Sunday, November 21, 2004

1328 - 1331 Update

If any have been reading these posts with any regularity, we apologise for the long delay. Life has been too busy to do anything but survive recently.

Jerusalem annexed, Angora given to Hungary, attempted retreat from Eastern Anatolia. My forces here were eliminated in Nicea in 1329 as they staged their retreat. Their passing was not in vain, however, as they forced distraction upon the Byzantine and delayed his plans in my region. In 1328 and 1329 we mounted suicidal raids into Iconium and Tarsus, on the chance that the Emporer would march against us with his main Eastern army. He did not, and hence the raiders died also.

The main battles through the early part of this period, therefore, occurred in central Anatolia. The Emporer used a combination of marines landed in Miletus and recruitment from Tarsus to beat me back. I wonder if he realises the whole episode was a covering action?

These maneuvers allowed three things.

One, I had time to further round up allies to my cause. This allowed Hungary to land in and recruit from Angora. This had its sequel in the second phase of the period. The Horde was able to send me 10 gold, allowing me to build slightly quicker for the second phase than the Byzantine would have suspected. The Venetian, seeing the struggle continue, was able to justify to himself the gathering of an intervention capacity (strong navy).

Two, it gave me time to reorganise my scattered forces. My realm is just large enough that troops can't march from one end to the other in one season. The time was vital for preparing the following phase.

Three, it cut down the Byzantine's income source and took away his freedom of action. He was suffering similar problems in the Balkans, and thus his recruitment and deployment programs were set back massively. He had to take time out to retake the territories (As of 1331 he still hasn't achieved this in the West). With a shaky income, and the dispersal of his forces to reconquer his lands, he lost the initiative.

In the second phase of the period, leading to the present (1332), we reconquored Iconium with the large force we had recruited in Edessa, combined with horsed reinforcements from our South. These later were sent there initially to defend against naval invasion while the Byzantine fleet remained a threat, and were freed up by a combination of increasing income allowing recruitment in Jerusalem, and the arrival of the Venetian fleet in the Aegean. This occurred in 1330.

At that time also, the Hungarian retook Nicea with an army he had landed in Angora and the Venetian sunk the Byzantine's mediteranean fleet. The last of his Balkan territories fell to the Hungarian, who had meanwhile given all his Northern border territories to either Venice or the Horde. The Mamluke, somewhat mysteriously, gave me the province of Syria this season. Admittedly, he is our ally, but even then ...

In 1331, a thousand blessings descended upon our Sultanate and we reconquored Tarsus! Hungary expanded and took Bythnia and Smyrna. The Byzantine voluntarily withdrew from Tarsus in Miletus. Thus, he now only controls Byzantium and Miletus. He has a large army in the first, a medium sized army in the second. In the table of rankings he is in the middle (when he once was top), and I am above him!

On the broader front, Poland, England and Bavaria are about to declare war on the Horde, who had prosecuted an unsuccessful war against Lithuania. Poland will also then be able to take a province to open up a route to the balkans, and thus for aid to be sent to the Byzantine. Things look grim for the Horde. His only hope is to use his mobility and receive a bit of luck.

Castile has entered alliance with us, and is sending over a small-medium army by sea. They won't arrive here for a turn or two yet. His motives are unclear, but we have more immediate threats to worry about. Hungary and the Horde are both crying out for assistance, which we cannot spare. Horribly, therefore, we are concentrating upon consolidating our realm before we again are forced to defend ourselves. We think we have two seasons before we face the wrath of a rejuventated Byzantium, this time without any nearby generous allies!