To be a Fox and a Lion - A Different Nordic Renaissance

Perhaps the Danes and Russians make a deal in which Estonia and Finland are Russian but Latvia, Curland and the Estonian and Finnish islands are Danish (obviously predicated on PLC not sticking an oar in). A Danish Prussia would bring Danzig into the fold.

Baltic Germans ended up becoming disproportionately important in later Russian statecraft. A Kalmar Union that utilizes the Baltic German nobility would be interesting. A Russia that never undergoes the cultural reforms of Peter the Great and has a Baltic outlet centuries early would also be very interesting. Ivan the Terrible has already been butterflied, so the possibilities for Russia are wide open.
 
You are right! I was hasty in my assessment and I forgot the intra-baltic trade.
There’s also another element, if the Oldenburg control Narva, Riga and Danzig, the German Baltic port cities would pretty much fall into Oldenburg orbit. As their trade was now at Oldenburg mercy.
 
There’s also another element, if the Oldenburg control Narva, Riga and Danzig, the German Baltic port cities would pretty much fall into Oldenburg orbit. As their trade was now at Oldenburg mercy.
I think after Lübeck's recent humilitation, Hamburg is the most important Hansa city. In the Baltic though, from what I have read, Danzig was more important that Riga and Narva combined. What were the interests of the Polish nobility in the city? Would it be a point of friction with Poland?

One thing is for sure: If the Oldenburgs control Hamburg, Danzig, Riga and Narva they may become the second richest monarchs in Europe after Charles V. I think also their wealth to be more sustainable than that of the Habsburgs.
 
In the Baltic though, from what I have read, Danzig was more important that Riga and Narva combined. What were the interests of the Polish nobility in the city? Would it be a point of friction with Poland?
It might be smarter for the Oldenburg's to support Danzig in a...less expansionist manner. Gdansk had its own army and government due to privileges, and at least several decades later during the Northern Seven Years War was largely governed by German or Protestant traders. Some of them were aiming to become a 'free city' while others tended to favor the Baltic naval powers (Denmark and Sweden) simply since doing otherwise messed with Baltic trade. They clashed with Sigismund II. Thus, leaving it alone or giving them a certain degree of soft aid would likely leave Danzig as an ally for the Oldenburg's against Poland.
I think after Lübeck's recent humilitation, Hamburg is the most important Hansa city.
I think Christian is now Hamburg's feudal overlord, which is something. Depending on whether Penneberg is successfully bought out by its original owners, Christian could already have a great tool against Hamburg. A Danish force there would basically be a constant threat to Hamburg's trade if they anger Denmark. I'd actually say that that Christian and Charles shouldn't have given the option of it being redeemed, simply due to the long term benefits, but I can understand short term concerns sometimes winning out when they are bleeding money right now.

Part of me is wondering whether Hamburg, or maybe Hamburg alongside several other Hansa cities, might redeem it themselves (if they legally can) or loan the money to the owners in return for placing them in their debt. Hamburg has to realize the threat of a Danish controlled Penneberg is to them, and the Wendish Hansa has already been notably weakened.
TBH, why should Christian bail out the Finnish Swedes? A Russian Finland provides an external threat with which to keep the metropolitan Swedes frightened and in line, and either attaints the Sture party as catspaw/vassals of the Tsars or outright deprives them of power and land if the Russians betray them. Not to mention Christian is ever-more entangled in the HRE -- I can't see retaking Finland being more important than other Baltic trade matters.
That is possible. I just view it likely that Christian at least attempts to retake Finland. Finland is Sweden's eastern realm at this point. It's Christian's land. Giving it up is giving up land, which monarchs did very reluctantly. Not only that, but it would be leaving Finland under 'Sture' control. This would basically be leaving them within striking distance of Sweden proper, and the Sture goal is to retake all of Sweden.

There's also the matter that Nyborg is one of Christian's planned faktories for the Nordic Trading Company, and Finland would provide Moscow a far better entrance to interfere in the Baltic trade.

Now, it is possible that Christian will lose the war. He is pretty stretched thin right now, if Russia decides to move in force. The Pandora's Box could be that Russia takes the offered land, does secure a Sture Finland as a vassal, and subsequently uses the Sture claim on Sweden to invade Sweden proper for the next century while securing Finland long term as a Russian possession. Assuming the Oldenburg's fights off all those invasions, it is an easy way to secure the Swedes for the union, but it is definitely the harder path to Christian retaking Finland and subsequently fighting off Russia's attempts to take the eastern Finland.

I also think, or at least hope, that Christian can retake Finland. Most of Finland's infrastructure is on the coast, so the side with the superior Baltic navy has a big advantage. If Christian takes the southwestern cities, he can ship in troops and supplies far easier than Russia who would be traveling by land across the Finnish countryside. There's also the possibility that this Christian's major push won't happen for several years. Whether Christian secures several Finnish cities as a foothold or not, I figure a major counterattack to retake the rest of Finland in a planned offensive with Lithuania around 1527. Those several years would allow him to build up the funds and supplies that he might not have now, get Sigismund I as an ally, and allow Kristina to thoroughly bury the Sture cause under the baggage of 'allied with Moscow'.
 
Thanks for all the comments guys, it's nice to see the discussions flowing from the latest chapter.

Also, let me just thank everyone who's voted for my little pet procrastination project. It's deeply appreciated :)

Yah the update times are increasing! jesus i do not know how on earth you make those map, they are fantastic, uh oh look like henry postion is rapdily collasping unless he is able to turn it around soon
also I guess what will happen is that the finnish will come to deal with russians but something something happens and they don't actully get any terrriotry and swedish get it all back but now they have a claim to that terriotry
Thanks for the kind words vis-a-vis the map. It took me a long time to finish, so I'm very happy that people like it, although some find it weird with the past-border extensions.

Bravo! Another great update!

Pinneberg is a small yet valuable prize, as it controls Hamburg's access to the Elbe estuary.

I cannot wait to see what happens in Scotland and Lombardy.

By the way, I think the story's most important potential butterfly regarding England, is the possibility of not uniting with Scotland. An independent Scotland would mean that England stays a second-rate power. Moreover, what will happen with the Tudor (re)conquest of Ireland? If delayed and if the Ulster Plantation never takes place, then the english control of Ireland would be tenuous at best.
Well, I haven't really decided on how the British Isles play out, but I've always had a soft spot for Ireland and Scotland in this period (and a correspondingly increasing weariness of the hyper focus on Tudor England) so I hope to put more focus on those areas. Currently, I'm tending towards a exploring a Yorkist resurgence in Ireland, although I'm not certain whether or not Albany's success could create enough butterflies in that regard. Surrey, Suffolk and Dacre are poised to strike back after all...

Was Pinneberg redeemed or is it Danish now? Looks like England and Scotland get to have another gruelling war, and Kristina Sture just poked the bear...
Just like the general legal and imperial organisation of the Holy Roman Empire it's.... complicated. Theoretically, jurisprudence passed to Christian II as Duke of Holstein with a clause that allowed the co-regents reclaim their title by paying the fines. However, Pinneberg is now undisputedly associated with Holstein and the de facto feudal homage owed the Duchy is even more crystallised than in OTL. Furthermore, the Oldenburg "claim" (to use a EU IV phrase) to the county is also quite potent. Which does not bode well for the counts, if the reigning line for some reasons fails.

I guess you're doing a 'balancing the scales' sort of thing with Great Britain? I see quite a bit of difficulty for Henry VIII at this point, even if Francis doesn't create a long standing series of rebellions under Richard. It does have some symbolic value. England/Wales/Scotland/Ireland stay divided while Denmark/Sweden/Norway/Finland unite. In this case, Wales and Ireland in this case probably end up the semi-states that Norway and Finland were for centuries.
I haven't thought that much of it, to be honest. I think the structural framework for some kind of united polity in the British Isles still remain in force. Population and resource-wise, Scotland and Ireland would in due course naturally be drawn to the English orbit, unless England suffers some kind of massive calamity.

My main reaction for this chapter though...RUSSIA?! Why, Kristina?! Christian has your eldest son, and Sweden quarreled with Denmark a lot because Denmark cared more about Germany while the Swedes feared Russia. History has shown people will do stupid things when backed into a corner, but sometimes you just have to shake your head.
To be fair, if Christian didn't throw Nils Stensson Sture from a window in the Blue Tower, when Lady Kristina raised the banner of revolt a second time, I don't think we can fault her for trying to get support from Moscow in her darkest hour.

Well, I guess that is one way to get Christian looking east; Moscow occupying half of Osterland and Moscow 'supporting' the Stures. A decent result could actually be a good alliance with Poland-Lithuania. If I remember correctly, the ceasefire between them at this point could end in 1527 if it isn't extended. Sigismund the Old would likely jump at the chance of retaking Smolensk, if Moscow has forces that far north. Sigismund also received an offer from Kristina, but he didn't bite the first time and he has too many other enemies already without making another. In the event of a Oldenburg-Jagiellon alliance against Moscow, I could see the Livonian War happening earlier since Livonia would literally sit in the middle of those three with a crucial strategic position.

This is what I'm imagining this 'Pandora's Box' will be. Vasily probably moves to occupy the land Kristina is offering, probably with little intent to do more or merely provide as minimal a commitment as possible to her other goals. Viborg is crucial to Christian's Nordic Trading Company though. He can't have it in Russian hands. It's almost 1524 by now. I could see skirmishes breaking out, but Christian probably uses this as a propaganda tool against Kristina by pointing out to the Swedes that Kristina has given away Swedish lands to Moscow. Portray the Stures as just a Russian agent by this point, like what Albany did to England. Christian probably builds up his strength while negotiating with Sigismund for a coordinated offense in 1527. The war probably ends with Russia gaining no land in Finland, not sure about the fate of Smolensk, but Kristina probably flees to Russia since she's burning all her bridges in the event of her not winning. Assuming Ivan is still born, he's still seven years out, that is a better casus belli for him then others he pushed. Taking Viborg to hurt the Oldenburg monarchy and its share of the Baltic trade would be a trade goal of his. As early as 1550, Christian is probably going to be cursing Kristina even more than he soon will be. That conflict would easily expand into an alt-Livonian War. A PLC-Oldenburg alliance there could vastly reduce that war's timeframe, and the results. Maybe Sweden takes the entire Karelian Peninsula, and the PLC gets Livonia. Or since Karelia isn't worth as much, maybe the Oldenburg's get the 'Duchy of Estonia' due to Denmark's old claims. Or Ivan turns his full focus to the west, and shows the terrifying force of Russia.
You're making some very good points and observations. The Oldenburg Triple Monarchy just came out of some very troubling times and the centre of the monarchy is still under financial and societal reconstruction. In a situation like that, the state simply can't afford an expensive war over the periphery. In my current perspective, Finland could serve as a Swedish version of the Holstein Question under Margaret I and Eric of Pomerania.

I sort of hope that Christian sends some help to Charles in Frisia, against Charles of Guelders. While Christian is short on money, that isn't exactly a battle of armies. Even a token bit of aid could be appreciated, especially if things take a downturn in Italy as implied. Primarily though, a sentiment that had been growing on me these past few chapters as religious discussions have been going on, I just really hope Christian doesn't betray Charles. That guy has enough problems, and I don't want his brother-in-law to add to them. I'd much rather delay the Catholic-Protestant battles to the next generation. Maybe Christian and Charles can work to keep things somewhat civil and stable, even if the former leans Protestant and the latter Catholic. The next generation can then have the break, with ultra-Catholic Philip and a firmer Protestant son of Christian.

Assuming that situation does play out, I'm looking forward to the Dutch Revolt. With England looking like its going to have problems, the Oldenburgs will be the clear choice for a supporter. They're on the ascendant in their region, and a son of Christian can point to having a Hasburg mother. The Dutch offered Elizabeth I sovereignty, it's far from impossible they'd do the same for...King John? A Nordic-Dutch alliance would be a huge player in colonial matters, with Dutch financial and naval prowess added onto already established Nordic colonies ITTL.

Okay. Talked and speculated enough. Great chapter as always. Good luck with your writing.
It all hinges on how events in Italy unfold, If Francis manages to secure the Padan Plain, he would naturally try to focus on knocking out the North-Western parts of the League of Windsor. We already know that he plans on using Richard de la Pole to deal with England. Maybe Charles of Guelders is meant to seize the Netherlands from the hands of Margaret of Austria?

I am not sure why a Machiavellian monarch would want to rule the Low Countries. The trend is currently to concentrate power in the Crown. If the Dutch are added to the realm, then a monarch would have to placate the powerful burghers. if the Dutch merchant-princes get a hold on the realm's trade then they might become a new Hansa, an almost independent power. Moreover, a dutch adventure will entagle the Triple Crown in conflicts outside of its zone of influence. After all, traditionally the Danes looked to increase their influence in the Elbe and Weser basins, while the Swedes were focused in the Baltic.
Christian II has a lot of affinity for the Habsburg Netherlands, but mainly as a source of inspiration for how he envisages his own composite state. We're still quite a long time away from the troubles of the 1560s, but if, all things being equal, the historical trajectory stays mainly the same - then his successor would have a good shot at being chosen by the Dutch Estates.

Always nice to see one of the de la Poles pop up.
Thanks! I hope we'll see more of him in the next (narrative) chapter.

I think Christian is now Hamburg's feudal overlord, which is something. Depending on whether Penneberg is successfully bought out by its original owners, Christian could already have a great tool against Hamburg. A Danish force there would basically be a constant threat to Hamburg's trade if they anger Denmark. I'd actually say that that Christian and Charles shouldn't have given the option of it being redeemed, simply due to the long term benefits, but I can understand short term concerns sometimes winning out when they are bleeding money right now.
Hindsight is 20/20 as they say. A lot of the events of this period in OTL came to pass because monarchs were desperately short of money. In that light, I think it's rational for both Charles V and Christian II to pursue the strategy that helps them the most in a very tight spot.

As I mentioned above, Pinneberg was re-deemed by the co-regents, but they are very much in the Danish sphere: Both on account of the 1521 imperial suzerainty proclamation, but also as a result of the very redeeming. With Lübeck humbled, Hamburg (alongside Danzig) is very much the frontline of the Hansa in the struggle against the encroaching Oldenburg monarchy.
 
Chapter 23: The Pretender in the Field
Chapter 23
The Pretender in the Field

Liguria
February 1524





The sun was setting, and the pavilion was almost packed to the brim when he entered. Secretaries carrying folios hurried desperately back and forth, circumventing a gaggle of gentlemen who strutted around like full plated roosters in a chicken pen.


In the centre of the tent, King Francis stood huddled over a wooden table, deep in conversation with his generals and seigneurs. As Francis rose to greet him, Christian of Holstein was struck by just how gawky the king was. A royal beanpole indeed, he thought.


Whilst he nimbly stepped around the table, Francis cooed a happy welcome, extending his arms in a theatrical embrace.


“Ah, mon cheri cousin. Please, join us. I want to formally introduce you to our gracious kinsman and very dear friend.” Standing next to the serious countenance of the Seignuer de Bayard, was a stout bearded fellow, sporting a pudgy nose, not much taller than himself and on the better side of forty. For all his martial appearances, his eyes had a haunted look, like a roe catching the hunter’s scent. In his lapel, a small white rose fashioned of nacre, sparkled in the torchlight.


“Cousin Suffolk, meet Cousin Denmark...” Francis began, before adding with ill disguised malice “... and Cousin Norway and Cousin Sweden. If Brother Emperor or this all-consuming army doesn’t bankrupt me, my aid in restoring all the crowns my friends have misplaced surely will.”


The giggle from the king’s sycophants were polite, but subdued. Such is the fate of the exile, he, Christian, mused contemplatively. To face scorn, even from those who call themselves your friends. To his credit, Richard de la Pole did not rise to the bait, but made a slight bow and a curt grunt by way of greeting.


Christian returned the courtesy, before turning to face the French king’s droopy eyes, clinging to the mountainside of an aquiline nose.


“Sire, I glory in the first pair of names, but as to the third, my cousin the pretender is welcome to it. Much good it will do him.”


De la Pole nodded, understanding. “I say, cousin, nay brother, Denmark, we are truly kinsmen, for we share the same misfortune of seeing our native land subjugated under the evil misrule of tyrants and knaves. Come the spring, we shall have brought the emperor to heel and then woe be on the scorpions poisoning our birthright.”


Annoyed, Francis flung his arms around them in an awkward embrace. “Ah, my Achilles and Patroclus, you are so eager for battle. It is most exhilarating and I am pleased to announce that I have good news on that score. Show them, Lautrec.”


At this, Odet de Foix stepped forward and placed a scrawled map on the table, while his brother Thomas deployed coloured wooden blocks on top of it. When they were done, Bayard approached the table, his back as straight as if he were on parade.


“We are but half a day’s march from His Grace’s city of Genoa. The Spanish emperor, the Batard de Bourbon and their pet German schismatic are apparently coming to greet us,” the seigneur said emotionlessly, whilst Lescun, gently pushed a handful of red pieces across the board.


Cool as the buttocks of a marble Madonna that one, he thought to himself.


“We expect them to arrive come morning. His majesty is pleased to give battle. A victory here will surely deliver Milan into his majesty’s hand and reopen our lines of communication with the Venetians.” Murmurs of agreement permeated through the tent. Anne de Montmorency even clapped his hands in anticipation, nudging his elbows into the ribcages of his fellow peers in the process.


Francis released his hold on him and de la Pole, and addressed the flower of France’s chivalry with voice full of anticipation, pointing at the map as he spoke.


“We shall command the gendarmes ourselves. Montmorency and general de la Trémoille, you will have the Swiss and royal foot in the centre. Lescun and Lautrec, the light horse and artillery. The German companies, I entrust to our noble cousin, the Duke of Alençon.”


As his captains revelled in their commands, Francis turned to him and de la Pole. “It is our wish that you, Bayard and our vassal Saluzzo join our household in the melee. Your banners shall advance alongside that of France and together we shall show brother Charles what Christendom truly thinks of his imperial pretensions.” As Christian made his thanksgivings, he caught the eye of Bayard, who stood unabashed in the back, pondering the red pieces on the table with a curious look. Could it be possible that the Knight Without Fear was worried?


King Beanpole saw nothing. Joining his commanders in applauding the advent of slaughter and mutilation, Francis loudly declared for all to hear, “Now, messieurs, prepare your stations. Tomorrow: La Gloire!”


“La Gloire!” came the thundering response.



* * *



The morning fog floated over the field ahead, as he trotted his destrier towards the amassing gendarmes. His small entourage of Holsteiner men-at-arms fell in behind, Jürgen von Uttenhof carrying a woollen banner bearing the escutcheon of his unredeemed kingdom.


As he passed a row of tents, where grim Landsknechts were readying themselves by playing dice, Richard de la Pole joined him with his own retainers.


“Good morning to you, brother Two-Crowns!” He called out amiably.


So the White Rose was apparently in good cheer. A good quality in a man, standing on the brink of carnage. He nodded in response, already tired of the crude joke.


“Come now, don’t be coarse with me. Francis really is a kind sovereign, but tiring at times, I suppose. Besides, strictly speaking, I could argue to have misplaced a pair of crowns surpassing even yours.” He leaned in, conspiratorially, his morning breath stinking of sour wine and garlic. “After all, I could very well claim the throne of France for myself.”


He almost smiled at that. “I hope your grace doesn’t think of invading France when all of this is over?”


“God died,” one of de la Pole’s knights interjected with a savage grin, “... what Englishman doesn’t?”


The White Rose snorted and turned to grin at the man. “Indeed, Master Ludlow, but given our present situation, I think it best that we save that conversation ‘till the bastard Tudor lies dead in a ditch.”


When they reached the marshalling area, they found Francis accompanied by the King of Navarre and the Marquess of Saluzzo, surveying the slowly deploying infantry from atop a knoll of grass. In his right lobster-gauntleted hand, he carried a lacquered baton, spotted with white fleur-de-lis. He laughed with delight when he saw them approach.


“Jesus Maria, messieurs, Scaramella is truly off to war with you two!”


Richard fastened his helmet before replying “... with lance and buckler, your grace! Is the enemy in the field?”


The king turned his head towards the mist-covered field.


“Bayard seems to think so. The scouts have not yet returned.” Francis gestured with the baton across the squares of Swiss pikemen below them, “We believe the Marquess of Pescara is deploying his men somewhere over that ridge, preparing for an attack. As soon as we have established their position, Lautrec will scourge them with our ordnance.”


Francis reared his horse around to face them, his eyes shining bright with excitement.


“Suffolk, our dear friend, I ask that you take charge of the left flank of the compagnies d'ordonnance. Bring cousin Denmark and Norway with you. Sangüesino will take the right, whilst I hold the centre. Wherever our banner go, I charge you to follow.”


As they both nodded in response, a messenger galloped his horse up the low hill and delivered a scrawled note to the king with a sweeping bow. Glancing over the contents of the message, the king handed it to de la Pole with a serious nod.


“Vescun reports that Pescara’s infantry are advancing shakingly, under a screen of light horse. Apparently, the Duke of Terranova is struggling to bring his artillery in position. We must exploit that and strike before they regain their formation.”


Turning to the waiting messenger, Francis quickly drew his ornate sword. “Relay our compliments to Marshal Montmorency and the Viscount Lautrec, and tell them that we ourselves will strike the first blow. Lautrec is to cover our advance immediately. When our knights break the enemy formation, Montmorency is to bring the foot in as support. The Lord is my rock, but today I must rely as much on their expedience.”


In the horizon, Christian could see the contours of a lone scout, riding through the mist. Was he friend or foe? No matter. He would now soon enough. All around him, pipes and drums began to sound the alarm. Captains roared at their men, kicking them into formation, spit and curses flying. Richard and Francis embraced affectionately, their plate armour almost caressing.


He could have sworn the king was almost crying with happiness when they rode towards the front.




* * *



The excruciating noise of thousands of armoured horses thundering down the field resonated through the padding of his burgonet. Through its slit he could see the lines of gendarmes methodically advance, their shining panoply and gilded military skirts shining in the pale Italian morning light.


Before he knew it, they had broken through the mist and slammed into a detachment of outriders. His lance snapped upon impact with a breastplated scout, the metal bending bizarrely through the dead man’s chest, where his spearpoint had pierced it. With a flurry, he drew his sword and hacked away at a rider whose horse was panicking wildly. Before he could check if the man had fallen, the tide of the French cavalry swept around them.


The ground ahead was rugged and beyond the fleeing imperials, a forest of pikes was lumbering towards them. Their approaching formation momentarily obscured by the whining impact of Lautrec’s guns as great cascades of fire and earth erupted from beneath them.


“To me! To me!” de la Pole cried out, waving his sword around. “Rally to me! Francis and Milan! Francis and Milan!” Obeying his command, the compagnie steadied itself behind The White Rose with incredible precision. Further back, the Swiss foot were advancing in support, their drums striking up a sombre march of death.


Urging his destrier onwards, Christian sped ahead of his own detachment - keeping his eyes focused on Richard’s banner of three roaring leopards. As he pulled up next to de la Pole, the two exiles exchanged grim looks. Francis was about to give the signal for a second assault, the centre compagnie already formed into a wedge.


The White Rose extended a gauntleted hand, stained with blood.


“Francis and Milan.”


“And Richard and England,” he replied as he shook it.


De la Pole smiled as he slammed his visor shut.


“Just England?”


The Englishman raised his sword in salute, his voice seeping through the air-holes.


“Brother, you are right. Let us be humble on this day of wroth. Richard and England and Christian and Denmark. Onwards!”


The main banner had come down three times, signalling the charge. As one, the heaving mass of riders and mounts set in motion, thundering towards the imperial position. He felt his destrier give way under him before he heard the loud crack of the musket volley. From behind the Spaniard line, smoke blossomed forwards and the first row of gendarmes went crashing to the ground.


Christian tumbled to his feet, staggering under the weight of the plate armour. Dumbfoundedly, he reached for his sword, only to close his fist around thin air. In a flash, Jürgen was there, handing him his own blade without a word. Around them utter chaos reigned. Bloodlust and adrenaline were pumping through his veins. The screams of the wounded, the crying of the dying, the rolling of drums and the thunder of gunfire all came to a crescendo as they launched themselves into the melee.


The battle-line was shifting back and forth as the first rows of Swiss troops began to shore up the French formations. Catching sight of an unhorsed de la Pole, he fought his way across the field, felling anyone and all who dared come before him.


Battered by the cavalry charge and pounded by the Swiss onslaught, the enemy began to buckle. Suddenly, the Marquess of Saluzzo was there, miraculously still mounted.


“Hold the line! His majesty is soon to break the centre. Bourbon is at their head! If he is taken, the enemy will surely abandon the field.”


Richard de la Pole glared at the Italian princeling, aghast.


“And the Flemings say that he who eats fire shits sparks! The line is too bloody far extended, man. Francis risks being enveloped. He must withdraw and steady the front until Montmorency can bring his full force to bear.”


Evidently equally afraid and angry, the marquess roared back, “His Majesty will not listen! He is determined to take the duke alive!”


De la Pole caught hold of a French knight, catching his breath next to them.


“Seigneur, you hold the line. Shear them but do not skin them. Once the centre is stable you let the oily bastards have it!”


They found King Francis fighting for his life. The royal banner had been almost completely ripped apart by musket fire and a heap of dead noblemen acted a macabre parapet for the beleaguered sovereign. Richard stormed into the salient, cutting off the spear-points of the German pikes poking viciously at the French troops.


He followed, more prudently, reaching the king who was bleeding from a cut over the left eye. By his side, Bayard was sporting more bandages than a whole Venetian leper colony.


“Your Majesty” de la Pole panted. “We must stabilise the line. Montmorency is bringing in his full strength. We need you to organise the deployment.”


The king stared blankly into space.


Sire...”


Francis shot a glance at the Seigneur de Bayard, who slowly nodded his agreement. With a sigh, the king began to move back towards the onrushing Swiss pikemen, supporting his champion, who was trailing blood as he limped along.


No sooner had the pair disappeared behind the incoming reinforcements before the whole French front-line began to buckle. Apparently, Bourbon was making a final effort to break the centre and capture his former liege. A renewed rumble of artillery fire accompanied the imperial counter-attack. Were the Spaniards attacking along the entire line? How could that be?


Richard grabbed his arm. “By the mass, I fear that Terranova’s ordnance is finally in place. What is that fool Lautrec doing?”


Almost as if to respond, a group of Spanish soldiers broke through the line. De la Pole went down under one of them, desperately stabbing his dirk into the howling Spaniard, wrestling on top of him.


Quickly, he, Christian, drove his sword through a second attacker before kicking away the corpse sprawling over The White Rose.


He glanced over his shoulder and saw a pair of gendarmes drag the unconscious Englishman away from the brawl. Suddenly, he was knocked over by some kind of forceful impact to the chest. A bloody bolt or musket ball he thought, as pain washed over his battered body.


Then he neither saw nor thought any more.










Author’s Note: This is a far longer narrative chapter than I have ever done. Consequently, I would very much like some feedback. Is it cringy or does it contribute to the development of the story?



Characters Appearing in This Chapter:

In the Service of France:

Christian III of Holstein: The exiled cousin of Christian II, claimant to the thrones of Denmark and Norway.​
Francis I of France: The headstrong and martial French sovereign.​
Pierre Terrail, Seignuer de Bayard: Known as The Knight Without Fear and Beyond Reproach. One of the most skilled knights in all of Christendom.​
Richard de la Pole: Known as The White Rose. Self proclaimed Duke of Suffolk, true King of England and a good friend of Francis. A very capable military commander.​
Odet de Foix, Viscount of Lautrec: Former premier French general in Italy and Stadtholder of Milan. Commander of the French artillery. He and his brother owe much of their royal favour to the fact that their sister, Françoise de Châteaubriant, is Francis I’s chief mistress.​
Thomas de Foix, Lord of Lescun: Younger brother of Odet whom he aided during the 1521-22 campaign in Lombardy. Commander of the French light horse.​
Anne de Montmorency: Marshal of France. Commander of the French infantry​
Michele Antonio, Marquess of Saluzzo: The chief satrap of Francis I in Italy.​
Louis II de la Trémoille: A seasoned French soldier, veteran of the Battle of Marignano. Deputy of Montmorency.​
Henry II of Navarre, nicknamed Sangüesino: King of Navarre, whose Iberian domains had been definitely occupied by Habsburg troops in 1521.​



In the Service of the Emperor
Charles III Duke of Bourbon: Known by Francis as the Batard de Bourbon. One of the greatest nobles of France, who defected to Charles V in early 1523.​
Fernando Francesco d'Ávalos, Marquess of Pescara: Commander of the allied armies besieging Genoa.​
Georg von Frundsberg: The Emperor’s “pet schismatic.” German commander of the imperial Landsknechte Fähnleins.​
Antonio de Leyva, Duke of Terranova: Commander of the imperial artillery.​
 
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I liked this. Christian was important due to his status as claimant, but not by himself important enough at this point to warrant his own chapter in a broader, more narrative perspective. This POV also gave us a far more visceral and personal view of his death, and a personal view of what is clearly an important battle. Your usual style is better, but an occasional piece like this is good variety.

Christian of Holstein has thus died, while Richard de la Pole has seemingly avoided a death in battle like IOTL. The Oldenburg's have hit a break, while the Tudors might have a snag coming their way.

As for the battle itself. I assume the next chapter will probably be a broader perspective to show the ramifications of this battle. As for what we are shown here. The French either caught their enemy slightly unprepared, or were successfully drawn in by a ruse only to be smacked down by pike and shot. Wonder if the Swiss suffered Bicocca level casualties? The French Gendarmes must be hurting from that failure to break through the Imperial center. Francis appears to have avoided his OTL fate of being captured, which might actually be better for Charles. We don't know the casualties of this battle yet, but this seems like a bad defeat for Francis. They seemingly fought half a day from French Genoa. If the Imperial forces take Genoa, the Venetians will sign a treaty. Depending on no drastic Imperial progress on the other fronts, Charles won't have any leverage to demand Burgundy, Provence, Flanders, or Artois as he did after Pavia. A peace made with notable gains in Italy could be acceptable. Probably won't last, but it could give Charles a few years.

One thing I'm really wondering is if this might butterfly the Franco-Ottoman Alliance, and in turn the Battle of Mohacs. It was Francis' mother, I think, who made the offer when Francis was captive. He kept it, but Francis' situation is far less drastic here. Venice hasn't had several years of peace to work up to another war, and Henry VIII is in no position to even imply he might join an alliance against Charles.

Several years of peace could prove interesting. Christian and Sigismund will probably wait till 1527 to attack Russia, if Russia moves on Finland. Charles really needs several years of peace, but the Ottomans might attack Hungary anyway. Wonder how that would go with quicker Hasburg aid for Hungary? Francis might need time to build up to face Charles again, but he could use that time to send Richard to England. With the Scots being successful and Henry having difficulties, he could view this as a good time to take England and secure his northern front. With Christian and Charles being allied, he might even view it necessary to secure England as an ally in case of any Scandinavian assistance arrives for Charles.

Glad to see an update so quickly after your last. Good luck with your writing.
 
For those who might not have noticed, the whole "Scaramella" exchange between Francis I and Richard de la Pole is a reference to a song by the French renaissance composer Josquin des Prez. You can listen to a nice rendition here.


A nice change of pace -- is Christian "III" dead or just captured?
Dead as the dodo, I'm afraid. IOTL, a lot of French noblemen at Pavia fell to the handguns of the imperial infantry. Christian's death here is an homage to that fact.

I like the non narrative segments more than this, and it get a little cringy in some parts
How so? Please elaborate, I don't plan on making more narrative chapters just now, but any feedback is valued going forward :)

I liked this. Christian was important due to his status as claimant, but not by himself important enough at this point to warrant his own chapter in a broader, more narrative perspective. This POV also gave us a far more visceral and personal view of his death, and a personal view of what is clearly an important battle. Your usual style is better, but an occasional piece like this is good variety.

Christian of Holstein has thus died, while Richard de la Pole has seemingly avoided a death in battle like IOTL. The Oldenburg's have hit a break, while the Tudors might have a snag coming their way.
Thanks for the kind words. Indeed, I thought it too good a chance not to have Christian III exit the stage by spreading some more butterflies around. The claim of the Holstein-Oldenburg pretenders now passes on to Frederick I's 3 year old son, Hans - which, all things being equal, is a much needed break for Christian II.

As for the battle itself. I assume the next chapter will probably be a broader perspective to show the ramifications of this battle. As for what we are shown here. The French either caught their enemy slightly unprepared, or were successfully drawn in by a ruse only to be smacked down by pike and shot. Wonder if the Swiss suffered Bicocca level casualties? The French Gendarmes must be hurting from that failure to break through the Imperial center. Francis appears to have avoided his OTL fate of being captured, which might actually be better for Charles. We don't know the casualties of this battle yet, but this seems like a bad defeat for Francis. They seemingly fought half a day from French Genoa. If the Imperial forces take Genoa, the Venetians will sign a treaty. Depending on no drastic Imperial progress on the other fronts, Charles won't have any leverage to demand Burgundy, Provence, Flanders, or Artois as he did after Pavia. A peace made with notable gains in Italy could be acceptable. Probably won't last, but it could give Charles a few years.
I left the end of the battle uncertain on purpose. Remember, our point of view was in the thick of the fighting in the centre. There's no way of knowing just what happened after Francis took charge of Montmorency's reserves. It is, however, not a defeat on the scale of Pavia for either side.

One thing I'm really wondering is if this might butterfly the Franco-Ottoman Alliance, and in turn the Battle of Mohacs. It was Francis' mother, I think, who made the offer when Francis was captive. He kept it, but Francis' situation is far less drastic here. Venice hasn't had several years of peace to work up to another war, and Henry VIII is in no position to even imply he might join an alliance against Charles.
Oh the curse of the butterflies! It might very well put a damper on the explicit French need for an Ottoman alliance, but Suleiman the Magnificent has been looking West for a while now. His reasons for invading Hungary might change, but I don't think we can butterfly away an Ottoman attack on the Hungarians.

Several years of peace could prove interesting. Christian and Sigismund will probably wait till 1527 to attack Russia, if Russia moves on Finland. Charles really needs several years of peace, but the Ottomans might attack Hungary anyway. Wonder how that would go with quicker Hasburg aid for Hungary? Francis might need time to build up to face Charles again, but he could use that time to send Richard to England. With the Scots being successful and Henry having difficulties, he could view this as a good time to take England and secure his northern front. With Christian and Charles being allied, he might even view it necessary to secure England as an ally in case of any Scandinavian assistance arrives for Charles.

Glad to see an update so quickly after your last. Good luck with your writing.
It all depends on just how the Russians intervene in Finland. Haven't really decided on that part yet. I'm not gonna lie though: I do hope to include Richard de la Pole in the chapters to come.

I liked this a lot—very well written! It's a good change of pace.
Thank you, it's appreciated! 🙏

That was fantastic, as others have said it is a good change of pace and helps breathe a bit of life into the characters.
Very glad you enjoyed it! And it's good to have you back!
 
@Milites , it is great to see you back! I have just caught up with 2 latest updates and they are fantastic as always. Story is well written, detailed and extremely well thought through, maps are spectacular. So everything is just as we love it)

However, there is one development in chapter 22 that I have an issue with. It is hinted that after Kristina’s appeal to Vasily III, he might get involved in Finland on her side. Here is why I don’t find such a move by Vasily plausible:

It turns out that Denmark’s traditional alliance with Russia started quite a bit earlier than it is often assumed.

My main source here is 2017 monography “Defence of Opochka in 1517: “Besov village” versus Konstanin Ostrozhsky’s army” by Alexey Lobin (one of the leading specialists on XVI’s Russia military history) as well as several articles by other authors. Chapter 3 goes in detail about the history of Denmark-Russia alliance (here is a link to chapter in Russian; unfortunately the monography is not yet translated into English, but I recommend reading it with google translate – it is a fascinating read). The gist is as follows:

  • In 1493 Hans I (father of our boy Christian) concluded a treaty with Ivan III (father of Vasily III) that stipulated that Russia will offer help against Sweden while Denmark will help Russia against Lithuania. While there were no specific conditions when exactly signatures should help each other thus making the alliance rather vague it is nevertheless a military alliance and Russo-Swedish war of 1495-1497 is an act by Ivan honoring this alliance.
    As a part of alliance, a trade treaty was signed allowing merchants of both countries trading in the other realm with an additional clause that protected merchants from coastal right should their ships be put ashore by storm on the coast of each respective realm (here is a detailed article in Russian on Russian-Danish trade in the end of XV century and the beginning of XVI).
  • In 1506 after the death of Ivan III a new treaty with the same clauses was concluded between Hans I and Vasily III.
  • Finally in 1516 a similar treaty was signed by Vasily III and Christian II (on this page one can find a photo of the treaty from Rigsarkived in Copenhagen). This time there were some details on what exactly should militarily help to each other amass to as well as an extended trade treaty signed in 1517 by which Danish merchants received special trade rights in Novgorod and Ivangorod (near Narva on Russian side of the border) as well as merchant quarters in both towns, where they were allowed to build warehouses and churches. Russian merchants were also offered a merchant quarter in Copenhagen in 1517 (source: the article on Russian-Danish trade quoted above)
All 3 treaties were mostly engineered by one man mysyr David van Koran who was considered the main specialist on Moscow at Danish court (and who traveled to Moscow at least 5 times), but there were multiple other embassies from Denmark to Moscow and Russia to Copenhagen (including an unsuccessful offer of marriage in 1501 between Vasily III and Elisabeth, who become the electress of Brandenburg).

While there appears to be not direct actions by either side supporting each other in 1517-1520 (Vasily was heavily occupied in his war with Lithuania while Christian was occupied conquering Sweden), one shouldn’t underestimate the alliance.
Both parties had the same friends: HRE and especially Teutonic Order (with which both parties had a separate alliance treaty) and foes – Hansa (Russia closed Hansa kontor in Novgorod in 1493 and was engaged in privateer war with Danzig in 1517-1522), Sture’s Sweden, Poland and Lithuania. There was lucrative trade between both countries (as quoted above the trade treaties went as far as Danish merchant quarters in Novgorod and Ivangorod and Russian in Copenhagen), including Denmark suppling Russia with copper, tin, lead, gun barrels and cannonballs etc. as well as gunsmiths (source: there is a 1508 letter from Sture to Danzig magistrate where he describes the fact). Christian even recognized Vasily’s title as «totius Rutzie imperatore» i. e. “the emperor of Russia” and Vasily recognized Christian rights in Sweden.



I was not able to find a proper source on the alliance in 1517-1523, but here is A. Lobin’s social network post (again in Russian) where he writes about some further actions by both sides as per catalogue “daisy” from Rigsarkived in Copenhagen. It appears that Danish officials and Soren Norby in particular asked Vasily to get involved in Finland "viil edhers nade skriffwe then grotthe første til i Rijeslandh, ath han vil lone edher nadhe eeth taal faalch ind i Fijnlandh". While because of ongoing war with Lithuania Vasily was unable to act in Finland before 1522, we know that in 1523 Vasily helped pro-Christian army headed by “knechthöfvitsmann Moritz Oldenburg” to escape from Finland via Russia to Livonia and later Konigsberg.

So, we see that IOTL Vasily was faithful to his alliance with Christian even after Christian was overthrown (and my speculation this is the main reason why Russia-Danish alliance was temporarily abandoned after the coup along with all trade treaties that accompanied it). So, while breaking it is not impossible, Vasily needs some extremely solid arguments for betrayal in a scenario where Christian is victorious. Given all that I find Kristina’s appeal to Vasily possible only as an extremely desperate attempt to survive while realizing that the chances of Russia coming to her aid are extremely slim.


Moreover, there is a very straightforward way for Vasily to have some gains in Finland while simultaneously keeping his alliance with Christian. Namely he can easily invade Finland in the name of Christian. Even though in 1523 Christian would surely be able to subjugate Finland himself, Vasily has a perfect excuse to act. I imagine Vasily’s missive to Christian: “Dear brother, you have asked us to come to you help in Finland several times. I was unable to help you until armistice with the damned Sigismund was signed last year. But now my hands are free and so here I come!”. While in practice Christian may not be happy with Russian involvement in Finland, he doesn’t really have a valid reason to complain.

Why Vasily may be interested in invading Finland? His dreamcase scenario is as follows: he successfully takes Viborg and Nyslott and advances west via cost. Chrisian troops probably invade too and pro-Kristina forces are quickly crushed. While Vasily has invaded in the name of Christian and thus he would have to give Finland back to Christian, the effective borders of such Finland may vary.
The main issue here is that while until 1583 the “official” border between Russia and Sweden was per Notenborg treaty, in practice Sweden had controlled some lands on Russian side of the border (in particular Nyslott and Uleåborg – modern Savonlinna and Oulu). So Vasily can potentially make de-jure border de-facto: return Viborg and other lands captured in coastal Finland while taking all the lands to the east and north of official border (there is no solid evidence that Uleåborg exists in 1523, so in practice that can simply mean keeping Nyslott and establishing some stronger presence in Northern Finland). Christian might be irritated by such a move but that is not guaranteed: it’s not like a lot of people cared about Northern Finland even in Sweden.

What did Notenborg treaty border amassed to? In 2011 S. Juhola was able to fully reconstruct it (here is an article in Finnish, I read it with google-translate ). Here is a map with the border (big white and black circles are border stones, blue is the waterways linking Ladoga with the gulf of Bothnia that were kept on Russian side). Here I put all the border stones on the googlemap (the points except for the last one are precise, the line of the border is very approximate).


If Kristina really offers Vasily lands to the east of Tavastehus (basically up to modern Tampere-Helsinki highway), she of course offers to cede a large chunk of Finland that is Swedish even de-jure. But most of this territory is virtually unsettled, except for the coastal land between Viborg and Borga. Even if Vasily is able to take this land, holding it would be extremely challenging, especially since Christian no doubt would fill betrayed and personally offended. Abandoning a multi-generational alliance with ascendant Denmark, important and lucrative trade treaties, and putting Russia in a very unfavorable diplomatic position for what basically amasses to Viborg looks bizarre and extremely out of character for sometimes even overly cautious Vasily III.



So in my opinion while Russia’s involvement in Finland is by no means guaranteed, without a fit of madness on Vasily’s part, it can only be in favor of Christian.
If Vasily does invade Finland and is successful in taking at least Viborg and Nyslott (Russia’s siege train is experienced after the siege of Smolensk and free to act since there is an armistice with Lithuania until 1527, so I don’t see why Russia would not be able to accomplish this) there is a high chance Christian would be OK with de-facto enforcement of Notenborg treaty borders. Doing this, while keeping a military alliance and trade treaties with Denmark, and simultaneously pillaging eastern Coastal Finland is basically a low-risk high-gain scenario for Vasily.
Of course, Vasily may chose not to interfere in Finland or be unsuccessful in doing so, but choosing to abandon his cordial relations with Christian seems extremely implausible. So Danish-Lithuanian alliance that crushes Russia in 1527 as proposed by @CaedmonCousland also does not seem likely.
 
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With a surviving Richard de la Pole ITTL Renée of France could marry him instead of Ercole II d'Este.
A princess of France to a landless pretender?
Let's see if he stays landless, eh ;)

Also, as far as I can gather, Richard de la Pole and Francis I were actually quite good friends OTL, so maybe Renée isn't exactly an implausible bride for a restored Yorkist king.

My main source here is 2017 monography “Defence of Opochka in 1517: “Besov village” versus Konstanin Ostrozhsky’s army” by Alexey Lobin (one of the leading specialists on XVI’s Russia military history) as well as several articles by other authors. Chapter 3 goes in detail about the history of Denmark-Russia alliance (here is a link to chapter in Russian; unfortunately the monography is not yet translated into English, but I recommend reading it with google translate – it is a fascinating read). The gist is as follows:

  • In 1493 Hans I (father of our boy Christian) concluded a treaty with Ivan III (father of Vasily III) that stipulated that Russia will offer help against Sweden while Denmark will help Russia against Lithuania. While there were no specific conditions when exactly signatures should help each other thus making the alliance rather vague it is nevertheless a military alliance and Russo-Swedish war of 1495-1497 is an act by Ivan honoring this alliance.
    As a part of alliance, a trade treaty was signed allowing merchants of both countries trading in the other realm with an additional clause that protected merchants from coastal right should their ships be put ashore by storm on the coast of each respective realm (here is a detailed article in Russian on Russian-Danish trade in the end of XV century and the beginning of XVI).
  • In 1506 after the death of Ivan III a new treaty with the same clauses was concluded between Hans I and Vasily III.
  • Finally in 1516 a similar treaty was signed by Vasily III and Christian II (on this page one can find a photo of the treaty from Rigsarkived in Copenhagen). This time there were some details on what exactly should militarily help to each other amass to as well as an extended trade treaty signed in 1517 by which Danish merchants received special trade rights in Novgorod and Ivangorod (near Narva on Russian side of the border) as well as merchant quarters in both towns, where they were allowed to build warehouses and churches. Russian merchants were also offered a merchant quarter in Copenhagen in 1517 (source: the article on Russian-Danish trade quoted above)
All 3 treaties were mostly engineered by one man mysyr David van Koran who was considered the main specialist on Moscow at Danish court (and who traveled to Moscow at least 5 times), but there were multiple other embassies from Denmark to Moscow and Russia to Copenhagen (including an unsuccessful offer of marriage in 1501 between Vasily III and Elisabeth, who become the electress of Brandenburg).
Thank you for the very comprehensive comment!

I've glanced over the first few pages of the chapter on trade relations by way of google translate, and I concur - it's a fascinating read! Hopefully I'll have time to read it through to the end. Thanks for sharing!

So, we see that IOTL Vasily was faithful to his alliance with Christian even after Christian was overthrown (and my speculation this is the main reason why Russia-Danish alliance was temporarily abandoned after the coup along with all trade treaties that accompanied it). So, while breaking it is not impossible, Vasily needs some extremely solid arguments for betrayal in a scenario where Christian is victorious. Given all that I find Kristina’s appeal to Vasily possible only as an extremely desperate attempt to survive while realizing that the chances of Russia coming to her aid are extremely slim.
You've hit the nail on the head with this one. So far, we've only seen the embassy from the Sture court's point of view. Who's to say that Vasily is accommodating to the Swedes?

If Kristina really offers Vasily lands to the east of Tavastehus (basically up to modern Tampere-Helsinki highway), she of course offers to cede a large chunk of Finland that is Swedish even de-jure. But most of this territory is virtually unsettled, except for the coastal land between Viborg and Borga. Even if Vasily is able to take this land, holding it would be extremely challenging, especially since Christian no doubt would fill betrayed and personally offended. Abandoning a multi-generational alliance with ascendant Denmark, important and lucrative trade treaties, and putting Russia in a very unfavorable diplomatic position for what basically amasses to Viborg looks bizarre and extremely out of character for sometimes even overly cautious Vasily III.
A very valid point. I agree!

So in my opinion while Russia’s involvement in Finland is by no means guaranteed, without a fit of madness on Vasily’s part, it can only be in favor of Christian.
If Vasily does invade Finland and is successful in taking at least Viborg and Nyslott (Russia’s siege train is experienced after the siege of Smolensk and free to act since there is an armistice with Lithuania until 1527, so I don’t see why Russia would not be able to accomplish this) there is a high chance Christian would be OK with de-facto enforcement of Notenborg treaty borders. Doing this, while keeping a military alliance and trade treaties with Denmark, and simultaneously pillaging eastern Coastal Finland is basically a low-risk high-gain scenario for Vasily.
Of course, Vasily may chose not to interfere in Finland or be unsuccessful in doing so, but choosing to abandon his cordial relations with Christian seems extremely implausible. So Danish-Lithuanian alliance that crushes Russia in 1527 as proposed by @CaedmonCousland also does not seem likely.
On the other hand, if Christian II were to accept the Notenborg borders without any fuss, I'd imagine that he would alienate a substantial part of the Swedish nobility, he's fought so hard to bring back into the Oldenburg fold. Of course, one could argue that it was the Stures who opened the Russian floodgates, but my gut tells me that accepting Muscovite suzerainty over the upper parts of Österbotten and parts of Karelia as a fait accompli would be very unpopular in Sweden proper.

Also: Do you by chance have any information on the size and composition of Moscow's siege train at this point in time?
 
@Milites , congrats on a well-deserved Turtledoves win (I think it’s official now)!
On the other hand, if Christian II were to accept the Notenborg borders without any fuss, I'd imagine that he would alienate a substantial part of the Swedish nobility, he's fought so hard to bring back into the Oldenburg fold. Of course, one could argue that it was the Stures who opened the Russian floodgates, but my gut tells me that accepting Muscovite suzerainty over the upper parts of Österbotten and parts of Karelia as a fait accompli would be very unpopular in Sweden proper.
To be completely honest with you, I am not so sure about that.
Vasily doesn’t really ask Christian to recognize something Swedish government was reluctant to. Swedish government time after time again officially recognized Notenborg treaty borders (most recently in 1513). The difference is that while IOTL Swedes de-facto controlled more lands, ITTL in 1523 all legally Russian lands are actually occupied by Vasily’s troops.
So, while in practice there is a shift of border in favor of Russia, Swedish nobles have no legal reasons to be unhappy. Given the fact that most of changes are in virtually unsettled Northern Finland, I doubt many in Sweden would care much. Since Christian also brings home an extremely important Viborg that the traitorous bitch Kristina ceded, I sincerely doubt that his popularity among Swedes will suffer.

Also: Do you by chance have any information on the size and composition of Moscow's siege train at this point in time?
Unfortunately, the data on Vasily III's artillery is mostly lost (the archive was burned by Napoleon troops in 1812). We do however know a lot more about the Russian artillery during both his father's and his son reigns.
Ivan III mostly relied on Italian gun masters (and their Russian apprentices). He was able to attract quite a few surprisingly qualified ones, who were able to establish a proper gun manufacturing in Moscow. So by the beginning of Vasily III reign, Russian artillery was most likely no much different from an Italian original.
In 1500-1510s gun masters from HRE increased in numbers and at some point became more numerous than Italians. Thus the artillery composition of Vasily III armies should probably resemble that of HRE armies. We know for sure that Vasily had several extremely large bombards, numerous mortars and probably some kartouwes and dozens of other large-caliber guns.
Sources claim that during the siege of Smolensk Russian artillery consisted of 140 guns, but we don’t know how reliable is that number or how much of these guns were large caliber. We know a lot more about Ivan IV’s siege train and he had a least a hundred of large-caliber siege guns.

So, all in all Vasily III’s artillery train is supposed to be fairly large and modern, heavily influenced by Italian and German artillery schools. It is assumed that Russian artillery was on par with that western European armies (and since this fact is valid for both Ivan III and Ivan IV artillery trains, there is not that much reasons to doubt this claim).

Source: monography "Artillery of Ivan Grozny" by A. Lobin.
 
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@Milites congratulations on winning a well deserved turtledove!!!
Tillykke! Fortjent.
@Milites , congrats on a well-deserved Turtledoves win (I think it’s official now)!
Thanks guys, it's deeply appreciated :)

To be completely honest with you, I am not so sure about that.
Vasily doesn’t really ask Christian to recognize something Swedish government was reluctant to. Swedish government time after time again officially recognized Notenborg treaty borders (most recently in 1513). The difference is that while IOTL Swedes de-facto controlled more lands, ITTL in 1523 all legally Russian lands are actually occupied by Vasily’s troops.
So, while in practice there is a shift of border in favor of Russia, Swedish nobles have no legal reasons to be unhappy. Given the fact that most of changes are in virtually unsettled Northern Finland, I doubt many in Sweden would care much. Since Christian also brings home an extremely important Viborg that the traitorous bitch Kristina ceded, I sincerely doubt that his popularity among Swedes will suffer.
So it would in fact be more of a fait-accompli for the Swedish realm. I still think that it would create some sort of lasting grievance though - after all, they might not have a legal cause to grumble, but practically speaking Christian II is giving away important Swedish castles.

Unfortunately, the data on Vasily III's artillery is mostly lost (the archive was burned by Napoleon troops in 1812). We do however know a lot more about the Russian artillery during both his father's and his son reigns.
Ivan III mostly relied on Italian gun masters (and their Russian apprentices). He was able to attract quite a few surprisingly qualified ones, who were able to establish a proper gun manufacturing in Moscow. So by the beginning of Vasily III reign, Russian artillery was most likely no much different from an Italian original.
In 1500-1510s gun masters from HRE increased in numbers and at some point became more numerous than Italians. Thus the artillery composition of Vasily III armies should probably resemble that of HRE armies. We know for sure that Vasily had several extremely large bombards, numerous mortars and probably some kartouwes and dozens of other large-caliber guns.
Sources claim that during the siege of Smolensk Russian artillery consisted of 140 guns, but we don’t know how reliable is that number or how much of these guns were large caliber. We know a lot more about Ivan IV’s siege train and he had a least a hundred of large-caliber siege guns.

So, all in all Vasily III’s artillery train is supposed to be fairly large and modern, heavily influenced by Italian and German artillery schools. It is assumed that Russian artillery was on par with that western European armies (and since this fact is valid for both Ivan III and Ivan IV artillery trains, there is not that much reasons to doubt this claim).

Source: monography "Artillery of Ivan Grozny" by A. Lobin.
Thank you!
 
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