La Guillotine Permanente: A French Revolutionary Timeline

French deputies gonna have to dig really hard to name all the new German states if they manage to beat Austria and dismantle the HRE considering that the Romans never settled most of modern Germany.

Half suspect they’re just gonna name it the Confederacy of Germania or something.
Getting dragged to the Guillotine for refusing to call the French anything but Gauls.
 
Speaking of Gauls, I do wonder if the French revolutionaries are gonna push “Our ancestor, the Gauls” thing the Third Republic did.

It’s a pretty important part of nation-building, your own National myths, and the revolutionaries can’t just go back to the old monarchy, which they’ve denounced with all their souls, so they’re gonna have to think of something else. The Gauls seem like obvious candidates, and if I remember, the French nobility have always claimed to be descended from the Franks.

And with the Irish possibly being one of their puppe- I mean, sister republics, I do wonder if there won’t be a phenomenon of Celticmania, pushing towards a shared past as freedom fighters.
 
Speaking of Gauls, I do wonder if the French revolutionaries are gonna push “Our ancestor, the Gauls” thing the Third Republic did.

It’s a pretty important part of nation-building, your own National myths, and the revolutionaries can’t just go back to the old monarchy, which they’ve denounced with all their souls, so they’re gonna have to think of something else. The Gauls seem like obvious candidates, and if I remember, the French nobility have always claimed to be descended from the Franks.

And with the Irish possibly being one of their puppe- I mean, sister republics, I do wonder if there won’t be a phenomenon of Celticmania, pushing towards a shared past as freedom fighters.
I think the opposite may be the case. I think the French are going to dive headfirst into Roman aesthetics to a much greater extent than OTL. Given that the restrictive laws introduced by Napoleon mandating that people have to choose from a list of normal names have been butterflied away, get ready for Julianus Spartacus Blanqui to show up eventually.

I can definitely see some kind of Celtic revival happening in Ireland and Scotland, though. The French Revolutionaries have too much of a Rome fetish to truly embrace Gaul, I fear. No matter how much more it actually aligns with their ideals.
 
I think the opposite may be the case. I think the French are going to dive headfirst into Roman aesthetics to a much greater extent than OTL. Given that the restrictive laws introduced by Napoleon mandating that people have to choose from a list of normal names have been butterflied away, get ready for Julianus Spartacus Blanqui to show up eventually.

I can definitely see some kind of Celtic revival happening in Ireland and Scotland, though. The French Revolutionaries have too much of a Rome fetish to truly embrace Gaul, I fear. No matter how much more it actually aligns with their ideals.
It's a shame they don't have the historiographic sources to present themselves as the modern heirs of Roman republicanism and Gallic liberty, a synthesis between two different traditions taking the best inspirations from both, and a bridge between the Celtic world and the Roman world.
 
Gonna do some Wikiboxes for those of you who like that stuff. Hope it adds a little extra clarity

Current members of the Committee of Public Safety as of 10 Germinal Year IV
Screenshot 2024-02-02 at 20-35-36 Editing Wikipedia Sandbox - Wikipedia.png

Worth noting: because 3 Montagnards got replaced by 2 Maraisards, the number of moderates on the Committee actually increased! May prove to be critically important in the not-too-distant future...
 
It's a shame they don't have the historiographic sources to present themselves as the modern heirs of Roman republicanism and Gallic liberty, a synthesis between two different traditions taking the best inspirations from both, and a bridge between the Celtic world and the Roman world.
In fact, the idea was popular among the French revolutionaries that the “third estate” was descended from the Gauls and Romans and inherited their glorious traditions, while the nobility were the German conquerors.
 
I am a later comer to this party - but wow, that was a thrilling binge read!
Over the past few days, I have learned a great deal about the French Revolution - looking up the Grande Peur, checking on Napoleon's early political preferences, and a lot more. This TL is indeed groundbreaking, and it's really a shame - and testament to the lasting effects of excellent conservative propaganda! - that this is so; i.e. that the prospect of a surviving Jacobin Revolutionary France has not been considered in earnest in more than two decades here. You, esteemed @Xekimus , deserve great praise for breaking this silence!

Reading the TL has been great fun, and I am already full of awe with regards to the amplour which you manage to juggle. Butterflies are multiplying like crazy every day in those truly pivotal times which have shaped modernity so deeply. Yet, you still seem to have it all in hand, from Haiti over Ireland to Naples and Poland. Kudos!

Because this is really an enjoyable read and you're doing such a magnificent job, I hope you will not receive the following critical comment negatively. After all, you said that you thrive on feedback, and I believe that discussing well-meant points can only strengthen a TL. (At least that was my experience with the TLs I wrote.)
So...
In a nutshell, things have gone a little too well for the Jacobin side, for my taste at least. It is true, Jacobin France was not doomed to collapse on itself, and the export of the revolution would have been much helped and could have taken on greater amplour and grown deeper roots if it had proceeded with more coherent political frames and goals and less with military victories. So, I don't mean to be overly critical - some successes surely are in order. And there are different genres of AH: TLs aiming for maximum (probably even scholarly-level) plausibility on the one extreme, and utterly wish-fulfilling wanks / screws where realism is gladly glossed over on the other extreme. This TL is not necessarily on the extreme end of wanks, but it does come across as quite a clear Jacobin-wank so far. Now, this is partly why we all read this, so some manner of stacking the odds is probably in order for everyone here. But the more pages I flipped, the more it seemed to add a slightly unpleasant flavour to the otherwise exquisite dish: There isn't much suspense anymore - when I started reading about the clashes in Ireland, I knew beforehand that the loyalists would lose, and when I started reading about the latest turn of the conflict in Naples, I was also sure that it could only end in a Jacobin victory. - And that's a bit of a pity. This approach has so much potential, and the TL is so well-researched and well-written - it just would be even more perfect, in my view, if some of the odds with which the Jacobins would inevitably have to put up with would show more clearly in the narrative, and if things were not proceeding quite so smoothly.

Let me focus on a few such points where at least my willing suspension of disbelief was a little overstrained:
  • Carafa's Machiavellian genius: He's really been making all the right moves and rolling sixes in a long row. Playing careful, dividing his rivals, manipulating and scheming his way through Neapolitan politics unscathedly, facing enemies who are either stupid or at least very unstrategic. An armed conflict in Naples is very plausible, I believe, but I believe the Jacobin side would have faced very difficult odds here, and the repression you mentioned would have been difficult to actually execute. Keeping the Parthenopean Republic on France's side may be doable, but I would have thought this would have required much greater military involvement by Napoleon etc. Here, things were basically already going downhill for Ruffio even before the French and Poles came riding in. How stupid can the monarchists be not to see that Carafa is the most dangerous puppet player the peninsula has seen since, I don't know, Octavian? I wonder how come there wasn't an attempt on his life... Also, unanimity for the abolition of the monarchy? Wow. You mentioned the spy and repression network built up previously, but I wonder if that could really be adapted and turned around against itself. After all, not even Lenin recruited the bulk of Chekists directly from former Okhrana agents.
  • In monarchist armies, internal divisions always contribute to their downfall. Among the revolutionary armies, where such divisions are clearly already stated here in the TL (if aiming at maximum plausibility, their amount might probably have to be increased greatly), this is somehow never a problem. In the Battle of Limerick, there was no lack of coordination, no personal rivalries, no spontaneous initiative ending in chaos between Hoche's French Army, the United Irishmen and the Dublin Communards. The same situation in Piedmont, in Wales, in Southern Italy, even in Haiti. It's going a bit too easy here. I know OTL things went magnificently for Napoleon, but this TL makes a valid point about a much reduced and more indirect French military involvement - yet, the results are even more one-sided, with even Ireland falling, and the British Navy being defeated at Quiberon like some third-rate power.
  • How stupid can that corrupt Roman consul be to call in Buonarotti when he knew he had a lot to hide??!!!
  • The calm in the political centers of both Britain and France has taken on suspicious depths by now. As for Britain, it has already been pointed out that with such an abysmal record, Pitt should have been ousted by now. IOTL, British governments combined carrot and stick, the Speenhamland System and the Gag Laws. Here, everything is about to fall apart, but King George lets Pitt bumble on endlessly... It's not as if Pitt's policies would be without alternatives. Of course Haiti can be argued to be a dangerous symbol, but along the same lines, one may just as well argue for the withdrawal from Haiti, where Britain really has no business whatsoever anyway, and its stationing in Britain's very own Caribbean sugar colonies. Appeasing restive populations with gradual reforms has been a rationale of British politics, a lesson already learned from the errors of the tumultous 17th century. Stopping the bleeding in the Caribbean, throwing some bones to Scotland and Wales and to English workingmen and peasants, replacing the unpopular Pitt and seeking negotiations with France (which would at the very least have to include a French guarantee to completely keep their hands off Ireland no matter what) should be the order of the day and does not necessarily threaten the entrenched interests of Britain's ruling elites.
  • Likewise, or rather inversely, in France, it's been two years of jubilation and celebration for Robespierre and his allies somehow. Even with the war being less of a drainage and the erasure of Dutch loans helping the fiscal situation considerably, the French Republic must still be facing a stuttering agricultural production (after upheavals like the Grande Peur, no wonder all French governments had to struggle...), shortage problems with British-intercepted naval imports... and the political conflicts all seem to proceed in such a civilised manner! Naples has become a much more dangerous hotbed of political violence, rivalry and strife than Paris - how come! The Left and the Ultra-Left, and various iterations and sub-factions of it plus all the people who could rise with charisma, why are they all being so nice to each other instead of doing what they (and the Centre and the Right) did from 1789 to 1794 without pause, namely protest against each other, accuse each other, threaten each other, kill each other, and drag politics haphazardly now in this, now in that direction?! Instead, things are going calmer than even Napoleon himself could have hoped for in his own autocratic reign.
I hope this didn't come across too harshly. This TL is awesome, and I'm enjoying it as it is. I just wanted to comment that I think it could be even better if things wouldn't just all go too well for the Jacobins. Like, roling a 1 or 2 once or twice, too. Conceding that the anti-revolutionary powers had capable politicians and military leaders, too, and that the revolutionary side really was a very lively mixed bag of contradictions that could barely keep together even under existential threats, let alone when things were easing up.

There are plenty of opportunities for interesting and ambivalent turns ahead. Here is what comes to my mind - but I'm sure there are plenty of potential surprises elsewhere, too: Babouvist strikes paralysing Paris or other metropoles and ruining an otherwise easy-looking electoral / a military campaign...; more resistance in the Parthenopean Republic (revenge for the Rape of Benevento!) dragging on (Southern Italy is ragged and offers much better hiding places for rebels than Wales does); Carafa being assassinated (as I said, that guy is superhuman, if I were a Neapolitan monarchist, I would know whom to kill even if I got killed in the mission); Buonarotti getting pushed aside by whatever Cispadanian conflict; an internal armed conflict breaking out in Ireland or at least the differing factions not being able to form a coherent government and agree on a constitution; Pitt's successor stabilising England; ... - I am sure you can come up with better ideas than I. If you want, that is ;-)

One thing I wouldn't bet on, though, is the Austrians turning the tide in Southern Italy - unless they roll sixes like the Jacobins have done so far. In an all-out Franco/Italo-Austrian War, the Austrians would plausibly get their heads bashed in badly. At least as long as Prussia and Russia stay aloof, which I find plausible enough.


By the way, last summer I read an awesome book on German romanticism. The political, but even more the literary and philosophical scene in Germany is highly interesting and clearly affected by this turn of events - well beyond the Cisrhenian Republic. Trying to wrap one's head around what all of this probably means to Fichte, Schiller, the Schlegels, Schelling and all that lot is not easy at all, but as I see it, right now, all the bets are off, and the sky is the limit. (Now, knowing German philsophy, of course the sky is not the limit. Nothing is ;-) )
 
Thank you! One of my greatest challenges when writing this TL has been trying to imply things there is no evidence for. For example; Bertrand Barère is notorious in OTL for being a shameless opportunist who lies and exaggerates about his political opponents to no end. So when it says
It is in thanks to them that we have such great insights into the inner workings of the coup.
It is implying that much of what is being claimed about the Thermidorians may be total bull. But because he got to craft the popular narrative around the Coup ITTL (like Tallien did OTL about Robespierre) that has become the predominant narrative.
So
How stupid can that corrupt Roman consul be to call in Buonarotti when he knew he had a lot to hide??!!!
It's because he actually really didn't have that much. FYI the corruption scandal described here did very much happen. Angelucci did accuse others of the very crimes that he committed, and this was eventually brought to light. One critical detail is that the people Angelucci was accusing were aristocrats and very high-born aristocrats at that. The implication here is that Angelucci was banking on this to solidify power, but Buonarroti then proceeded to exaggerate Angelucci's corruption (like the parts about having foreign backers, which is absolutely not true) to cement his influence over the Roman Republic. Because his goal is not to create flourishing independent states, but building blocks for a unitary, centralized Italian Republic.
Carafa's Machiavellian genius
Which isn't really Carafa's. Again, I'm trying to write from an OTL perspective that is not omniscient, but I try to hint at what is really going on.

For example:
Buonarroti had theorized that the first step for a civilized society was Monarchism, then Liberalism, then Jacobinism and finally Babouvism. Buonarroti was very aware that the material conditions in Naples necessitated an approach suited to the factors at play. Rather than replacing the Monarchy with a Republic immediately, Buonarroti suggested the Neapolitan Jacobins simply replace the King of Naples with one of his child sons, who could be easily controlled as well as allow for the formation of a 'Radical Regency' which could see to the fulfillment of Jacobin social goals as well as allow for the elimination of anyone perceived to be a potential threat to the safety of the Revolution.
This is the exact process that is occuring by design in Naples. On his orders, via:
Gennaro Serra, the Duke of Cassano and a leading Jacobin to secretly meet almost directly with the Cispadane government officials, out of sight from Royalist agents.
Also,
unanimity for the abolition of the monarchy?
It was unanimous among the National Council.
It was there, that Ettore Carafa, by a unanimous vote in the National Council, proclaimed the abolition of the monarchy
Which was dominated by Jacobins.
Carafa had effectively shut all true royalists out of the government and limited it almost exclusively to Jacobin exiles
Also:
British Navy being defeated at Quiberon like some third-rate power.
Is because it is very hard to mention an event that was averted ITTL. The Croisière du Grand Hiver never happened ITTL, and the French Navy therefore able to achieve a fairly minor victory at Groix, as a result, a battle that wasn't very decisive at all, but allowed them to trap those three squadrons in Quiberon.
In the Battle of Limerick, there was no lack of coordination, no personal rivalries, no spontaneous initiative ending in chaos between Hoche's French Army, the United Irishmen and the Dublin Communards
The communards were not present at Limerick, they are modeled after the Paris Commune (mentioned previously in this TL for its contributions during Thermidor) and never left Dublin. I do agree that I could have written more disagreements between Hoche and the Irish.
Of course Haiti can be argued to be a dangerous symbol, but along the same lines, one may just as well argue for the withdrawal from Haiti, where Britain really has no business whatsoever anyway, and its stationing in Britain's very own Caribbean sugar colonies.
Because the situation has not been that serious in Britain itself until extremely recently. The Great Push described ITTL did occur OTL.

Finally, regarding how easy things have been, most of that is basically OTL. It's just happened quicker. Also, the Austrian invasion hasn't happened yet, which Pitt is also banking on. Furthermore, most of the things described happening to Britain ITTL did happen OTL, just not that close to each other. The naval mutinies, the Copenhagen fields rally, the attack on the King, without Pitt being removed. Also, at this point, the General Elections are a month away, and with an Austrian intervention they're going to try to extract as many concessions from the French as they can get.

I have also been meaning to get to French (and German) politics. It's worth noting that most of the political turmoil that occured in the first years of the Republic happened whilst foreign armies were mere days from Paris, and massive revolts in the provinces engulfed the nation into civil war. With the Federalist revolts over, the Royalists in the West mostly neutered, and the campaign abroad being succesfull, there just is no need for mass insurrections anymore. I promise to cover French political matters in the future, i do have plans there.

Seriously, thank you for the feedback. I do appreciate it.
 
Chapter 19: Defenders of Liberty
Chapter 19
Defenders of Liberty
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“Frenchmen, you are fighting kings, and so you are worthy of honoring the divinity. Being of beings, author of nature, the stupefied slave, the vile henchman of despotism, the perfidious and cruel aristocrat insults you by invoking you. But the defenders of liberty can abandon themselves with confidence within your paternal breast. Being of beings, we don’t have to address you unjust prayers. You know the creatures who have come from your hands; their needs no more escape your gaze than do their most secret thoughts. The hatred of bad faith and tyranny burns in our hearts along with the love of justice and the fatherland. Our blood flows for the cause of humanity. This is our prayer, these are our sacrifices. This is the cult we offer you.”

Maximilien Robespierre, 1794


Stunned by the resounding defeat of their allies in southern Italy, the Austrians were determined to avenge this loss and regain some lost momentum. With a swiftness that belied their surprise, Austrian troops, their ranks bolstered by fresh recruits, crossed the border into the Transpadane Republic with their bayonets fixed. The once-peaceful countryside transformed into a theater of war, as the sounds of marching feet and distant gunfire filled the air.

The Austrian invasion caught both the French and the Italian Republics massively off guard, with the Transpadane forces still somewhat unorganized after their formation and unprepared for this renewed onslaught. The Transpadane Republic, a fledgling state still struggling to find its footing, now found itself at the heart of a conflict far beyond what it had the capacity to wage. The Austrian advance was rapid and relentless, pushing into the very heart of the Transpadane Republic. Within days Venice would fall as scattered and overwhelmed Transpadane defenders failed to put up an effective defence. Prayers were said as a desperate defence was organized in Verona, along the Adige River.

The Transpadane army found itself staring into the abyss, their formations shaky and tactics untested. Their meager supplies and disorganized logistics seemed especially fragile facing the brutal and swift Austrian juggernaut sweeping through the countryside like a scythe, overwhelming the scattered Transpadane resistance with towns and villages falling like dominoes.

The Transpadane army had scrambled to fortify the ill-suited walls of Verona, transforming them into a makeshift bulwark against the oncoming storm. Days bled into nights as feverish activity gripped the city. Streets buzzed with the clang of hammers and the shouts of commanders. Barricades were hastily erected, sandbags piled high, and cannons positioned on bastions overlooking the river. Citizens, women, and children included, lent their hands to the frantic preparations. Prayers hung heavy in the air, mingling with the acrid scent of gunpowder and the smoke of hastily lit bonfires. Every able hand toiled, fueled by a desperate hope and the fervent belief that they could hold back the tide, even if it meant standing against an empire with their bare hands.

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The City of Verona, in more tranquil times

The sun bled crimson over the Adige River, casting an ominous glow on the fortified walls of Verona. The cobblestone streets, once bustling with life, were now eerily quiet, tense with the anticipation of impending battle. The Austrians under the command of General Michael von Melas and with their ranks inspired by the recent victory in Venice, marched towards the city with determination, their polished bayonets glinting in the dawn light.

Inside Verona, a nervous energy crackled through the air. The Transpadane defenders, a motley crew of ancien regime veterans and passionate volunteers, stood shoulder-to-shoulder on the ancient walls, their faces etched with grim resolve. They were outnumbered, outgunned, and facing an enemy that was far more experienced. Yet, their hearts burned with the fire of revolution, and they were determined to make the Austrians pay dearly for every inch of ground. And as the first rays of the sun touched the battlements, the Austrian cannons roared to life, unleashing a torrent of shells that rained down upon the city. Towers trembled, smoke billowed, and debris rained down, but the Transpadane defenders held firm, returning fire with their smaller cannons and muskets.

The battle raged across the fortified walls. Austrian grenadiers, bayonets fixed, charged towards the gates, only to be met with a hail of musket fire and the deadly swings of Lombardian sabers. The clash was brutal, hand-to-hand combat echoing through the narrow streets as both sides fought with desperate ferocity. The Transpadane defenders, fueled by a fierce defiance and inspired by the heroic leadership of General Carlo Balabio, fought with surprising effectiveness. Inevitably, however, the tide of battle began to turn. The superior numbers and firepower of the Austrians slowly ground down the Transpadane resistance. Ammunition dwindled, exhaustion set in, and the initial fervor began to waver. The Austrians, sensing their advantage, redoubled their efforts, focusing on key strategic points on the walls.

One by one, sections of the wall fell, breached by cannon fire, or stormed by determined Austrian battalions. Despair threatened to engulf the Transpadane defenders, but their spirit remained unbroken. They fought street by street, house by house, refusing to yield an inch without a fierce fight. They used their knowledge of the city's intricate layout to their advantage, setting cunning traps and ambushes in the labyrinthine alleyways. Every rooftop, every doorway, became a potential death zone for the advancing Austrians. The battle raged for a grueling day, the sun reaching its zenith before finally beginning its descent. As darkness approached, casting long shadows on the blood-soaked battlefield, the remaining Transpadane defenders were forced to retreat to the central piazza, the heart of the city.

General Balabio, his face streaked with blood and grime, rallied his remaining troops. Though their numbers were few, their spirit remained undimmed. According to reports spread throughout Italy by patriotic newspapers in the aftermath, he gave a short speech to his valiant men. "Brothers and sisters," he thundered, his voice hoarse but resolute, "we have fought with honor, defended our freedom to the last breath. Tonight, we might fall, but our sacrifice will not be in vain. Our defiance will ignite a flame that will consume the tyranny that seeks to oppress us!" Inspired by their leader's words, the defenders prepared for their final stand. They knew the odds were stacked against them, but they were determined to sell their lives dearly. The Austrians, wary after their brutal advance, approached cautiously, their ranks tightening as they neared the piazza.

The final clash was a desperate and bloody affair. The remaining Transpadane defenders fought with the fury of cornered animals, their weapons flickering in the fading light. But the Austrian numbers were overwhelming, and one by one, they fell, their sacrifices etched forever in the memory of their comrades. General Balabio was among the last to fall, his sword broken, his body riddled with wounds. As he breathed his last, his eyes fixed on the Austrian flag fluttering above the city. His sacrifice, and that of Verona would live on, a beacon of hope for those who dared to fight for freedom.

More specifically, in the hearts of the Constitutional Circle, which had recruited new members at a massively accelerated rate, and was exponentially increasing its operations as a result. The total failure of the Transpadane government, of Melzi d’Eril and his ilk to defend the nation had seemingly proved all their worries of the false song of moderation completely true.

Now openly defying the government, a Democratic-Republican militia had been formed in Milan, with the aim of defending the city, especially now that the government had proved incapable of upholding even the basic promises of the social contract. Furthermore, four Bresciano brothers, Guiseppe, Giacomo, Teodoro, and Angelo Lechi organized their own revolutionary forces, with the aim of preventing the Austrian advance into Brescia by any means necessary.

Numbering several thousand strong in the beginning, it soon swelled due to the generous patronage of their fellow members in the Constitutional Circle, and the patriotic fervor spreading throughout Brescia. The newly formed Bresciano Legion set up defenses in Peschiera del Garda, which sat across the river Mincio. Peschiera del Garda was the last natural defensive position before the Austrians could enter into Brescia proper, and it had to be defended at all costs.

But crucially, the Austrian force sent to take Peschiera del Garda was not the full Austrian army, but a mere advance guard, and a ragged and tired one at that, thoroughly exhausted after weeks of relentless marching. As the Austrian forces approached with a listless air. Their uniforms, once pristine, were dusted with the grime of the road, their eyes heavy with fatigue. This was no grand army, merely a scouting force dispatched to test the waters, a token gesture before the true might of the Habsburg Empire would descend.

Yet, for the Bresciano Legion, this was their Thermopylae, their Valmy. A blacksmith's calloused hands tightened around his musket, the young scholar's face burned with righteous fury. They were a diverse group of individuals who came from all walks of life, and they were united by a single purpose: to defy the inevitable, to write their names in the annals of history, even if their ink was the blood they were prepared to spill.

As the first rays of sunlight kissed the battlements, the Austrians opened fire. Their volleys were loose, more a formality than a serious attack. Yet, the thunder of musket fire shattered the morning's peace, sending a tremor through the ranks of the Legion. Some flinched, but Captain Giuseppe Lechi's roars cut through the fear. A ragged line of musket fire erupted from the walls, peppering the Austrian formation. Though less numerous, the Legion's aim, fueled by desperation and righteous anger, found its mark. An Austrian officer crumpled, his white plume decorating the blood-soaked earth. A cry of rage ripped through their ranks, but their advance faltered. They were surprised, both by the fire itself, and the fact that there was a considerable defence being put up at all.

Captain Lechi seized the moment. With a bellowing war cry, he charged, his men a tide of steel and determination surging behind him. The Austrians, already somewhat weary and unsure, met the charge with wavering resolve. Their line buckled, their fire becoming a panicked storm. The younger Lechi brothers, Giacomo and Teodoro, flanked the advance with their own cohorts, their blades reaping a bloody harvest. The clash was brief, brutal, and decisive. The Austrians, overwhelmed by the unexpected ferocity of the revolutionaries, crumbled and fled. The cheers of the victorious Legion echoed across the valley, a defiant song that resonated beyond the walls of Peschiera.

The Austrians had retreated, leaving behind a scattering of muskets and the acrid tang of defeat. For the Bresciano, it was a feeling that was nothing short of ecstasy. They had driven them back! The first bite had been taken out of the Habsburg eagle. Their elation was shared, magnified even, by the ragtag nature of their army. Farmers, shopkeepers, students – men transformed by the crucible of battle into warriors – pounded their chests and roared their defiance. The Lechi brothers, all proud sons of Brescia, could now be counted among her finest.

However, across the Mincio River, a different narrative was taking root. The Austrian advance guard, battered and confused, limped back to their main force, bearing tales of a ferocious enemy, countless in number and fueled by an unholy zeal. The skirmish at Peschiera, in their retelling, transformed into a pitched battle against a formidable foe, partly to excuse their failure.

Fear, (of both the enemy and their superiors) proved a potent storyteller, embellishing their reports. The ragged militia became an organized army, the few volleys exchanged, a sustained barrage. By the time word reached the Austrian high command, the Bresciano Legion had morphed into a mythical beast, waiting to unleash its fury upon any who dared cross the river.

This misperception, fueled by fatigue and a healthy dose of paranoia, played perfectly into the hands of the revolutionaries. Fear, often a paralyzing force, became their unexpected ally. The Austrians, convinced they faced a potentially superior enemy, chose caution over conquest. Instead of immediately launching a full-scale assault, they opted to regroup, resupply, and wait for reinforcements. The men were completely exhausted and desperately needed some rest, anyhow.

News of the Austrian "retreat" spread like wildfire, adding further fuel to the flames of revolutionary fervor. The Constitutional Circle saw a huge surge in membership, their demands of radical change resonating even louder with the promise of a seemingly beatable enemy. The Bresciano Legion, their ranks bolstered by newfound recruits, basked in the glow of their perceived victory. Captain Lechi, his ego inflated by the misconstrued Austrian fear, indulged in celebratory speeches, painting himself and his men as the vanguard of a glorious uprising.

News of the battle would spread down to the Cispadane Republic, where fears and righteous patriotic fury were proliferated by the government. Simultaneously chastising Melzi d’Eril for his failures, but also rallying the people of Italy, not just the Cispadane Republic, to come to the defense of the nation. Soon, (and without Transpadane approval) forces of the Cispadane Republic would cross the Po River, into the Transpadane Republic.

While the Transpadane Republic grappled with internal turmoil and the Cispadane Republic prepared for an exciting yet uncertain future, another stage was set for another revolutionary clash of arms. Here, amidst the rolling hills and verdant valleys of western Germany, stood the French Army of the Rhine, under the seasoned command of Jean-Baptiste Jourdan, bolstered by a crucial addition: the fledgling Cisrhenian Republic's army, led by Johann Georg Kerner. Their foe, Karl Aloys zu Fürstenberg, Austria's rising military star, marched at the head of a formidable force, eager to avenge their recent setbacks.

Unlike the swift strikes and dramatic battles that characterized the Italian campaign, the Rhine offensive unfolded as a more deliberate, tactical chess game. Fürstenberg, mindful of past mistakes, opted for a methodical approach. He aimed to split the enemy forces and encircle Jourdan's army, utilizing his larger numbers and superior cavalry to his advantage.

The Austrians crossed the Rhine near Speyer, initially achieving success. The strategically important city of Worms soon fell, forcing Jourdan to retreat towards the Lahn River. French morale dipped, memories of past defeats stirring unease. But Jourdan, a veteran commander, refused to be swayed by panic. He understood his strengths - the familiarity of the terrain, the tenacity of his troops, and their adeptness at delaying tactics.

As opposed to the decisive battles on the Italian front, the battles in the Rhine were mostly many small skirmishes, as neither side was willing to fully commit to one decisive battle. The French were unwilling to launch any major counter-attacks, fearing that it would give up their defensive advantage, while the Austrians were hoping to utilize a strategy of divide and conquer, slowly isolating the Cishrenian and French armies from each other, while wreaking havoc across the Cisrhenian heartland apart in the process, with the ultimate goal of cutting the Army of the Rhine off from France with one decisive blow.

Battles like Landau showcased Austrian prowess, but their advance was constantly challenged. French regulars held the crucial center while Cisrhenian sharpshooters harassed Austrian supply lines, their knowledge of the terrain proving invaluable. Uckerath exemplified this collaboration, where Charles Lefebvre-Desnouettes’ French cavalry, supported by Kerner's riflemen, successfully stalled the Austrian advance.

Soon, heavy spring rain had caused the campaign to become a crucible of mud and endurance. The landscape, transformed by the relentless rain, tested both sides' resolve. While logistical nightmares plagued both camps, the Cisrhenian soldiers, fighting for their newfound freedom, and facing a truly existential threat displayed a tenacious spirit that surprised even their French comrades.

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In Wales, Gabriel d'Hedouville’s asymmetric campaign was slowly reaching its inevitable conclusion. With a massive increase in enemy troops being deployed in Wales to counter their efforts, ambushes, and attacks slowly grew increasingly rare, and it seemed as if d’Hedouville was preparing for some kind of close to the war. He would not be able to do this, however, as Fransisco de Miranda had other plans. Driven by ideology and fueled by personal ambition, Miranda embarked on a daring gamble. Under the cloak of darkness and swirling mist, he met with John Campell, commander of the Royal Carmarthen Fusiliers. Their secret talks whispered of betrayal, not just against his immediate command, but against a system he saw as incompatible with his vision for the future.

With meticulous planning, Miranda orchestrated a trap. Leading a large French force along a preordained path, he ensured their vulnerability. As they entered a narrow valley, British forces, alerted by Miranda's information, emerged from the mist, cutting off escape. The French, surprised and outnumbered, fought valiantly but were ultimately overwhelmed by the ferocity of the British assault.

In the aftermath, with their movements compromised and their commander's strategic options dwindling, panic began to spread among the French ranks. The initial ambush was just the beginning of the French army's downfall. In the chaotic aftermath, Miranda aided the British in systematically hunting down the scattered remnants of d'Hedouville's forces. With his knowledge of French tactics and movements, he facilitated their capture or demise, leading to further casualties among the already weakened French ranks.

Not long after the ambush, d'Hedouville found himself targeted by both British forces and elements within his own ranks who viewed him as responsible for the disastrous turn of events. The infighting amongst the French ranks was certainly not helped by the fact that many of the former political prisoners now in the same army had been fierce partisans, coming from a wide range of factions, from Royalists to Hébertists. Amidst the confusion and turmoil, d’Hedouville was ultimately betrayed by individuals under his command seeking to shift blame and secure their own survival. Whether through direct confrontation or a clandestine act of treachery, he was swiftly eliminated, his life cut short as a result of the turmoil and betrayal that engulfed him in the wake of the ambush. As the hunt continued, many French soldiers fell victim to the relentless pursuit, either killed in battle or captured by the British. The once-proud army of d'Hedouville was now a shadow of its former self, with only a fraction of its numbers remaining.

The news of d'Hedouville's death sent shockwaves through the French ranks, further undermining morale and cohesion among his remaining forces. With their commander gone and their leadership in disarray, the French soldiers faced an even bleaker outlook as they struggled to contend with the relentless pursuit of the British forces and the increasing amount of infighting within their own ranks.

The loss of their commander and the near total decimation of their forces dealt a severe irreversible blow to morale. Panic and despair gripped the remaining soldiers as they realized the extent of their defeat and the treachery of one of their own. Meanwhile, Francisco de Miranda, now fully committed to the British cause, continued to play a pivotal role in the cleanup of French troops. His defection and betrayal of the French had not only turned the tide of the war in Wales but also earned him a place of honor among his newfound allies.

In particular, Miranda hoped to use his newfound political capital in having secured a crucial victory in driving the French out of mainland Britain to push for his own war plans. Specifically, he claimed to have contact with many Federalist sympathizers, who were aching to revolt against the government in Paris, having the potential of reigniting the Federalist revolts in the process. Whether this was true or not, it would certainly make sure that he was on the mind of policymakers in London, and with that, his truest ambitions could come to fruition.
 
Austria is about to experience pain, but it seems Britain though battered is not getting removed from the war so easily. Boy those battles in Northern Italy were dramatic!
 
Miranda you traitor. You had one change to redeem and bring the ideals of the Revolution to Britain, and you decided to be an ally of reaction.
Truly sad that the French are starting to lose the momentum. Let's see if they manage to recover it, or if they are fully expeled from Britain (excluding Ireland for obvious reasons).
 
Miranda you traitor. You had one change to redeem and bring the ideals of the Revolution to Britain, and you decided to be an ally of reaction.
Truly sad that the French are starting to lose the momentum. Let's see if they manage to recover it, or if they are fully expeled from Britain (excluding Ireland for obvious reasons).
Being locked like a dog by said revolution truly show him the French true colors
 
Within days Venice would fall as scattered and overwhelmed Transpadane defenders failed to put up an effective defence. Prayers were said as a desperate defence was organized in Verona, along the Adige River.
The Austrian simply did not have the capability to storm the city of Venice within days, as its navy was a sorry joke IOTL. IMO you should edit this out since geography simply makes this idea impossible - one simply could not match to Venice on foot.

The only chance to match quickly is to bypass Venice.

Remember the siege of Venice in 1849 IOTL lasted 3 months and the city only finally fell because of famine and cholera.
 
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Being locked like a dog by said revolution truly show him the French true colors
Well, after all, among other things being equal, revolutionaries are the lesser evil - and going over to the side of a reactionary foreign interventionist is just an ordinary betrayal. However, his priority is the liberation of Colombia - maybe he will be able to buy back some acquisitions for himself.


The news of d'Hedouville's death sent shockwaves through the French ranks, further undermining morale and cohesion among his remaining forces. With their commander gone and their leadership in disarray, the French soldiers faced an even bleaker outlook as they struggled to contend with the relentless pursuit of the British forces and the increasing amount of infighting within their own ranks.
In fact, the logical conclusion of the campaign in Britain.
 
General Balabio was among the last to fall, his sword broken, his body riddled with wounds. As he breathed his last, his eyes fixed on the Austrian flag fluttering above the city. His sacrifice, and that of Verona would live on, a beacon of hope for those who dared to fight for freedom.
 
Another awesome chapter!

This one felt very realistic, too. Betrayals do happen, and the Austrians are a mixture of clever (in Germany) and normal (in Italy).
(A minor nitpick: the Lahn flows into the Rhine from the East, so the Left Bank forces cannot move there. They can move towards the Mosel, though, which flows into the Rhine pretty close to where the Lahn also flows into it. Both are quite a march away from Worms, though - perhaps you meant the Nahe?)
Also, even with reactionary successes, you can pursue your Jacobin agenda ;-) Evidently, it's been the pandering Transpadanians who were slaughtered here, while the fiercely determined Jacobins in Cispadania and now also in Transpadanian Brescia have stood their ground at Peschiera. (Verona and Peschiera are both places I've seen this summer on my holidays, and it's a gruesome vision to imagine Verona's Piazza delle Erbe red with the blood of the defenders who took their last stance there...)

What might happen next?
On the Left Bank of the Rhine, the stalemate serves no-one. I'm honestly curious to see which direction this goes.
In Italy, even if France is not taking a more decisive interventionist stance, Italian forces are probably gathering. Are Napoleon and the Poles dispensable in the Parthenopean Republic because the rebellion has already been put down? In that case, the Austrians are in for a nasty surprise. If not - or rather: as long as this isn't the case, because I suppose in the end, Naples will be pacified -, there might be more nastiness and Austrian advances in Northern Italy yet. But the "Rape of Verona" makes for extremely bad press and will rally Italians of all stripes behind their flags, just as much as the suprise success at the Mincio will make them believe that resistance is not necessarily futile.
In Britain, Pitt has his success in Wales at last. Will he do the sensible thing now and withdraw from Haiti, and redeploy some of these forces to an attempt to take back Ireland? Might go either way. Time to offer some carrot, too, now, probably. So, probably Britain stays in the war.
In France, that's a bit of a reversal, although the different sides will interpret it differently: the doves as a clear sign that wars in foreign countries should be de-prioritised even more, while the interventionists will point to the impossibility of making peace with the forces of reaction and to the horrors which the Austrian butchers have committed in fair Verona. Social and economic divisions could exacerbate the differences, too.
 
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