December 20, 1710, at Azov Fortress (Russian Empire)

The Russian soldiers waited while on patrol, waiting for a certain group of people to arrive while bracing themselves against the cold winter. Suddenly, a few of them saw a few men walking forwards. All but one of them were Ottomans, with the only non-Ottoman being a Scandanavian man in cuffs. This man was Charles XII, former King of the Swedish Empire. He'd fled to the Ottoman Empire following the Swedish defeat at Poltava, only for the Ottomans (who were getting tired of his prescence after almost a year) to agree to a secret deal with Russia.

The Russians initially aimed their weapons, but once they saw the Ottoman's prisoner, they lowered their guns. The Russians "escorted" the Ottomans inside the fortress, with 2 soldiers taking Charles XII to his prison.

The Ottoman diplomat sat down with the Tsar of Russia, Peter the Great himself, who'd arrived at Azov just for this occasion. Then, the 2 empires signed the Treaty of Azov.

In exchange for receiving Charles XII, the Russians would abandon their Azov fortress, and not interfere with Polish-Lithuanian affairs [1].

Little did the 2 nations know that handing over 1 man would have a drastic effect on the lives of countless millions across the world, both in the near future and the centuries to come....
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To sum it up, the POD is that the Ottoman Empire agrees to hand over Charles XII of Sweden to Russia, leading to Russia not declaring war on the Ottomans like they did IOTL, thus butterflying away the Pruth River Campaign (aka the Russo-Ottoman War of 1710-1711). This will lead to major changes in Europe, both in the 18th century and for the years after that...

1. Since there was no Russo-Turkish War, Russia did not have to raze any fortresses like they did in OTL Treaty of Pruth. They will still leave the Azov Fortress because the Ottomans won't give away something for nothing in return.

P.S. Since Charles XII is no longer in Ottoman Turkey, he doesn't support the pro-war party, so Baltacı Mehmet Pasha is never removed from his position of Grand Vizier.
 
December 20, 1710, at Azov Fortress (Russian Empire)

The Russian soldiers waited while on patrol, waiting for a certain group of people to arrive while bracing themselves against the cold winter. Suddenly, a few of them saw a few men walking forwards. All but one of them were Ottomans, with the only non-Ottoman being a Scandanavian man in cuffs. This man was Charles XII, former King of the Swedish Empire. He'd fled to the Ottoman Empire following the Swedish defeat at Poltava, only for the Ottomans (who were getting tired of his prescence after almost a year) to agree to a secret deal with Russia.

The Russians initially aimed their weapons, but once they saw the Ottoman's prisoner, they lowered their guns. The Russians "escorted" the Ottomans inside the fortress, with 2 soldiers taking Charles XII to his prison.

The Ottoman diplomat sat down with the Tsar of Russia, Peter the Great himself, who'd arrived at Azov just for this occasion. Then, the 2 empires signed the Treaty of Azov.

In exchange for receiving Charles XII, the Russians would abandon their Azov fortress, and not interfere with Polish-Lithuanian affairs [1].

Little did the 2 nations know that handing over 1 man would have a drastic effect on the lives of countless millions across the world, both in the near future and the centuries to come....
----------------------------------------------------------------------
To sum it up, the POD is that the Ottoman Empire agrees to hand over Charles XII of Sweden to Russia, leading to Russia not declaring war on the Ottomans like they did IOTL, thus butterflying away the Pruth River Campaign (aka the Russo-Ottoman War of 1710-1711). This will lead to major changes in Europe, both in the 18th century and for the years after that...

1. Since there was no Russo-Turkish War, Russia did not have to raze any fortresses like they did in OTL Treaty of Pruth. They will still leave the Azov Fortress because the Ottomans won't give away something for nothing in return.

P.S. Since Charles XII is no longer in Ottoman Turkey, he doesn't support the pro-war party, so Baltacı Mehmet Pasha is never removed from his position of Grand Vizier.
OK, by Pruth Treaty Russia demolished 4 fortresses: 3 on the Dnieper and Taganrog, which was the base of Azov fleet (and as a result that ceased to exist). With the loss of Azov communications with Taganrog are difficult (estuary of Don is blocked) but if the land connection remains than the base is still feasible. In other words, the net gain for Peter. However, taking into an account realities of the military development, even well-maintained Azov fleet would be of a limited usefulness for the next two decades and even in the 1730s it would not help too much if there is still war of 1734-39.

Needless to say that the item regarding non-interference into the PLC affairs did not worth the paper on which it was written (as was the case in OTL).

Of course, it is an open question what Peter is going to do with his prisoner. Holding him in prison would be a very bad PR but he could be held under a close surveillance in some place suitable for his rank. But then what? Having Charles as a prisoner does not mean peace with Sweden: he can either refuse or to play Francis I and repudiate anything signed under pressure. And if, God forbid, he is dying while in captivity then Peter’s reputation in the West is going down the drain.

It is much better for Peter to arrange with the Ottomans an accident on the road from Bender to Azov.

Not sure about the major changes in Europe except for the possible earlier end of the GNW. In 1710 Russia is already in possession of the Baltic provinces so no change there and how exactly the Western Europe would be impacted.
 
OK, by Pruth Treaty Russia demolished 4 fortresses: 3 on the Dnieper and Taganrog, which was the base of Azov fleet (and as a result that ceased to exist). With the loss of Azov communications with Taganrog are difficult (estuary of Don is blocked) but if the land connection remains than the base is still feasible. In other words, the net gain for Peter. However, taking into an account realities of the military development, even well-maintained Azov fleet would be of a limited usefulness for the next two decades and even in the 1730s it would not help too much if there is still war of 1734-39.

Needless to say that the item regarding non-interference into the PLC affairs did not worth the paper on which it was written (as was the case in OTL).

Of course, it is an open question what Peter is going to do with his prisoner. Holding him in prison would be a very bad PR but he could be held under a close surveillance in some place suitable for his rank. But then what? Having Charles as a prisoner does not mean peace with Sweden: he can either refuse or to play Francis I and repudiate anything signed under pressure. And if, God forbid, he is dying while in captivity then Peter’s reputation in the West is going down the drain.

It is much better for Peter to arrange with the Ottomans an accident on the road from Bender to Azov.

Not sure about the major changes in Europe except for the possible earlier end of the GNW. In 1710 Russia is already in possession of the Baltic provinces so no change there and how exactly the Western Europe would be impacted.
1. Like I mentioned, since there was no war (remember, IOTL Russia lost the war of 1710-1711), they didn’t have to destroy their fortresses. There’d be no real reason to if there wasn’t a wave.

2. Yeah there is no f*cking way Russia honors its agreement when it comes to the PLC, I knew that! But ITTL, this will have consequence so in a few decades...

3. Having an “accident” seemed a bit tacky IMO, though as for Sweden, remember that Russia by this point has almost broken the Swedish army, Charles fled to Turkey specifically because Sweden was screwed. In the next chapter, you’ll see that Russia takes more land than IOTL.

4. If I told you how this would affect Europe, wouldn’t be much of a story now would it?
 
1. Like I mentioned, since there was no war (remember, IOTL Russia lost the war of 1710-1711), they didn’t have to destroy their fortresses. There’d be no real reason to if there wasn’t a wave.

2. Yeah there is no f*cking way Russia honors its agreement when it comes to the PLC, I knew that! But ITTL, this will have consequence so in a few decades...

3. Having an “accident” seemed a bit tacky IMO, though as for Sweden, remember that Russia by this point has almost broken the Swedish army, Charles fled to Turkey specifically because Sweden was screwed. In the next chapter, you’ll see that Russia takes more land than IOTL.

4. If I told you how this would affect Europe, wouldn’t be much of a story now would it?
On #1 we agree that not destroying the fortifications would be better for Peter than destroying them. The point, which you are seemingly missing is that Taganrog was a feasible naval base when Russia possessed access to the Sea of Azov by Don. With the fortress of Azov being returned to the Ottomans this route is blocked and it is an open question if it is possible to maintain a base and naval buildup program: the ships had been built in Voronezh area and sailed down the Don River to the Sea of Azov. Building a wharf in Taganrog and transporting there timber and other materials by land could be impractical and this would mean abandonment of the whole program.
Taking into an account that other 3 not demolished fortresses were minor fortifications on the Dnieper (below plan of one of them) and rather redoubts than true fortresses, it seems that Peter is not gaining too much if at all (see considerations regarding Taganrog).

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#2 was a part of Treaty of Pruth and proved to be just an empty promise. Could not be otherwise taking into an account “realpolitik” of the region. The Ottoman ideas regarding dominating the PLC were by that time wishful thinking.

#3 Breaking Swedish army did not mean defeating Sweden, just as breaking Russian army at Narva did not win the GNW for Sweden. Fighting continued for the next decade and ended mostly due to the international pressure on both Sweden and Russia. As for taking an extra territory, don’t be too optimistic: Russia was not operating in a vacuum and even its fighting in the Swedish Pomerania created opposition among its own allies. Then go more general interests: Britain was interested in both Sweden and Russia because both these countries had been major suppliers of the raw materials needed by Britain. So even getting Finland was quite problematic politically (in OTL it was occupied and returned and the same happened during the next war with Sweden).

OTOH, Peter was not going to grab any piece of the PLC territory or even Courland. Swedish Baltic provinces had been a different story: they were conquered fair and square (and their estates got confirmation of all rights and privileges) but the PLC was an ally and by the Peace of Neistadt Peter paid Sweden 2M thalers for the formula that would allow to avoid the later PLC claims to Livonia (which was promised to August in 1700).

To make the long story short, realistically Peter could not get much more than he got even under the best case scenario: Russia was too weak for “screw you” attitude.

Anyway, as I said, having Charles as a prisoner would create more problems than it would solve. Strictly speaking, his death did not solve problems either because the war kept going on.
 
Will Peter be marrying his son and heir Alexei Petrovich, Tsarevich of Russia to Charles XII’s sister, Ulrika Eleonora, Princess of Sweden?
Hmmmm, I don't know about that but now that you brought it up, ideas are a-churning......

Nope. Petya married Alexei to Charlotte of Brunswick (sister of the Austrian empress) for a reason (an alliance with Austria). Charlotte's grandpa/dad - the one who arranged her marriage - basically did a coin toss to decide her husband, and HAD Carl seemed to be the horse to back, Charlotte would've wound up in Stockholm instead of Moscow.

What does Ulrika give him? Not to mention that Carl, being the Ironhead he was, won't agree to the match.

Another factor may also play a role. Childbearing capacity. This was CERTAINLY the reason Elizabeth Petrovna (Petya's daughter) went with Sophie Friederike of Anhalt-Zerbst rather than a princess of Saxony. As a king's daughter, were Ulrika unable to have kids like she was OTL, one could HARDLY stuff her in a convent and let Alexei take a new wife. A princess of Anhalt-Zerbst or of Brunswick being sent home or to a convent will gain little traction in Europe. Even OTL, Karl VI (Charlotte's brother-in-law) didn't even raise a murmur about how Alexei treated Charlotte. So much so, that when Alexei fled abroad shortly before he died, Karl received him with open arms.

The ONLY time that the Brunswick connection was EXPLOITED was when Ekaterina I was dying and Karl VI REMINDED them that his NEPHEW was the rightful heir. Whether Karl would have ACTUALLY done anything to force the issue is debatable.

Not to mention, Petya's elder daughter, Anna, married Carl XII's nephew and the marriage was DECIDEDLY unpopular on BOTH sides. The Swedes because they feared that the duke of Holstein would use Russian help to claim the throne of Sweden, the Russians for EXACTLY the same reason.
 
I've just thought of who Anna will marry! It is something that has not been mentioned above, but certainly won't be OTL's marriage.

Also, if there is anyone who knows how to make a map of Europe (and is willing to either volunteer their services or instruct me how to do it) or knows a guy who could make a good map of Europe, I'd appreciate them letting me know.
 
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Interesting- but I think if any Charles should- must- be going, it's Charles VII of France.
Sweden probably can keep more of its territories and remain actual great power. And Northern War ending several years earlier mean not so screwed Sweden. And this might give to Peter more time change Russia either better or worse.
 
Sweden probably can keep more of its territories and remain actual great power. And Northern War ending several years earlier mean not so screwed Sweden. And this might give to Peter more time change Russia either better or worse.
The timing of OP more or less indicates that Russians are already in a possession of the Baltic provinces. By that time Denmark is back to war but Prussia is still neutral. So if Russia and Sweden are making peace then it leaves Sweden vs. Denmark, Saxony and the PLC. I suspect that as soon as Russia is out so would be Saxony and the PLC. Now, it is a question to the regional specialists: how conflict Sweden-Denmark would proceed from 1710 onward? Would Denmark be able to get the same gains as by OTL Treaty of Fredericksborg? @Jürgen ,@von Adler
 
Looks very very interesting indeed, I'm curious what happens next, and have my fingers crossed for an even more successful Peter the Great reign!
 
The timing of OP more or less indicates that Russians are already in a possession of the Baltic provinces. By that time Denmark is back to war but Prussia is still neutral. So if Russia and Sweden are making peace then it leaves Sweden vs. Denmark, Saxony and the PLC. I suspect that as soon as Russia is out so would be Saxony and the PLC. Now, it is a question to the regional specialists: how conflict Sweden-Denmark would proceed from 1710 onward? Would Denmark be able to get the same gains as by OTL Treaty of Fredericksborg? @Jürgen ,@von Adler
That is an interesting question. If Sweden cedes Livonia to Russia in the peace, there's really no reason for Poland-Lithuania and Saxony to be in the war, but that does not mean they won't be. August's main reason for the war was to gain enough personal prestige to push centralisation reforms through the Polish-Lithuanian Diet - if he thinks he can still gain it by remaining in the war, even if territorial gain is not on the table, he will. He might also think he could gain Vorpommern/Swedish Pommerania and trade it to Brandenburg-Prussia for some other concession for Saxony to strengthen his own realm.

The army re-raised in Sweden was not the same quality as the one lost at Poltava, but it was still very good and it proved able to decisively defeat the Danes at Helsingborg 1710 and the Danes and Saxonians at Gadebusch 1712, before it was surrounded and forced to surrender at Tönningen 1714.

Without Russian support, and with Saxonian support lessened or even absent, the Danes might lose worse at Gadebusch and Tönningen will probably not happen, which means Sweden has a strong army in northern Germany - this might affect the Prussian and Hannovrian operations. OTL Sweden proved unable to deal with Hannover, Prussia and Denmark (with some Russian support) and the army raised for the campaign in Norway 1716 never achieved close tot he quality of the original army. Russia being out and Finland thus being free of Russian occupation frees a bit more resources for Sweden and would probably make Saxony (if it is in still), Denmark, Prussia and Hannover a bit more careful.

If Rehnskiöld or Karl commands the Swedish army in northern Germany, they might be able to use aggressive manouvrering and tactics to defeat their enemies in detail like they did during the Grodno-Fraustadt campaign of 1706. But that is a big what if.. Stenbock who commanded OTL was not nearly as aggressive and favoured fire-based tactics rather than shock.
 
Beginning of the End of an Empire
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After Swedish officials heard that Russia now had Charles XII (because Russia honestly wasn't trying to hide their new and very valuable hostage), the already low morale of the Swedish army managed to plummet to new levels. Hundreds deserted (and those were the ones the generals knew about), and some Swedish people even fled their homes in Finland and Sweden to go to Norway or Denmark, terrified of the "Russian monster" that the previously-victorious Swedish had used earlier in propaganda to create support for the Northern War. While the propaganda was certainly exaggerated, there was some truth in it, as the Russian soldiers committed a sizable amount of atrocities in the recently-taken Livonian regions [1] with impunity. Riga suffered the worst, with half its population either killed or fleeing the city. The Sack of Riga would see the city mostly destroyed, and it'd take decades (at least) for it to grow to its pre-war size.

After Sweden cancelled an attempt to retake Viborg, Russia (knowing the weakness of the king-less Swedes) launched their campaign to capture Finland in the spring of 1711 [2], with a total army of 72,000 soldiers (compared to just 28,000 for Sweden). The Swedish forces, weakened by large amounts of desertion and demoralization, saw their fortresses and defensive positions smashed again and again by a numerically superior Russian force that kept pushing them back into Finnish forests. By the end of spring, Helsinki was dangerously close to the front line, only being saved due to pre-war fortifications and the bravery of the Swedish generals.

On June 7, a fleet of 98 galleys with 3,900 soldiers on board managed to defeat a Swedish fleet of 1 pram, 6 galleys, and 2 skerry boats at the Battle of Gangut, despite ferocious Swedish resistance inflicting losses including almost 1,000 casualties and 18 destroyed galleys (the navy was more motivated than the army was at this point). This let the Russians land nearly 3,000 men in Hanko Peninsula (the first naval victory in Russian history), and soon Helsinki was under siege. The brave Swedish soldiers held out for longer than expected (helped by them hearing of the atrocities Russian troops had committed in Livonia), but after 2 months, the starved and exhausted Swedish surrendered on August 14, 1711. Russia then continued its advance through Finland, but Peter ordered them to stop in October in order to replenish their supplies and prepare for the next year.

Sweden's woes were not over now that they had a few months before the next Russian attack, for Sweden's other enemies had not ignored this new development. Denmark-Norway, Saxony, and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth were all already at war with Sweden, but any Pro-Swedish sentiment that had previously remained in their governments (and of Europe as a whole) had all but disappeared with the news of Charles XII and his capture. All of these nations had at least something to gain from defeating Sweden, and Sweden's weakness had never been higher.

To begin, Denmark-Norway decided to strike the cities of Stralsund and Tönning [3] in March and June of 1711, respectively, and they were soon aided by a sizable force of Saxon soldiers. The Swedish defenders held out for months, but their garrisons had been drained earlier to reinforce the garrisons in Finland. Despite being heavily outnumbered, the Swedish forces defending Stralsund didn't surrender until November and the garrison in Tönning held out until February 1712. [4]

In Stockholm, the members of the government frantically chose the general known as Magnus Stenbock [5] to be the new commander of the army and they quickly made Charles' sister, Ulrika Eleonora, their new monarch. Stenbock was a capable general, but the chaos in both the government and the army seriously damaged his abilities in forming any strong defense against the Russians. Despite this, he did manage to create enough units to send some 26,000 more men to Finland, though many of these were young men with little to no training and those who were trained were often soldiers and officers withdrawn from Stralsund and Tönning. Ulrika Eleonora tried to bolster Sweden's defenses and help the army, but her inexperience (she had been made queen in a hurry with little to no time for her to learn how to rule) and the poor situation hampered her just like it hampered Stenbock. The news of Saxon and Polish forces moving to aid the Danish only made the royal advisers panic further.

The war had taken a drastic turn, and it wasn't one that favored the Swedes. Many people in Europe believed that the Swedish Empire's twilight was at hand...
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1. Livonia was taken IOTL before the POD occurred, so that was not one of my changes.
2. A year earlier than their first offensive into Finland IOTL (which failed), and 2 years before their second OTL offensive into Finland (which succeeded). One reason it is a year earlier is due to Sweden not trying to retake Viborg like IOTL, which removes a major delay of the Russian army.
3. Once again, this happened in 1711, years before the OTL sieges.
4. IOTL, the siege of Stralsund took much longer due to a Swedish relief force of 6-10 thousand men arriving. Due to the large amount of men needed on the Russian front (not helped by desertions), these reinforcements never came (and men were actually taken from the 2 cities ITTL as I mentioned), so the forces surrendered after less than a year (which to be fair is still a decently long time considering how outmanned and outgunned they were).
5. Making Stenbock commander of the army is going to be a bad decision in the long run. Stenbock ITTL is going to be focused on curbing the Russian army, which is going to prevent him from having his OTL victories against the Danish (and will cause Stralsund to fall sooner since IOTL he helped the Swedish in the city hold out for years). On the bright side, at least he won't get captured and then die in prison from harsh treatment.
 
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Twilight
Sweden's empire was in serious danger. All but the most delusional generals and nobles in Stockholm knew this, but the problem was that there was little they could do to stem the tide of enemy soldiers. Russia began the year of 1712 by continuing their advance, taking the cities of Kristinestad, Vassa, Lapola, and Nykarleby in just the first 3 months of 1712, even as Russian casualties rose from desperate Swedish resistance as well as Stenbock's rather effective defense tactics. Even as the Swedish raised more troops, they never managed to reach the level of quality like the troops lost at Poltava. The Russians seemed to be unstoppable at the moment, heavily outnumbering the Swedes and winning every battle they fought. Many on both sides believed that Finland would be completely in Russian hands by the end of the year, unless a miracle happened that did to the Russians what the Russians had done to Sweden at Poltava. It would never come. The Russian offensive in 1712 ended with them taking the city of Uleaborg, though this last drive of the year did result in supply lines being overstretched and the soldiers being very exhausted.

Further southwest, the Danish were now ready to avenge their defeat at Helsingborg 2 years prior. Having gathered enough men to take the war to Swedish soil (even though this did require them to withdraw a large amount of their volunteers that they'd sent the Anglo-Dutch army [1]), the Danish began with an attack on Malmo on August 6, 1712, with some 25,000 Danish facing just 11,200 Swedish. The Swedish managed to inflict disproportionate casualties on the Danish invaders, but the city was eventually taken after a week of nasty fighting. This victory (along with another offensive coming from Norway consisting of 9,500 men aimed at taking Goteburg) let the Danish gradually advance throughout their former province of Scania. By the end of the year, the cities of Goteburg and Kalmar were under siege, with there not being enough young Swedish men to stop both the Danish (who were expecting Saxon reinforcements to arrive soon) and the Russians (who were rampaging across Finland).

In 1713, the Russians continued their attack by taking Tornea in late January, even though it did cost them heavily due to Swedish preparations and the monstrous Finnish winter. They then proceeded to launch naval attacks across the Swedish coasts, with mixed results (some being successful while others ended in a lot of Russian sailors sleeping beneath the waves). On May 6, 1713, a Russian offensive of 40,000 men along with slight naval support managed to take Lulea, marking the first major Russian victory on true Swedish soil. This did nothing for the nerves of the Swedish queen or the generals, even though the Russians were forced to stop for the rest of the year as a result of severe over-extension of supply lines as well as Swedish resistance becoming fiercer (after all, the soldiers knew that this was now on their soil, and that the Russians didn't exactly have a merciful plan when it came to punishing Sweden once this was over.

In the south, the Danish reinforcements had helped open opportunities to seize other Swedish territories in Pomerania, particularly the cities of Wismar and Stettin. However, Sweden had one last card in its deck: Holstein-Gottorp. The duchy had been neutral up to this point, but a fear of the possibility of Danish supremacy as well as the risk of losing the chance to eventually put a Gottorp on the Swedish throne scared the regent Christian August into declaring war against the Danish.

History would show that this was a terrible idea.

10,000 Holstein-Gottorp troops (including 5,000 well-trained soldiers) marched north on June 9, hoping to catch the Danish off guard and give the Swedish enough time to recuperate and focus against the Russian bear, only to be met with 20,000 Danish (many of whom had fought as volunteers against France), and 10,000 more men in a Saxon-Polish army sent to aid the Danish. Needless to say, the Danish and their allies (after momentarily being caught by surprise) completely clobbered the Holstein-Gottorp army, which by the end of 1713 was already being pushed back into its own territory while only succeeding in delaying the Danish attack on Swedish Bremen-Verden by a few months [2].

Near the end of the year on December 4, a Danish force of 9,000 soldiers manages to overwhelm the small (not to mention diseased) Swedish garrison defending Bremen, with Verden following 10 days after. When 1714 began, Sweden would only be fighting on its own territory.

Russia would welcome the new year via naval bombardment of Umea and Pitea, their recent naval victories and decreasing Swedish morale making the Russian captains more boisterous as the war progressed. Denmark chose to welcome it by finishing the seiges of Goteburg and Kalmar, taking thousands of Swedish soldiers prisoner whilst unleashing their hatred on the Swedish populace for decades of conflict. The Danish wanted the lands lost in years past and then some. With new Saxon and Polish reinforcements, the Danish force advanced in southern Sweden and met the Swedes at Jönköping on March 13th. The climactic battle of Jönköping saw 60,000 men of the Danish-Saxon-Polish alliance take on 35,000 Swedish in one of the bloodiest battles of the war (keep in mind this war involved Russia). The fighting lasted 2 weeks, but the Swedish force was eventually defeated and the city fell.

Both sides knew that Sweden's defeat was inevitable, but the Swedish generals and other nobles (the Empress herself was rapidly losing the already small bit of power she had at the start of her emergency-reign) hoped to at least muster enough men to fight their enemies to an honorable defeat. The Russians had other ideas.

In the spring and summer of 1714, a Russian fleet consisting of 132 galleys and several smaller boats, totaling 26,000 men, assaulted the Stockholm Archipelago. The Russian fleet pillaged along the coat of Uppland almost as far north as Gävle, and the coast of Södermanland as far south as Norrköping. The archipelago was severely devastated by the assaults. On several of the larger islands, almost all buildings were burnt down. The entire city of Trosa was burnt to the ground, save for the city church and bell tower. After receiving reinforcements, the Russian fleet attacked Stockholm on August 12, 1714. A grand total of 30,480 Russian soldiers attacked the city, and the Swedish garrison (which had its numbers reduced as a result of reinforcements desperately needed against Russia and Denmark) was overwhelmed. [3]

As the city's defenders were beaten (albeit at heavy cost to the Russian soldiers), the Russians began to pour across the city, both to find the Swedish monarchs and to exact their vengeance on the Swedish people. As some of the soldiers ran in the direction of the Stockholm Palace, most of them turned their hatred towards the civilians, killing and raping civilians by the thousands as houses were raided and burned, men were killed, and women were carried off by the more depraved Russian soldiers. It was a nightmare, and the streets of Stockholm were soon running red with blood. As for Empress Ulrika Eleonora, she was unable to escape Stockholm in time (she had delayed leaving as doing so would show the people of Stockholm that the war was lost) and was captured after the Russians killed her guards. She had stayed in her room, only for the Russian soldiers to smash it open before she could throw herself off it. With the Russian soldiers escorting her to prevent any escape and/or suicide attempt, Ulrika somberly stepped outside of her castle, where Field Marshal Mikhail Mikhailovich Golitsyn (who had led the attack on Stockholm) told her that it would be best if she surrendered. She quietly nodded, and after sending her few surviving advisers to tell the soldiers to stop fighting and to accept surrender, she began to quietly sob.

Within a week, fighting in both northern and southern Sweden would eventually cease. After the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people across northern Europe, the Great Northern War was over.

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[1] IOTL they did send tens of thousands of volunteers to help the Grand Alliance fight France in the War of Spanish Succession. This withdrawal of them before the war ends will have ramifications of slight to moderate scope on Europe after the WoSS ends. I say slight to moderate because it is only 1-2 years before the WoSS actually ended so much much it'll affect can't be too much.
[2] Not a major change from OTL, but ITTL the Danish didn't occupy Bremen-Verden in 1712 due to focusing more forces on the Swedish mainland.
[3] The Russian Pillage of Sweden happens 5 years earlier than IOTL, but unlike OTL, the attack on Stockholm succeeds.

So, there is my 3rd chapter, guys! The treaty in the next chapter is not going to be pretty for Sweden (a lot worse than IOTL), but on the maybe-bright side, developments will occur that will diverge from OTL that may change Russia and other countries for the better!
 
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Sweden's empire was in serious danger. All but the most delusional generals and nobles in Stockholm knew this, but the problem was that there was little they could do to stem the tide of enemy soldiers. Russia began the year of 1712 by continuing their advance, taking the cities of Kristinestad, Vassa, Lapola, and Nykarleby in just the first 3 months of 1712, even as Russian casualties rose from desperate Swedish resistance as well as Stenbock's rather effective defense tactics. Even as the Swedish raised more troops, they never managed to reach the level of quality like the troops lost at Poltava. The Russians seemed to be unstoppable at the moment, heavily outnumbering the Swedes and winning every battle they fought. Many on both sides believed that Finland would be completely in Russian hands by the end of the year, unless a miracle happened that did to the Russians what the Russians had done to Sweden at Poltava. It would never come. The Russian offensive in 1712 ended with them taking the city of Uleaborg, though this last drive of the year did result in supply lines being overstretched and the soldiers being very exhausted.

Further southwest, the Danish were now ready to avenge their defeat at Helsingborg 2 years prior. Having gathered enough men to take the war to Swedish soil (even though this did require them to withdraw a large amount of their volunteers that they'd sent the Anglo-Dutch army [1]), the Danish began with an attack on Malmo on August 6, 1712, with some 25,000 Danish facing just 11,200 Swedish. The Swedish managed to inflict disproportionate casualties on the Danish invaders, but the city was eventually taken after a week of nasty fighting. This victory (along with another offensive coming from Norway consisting of 9,500 men aimed at taking Goteburg) let the Danish gradually advance throughout their former province of Scania. By the end of the year, the cities of Goteburg and Kalmar were under siege, with there not being enough young Swedish men to stop both the Danish (who were expecting Saxon reinforcements to arrive soon) and the Russians (who were rampaging across Finland).

In 1713, the Russians continued their attack by taking Tornea in late January, even though it did cost them heavily due to Swedish preparations and the monstrous Finnish winter. They then proceeded to launch naval attacks across the Swedish coasts, with mixed results (some being successful while others ended in a lot of Russian sailors sleeping beneath the waves). On May 6, 1713, a Russian offensive of 40,000 men along with slight naval support managed to take Lulea, marking the first major Russian victory on true Swedish soil. This did nothing for the nerves of the Swedish queen or the generals, even though the Russians were forced to stop for the rest of the year as a result of severe over-extension of supply lines as well as Swedish resistance becoming fiercer (after all, the soldiers knew that this was now on their soil, and that the Russians didn't exactly have a merciful plan when it came to punishing Sweden once this was over.

In the south, the Danish reinforcements had helped open opportunities to seize other Swedish territories in Pomerania, particularly the cities of Wismar and Stettin. However, Sweden had one last card in its deck: Holstein-Gottorp. The duchy had been neutral up to this point, but a fear of the possibility of Danish supremacy as well as the risk of losing the chance to eventually put a Gottorp on the Swedish throne scared the regent Christian August into declaring war against the Danish.

History would show that this was a terrible idea.

10,000 Holstein-Gottorp troops (including 5,000 well-trained soldiers) marched north on June 9, hoping to catch the Danish off guard and give the Swedish enough time to recuperate and focus against the Russian bear, only to be met with 20,000 Danish (many of whom had fought as volunteers against France), and 10,000 more men in a Saxon-Polish army sent to aid the Danish. Needless to say, the Danish and their allies (after momentarily being caught by surprise) completely clobbered the Holstein-Gottorp army, which by the end of 1713 was already being pushed back into its own territory while only succeeding in delaying the Danish attack on Swedish Bremen-Verden by a few months [2].

Near the end of the year on December 4, a Danish force of 9,000 soldiers manages to overwhelm the small (not to mention diseased) Swedish garrison defending Bremen, with Verden following 10 days after. When 1714 began, Sweden would only be fighting on its own territory.

Russia would welcome the new year via naval bombardment of Umea and Pitea, their recent naval victories and decreasing Swedish morale making the Russian captains more boisterous as the war progressed. Denmark chose to welcome it by finishing the seiges of Goteburg and Kalmar, taking thousands of Swedish soldiers prisoner whilst unleashing their hatred on the Swedish populace for decades of conflict. The Danish wanted the lands lost in years past and then some. With new Saxon and Polish reinforcements, the Danish force advanced in southern Sweden and met the Swedes at Jönköping on March 13th. The climactic battle of Jönköping saw 60,000 men of the Danish-Saxon-Polish alliance take on 35,000 Swedish in one of the bloodiest battles of the war (keep in mind this war involved Russia). The fighting lasted 2 weeks, but the Swedish force was eventually defeated and the city fell.

Both sides knew that Sweden's defeat was inevitable, but the Swedish generals and other nobles (the Empress herself was rapidly losing the already small bit of power she had at the start of her emergency-reign) hoped to at least muster enough men to fight their enemies to an honorable defeat. The Russians had other ideas.

In the spring and summer of 1714, a Russian fleet consisting of 132 galleys and several smaller boats, totaling 26,000 men, assaulted the Stockholm Archipelago. The Russian fleet pillaged along the coat of Uppland almost as far north as Gävle, and the coast of Södermanland as far south as Norrköping. The archipelago was severely devastated by the assaults. On several of the larger islands, almost all buildings were burnt down. The entire city of Trosa was burnt to the ground, save for the city church and bell tower. After receiving reinforcements, the Russian fleet attacked Stockholm on August 12, 1714. A grand total of 30,480 Russian soldiers attacked the city, and the Swedish garrison (which had its numbers reduced as a result of reinforcements desperately needed against Russia and Denmark) was overwhelmed. [3]

As the city's defenders were beaten (albeit at heavy cost to the Russian soldiers), the Russians began to pour across the city, both to find the Swedish monarchs and to exact their vengeance on the Swedish people. As some of the soldiers ran in the direction of the Stockholm Palace, most of them turned their hatred towards the civilians, killing and raping civilians by the thousands as houses were raided and burned, men were killed, and women were carried off by the more depraved Russian soldiers. It was a nightmare, and the streets of Stockholm were soon running red with blood. As for Empress Ulrika Eleonora, she was unable to escape Stockholm in time (she had delayed leaving as doing so would show the people of Stockholm that the war was lost) and was captured after the Russians killed her guards. She had stayed in her room, only for the Russian soldiers to smash it open before she could throw herself off it. With the Russian soldiers escorting her to prevent any escape and/or suicide attempt, Ulrika somberly stepped outside of her castle, where Field Marshal Mikhail Mikhailovich Golitsyn (who had led the attack on Stockholm) told her that it would be best if she surrendered. She quietly nodded, and after sending her few surviving advisers to tell the soldiers to stop fighting and to accept surrender, she began to quietly sob.

Within a week, fighting in both northern and southern Sweden would eventually cease. After the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people across northern Europe, the Great Northern War was over.


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[1] IOTL they did send tens of thousands of volunteers to help the Grand Alliance fight France in the War of Spanish Succession. This withdrawal of them before the war ends will have ramifications of slight to moderate scope on Europe after the WoSS ends. I say slight to moderate because it is only 1-2 years before the WoSS actually ended so much much it'll affect can't be too much.
[2] Not a major change from OTL, but ITTL the Danish didn't occupy Bremen-Verden in 1712 due to focusing more forces on the Swedish mainland.
[3] The Russian Pillage of Sweden happens 5 years earlier than IOTL, but unlike OTL, the attack on Stockholm succeeds.

So, there is my 3rd chapter, guys! The treaty in the next chapter is not going to be pretty for Sweden (a lot worse than IOTL), but on the maybe-bright side, developments will occur that will diverge from OTL that may change Russia and other countries for the better!
Very interesting. Just don’t forget that, even when they were on the other sides Britain was not interested in a complete destruction of Sweden, its major supplier of iron and timber. Neither was anybody in the region was interested in the excessive expanding of Peter’s power, direct or indirect, along the Baltic coast (beyond the Baltic provinces). And in OTL Peter felt himself somewhat bound by the conditions of the treaty with August by which August was going to get Livonia and Peter just Ingria. So it would be reasonable to assume that in your TL Peter would go for more or less the same arrangements as in OTL: Russia pays Sweden a financial compensation (perhaps smaller than in OTL) for ceding Livonia explicitly and forever to Russia (in OTL the sum paid was 2 millions silver rubles which was equal to 6 millions thalers, approximately half of the Russian annual budget or Swedish annual budget https://ru.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ништадтский_мирный_договор).

Which leaves a question of Finland: in OTL Britain was already siding with Sweden so diplomatic pressure on Peter was greater than in your TL.
 
Very interesting. Just don’t forget that, even when they were on the other sides Britain was not interested in a complete destruction of Sweden, its major supplier of iron and timber. Neither was anybody in the region was interested in the excessive expanding of Peter’s power, direct or indirect, along the Baltic coast (beyond the Baltic provinces). And in OTL Peter felt himself somewhat bound by the conditions of the treaty with August by which August was going to get Livonia and Peter just Ingria. So it would be reasonable to assume that in your TL Peter would go for more or less the same arrangements as in OTL: Russia pays Sweden a financial compensation (perhaps smaller than in OTL) for ceding Livonia explicitly and forever to Russia (in OTL the sum paid was 2 millions silver rubles which was equal to 6 millions thalers, approximately half of the Russian annual budget or Swedish annual budget https://ru.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ништадтский_мирный_договор).

Which leaves a question of Finland: in OTL Britain was already siding with Sweden so diplomatic pressure on Peter was greater than in your TL.
1. Sweden is not going to be totally destroyed (that would make no sense), but the terms will be nastier than IOTL mainly in terms of territory lost. Not to mention, Stockholm got wrecked when the Russians sacked it, which will really hurt the Swedish.
2. Hmm, I didn’t know August and Peter signed an agreement. I now have a new idea for what the post war map will look like.
3. Russia won’t take all of Finland, but they will take more than IOTL. It’ll help them secure the Gulf of Finland.
4. If Britain was pro-Sweden, why did Hanover IOTL declare war on Sweden?
 
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