Part 19: Austria Part 2: 1412-1441Austria Part 2: 1412-1441
The death of Albrecht IV landed us with a Regency Council for 3 years. This gave us time to strengthen diplomatic ties with electors and neighbors, as well as maintain our cultural tradition to cultivate some replacement advisors.
Albrecht V comes of age in 1412 and we immediately gain a 13 year old heir, Ferdinand, whom I presume is Albrecht's younger brother. As it turns out, Ferdinand has slightly better attributes than his older brother. This means that we're going to convert our king into a general, since an early death wouldn't necessarily be the worst thing. He actually turns out to be a quite talented general with 4 shock and 3 maneuver.
By the time Albrecht V takes the throne, opinion has shifted a bit among the electors and the vote is somewhat split between Bohemia and Austria now. With the loss of Brandenburg as an elector after our inheritance, there needed to be a replacement. As luck would have it, Austria was appointed an elector and naturally we are voting for ourselves. Mainz and Saxony also give us their votes. Whichever country has the highest number of votes will have their ruler crowned Emperor once the current sitting emperor dies.
Here are our advisors. The master of the mint is an advisor I'm usually never without until the very late game, so that choice is no surprise. The six star Diplomat is helping us reduce our infamy as quickly as possible. Since the votes of electors are based greatly on infamy, its in our best interest to reduce it as quickly as possible. Our Army Reformer advisor is here to help us keep our Land Tech up with the rest of Europe. Austria has a strong tax base and some valuable gold income, but with all of the infamy that we're going to be accumulating and our largely mercantile start, we're going to be falling behind in tech. Our merchants simply won't be able to compete in that kind of environment. With all of that trade income forfeit, we can't hope to keep up with every tech, so I'm focusing all of our research and hiring an advisor to at least keep our Land Tech equal. The other technologies will increase on their own at a slower rate due neighbor bonuses as other western nations get ahead of us.
Military Drill is taken as our first idea. We're going to need to be the kings of the battlefield in Central Europe. Not just for conquest, but also to defend our imperial member states once we become emperor.
One of the things I wanted to do at the outset of this game was to create some historically similar borders for a greater Austria. This means expanding into Hungary. We don't have a casus belli, but I'm just going to eat the infamy and stability hits for declaring war without one. Normally I wouldn't do this, but if I wait for the perfect opportunity, Hungary may get poached by Bohemia or some other power.
The armies of Austria and its vassals make their way through Hungary. Albrecht V leads the charge and absolutely crushes the Hungarian armies with his superior shock value. By the time the Hungarian armies are mostly defeated, we're able to send one of our large armies back to Vienna to minimize our attrition and siege the remaining unoccupied territories with smaller forces split off from our primary army.
Hungary's ally Transylvania falls first. They are forced to become our vassal. Other nations that joined the war through alliance chains such as Brittany and Aragon are also removed from the war by offering them a white peace or a few ducats.
Once Hungary is fully occupied and isolated of any allies in war, we demand harsh terms and seize several provinces from them at the cost of a ton of infamy. None of these provinces are imperial territory though, so we aren't going to suffer from the unlawful territory penalties. With our infamy reduction rate where it is, it should take 16 or 17 years to burn this 20 infamy off. Less than that if Albrecht were to pass away and Ferdinand take over with his superior diplomatic skill.
Our new territory along with our vassal of Transylvania place the remainder of Hungary inside of some jaws that are going to chomp down on it once our infamy recovers. This also insulates Hungary from the Ottomans and Bohemia, a couple potential rivals for their land.
The electors have reacted badly to our invasion of Hungary. Our high infamy makes them nervous and they all throw their votes behind Bohemia once again.
We need to refrain from producing any more large amounts of infamy for a few decades now. This doesn't necessarily mean we need to remain at peace, though. We still have our mission to attempt the subjugation of Burgundy. Even if we can't pull off a forced vassalization, we can certainly force them to release some of their conquered territory as free nations. The emperor of the HRE gets bonuses that are based on the number of nations in the HRE, so it will be in our best interest in the future to have these large blobs within the HRE to be broken up into smaller collections of free states. Plus, large HRE nations are less likely to vote for imperial reforms that you propose.
Bohemia rushes to the defense of their ally, but they are currently involved in a war with the Teutonic Order and all of their armies are away from home.
We bum rush their territory and occupy all of it while their main forces are away. We dare not take any of their land and end up with unlawful territory with this much infamy already, so instead we simply force them to release the small state of Silesia and make peace.
We have military access with Switzerland and Burgundy doesn't. This means we can stage an attack from there without fear of being attacked. Our troops are split up into smaller stacks to prevent losses from attrition. Even with military access, these Swiss provinces just can't support our large armies. We engage in a staring contest with Burgundy across the border for a few months, and I'm kind of unsure of what to do. They have 44,000 troops on their side, and we have 48,000 on ours. I was hoping for a better numerical advantage than that.
England may be able to help us. I begin sending some diplomats to strengthen relations with them. Royal marriages are arranged between the Habsburgs and the Lancasters. Military access is traded, and gifts are given as well. Our troops remain in place right across the border from Burgundy for months while this is all taking place.
Even with our relations as strong as possible, England is somewhat wary to enter an Alliance with us. Unlikely doesn't mean impossible, though. We just keep hammering them with the offer, and after a few tries they accept.
As soon as the alliance is in place, we request England's aid in the war and they agree to provide assistance.
In a response to the new threat, Burgundy sends a third of their army to siege Calais. This leaves them with around 29,000 troops in the south versus our 48,000. Another development in the mean time is that we reached a new level of Land Tech and now have longbowmen, while the Burgundians still have older units.
Austrian troops pour across the border to rescue our territory of Sundgau. The Burgundian troops collapse under the combined pressure of more advanced unit times and the leadership of the talented general-king Albrecht V. They are chased down an annihilated after this initial victory. Afterwards, our troops have free reign to occupy all of southern Burgundy.
As we continue to occupy territory up into their northern lands, I realize that it may be possible after all to force their vassalization. The war is going so poorly for them and so well for us that some of their provinces aren't even willing to wait for the peace settlement to flip to our control. Holding Luxemburg means holding unlawful territory, but we can simply release them as a free state immediately after the war. This province defection event is something that can occur when an occupied province is owned by a nation that doesn't share its culture, and when you as the occupier have less than 3 war exhaustion and your opponent has greater than 15.
Province defections continue to plague Burgundy. Vlaanderen and Liege flip to our control. Hainaut defects to France, Picardie to England, and Brabant to Holland. Each time a province abandons Burgundy, the total warscore cost for full vassalization gets chipped away further. On top of this, the war has been goin on for so long that the war score cost for demands against them is naturally decreasing anyway.
Ghent defects to us, and then Namur follows its lead a couple months later.
At this point, the warscore cost has finally fallen below 100%. Burgundy can be made our vassal in the west.
The war lasted for 16 years, but the rewards were great. We have a powerful new vassal in Burgundy and some other new territories which we need to decide what to do with.
Liege, Namur, and Luxemburg are all imperial territories that we don't have cores on. Each one gives a .25 infamy hit per month. We can't afford that, and a furious Bohemia would probably demand for us to turn them over anyway.
Instead, we can release them as vassals ourselves from our government overview tab. Luxemburg and Liege will be released with their appropriate territories. We will no longer suffer the unlawfully held territory penalty, but they still remain under our control as vassal states. Vlaanderen and Ghent are not official HRE territores and thus I'm going to hold onto them until they core.
You may remember that Hainaut defected to France during the war with Burgundy. Hainaut is an imperial province, but France is not a member of the HRE. When a non-HRE nation holds an imperial province, any HRE member state can instantly gain a core on that province by retrieving it for the empire. Immediately after the war with Burgundy, we fought a short war against France to claim Hainaut as well as some other Burgundian provinces which are put under the control of our vassal. We also somehow get drawn into a war with the newly formed Netherlands and seize the province of Brabant from them. Brabant is returned to Burgundy as well. We keep Hainaut for ourselves since we gained a core on it for returning it to the empire.
Austria now consists of our core central provinces, Brandenburg to the north, Sundgau in the west, and Vlaanderen, Ghent, and Hainaut in the northwest.
After the wars with Burgundy and France, I look around Europe to see what else has been going on. Granada somehow managed revolt and seize the entirety of Castille. I sent diplomats right away to arrange a marriage between our families, because that's just what we do.
Albrecht V passes away and Ferdinand ascends to the throne. The throne of Sicily is inherited, but I have no interest or capability to defend an overseas territory.
Instead, we just immediately re-release them as a vassal state.
Ferdinand gains a mission to vassalize the small imperial city of Ulm. He also has the capability to enact this decision: Habsburg Dominance. This decision is supposed to represent the Austrian Habsburg's web of marriages all over Europe, I think. This decision gives us +3 modified diplomacy score permanently, which is pretty fantastic. It's like having 3 more spheres of influence for free.
Ferdinand's heir is fantastic, which means that Ferdinand will follow his elder brother's footsteps and become a general.
And much like his brother, he's a fantastic general. The enforced vassalization of Ulm will be the first act of his reign. We may also put his military skills to use by finishing our conquest of Hungary. Our accumulated army tradition from the Burgundian and French wars is used to hire another couple talent generals as well. Our armies should have good leadership for several years to come.
Our increasing number of spheres of influence along with our Habsburg Dominance is beginning to significantly influence the minds of the electors. It is practically certain that we'll become the Emperor after the death of the next Bohemian king.