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Ripster8
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A Fatal Conflagration

Sat Jul 02, 2016 11:17 pm

"I am very much afraid that the states of the Empire, quarrelling fiercely among themselves, may start a fatal conflagration...all this will undoubtedly produce the most dangerous consequences, bringing about the total collapse and unavoidable alteration in the present state of Germany." Maurice, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel in a letter to Louis XIII, King of France, March 1615

The sadly prescient words of the good Landgrave were echoed by many other leaders in Germany and surrounding lands in the early 17th century. Everyone saw the war coming, but no one could find a way to stop it. And so it came and for 30 years Germany bled, and burned, and wept.

A unique war, both for its religious and political background and for the weapons and tactics used, the Thirty Years War (TYW) has always been one of my favorite periods of military history. Our good friends at AGEOD and HQ Games have provided us with the opportunity to experience this terrible conflict for ourselves. And with that as introduction, let us to the game!

I will play as the Imperialist/Catholic faction in grand campaign. I set the AI at 'Lieutenant', give it more time and a low detection bonus. Of note I always play with 'all leaders activated' - with month-long turns things move slowly enough as it is, so I like my leaders active. We'll see how that pans out this time.

The initial setup, September 1618:
Turn 1.png


The Imperial Army, such as it is, is located in Wien under Count Bucquoy, while the obstreperous heretics have already captured Prague and are sieging Pilsen and Budweis. My options are limited at this point, so I buy three infantry replacements, set to chastising heretics in Austria (using RDCs) and await developments. (Your indulgence is appreciated as this is my first AAR and I am still learning about screenshots, etc.)
Last edited by Ripster8 on Thu Oct 13, 2016 3:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Raied
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Sat Jul 02, 2016 11:22 pm

Nice setup, looking forward to read your AAR for this wonderful game.

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Ripster8
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Sat Jul 02, 2016 11:34 pm

October 1618

A small heretic force led by the traitor Count Jindrich Matyas Thurn has moved from Pilsen to Linz. Thurn is a decent leader having had some success in the empire's wars with the Ottomans. But his force is small and Bucqoy's army should be able to defeat it. Charles Bonaventure de Longueval Count of Bucquoy is also an experienced if not very talented commander (3-2-2) with extensive combat experience in the rebellious Low Countries fighting for the Spanish. He became commander of the Imperial Army in 1614. But good or bad he is the only game in town for the Imperials right now, and the loss of Linz would be a terrible blow to the Catholic cause. To Linz!

Turn2.jpg
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Sun Jul 03, 2016 12:08 am

November 1618

Count Thurn chose the better part of valor and retreated before Bucquoy's superior force was able to close for battle. Unfortunately for him Thurn retreated into the wooded hills south of Linz. It may be a cold winter for that particular group of heretics!

Turn3.jpg


In other developments the walls of Pilsen, west of Prague, have been breached but the garrison repulsed the initial attack of Graf Mansfeld's Bohemians. Ernst Graf von Mansfeld was the illegitimate son of the Count of Mansfeld, a minor German nobleman. Raised in Luxembourg Graf Mansfeld had extensive military experience with the Imperial army in Hungary and Germany. Although a Roman Catholic he joined the Protestant cause in 1610 after falling out with the Imperial court. He is a decent leader, decent but not brilliant. Unfortunately, I will not be able to relieve the garrison of Pilsen and the city will most likely fall next month.

The La Motte Regiment, a strong force of cuirassiers, is raised in Wein by an ardent supporter of the Emperor and it is directed to join Bucquoy's army at Linz. With winter soon to arrive Bucquoy opts to use one of his supply wagons to build a depot at Linz, as he will spend the season there. It is a small city and supplies will be tight there once the snow flies.

Generally speaking, a large city (4-5) can adequately supply one army (CP 1500 or so). Smaller cities require depots in order to do so. TYW is very much a conflict driven by logistics (but which conflict isn't?) and there is nothing worse than seeing your troops melt away due to the lack of supplies!

At this point the heretics have only 50% of my combat power, and our NM are both at 100. This will change over time...
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Sun Jul 03, 2016 12:39 am

December 1618

Pilsen falls! Not unexpected but unwelcome nonetheless. The Emperor's hold on Bohemia is fast receding with only Budweis and Brunn (northeast of Wien) holding to the Imperial cause.

Turn4.jpg


Thurn's force moves east, still in the hills south of Linz. Undoubtedly his troops are suffering terribly. La Motte joins Bucquoy bringing his force up to CP 863. The Count builds a level 2 depot in Linz and hopes it will keep his men fed through the winter.

Mansfeld is at Pilsen. A small Protestant force is at Prague. Wien is uncovered but not threatened at this point. The Imperials are hoping for a quiet winter.

Logistics are not the only thing driving this war. You also need money, war supplies (WS) and engagement points (EP). Money comes from taxation in key cities: Wien, Munich (and the rest of Bavaria - soon to be a key ally of the Emperor), and later on other major German cities. Additionally, Spain and the Pope will provide periodic subsidies of money and WS. WS arrive at the same time as taxation (I think...) and are critical for the purchase of new units and replacements. EP are needed for RDCs, diplomacy and certain actions taken through the strategic atlas. WS and EP will be in short supply during the early part of the war, but later on they should be plentiful. Money will always be an issue, at least until the major Protestant forces are defeated.

Money is required for the upkeep of your forces in the field (anywhere from 1 to 7 or more gold per turn), for replacements and for the purchase of new units. A prudent Generalissimo always keeps a reserve of money on hand to pay his troops, he buys replacements judiciously and where needed most, and purchases new units sparingly. Unpaid troops disappear just as quickly as unfed ones!

Nervos belli, pecuniam infinitam. Marcus Tullius Cicero (The sinews of war are infinite money.)
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Sun Jul 03, 2016 1:13 am

January 1619

Thurn continues to freeze south of Linz. His force will be completely destroyed by Spring. Bucquoy opts to buy two new supply wagons (expensive at 4 gold each) and one cavalry replacement (4 gold). Additionally, the opportunity to buy 12lb cannons appears in the strategic atlas military tab (accessed by clicking the book icon in the upper left hand corner) for the cost of 4 gold. The 12lb cannon is the mainstay of artillery forces and the Empire needs more guns at this point. So even though all of the expenditures will leave me only 4 gold (and right after I lectured you on the importance of saving money!) the Empire feels it is a reasonable move. Hopefully, tax income from Wein will arrive soon!

Turn5.jpg


Bucquoy remains in 'attack' posture in case Thurn tries to move north. Using the 'Decisions Mode' accessed by clicking on the playing cards in the upper left hand corner of the screen, I opt to construct entrenchments for Bucquoy at Linz. They will give a significant combat bonus should the heretics attack him. Regional Decision Cards (RDCs) in TYW include provincial religious conversion, new mercenary units, various raids, plundering and contributions to raise additional money, expert gunner and mine breaching for siege operations, and eventually diplomatic cards. More on each of these as they are played. When in 'decision mode' the screen will be mostly red as shown, with provinces able to receive the RDC in question shown as green.

Winter in Bohemia (and most everywhere in TYW) is quite harsh and the prudent Generalissimo keeps his troops safely quartered in a large, friendly city unless driven by absolute necessity to venture forth. The AI, unfortunately, is not a prudent Generalissimo most of the time.

CP is 79% and morale is 100 for both.
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Sun Jul 03, 2016 6:18 pm

February 1619

No taxes from Wien yet, but I can and do ask for help from my Spanish cousins and His Holiness.

Turn6.jpg


These options are found in the strategic atlas (book icon in the upper left hand corner) under the 'chancellery' tab, and cost 2 EPs each.

With one of the new supply wagons Count Bucquoy builds a level 3 depot in Linz. A good supply source will be necessary for operations north of the Danube towards Prague. The new 12lb cannons arrive at Wien and are ordered to march to Linz. The weather remains quite unpleasant, especially for Count Thurn and his troops still south of Linz.
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Sun Jul 03, 2016 6:32 pm

March 1619

His Holiness and the Spanish each provide a generous 10 gold and 3 WS toward the Emperor's cause. With it I buy two more supply wagons and build the Linz depot up to level 4.

Turn7.jpg


There is a weak Bohemian force (two regiments) sieging Budweis, but moving Bucquoy's army in winter would cause terrible attrition. Better to wait and hope the city holds until Spring.

Count Thurn and his 'frozen few' have amazingly moved further south. I suppose he heard that winters in Italy are fairly mild...

CP is 71% and morale for both sides is still at 100.
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Sun Jul 03, 2016 7:03 pm

April 1619

Spring arrives and with it the mud. Since the game map doesn't have a color for mud you can only tell if a province is experiencing muddy conditions by hovering the cursor over the region. Look before you march as mud slows you down and seems to cause increased attrition. Of course, the AI does not heed this sage advice, as Count Mansfeld is seen moving south towards Budweis with a small army.

Turn8.jpg


Thurn is spotted moving east towards Wien, which could be a problem. But with Protestant CP at 59% it seems the winter has not been good to the heretic cause. If the ground dries out next month Bucquoy will most likely be sent north to relieve Budweis.

And finally, Emperor Matthias has died. His policy of conciliation toward the Protestants was not appreciated by the Catholic factions in the Empire who now hope that his nephew, Ferdinand, Archduke of Austria, will be elected Holy Roman Emperor. Archduke Ferdinand is known to be an ardent Catholic and supporter of an aggressive Counter-Reformation policy towards the heretics. His election would not bode well for the Protestants nor for the prospects of an early peace.
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Sun Jul 03, 2016 7:29 pm

May 1619

For those of you who were wondering if there was ever any combat in this wargame the answer is yes! Taking my advice from the previous post I noticed that the provinces north of Linz were actually 'clear' and not 'mud'. It seemed a reasonable opportunity for Bucquoy to head to Budweis and break the siege.

Turn9.jpg


It was a short, sharp battle which saw the much larger Imperial force sweeping aside the heretic scoundrels. Mansfeld, seeing which way the wind was blowing and lacking any cavalry at all in his little army, made a hasty retreat, with loss. Casualties were light but the overall objective was achieved: Budweis remains in Imperial hands.

But having just sat down for a celebratory toast with his commanders Count Bucquoy received disturbing news: Thurn had reappeared and was sieging Wien! Now the frigid Count Thurn probably had only a handful of men left in his force after their winter sojourn in the hills south of Linz, but in TYW a siege is a siege no matter how small the besieging force. Now the loss of Wien would mean the end of the Imperial cause so the heretics must be dispersed at all costs. Unfortunately, the clear conditions of the previous month had now turned back to mud effectively freezing Bucquoy's army in place at Budweis. The garrison of Wien was large and the city well-supplied so there was hope it would hold out until relieved. But in TYW strange things happen in sieges sometimes, so it was an anxious Empire that awaited next month's events...
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Sun Jul 03, 2016 7:39 pm

June 1619

The weather clears and Bucquoy will march south. Unfortunately it will take 38 days to reach Wien from Budweis at normal speed. The Count will try a forced march, even though it will mean some extra attrition to his army. The tool tip gives him a 60% chance of making it to Wien in 29 days, just enough time to break the siege before the month is out.

Turn10.jpg


Wien waits for relief, and the Empire waits for a new emperor...
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Sun Jul 03, 2016 9:48 pm

So far so good. Keep it up!

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Sun Jul 03, 2016 11:16 pm

Enjoying this so far. I hope you fare better than I did with my Imperial game.

I'll be following along.

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Mon Jul 04, 2016 9:59 pm

Thank you, gentlemen, for your kind words and encouragement. I will endeavor to serve the Emperor faithfully and to return the unfortunate heretics to the bosom of Holy Mother Church!

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Mon Jul 04, 2016 10:06 pm

July 1619

Bucquoy's force march failed and his units suffered attrition nonetheless - I guess the lads were tripping over each other and injuring themselves as they marched! But Mansfeld, on the other hand, seems to have grown wings, moving 5 or 6 provinces and capturing Brunn while marching! (Oh the infamous and hated drive-by siege! It would be much easier, AGEOD/HQ, if ALL garrisons were on the map at all times and I didn't have to guess which towns needed troops! GRRR!)

turn11.jpg


In any event, there will be a battle at Wien next month and with the CP ratio at 39% I am confident, well at least hopeful of success.
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Mon Jul 04, 2016 10:42 pm

August 1619

A busy month! Bucquoy crushed the remnants of Thurn's force, killing 400 men and capturing a supply wagon (which is always a treat!). Several other Bohemian regiments were seen fleeing northwards to Brunn, along with Christian of Anhalt, another Protestant princeling who has defied the Emperor and joined the rebellion! Fortunately he is not much of a commander, but he is a cheeky fellow, nonetheless!

turn12.jpg


Mansfeld continues to win Olympic force-marching awards, this time moving 6 provinces westwards to place Budweis under siege. The speedy Count's force consists of three infantry/cavalry regiments, two artillery batteries and two supply wagons, and I have no idea how he is moving so quickly! In any case, Bucquoy's force is a bit battered and footsore and so will remain in Wien to recover before possibly moving east.

I say possibly because there are still Protestant forces at Brunn and now Bethlen Gabor of Hungary has joined the Protestant cause. He appears with a small force and captures Pressburg, east of Wien. Gabor is not much of a threat but losing Wien would end the war. Losing Budweis is a blow the Imperials can withstand. (In game terms Gabor is not much of a factor. Two successful RDCs will remove him and his small force from the conflict. In real life he was able to win significant concessions from the Emperor by taking advantage of the Bohemian revolt along with the threat of Ottoman support.)

But at last the Holy Roman Empire has a new Emperor: Ferdinand of House Habsburg, son of the Archduke of Austria Charles and Maria Anna of Bavaria, has been elected to the Imperial Throne as Ferdinand II. A staunch Catholic and strong supporter of the Counter-Reformation, Ferdinand's election only increases support for the Bohemian rebellion. All over Germany, Protestant rulers prepare for war.
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Mon Jul 04, 2016 10:56 pm

September 1619

Mansfeld's good luck holds: he achieves a breach in the walls of Budweis. His first assault is thrown back, but the city will fall next month.

turn13.jpg


Other Protestant forces are seen moving to join Mansfeld at Budweis giving his army parity with Bucquoy's. And so I have two choices. First, race Bucquoy west and try to save Budweis. Or second, stay and defend Wien. I opt for the second course, for several reasons. Bucquoy's army is already weakened and in need of replacements, which I cannot afford. A forced-march and possible battle will weaken him even further. The loss of my only army will be the wreck of the Catholic cause, while the loss of Budweis is only a minor setback. Bucquoy stays put and hopes for an early winter to slow the Protestants down. Where are my taxes, oh Wien, the city that I am so faithfully defending?
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Mon Jul 04, 2016 11:24 pm

October 1619

Budweis falls! The rebel conquest of Bohemia is almost complete. It is a dark time for the Empire. But there are two hopeful developments. First, His Holiness Pope Paul V provides additional subsidies, allowing the purchase of badly needed infantry replacements. And second, on his way back from his election in Frankfurt Ferdinand II stops at Munich for an important conference with Archduke Maximilian of Bavaria and the Spanish ambassador, Count Onate. Together they forge an agreement, the Treaty of Munich. Bavaria and Spain will fully support the Emperor in his war to recapture Bohemia and restore the Catholic faith. But the support comes at a steep price. Bavaria will be given lands belonging to the rebel Frederick V Elector Palatine who has been crowned by the rebel Bohemians as their new king. In addition and most controversially, Maximilian will be given the title and power of 'Elector', one of the chosen few princes who elect the Holy Roman Emperor. It is an unheard of move and it causes a firestorm of outrage throughout Europe. Help for the Emperor was on the way, but at what price?

turn14.jpg
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Mon Jul 04, 2016 11:35 pm

November 1619

Winter is late this year and Mansfeld takes advantage of the good weather, moving south past Krumau to besiege Linz. The loss of Linz at this stage in the war would be a catastrophe. Bucquoy must respond. The Spanish reinforcements promised by Onate appear to the south but they are too weak to attack Mansfeld. It is up to Bucquoy! (A TYW game note: there is no 'march to the sound of the guns' in TYW. Only units that are actually in a province may engage in combat.)

turn15.jpg
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Tue Jul 05, 2016 6:13 am

Sweet! Just found this AAR, thanks for sharing.

-C

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Tue Jul 05, 2016 1:35 pm

November 1619

Mansfeld decides to go after the Spanish, moving south of Linz and defeating Marradas' force. Marradas, overcome by Mansfeld's superiority in cavalry, retreats north to Linz, just as Bucquoy arrives. This leaves Mansfeld and his army in the exact same position Thurn was last year: wintering in the hills south of Linz. And an early snowfall gives the heretics a taste of the misery to come!

Turn16.jpg


In other news the badly needed tax income from Wien finally arrives! The Imperial army will survive the winter.

On the political front, the Catholic League, led by Bavaria, formally agrees to raise a large army to support the Emperor. The opposing Protestant Union decides not to, at least at this point. Additionally, initial negotiations with Bethlen Gabor are successful. The Hungarian prince agrees to sit down at the bargaining table and seek accommodation with the Empire. Until then, though, his forces remain in the field.

CP is 85% and NM is 99 for the Imperials, 100 for the Protestants.

On a game note, I have the AI set to normal aggressiveness, so I guess Mansfeld went for the Spanish because they were a weaker force. His sojourn in the wilds over the winter does not bode well for the AI Protestant cause, but it is much too early to throw in the towel at this point. Let the war continue!
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Tue Jul 05, 2016 2:00 pm

December 1618-January 1619

December was quiet, but in January Mansfeld attempts to break through the Imperial army at Linz to return to the safety of Bohemia. His badly weakened army is easily defeated and is forced back into the hills south of Linz. (Mansfeld's CP went from 850 to 275 in two months due to winter attrition!)

turn17.jpg


On the political front, in December Ferdinand II declared the election of Frederick V to the Bohemian throne null and void. The Emperor retains that title for himself and intends to enforce his will upon the rebels through force of arms!

Bethlen Gabor agrees to leave the war after receiving significant concessions from the Imperials. (In game terms, I think the Imperials should take a morale hit for this as the Emperor did concede quite a bit to Gabor in Hungary.)

The Protestants receive assistance from England and from Jewish Bankers in Prague, the latter under threat of confiscation!
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Tue Jul 05, 2016 2:24 pm

February-June 1620

After a quiet winter Bucquoy heads south and crushes the remnants of Mansfeld's army pushing them even further south. But new Protestant threats appear to the north so Bucquoy returns to Linz to meet them.

turn19-23.jpg


The Spanish force was sent to Wien during the winter to lessen the stress on Linz's limited supply sources and to defend the capital. (On a game note, at this stage in the conflict I do not purchase Spanish replacements. They are very expensive and most of the Spanish forces will be sent back to Flanders soon, so you are paying for replacements you will never get to use.)

The Empire purchases additional artillery and hires a new colonel. Additional tax income from Wien arrives and the Imperials are in a good position financially for the upcoming campaign season.
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Tue Jul 05, 2016 2:39 pm

July 1620

The war expands with the entrance of the army of the Catholic League. Led by Johann Tserclaes, Count of Tilly, a nobleman from the Spanish Netherlands with extensive experience in the war with the Dutch rebels, the League army will move to Linz since Mansfeld's force is once again moving north. Bucquoy will attack northwards to break the siege of Krumau and hopefully invest Budweis. Capturing that city this year should allow the Imperials to march on Prague in 1621!

turn24.jpg
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Tue Jul 05, 2016 3:14 pm

August 1620

In a very successful effort, Bucquoy brushes aside the single regiment of cavalry beseiging Krumau (I hate single-regiment sieges AGEOD!), disperses the weak Protestant forces at Budweis and then seizes the city itself in a brilliant coup-de-main! Unfortunately his troops are afflicted with dysentery after all this success and are seriously weakened. Tilly reaches Linz without incident, and the Imperials purchase another supply unit, and a weak infantry unit to garrison Budweis.

turn25.jpg


A game note on organizing for combat. This is a much easier task in TYW than in any other AGEOD game I have played. Each leader has a command rating (Tilly's is 25, noted in the box on the far right side of the screen) which determines how many units he can command (larger units require more command points, generally speaking). Tilly is the senior leader in the stack (called a 'wing' in TYW) and will lead it in combat. In order to maximize his abilities subordinate leaders are assigned units in 'groups' of up to c. 400 combat power. You select a leader, enable group command and attach units to his group, all using the 'tent' tab above the unit display box. It's that simple. There is no higher headquarters to worry about, no command radius, and the senior leader in a stack can command troops personally with no detriment to his abilities. In more modern military terms, the individual units in TYW are battalions and regiments, the 'groups' are brigades and the 'wings' are divisions. A 'wing' will normally have around 15,000 soldiers on average, with a combat power of c. 1500 when in top condition. The AI 'superstack' may reach 30,000 soldiers with a CP of 3000 or more. Generally speaking, in combat having more artillery and cavalry than your opponent is a good thing, but more on those topics later.
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Wed Jul 06, 2016 7:11 pm

September 1620

The war expands! Georg-Frederik Margrave of Baden-Durlach has raised a small army in support of the Bohemian rebels. Additional Spanish forces appear at Frankfurt, the key Imperial city in the Palatinate. The field of operations now stretches from Olmutz in Moravia all the way to Rhine River.

Turn26.jpg


In preparation for next year's campaign, Tilly is moved to Wien and Bucquoy remains at Budweis, building a depot to supply his troops through the winter. Tilly will move to seize Pressburg and Brunn, while Bucquoy will make the all-important attack on Prague. In support of this, the 24lb artillery battery is detached from Tilly's force and moves towards Budweis. (In order to play the 'expert gunner' RDC an army needs a 24lb cannon battery or siege artillery.) Marradas and his Spaniards are stationed at Linz to guard against intrusion from Protestants to the south.

The CP is at 63%; morale at 99:Imperial, 100:Protestants.

(Again, the Spanish forces at this point need many replacements. Since most of them will be heading to the Low Countries soon I never spend money on them.)
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Wed Jul 06, 2016 7:31 pm

October 1620

A small Protestant force has moved to Krumau, cutting off Bucquoy's army at Budweis. Marradas will be sent to deal with them. The Spanish at Frankfurt move into the city and build a depot. They will attempt to hold the city until Imperial relief arrives. One of Bucquoy's artillery batteries is sent to bolster Tilly's forces.

turn27.jpg
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Wed Jul 06, 2016 7:39 pm

November 1620

Taxes arrive from Wien - always a happy event! The 24lb cannon are sent over the mountains to Bucquoy with a small escort. Bucquoy builds another depot even as the snow begins to fall.

turn28.jpg
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Wed Jul 06, 2016 8:08 pm

December 1620 - Apr 1621

Over the winter both the Pope, and the King of Spain die. The Emperor hopes that their successors, Gregory XV and Philip IV, will be as fervent in their support of him as their predecessors. More cannons are purchased for Tilly and additional supply wagons for Bucquoy.

turn29.jpg


With the coming of Spring a vigorous campaign is planned. Bucquoy will attack Prague, Tilly will attack Pressburg and then Brunn, and Marradas will cover Linz. The Protestants are weak due to their many winter sightseeing tours (CP at 85%) but Frankfurt is dangerously isolated and Munich is also exposed. But if Bohemia is not subdued this year the Imperial cause will suffer for it. There are rumors of additional states joining the Protestant cause and this rebellion must be strangled in its cradle! Ad Deo et Imperator! (For God and the Emperor!)
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Wed Jul 06, 2016 8:22 pm

May 1621

Success and failure, as in life, so in war! Tilly crushes a Protestant regiment north of Wien and then seizes Pressburg, dispersing Thurn's small force. Bucquoy, never known as a fast-mover, is slowed by the harassment of rebel cavalry and fails to reach Prague. Marradas is in position at Linz.

turn30.jpg


Tilly leaves a single regiment as garrison and moves on to Brunn. Bucquoy will lay siege to Prague - the challenge then will be keeping him supplied. Marradas will stay in place facing the currently stationary Mansfeld.
Last edited by Ripster8 on Thu Oct 13, 2016 3:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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