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Discussion in 'Post Test Messages Here' started by jc558, May 2, 2016.

  1. jc558 Welch

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    No lack of lands to conquer - Chapter I

    Philip II of Macedon was not a poor strategist by any standards, but his decision to go to war with the vast Achaemenid Empire was to be his downfall. Even less was he a poor soldier, yet the brief campaign shattered his reputation, and indeed nearly toppled the state which he had done so much to transform. Macedonia had changed from a modestly sized Balkan backwater to a strong, militaristic and expansionist kingdom under Philip's rule. Having come to power in 359 BC after the untimely deaths of his brothers, he held on to it through wise but bold leadership. He worked hard to improve military standards, using combat experience with neighbouring nations and tribes to tune the Macedonian army into a powerful instrument. Notably, the Macedonian cavalry had played a key role in many of his successes, although his disciplined infantry phalanxes also outmatched their opponents. These victories over his minor neighbours had been eclipsed, however, by his defeat of the Greek states to the south at the ferocious battle of Chaeronea in 338 BC. No longer would Macedonia be treated like a poor relation of the 'true Greeks' of Athens, Sparta, Thebes and the others, but rather as their effective ruler.

    From 337 BC, preparations were underway to form a united Greek army to invade the Persian Empire. For so long, it had been the lot of the Greeks to be on the receiving end of Persian invasions, and each time the various states had in desperation joined forces and narrowly beaten them off. But while Thermopylae, Salamis and Marathon were unforgettable names in Greek history, they had spent far more time fighting each other than they had the Persians. Any attempts which had been made had invariably met with little success, suffering from poor organisation, a lack of numbers and most significantly, disunity and rivalry among both the men and their leaders. Now, though, Philip was master of most of Greece, with the notable exception of Sparta, whose grim reputation had perhaps dissuaded him from trying to bring them into his 'League of Corinth'.

    But Spartan rejection or not, Philip pressed on. The invasion was planned for mid 337 BC, with troops drawn from across much of Greece. Some states were reluctant to take part, but realistically they were in no position to stand up to Macedonian might. And of course, at the end of the day, what true Greek would flinch at the chance to strike a blow at the old enemy of Persia. Differences could be set aside for now, as this was an adventure for all, and with a very real chance of success. The numbers would not be in their favour, but in spirit, and perhaps more importantly in equipment, the Greeks would have the edge. Philip had implemented a series of reforms, having learned from his own military experiences over the past 20 years, and studied the planning and tactics of others. Macedonian troops were fitted out with the most effective weapons, from the lengthy sarissa to the humble slingshot, and were well-versed in their use due to regular training and mock combat. The cavalry were also in fine condition, as Philip had frequently raided the lands to the north to capture high quality cavalry chargers, as well as putting considerable time and effort into a horse breeding program. Not all of these benefits were available to the non-Macedonian contingents, but where possible they being introduced in an attempt to boost the qualitative advantage even further. Whatever the Persians had lying in wait for them, the Greeks could fight back with confidence in their equipment and fighting ability.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2017
  2. jc558 Welch

    Joined:
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    Location:
    NI, UK
    No lack of lands to conquer - Chapter II

    The great invasion took place in the early summer of the following year, with Philip leading an army of over 40,000 troops against the uncounted armies of the Achaemenid Empire. It was his boldest decision yet, but it had the potential to destroy Greece's old enemy, and success would also bring Philip renown, and hopefully loyalty, from his subjects. The endeavour got off to a poor start, with unusually bad weather causing trouble on the sea crossing to Asia, with more than one ship running aground on the rocky coast of their destination. Philip's own ship almost became a victim of the storm, barely avoiding a collision with the ship alongside it. Once the majority of his army was finally ashore, Philip could begin to focus on the campaign itself. The most pressing question was that of secure supply lines, without which he would be restricted to campaigning along the coast, being supplied by sea, where the Greeks had superiority. Fortunately, a number of the cities in the area were at least nominally Greek, so there was a strong chance of receiving material support from them.

    From his landing site at the Troad, Philip's army moved south-east into Anatolia, passing several of these Ionian cities, but only a small number were able to assist him in a meaningful way. None were openly hostile, but they feared retribution from the Persians, whom they believed to be fast approaching to wipe out this Greek force with a much larger army. This was in fact misinformation spread by the Persians, which found ready listeners among those Ionians who were less than pleased by the arrival of the Macedonians, being reasonably content with their current situation. The Macedonians persisted with their advance, but they were by now coming into frequent contact with Persian skirmishing forces, who raided Macedonian camps at night, and occasionally clashed with Macedonian scouting parties. A minor battle took place near Smyrna when Persian forces tried to block the path to the city, in which the Macedonians came off better, easily pushing through. On the other hand, they failed to follow up the pursuit, allowing the Persians to retreat without taking heavy losses. The bulk of the Persian forces were by now heading for the area, but relatively slowly, under the new Persian king, Darius III. He was pursuing a cautious strategy, building up his forces and ensuring they were fit to fight before he engaged the invaders. In fact, he had assembled a force of over 80,000 men, before he felt confident enough to give battle, although even this was only a fraction of the Persians' total strength.

    This battle finally took place at the end of 336 BC, after several months of preparation on both sides. The location was slightly to the east of Sardis, a significant regional capital which had fallen to Philip's forces a month earlier, in the valley of the Pactolus River. As at Chaeronea, Philip's son Alexander was in command of the Macedonian cavalry, while other officers included the veterans Parmenion and Antigonus. The battle commenced when Persian light infantry made a feint attack towards the Macedonian centre-right, hoping to draw out the less experienced Illyrian troops situated there. This was thwarted by the discipline of these soldiers, who despite not being of the same quality in a pitched battle as most of the Greek contingents, were flanked by steadier Macedonian units. Philip's response was to send Alexander and his cavalry, also situated on the right, to attack the Persian line as the light infantry fell back. With his customary bravado Alexander led the way, although the charge was assailed by previously unseen Persian archers, who were mostly able to escape after delivering a deadly volley towards the approaching cavalry.

    Fearlessly, Alexander's cavalry pressed on, causing havoc among the recently recruited infantry on the Persian left flank, but suffering heavy casualties in the process. Among those killed at this point was Philotas, son of Parmenion, while Alexander himself was lightly wounded. After breaking through the enemy line, they found themselves slowed by the rougher ground to the rear. Fortunately the Persian archers were no longer firing on them, and they were able to extricate themselves and head for the Persian baggage train. This move was observed by Darius, who immediately ordered an attack by his own reserve cavalry, but it was countermanded by one of his officers, who wisely recognised that the longer Alexander's horsemen stayed out of the field, the better.
    The retreat across the Hellespont back into Greece was a humiliation for the men who had set off with such confidence the previous year. Of course many of those men now lay rotting in Anatolian fields, where they had been left on the orders of Darius himself. The invasion of Xenophon and the 'Ten Thousand' during the reign of Artaxerxes had gone further before defeat, but it was the scale of this one which made the Persians furious. Having made an example out of the Greeks who had been killed, and with the surviving prisoners enslaved, Darius' anger was somewhat abated.

    His forces had shadowed the Greeks as they retreated, but they had refrained from cutting off and destroying the Greek army completely. Anyway, a Greek soldier was at his most ferocious when cornered, and there was little benefit in another battle if they were leaving of their own accord. So reasoned Darius at any rate, and nobody was willing to voice an opinion against him. The reality was that his own men had suffered greatly, taking heavy casualties and losing several important officers. A revenge expedition against Macedonia was out of the question at the moment, and Darius was more concerned with holding on to the territories he already possessed. In fact, a worrying situation appeared to be developing in Egypt, according to messengers from the south. His attentions would be better focused there, rather than on an aggressive Greek state whose ambitions had fallen flat.

    Meanwhile, Philip's own thoughts were far from cheerful, and his position was precarious. Many of the Greek states which had sworn loyalty to Macedonia would now be emboldened by Philip's defeat, for most of his losses had come from his own Macedonian troops. A substantial number of men remained in Macedonia to discourage any thought of rebellion, but Macedonia's short time as hegemon of Greece could be swiftly heading towards its conclusion. The main danger came from Sparta, the only major state which had not submitted to Macedonia. Philip had threatened them a few years previously with the message: 'If I enter Laconia, I will raze Sparta to the ground.' The Spartan reply was: 'If'. The incident had been shrugged off by Philip at the time, but still, he had not invaded. Now he was regretting his decision, and determined that once his own kingdom was in order, he would settle the question permanently.

    Philip never had time to put these thoughts into action, as events moved more quickly than he had expected. The crossing back to Europe and the march which followed were achieved without notable difficulty, albeit with ominous murmurings from many of the troops about the 'abandonment' of their comrades. More quiet, yet far more important, were the moves being made in secret by the high ranking members of Philip's court. News of the invasion's failure reached Pella well before Philip did, and he was powerless to prevent discussion there about his future. When he at last arrived, at the head of a still proud, but worn-out army, he put a brave face on the situation. Several commanders were honoured for their courage and leadership, while sacrifices were made to the gods in the temples of the city, in thanks for the return of the soldiers.

    It was to no avail, and Philip, who in spite of his victories had never entirely won the hearts of all of his men, was dead just two weeks later by the hand of Attalus. Two years previously, Attalus' drunken prayer at Philip's wedding to Eurydice, that Macedonia would at last 'have a legitimate heir to the throne', had naturally been taken as an insult by Alexander, who had nearly killed him on the spot. But Philip also took a dim view of Attalus' insolence, and had him demoted. Although the need for experienced officers in the invasion force had resulted in a return to his old rank, Attalus was still dissatisfied with Philip's treatment of him. As well as this, Philip had blamed Attalus for the debacle after the Battle of Sardis, and left him out of the honours given to other commanders. So it was, that as Philip was on his way to inspect one of his infantry units with a handful of his officers, Attalus rode up alongside him, and rammed a dagger into his back. Immediately Attalus was off, heading southwards to find sanctuary in one of the many anti-Macedonian states to be found there. While his deed might turn out to win him favour with his peers, he wasn't betting on surviving long enough for that. Rather, he would make his escape now, returning if favourable circumstances should arise.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2017
  3. jc558 Welch

    Joined:
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    Location:
    NI, UK
    No lack of lands to conquer - Chapter III

    With the death of the king confirmed, Alexander was now facing his most difficult challenge - to assert his authority as the heir to a man whose final campaign had culminated in disaster. Philip's reputation had not been entirely lost at Sardis and Halicarnassus, but the defeat certainly overshadowed his previous victories which had made him effective rule of most of Greece. His assassination was only a natural consequence of this failure, and Alexander was well aware that he had a higher than usual chance of being murdered himself. Pella was a dangerous city, but Alexander knew he would fare no better in the rest of Macedonia, so he chose to stay in the capital. From there he could easily monitor, and more importantly influence, events in this crucial period.

    One of his first acts was to consult his tutor, Aristotle. He was one of the few men Alexander trusted completely, and his advice, while not always specific, was rarely wrong. Aristotle did not smile as usual when Alexander approached him and led him away to a quiet place. Both men knew that the times ahead could be bloody and chaotic. For a moment they sat in silence, then Aristotle spoke.

    ''You have come for advice, or for comfort?''
    ''Comfort is of little use to me now, even if others are mourning. Advice is essential.''
    ''You know as well as I do who your rivals are. Unfortunately I am generally expected to answer questions rather than to ask them, so it is you who must know their characters best from their conversation.''
    ''I know them well, but then of course they would all feign loyalty.''
    ''At least heed these words - make no new enemies, but be sure to deal with those you already have.''
    ''I will do that, but the next few months will be dangerous if I do not remove even potential enemies.''
    ''They would be as dangerous if you did. Inevitably there will be a number of premature deaths very soon, but do not start your reign with the appearance of a mad tyrant. Your father was excessively wary of all around him, and by his death it had reached sheer paranoia. Not everyone is plotting against you, so I say again - make no new enemies by unnecessary killings.''
    ''Very well, I must go now. I know that I may always depend on you.''

    Aristotle nodded and shifted slightly in his seat, and Alexander took this as a sign to leave.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2017
  4. jc558 Welch

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2015
    Location:
    NI, UK
    Südwestafrika

    German South-West Africa, now simply known as South-West Africa, is a former colony of the German Empire, having become independent in 1971. Germany first took over the region during the scramble for Africa, consolidating its control over the following few years. Notably this included the organised wiping out of a large part of the native population, with the Herero people suffering the most. For the Germans at least, however, this did end all serious attempts to overthrow their rule, bringing stability to the colony.

    South-West Africa was nearly lost to the British in late 1914, some months into the Danube War. Triggered by the assassination of Franz Ferdinand by a Bosnian Serb in Sarajevo, it resulted in Austria-Hungary invading Serbia, with Montenegro and Russia joining in against the Habsburgs. Covert German involvement, the poorly thought-out idea of the Kaiser, resulted in the annexation of German New Guinea by British and Australian forces as a clear warning to back down. A similar event almost took place in German South-West Africa, but fortunately an armed stand-off along the border with South Africa ended peacefully.

    As the decades passed, colonies of various nations began their struggles for independence. Portugal suffered the worst of this, with Communist insurgencies in Mozambique and Angola, the latter spilling over into German South-West Africa by the early 1960s, in the form of the Ovambo Liberation Front. The Germans, while initially backing the local government they had installed in 1951, began to see that direct German occupation was hindering rather than helping efforts to contain the uprising. In 1971 the territory dropped the 'German', and became simply 'South-West Africa'. The flag of the newly independent nation was largely based on the colony's old coat of arms, in official use since the 1920s, with the Afrikaner Bull acting as the country's national animal, in place of the Bateleur Eagle used by the OLF.
    swa2.png
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2016
  5. jc558 Welch

    Joined:
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    Location:
    NI, UK
    No lack of lands to conquer - Chapter IV

    With all Macedonia now bowing to his rule, Alexander was able to relax slightly. But not for long. Relaxation had never been his style, and he had ambitious plans to make up for his father's defeat in Persia, which would require all his energy and skill. For a few months, he would stay in Macedonia, managing domestic issues and ensuring the stability of the country. But then he would go on campaign, as leader and not as subordinate. The east was naturally discarded as an option almost immediately. Another war with Persia would only lead to another defeat, in the unlikely event that anyone even joined him in the venture. To the south lay the sea - and Sparta. A victory over the Spartans would be a good starting point in preparation for larger scale operations, if it could be pulled off. To the west was Epirus, a steady enough ally. So surely the best course of action was to attack north? The Macedonians had long warred with the barbarians of Thrace, and it was in these campaigns that Macedon had established its dominance in horsemanship. The cavalry had emerged from the Persian campaign relatively intact compared to the infantry, and Alexander was in no doubt that they would be at the vanguard of his future conquests.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2017
  6. jc558 Welch

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2015
    Location:
    NI, UK
    No lack of lands to conquer - Chapter V
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2017
  7. jc558 Welch

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2015
    Location:
    NI, UK
    All the Deputy First President's men - a Northern Irish/American TL

    [​IMG] upload_2017-1-7_19-15-40.png [​IMG]


    January 2008 - the inauguration of First President Peter Robinson

    ''...the Constitution of the United States. So help me God.'

    ''And God help the rest of us,'' thought Deputy First President Martin McGuinness, who had just taken his own oath of office. Working with Ian Paisley had been something of an ordeal, but just as they had started to build up a rapport he had stepped down. The title of 'The Chuckle Brothers' which they had briefly enjoyed was hardly likely to be applied to him and Robinson.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2017 at 3:19 PM
  8. jc558 Welch

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2015
    Location:
    NI, UK
    -POLITICAL and GEOGRAPHIC-
    Name
    : Order of Brothers of the German House of Saint Mary in Jerusalem

    Alternative Name: Teutonic Knights, Teutonic Order

    Capital: Konigsberg

    Major Cities: Thorn, Riga

    Geographic Description: Divided into two major regions on the Baltic Coast, separated by the Duchy of Lithuania. Small holdings in the Middle East.

    Transportation Network:
    Go into as much detail as you need, as little as you want. How does stuff move around your territory?

    Government Type: Theocratic Order

    Head of State: Grand Master (Gunther von Wullersleben)

    Head of Government: Grand Master (Gunther von Wullersleben)

    Succession Law: Grand Masters are elected by the Generalkapitel.

    Public Responsibility:Just how much do the elites have to pay attention to the rabble? Screw the peasant masses? Oh-dear-lord-I-hope-they-don’t-burn-me-at-the-stake? Somewhere in the middle? Remember, there’s trade-offs in either direction.

    Stability: This goes hand in hand with the above, and will likely change decade to decade. As you update your almanac decade to decade. Fairly self-explanatory. No one is perfect, but not everyone is a total basket case either... although I suspect that many of the players are.

    Centralization: The Bigger you are, the less likely you are to have full control over your dominions, hence the purpose of feudalism, which is still alive and well. You might as well list the ratio of your desmene to vassals. Some places of similar size will be more centralized than others, it just depends. Both have serious drawbacks and benefits. Even small 'countries' may be decentralized, a collection of towns and or a league. None of us are playing "North Korea mode" quite yet.

    Judicial:

    Legislature: The Generalkapitel, the assembly of important figures within the Order, who meet annually and have effective power over Teutonic policy.

    - The Group of Elite that have the biggest say
    - How many of them there are

    - Major parties or factions

    Political Objectives: What SHORT-TERM goals drive your govt?

    Intelligence Service:Meh. Of token importance. Fill out if you want.


    -SOCIAL-
    Population:
    Around 750,000.

    Clergy: Lots of monks.

    Nobility:
    Majority are members of the Order

    Burghers/Middle Class:
    (Should be tiny)

    Lower Class:

    Bonded:
    Captured pagans make good slaves if they won't convert.

    Unemployed: (Should be very few)

    Language: German

    Gini Index:Basically, how well distributed is the wealth? Official system is Low=major disparity, High=evenly spread.
    i.e.: On the high side comparatively. Remnant and unofficial policies of serfdom (fed by colonial slavery policies) continues to seriously hamper class modernization attempts.

    Religion: Catholic Christian

    Strategic Goals: Subdue remaining Prussian pagans, gain complete control over Duchy of Lithuania and improve naval capabilities to limit Scandinavian encroachments.

    Internal Problems: Native Prussians - lots of them.

    Culture: Quite a mix of Prussian, Polish and Latvian. Immigration of would-be knights from across Europe has made the Order's territory a diverse place, although they do their best to keep things German.

    Education: Mandatory Public Education? Any good universities? Segregation? Or is there a laughable brain drain.


    -INDUSTRY and MONEY-
    Major Industries:
    Show off how productive your people are!

    Imports / Exports: Exports include timber, amber and fish.

    Merchant Fleet: Plenty of small fishing vessels, but not a lot in the way of major trading ships.

    Currency: Mark - coins minted by the Order.

    Taxes/Revenue Collection: King, Duke, Count, or Cowboy needs money. If you are the latter you think tax is the devil and that money should come from those who are weaker than you. If you are anyone else, you need a tax regime to pay for expenditures. But remember, with high taxes comes consequences. Also list who are the primary constituencies that are taxed (and those who are exempt.) Numbers are fine, but what’s the basic system for your govt funding itself? List how effective it is, and how high or low it is.

    -FIGHTING DUDES-

    [​IMG]

    Army

    The formidable and incomparable Teutonic Knights are a fearsome force on the battle field. They are organised as follows:

    • 400 Ritterbrudern - elite heavily armoured cavalry, taken from the nobility.
    • 600 Diendebrudern - reasonably high quality men-at-arms, usually distributed around weaker units when fighting in a large formation, or used as a reserve.
    • 600 Halbbrudern - regular armoured infantry, fighting in the first line.
    • 5000 infantry - mostly only recruited in wartime, these are not regular troops.

    Navy:
    Same as the above. Can overlap somewhat with Merchant Fleet above in the early days, but the line will quickly become clearer.

    Flag:
    [​IMG]


    History:
    The Teutonic Order was founded as a hospital in 1190 during the Third Crusade, becoming a military order in 1198. It still has minor estates in the Holy Land and in central Germany, and the official seat of the Grand Master is in fact at Starkenberg Castle near Acre. Since 1226 its focus has been on expansion in eastern Prussia and along the east coast of the Baltic. In 1237 it absorbed the Livonian Order, increasing its strength even more. As it continued to stamp out the pagan native Prussians, it also turned its eyes on Novgorod, but this led to defeat at the Battle on the Ice, fought on the frozen Lake Peipus in 1242. The First Prussian Uprising broke out in the same year, but was finally put down after several years of hard fighting, and was concluded by the Treaty of Christburg. Despite this apparent end to hostilities, remaining pagans still occasionally attack members of the Order, such as at the infamous Battle of Krucken. The massacre of surrendering knights has led to a harsher approach to the wars against the pagans, with no mercy being shown.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2017
  9. jc558 Welch

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2015
    Location:
    NI, UK
    Warplan
    Nation: Teutonic Order

    Nation Being Attacked: Prussian pagans

    Allies: Dunekirche

    Reason: To crush organised pagan resistance in southern territory, removing a major internal problem.

    Forces: 150 Ritterbrudern (elite heavy cavalry), 300 Halbbrudern (knights on foot), 1000 regular infantry, 20 volunteer infantry from Dunekirche.

    Plan: Force will move east from Konigsberg into the countryside, following the north bank of the River Pregel, staying in reasonably open ground where possible. They will then continue east past the low hills on their right. By this point rebel forces will probably be alert and may attack. The hills are forested, so a surprise attack is likely from here, but the force must not be drawn into the woods.
    If no attack is made, the force will turn north and follow the Neman downstream. The ground is more open here, so better use can be made of the cavalry. Camps are not to be pitched too close to the river, to prevent being trapped with no escape route.
    This is now in the pagan heartlands, so any pagan forts encountered are to be taken and burned down if they can be easily captured. Pagan idols and statues will also be destroyed in villages.
    The force will keep following the Neman until they are approaching the coast, when they will turn south and return to Konigsberg.

    Summary:
    • Follow Pregel and Neman rivers in an anticlockwise loop
    • Fight rebels in the open if possible
    • Draw them into battle by sacking forts and burning pagan sites of worship
    kb2.png
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2017
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  10. jc558 Welch

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2015
    Location:
    NI, UK
    (I've done the best I can with this, so sorry if I've misinterpreted anybody's plans. Appeals to the OOC thread.)
    1251 War Report

    Egypt

    The joint attack of the Sultanate of Egypt and the Almohad Caliphate in 1250 had led to the fall of Cairo, but not Alexandria. And even this had come at a heavy cost, with the Sultanate taking crippling losses, and the Almohads also taking high casualties. The lack of supplies was also a concern, but the capture of Cairo did provide some sustenance to the beleaguered troops. On the other side, the Crusaders had taken fewer losses, but they had a much smaller reserve of manpower and had also sacrificed a lot of territory. So during the winter of 1250-51, both sides had to think hard about their strategy for the coming year.

    With their local numerical advantage reduced, the Almohads called up reinforcements to bring their forces back up to strength. The Almohad commander had come up with a scheme to dam the Nile outside Alexandria, then deliberately breach the dam to flood the city, perhaps even breaking down the walls. His men were soon at work, but the wide flat land of the Nile Delta was not ideal for his plan, as the water simply found another course, spilling around the sides of the dam. One branch of the river flowing along the boundary of the city was finally blocked up, although not very securely. When it was broken, the water spilled out, but with less force than had been hoped for, and the walls stood firm. It did at least give a shock to a small party of defenders who had quietly ventured out to see what the besiegers were doing, and they were swept off their feet by the water. Later, an abortive attack on the city only cost the Almohads several hundred dead, although they at least were able to make up their numbers from reinforcements arriving from the coast. They had already seen combat with the Christians, but in battle rather than a depressing siege, as outlined below.

    The Christians had called for help several months previously, and it came in the form of an army from the Kingdoms of Jerusalem and Antioch, with Jerusalem providing most of the troops. One force headed to Egypt to help the besieged defenders of Alexandria, while the other larger force ventured into Arabia. The force sent to Egypt, 1200 strong, was able to make its way down the Mediterranean coast, skirting by Almohad outposts. There were few clashes, but far more worrying was the sight of a major force a few miles inland, apparently heading southeast towards Alexandria. This army had been landed by an Almohad fleet just a few hours earlier, and was on its way to link up with the main Muslim forces outside Alexandria. The Christian commander faced a difficult decision, but the choice was made to attack now, before they came within reach of the main Almohad army.

    The army of Jerusalem and Antioch moved towards the Almohads, who had by now noticed their presence and were preparing for battle. The Almohads had an army of around 2000, largely infantry, transported by sea from Tripoli. (OOC: Skywalker, I assumed about 40 men per warship, and the same number of supply ships) The Crusaders feinted further towards the south, to the right of the Almohad line, but then unleashed a cavalry charge on the Alhmohad left. It came under fire from enemy archers, but managed to shatter the light troops who were unable to escape quickly enough. The Almohads, by now aware that the first attack had been a distraction, responded by moving some men to their left, and ordering a general advance. The Christian infantry, deprived of their cavalry support, suffered greatly from the attentions of the Almohad archers, but pulled back to rougher ground. The cavalry, meanwhile, broke through the Muslim lines again on their way back, but by now had lost about 3/4 of their strength. So the battle ended with a Christian tactical retreat, but the Almohads were content to let them fall back, having prevented them from relieving Alexandria. However, wary of a renewed attempt to reach Alexandria by the army of Jerusalem, most of the Almohad army was forced to remain near the coast.

    Those that did reach Alexandria arrived just after the attempted storming of the city, and brought the news of how the Kingdom of Jerusalem's forces had been repulsed, not to mention vitally needed food supplies for the large and hungry Almohad army. What was equally significant, although the Almohads were not aware of it, was that reserves of food were beginning to run low in Alexandria itself. The Crusaders will soon have to either accept the terms offered earlier, or go down fighting to the end, unless more supplies can be brought in by sea. With most of their kingdom occupied by Muslim troops, and a blocking force established on the road to the Holy Land, relief by sea is their only hope.

    Almohad casualties: Medium
    Egyptian casualties: Light
    Jerusalem/Antioch casualties: Medium


    Arabia

    Far from all this, the larger Jerusalem-Antioch force made its way south in two formations. The smaller followed the Gulf of Aqaba, then the coastline of the Red Sea. It eventually turned inland at Al-Furaysh, where it split in two, and took up positions to the west and south-west of Medina. It was able to do so relatively unscathed, as local troops had not expected an attack so far south, so their hurried preparations had focused on defending the city itself, rather than the approaches to it.

    The Christian force which was heading south by way of the desert had the initial objective of capturing Tabuk. Here they were met by a small militia unit of men from the town, who had also installed a small force in the town's old fortress. They were ruthlessly killed in a short and one-sided fight, along with many other men of fighting age in the city, and the fortress was given a small garrison after its similarly swift capture. A small number fled towards Medina after their defeat. After this, as the Crusader army headed further south, they met little opposition from the Arabs, but had to deal with the far greater enemies of sun, heat and thirst. They had the optimistic hope that 'they would find some water on the way', but this was largely an illusion. To conserve water supplies the commander was forced to reduce the size of his force, sending 1000 soldiers out of his 3300 back to Tabuk. Those who continued did succeed in locating a well after some time, and were able to make it to Al-Ula.

    Another grueling march southwards, and the men were at Al-Mulaylih were they split into two groups in preparation for an attack on Medina. The original plan had been for a three-pronged assault, but the reduced numbers would have left each force dangerously weak. 1000 infantry and the 300 cavalry headed straight on for Medina, while 1000 infantry swung round to the east to attack from that direction. If these troops could not take Medina, the task would be up to the army marching down the coast, with whom they were now in contact via messengers.

    The first strike came from the infantry from the east. After their long trek through the desert, they were not in the best shape for the attack, and were initially thrown back by Medina's defenders, taking heavy losses. The main blow came when the other infantry and the cavalry attacked directly from the north, while the defenders had their hands full with the first attack. At one time the city would have been more of a challenge to capture, but with its declining importance over recent times, so the defences had been allowed to decay. The Crusaders managed to break into the city after the discovery of an unguarded gate by a cavalry scout, and they poured in rapidly. Fighting was fierce, but part of the coastal force arrived on the scene to assure victory. The Muslim defeat was total, although the attackers were made to pay dearly, but the city was eventually in Christian hands. The bad news was that with the fall of such a holy city, all Muslims with the ability to fight would be obliged to unite and retake it, whatever the cost. The Crusaders had caught the Arabs by surprise this time, but now, from across Arabia, enemies were gathering to avenge this defeat.

    Jerusalem/Antioch casualties: Medium
    Sultanate of Egypt casualties: Medium-heavy


    Italy
    Back on European shores, the war between the Christian powers continued. Byzantine forces were holed up in and around the port of Taranto, but were sending out raiding parties of cavalry and mounted archers to harass Frederick's men. When possible, further groups were venturing well out of the city and deep into enemy country, doing their best to disrupt communications between north and south. As for their own communications, a message to the Aragonese asking them to try a second naval invasion had been abruptly rejected - hardly surprising after the last disaster. But Aragon did agree to keep its fleet patrolling in the region to keep the Sicilians on their toes.

    Back on land, in the north an Anglo-Hungarian army was on the march once again. This time, the Hungarians were unopposed by the Bohemians, who saw little reason to sacrifice more of their men for a war in which they stood to gain little. So it was, that the two allies were able to link up and get as far south as Florence before they had to give battle. Their opponents were mostly Sicilians, firmly for Frederick, but Byzantine efforts to bribe various Italian mercenary contingents meant that a part of the army was ready to switch sides if the battle seemed to be at all in the English' favour. The armies at the opening of the Battle of Florence were evenly matched in numbers and quality, so when a several thousand strong group of heavily armed mercenary infantry broke ranks and headed for the Sicilian baggage train, the balance was tipped decisively. Richard was triumphant once more, as the Anglo-Hungarians put the enemy to flight. An advance on Rome followed, causing the relatively small besieging force to retreat south to join the army facing the Byzantines.

    At this stage, the Byzantines attempted a limited breakout towards the toe of Italy. With their heavily armoured cataphracts and experienced infantry it looked like they could well succeed, but they had done little to make up for the previous year's losses. On the other hand, the troops facing them had had plenty of time to take up strong positions, and were able to repel the attack at a heavy cost to the Byzantines. In Sicily itself, having cleared the island of the last few Aragonese, a small contingent was shipped across to the mainland to bolster Frederick's strength there. Disaster struck when Byzantine ships made an unexpected appearance, and a small but vicious naval battle broke out. Two troop ships and four escorts were lost, but the Byzantines lost four of their own warships. After this, both navies were content to stay on the defensive, as the respective armies were on land. Frederick's troops still hold much of southern Italy, notably the key port of Naples, but there is now intermittent contact between allied forces in the north and south.

    Sicilian casualties: Medium
    Anglo-Hungarian casualties: Light-medium
    Byzantine casualties: Medium
    Aragonese casualties: Minimal


    Iberia
    With the Almohad army focused on Egypt, the Iberian kingdoms have been speculating on the possibility of pushing back the Muslims even further. As yet no formal plans are in place, but cross-border raiding is taking place with higher frequency than usual, prompting retaliations by local commanders. the Kingdom of Leon is the chief culprit, but perhaps all of those Christian nations in Iberia need to be taught a lesson..
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2017
  11. jc558 Welch

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2015
    Location:
    NI, UK
    Nation: Kingdom of the Dragon (Reino del Dragón)
    OTL Area: Coast of Texas
    Government type: Monarchy
    Rough Population: 1.25 million
    Summary: Many centuries after the great collapse, one of the states which rose up in the south was the Kingdom of the Dragon, the name inspired by old pictures and drawings of snakes and lizards. The Kingdom of the Dragon is ruled by King Valdez, who claims that his line has ruled these lands since the dawn of time, and there is little evidence to suggest otherwise. He is in fact from the Valdez line, which has given the country its previous five monarchs, while the history of the region before then is sketchy at best. Situated on the Caribbean coast, the Kingdom makes its way in the world by coastal trade, although it plans to extend its trade links, not to mention royal power, further inland as well.


    Nation:
    Federation of the Lake (See-Verband)
    OTL Area: Western end of Great Lakes
    Government type: Federal state, high level of autonomy
    Rough Population:
    Summary:
    German speaking communities south of Lake Superior banded together and maintained their distinct culture in the face of marauding enemies from the plains to the south. The use of English within its borders is now limited, as community leaders emphasised 'traditional German ideals', although any relations to those of their distant homeland is probably only a coincidence. A loose union was formed around 20 years ago, although they have been effectively functioning as a single state for longer. The Federation is built on the pillars of democracy and free trade within its sphere of influence, but is somewhat suspicious of outsiders.
     
  12. jc558 Welch

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2015
    Location:
    NI, UK
    -POLITICAL and GEOGRAPHIC-
    Name
    : Reino del Dragón
    Alternative Name: Dragón
    Capital: Ciudad Verde
    Major Cities: Thinking of names...
    Geographic Description: A nation on the Texas coast, on the north bank of the Rio Grande.

    Transportation Network: The roads along the coast are good, but inland road maintenance is left to the locals, not that there are very many in the more arid parts. Travelling by boat is an option, both along the coast and up the Rio Grande.

    Government Type: Absolute Monarchy
    Head of State: King Fernando of the House of Valdez
    Head of Government: King Fernando
    Succession Law: Primogeniture.

    Public Responsibility: Enough to keep them loyal, and little more. Of course for a bribe you can get almost anything you want.
    Stability: The Valdez family has ruled the country for several generations, and were largely responsible for its establishment as an organised state. However their iron grip on the land gives an opportunity to rival claimants to win support from the common people. The wealthy could also be turned by an enemy, with many of them willing to take money in exchange for making appointments and promotions.
    Centralization: The Kingdom is fairly highly centralised, with everything that goes on in the coastal areas under government control. Further inland, there is more of a laissez-faire attitude, as it isn't worth the bother to impose unnecessary administration on small rural communities. The exceptions are the mining and metalwork sites, which are firmly held by the government.

    Legislature: Ministers appointed by the king run the country from day to day, although more junior representatives are elected by (and from) the nobility.
    • Consejo Alto - directly appointed by the king, this body has 30-40 members and holds most of the political power. It is led by the Gran Ministro, who is elected by the Consejo but must be approved bu the monarch.
    • Consejo Bajo - this body has 150 members, with a set number coming from each region of the country. It is elected mostly from the upper classes, and voters must own a minimum area of land to be eligible to vote.

    Political Objectives:
    • Introduce an apparent form of wider representation, but keep real power where it is now.
    • Improve access to water and irrigation.
    • Increase the current rate of shipbuilding.
    Intelligence Service: Ojos del Dragón (Dragon's Eyes) - This lot keep an eye on what's going on both inside and outside the country.

    -SOCIAL-
    Population:
    About 1.2 million

    Clergy: 0.3%
    Nobility: 0.3%
    Burghers/Middle Class: 4.4%
    Lower Class: 89%
    Bonded: 6%

    Language: Spanish

    Gini Index: Low, the wealth is in the hands of an elite minority. Most people get by with an acceptable way of life, but when drought hits the country, the rural poor bear the brunt of the impact.

    Religion: Catholicism, Protestantism, various cults.

    Strategic Goals:
    • Secure dominance over trade along the old US south coast.
    • Extend control to south bank of Rio Grande.
    • Improve the army and navy to make them the premier military forces in the Caribbean.

    Internal Problems: Minimal democratic representation doesn't make people happy, corruption is also an issue, and the area sometimes suffers from droughts.

    Culture: The country centres itself around the myths of the great beasts which once roamed its territory, and there is a profusion of art devoted to the subject. In fact, they are even worshiped by some of the population, although a lack of state interest means that dragon cults remain the preserve of a minority.

    -INDUSTRY and MONEY-
    Major Industries:
    Horse breeding, maritime trade, fishing, mining, metalwork.
    Imports / Exports: Imports include cotton, timber and food; exports include copper, coal and salt.
    Merchant Fleet: Varied and decent sized. The lack of safe inland trading routes makes Caribbean trade important for the economy.

    Currency: 500 Perras in a Casco.

    Taxes/Revenue Collection:
    King, Duke, Count, or Cowboy needs money. If you are the latter you think tax is the devil and that money should come from those who are weaker than you. If you are anyone else, you need a tax regime to pay for expenditures. But remember, with high taxes comes consequences. Also list who are the primary constituencies that are taxed (and those who are exempt.) Numbers are fine, but what’s the basic system for your govt funding itself? List how effective it is, and how high or low it is.

    -FIGHTING DUDES-
    Army

    • 8,000 regular infantry
    • 1,000 strong Royal Guard (including 200 arquebusiers)
    • 250 artillerymen/engineers (can act as an infantry resrve)
    • 1000 light cavalry
    • 500 heavy cavalry
    Navy:
    • Galleys
    • Caravels

    Flag:
    Untitled.png
    History:



    -COLONIAL/VASSAL HOLDINGS-
    For when it becomes applicable. For Republics please make a single one listing current trade posts/merchant quarters, and individual ones for each colony and dependency.

    Name
    -POLITICAL-
    Capital:
    Der…
    Administrative Body: Who makes the rules?
    Major Cities You got it.
    Government Type:They’ve got to be doing at least some stuff on their own…
    -SOCIAL-
    Population
    : Listed here, fed into the line item above
    -INDUSTRY and MONEY-
    Major Industries
    :There’s got to be some reason people are going there…
    Contribution to the Empire:What are they being milked for? If they're not being exploited, then they're not a colony.
    Merchant Fleet: If they’re allowed any…
    -FIGHTING DUDES-
    Army

    Every colony has a militia of some sorts. Can be a portion of the above, homeland army. Keep track of who is where though.

    Flag:
    History
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2017