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Thread: Heimskringla- A tale of Norway's rise (SS6.3 BGR/VH-VH)

  1. #81

    Default Re: Heimskringla- A tale of Norway's rise (SS6.3 BGR/VH-VH)

    Prince Haakon sends spies into Hrodna with the help of some citizens who aren't fond of the Teutonic Order and manages to open the gates without a wall assault.

    The Teuton garrison races back to the central square when Norwegian cavalry enter through side streets- the Merchant cavalry in the Teuton force tries to engage the Pecheneg companies but are met by Mercenary Frankish knights and temporarily driven back. The Teutons are leaderless and mill about in the central square when Norwegian light cavalry surrounds the square.

    A few desultory attacks are launched but the Norwegians have already established a perimeter and the Teutons die by arrow.

    The battle is easily won by Prince Haakon with low casualties- nearly half by friendly fire.

    The Pecheneg cavalry excel in such close quarters archery tournaments- the tribesmen frequently bet enormous sums on calling which eye their arrow will pierce in an unlucky Teuton who can't figure which way to turn his shield.

  2. #82

    Default Re: Heimskringla- A tale of Norway's rise (SS6.3 BGR/VH-VH)

    King Ragnvald approaches Hrodna where Prince Haakon's messengers find him and inform him of the Teuton's last large army to the NE. King Ragnvald can barely march there before the campaign season is over and might risk early snows but with reinforcements from Konigsburg and Prince Haakon in Hrodna Ragnvald decides to crush the Teuton's now rather than later.

    The forces are evenly matched though the Teutons have greater numbers King Ragnvald has superior infantry.The first of the seasons winter storms had struck the day before and the battlefield is covered in calf deep snow.

    The battle opens with the Norwegians on higher ground but the Teuton army holds steady to its position. King Ragnvald waits for awhile then sends a company of Kazak mercenaries whose services he purchased far to the east down to try and draw the Teutons out of position.

    The Kazaks do manage to draw some of the Teutons Pecheneg cavalry forward but miscalculate on the range when changing position and the Pechenegs gain a small elevation advantage and inflict heavy casualties early in the exchange.

    The Kazak's approach from the Teuton's rear but launch their arrows at a company of Ritterbruders protecting that flank rather than deal with the Pechenegs. This turns out to be a mistake and despite killing half the Ritterbruder company the Kazaks are forced to flee the Pecheneg arrows. The surviving Kazak's run right by King Ragnvald and flee the battle.

    King Ragnvald confers with his captains and decides to send the Prussian auxillary cavalry forward to see if their better discipline holds up to draw the Teutons into an attack. The Teuton commander sends all of his missile cavalry forward in response. The resulting exchange leads to small losses for both sides and King Ragnvald decides he will charge with his own bodyguard to either draw the Teutons out or strike hard where they expect a feint.

    Earlier Ragnvald had ordered one of his captains to sneak a company of Landsmenn through the woods a bit closer to the Teuton lines. A company of Teuton Mounted crossbows stumble onto this company in an accidental ambush.

    The Teuton Pecheneg cavalry is too fast for King Ragnvald to catch but the swift flight opens the Teuton's infantry to a solid charge which King Ragnvald carries home.

    This charge is a signal for a general advance to the Norwegian infantry who march down the slope toward the waiting Teuton line. King Ragnvald orders bodyguard to disengage before being swamped by Teutons but a company of Teuton Pecheneg cavalry cuts off Ragnvald from the rest of his army- The Pechenegs might have over-estimated their chances or simply thought Ragnvald would foolishly try and engage the entire Teuton line and are surprised when Ragnvald's entire bodyguard smashes into them. The superior armor and training of the Norwegians in melee leads to the majority of the Pecheneg dying quite suddenly but they do slow Ragnvald down enough some of the men in his bodyguard are knocked out of their saddles from behind by the approaching Teuton infantry.

    The Teuton commander notices that his Mounted crossbowmen have gotten into trouble and sends a company of Halbbruders to assist. The Druhzina horse archer mercenary company had been waiting for worthy target and races down the slope to fire off as many volleys of arrows as possible before the Halbbruders reach the shelter of the trees.

    The Halbbruders catch the Landsmenn just as they dispatch the last of the Mounted crossbowmen and the initial charges kills a dozen men but then the snow and the trees even the odds in the fight.

    The Halbbruders disengage before more Norwegians can arrive and surround them.

    The Norwegian infantry had to weather several flights of unanswered arrows before reaching the Teuton lines but now battle is joined!

    The retreating Halbbruders are pursued by a company of Prussian auxillaries which has used all its javelins and when a company of Teuton levy archers get in their way they are run down.

    King Ragnvald waits behind his lines and orders his best company of Huskarl axemen to wait as a reserve. Soon the Teuton commander charges into the melee and Ragnvald takes the opportunity to try and kill him.

    The Teuton commander manages to escape and King Ragnvald does not pursue as the battle is still undecided and the Teutons have a mass of archers behind their lines- 1 lucky arrow could end the battle if it found its way into Ragnvald's body. The Teutons had purchased the services of 2 companies of mercenary German knights and the infantry melee is exceptionally bloody.

    When Ragnvald observes the Teuton commander charge the left flank of the Norwegian infantry he rounds the Teutons own left flank and eliminates a company of archers attempting to let loose point blank volleys. The Teuton general does some damage with his charge but is beaten back and races towards left of his line where the Norwegian are pushing around now that King Ragnvald has cleared the archers away.

    The reserve Huskarl's hurl themselves around the Teuton right flank soon after the Teuton general raced back towards King Ragnvald and the collapsing left flank of the Teuton army. The Prussian auxillary cavalry chases the Teuton archer companies all over the field further helping the Norwegian infantry focus on the foes right in front of them.

    Just before the Teuton commander and the surviving Halbbruders charge into King Ragnvald's weakened bodyguard a company of Huskarl axemen who had beaten the last of the Teuton infantry facing them manage to block that charge and swiftly cut down the Halbbruders. The Teuton commander seeing his archers mostly dispersed by the Prussian auxillaries and 2 companies of Huskarls behind his infantry line which is collapsing decides to flee. King Ragnvald lets our a roar at such cowardly behavior and pursues.

    With their commander fleeing the field the remaining Teutons break and try to make a run for it. The battle is hard fought but King Ragnvald is victorious. The Teuton general does manage to escape however which is a sore disappointment to Ragnvald.

    Ragnvald and a company of Foot knights in the midst of the melee gain the most loot and kill the largest share of Teutons.

    Soon after the battle is over news arrives that the Pope has ordered a blockade of a French port. To comply Norway must turn against its oldest allies...

    Not to mention the largest military in Europe. France, followed by Hungary which is soundly winning the war against the Turks have the largest armies in Europe. Both are Norwegian allies. The last Pope had built the Papal states into a northern Italian empire and the current Pope is expanding that empire ably. The Papal States ranks just behind Hungary in military might. The Turks are losing battles to Hungary but still remain a potent power while Norway despite controlling most of the north has been experiencing economic turmoil from the influx of war booty leading to inflation and the plague decimating the population in Britain.

    Game Info
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    King Ragnvald is one of the furthest moving generals I've ever had. I usually try and gather movement bonus ancillaries for my FL and Heir but Ragnvald also has excellent traits such as energetic and understands logistics. Total bonus is 95% so he moves almost double. On Crusade this movement bonus would be nearly 4x normal movement and almost like cheating. Even better Ragnvald only has standard military education- when he gains advanced he will have over 100% bonus!

    The War Council takes the opportunity of King Ragnvald momentarily being nearer civilization after the prior years of campaigning and recommends that it is past time for the King to take a wife. Poland has been acting suspiciously and it has been a goal of Norway for some time to gain control of all Baltic ports of which Poland still holds 2.

    The recent orders from the Pope complicate the political situation further as Norway is being pressured to abandon its ally France. The next Pope is likely to be Hungarian and Hungary is in the position to do the most damage should Poland convince them to help in a war against Norway.

    King Ragnvald does not need much convincing and a suitable bride from is located. Ragnvald already speaks Hungarian which he learned from his mother who was also Hungarian. The marriage will strengthen the alliance between Norway and Hungary but does not offer much else. A small dowry is paid and Ragnvald takes the winter to get to know his wife and attempt to produce a secure heir to his line.

    Meanwhile Ragnvald orders the garrisons of Konigsburg and Vilnius to be reduced. With new guarantees of solidarity with Hungary the time for war with Poland is nigh. The problem is the Pope. The current troubles France is experiencing is a good example for Norway to avoid. Poland should be the aggressor in any war and lightly garrisoned fortresses might be enough to tempt the Poles into launching an attack. The Norwegian fleets are launched and have stores and thousands of men aboard. English Longbowmen, Norwegian Huskarls, and Prussian auxillaries have been held in reserve for this day. King Ragnvald boards ship from Prussia and waits for the Polish to make the first move...

    Last edited by Ichon; April 16, 2011 at 04:22 AM.

  3. #83

    Default Re: Heimskringla- A tale of Norway's rise (SS6.3 BGR/VH-VH)

    Earlier King Ragnvald had received reports that Magnus Haakonsson was dead- apparently there was some confusion and Magnus is still alive and had left the battle for Yaroslavl wearing his dead brothers equipment. Magnus had decided that he would not be able to make much headway on winning the Crown back to his side of the family if Ragnvald was present and watching him closely. When his brother fell Magnus with the help of his friends disguised himself and left the city under King Ragnvald's control. Setting out to begin carving out a legendary name for himself in blood, Magnus lays siege to Morum without any official support.

    The Mongols send some men to deal with this provocation...

    Magnus has spent the last few seasons reading over Haflidhi's campaigns and talking to what veterans he could find and puts some of those lessons to use by hiding his friends and their bodyguards in the trees while the Mongols focus on his own party.

    Once the first group of Turhagut heavy cavalry move past Magnus signals his hidden friends to charge by doing so himself- the Mongols are taken by surprise and suffer many casualties in the first engagement of the battle.

    The 3 friends have had little to do in the siege but train with their bodyguards and each does his task well. Splitting off and drawing 1 Mongol Turhagut company away to give the Norwegians a temporary advantage and then swinging back to charge the rear of the engaged Turhagut company before the 2nd Turhagut company which was lured away can return.

    Even with such tactics the Mongols simply have too many heavy cavalry... the arrival of horse archer reinforcements leads Magnus to call it a day- he signals retreat and all 3 friends make it away safely though losing large parts of their bodyguards in the battle.

    The battle is a loss but Magnus still killed twice his men's numbers in Mongol Turhagut heavy cavalry... he intends that by the time the tale reaches Norway that it is 4 times the numbers and his own army was swollen with volunteers from veterans who were left behind in King Ragnvald's swift return to the west.

    Magnus has no end of schemes to wrest the crown from the younger Haakonsson line who he is convinced should never have been awarded it in the first place.

    Meanwhile hundreds of miles away and years of hard travel- The Pope has called a Crusade against France! It is a crucial question for King Ragnvald.

    Side with the Pope and destroy Norway's oldest alliance in return for expecting the Pope to look the other way as Norway finishes some business with Poland?

    Refuse to go to war with France and break the alliance with the Papal States which are politically much more important than France though militarily France is the dominant power in Europe?

    Relations with the Pope might be mended by Norway's Cardinals and the influence of Hungary but that still leaves the question of the Crusade. The Kingdom of Norway holds power in lands where the Church is a respected and cherished institution. Ignoring a call to Crusade might leads to turmoil at a time when Norway is vulnerable due to the plague, potential war with France, the still undefeated Mongols, and potentially Poland.

    King Ragnvald might place his bet on the Pope and that the Papal armies will quickly capture Frankfurt thus ending the Crusade. However if Frankfurt does not fall all bets are off...

    Game Info-
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    So this campaign just became interesting again! Honestly I have no idea what I'm going to do. I haven't played past this point yet. Will leave the computer on overnight to think about it so I don't have to choose what alliance to break until I hear some opinions. If ignore the Pope and remain loyal to France then attacking Poland to take the last Baltic ports will probably break the Hungarian alliance as well and possibly lead to Norway being excommunicated. Which would be quite tough to deal with at this point with BGR and such a spread out empire. If attack France then the focus of the war would have to shift away from Mongols and maybe even Poland for awhile... really I also hate seeing the Papal States becomes so powerful. It would be cool to fight them down to Rome if I thought France would stay loyal but most situations in games in the past the AI ally reconciles with the Pope shortly after I get into the war and then calls the next Crusade against me joining it with 5 full armies or something. But I always hope that this time might be different...

  4. #84

    Default Re: Heimskringla- A tale of Norway's rise (SS6.3 BGR/VH-VH)

    Loving it, this turns into something really epic!

    Well I really dunno what you're gonna do. Personally I'm one of those naive goodhearted fellows who never really turns on an ally (unless I have no choice or they turn on me!)

    But maybe attacking France would be "easiest" can use the British Isles as a startpoint from which you invade the French mainland...the channel should provide ample protection from French retaliations on those provinces. <------- Ask me somethin' dagnabbit!

  5. #85
    Radzeer's Avatar Rogue Bodemloze
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    Default Re: Heimskringla- A tale of Norway's rise (SS6.3 BGR/VH-VH)

    Finally had tome to catch up with this.
    The battle under Hrodna was epic! How come you did not get a heroic victory? Was it because of the odds?
    About your dilemma (guess you figured out it by now )... if the war with France is unavoidable, I'd do it now, maybe with some limited activity (would they invade Britain?), and that would give you time to prepare for the showdown with the pope.
    But no matter what you do, this is a great reading! (+rep)

  6. #86

    Default Re: Heimskringla- A tale of Norway's rise (SS6.3 BGR/VH-VH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Biggles View Post
    Loving it, this turns into something really epic!
    Yeah, had started to get bored there but it feels like things are getting interesting again. With BGR I can only use my King and Heir to lead invasions... also I didn't manage my royal family very well because I thought this campaign was winding down. Just married my FL and the Heir is still unmarried... the youngest royal other than FL is 42, the FL is 39. Luckily he appears to have fathered 2 children the first year of marriage- twins I guess? Do have a couple generals not in royal family in their 20's but most of the War Council is in their 60s and I'll have to really plan well to pass on their ancillaries and get some younger generals trained up to defend.

    Quote Originally Posted by Radzeer View Post
    Finally had tome to catch up with this.
    The battle under Hrodna was epic! How come you did not get a heroic victory? Was it because of the odds?
    I'm not totally sure- I was surprised to see only a Clear Victory. The odds were 2 to 1 against me so it must have been that my army took high losses and allowed about 300 enemy to escape. With so many enemy cavalry and part of the battle so close to the map edge couldn't chase all the routers down. It was one of the most fun battles I've had in awhile. I really wasn't sure I could win with that many enemy cavalry. Crusader knights with 15 overall defense though are still vulnerable to Pechenegs. I really started to like German Mercenary Knights though- did you see they killed Grandmaster and his entire bodyguard with only 14 losses?

    I still haven't decided actually what to do... have to run some errands and spend some time with gf so won't get a chance to play until tonight.

  7. #87

    Default Re: Heimskringla- A tale of Norway's rise (SS6.3 BGR/VH-VH)

    The War Council is growing concerned. Norway has been forced to side against the Pope to not betray its ally France whose King has been excommunicated. The King is recently married and without a firm heir in his line while the officially named Heir is without without wife and there is no clear succession. Magnus is in the east but rumored to be returning as the older generation which had supported the younger Haakonsson line is dying off and not all the newly elevated nobles share the same opinion. Magnus can make a strong case that the succession should have led to the older Haakonsson line inheriting.

    As the Pope called a Crusade against France, Poland has taken the opportunity to declare war and lays siege to Konigsburg, Vilnius, and approaches Hrodna. Further adding to the destabilizing situation is that Hungary has now taken up the Crusade and gone to war against France... and asked Norway to honor its its side of the Alliance.

    King Ragnvald is with the fleet off the coast of Prussia organizing the armies for the coming wars. Diplomats invite a Venetian daughter of a high ranking merchant to dine with the King- Venice is currently locked in a war with the Pope and is unlikely to betray any allies it can find- at least until the situation changes drastically. Marriage might also bring Norway some cause to interfere in North Italy which would be politically helpful should Norway find itself excommunicated along with France. A Marriage is arranged...

    The decision of Hungary or France will wait until forced. Hungary is near the more exposed and newly acquired territories which would be more difficult to defend. However Hungary is involved in a war with the Turks which occupies its military and has newly entered war against France. France is Norway's largest trade partner and has a military which is not currently occupied. It requires careful consideration- King Ragnvald wants the war with Poland concluded quickly in case more wars are soon to be necessary.

    Prince Haakon had departed Hrodna with an army hoping to ambush any attacking Polish forces but they detour around him. Prince Haakon turns around and marches back to fight the Polish who have slipped 2 armies past on the road to Hrodna.

    Prince Haakon faces a Polish army with several mercenary knight companies, artillery, and several infantry companies, including Dismounted Polish Knights. The battle opens with Haakon shielding most of his army behind a rise out of sight and out of range of the Polish artillery.

    The Mounted Crossbowmen and Pechenegs move to the Poles right flank while the Prussian cavalry move to the left with the goal of eliminating as much of the Polish heavy cavalry as possible and possibly killing the Polish commander.

    The Polish cavalry react and chase the Norwegian cavalry which retreats safely away but not before loosening a storm of arrows, bolts, and javelins.

    Working together the Norwegian cavalry surrounds and harasses the pursuing Polish cavalry.

    The Polish commander is not lured away from his mass of supporting infantry including Pavise crossbowmen who manage to get a couple volleys into the Norwegian light cavalry who can't endure such punishment for more than a couple volleys at extreme range. The Poles push some of their artillery forward and let loose at the Norwegian line behind the crest of the hill to little effect.

    Once the majority of the Poles heavy cavalry is dealt with, Prince Haakon orders a full on frontal charge by most of the Norwegian cavalry.

    The Polish infantry is not hopeless but neither can if offer much resistance aside from the dismounted Polish knights- though any crossbowmen which form and fire might cause large casualties the Prussian cavalry ensure that doesn't happen.

    A few more cavalry charges and the Polish general is slain while trying to engage Prince Haakon's own bodyguard- the rest of the Polish army is killed or capture to a man. The entire battle costs Norway hardly any casualties.

    Prince Haakon might not even have bothered to bring the infantry to this fight as they did not participate at all. However their presence on the hill pinned the Polish army in place as its commander apparently did not relish moving forward to fight against an elevated foe.

    Prince Haakon does not stop long to rest his army but a few days later marches on to engage the next Polish army which has already crossed the river and approaches Hrodna from the south.

    This battle will be more difficult. 5 companies of heavy cavalry and 4 companies of heavy infantry, some veterans along with other supporting infantry. Prince Haakon has only 2 companies of heavy cavalry and 4 of light cavalry, though his army does have equal numbers of heavy infantry.

    The battle opens with neither side having a clear advantage, Haakon orders his men to run for the top of a small rise while the Polish army advances at a walk. The Norwegian light cavalry is again sent to the flanks but with orders to try and lure away some Polish heavy cavalry- not to wear it down over time as in the last battle. If the Polish infantry and heavy cavalry hit the Norwegian lines at the same time the battle might end quickly and not in Haakon's favor.

    The plan works to some degree as the Polish commander and 1 cavalry unit pursue the light cavalry. Yet the rest of the Polish army moves up the slope toward the waiting Norwegians.

    The Polish heavy cavalry charge first but the slope combined with the dense ranks of heavy infantry waiting and a feint charge by Prince Haakon make the charge less devastating than it might otherwise have been. Also some skirmishers drew the brunt of the charge and did somewhat slow the Polish heavy cavalry from hitting the front line all at once.

    Prince Haakon had left a company each of Huskarl axemen and King's men in reserve, the Huskarls charge and engage the Polish knights as soon as they reach the Norwegian left flank but the company of King's men are flanked by a Polish heavy cavalry unit and caught unprepared.

    Prince Haakon had feint charged the Polish infantry as it climbed the slope but then Haakon orders his men to turn and charge the rear of the Polish knights hacking their way through the Norwegian lines. The company of Feudal cavalry accompanies Haakon on this charge.

    The left flank of the Norwegian line is saved and 2 companies of Polish heavy cavalry completely eliminated but kill many of Haakon's bodyguard and the Feudal knights. The Polish commander is still pursuing the Norwegian light cavalry but the other heavy cavalry company which had been drawn off returns and charge the already weakened Norwegian right flank... the Huskarl axemen charge back into the fray and quickly repulse this 2nd charge killing a 3rd Polish heavy cavalry company. The remain company and the Polish infantry which had not yet attacked the Norwegian lines pullback.

    The Prussian cavalry had attempted to delay one of the Polish knights from a charge and barely escaped causing the Polish knights few losses. However the repeated charges and feint charges by the Prussians keep the Polish off balance and likely contribute to the temporary withdrawl- the Polish commander is being cautious as a continued attack would likely have benefited the Norwegians as it would make the Pavise crossbowmen ineffective. Now the Polish occupy the crest of a ridge with their Pavise crossbowmen having a clear field of fire.

    Prince Haakon charges the remaining dismounted Polish knights who have been abandoned in melee by the rest of their army.

    The Polish general had been worn down by his pursuit of the Norwegian light cavalry and turns to regroup his army. On his retreat the Pechenegs fire their remaining arrows killing the rest of the Polish commander's bodyguard. The commander retreats to the safety of his remaining heavy cavalry company and behind the bulk of his infantry. Prince Haakon had been leading the advance of the Norwegian infantry up the slope to attack the Poles and takes the chance to charge the Polish commander while he is distracted by the maneuvering of the Norwegian Mounted crossbowmen.

    With the death of their commander the Polish morale is shaken and when the blood splattered Norwegian infantry comes howling up the slope several Polish companies break... the added charge by Prince Haakon and the remaining Norwegian light cavalry lead to all the Polish infantry other than the dismounted Polish knights routing.

    Combined charges from the front and flanks break the remaining Polish and the battle is a victory- albeit a costly one for Prince Haakon.

    Every company in the Prince's army does its part in this battle and suffers casualties. Prince Haakon with 2 quick successive victories in addition to his other victories is renowned as the best Norwegian general in a generation. There seems little more that could ever be added to his command ability with this latest experience.

    Last edited by Ichon; April 21, 2011 at 02:31 PM.

  8. #88

    Default Re: Heimskringla- A tale of Norway's rise (SS6.3 BGR/VH-VH)

    King Ragnvald had approached Thorn but 3 Polish armies confronted him- over the winter 1 of the Polish barons failed to pay his taxes and went into revolt against the Polish Grand Duke. King Ragnvald had been informed by spies that the way to Krakow by way of Plock was open and both cities currently had low garrisons. The Poles had stripped most available men for the invasion into Norwegian lands and the current Crusade. Spies open the gates to Plock where King Ragnvald lets his captains capture the city while he gathers his advisors and plans the next part of the campaign.

    There will be consequences for attacking Poland even though they have clearly started the war. Excommunication could cause unrest and tax receipts have been falling drastically along with the sickness spreading through Europe. Some say its the work of the Devil, others that its a sign of God's displeasure... however it seems to strike equally on Catholic, Orthodox, Pagan, and Muslim alike so it seems to Ragnvald it might well be merely a whim of fate. Sickness has swept the land before, just not all at once as the current plague is doing.

    The Pope sends word quickly- King Ragnvald has led his kingdom into separation from God- excommunication is pronounced.

    Further north Bolko Piast realizes Norway was much more prepared for this invasion than he had counted on... he undertakes to join the Crusade to escape. Stenkil Vojens knew King Haflidhi personally and while he is a Christian as some questioned Haflidhi was not, he has seen how the church mixes politics and piety and has no compunctions about attacking an invading army which tries to hide under a Crusader banner.

    The Norwegians come upon the Polish as they are encamped on the beach and Stenkil orders his single company of Mounted crossbowmen to descend and seek out the Polish heavy cavalry.

    The Longbowmen advanced down the slope and began a rain of arrows into the Polish ranked infantry. Poland send 3 companies of crossbowmen forward but neither wind nor elevation was in their favor and nary a bolt touched the Norwegians.

    The Polish commander advanced to protect his crossbowmen from a feint charge by Stenkil and a company of Prussian cavalry let loose with their javelins from close range.

    The Polish commander turned to race back behind his lines and a javelin lanced through his back and out of his chest. He fell dead while the last of the Crusader mercenary knights were slain by the Mounted crossbowmen.

    The Norwegian infantry charged down to meet the Polish front line as a single company of Longbowmen with spare arrows sent few fire arrows down into the Polish infantry.

    The battle is won with barely any losses for the Norwegians and the few Polish who escape disappear into the woods never to be seen again.

    Norwegian arrows have won this battle.

    Over the winter loyal Polish forces fight the rebel baron and win but take heavy casualties. King Ragnvald at first finds it funny but then rioting in Smolensk and London cause him to reflect on the unrest in his own lands.

    As the next spring arrives King Ragnvald has advanced to Krakow. The garrison is on alert after the fall of Plock but still not prepared for 3 teams of Norwegian agents who managed to open the gates to Ragnvald's forces.

    King Ragnvald leads all the cavalry companies in his army straight for the central square and prepare an ambush for the Polish infantry which falls back from the outer walls when word arrives of treachery and that the gates have been opened to the Norwegians.

    The Polish Handgunners and a single company of spearmen are surrounded and overwhelmed with light casualties for the Norwegians. King Ragnvald personally kills the final Polish who refuse surrender of their capitol city.

    Casualties are nearly identical to the previous seasons siege assault of Plock which Ragnvald had left to his captains. Perhaps such attacks against lightly garrisoned cities should be left to his captains in the future so he can focus on more important matters.

    King Ragnvald leaves the infantry behind in Krakow as a garrison and moves north with his cavalry. Before moving towards Plock, King Ragnvald had left orders for the army waiting to board naval transports wait in the bay near Stettin. Also with the Prince Haakon advancing on Mensk and Plock and Krakow both fallen to Norway the large garrison at Hrodna no longer makes sense. Christoffer Hvass advances toward Plock with a few reinforcements from Konigsburg to relieve Plock should the Polish armies near Thorn threaten to recapture the city.

    King Ragnvald seeks counsel with his advisors and spymaster- an interesting discovery in Krakow indicates that Norway had been falling behind technologically.

    The Polish had built a device which reduced the time to make a new book from months to a few days. Bibles and copies of older texts from church archives had been the first to be 'printed' but King Ragnvald asks if there are any books on the campaigns of famous kings of the past.

    While he waits for an answer Ragnvald reads the reports from his counselors.

    The plague has struck some areas under Norwegian sovereignty hard. England and the Rus are particularly hard hit. Scandinavia has so far remained untouched but that is unlikely to continue. Already a Norwegian governor has died from the plague and over 3,000 soldiers.

    The war with Poland is progressing swiftly and King Ragnvald contemplates completely absorbing the Polish state under the Norwegian crown. The continuing advance of the plague and the fact that religious taxes are beginning to weigh heavily on some of the lesser nobles give him pause however. If the Pope is unable to capture Frankfurt soon King Ragnvald might have to lead a Norwegian army and do the job himself. Hopefully it won't come to that as the price on the treasury would be quite high. Norway has forsaken the alliance with France to keep relations with Hungary friendly but the trade with France contributes heavily to Norwegian taxes.

    Without that trade and Norwegian merchants active in the east the treasury would already be in the red.

  9. #89
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Heimskringla- A tale of Norway's rise (SS6.3 BGR/VH-VH)

    Cool merchant!

    Norway turning into a lancer-archery faction based on local units and generals? Sacrilege...

    Your battle descriptions are really good - easy to follow the progress of the battle with those well-angled pictures. The little bits of analysis here and there help a lot too. That is something I would enjoy seeing more of in many AAR:s.
    The Misadventures of Diabolical Amazons - Completed.
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  10. #90

    Default Re: Heimskringla- A tale of Norway's rise (SS6.3 BGR/VH-VH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Maltacus View Post
    Cool merchant!

    Norway turning into a lancer-archery faction based on local units and generals? Sacrilege...

    Your battle descriptions are really good - easy to follow the progress of the battle with those well-angled pictures. The little bits of analysis here and there help a lot too. That is something I would enjoy seeing more of in many AAR:s.
    I'm not sure what the max is for a merchant on SS map- something around 4,000 maybe? Still 3,000 is nice.

    well I am using BGR... can be quite difficult to get enough Norwegian heavy infantry to every corner of the kingdom.

    Thanks- I think I can do a bit better with the battle descriptions but even in this AAR I've gotten better.

    Yeah- this AAR is a bit of a rebellion against the story heavy AARs. I enjoy some of the well done ones but sometimes I just want to see more of the battles- especially the epic ones! If I do another AAR I'll probably do more story but get very detailed on the epic battles.

  11. #91

    Default Re: Heimskringla- A tale of Norway's rise (SS6.3 BGR/VH-VH)

    Prince Haakon moves to eradicate the last Polish stronghold in the east, captured long ago when both Poland and Norway fought Lithuania. Mensk is a city with formidable defenses and a large garrison. Prince Haakon will have to carefully prosecute the coming battle.

    The assault commences from 3 directions- Huskarls find an undefended point on the walls and quickly set their ladders and race to the top.

    Dismounted Men at Arms push a ram up to the gates and quickly breech them- rushing inside to halt reinforcements from the city center they are hit by charging Polish knights...

    Prince Haakon and his bodyguard race inside the gates and engage the Polish knights- more Norwegian companies follow and a melee in front of the gate develops. Polish reinforcements attack the Huskarls on the wall from 2 sides while more Polish reinforcements enter the melee beside the Polish knights.

    The weight of Norwegian infantry wins the battle by the gate and Prince Haakon leads his men deeper into the city. The assaults on the other gates had not progressed as far but with Norwegian forces entering the city the Polish pull back from the outer walls allowing the 2 other gates to be captured.

    Polish heavy infantry and more Polish knights throw themselves at the advancing Norwegians and a truly bloody battle develops on the edge of the central square. The line goes back and forth 1, then 2, and finally 3 times- piles of bodies stack along the entrance to the square.

    Finally the forces from the other gates arrive to the central square and the Poles are pushed back.

    Longbowmen, Latvian crossbows, and other Norwegian missile companies move into position and the remaining Polish companies in the square attempt several aborted charges only to fail in the hail of missiles.

    Prince Haakon finally claims the square and the Mensk is captured.

    Several companies distinguish themselves in the battle but none more than the Huskarls who captured the walls by themselves defeating 3 Polish companies.

    About the same time Prince Haakon is leading the assault on Mensk, Christoffer Hvass rides to the relief of Plock.

    The Polish have several heavy cavalry companies and the Norwegians while outnumbering the Polish army are split into 2 different armies. Hvass commands the attacking force while the Plock garrison has sallied out to the Polish rear.

    The Longbowmen have time to deploy some defenses before the battle commences and the stakes on the right flank save the Longbowmen from charging Polish knights... though 1/3 of the knights make it past the defenses and the fighting is hand to hand and fierce. Hvass is in the midst of it.

    The garrison has is met by a company of Polish knights and some of the Polish light cavalry. The attack is repulsed with heavy casualties to the Merchant cavalry and Prussian auxillaries who attempt to help out.

    Soon after the Polish captain is killed and the majority of the Polish forces rout.

    The battle is close but ends as a victory for Hvass and Plock is relieved.

    The Longbowmen take losses but their arrows turned the battle in Norway's favor.

    Poland has yet to provide a single ransom and Hvass reluctantly orders the prisoners killed.

    King Ragnvald advances to Thorn where spies again manage to open the gates. In the haste to attack while the spies had the gates open the forces sitting just off shore with the Norwegian fleet are not notified of the assault and King Ragnvald has to manage against 3 companies of Polish knights with what forces he has on hand.

    The battle is hard- especially on the Prussian cavalry but ends in a victory.

    If the Polish hadn't attempted to retreat back into the inner keep the battle might have been much tougher. However the Dismounted Polish knights were caught exposed moving between walls and the other 2 companies of heavy Polish cavalry were caught just at the 2nd inner gate.

    With Thorn captured resistance among the townsfold is high- the forces waiting offshore are called in to garrison the city but even with their presence riots breakout throughout the winter.

    The plague grows worse and Scandinavia which had so far not felt its touch suffers grievously. The death toll staggers King Ragnvald when he is presented the lists of the cities in Scandinavia affected. Then worse news! Bodies have been hidden in the cellars and under blankets awaiting burial that bear the mark of the plague. The beast has come to Thorn.

    The following season King Ragnvald departs Thorn after a miserable winter where he has survived the plague but many others did not. His invasion army is much reduced but still makes for Stettin and attacks a Polish army just outside the walls.

    King Ragnvald had failed to send scouts ahead... that failure is minor but starts a cascade of mistakes.

    The various horse archers companies are ordered forward and are ambushed by Polish Strzelcy cavalry and Handgunners from behind a Monastery...

    There are far more Polish cavalry companies present than Ragnvald had anticipated and their charge sets the Mounted crossbow companies to flight before they could maneuver to favorable position.

    Several companies of Polish knights get into melee with Norwegian light cavalry and infantry. A favorable position for the Polish. The Norwegian Men at Arms and King Ragnvald do manage to flank and hit some Polish knights from the rear and flank but not before the Poles inflict high casualties.

    Eventually the Polish captain is killed and the battle is salvaged but not before many Norwegian companies take heavy and needless losses.

    His men praise King Ragnvald and for once he accepts their accolades. It was a hard fought battle and his invasion army is badly damaged but the final major port on the Baltic has been captured by Norway.

    After the losses his army has sustained King Ragnvald will likely require reinforcements before capturing Wroclaw or Prague. The plague has also followed the army to Stettin and the coming winter will be a difficult one. King Ragnvald's 4th child is born... a girl following her 3 brothers.

    Poland again refuses to meet the ransom demand and the consequences must follow.

    A new Pope is elected- Norway due to excommunication and the war with Poland cannot muster enough votes for one of its own Cardinals to gain the office but throws support behind its ally Hungary. The new Pope is Hungarian and his first act is to invite Norway and King Ragnvald back into the embrace of the Church. The Pope's proclamation is accompanied by an order to both parties to desist in fighting fellow Christians for at least the next 3 years. King Ragnvald is happy to obey in this instance. The plague is growing fiercer and the treasury is struggling to supply the current soldiers on campaign. The recruit, reinforce, and re-equip the army King Ragnvald is leading and also to the same for Prince Haakon is something the treasury cannot handle presently. All mercenary units are dropped from the rolls to save money and King Ragnvald orders a wealth tax.

    Nobles grumble but not so loudly as to be heard. Luckily the Holy Roman Emperor- currently a joke as he rules only 2 duchies, but growing in power had personally led the Crusade to Frankfurt and captured the city restoring German rule. That event marks the end of the Crusade tax and despite the levying of a wealth tax overall taxes on the nobility decline. The rioting in several cities comes to an end and the plague appears to have passed out of England. It still ravages Scandinavia and Prussia however.

  12. #92

    Default Re: Heimskringla- A tale of Norway's rise (SS6.3 BGR/VH-VH)

    As I said...epic. Keep it up! <------- Ask me somethin' dagnabbit!

  13. #93

    Default Re: Heimskringla- A tale of Norway's rise (SS6.3 BGR/VH-VH)

    King Ragnvald is not surprised to receive a warning from the Pope- stop shedding the blood of fellow Christians. Its becoming increasingly clear that such instructions apply to everyone except the Pope or those who are trying to curry favor with the Pope and are opposed to anyone whose politics cross what the Pope wants to see done. Fortunately King Ragnvald can use the time to prepare for the coming battles.

    The Mongol threat has diminished while the Alliance with France has been broken due to the Pope's influence and scheming to create a schism between the 2 most powerful Kingdoms of northern Europe. Through King Ragnvald's connection by blood to Hungary and a second marriage to Hungary in the Norwegian Royal line the Pope's scheme to completely isolate Norway has not worked... yet.

    Hungarian diplomatic missions and spies have been spotted inside Norwegian lands and France has also picked up such activities. Poland has sent diplomats offering peace but refusing the concessions Norway had demanded. Only if Poland had assurances from the Pope would they feel confident enough to continue the war. King Ragnvald's spies have reported that Papal armies are moving further north into Europe. Meanwhile France has reconciled and conveniently France's enemy, Aragon has been excommunicated.

    King Ragnvald begins to ponder more often the attitude father had towards the Church. Ragnvald had been brought up by a devout Hungarian mother but at a young age was prepared for becoming King and forced to listen to his father Haflidhi's lectures the few times Haflidhi was not out on campaign. Ragnvald while not willing to question the Gospel of Christ as much as his father had, has few reservations about questioning the Pope's authority.

    King Ragnvald ponders the machinations of the Pope but makes an outward show of obedience for now. When the Pope's order expires King Ragnvald advances and attacks a small army outside of Wroclaw. The garrison marches out in relief and the battle commences-

    King Ragnvald draws up his units near a monastery and prepares for the Polish attack. The combined Polish armies have at least 11 companies of cavalry. Only 2 heavy companies but 8 companies of Merchant cavalry bearing the latest armors.

    The Norwegian Mounted crossbowmen and a single company of Pecheneg cavalry is ordered to advance and try to tempt the opposing Polish cavalry into a foolish charge. A company of Polish Strelyzl cavalry crossbowmen move to meet the Norwegians but wither under a barrage of bolts by the 4 Norwegian cavalry companies and the Poles manage to kill only 2 Pechenegs whilst dying to a man.

    The Norwegian cavalry moves to the flank of the Polish who have moved from their starting position to occupy the top of a ridge. The Polish cavalry moves out to screen their infantry and then suddenly charges!

    Game Info-
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    The AI did what I often do if the terrain allows it... occupied a hill near the rear of the map. Then when I tried to flank, its charge trapped me on the map edge. Nearly lost half my missile cavalry right there. Had to sacrifice a company of Mounted crossbows which luckily took fewer losses than I'd expected keeping the way open for the other units to get back from the map edge.

    The mass charge catches the Norwegian cavalry slightly unprepared and though the Mounted crossbowmen escape they can't entirely avoid some melee with the better armed and armored Polish cavalry and suffer casualties. However the charge draws the Polish cavalry away from their general and the single company of Pechenegs manages to outmaneuver its pursuers and move into range of the Polish general.

    The Polish position at the top of the ridge gives their Pavise crossbowmen much greater range than the Norwegians and several times as the Norwegian cavalry seeks to slide around the edge of the Polish flank they are caught under a volley of bolts and suffer continual small casualties form these attacks and occasional melee entanglements with the Polish Merchant cavalry seeking to catch them.

    After a long period of maneuvering and attempting to get good position the Pechenegs exhaust their quivers and the Mounted crossbowmen do fair damage to the Polish cavalry but suffer greater losses themselves due to the good hilltop position the Poles are occupying and the caution of the Polish commander.

    King Ragnvald realizes the Polish commander will not be drawn off his hill and gives the order to advance. He chooses a route that allows the Norwegians to advance from a lower part of the ridge rather than straight up to the top. During the advance a company of Polish merchant cavalry charge King Ragnvald's oldest son Karl who came of age just in time to participate in this battle. Fortunately Karl's bodyguard is full of brave young warriors and they fight hard to defend their young lord.

    Away from the battle the Pecheneg company had been resting their horses and discussing the outcome of the fight between Karl's bodyguard and the Polish company- the soft spring snow muffled the approach of another Polish company which charged the surprised Pechenegs and killed many.

    Karl with the assistance of a company of Hirdsmen has beaten off the Polish cavalry attack with few losses and King Ragnvald meanwhile had seen Polish bolts whistling past his men- coming into range of the Pavise crossbows was the signal to charge- the Norwegian infantry surges up the hill and the Polish infantry races down to meet them.

    The Polish general of the smaller army which Ragnvald had attacked to draw out Wroclaw's garrison throws himself and his remaining bodyguards at the back of a Landsmenn company but a small copse of tree's foils his charge. King Ragnvald had moved to intercept the Polish commander and 2 Polish merchant cavalry companies trying to charge his infantries flank and now engages in a ferocious melee. Karl Haakonsson had fallen back to guard to Norwegian lines right flank and now falls onto the rear of the Polish general.

    King Ragnvald slays the Polish commander whose bodyguard is much reduced from earlier Pecheneg attacks and then races to assist the company of Svennar cavalry which had engaged the Polish merchant cavalry to prevent them from falling onto King Ragnvald's bodyguards flank.

    The nearest Polish cavalry and even some infantry see their standard fall beneath hacking Norwegian blades and know their commander is dead. Most break and try to make a run for it right then...

    Polish companies further away are unaware their leader has fallen and fight on- eventually as more and more Norwegian infantry moves to their flank and rear they realize that their right flank has been defeated and finally the last Polish company routs.

    The battle is a resounding victory for King Ragnvald and he and his men celebrate.

    The Norwegian cavalry did the brunt of the fighting and took the majority of the casualties but would still have lost the battle without the arrival of the Norwegian heavy infantry.

    Spies tell King Ragnvald that Prague is nearly undefended. However most of King Ragnvald's army is too weary to manage a forced march to Prague so King Ragnvald rides ahead and contracts a mercenary company to assist in the capture of Prague from its small garrison.

    Spies bribe the gate guards who do not want to suffer through a siege and King Ragnvald nearly catches the Polish commander completely unprepared- however he does have time to arm and mount up but before the Poles can form a charge King Ragnvald is upon them!

    A company of Polish knights rushes from their barracks only to be met on the edge of the central square by Ragnvald who has left the slain Polish commander laying in the middle of the square.

    The fight is bloody but the arrival of the mercenary Free company to the Polish knights rear allows a relatively quick victory.

    King Ragnvald loses only 8 men in the capture of Prague.

    In Venice the Pope's temporary war headquarters the Pope is reported to be enraged. Supposedly at the horror of Christian bloody being spilled by other Christians but King Ragnvald suspects it has more to do with Norway advancing deeper into Europe than the Pope had expected. The Pope issues another Proclamation forbidding open war.

    The irony of history and empires is felt at the funeral of Niels the Chivalrous who died as governor of Polotsk and whose uncle had been elected Pope in Rome years previously and led the first expansion of the Papal states. That a Pope from Norway had begun the journey to create the current menace to Norway in an expansionary Papal theocracy centered in Italy and whose schemes have ensnared all of Europe.

    King Ragnvald intends to again obey whilst preparing Norway for battle. Turku's vast fortress had been ordered dismantled while Norway was under excommunication with the resulting sales of supplies funding the treasury in the dark days of the plague. Now Turku is going to be made into a thriving trade city. War Councilors reside at Smolensk and Konigsburg while King Ragnvald has awarded his professional training staff to Bergthor Skovgaard who sits at Stettin preparing the citadel for possible attack from France or the Holy Roman Empire whose armies both sit only a few leagues away from the border.

    Veteran companies whose oldest members were barely boys when marching to fight the Mongols had earlier been recalled and refitted on their march back towards the Baltic and the first companies are on ship soon to arrive to reinforce Stettin.

    Konigsburg has been an invaluable strategic military center during several wars now and continues to produce many of Norway's finest warriors.

    Most of the Norwegian cavalry has been recalled from the east but a few veteran companies were left in case the Mongols attempt to invade again or the Kievan Rus revolt against their vassal status.

    Bergthor Skovgaard is under orders not to provoke a war but its perfectly legitimate to attack enemies who are on Norwegian soil.

    The official proclamation of the Pope excommunicating Aragon circles around Europe... the Pope has basically given France permission to eliminate a centuries old European monarchy which had been dedicated to fighting Islam in Spain. Only the Pope understands how God's plan encompasses the defeat of a loyal Catholic kingdom.

    Prince Haakon has been busy pacifying and organizing the former Rus lands while Ragnvald was occupied fighting Poland. He is the best general Norway has produced since Haflidhi and some say he has even surpassed Haflidhi as Haakon understands and makes use of logistics and assassins as Haflidhi never did. Haakon is rumored to share the same shameful lust that his grandfather King Burislev had for other men and his marriage has produced only a single daughter despite ample opportunity. It is likely that the royal Hylgaard family which began with the regency of King Sighvat and would have potentially passed through to any of Haakon's heirs will die with Prince Haakon.

    Prince Magnus had been sickened and nearly died with the plague and his hopes for regaining the Crown for the elder Haakonsson line have perished in the loss of the majority of his wealth to the religious taxes accompanying the last Crusade and the loss of his richest title by order of Prince Haakon for disloyalty to the King. He reigns quietly in Reval attempting to gain enough wealth to attract a rich and pedigreed wife to that at least his Heir might have a chance at capturing the throne.

    King Ragnvald prepares for the next offensive in Prague. His son Karl joins him with reinforcements sent south by Christoffer Hvass and Prince Haakon will soon join them.

    Poland is reduced to its holdings in Germany though Papal armies have arrived in the vicinity there is yet no formal alliance between Poland and the Papal states.

    King Ragnvald yet has some influence in Rome with 2 Norwegian Cardinals and his allies the Hungarians have 9. While the Pope opposes Norway he also has already made a declared enemy of France and would find it politically difficult to deny a vote by the college of Cardinals for a renewed Crusade against France. King Ragnvald plans to hold such a measure in reserve should France seek to test Norway's strength.

    Hungary is the more powerful foe with their armies pressing back the Turks into Anatolia and their habit of currying for Papal favor. It is not likely any alliance between the Kingdoms would stand much of a test. However King Ragnvald is beginning to think there might be a better option to curtail the power of the Pope and any future Pope's. A Crusade might be unavoidable but perhaps France is not the best target... the Farimid dynasty in Egypt has finally ousted the Moors from Jerusalem and appears poised to attack the Turks who are already having trouble fending off Hungary.

    A Crusade to reclaim Jerusalem might well fire the imagination of Christian Europeans and deflect the scheming of the Pope. It would also weaken the Fatimids and allow the Turks to keep fighting Hungary with singular focus. If in the interim of the Crusade Norway were to push back the Papal states borders and convince the Church that secular rule should be best left to secular rulers more than a few Christian Kingdoms might jump at the chance to claim some of the rich territory the Papal states currently control. The Holy Roman Empire has never fought a war with Norway and in fact the alliance between France and Norway decades ago preserved the Holy Roman Empire when it was teetering on the brink of collapse by forcing a peace.

    King Ragnvald might well use captured lands from the Papal states to buy at least the temporary friendship of the Holy Roman Empire while also planting the seeds of future conflict between France and the HRE Emperor.

    Toke Haakonsson comes of age and is sent to Aarhus to study at the university and practice his martial skills should France or the HRE attempt to invade Scandinavia through Aarhus. Norwegian warships are sent into the English channel and near French ports- the Baltic is now secure and the Norwegian navy has been consuming valuable resources while only occasionally transporting troops. Soon the navy may be called on to do more.

    Prince Haakon has reached such heights of profanity he is no longer considered acceptable company for nobility but his men love him... only a little less than he loves them back.

    Last edited by Ichon; April 25, 2011 at 01:56 AM.

  14. #94

    Default Re: Heimskringla- A tale of Norway's rise (SS6.3 BGR/VH-VH)

    The Pope's order to cease attacks expires in the November- in the middle of winter. King Ragnvald has been known to campaign in the early spring but he hopes no one will expect a winter campaign. Prince Haakon moves into Polish territory setting an ambush along the road to Prague while King Ragnvald moves south towards Salzburg. Karl Haakonsson remains in Prague governor of a small garrison while Christoffer Hvass is governor of Wroclaw. Stettin has a full garrison while Toke Haakonsson is on his way to Aarhus. The fleet carrying him will pick up merchant cavalry from the garrrisons in Scandinavia on the return trip while Konigsburg continues refitting veteran companies who travel by ship to Stettin and then south to Wroclaw and Prague. A journey of 2 and a half seasons but small group are on constant motion along that route. Konigsburg has at least 2 more seasons of troops to train and refit and then a new class of recruits from its own castle will be ready.

    King Ragnvald hopes Norway is prepared to the conflagration that is likely to soon begin.

  15. #95

    Default Re: Heimskringla- A tale of Norway's rise (SS6.3 BGR/VH-VH)

    Prince Haakon does not have to wait long before a Polish army advances on the road to Prague and stumbles into his ambush.

    The Poles are caught completely by surprise deployed in a long column with several companies of heavy cavalry in the middle while the Captain in command and most of the infantry were in the front. Pavise crossbowmen and 2 companies of Dismounted Polish knights brought up the rear.

    Prince Haakon had sent all but 1 of his missile and light cavalry companies to rain arrows into the front of the column and then sweep in to clean the remnants while the heavy cavalry hit the middle and rear of the Polish column.

    The Polish Captain around quickly when he hear shouts behind him and began a charge on the Pecheneg cavalry he could see through the woods but when he saw several other Norwegian companies he aborted the charge and turned to rally his men.

    The Polish heavy cavalry had little chance to form into a battle line and the Norwegian heavy cavalry charge was devastating.

    The entire rear of the Polish column aside from a company of Dismounted Polish knights were slain to the man in a matter of seconds.

    The Dismounted Polish knights put up a fight and caused some casualties but were quickly overwhelmed.

    Prince Haakon reformed his men and led the charge into the forest at the bottom of the slope to kill the head of the Polish column after having ground the body to pulp.

    The Polish Captain has rushed from one point of the ambush to another- finally he is caught by Svenner cavalry still trying to make up his mind what to do. It is small consolation that even Prince Haakon would have had trouble even making a fight of this ambush.

    The Norwegian heavy cavalry pour down the slope while the Polish infantry is further weakened by a continuing rain of arrows which only stops when the Norwegian cavalry charges over their hastily formed attempt to make a battle line.

    Soon only a few remaining Polish knights attempting defend their Captain to the death remain.

    The battle is a complete victory.

    Only the Svenner cavalry which had tried to match Polish knights take heavy casualties.

    Prince Haakon sends a messenger to offer Poland a chance to enter ransom negotiations which Poland rejects.

    The Poles do send several letters to the Pope protesting the Norwegian advance even though Poland started this war. The Pope has been waiting for this moment which he judges as a mistake by Norway and he excommunicates Norway for the second time during his tenure and the 4th time since Norway expanded out of Scandinavia.

  16. #96

    Default Re: Heimskringla- A tale of Norway's rise (SS6.3 BGR/VH-VH)

    Prince Haakon advances nearer Nuremburg directly after the ambush and finds several Polish armies getting ready to move.

    With 3 Polish armies converging from 3 different directions Prince Haakon orders half his men to hid in the forest while taking 3 companies of heavy cavalry and all of his Pecheneg and Mounted crossbowmen into the open to meet the first Polish army which has several companies of heavy cavalry.

    The Pechenegs move to the Polish right flank and let loose with arrow after arrow while the Polish commander is slow to order his army forward.

    Haakon had instructed the 2 Prussian auxillary companies to hid in a small copse of trees in the middle of the plain where he expected the first Polish army to advance past. A company of Polish Merchant cavalry and a company of Hospitallers who the Poles have somehow cajoled to work for them are ambushed and suffer heavy losses by only 2 volleys of javelins loosed from the hidden Prussian companies before they turn to flee...

    The Hosptillers ignore the Prussians and charge toward the Mounted Crossbowmen on the plain ahead.

    Meanwhile the first Polish army has lurched ahead following behind their heavy cavalry companies. The two Pecheneg companies on the extreme left flank of Prince Haakon's army move to the top of the hill to look for the reinforcing Polish armies they know are approaching from somewhere to the south.

    The first reinforcing army is already much closer than the Pecheneg's expected and after getting off a single volley they are nearly caught by infantry of all things.

    The Polish heavy cavalry cannot be avoided for long with several Polish armies getting closer and Prince Haakon leads the first charge... a messenger finds a company of Svenner hiding in the woods and gives the captain Prince Haakon's orders- round the Polish flank and disperse the Polish crossbowmen and silence their siege artillery before the next Polish army arrives!

    With Prince Haakon's banner waving clearly and plowing into a company of Mercenary Frankish knights and some Polish infantry 3 companies of Polish knights slow and begin to reform their charge planning on aiming for Prince Haakon. However the Norwegian heavy cavalry had been held in reserve for an opening such as this and surges forward to take maximum advantage.

    Nearly 2 companies of Polish heavy cavalry are killed outright while a 3rd escapes with heavy losses. Prince Haakon had seen the commotion as he withdrew his bodyguard from its first charge and joins the melee.

    A single company of Men at Arms had earlier charged down the slope and eliminated 2 half companies of Polish heavy infantry to clear the path for the Svenner cavalry to take out the Polish supporting crossbowmen and engineers. The Hospitaller knights had abandoned pursuit of the Norwegian Mounted crossbowmen and moved to intercept and thus avoided the Norwegian charge on the left flank and nearly manages to catch the Men at Arms in a dangerous flank charge as the Men at Arms run down some Polish infantry but the Men at Arms turn away just in time.

    A company of Prussian cavalry race forward and throw their last javelins at the Hospitallers who turn to pursue this new attacker. The Prussians flee back towards the mass of Norwegian heavy cavalry while the Men at Arms in turn pursue the charging Hospitallers...

    Sensing that time is running out Prince Haakon waves his lance frantically to get the attention of a the captain of the nearest company of Men at Arms and then points to the oncoming Hospitallers- the captain understands his duty and waves his men forward. Meanwhile Haakon signals the other companies of heavy cavalry nearby to be ready and charge as soon as the Hospitallers are engaged.

    Back where some Norwegians remain hidden the 3rd Polish reinforcing army nearly stumbles onto their position...

    The Polish general in command of the 2nd reinforcing army which has chased the Pecheneg cavalry away from the top of the hill charges ahead of his advancing infantry making a fatal mistake.

    He is met head on and then rapidly run over the the much larger numbers of Norwegian heavy cavalry.

    Prince Haakon reforms his heavy cavalry and then blows his horn in the signal for the remaining Norwegian cavalry in the woods to attack- at the same time the heavy cavalry launch a thundering charge and the Polish infantry in the 3rd reinforcing army practically evaporate when hit from two sides simultaneously.

    The Polish are now reduced to the infantry in the 2nd reinforcing army and a few remaining remnants of heavy cavalry companies which routed from previous engagements but have now reformed and rejoined their fellow soldiers. The Polish infantry has had time to adjust to the loss of all 3 commanders and their captains have stepped up to the task. The Halberd militia and a company of Dismounted Polish knights repulse the first Norwegian charge. Prince Haakon orders all remaining missile cavalry to focus fire on the Halberd militia while a few companies of heavy cavalry isolate the Halberds by killing the supporting Pavise crossbowmen and some Pavise spearmen who had moved a bit too far away when trying to engage a company of Svenner which had made accidental contact pursing routing Polish infantry from the 1st Polish army.

    The Halberd militia are surrounded and isolated by the time Prince Haakon orders the next charge and their morale quickly collapses ensuring light casualties for the Norwegians who are exhausted by this point in the battle.

    The battle is a great victory and Prince Haakon gains even more renown- no Norwegian commander in history has won so many victories nor so swiftly.

    Nearly all of the Norwegian companies suffer some casualties but considering the odds they overcame the fallen will be remembered with honor.

    Poland again refuses ransom and Prince Haakon hears his prisoners beg for mercy... some beg just for a little more time- Poland has strained its treasury attempting to bring war to Norway and if only Prince Haakon might wait the season Poland would surely be able to come up with the money. Prince Haakon has little mercy left in him after fighting Mongol, Kievan Rus, the Teutonic Order, and now finally these sniveling prisoners. Besides- Prince Haakon has recently had instructions from King Ragnvald, "Wrap up this campaign quickly, capture Nuremburg and prepare for the Pope's next move."

  17. #97

    Default Re: Heimskringla- A tale of Norway's rise (SS6.3 BGR/VH-VH)

    Prince Haakon moves on quickly to the last remaining field army near Nuremburg and enters battle...

    The Polish captain is hesitant and waits in poor terrain for Haakon to make the first move. It is a grave mistake to abandon the initiative to a general as experienced and ruthless as Prince Haakon and the Polish army is soon surrounded on 3 sides.

    The first Polish heavy cavalry company is lured out of position by some Prussian cavalry and quickly eliminated by a company of veteran Feudal knights who had crushed a company of Pavise crossbowmen moments earlier.

    The Polish captain then decides that his army is probably doomed but he might win glory if he manages to rout a single Norwegian company and charges up the hill towards some Pecheneg cavalry.

    The Pechenegs fade back and encourage his pursuit. Behind him the army he never really commanded dies a quick and violent death.

    Prince Haakon adds yet another victory to his legend.

    Only a single company of Prussian auxillia suffers many casualties when they didn't quite avoid the charging Polish heavy cavalry company they had lured out of formation.

    Prince Haakon is next faced with an interesting choice- offer Poland a ransom he knows they are likely to refuse- or for the first time in his career release the prisoners? Haakon's 2nd in command watches in shock as Haakon releases the prisoners...

    Haakon smiles slyly and winks at his senior captain, those men are the key to opening the gates to Nuremburg. The garrison is secure behind the walls but now... can their general stand idly by as brace Poles are slaughtered beneath the walls? No... he will order the garrison to take the field and thus give us Nuremburg. Haakon's second smiles, but grimly reflects that perhaps overconfidence is catching up with his commander. The garrison will advance to give battle- but will do so with confidence for a reason. Prince Haakon's army has fought 3 battles in 3 weeks... winning each time but also being diminished. The Polish garrison is nearly 4 times the size of the Prince's remaining army. All that can be done however is to shrug and follow, no one but a coward would choose to abandon the best field commander Europe has seen for generations.

  18. #98

    Default Re: Heimskringla- A tale of Norway's rise (SS6.3 BGR/VH-VH)

    Prince Haakon's plan works... the Polish garrison leaves the security of the walls to engage Prince Haakon's depleted army.

    Winter has nearly arrived and snow dusts the landscape. As the battle begins the snow is light but intensifies until it is impossible to see more than the shapes of men and banners 10 paces away. The remnant force of prisoners Haakon had released only a day before attempts what they can against Haakon's renewed attack.

    Before the Prince Haakon's men finish the first army the garrison arrives...

    The Polish Duke charges the Norwegian light cavalry which is already tired from slogging through the snow and trying shoot arrows in the freezing cold.

    Prince Haakon's cavalry try to lure out the Polish cavalry but they refuse to move too far away from their supporting infantry.

    Finally a direct attack works when the Polish infantry target Pecheneg cavalry which runs close.

    The Pechenegs had mistaken a company of Handgunners for Pavise spearmen in the swirling snow and are shocked to hear a thunderous noise and then men all around falling...

    Prince Haakon fights his way through a full company of Pavise spearmen and then manages to engage the Polish Duke and his bodyguard... the battle is close and only with the timely arrival of a company of veteran Huskarl cavalry does the fight go against the Polish. The Duke falls from his saddle never to rise. On the other side of the battle the Norwegian heavy cavalry form up and charge the Polish infantry- both sides are unaware the Polish Duke is dead and the Poles fight furiously driving back the Norwegians.

    The snow halts its fall and the Polish infantry realize their Duke is dead. Renewed Norwegian charges still fail to break them however and the battle continues...

    Prince Haakon calls what reserves he has and organizes simultaneous charges on weakened Polish companies- finally the Polish morale begins to waver.

    First a trickle of men begin to run, then entire companies- finally only some Dismounted Polish knights and 3 companies of Halberds remain. Concentrated charges slay the knights while a sustained barrage from Pecheneg and Mounted crossbowmen weaken the Halberd militia until Prince Haakon orders a final charge which breaks them.

    The battle is won but not without losses. Of the army which set the ambush along the road to Prague at the beginning of the campaign season, barely over half survive yet they have defeated 6 Polish armies and over 5,000 men.

    A company of Feudal knights which broke 3 separate Polish companies on its own deserves special recognition.

    With the last Polish Duke slain, the Polish royal family has been wiped out aside from some distant cousins from foreign marriages who seek refuge in Hungary and with the Church. Nuremburg and Salzburg fall under local control.

    Prince Haakon builds a monument to himself near the site of the battle- despite his advancing age of 66, Prince Haakon feels he is at the height of his skills as a general.

    King Ragnvald had taken Salzburg under siege but with only a single bombard had awaited news from Nuremburg before committing to an assault. Now Salzburg has few professional troops defending the walls of the Citadel and it is vital for Norway to secure a southern fortress to ensure Norway can take the war to the Pope's lands in Northern Italy if necessary.

  19. #99

    Default Re: Heimskringla- A tale of Norway's rise (SS6.3 BGR/VH-VH)

    King Ragnvald had not prepared thorough siege lines and with the death of the last Duke of Poland the the burgmeister of Salzburg reaches out to the Swiss. Its not that Norway is thought to be bad for trade or especially oppressive, on the contrary Norway sponsored the Hanseatic league and controls many trade routes as well as instituting fairly low taxes throughout the Kingdom. The problem lies in the conflict with the Pope. Salzburg is likely to become a battle ground and to the burgmeister Norway's odds don't seem very high. The Church has managed to nearly destroy the Holy Roman Empire, Venice, and Genoa. Only France has managed to stand up but still lost Frankfurt to a Crusade.

    Two companies of Swiss pikemen are sent as well as some crossbowmen. The Swiss have mercenary contracts so as not to anger Norway should things go poorly but no money changed hands.

    King Ragnvald decides to try something new in his career. Seeing as the Swiss bypassed his siege lines during the night he orders a night assault on Salzburg.

    King Ragnvald has brought a new type of siege weapon to Salzburg. Norway had not the capability to build its own bombards but foundaries were captured from Polish cities and King Ragnvald had decided a siege of Salzburg was the proper time to test the concept and see if it would aid Norway's future campaigns.

    Two companies of Swiss pikemen and a single company of Halberd militia form up to repulse the Norwegian attack where the bombard knocked a gap into the Citadel walls.

    The the battle moves past the breach and the Halberd militia are simply outclassed by the Norwegian heavy infantry but the Swiss pikemen put up stiff resistance. The Huskarl axemen seem the best matched to meet the Swiss longer pikes but still take casualties while the Foot Men at Arms are nearly ineffective. The Feudal knights do damage but lacking the armor piercing axes of the Huskarls fail to inflict rapid losses on the Swiss front ranks.

    Finally King Ragnvald decides the Swiss formation must be broken and he risks his life and his bodyguards to break up the Swiss. The 2nd Swiss company had turned and marched further into the Citadel once the Halberd militia were dispatched and with King Ragnvald breaking the Swiss formation the Norwegian infantry make short work of the remainder.

    King Ragnvald races up the hill to try and catch the retreating Swiss company but when he see's a company of Crossbowmen manning the ramparts of the inner wall he halts and take cover behind some buildings and waits for the bombards to move forward and breach the 2nd gate.

    More crossbowmen arrive and move to the top of the wall but the bombard breaks down the gate rapidly and the crossbowmen run from the walls and towards the central keep. King Ragnvald waits for the final defenders inside the gate towers to leave and then races deeper into the Citadel. The crossbowmen are bunched in front of the gate to the central keep trying to squeeze through and King Ragnvald gleefully falls upon this nearly helpless target, the crossbowmen without room to maneuver or bring their weapons to bare are massacred.

    King Ragnvald follows them inside when the survivors totally abandon any attempts to fight back- however alert defenders close the gate of the keep with King Ragnvald inside and the rest of his men outside!

    Ragnvald appraises the situation and orders a charge into the center of the drill yard where a full company of crossbowmen and several remnants are struggling to load their weapons. Many manage to before Ragnvald and his bodyguard crash into them but not before the crossbowmen inflict several kills. King Ragnvald pushes through the mass of crossbowmen who fight back hard knowing there is no retreat and seeking vengeance for all their fellows killed outside the gates to the keep. King Ragnvald avoids the oncoming Swiss pikemen and reforms against the walls of the keep. The guards on the gate keep race down to assist and Ragnvald's men in the city manage to take advantage and force an entry.

    Mounted crossbowmen pour through the keeps gate and setup a murderous sustain series of volleys into the rear of the Swiss pikemen who had been advancing on Ragnvald. They turn to meet this new threat while the remaining crossbowmen loose return volleys into the Mounted crossbowmen.

    Norwegian Handgunners recruited in Prague march in and form a firing line along the edge of the drill yard. The Swiss pikemen are taking steady losses but remain a serious danger when they close to melee. The Swiss march toward the Mounted crossbowmen keeping a slow pace and steady ranks the whole way. Such tactics are nearly unstoppable on the field versus strictly melee opponents but against sustained fire by crossbows and handguns the ranks are continually thinning.

    The Mounted crossbowmen are nearly pinned in a corner of the drill yard but most manage to escape through a small gap between the wall and the Swiss who turn and follow but now few remain of the full company which had first threatened Ragnvald when he entered the drill yard. A final charge and the Citadel belongs to Norway.

    Losses are relatively heavy for the mismatched of numbers but the Swiss pikemen at the first wall breach and the defenses of the Citadel itself are responsible for most of the casualties.

    King Ragnvald can barely lift his arm for the following week and most of the men in his bodyguard are worse off the slaughter they waged was so great.

    Game Info-
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    These are some of the best generals I've had in several campaigns and they are alive at the same time! Its cracking me up how much the story of this AAR is being matched by the traits the generals are getting. Some of these traits I've never even seen before. "Ha, Excommunicated" is one- and I've had kings in the past excommunicated more than once in their lifetime and never receive such a trait.

    Haakon's strategic master trait is also something I've never seen but totally plays to this AAR.

    Of course with the good comes some bad...

    Last edited by Ichon; April 29, 2011 at 12:06 AM.

  20. #100

    Default Re: Heimskringla- A tale of Norway's rise (SS6.3 BGR/VH-VH)

    Prince Haakon confers with King Ragnvald. Both feel in their prime but also know the years advance rapidly. It seems just a few months past they campaigned together against the Mongols. The issue is how to break the military power of the Pope. In former times the Pope caused enough trouble merely by setting one monarch against another which negatively affected Norway occasionally but might be dealt with. Now the Papal states have expanded to control N Italy and the Papacy has become a military power itself.

    Restoring the Pope to rule over only Rome is a challenging task but if Norway devotes its efforts it might be undertaken. The Pope might well call a Crusade against Norway but Oslo is well defended and any Crusading armies would have to move past several cities in Scandinavia or attempt to dispute Norway's control of the sea. Ragnvald has 3 sons so the succession is not likely to be as troublesome as his own was. Prince Haakon has only a daughter but she has recently wrote from Aarhus that she finds prince Erik Haakonsson quite charming. A marriage to cement the long standing alliance between the Haakonsson and Hylgaard families seems prudent.

    The border with Hungary is long but well defended on the Norwegian side while spies report Hungary has left its northern cities with small garrison due to its ongoing war with the Turks. France has also capitalized on Norway's gift of Caffa and expanded against both the Mongols and Hungary which has begun to draw Hungarian armies. Reports of a new invasion into Mongol lands by some new conqueror named Timur would seem to make the majority of Norwegian lands secure.

    Spies in Italy show that most of the Italian cities have small garrison though Pisa is for some reason hugely fortified. The majority of Papal armies have moved to confront Venice which retains control of only Crete, Rhodes, and Bern in the Alps.

    Prince Haakon will move south into Hungary with which Norway has an alliance and military access and then west into Italy accompanied by Ragnvald's son prince Karl Haakonsson. Once in Italy Prince Haakon will secure mercenaries to fill his depleted army and the first target will be Ancona- a fortress whose fall will greatly hamper efforts by the Papal states to raise a professional army. Karl will remain in Ancona and challenge any Papal armies moving through that territory while Prince Haakon will move north and strike either Venice or Bologna. By this point Papal armies will be moving to respond and Hungary may well abandon its alliance on the Pope's request.

    King Ragnvald himself will move out from Salzburg and attack Innsbruck thus securing the entrance to Italy from the north. Norway has marriage alliances with both Hungary and Venice which might be relied on to offer some of the lands in Italy so that the Pope's entreaties fall on deaf ears. Ancona will be held until north Italy is secure and then offered to Sicily so that the Pope is unlikely to capture it again. Bologna will be offered to Hungary while Venice gets its capitol city back and Genoa receives Genoa. Pisa will be offered to France. That stew will likely keep the other powers focused on each other while Norway can secure northern Germany.

    Game Info-
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Once the Pope is reduced to Rome and Hamburg is fallen I think I'll be satisfied with this AAR and end it.

    Spies in Italy while Prince Haakon and Karl move around the Alps.

    The plan moves forward and King Ragnvald's spies master assures him that the gates of Ancona will be open when Prince Haakon arrives. Karl Haakonsson is ably leading his army except in once respect... he did not calculate how many supplies the army would need and is running dangerously low.

    The large garrison in Pisa is the only threat that King Ragnvald's spies, merchants, and diplomats have been able to identify. How long it takes the garrison to respond is crucial to the success of the campaign. With the help of spies, mercenaries, and rented fleets in the Adriatic King Ragnvald hopes to capture most of northern Italy within 2 years. Prince Haakon will move to subdue Ancona, Venice, and then move south to Pisa and Rome. Karl Haakonsson will likely be given just a fine should he choose to capture weakly garrison Bologna and his finances and supply situation nearly demand that he does. King Ragnvald will capture Innsbruck and leave a large garrison then move south towards Genoa and to hold the bridges over the Po from Papal armies returning that route from fighting Venice in the Alps.

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