Saturday, October 09, 2004

1325 - My response

The main aims in the coming season are to increase my income, preserve my armed force, weaken the Byzantine both militarily and psychologically, encourage and facilitate international support for my cause.

My Miletian raiding force will seize Smyrna, slightly less than even odds if Emporer rides with against it. My swordsmen and some horse archers from Ankara will seize Nicea. Both of these provinces will be pillaged, which will be a significant source of income. More importantly, their capture will start to make a dent in the Emporer's treasury and affect him psychologically.

The remaining cavalry in Ankara will ride to Trezibond, there to meet up with a large force of horses and Saracen Guard from Edessa. The purpose here is to crush any amphibious landing. The troops then disperse, with a core defense force returning to Edessa, the remainder riding first to Ankara before returning to the Capital. The point of these maneuvers is that the phase of the amphibious invasion is likely to be the first, in which case we will repel it. The first phase which massed cavalry can attack Ankara or Edessa is the second phase, and these possibilities are protected against. He can frustrate our coastal defense by landing in a later phase. He can frustrate our defensive measures by not attacking my provinces this turn and instead taking Armenia. At worst, these maneuvers will leave us with a strong force in Edessa, able to strike Jerusalem next season, and a moderate cavalry force in Nicea which can interfere with events by either strengthening Smyrna or taking Angora, and of causing Byzantine headaches generally!

The horse unit in Trebizond will stand the first phase, then head off through Ankara and invade Iconium on its own. This is probably a suicide mission, but might seize the province by coup de main if, for some reason, it is left unoccupied by the Byzantine. Worth a gamble.

A Guard detachment will march to Antioch, acting both as a pillaging resource, coastal defence, and available to support potential cavalry strike from Edessa to Jerusalem next season. The seige machine, alread in Antioch, remains poised to similar effect.

The two remaining guards and the skirmishers march from Edessa to Trebizond in the first phase. The skirmishers remain to pillage the province, and will be written off if the Byzantine attacks on a phase other than the first. One of the Guards then marches to Ankara, and the other returns to Edessa. Thus, there is a basic screen of Guard units able to concentrate or reinforce as needed next season.

The fleet remains in the Eastern Mediteranean, with no other options. There is a slighltly more powerful Byzantine fleet in the Gulf of Malta, so we have placed our merchant ships in front of the War galleons to enable them to cause maximum damage to any marines heading their way.

We have very limited recruitment, a Guard and a skirmisher unit in Edessa.

Diplomatically, alliance is offered to Sicily and the Teutonic Order, war continues against Byzantium. Hungary is getting very edgy about the Byzantine, who is begining to devote resources in that direction. Afterall, the fleet in the black sea could as easily land in Wallachia as Trebizond.

At worst, we will have intact army in Edessa and large harrassment forces on the Peninsula. Our fleet will have removed most of the threat posed by his. He can conceivably have large armies in Trebizond and Armenia. The road through Antioch would then be our only real option. In other words, there is hope.

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