Part 15: War for the French Crown 1250 - 1253
Pope Julius the Dwarf sanctions our invasion. With the blessing of the church behind us, we declare war against the French King and prepare our armies.
Fingen's second son comes of age in 1250 before the invasion forces depart. He is an extremely talented and likable individual with a variety of good traits. It's rumored that once, while traveling through a countryside town, an old ragged mystic woman approached him and offered to speak his fortune by reading his beard, but when her fingers touched its curly surface, she recoiled in shock and with wide eyes exclaimed something about an 'omega beard'. It probably wasn't important, I don't know.
As the call goes out for war, our vassals all begin to gather their forces.
Three armies prepare for transport across the channel to Normandy.
Upon arrival, the forces divide themselves into more manageable numbers. We don't want our armies to be so large that we suffer attrition.
Once all of our forces arrive, they are partitioned into 4 armies of approximately 15,000 men each.
Some of our skilled commanders maneuver to force a field battle with the French forces early in the war, while our other armies siege the holdings of Normandy.
Once the large French force is reduced in number to a less threatening size, our forces return to putting pressure on French holdings.
When ever the French army launches an attack against one of our forces, we simply have to send reinforcements from one of our other nearby units. Keeping all of our armies close to one another helps with this.
Continual victories in field battles and in siege warfare take their toll on the French King's resolve.
Sad news reaches us in 1252. King Fingen's first son, Colman dies while suffering from a bout of pneumonia. Our new designated heir is our son Colman's eldest son who has not yet come of age: Colman MacColman.
Our court chaplain is swayed by the Lollard heresy and attempts to convert us to follow in his footsteps.
However, it turns out that we are the one who ends up converting him.
As the whole of Normandy falls to our control, France is beaten badly enough to force its King to accept our terms. I don't end the war quite yet though. I remember something that I didn't take advantage of during our sanctioned invasion of Norway. Any county which we occupy during an invasion will be placed directly into our demesne upon the success of the war. If I stop with just Normandy under our control, we'll take all of Normandy. If we take more counties, we'll receive those too. I don't want to press my luck, but I aim for the de jure counties of the Duchy of Valois as well, which includes the county of Paris.
Once they are firmly in our control, we demand the French King's surrender and he accepts. He is reduced to the rank of a Duke and moves his court to Galicia on the Iberian peninsula.
The payoff for our invasion.
The direct vassals map mode shows which counties are directly in our hands. This area represents all of the de jure counties for the duchies of Normandy and Valois. To give some idea of how powerful this area is, our two primary duchies of Munster and Meath have the potential for 21 holdings, of which 8 of them are currently castles in our control. The Duchies of Normandy and Valois currently consist of 13 castles which are now under our control, and have the potential for about 34 total holdings. Paris alone has 4 castles.
Now we must decide what to do. In any case, we must hold onto our French holdings at least for a while until they lose their 'recently conquered' county modifiers. If we simply hand over France to a family member and cut it off right now, they won't be able to call up any troops to their defense with those modifiers. There are ultimately two choices here, attempt to hold the lands of France as part of Ireland, or release France as its own kingdom under the control of a member of our dynasty.
If we're going to hold onto France for ourselves, do we move our court and make Paris our capital and hold these two new powerful duchies as our new personal demesne? In this case, our old capital and duchies would be given to another member of the family. If we remain in Dublin and give the new French lands to a family member, we'll have a powerful duke who could be a problem if he rebels.
Likewise, if we hand France away to a family member, we actually have a couple of other options here. We could give France to our surviving son, Prince Loeguire 'Omegabeard' Ua Briain, or we could hand it off to a distant relative. Our second son would have a claim he could press against our lands, but Loeguire is extremely skilled and would have a better chance of holding Ua Briain France together. Handing the kingdom off to a more distant relative would prevent the potential of a claim being pressed against our other titles, but it somehow seems less appropriate. There's also always the option of granting France to Loeguire and then reloading the save to play as him and allowing Ireland to continue as an AI for a while. I'm not sure how keen I am on that idea, but I wanted to point out that its a possibility and it can prove to be fun sometimes.
I think my preference would be to hand France off so that we don't have to deal with all of its internal problems ourselves. Its a shame that we can't form an empire until the next patch - then we could still hand France and all of its internal problems off to a King of our dynasty yet still have him as a vassal.