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

  1. #101

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

    It's ON!!!

    Really good this AAR, I for one think so. <------- Ask me somethin' dagnabbit!

  2. #102
    Radzeer's Avatar Rogue Bodemloze
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    Default Re: Heimskringla- A tale of Norway's rise (SS6.3 BGR/VH-VH)

    Quote Originally Posted by Biggles View Post
    It's ON!!!
    I second that!
    Great story, and very good battle descriptions. Can't wait to see what's coming! (+rep )

  3. #103

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Biggles View Post
    It's ON!!!

    Really good this AAR, I for one think so.
    Thanks, its been fun... this is only the 2nd time I've played Norway so getting to use all their later units is interesting.

    Quote Originally Posted by Radzeer View Post
    I second that!
    Great story, and very good battle descriptions. Can't wait to see what's coming! (+rep )
    Well I had about 5 battles worth of updates but I forgot to save them and wouldn't you know it... new version of FireFox crashed along with Flash and when pulled it back up I accidentally closed the text window and trying to hit "back" usually brings back text from buffer but it didn't. So only a 1 battle update for this afternoon. I shouldn't have tried to squeeze it in on lunch. =(

  4. #104

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

    Prince Haakon had been planning this invasion for years and King Ragnvald had been keen to set up a spy network which covered all the major powers in Europe. Taking advantage of that network and the dis-satisfaction in some Italian cities with rule by the Pope, Prince Haakon arranges for transportation with some former Venetian captains and boards a fleet to land outside the walls of Ancona. The Pope had reports of Norwegian armies moving through Hungary but the appearance of an army outside the walls of a major Italian citadel shocks all of Italy.

    Spies had earlier made contact with disaffected merchants in Venice and Ancona... now their scheming bears fruit. The garrison had the day before enjoyed a special banquet thrown in their honor- now as Prince Haakon's army streams up to the walls most of the garrison is sickened.

    Prince Haakon leads his cavalry through the east gate which is opened by treachery while the garrison focuses on the north gate and the main body of the Norwegian army beyond.

    The plan is to race for the inner keep and lower the flag. That will be the signal the merchants are waiting for. The plan has the element of putting Norwegian soldiers at less risk as even if the garrison responds too quickly the inner keep has a second gate where Prince Haakon and his cavalry can exit from while the main body of the heavy infantry advances.

    The Prince and his men gain the inner keep and set about lowering the flag. Only a single company of the garrison's Feudal knights which had been on duty had avoided the feast the day before and moves quickly to stop Haakon. As that company enters the inner keep they are ambushed- Pecheneg arrows and a company of Svenner and then Prince Haakon and his bodyguard fly into them.

    As Prince Haakon leads the fight against the Feudal knights the flags above the keep are lowered and Norway's banner is raised- in the lower town the garrison marchers back towards the inner keep while Norwegian heavy infantry secure the east gate and move up the hill.

    The flag is raised and the inner keep gates are closed with the last of the Feudal knights dying beneath Norwegian swords. The Norwegian infantry secures the lower town while the merchants close the gates to the upper town trapping the garrison between the keep and the lower town. The weakened garrison is swarmed by angry merchants and various slighted townsfolk accompanied by some private mercenaries hired for the task.

    The Citadel is secure in a low cost victory for Prince Haakon.

    In fact only a company of Svenner have many casualties from their fight with the Feudal knights. Haakon and his bodyguard are an elite group even for a Prince's honor guard. Fighting from the steppes of the Rus lands, into Poland, and now Northern Italy few can challenge them in a melee fight and the Feudal knights defeated in the inner keep can attest to that.

    With Ancona secure Karl Haakonsson boards the same fleet that transported Prince Haakon and sails south- moving around the Papal armies which have secured the crossings over the river Po.

    Northern Italy is now alerted and in fact spies report to Prince Haakon that only Bologna and Pisa seem to offer and chances for treachery. Garrisons in all the other cities are simply too prepared. Spies which had successfully led the capture of Ancona attempt to infiltrate Bologna and 2 spies lose their lives. The 3rd is Norway's most experienced skulker and manages to find a way in once the garrison relaxes from its success in seeming to thwart Norway's attempt to infiltrate. Luckily for Karl Haakonsson one of the spies died as a result of a head wound taken in the fight to capture him and the other fell while trying to scale the walls when an arrow pierced his side. So Norway's plans are safe from torture.

    Last edited by Ichon; May 01, 2011 at 03:30 AM.

  5. #105

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

    Karl Haakonsson uses the services of the same group of disaffected former Venetian captains that ferried Prince Haakon to Ancona to circle around Venice and move to capture Bologna.

    The Pope had put a member of his extended family in charge of the Bologna and the man relies heavily on the loyalty of his Swiss Guard... loyalty well deserved however just because the guards are loyal doesn't mean the city gates are secure... a fact that should have been learned after Ancona but not all members of a powerful man's family can be intelligent but they all need a job right? Karl races past the opened gates and into the central square where the commander is just mounting up with his bodyguard to inspect the security of the walls.

    Karl is young and eager for battle but lacks the experience to defeat a more veteran leader in single combat. Luckily the rest of the cavalry accompanying Karl surround and quickly kill Bologna's commander and his bodyguard. There is no turning back now if there ever was after Ancona was captured- a member of the Pope's own family has been killed by the son of Norway's current King.

    With the death of the garrison commander Bologna is not won yet. 2 companies of Swiss Guards protect the city and aren't about to surrender after the news of what happened to Ancona's garrison. Charges by companies of Feudal knights and Merchant cavalry are repulsed by the Swiss Guardsmen with nearly zero losses to themselves and heavy casualties in the Norwegian cavalry companies.

    The Norwegian heavy infantry moves up to finish the job.

    While the Swiss Guardsmen are distracted Karl decides he can do better than the other cavalry companies and charges. Its a mistake that nearly costs his life and does kill or maim more than half his bodyguard.

    However the Norwegian infantry are steadfast and Bologna is captured with Karl having learned some valuable lessons.

    Huskarl axemen seem able to counter the Swiss Guardsmen with relative ease.

    Karl Haakonsson despite being the son of King Ragnvald and obeying orders from his father must be made an example of that the King is not playing too close of a favorites with his son. Not only for the rest of the family but the rest of the Norwegian nobility must see that disobedience of the King and War Council even by the King's own son has consequences.

    What consequences will come from Karl's action here is yet unknown.

    King Ragnvald departs Innsbruck, leaving a small garrison and marches for a pass down into Italy. The year is already growing late and the Papal army which holds the pass has moved into the shelter of a ridge out of the cold wind. King Ragnvald nearly blunders past their camp but arrays his army for battle holding the high ground.

    The Papal army mills about in confusion as their sentries had watched the road not the ridge above the road where the wind was cold. Mounted crossbowmen move to the top of a small cliff and take aim at a company of Feudal knights at the edge of their effective range.

    The commander of the Papal army finally organizes his troops but decides to wait in the woods and not try to advance against the Norwegians holding the ridge above. Pavise crossbowmen are sent forward and the Norwegian laugh derisively when the first bolts fall short. When some bolts begin to strike home King Ragnvald leads his bodyguard in a charge down the slope into the unprotected Pavise crossbowmen.

    King Ragnvald had brought the bombards that broke down the gates into Salzburg and decides to test the weapons in new conditions. 1/6th of the Papal army is killed by flaming ammunition fired from above. King Ragnvald moves his army forward after eliminating the final company of Pavise and allows the bombards to reposition.

    The combination of bombards firing grapeshot at close range and an entire army of jeering Norwegians along with the loss of its own ranged response and the Mounted crossbowmen continuing to rain bolts into their midst persuades the Papal armies commander that pulling back to Innsbruck is best.

    King Ragnvald sends his men in full pursuit and the neat ordered ranks of the Papal army begin to disintegrate in the retreat that soon turns into a rout.

    King Ragnvald himself chases down and captures many of the fleeing men...

    The way to Innsbruck is now open at the loss of only 3 dozen men. However the fall snows close the pass before King Ragnvald can march through and he must wait for the following season to capture Innsbruck.

    King Ragnvald ponders how this new weapon will change warfare. A single battery of bombasts killed as many as a veteran company and his own bodyguard. Handguns are rarely effective and are quite expensive but if gunpowder can produce such dangerous weapons in small quantities- what will happen if King Ragnvald ever has to face an enemy armed with several batteries and in a good defensive position? The current tactics would not work very well. Luckily there appear few in the Papal armies persuaded on gunpowders effectiveness though other kingdoms might be more open to experimentation.

  6. #106

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

    Prince Haakon dislikes the Pope and wants to ensure his legacy as one of the greatest generals is secure. Capturing and sacking Rome hasn't been done in over 600 years and during the capture of Ancona Haakon finally began feeling his age. So Prince Haakon takes a few mercenaries and sets out to lay siege to Rome.

    Karl Haakonsson departs Bologna and travels to Ancona without his army which he leaves as a garrison in Bologna. Arriving to Ancona just before Haakon departs they exchange counsel and some advisors. Prince Haakon might not have very many battles left where you can lead from the field but his grasp of strategy and force of personality will make him essential to keeping Norwegian conquests in Italy calm until a better political outcome can be arranged.

    In Prince Haakon's haste to capture Rome while the garrison was small and the Papal states remained disorganized he did not wait for a full scout report. The road to Rome was clear and he took it. There was a Papal army which was traveling north from the border with Sicily and arrives to relieve the siege of Rome.

    Prince Haakon makes short work of 2 cavalry militias but dealing with them takes essential time when the mercenaries he commands are overwhelmed by the Papal forces.

    Prince Haakon moves to desperately try and salvage the battle.

    Despite slaying both armies commanders and nearly wiping out full companies of Hospitaller Foot knights and Papal Guards Prince Haakon eventually has to face a full company of Swiss Halberdiers... rather than retreat Prince Haakon orders a charge- the result is over half of his bodyguard dead and the battle lost earlier than it need have been.

    The Papal armies suffer heavy casualties but force Prince Haakon to flee the field, for the very first time in his career he has lost a battle.

    As Prince Haakon rages over his defeat the survivors of the battle wonder if the Pope has met his match. Prince Haakon seems a demon in human guise as he and his bodyguard kill more than the entire garrison of Rome before the Swiss Halberdiers save the battle for the Pope.

    Over the next few months civil disorder and riots spring up all over the kingdom as nobles and enemies of King Ragnvald take advantage of the situation and King Ragnvald's focus to the south. The news of Karl's breaking tradition and orders by disobeying the War Council encourage further disloyal acts and many governors have to be ordered to take temporary leave of their cities else they will be in rebellion against the Crown.

    Prince Haakon is eager to revenge his defeat and returns to Rome as quickly as possible with money to recruit more mercenaries and finish the job he started. Prince Haakon's dislike for the Pope has become a bitter hatred for the Papacy and everything it currently stands for. Temporal power should be reserved for those who were raised into it- men of the clothe who want temporal power but hide behind the apparatus of the Church are worse than cowards, they encourage and prey on other men's superstitions while advancing their personal interests over the salvation of the souls of their flock. Such naked hypocrisy is a sign of weakness to Haakon. If you want to rule, rule in your name- its a cowards way to try and rule in the name of the Church.

    King Ragnvald has been sending negotiators to the Mongols every year since the end of Norwegian campaigns there and finally one such mission bears fruit. Ryazan taken over by Norway to mark the border with a peace treaty and trade pact concluded. Norway to give 2 payments of 20,000 per year. At the same time King Ragnvald recognizes that the borders of Norway have shifted away from Scandinavia and issues instructions that Kalmar and Thorn have their fortresses torn down and the settlement should focus on trade in the future. The Baltic trade and Hanseatic league have become central to Norway's revenues. Adding 2 more important trading centers should increase seasonal revenues by several thousand.

    Spies, assassins, and Ragnvald's daughter have been sent to Italy to assist in the battle against the Papacy. Most of the political figures in Italy are well protected having experienced years of death threats but at some point such men as King Ragnvald has sent might be necessary even with low odds of success. The princess will conduct negotiations with Sicily and Venice. Prince Haakon's only daughter had completed her education in Aarhus some time ago and is also traveling south in company of King Ragnvald's youngest son Erik. They are a season away from the Alps and Erik will join his fathers army to gain valuable military experience far different than his university education. Prince Haakon wants to meet the young man who may well bring the Hylgaard and Haakonsson families together.

    The middle of King Ragnvald's sons is governor of Krakow- an important and lucrative post from where he oversees the Hungarian border and learns about the bureaucracy of state which he prefers to the more military inclinations of his brothers. Diplomats have in recent years also conducted small treaties with Hungary and the Holy Roman empire where Norway pays some small endowments for certain important nobles and those men ensure relations between the kingdoms continue to be peaceful. At least in theory- the war with the Papacy will test such understandings.

    Last edited by Ichon; May 01, 2011 at 09:35 PM.

  7. #107

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

    Prince Haakon has returned to try for a second time to capture Rome. Two Papal armies march to meet him outside the walls.

    Prince Haakon leads only hired mercenaries and attacks the smaller army first as a sustained battle against Swiss Guards with supporting elements would overwhelm the mercenaries.

    The smaller Papal army that consisted of many survivors of the previous battle are beaten as quickly as Prince Haakon can manage but greatly wound a mercenary cavalry company.

    Prince Haakon has positioned the majority of his small army at the crest of a large hill and they await the 2nd Papal armies advance.

    Two companies of Swiss Guards resist until the very end but the Papal armies are eventually defeated.

    Prince Haakon redeems himself by winning the battle and laying open Rome to the first conquerors in centuries.

    The casualties among the mercenaries are fairly light given the length of the battle but the companies with the most wounded men are dismissed.

    King Ragnvald was forced to wait until the passes opened the previous fall and now advances towards Innsbruck. A large Papal army with another nearby force await his attack.

    King Ragnvald manages to maneuver between the two opposing Papal armies and thus chooses the ground for the battle.

    The larger Papal army advances without waiting for reinforcements and attempts to deploy its Pavise crossbowmen to engage the Norwegians at range. King Ragnvald leads his bodyguard in a charge to disperse that attempt.

    King Ragnvald has deployed the bombard at the top of a small ridge able to fire over the heads of Hirdsmen below. The advancing Papal armies have to walk several hundred yards under fire and leave a string of maimed and dead men.

    The Papal armies move march closer and come under fire from Handgunners and enter melee with Hirdsmen formed into a shield wall.

    Ragnvald leads several charges against Pavise crossbowmen and handgunners who have lingered behind as the Swiss Guards and Halberd militia marched further up the hill to engage the Norwegian line.

    The Svenner cavalry join in when several companies of Papal handgunners break and run when left behind by their infantry.

    King Ragnvald had sent the Mounted crossbowmen around to shadow the 2nd Papal army and from a good position above they are able to fire several volleys of bolts into Papal Feudal knights who were caught exposed and unprepared.

    The larger Papal army begins to withdraw in order in the face of the superior Norwegian position and the bombard fire. King Ragnvald orders his army to hold position while he advances accompanied by a Svenner to ascertain if the Papal army is feigning withdrawl or not.

    Ragnvald had also allowed 2 of the more veteran infantry companies to chase retreating Papal forces into the forest but cautions their captains to remain wary of an ambush. The Papal armies still outnumber the Norwegians and in the dense forests it is easy to run into an ambush.

    King Ragnvald nearly falls victim to such an ambush himself when a company of Swiss Guardsmen pin him while Halberd militia charge towards the rear of his bodyguard.

    The Mounted crossbowmen maintain a steady fire on the Feudal knights and Men at Arms from the second army who ignore the bolts and move to support the withdrawl of their comrades.

    King Ragnvald and the Svenner cavalry pick off straggling companies from the withdrawing army.

    In the midst of pursuit the Svenner cavalry have lost sight of their position and are caught by the charge of the commander of the reinforcing army when the chase some routers down beyond the help of King Ragnvald and his bodyguard.

    Shortly after the company of Hirdsmen and Huskarls are ambushed after having advanced far away from the support of the rest of the army.

    Swiss Guardsmen are followed by 2 companies of mounted Men at Arms and the Norwegian fight back fiercely but when Handgunners and a 3rd company of Feudal cavalry join in their morale breaks.

    King Ragnvald moves back toward the main body of his army with half the number of bodyguard that followed him into the woods. No one has heard from either the Svenner or the 2 companies of heavy infantry that advanced earlier. King Ragnvald is sure something is wrong and waits further developments. Suddenly a company of Papal Feudal cavalry burst from the woods and charge the Handgunners along the ridge. The attack is beaten back and a a captured knight reveals the fate of the 2 infantry companies but he knows nothing of the Svenner. However it is enough to allow Ragnvald an idea of what has happened. The commander of the relief army has rallied the larger Papal force and organized a counter attack.

    The Mounted crossbowmen suffer under the charge of that very general and only half the company escape.

    An hour goes by, then two hours... the forest is silent. No sign of the Papal army.

    King Ragnvald orders his entire army to advance south keeping along the higher part of the ridge and searching for the Papal army that is somewhere in the woods below since they have not been seen to have exited the valley.

    Then movement is spotted- the Pope's men are coming back for a second try! Mounted Men at Arms move to flank the Norwegians and King Ragnvald gives the order for to his infantry- charge! Several companies of Papal armies have advanced to the edge of the tree's and seem prepared to offer battle.

    The Norwegian charge catches the Papal armies commander in the process of cajoling his men to advance and manage to slay him in a bloody fight. Huskarl axemen catch the remaining Papal heavy cavalry in the forest before they can charge and makes short work of them. With their heavy cavalry eliminated and their commander dead the rest of the army breaks and makes a run for the hills.

    King Ragnvald has won a hard fought victory and cleared the way to Innsbruck.

    The bombard battery and the Huskarl axemen are awarded rights to first loot of the enemy dead for their accomplishments in the battle.

    King Ragnvald offers the prisoners from the battle for ransom but the Pope declines figuring he can always raise more men but shan't pay King Ragnvald a single florin.

    King Ragnvald advances to capture Innsbruck the day after the battle.

    Spies open the gate and the minimal garrison barely offers resistance.

    Innsbruck is captured by Norway and the path into Italy is secure.

    King Ragnvald dares not advance into Northern Italy until the Papal armies near Innsbruck have been dealt with. He leaves a large garrison in Innsbruck and takes a minimal force to deal with a nearby Papal army.

    Low clouds cloak a broad valley in mist... King Ragnvald sends newly arrived Mounted crossbowmen to survey the advancing Papal army and do what damage they can.

    Men at Arms seek out the Mounted crossbowmen immediately...

    The battle takes place around some old Roman ruins... the Men at Arms are dispatched by King Ragnvald and his bodyguard but their defeat costs heavy casualties.

    Two full companies of Swiss Guardsmen are formidable foes even for Huskarl axemen but slowly die when hit from behind with bolts from the Mounted crossbowmen and faced in the front by the Norwegian infantry.

    The battle is won and the Papal army is eliminated but at the cost of most of the Huskarl axemen.

    The Huskarl's kill most of 2 companies of Swiss guardsmen however.

    King Ragnvald has scouting reports of another small army and sends his just arrived son Erik at the head of an army deemed more than large enough to handle the Pope's men.

    Erik handles the battle well enough though another veteran company, this time of Feudal knights- takes casualties against 2 full companies of Swiss Guard.

    Erik Haakonsson has his first battle victory but has a long way to go to match his father's accomplishments.

    Innsbruck is secure but a large Papal army blocks further progress and the advance and capture of Innsbruck depleted King Ragnvald's army. Reinforcements are on the way but still at least 2 seasons travel distant. King Ragnvald will have to manage with what he has for now. Prince Haakon and Karl Haakonsson have access to numerous condottieri companies with which to fight the Pope. However such men cost money, large amounts of money. Norway has committed itself to heavy payments to the Mongols, Hungary, and the Holy Roman empire to secure peace. The treasury may be able to bare the burden but how well is yet to be seen.
    Last edited by Ichon; May 02, 2011 at 10:43 AM.

  8. #108

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

    King Ragnvald's daughter Hallotta had been sent to negotiate with the Normans of Sicily but travels more slowly than anticipated with the current state of war in Northern Italy and is unable to secure any type of understanding with the Normans. Spies have spotted 3 Norman armies within striking distance of Rome and Ancona. Norway is allies with Venice who is allied with Sicily but Sicily is also allied with the Teutonic Order, Norway's bitter enemies.

    Prince Haakon has to decide what to do... given that his last missive from King Ragnvald had indicated that the treasury might be struggling in the next few seasons Prince Haakon decides use the money now available to make the down payment on as many mercenary contracts as he thinks will be necessary. If the treasury turns out even worse off than anticipated current construction in various parts of the Kingdom can be halted, and even some money made from selling off the tools and equipment from the siege works of all the most recently captured cities.

    Spies report that the Normans have assembled over 20 companies of heavy cavalry between the 3 armies in addition to several companies of cavalry militia and Norman Foot knights. Any battles with Sicily will divert desperately needed troops from the war with the Pope.

    At Innsbruck King Ragnvald decides that in the time left in the campaign season he should clear the passes down into Italy. Leaving 1/3 of his army as garrison in Innsbruck under the command of his son Erik who has camped outside the walls, Ragnvald moves south to engage a nearby Papal army.

    The Papal army has only a few decimated companies of heavy cavalry and a single Mounted crossbow company which the Papal commander sends up the hill towards Ragnvald's deployed army to launch repeated volleys of bolts which manage to kill only 2 Norwegians due to the angle of the hill and the elevation.

    The continual volleys are an annoyance however and King Ragnvald despite being wary of giving chase to a light cavalry unit which can easily turn and run finally charges with his decimated bodyguard which has many wounded and hasn't been able to find replacements for the men lost in the battles earlier in the season. The Mounted crossbowmen don't turn to run quickly enough and King Ragnvald and his bodyguard manage to overwhelm them without a single casualty.

    King Ragnvald's own half strength Mounted crossbow company had been sent to the Papal armies left flank to try and kill the Men at Arms cavalry positioned there. The Pavise crossbowmen are positioned to cover the Men at Arms and their crossbows have tremendous range. The Mounted crossbowmen suffer several casualties as they test the limits of that range...

    Meanwhile King Ragnvald orders the bombard to open fire on the ranked enemy below and the shots seem strangely ineffective. Something about the elevation and the angle. As King Ragnvald contemplates ordering an advance the survivors of the Men at Arms that his Mounted crossbow company targeted charge the bombard crew, only 1 man survives the volley fire of the Handgunners and a direct hit by the bombard to reach the battery.

    The Papal army shows no inclination to advance up the hill towards King Ragnvald's excellent defensive position.

    The surviving Mounted crossbow retreat back up the slope and circle to the other side of the ridge to try eliminate the Knights Hospitaller company on the Papal armies right flank. Again the Pavise crossbows make this difficult as well as repeated charges by the Hospitallers themselves which the exhausted Mounted crossbow company barely avoids. Over time and nearly emptying their entire quivers they manage to kill all the Hospitallers except one who flees the field to bring word of the battle to his order.

    With the departure of the last of his heavy cavalry the Papal captain commanding the army orders his Pavise crossbowmen to advance. The Pavise find targets quickly but the advance also brings them into range of the bombard's grapeshot which exacts a heavy toll and finally puts them to flight. King Ragnvald pursues to ensure the Pavise don't reform and return to the battle.

    Before he races out from the lines to round up the broken Pavise companies Ragnvald orders the Handgunners to descend to the left flank of the Papal army and open fire while the rest of the infantry move down the hill in support. The advance of the Handgunners spurs the Papal captain in command to order his own Handgunners to engage the Norwegian company and as King Ragnvald rides back from rounding up the Pavise he feels the time has come- the call to charge is sounded and the Norwegian heavy infantry roars down the hill into the Papal army...

    The battle line grows confused and no one is able to spot where the Papal commander has gotten to... the Norwegians grind down the Papal forces but suffer more casualties than King Ragnvald had hoped when the Pope's men refuse to break.

    Finally King Ragnvald and the remaining men from the Mounted crossbow company charge the rear of the now decimated Papal army and the few survivors except a company of Swiss Guard break and attempt to saves their own lives.

    The battle is won and at fairly light cost to King Ragnvald but each battle weakens the Norwegians while the Pope despite losing Rome and 2 other cities has several large armies in the field. If Sicily or heaven help, the French decide now is the moment to attack- Norway will face a severe test.

    The following spring King Ragnvald is informed of further riots and public disorder spreading throughout the realm. Many rumors swirl around the fact that the ruling family is adopting the ways of the southern monarchists and treats the common man as nothing. Apparently the light fine given to Karl Haakonsson for the capture of Bologna without War Council authority has stirred brewing resentment to a full boil. The cost to put down the rioters and repair the damage they have caused is far more than the treasury can bear at the moment.

    Worse news is that the Normans of Sicily have laid siege to Rome trapping Prince Haakon inside. The Norman army has massive amounts of veteran heavy cavalry while Haakon is accompanied only by mercenaries. A significant Papal army also lays siege to Bologna. 2 more Norman armies advance to Ancona but for some reason have yet to lay siege. Karl Haakonsson had boarded ship from Ancona to replenish his supplies and await the news of what would happen next without fear of being trapped in a siege.

    Spies report that Pope Clemens sits with a large army near Pisa while yet another large Papal army has advanced up the pass towards Innsbruck. The situation for Norway is dire but so far none of the gains made in the first strike of the campaign have been lost... yet.

    Last edited by Ichon; May 04, 2011 at 02:29 PM.

  9. #109

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

    The Normans of Sicily are moving more armies north... Prince Haakon is trapped in Rome so messengers head to Karl Haakonsson asking for instructions. The Normans have a tremendous amount of heavy cavalry and Norway's armies in Italy are a long way from home. The journey reinforcements must take is several seasons long. Meanwhile due to the centralization of the realm that King Ragnvald's father Haflidhi instituted the process for recruiting and training new soldiers is cumbersome and it will be a long time before Innsbruck is capable of producing decent armies. Reinforcements are therefor limited to units that can be raised from the captured Italian cities, mercenaries, and the trickle of reinforcements from the north. Facing several large Norman armies with massive amounts of heavy cavalry could ruin Norway's ambitions on the peninsula. While Prince Haakon might well defeat a single Norman army attempting to storm Rome, if the Normans continue sending armies north as spies report seems likely, Prince Haakon could be overwhelmed and Rome lost along with Norway's best commander.

    Karl turns his attentions north, if his father King Ragnvald can advance past the Papal army blocking entrance into the Po valley and then relieve the siege of Bologna- then Karl might be able to summon land and receive reinforcements from the large Ancona garrison and march south to relieve the siege of Rome and face new Norman armies the following season. Spies near Bern report that the Papal armies laying siege to Venice's last mainland European holdings are moving back toward Italy. There is also the Pope near Pisa and the large armies there.

    The Papal armies lack the massive amounts of heavy cavalry that the Normans have brought but in some ways the Swiss Guardsmen are more difficult for Norway to defeat. Wearing heavy armor and wielding polearms which make charges by cavalry cost prohibitive in most situations the Pope has fielded 15 companies in just the armies near Pisa and besieging Bologna. If Norway had moved south with some Longbowmen... but those Longbowmen who had traveled east from Norway's domains in England have been left as the key parts of several garrisons along the French and Hungarian borders. In Italy Norway lacks strong missile troops and the Pope also fields many companies of Pavise crossbowmen which out range anything Norway can field except a couple mercenary companies of Pavise crossbowmen. The army laying siege to Bologna has 8 Swiss Guard companies, they rarely retreat and can decimate all but the heaviest of cavalry. Norwegian heavy infantry is superior but of very limited supply. Each battle costs nearly irreplaceable casualties.

    Karl must wait news of King Ragnvald's battles in the north before deciding what course to embark on against Norman Sicily.
    Last edited by Ichon; May 03, 2011 at 01:07 AM.

  10. #110

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

    King Ragnvald had moved down into the foothills south of Innsbruck after defeating a Papal army last season. Before the snow has cleared King Ragnvald is joined by his son Erik who brings 2 Mounted crossbow companies that have traveled from Stettin. Reinforcements will be few and far between from here on out. The companies must journey back to Stettin to re-equip and fill their ranks with new recruits as only 2 War Councilors have been appointed under Ragnvald. Stettin and Konigsburg are the main military centers of Norway. Junior War Councilors sit at Smolensk and had been at Turku but with the destruction of the Citadel there and the death of the governor only 3 men are able to recruit armies other than King Ragnvald. For a realm as large as Norway that centralized authority can raise significant issues of logistics and replenishment during long campaigns.

    As King Ragnvald travels south word comes that assassins have taken care of a Norman princess who might have met with Papal diplomats and conducted some sort of pact. Venice had abandoned its alliance with Norway due to its ties with Norman Sicily and only the war between Venice and the Pope seems to have prevented warmer relations between the Pope and Sicily.

    King Ragnvald had received reports of another Papal army which had moved to block entrance into Italy- he finds their camp atop a small hill in the shelter of some woods and prepares for battle.

    The Pope's men wait the Norwegian attack...

    Most of the Pope's army is hidden in the trees and King Ragnvald sends some Prussian cavalry to scout with orders to hold fire unless finding heavy cavalry or the enemy commander. The Prussian find the enemy commander and launch their full complement of javelins but the trees get in the way and only a single bodyguard is killed. The Prussians had endured several volleys by Pavise crossbowmen they couldn't even see and retreat as soon as possible.

    King Ragnvald moves forward and orders the bombard battery to open fire on the positions the Prussian cavalry have reported the enemy waits at. At first there seems to be no result- then screams are heard from the forest and the Papal army seems to move into new positions and then all goes still. The battery commander had marked the position where he thought he saw the enemies banner and begins sustained firing at that spot. Just when all the batteries ammunition is exhausted there is a spout of fire and a moan from the enemy army... it sounds as if the enemy general has been killed! King Ragnvald doesn't want to allow the enemy to regroup and orders the infantry to immediately press forward. The cavalry is sent around the enemies left flank to cause as much havoc as possible.

    As the Norwegians approach the individual companies of the enemy army begin to be distinct amongst the trees. Letting loose a roar King Ragnvald motions Erik forward toward Pavise crossbowmen who have moved forward and are preparing to loose on the approaching Norwegian cavalry. King Ragnvald himself aims straight for a company of Handgunners.

    The death of their commander and the sudden assault by the Norwegian after several hours of bombardment throws much of the Papal army into confusion. The charge by Ragnvald and Erik along with the Norwegian cavalry to their rear cause many of the Halberd militia units to temporarily panic and attempt to retreat deeper into the woods.

    The entire right flank of the Papal army is washed away under the weight of King Ragnvald's charge backed up by Norwegian infantry. However the Papal armies left flank is held by Swiss Guardsmen and Papal Guards... neither known for retreating. Mounted crossbowmen attempt a charge and cause some casualties but pull back when the Papal Guards turn to face them...

    The Guardsmen fight to the last man... something the Norwegians have seen in their campaigns up to this point but not by so many companies in several different battles.

    Due to the early death of the Papal commander the battle is won with less casualties than it might otherwise have been. However each battle lowers the amount of men Norway can put into the next battle while the Pope has lost cities he still has numerous armies north of Alps who are on their way back- if Norway hasn't made significant progress by then in pushing back the Papal states to its original territories this campaign could become very long.

    Erik gains valuable experience in the battle and the King's Hirdsmen prove their value though each time they are asked to their numbers thin...

    King Ragnvald moves over the Po and approaches the Papal army besieging Bologna. The Pecheneg and Prussian cavalry which had joined him in the last battle had ridden long and hard to catch up with the King after the passes cleared enough to move through and now must rest their exhausted horses if they are to participate later in the campaign.

    The Papal armies withdraws from the siege lines to a long ridge across a small valley from King Ragnvald's position. When he orders the Mounted crossbowmen to swing around and approach the rear of the Papal army they are forced to withdraw due to Pavise crossbowmen vastly outranging their own weapons.

    The Papal army has Mounted crossbowmen of its own and King Ragnvald reluctantly gives the order to pursue... the lighter swifter cavalry can escape the heavier Norwegian cavalry but King Ragnvald can't let them simply loose volleys unopposed. Crossing the small valley King Ragnvald and Erik come under attack and are forced to move away from the Pavise on the ridge. However they have driven off the enemies Mounted crossbow cavalry for now.

    Shortly after the bombard battery begins to run low on ammunition and the Norwegian infantry begins to slog across the valley. Urban militias raised in Bologna are sent first to absorb the enemy missiles with the more valuable Norwegian heavy infantry following. An understrength company of Huskarls is left to guard the battery crew.

    When the Norwegians begin moving up the slop directly into the enemy Pavise crossbows line of sight King Ragnvald and Erik charge the Papal armies left flank scattering several Handgunner and Pavise companies. King Ragnvald spots the Mounted crossbow company which had earlier outrun him and aims directly for them drawing off the nearest Papal cavalry while Erik concentrates on running down those of the Pope's army who have momentarily lost their composure.

    With the way around the Papal armies left flank cleared by the King, Norwegian infantry round the the corner of the Papal armies front and begin rolling up the line while King Ragnvald is re-joined by Erik when he gets into a melee with the company of Mounted crossbows he had been pursuing and a company of cavalry militia.

    The Papal armies left flank completely collapses but only the consisted of some Halberd militia, a single company of Swiss Guard, and some Handgunners and Pavise. The majority of the Papal armies strength is in the right flank where 7 full companies of Swiss Guard and a full company of Papal Guards have engaged the Norwegian infantry backed by 2 cavalry companies and a Pavise company. The Norwegian Mounted crossbowmen advance again and let loose volley after volley into the Papal heavy cavalry which is screening the right flank while King Ragnvald and Erik have dispatched the light cavalry they are forced to move back from the battle line as a small detachment of Papal Guardsmen engages them.

    In the gap which has opened between the screening Papal army heavy cavalry and the Mounted crossbowmen and Norwegian Merchant cavalry a Swiss Guard company crosses the valley and heads toward the bombard battery which loads grapeshot and punches ragged holes in the orderly Guard formation which nonetheless continues its advance.

    Norwegian Handgunners had helped break the Papal left flank and now move to the right flank but are met by a company of Papal Guardsmen. The Papal heavy cavalry has run off in pursuit of the Norwegian Mounted crossbowmen and leaves an opening for the Norwegian Merchant cavalry to charge into the battle...

    The Swiss Guard company that had crossed the valley has engaged the battery crew and the Huskarls guarding them. The Huskarl captain orders the surviving engineers to retreat as their knowledge and experience might be pivotal in future battles then turns back to the desperate fight. The Merchant cavalry militia retreat from their charge when it disintegrates into a melee where the Papal Guardsmen have the upper hand and charge across the valley towards the Swiss Guards attacking the bombard.

    The Norwegians have the upper hand in the battle now but the Swiss Guardsmen put up a fierce resistance which bleeds out the best of the Norwegian infantry. One company of Hirdsmen is completely eliminated when King Ragnvald orders the captain and his few surviving men to try and retreat out from between two companies of Swiss Guard... it is a mistake as the men are nearly instantly slain when they turn to run and the Swiss Guards turn to find new opponents.

    King Ragnvald charges the rear of engaged companies until his bodyguards restrain him... the danger is too great and without the King the entire campaign will fall apart. Perhaps even the entire Kingdom.

    As King Ragnvald finally relents and pulls back the Norwegian infantry move in.

    The Swiss Guardsmen refuse to surrender and the battle must be won over their dead bodies... and hundreds of dead Norwegians.

    Finally the day is won though the cost of the battle rivals many of the battles against the Mongols decades earlier. It will take years for Norway to replenish its heavy infantry after this battle.

    Fortunately over half of the casualties are militias but an entire company of Hirdsmen lost and the rest taken very high casualties will make the rest of the campaign more difficult.

    Prince Haakon remains besieged in Rome but hears word of the battle from sailors who are able to still sail into the Tiber and dock in Rome. He wonders if he will be left to make what he can of the soon to come siege assault or if he will be relieved. Prince Haakon is aging and his days as a field commander would be over if not for the present situation. However he still bears important titles that King Ragnvald would not wish lost and has become a symbol of defeat to the Pope who while dismissing stories of Haakon's abilities and managing to inflict the only defeat in Haakon's career, has heard outrageous reports the Prince Haakon is in league with supernatural powers from the few survivors in the armies which have been defeated by him. As a political symbol and the fact that Haakon holds Rome- the whole reason the campaign was begun leads King Ragnvald to dispatched orders to Karl that insist that battles with the Norman Sicilians should be avoided unless pressed and the war against the Pope take precedence.

    Last edited by Ichon; May 04, 2011 at 11:37 PM.

  11. #111
    Radzeer's Avatar Rogue Bodemloze
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    Aug 2010

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

    Great battles again! I really enjoy reading this story, and kudos for keeping your huge empire together, especially under BGR.

  12. #112

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Radzeer View Post
    Great battles again! I really enjoy reading this story, and kudos for keeping your huge empire together, especially under BGR.
    I am starting to feel the pressure from BGR. The Hirdsmen I lost in Italy so far took about 1/4 the campaign to accumulate. 7 companies down to about 2.5, there are a few more in garrisons but scattered all over the map. With BGR on and limited recruitment it will take 20-30 turns to move or recruit more to replace them. So somewhere around 10 years to recover which feels about right for replacing some elite units like that after massive losses. Also the distances... I'd prefer to move the War Councilors in Stettin and Konigsburg but it takes about 7 turns to move them and then the recruitment pools has to start filling from scratch. So moving 1 loses about 20 turns of recruitment for the best units or almost 2 units worth in that time span. So opportunity costs begin to be felt.

    This is one of my longest campaigns now I think. Only a campaign with Turks and one with Portugal was more epic. I was curious how the battles throughout this AAR compared and I went back and read this from the start. I forgot some of the really close battles I had and I totally forgot about fighting Lithuania and Hungary.

    These battles against the Pope feel more tense than anything previously in this campaign for some reason. I think because I set myself the goal to try and accomplish it without many reinforcements.

    I added up the numbers from some previous wars in this AAR- so for example fighting England(not entire invasion of Britain, just battles against England in the conquest).

    England- 4,934 lost vs 23,022 defeated. 17%
    Mongols- 5,407 lost vs 6,184 defeated. 84%
    Pope- 1,971 lost vs 9,764 defeated. 20%

    So Mongols are definitely the toughest foe by a long shot, most of the large epic battles they actually killed me by about 150% over what I killed them but there were enough small scale and sieges I made up the difference by a bit. Scotland had 1 huge win against me where I lost over 1,600 that changed the odds there alot to about 14% while every other faction was around 10% so I'll have to check the next campaign I fight Mongols with better units than Norway can field(more HA and heavy cavalry) and see how much those odds change.

    I think this AAR will be finished in less than half a dozen further updates. Unless something goes way wrong in the campaign like Sicily moving north in force. So starting to feel nostalgic when I see the early invasions into the Baltic area...Prince Sighvat, King Haflidhi, and Prince Haakon seem almost like actual characters to me now.

  13. #113

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

    Must say, I'm mighty impressed that you've kept this alive for so long. Very impressive, especially considering the long turntimes with BGR! <------- Ask me somethin' dagnabbit!

  14. #114

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

    Karl Haakonsson gets reports from spies and scouts on the strength of the nearest Norman armies from Sicily.

    Diplomats are sent to see if the Normans can be bought off for a reasonable price. The negotiations seem to be going well until the Norman noble in charge of their delegation stands up and announces that the King of Sicily does not desire peace at any price at the moment.

    With the refusal of the Normans to come to terms prince Karl Haakonsson must decide how to achieve his father King Ragnvald's directive to focus on the war against the Pope for now. Dispatching a spy to ensure the route is clear Karl lands with his army north of Ancona and sends messengers to the garrison- "BY order of the King, leave a skeleton garrison and depart this night to march for Rome." The Norman army encamped near Ancona had yet to lay siege so the garrison was able to follow Karl's instructions and met him just before dawn the following day bound for Rome.

    The garrison and prince Karl's army neared the siege lines and encamped on either side of the besieging Norman army. Separated by the Norman who have numerous heavy cavalry companies Karl Haakonson is following the King's orders despite wanting to prove his skill at arms...

    The camps don't move over the winter and the Norman commander decides to abandon the siege until reinforcements arrive. Rome stands relieved without a battle being necessary. Soon prince Karl is walking the walls with Prince Haakon and wondering with amazement at the King's foresight. Prince Haakon is more pragmatic, "It's not foresight to predict the Normans would hold off, they aren't here to help the Pope but gain what they can for their Kingdom at as low a cost as possible. The army they have might defeat us or it might not but it would be a bloody battle either way and leave their Kingdom worse off. Even if your father King Ragnvald had guessed wrong it wouldn't have been a worse situation. The Pope waits for his armies to return through the Alps while your father dares not attack Pisa with the large armies there and Venice occupied by the Pope to his rear. Keeping the supply lines through the Alps open is critical for the future of the campaign to be able to receive timely reinforcements."

    Prince Haakon then continued, "No, all this was nearly predictable if you understand the situation. The Normans likely anticipate our abandonment of Rome as the next step." Karl was shocked- "Abandon Rome? But I just left Ancona nearly undefended and marched here to relieve Rome!" Prince Haakon smiled wanly, "The march here wasn't so much to relieve Rome though that was important as to bring our forces to bear. The Normans alone outnumber us here in Italy. Combined with the Pope they are 5 to 1 against us. However, this is key- we have no stake here besides sending the Pope's back to Rome while they have to defend their land and send armies against us. When our strength is concentrated we can overcome them at nearly any single point and we don't need to worry about defense as they do."

    Karl was silent for a time while Prince Haakon called for some of the wine from the Pope's own cellars... finally Karl spoke- "If what you say is true then moving to Rome still hadn't accomplished the goal of joining our forces together. We have a might army here now, but King Ragnvald remains in the north under threat of siege or encirclement. It might have been better had we broken the Norman army here and then moved back to Ancona where we could at least be within reach of Bologna." Prince Haakon shook his head, "Come now Karl, you remember how the first blow of this war was launched do you not?" Karl was beginning to grow impatient- "I can tell you think you know the plan to get us out of this mess, don't tell me you have arranged for unhappy shepherds to poison the entire Norman army?"

    Prince Haakon roared with laughter..."No, would that I could arrange that I would gladly do so, however it is much simpler." While they had been talking their walk around the walls had continued and now they faced the sea. Prince Haakon pointed- "Do you see those ships? No, they are not the same fleet that carried us before. The Venetians are happy enough staying in the Adriatic. However... do you know the other city the Pope arrogantly occupied? Genoa! Ha, the fool can occupy the city but can't catch their fleet without one of his own. So just as Venice provided ships for our surprise attack at Ancona now some captains from Genoa will do the same. Of course they won't fly the flag of Genoa and they are demanding some money just as the Venetians did but they are merchants before they are warriors. That is why they lost their cities. But, merchants build more ships than warriors do so I will happily pay for this fleet to transport us to Pisa. My boy... I've been holding out on you. This morning messages arrived from our spies near Pisa, the Pope has moved a large army away from Pisa and encamps just outside of Bologna but for some reason has not yet laid siege. What do you think we are going to do about that eh?"

    Karl did not quite see how this plan would work... "But Prince Haakon, how does this fleet have enough ships to transport both our armies to Pisa?" Prince Haakon looked away from the sea and pointed to the Tiber... "We control all the useable crossings for miles. The fleet will transport you and your army across the river and a bit down the coast and then after you have landed the fleet will return for my army. The Pope will be quite astonished to find the army which occupied Rome now attacking Pisa, I intend to haunt this Pope and shadow every move he makes. I vow that he will die before I do!" With that Prince Haakon began to go into some story about a slight the Pope had committed at his wedding to his Venetian wife and Karl lost interest. The possibilities of the movements made him breathless with excitement... Prince Haakon might be old and sometimes seemed to have more respect and awe at the mere mention of his name than Karl could see the sense of, but then the man reminded him that he was a general such as few in Norway's history could match. He was growing old and had a daughter if Karl remember correctly... perhaps it was time for the Haakonsson line to be joined by the Hylgaard line? Still, best to focus on the present- there was much to be done to get his army ready for ship transport.

    Several weeks later Prince Haakon lands near Pisa and seizes the port early in the morning, a nearby Papal army barely has time to send a messenger off to the garrison in Pisa before Prince Haakon has his army drawn up for battle on the plain outside Pisa.

    Prince Haakon had heard of the difficulties that King Ragnvald had in the battle outside Bologna and has made sure to secure the services of more Pavise crossbowmen and even some Catalans from Aragon. Prince Haakon first ensures the smaller Papal army is mostly dealt with before the Pisan garrison arrives. The Free company longbowmen and Pavise crossbows work over the approaching smaller army which consists of 4 companies, 2 Halberd militia, 1 Pavise spears, and a single Swiss Guard. The first 3 companies are easily dealt with but Prince Haakon lures the Guardsmen into chasing him back and forth in front of the Pavise crossbows thinning their ranks. The Swiss don't fall for the trick for long and soon turn towards the Norwegian lines.

    Meanwhile the Pisan Papal garrison has neared.

    Prince Haakon had sent the mercenary Frankish knights to threaten attack on the advancing garrison army and for a few minutes the feint charges by the Frankish knights halt the oncoming army. Soon their commander moves the Swiss Guard companies to the fore and the advance resumes.

    Prince Haakon order his army to pivot and face the oncoming army. Only a few men from the Swiss Guard company in the first army remain and they will die before their comrades arrive to help.

    The Pavise crossbow companies run to the opposite end of the line to have a clearer field of fire while leads the Papal army commander to move his Pavise spear companies to the right flank away from the Pavise bolts.

    This makes sense but does not account that the Pavise are now unguarded by heavy cavalry or heavy infantry. Prince Haakon and the Frankish knights descend upon them in a devastating charge.

    As the Swiss Guard companies approach the Catalans behind Swiss Halberdier mercenaries let loose with their javelins... gaping holes open in the Swiss Guardsmen's formation but they continue to close undaunted.

    The Papal army that was the Pisa garrison is evenly split 4 ways. 3 companies of Pavise spearmen, 3 Swiss Guard, 3 Papal Guard, and 3 Halberd militia. Some of the Papal Guards were recovering from earlier battles and are at half strength but all the Swiss Guard companies are ready for battle. Prince Haakon eliminates the Pavise spear companies before they even reach his lines- the Papal commander had put the Halberd militia on the right flank supported by a single Swiss Guard company. When Prince Haakon elongates his line using the Swiss Halberdier mercenaries as an anchor, the envelopment panics the Papal Halberd militia which break and try to escape only to be met and cut down by the Frankish knights. Now a battle which had started with nearly even numbers has swung to give Norway a large advantage which Prince Haakon presses.

    Soon only the Swiss Guard struggle on... the Papal Guardsmen had tried to fight but were overwhelmed and outmatched by the professional mercenaries Prince Haakon had employed and even the Papal Guards armor is slightly less grand than the mercenaries which has been earned through blood and plunder- though not a few are from rich Italian families who don't care much for the Pope, well... or anyone outside their own families lands actually.

    Soon the field is clear and only a tiny handful of the Pope's men have escaped.

    Prince Haakon is pleased with how is mercenaries fought and doesn't demand a commander share after this battle allowing the mercenaries to split what plunder they find totally amongst themselves.

    Pisa lays open... Prince Haakon could easily walk in and lay claim but doesn't want to tempt his mercenaries and the duties of the realm lead him to call upon Karl Haakonsson to lead to occupation. The sack by the Norwegian troops is light and the city settles in for rule by Norway without many problems.

  15. #115

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

    With the fall of Pisa King Ragnvald must choose whether to face the Pope and his army near Pisa with what forces he has or wait for a more opportune time. King Ragnvald decides to embark on a more complicated strategy but one he hopes will eliminate the current Pope and guarantee the Church will be grateful to Norway afterwards. He sends his son Erik to attack a Papal army which has again closed the pass from Innsbruck and is blocking reinforcements from moving into Italy.

    Erik leads 2 companies of Mounted crossbowmen to the heights above the Papal army while the reinforcements moving south from Innsbruck draw the Papal army onto lower ground in pursuit. Then surrounding the Papal army on all sides the captain of that army can't decide which way to face and shuffles his men around. Without cavalry of their own the Pope's men face a large disadvantage.

    The Papal army consisted of 2 companies of Swiss Guardsmen, a company of Papal Guard, and a company of Handgunners. The Handgunners are eliminated by Erik and his bodyguard early in the battle removing the single threat to the Mounted crossbowmen. After that its only a matter of time though the Mounted Crossbowmen nearly run out of arrows and the last few Papal Guardsmen most be fought hand to hand.

    The last remaining Swiss Guardsman is brought done by bolts with no chance given to surrender and none asked.

    Erik wins a clear victory though because the attack was on the other side of the border from Innsbruck it technically occurred in Papal territories.

    Erik is not a War Councilor and his father will have to face a second round of civic disorder due to his contempt and permission to his sons to flout obedience to War Council directives designed to uphold the authority of the King and the upper nobility. King Ragnvald could have easily led the mission and avoided censure but he had other plans.

    The Pope's army is large and filled with Swiss Guard and Papal Guardsmen who will fight to the death. Companies of Feudal knights and Knights Hospitallier also accompany the Pope. King Ragnvald has a much reduced army... only 2 companies of heavy infantry rounded out by light cavalry and militias with his own bodyguard and a half strength company of Feudal knights. Facing the Pope in the field with the men only under King Ragnvald's command would likely be an extremely close battle with the winner difficult to predict. King Ragnvald had earlier advised his son Karl to avoid battle with the Normans and consolidate the Norwegian armies. Now with Pisa captured and the Norwegian armies in the south moved north only the Pope's army stand between further consolidation. However spies report that both Genoa and Venice are occupied by weak garrisons.

    After Erik Haakonsson had cleared the pass and allowed the reinforcements moving south to join King Ragnvald the 2 companies of Mounted crossbowmen had been sent west to to protect Erik Haakonsson who had tarried in northern Italy and was exposed to attack from Papal armies moving back into Italy from the Pope's campaign against Venice and France.

    A small Papal army ignores Erik while he rests in a villa and attacks the Mounted crossbowmen just west of King Ragnvald who has advanced to lay siege to Venice.

    King Ragnvald had sent Erik to clear the passes because he had planned a trap for the Pope. The key was that the army which had blocked the passes had come from Venice and now that city was occupied by a much weaker garrison. King Ragnvald had put his military education to work and moved north to build a fort to control the crossing over the Po just north east of Bologna and then went west to build another fort to guard the crossing over the next major crossing point before joining his army and marching to lay siege to Venice. Small remnant companies from previous battles occupy the garrisons whose sole purpose is to contain the Pope. With the Pope trapped between Bologna and Pisa the way is open for King Ragnvald to capture Pisa and prince Karl to eliminate the Papal army outside the walls of Pisa who had been prepared for an attack from inland only to be surprised by the landing to their rear. This would free Prince Haakon to sail to Genoa and capture that city leaving the Pope with nothing.

    If the Pope lays siege to Bologna or Pisa King Ragnvald can march back and join with Prince Haakon's army to crush the Pope and later capture Genoa.

    Meanwhile the Papal armies moving south into Italy are the only unknown variable in King Ragnvald's plans. The Normans are busy with their sieges of Ancona and Rome but the Papal armies moving back into Italy represent a significant force still.

    The advance Papal army that attacks the 2 companies of Mounted crossbowmen is no exception. Led by a member of the Pope's own family, and containing 1 Papal Guard, a company of Handgunners, and a Swiss Guard company. The captain in charge of the Mounted crossbowmen decides to give battle... his intention is merely to damage the Pope's men as much as possible then retreat.

    The Papal army attacks on a very foggy morning and the captain uses the concealment to maximum advantage. The men in his companies consist of veterans from the campaign in the east who had been sent west to assist the campaign and have been hardened by 2 further battles against Papal armies previously.

    First they fire from 2 angles on the Swiss Guard which prompts the Pope's nephew to charge confident in the superiority of his men over the Mounted crossbowmen in melee. His confidence is not misplaced but his idea that the Mounted crossbowmen who are range specialist would ever allow him to close to melee is greatly misplaced.

    His charge does catch a few stragglers but he is soon harried from flank and rear and every way he turns opens his flank from fire by one or the other of the Mounted crossbow companies and he soon dies along with his entire bodyguard.

    The captain then goes after the next most dangerous company for the Mounted crossbows and after weakening the Handgunners with repeated volleys but also taking some small losses when the Handgunners managed to get a shot off before the Mounted crossbowmen retreated out of effective range the captain leads both companies into a charge on the huddled Handgunners who hear only the hiss of bolts flying through the air and see only occasional shapes in the mist, when they hear the approach of what sounds like a massive cavalry charge their courage falters and when the Mounted crossbowmen move into their midst they break and try to run only to be cut down to the man.

    The Mounted crossbow's captain had only intended to weak this Papal army and then retreat but now see's a chance to actually achieve an amazing victory.

    Working in concert the 2 companies approach the Swiss Guard company from different directions and then the Mounted crossbowmen let loose and keep their distance. Soon the last Swiss Guard is dead but bolts are running low. The captain orders the company facing the Papal Guard company from the front to hold fire while his company looses volleys into the unshielded rear of the Papal Guard. When the Papal Guard turn to face their rear the other company looses. Bolts run out before the final Papal Guards are slain but their are only 12 left standing... repeated charges on the exhausted men cost only a single casualty and the Norwegians are left in control of the field having defeated a much larger force and changed the odds in the north greatly in favor of King Ragnvald's plan.

    The experience of the Mounted crossbowmen is the decisive factor which allows the battle to be won.

    With the renewed unrest around the realm led by nobles who would like expanded freedoms from the King's authority and take his disregard for War Council orders as a chance exercise their own disobedience the King settles into his siege camp outside of Venice and reviews the key nobles of the realm. These are the men most important to his rule.

    Obviously King Ragnvald himself is the most important and the King travels with spies seeking out enemy assassins always. Prince Haakon Hylgaard is next. Descended from Burilev and Sighvat Hylgaard who were acted as regents during Ragnvald's own infancy the Hylgaard family might well have seized the crown for themselves if Ragnvald's father King Haflidhi hadn't completed the conquest of England and returned to Norway at the head of a veteran army.

    Prince Haakon now has only a single descendent, a daughter whose hand in marriage could threaten the throne or guarantee it. Reports indicate that Erik and the girl had met and shown much interest in each other attending university in Aarhus but King Ragnvald has recently received a message from Karl his eldest son and likely heir inquiring about the girl.

    Karl's younger brothers Toke and Erik could complement his rule or complicate it as Magnus, Ragnvald's older cousin had attempted early in his reign only to be brought short by the plague. None of Ragnvald's son are currently married... all marriages should provide something for the realm and as Karl is not yet officially heir there is little to gain at this point from marrying a foreign princess. However given that Karl has no sons his brothers would stand in line for the throne should Karl somehow meet an early end.

    King Ragnvald worries that his youngest son Erik would take it badly should Karl receive Haakon Hylgaard's daughter in marriage and that could create problems later. Erik is also already indicating that he might be a better leader than Karl and with less loyalty or respect for authority than the middle son Toke, might be the greatest danger to the succession. Hopefully King Ragnvald will find an eligible princess for Karl when he is officially appointed heir and the marriage of Erik to Cecile Hylgaard will sate his ambition and allow him to defend the Haakonsson family from larger outside enemies than tear the kingdom apart from the inside.

    Ulfhedin Tryggvasson had been promoted from captain into the nobility for a brilliant victory over some Polish rebels and now tours Poland putting down rebellions and governing the border settlements since Toke Haakonsson was called from his post in Krakow to Italy. He seems loyal enough compared to many of the younger nobles and King Ragnvald has his eye on him... Bergthor Skovgaard represents the 3rd most powerful Norwegian family but is aging and past his prime. However he is a member of the War Council and control the training and recruitment out of Stettin. Appointing Tryggvasson in his place when he passes would bring in young blood to the War Council and someone who owes more to the Haakonsson line than his own powerful family.

    Godafrid Jacobson had been adopted by Niels the Chivalrous before his own death being without direct heirs and on the premature death by plague of the War Councilor in Konigsburg had been the closest noble with any ties to the crown able to assume the duties there. He has ably filled that role but his devotion to the Church makes him of questionable value anywhere near the current campaign.

    Gustav Haakonsson is King Ragnvald's younger brother and had participated in the campaigns in the east and then settled into governorship of Novgorod. Putting down constant rebellions and overseeing the vast territories in the east with King Ragnvald's full support has led Gustav to deep loyalty to his brother and King Ragnvald is assured that should disaster strike and all of Ragnvald's heirs be killed in this campaign in Italy Gustav would be able to steer the realm ably from Novgorod. Gustav is content under his brothers sovereignty but eyes the Mongol land further east. Rumors of a new horde displacing the Mongols far, far to the east have reached his ears and he wonders if the peace concluded with the Mongols was too soon and contemplates leading Norway to greater lands captured from the Mongols. Dispossessed former Rus princes in his court eagerly feed him rumors of the wealthy lands they once ruled now under Mongol subjugation.

    King Ragnvald decides to make a gesture to the Church... an offer of peace if the Pope should give up its territories in northern Italy. He knows the Pope will refuse but relations with the Church after the current Pope has passed will be important.

    The Pope rejects the offer and King Ragnvald turns his attention to more immediate concerns and the coming siege assault on Venice.

    Last edited by Ichon; May 06, 2011 at 03:19 PM.

  16. #116

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

    The situation near Rome has grown worse for Norway. Norman armies have converged and spies report 2 more large armies moving up from Sicily. The garrison in Rome will be able to make a fight of it but against these odds hope looks lost...

    Ancona has only 35 men as garrison. Barely enough to hold the gates and slow the Normans down.

    Northern Italy on the other hand appears more stable. The Pope sits near Bologna still while King Ragnvald will soon capture Venice. The Papal armies moving south from the Alps are spread out into smaller armies that Norway can defeat with relatively small cost.

    King Ragnvald orders the siege assault on Bologna to commence.

    Pecheneg archers accompany King Ragnvald and a few companies of infantry in breaking down the east gate while the main body approaches from the south.

    After repeated battles the Norwegians have discovered the Swiss Guards only weakness. Ranged fire from can wear them down over time. In a field battles in Italy when the majority of a Papal army is Swiss Guard there usually isn't time nor cover to hide Norwegian infantry in to finish the Swiss off after they are worn down so some battles have been exceptionally bloody.

    An entire company of Swiss Guard is slain by Pecheneg arrows though the Pechenegs have to be careful with the Handgunners in the central square letting off a volley whenever they venture into effective range.

    King Ragnvald orders the depleted bombard battery now manned by only 4 men with a single gun forward.

    The bombard fires off grapeshot and the approaching company of Handgunners are reduced from over 100 down to 60 before they open fire and drive the surviving bombard battery crew away and destroy the gun. The urban militia and Huskarl axemen charge the Handgunners!

    The final company of Swiss Guard charge the Huskarl axemen and hit as if they were a heavy cavalry company killing over 20 Huskarls in the charge. King Ragnvald in turn waits for the Swiss to be totally engaged and charges them in turn obliterating half the remaining Guardsmen.

    Venice is captured! The siege assault cost slightly more than King Ragnvald had hoped for but the Pope's garrison fought to the last man.

    The Huskarl axemen take heavy losses and King Ragnvald is disappointed. The first company of infantry reinforcements from the north is mangled in its first battle. The company was expected to play a key role in the eventual battle against the Pope's army.

    Genoa is defended by a decent sized garrison but if spies can open the gates the assault will go forward. Assassins are moved forward first to perform missions in the city and thus expose any hidden spies.

    The Pope has installed a network of spies in most of his cities and Norway has only managed to have spies open the gates to a city twice and lost a handful of spies to failed attempts. Experienced spies have thus become a rare commodity in this campaign with Norway only having 2 experienced spies available with several more spies making undertaking their first missions.

    The first assassin fails to kill the Pope's appointed Bishop who is really the commander of the garrison but the failure exposes a Papal spy... a 2nd assassin kills the Papal spy and allows Norwegian spies to infiltrate the city.

    Near Pisa a 3rd assassin fails to kill the Papal general of the nearby army and Prince Haakon advances to ensure the security of Pisa and prevent the army from linking up with the Pope near Bologna.

    The battle opens and Prince Haakon surrounds the advancing Papal army with his cavalry waiting for an opportunity to charge... the Papal armies commander is careful for most of the advance but eventually makes a mistake and Prince Haakon charges the Pavise crossbowmen trailing the Swiss Guards companies by only a few dozen feet. The Pope's general charges in response along with the single Halberd militia company present and drives Haakon off but not before more than half the Pavise are slain.

    Bidding his time Prince Haakon waits and the Papal commander possessed of some courage but not much intelligence decides to try and take Prince Haakon out in single combat. The Prince may by old and senile but he has decade of combat experience and the best trained mount in northern Europe. His bodyguard has kept him alive on battlefields across Europe and is rightly feared as one of the most elite companies in the world.

    The Papal commander has small chance of accomplishing much.

    He dies soon in the melee and before his bodyguard can break away only 2 men survive with only 2 of Prince Haakon's bodyguard dead and 3 wounded.

    The rest of the Prince's army has taken up positions along a small ridge ahead of the advancing Papal army. Pavise crossbowmen along the heights with infantry below.

    Halberd militia make the first attack on the Norwegian lines and Prince Haakon along with some Frankish mercenaries charge the company in the rear and totally eliminate it without a single loss.

    Prince Haakon tries the same tactic on some Swiss Guard and is forced to retreat without accomplishing nearly as much. Eventually the entire Papal army is engaged along the Norwegian lines and Prince Haakon tries again against a company of Papal Guards- this time the charge is much more successful and kills over half the Papal Guard company in a few seconds.

    More hard fighting and charges by Prince Haakon and Karl Haakonsson eventually finish the Swiss Guard companies who as always fight to the last man.

    Prince Haakon is pleased with the outcome of the battle and despite some mercenary companies suffering losses those losses are amongst the most easily replaced. Prince Haakon offers the survivors for ransom as has been his custom.

    A few days later a message arrives from King Ragnvald- "By order of the King, Ragnvald Haakonsson of Bergen, Aberdeen, and Riga, King of all Scandinavia- Haakon Hylgaard is henceforth banished from all lands and territories of Norway, its vassals, and its allies." Prince Haakon is shocked... how can this be? He has been a loyal servant and even friend of the King for most of his life and led Norway's armies to countless victories.

    Karl Haakonsson is also speechless- he had written to complain to the King that Haakon had denied his request for Haakon's daughter Cecile's hand in marriage but not expected such a strong response. An investigation is launched, it turns out an order from King Ragnvald had recently gone out ordering that all defeated enemies of Norway be put to death. It has never been the policy in the past but Ragnvald had been convinced by the War Council that a sign of strength must be shown France and Hungary while this war against the Church stretches on longer than had been foreseen.

    One of prince Karl's advisors had withheld the letter from Karl and particularly from Prince Haakon for some unknown reason. King Ragnvald has made enough exceptions lately and this most recent sign of disobedience and from someone he thought he could trust has turned the King's mood vicious. He decides that an example must be made and orders that Prince Haakon might be pardoned if he lets prince Karl marry Cecile.

    Prince Haakon's pride is stung and he refuses. His suspicions center on prince Karl who he knows has envied his position and coveted the title of Heir. The denial of Cecile's hand in marriage might have provoked Karl into arranging the situation and blaming an underling.

    Last edited by Ichon; May 07, 2011 at 02:42 PM.

  17. #117

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

    Prince Haakon decides to advance to Genoa despite King Ragnvald's decision once he receives word that the spies have managed to infiltrate the city. King Ragnvald's decision disheartens Haakon but his disdain for the Church and especially this Pope supersedes his feelings about King Ragnvald's decision.

    Spies open the gates and Prince Haakon lead his cavalry in to the central square there to await the Pope's garrison.

    Two companies of Handgunners arrive first and Prince Haakon charges but is forced to retreat when a company of Papal Guards charge up in support. The Handgunners manage to get off a solid volley against a company of Pechenegs who then retreat safely away drawing the Handgunners out from the protection of the Papal Guards. This time when Prince Haakon charges he finishes one company of Handgunners and less than a dozen survivors of the second company return to safety behind the Papal Guards.

    Prince Haakon orders both companies of Catalans forward to loose their javelins into the Swiss Guards but the second companies captain engages in with a stray Swiss Guardsman and doesn't give the order to loose... the Catalans stand idly by for long enough that a company of Papal Guards charges right for them. The Catalans finally move back and escape the Papal Guards with few losses. The charge by the Papal Guards opened the entrance to the square and Prince Haakon orders the Macemen to charge the Papal Guards while sending the Pavise crossbowmen to line the edges of the square and pepper the Swiss Guard in the center with volleys of bolts.

    A company of Papal Guards had pursued a Pecheneg company down the street off the square and the Pavise don't see them return while they are focused on loosing their next volley... the Papal Guard's charge hits hard but most of the Pavise manage to escape while Prince Haakon himself rides to their relief and a company of Mercenary spearmen also joins the fight. The central square is soon swept clean of the Pope's men and after a long fight which goes into a small orchard off the main square the last Papal Guardsmen is slain and Genoa is captured by Prince Haakon.

    Prince Haakon must preserve his mercenary army since with his banishment orders he won't reserve any reinforcements from Norway. However he is wealthy even without access to his estates in the north and the loot of Italy should allow him to pay for his army indefinitely.

    Again the Macemen and Mercenary spearmen take the heaviest casualties though the Pavise also suffer somewhat. Prince Haakon might be forced to go on a recruiting trip outside of Italy if he wants to get better units in the near future. Though his health is still good for his age, he senility is growing stronger.

    Without waiting for orders from King Ragnvald, Prince Haakon turns over Genoa to the nearby Italian nobility which had resettled in Milan. He will need friends if he plans to remain in Italy without King Ragnvald's permission. He has sworn to outlive to Pope and with the banishment order he must now attack the Pope directly if he wishes to fulfill his vow.

  18. #118

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

    Prince Haakon boards ship and sails for Corsica there to recruit new men and bring to full capacity as many of his mercenary companies as possible. His age is wearing upon him and he is eager to confront the Pope near Bologna before King Ragnvald can gather the forces and gain the victory for himself. Haakon rarely speaks poorly of King Ragnvald and when he does it is always criticism of strategic moves. However he has not responded to any letters same from his daughter and he keeps his counsel close on that matter.

    King Ragnvald regrets the necessity to banish not only an old comrade but a mentor and a powerful lord whose support has kept the kingdom together in perilous times but he must turn his hand to the current task. A Papal army sits in Genoa's lands and having just regained Genoa itself they are in no position to venture out into the field. King Ragnvald has not yet the strength to confront the Pope and his army but needs to make use of his time somehow. It is a good opportunity to invite his 2 younger sons to a battle and observe their performance. Karl Haakonsson has grown more estranged from his father lately and despite Haakon's banishment he is still the official Heir.

    The Papal army is outnumbered but contains significant numbers of Papal and Swiss Guardsmen. King Ragnvald has learned from prior battles that engaging these Guards head on in a melee fight is going to their strength and has brought enough missile companies that he hopes to win the battle with minimal losses.

    Standard tactics of envelopment of a foe with less cavalry are used and while the Papal army does have 2 companies of cavalry both are dispatched relatively easily.

    Erik and Toke Haakonsson perform well but both get careless at different times in the battle. King Ragnvald had given orders that neither engage the Swiss Guards but both get into fights at various times with contingents of Guards.

    Papal Guards are an easier target than Swiss Guards but King Ragnvald only orders a charge when such companies are well worn down.

    Two companies of Handgunners have been protected by two companies of Swiss Guards for most of the battle and are the main tactical problem King Ragnvald faces. The Handgunners have opened fire on the Norwegian infantry stationary at the top of the slope while the Norwegian cavalry dealt with the rest of the Papal army. King Ragnvald manages to charge 1 company of Handgunners which wanders a bit too far forward and is joined by the company of Feudal knights but the remaining Handgunners retreat into the protective ranks of the Swiss Guard. After repeated attempts King Ragnvald is able to lure away the Swiss Guard long enough for the remaining Handgunners to be eliminated.

    The Swiss Guards turn and advance on the Norwegian infantry who obey orders and fall back.

    The Mounted crossbowmen had been handing out of range of the Handgunners and are now free to move in. The entire Swiss component of the Papal army is dealt with at range by crossbowmen.

    The battle is won with light casualties and King Ragnvald awaits word of developments at the sieges of Ancona and Rome further south.

  19. #119

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

    The siege assault on Rome moves forward. The Rome garrison is not small but neither nearly enough to keep the city from the Normans. The garrison is ready to defend the city as long as possible. King Ragnvald has sent word that there will be no ransom possible and the garrison has already resisted the Norman siege for several months.

    The Normans decide to attack in the darker hours before dawn in an attempt to take advantage of the garrison's slumber.

    The garrison defends at the walls and rout 3 companies of the attackers but are eventually overrun in the streets below.

    The Normans advance to the central square while the fighting still rages in the streets. Finally the city surrenders while some of the garrison are still fighting.

    The garrison has cost the Normans significant casualties but in the end the loss was guaranteed without a relief army.

    The Handgunner companies do solid damage in the city streets and the defenses of the city contribute to the total of the Norman losses.

    The siege of Ancona moves forward nearly at the same time as the siege of Rome.

    The battle is less fierce than the assault on Rome but the results are little different.

    The Normans capture central Italy and move north.

    The War Council decides to send assassins to kill the Pope if possible as King Ragnvald is still mustering an army to fight the Pope's army near Bologna while The Norman Sicilians have moved north...

    The Norman armies are strong individually but even stronger when fighting together. After consolidating central Italy the Norman armies separate and move north offering opportunity for the Norwegians to attack each army in isolation.

  20. #120
    Radzeer's Avatar Rogue Bodemloze
    Moderator Emeritus Content Emeritus Administrator Emeritus

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    Aug 2010

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

    Very nice! Great job with the battles (the drawbacks against Sicily seemed unavoidable), and I really liked how you wrote up the banishment.
    A 1000 florins for the pope's life does make the council a bit cheap though.

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