Part 39: Venice Part 2: Holding On (1440-1515)Venice Part 2: Holding On (1440-1515)
Venice's vassal state of Ragusa comes under attack by the the Ottomans. Bavaria quickly comes to Venice's aid. Unfortunately though, Austria responds to the call to arms by breaking their military alliance and then withdrawing from the Venetian Trade League.
The Ottomans invade with more troops than the Venetians can handle, and they still have enough men in reserve to continue their assaults on Ragusa.
A portion of the Ottoman invasion force is pushed back by a combined Venetian and Bavarian assault at the cost of nearly 5000 allied troops. The defeated enemy army pulls back to Croatia where another large Ottoman army waits in reserve. This makes pursuit out of the question.
The Ottomans continue to make their advance through Venetian territory. Even with Bavaria's good faith effort, it seems impossible to drive the Ottomans back. By this point, Venice's manpower is nearly depleted from repeated skirmishing.
As luck would have it, Austria declares war on the Ottomans for their own purposes. The remaining Ottoman presence in Venice is slowly dwindled down and then wiped out at Istria.
The battered Venetian army retakes Krain and then moves to Istria to drive off the remains of the Ottoman occupation. Austria's invasion absorbs all of the Ottomans' attention and gives Venice a chance to regroup.
The Ottomans are quick to accept a simple white peace with the new Austrian threat on their doorstep. Soon after, Austria makes peace with the Ottomans as well and forces them to release some of their smaller component states in the Balkans as free nations. Following the war, Austria cancels all military access treaties with Venice. Its clear by this point that Austria has a hostile intent towards our nation.
A few years later, our more recent ally of Burgundy goes to war against Austria and requests Venice's aid. Knowing full well that Austria has its eyes on Northern Italy, the Doge is eager to take advantage of this opportunity to weaken them.
Bavarian and Venetian troops are the first to arrive. Austria is taken by surprise by the ferocity of the attack and they quickly sue for peace with Bavaria, releasing Tirol as a free state to appease them.
Burgundian and Milanese troops arrive next, and fight the Austrians along with the already present Venetian forces. The result of this combined assault is a further reduction in Austrian territory. Burgundy negotiates the release of Salzburg and Croatia as free states.
Serbia now splits Ottoman controlled Croatian and Bosnian territory off from their core territory. In 1463, Bavaria launches an attack on the isolated Ottoman territory and calls Venice to its aid. The invasion proceeds with great success as the Ottomans are unable to easily deliver reinforcements to the cut-off provinces.
Austria is out for vengeance. They launch an attack on Venice while the main Venetian forces are occupied with the siege of Bosnia.
Austria is capable of fielding a massive force against us. The vast armies of Poland aid the Austrians, as well as the Imperial state of Cologne. Switzerland and Tirol come to the aid of Bavaria in our defense. The Venetian countryside is swamped in fighting between several nations.
The tide begins to turn as Burgundian forces arrive to aid the Venetians. Help also comes unexpectedly from Zaragoza and Seville. They have no love for us, but Austria has managed to offend them to the point that they're willing to land troops on our shores to break the Austrian occupation of Venetian cities.
Even with all of this assistance, the armies of Poland are just too big to contend with and we give into their demands to remove them from the war. A large sum of ducats is given as tribute, and Venice agrees to reduce the extent of its influence over Greece.
With their Polish allies returning home, the Austrian occupation is undone by Venice and their allies. The weary parties on both sides agree to a white peace in 1465.
The following decade is one of peace and growth. Venice concentrates on military infrastructure and technology during this time. The standing army is increased in size by around 50% as well. The combination of more modern infantry, a larger manpower pool to increase staying power, and a larger standing military makes Venice a much more formidable force than it was just over 10 years ago. In 1477, Burgundy enters into another war with Austria and Venice is once again called to arms. This time, Austria doesn't have the might of Poland behind them.
Venice, Burgundy, Bavaria, Milan, and Hungary all descend on Austria at once and strike the nation with a great force. The victory is nearly instant.
Venice is the first to demand terms, and the release of Styria as a free state is a top priority for the Doge. This reduces the border Venice shares with Austria to a single choke point and deprives Austria of a noticeable amount of manpower and income.
The Doge finds himself in a complex situation in 1480. Burgundy requests our aid against a distant enemy and would require us to wage war on our ally of Bavaria. Bavaria simultaneously requests our aid in battle against a small Bavarian state that they are attempting to directly into their territory. Bavaria, however, doesn't request our aid against Burgundy. The Doge accepts the Bavarian request for assistance. Being in a war on the side of the Bavaria allows us to ignore the Burgundian request without incident - it goes without saying that we can't declare war on someone who we are currently allied in a war with.
As Bavaria and Burgundy struggle to increase their power, the Ottomans struggle to maintain what they have. The nation is wracked by a civil war.
Venice fulfills their alliance with Bavaria and the conquest of Ansbach concludes. Burgundy's war against Bavaria continues, and the majority of the battles between the two nations occur right next to us in the Swiss Alps. The war between the two great powers comes to an end with a white peace once they grow weary of dying in the mountains.
After this conflict, Venice benefits from another period of peace, trade, and development. Once again, this peace is interrupted by Burgundy who in 1510 request our aid against Poland. Poland has continued to grow stronger and larger over the years. The Venetians recall the vastness of the Polish armies from their invasion a generation ago, and agree to aid the Burgundian invasion if only to return some balance to northern Europe. Burgundy lands their armies on the Crimean Peninsula and invades from the south, while the Venetian forces arrange for military access through the Empire and invade from the west in Polish controlled Brandenburg.
The Venetian army displays great success on the western front. Venice's army is on the cutting edge of military tactics and equipment by this point. The Polish armies are a bit behind the times, although much larger. Some Polish forces attempt to fight the Venetian occupiers back, but are forced to retreat.
Burgundy ends the war with Poland suddenly without asking for much at all. The Doge is somewhat irritated this, as the Venetian army was on the verge of taking the Polish capital. He was hoping to sign a peace that would add Poland to the Venetian Trade League.
Europe in 1515
Poland, Bohemia, and Hungary all grow large in the east. Burgundy, Champagne, and Bavaria all dominate the battlefield in the west. Venice finds itself drawn into the conflicts of other countries on a regular basis. The Ottomans are nearly completely occupied by Seville, and its uncertain what this means for their future.
Denmark has completely conquered the northern Pagans. Sweden and Norway have been gone for some time. Scotland currently holds a portion of Norway, but it is likely that Denmark will form Scandinavia in the near future and gain cores on those territories if they don't have them already.
The Mamluks have dominated North Africa for centuries, but a recent succession crisis is causing more fracturing of their territory than they've seen in a long time.
Zaragoza and Seville maintain dominion over the Iberian peninsula.
Venice remains mostly Catholic, but Protestant heresy has been on the rise in the eastern provinces.
Europe as a whole has a strong and growing Protestant following, however. The Reformed faith is still a relative newcomer and it is hard to say how it will develop. Burgundy's recent conversion to Protestantism has nullified all its treaties with Venice. They will need to be renewed if we want to continue our relationship with them.
The Venetian Trade League is doing as well as it can, but the Hanseatic League has a clear advantage with large nations like Poland, Bohemia, and Hungary as members.
The election of a new Doge is imminent, and this time the thread will act as Venice's voting council. I'll make a followup post with the available options and the policies that each candidate will follow shortly.