An Age of Miracles Continues: The Empire of Rhomania


I am giving Ibrahim/Blucher a pass on the supplies because they are in hostile territory and it is very hard to keep a large army supplied in hostile territory before the invention of railroads, cars, and planes. Sooner or later Rome is going to have to go on the offensive in Europe to end this Latin threat once and for all. (In the East I can see D3 and his high command satisfied with a status quo ante bellum with the exception of the return of the Mashhadshar fortresses to Roman control). Once that happens the Romans will have supply issues when they are campaigning in Latin lands - that's just how things worked back then. I'm not going to rip a leader for not having railroads or motor transport to bring supplies from depots to the front no matter who that leader is or what side he's on.

I focus on First Ruse for a few reasons. It was important enough to get mentioned by the author (Checkov's gun and all that) and it showed that Roman training was at the time lacking. I think some of the tourma involved in the battle hadn't even trained with live D3 muskets before marching. Now, credit to Michael Lascaris for realizing that his men were under-trained and trying to fix that after the battle, but it doesn't discount the fact that the army wasn't up to snuff.

Finally, I focus on that skirmish because of the Archbishop himself. Rome doesn't have anyone like him in the Danube theater - a subordinate leader who can do for Lascaris what the Archbishop did for Blucher. There have been no subordinates shown on the Roman side in either the Danube or Syrian theaters (with the possible exception of our old friend Gabras) who are on the level of the subordinate commanders on the Allied/Ottoman side.

Rome is going to win this war and they are going to win it in large part because of Demetrios III's economic and military reforms. His administrative brilliance should not go unsaid. He's pretty much the first "modern" leader of a Great Power ITTL. My respect for him grows more and more with each update - the guy should go down as one of the most important Emperors in ERE history.

However, his job would be much easier if he had more capable generals leading his armies.
 
I am giving Ibrahim/Blucher a pass on the supplies because they are in hostile territory and it is very hard to keep a large army supplied in hostile territory before the invention of railroads, cars, and planes. Sooner or later Rome is going to have to go on the offensive in Europe to end this Latin threat once and for all. (In the East I can see D3 and his high command satisfied with a status quo ante bellum with the exception of the return of the Mashhadshar fortresses to Roman control). Once that happens the Romans will have supply issues when they are campaigning in Latin lands - that's just how things worked back then. I'm not going to rip a leader for not having railroads or motor transport to bring supplies from depots to the front no matter who that leader is or what side he's on.

I focus on First Ruse for a few reasons. It was important enough to get mentioned by the author (Checkov's gun and all that) and it showed that Roman training was at the time lacking. I think some of the tourma involved in the battle hadn't even trained with live D3 muskets before marching. Now, credit to Michael Lascaris for realizing that his men were under-trained and trying to fix that after the battle, but it doesn't discount the fact that the army wasn't up to snuff.

Finally, I focus on that skirmish because of the Archbishop himself. Rome doesn't have anyone like him in the Danube theater - a subordinate leader who can do for Lascaris what the Archbishop did for Blucher. There have been no subordinates shown on the Roman side in either the Danube or Syrian theaters (with the possible exception of our old friend Gabras) who are on the level of the subordinate commanders on the Allied/Ottoman side.

Rome is going to win this war and they are going to win it in large part because of Demetrios III's economic and military reforms. His administrative brilliance should not go unsaid. He's pretty much the first "modern" leader of a Great Power ITTL. My respect for him grows more and more with each update - the guy should go down as one of the most important Emperors in ERE history.

However, his job would be much easier if he had more capable generals leading his armies.
Well even with railroads and planes and other modern technologies it's difficult to supply armies in enemy territory, afterall it takes a few explosives to fuck up a railroad Bridge and a few AA guns or missiles to bring down an aeroplane
 
I didn't want to overlook another detail from the last update: the Ottoman siegemaster was specifically sent to an estate that already has a history of hosting eventual Ottoman defectors. Vauban's impact would be considerably blunted by an equally talented artillery-train on the Roman side, and fighting "Crusaders" might sweeten the deal.
 
I am giving Ibrahim/Blucher a pass on the supplies because they are in hostile territory and it is very hard to keep a large army supplied in hostile territory before the invention of railroads, cars, and planes. Sooner or later Rome is going to have to go on the offensive in Europe to end this Latin threat once and for all. (In the East I can see D3 and his high command satisfied with a status quo ante bellum with the exception of the return of the Mashhadshar fortresses to Roman control). Once that happens the Romans will have supply issues when they are campaigning in Latin lands - that's just how things worked back then. I'm not going to rip a leader for not having railroads or motor transport to bring supplies from depots to the front no matter who that leader is or what side he's on.

But this is quite literally the most important job of a theatre commander. You say it is just the time period but that makes it even more inexcusable because than they were advancing KNOWING they wouldn't be able to supply their army. At that point they should have gone with a smaller army or broken it up into columns or fallen back to a position where they could bring forward sufficient supplies. To say a theatre commander is brilliant aside from securing his supplies is like saying a pilot is great aside from those pesky landings or a ship captain is awesome except he doesn't know how to navigate. Securing supplies and having an army commensurate with the supplies that can be brought forward is such a fundamental part of being a commander that the inability to do so is completely unacceptable.

You seem to be rating generals based solely on their tactical acumen. In that case yes Blucher/Ibrahim are better than the Laskaris brothers (cousins?) and if all of these people were in charge of a division it would be a fair point. But they are all commanders of armies and they have two jobs. One is commanding the armies in battle, the second and far more important job is making sure that those same armies do not disintegrate due to defeat/supply/desertion/etc. The Laskaris brothers (cousins?) have done both their jobs. Blucher/Ibrahim have only done the first. Hence both Roman generals are the superior theatre commanders whatever the results of any individual battle.

As for superior subordinates I'll say this. Roman army once you get into the War School is strictly meritocratic and everyone has to work their way up. The Ottomans and Germans and Poles all give high ranking nobles automatic high commands. It leads to brilliance more often than not because they get to practice being a general from the time they are 16. Of course Andreas Niketas was the last great Roman Warlord...He was pretty much the last one who got to become general at 16. Do you think Bone-Breaker was ever anything but the leader of his armies. Do you think Casimir has ever done anything but lead the Polish calvary. Do you think Sinan Pasha and Turgut Reis were anything other than commanders for the last 25years. The Roman army has given up the chance for super subordinates with their army reforms. The flip side is that they have given themselves a far more robust army overall that is not reliant on amazing personalities. If Ibrahim dies his army disintegrates..no question. If Blucher dies his army disintegrates. If Casimir or Bone Breaker die their armies go home. If one of the Laskaris brother die...their subordinate is promoted. If a Roman army is defeated and routed...it falls back to a pre-arranged supply base, reforms itself and comes right back without further direction from above (as happened the first time the Romans fought Iskander)

This war needs to be understood in a different fashion than merely nation states fighting. It is in fact one proto-nation state fighting late stage warlord empires. The hidden strength of Rome and one that has not been mentioned is that D3 DOES NOT HAVE TO ACCOMPANY HIS ARMIES...he gets to stay in Constantinople and do what he does best and what an emperor should do...administrate. Meanwhile Theodore and Casimir and Ibrahim all have to be physically present with their armies which means they cannot do the administration that needs to be done. Which means that their nations finances are a shambles and their supply situation has gone to hell.
 

We're at an impasse with the supply situation and how much of it falls on the general in charge when he's off in enemy land. I'm more lenient about the realities of the era, you are less so. That's ok! Not everyone agrees on everything.

I'm not ranking generals solely on tactical acumen but yes, that's a big part of my ranking because that's something a general has far more direct control over than a 17th Century supply train. Your mileage may vary of course.

I think the Lascaris leaders are cousins. Bone-breaker is the Archbishop of Cologne so he's clearly doing something other than being a general all day. Casimir is the king of Poland so same story for him. No idea about Pasha/Reis but I'm sure that you are right - they're full-time soldiers. Begs the question why Rome's enemies have full-time professional soldiers and Rome has disgraced former generals and cowardly retirees facing them. Something is clearly broken in the School of War if Gabras not only gets a second chance after the failures at Nineveh instead of being castrated and sent to a monastery in the Crimea, but then turns out to be pretty good in comparison to some of the other less-than-stellar subordinates Rome has available, but I suppose we'll wait and see if any reforms happen after this war ends.

Great point re: D3. I tried to make the same point above but you did a far better job of it.
 

My point about all of them is that when they are in war they have all been doing the same job for years and years by this point. Casimir and Bone-Breaker have only ever lead their soldiers. Of course they are effective by this point both have been "in command" of these formations for years and years. They know and trust their soldiers to a degree that you don't get in early modern armies vs warlord states. Pasha/Reis haven't just been full time soldiers for decades they've been full time COMMANDERS for decades.

A Roman graduates from the School of War and it takes 20years before they reach the level that Blucher/Pasha/Reis/Casimir/Bone-breaker would be given as soon as they came of age. Rome has made the unconscious choice that a more robust and deeper officer corps is more important than the occasional brilliance. And lets be clear in a combined army of about 180,000 we are discussing the merits of 5. So the Allies/Ottomans have 5 great leaders that their armies rely on. It is lucky on their part that none have died. If/when one does that part of the army becomes nothing. The Romans had a cowardly retiree in an out of the way command....who got hung and than his old formation was right back in the fight. If Blucher/Pasha/Reis/Casimir/BB have the same thing happen their armies disintegrate. So which genuinely would you rather have...100 officers..70average, 15bad, 14good, 1 amazing but if your amazing officer dies or is incapacitated the army routs...or 100 officers, 80 average, 5bad, 15good..every time an officer dies the next in line just shows up and does the new job.

I give a lot of thought to supply issues because its the single most important thing. Blucher was an idiot who relied on a river for 90% of his supply line without also securing the north bank of said river from a hostile force and also didn't build enough ships to secure the river. This is not smart and it absolutely should count as a very large mark against his competence. A division commander gets to march and fight. A theatre commander, even in this area, needs to secure his supply lines. Blucher ignored this vital task and has paid for it.

Ibrahims folly is even worse. At least Bluchers mistake was not apparent until a very flashy collapse of it. Ibrahim knew where his supplies came from and knew the Romans were besieging the areas that relied on it. Rather than retreat and reform with secure supply lines or make peace he allowed pride to cloud his judgement. It took the Romans MONTHS to secure all this territory and in that time Ibrahim never tried to stop them. This isn't "disease has wiped out the camel train" type of lack of supplies. This is the Romans with a great big sign saying "hey we are cutting your supplies" and Ibrahim deciding it was a perfect time for a high risk plan to possibly maybe cut some of the lines to the Roman armies in Syria and hope they can't make new ones despite complete naval supremacy. Now here we are literally months after the Romans started cutting his lines and somehow Ibrahim is sitting in the middle of Roman territory with almost all his lines cut and nothing of consequence to bargain with. 4 months ago he could have done staus quo antebellum minus 2 forts...now the Romans have those forts plus Raqqa and unlike apparently every other 17th century commander the Romans are perfectly aware of how screwed his army is without his supplies.

Neither of these are fog of war god wills it issues. In both cases Blucher/Ibrahim were so focused on the fighting parts of their jobs that they did not give adequate thought to the supplying an army side of their jobs. Now both are paying for it. Blucher credit to him at least had the sense to fall back when it became apparent his supplies were wrecked. Ibrahim doesn't even get that tiny bit of redemption.

EDIT: Honestly I'm enjoying the debate and don't feel like you need to stop @Curtain Jerker
 

Yeah, this is a fun way to spend a lazy Saturday while I keep an eye on the football games. A testament to the richness of this timeline that we're so involved in discussing fictional characters doing fictional things.

I may be too easy on Ibrahim given what you've said. I'll have to go back and re-read his chapters a lot closer and see if I missed something. You make a pretty compelling argument against him, not gonna lie.

The Roman School of War and their entire warmaking apparatus has more than a hint of OTL Prussian/German to it. From the Romans adopting their own version of the Prussian General Staff to the fact that Rome is training their NCOs to a level not seen by the Allies. OTL Prussian/German NCOs were trained to do the job of an officer two levels above them in case said officer was slain the NCO could seamless step in and not miss a beat. That (or something close to it) is clearly happening in the Roman army. Long term that's a very good thing. Short term however, there's clearly a deficiency in top-level leadership. Honestly I don't know what the answer is beyond "hope good officers rise to the top of the chain of command." But it has been a problem for a while now, so you can't even attribute it to bad luck as I feel that it is more systemic. Having excellent lieutenants and sergeants is nice but if you have bad brigadier/major/lieutenant generals then a good officer corps' effectiveness is blunted.

I think there's an update where it is said Iskander modernized the Ottoman army by introducing something like Roman-style training with his NCOs and I'm assuming Ibrahim kept it going, but there's no indication that anything so modern is going on in the Allied camp. They're still operating under the old rules of doing things. Sure, they have the latest in artillery and technology, but their structures are clearly old-fashioned and soon to be rendered obsolete.

Your analogy of a semi-modern nation-state fighting late-stage warlord empires is spot on here. Rome is going to win because they're a modern country with a modern economy and a modern leader, while its enemies are still operating under an older framework for doing things. That older framework isn't going to work anymore. This war feels important not because of the battles or the lives lost or the territory changed but because it feels like the world itself will be different as a result. Not just lines on a map, but something more. The Middle Ages ended ITTL with Andreas Niketas killing the Pope in 1472. I feel that historians ITTL will say that this era, the "Post-Medieval Era" (for lack of a better phrase) will end when peace is signed in this war. The future is on the horizon and I can't wait to see how it plays out.
 
What I get from Ibrahim is that he's a visionless hack who's trying to live up to his BIG NAME as an Osmanli. Everything he's done seems based on a vague directive of "hurt the Romans", just jumping at immediate opportunities that present themselves. To his credit those instinctive moves are giving Rhomania headaches, but none of them are bearing him any long term strategic benefits and in fact are hemming him in.

The same goes for Theodor, though to his credit he has a clear war-goal in mind. It's just impossible to achieve.

So far I'd rate the combatant nations thus:
-Romans: strategy (very good) >> operations >= tactics (above average)
-Ottomans: tactics (very good) >>> operations = strategy (average to bad)
-Alliance: operations (very good) >= tactics >>> strategy (delusional)
-Lombards: tactics = operations = strategy (all bad)

I give everyone good marks for attacking the Empire at the same time from multiple directions. I give them FAIL for invading in the first place. I'd give the Alliance better strategy placement except for that nonsense.
 
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Didn’t have he Romans’ used to have a brilliant siege commander? (Forget the name). Is he still kicking around? He was around during the Great Uprising so maybe not. Surely he has passed his expertise on and trained/mentored a new generation of artillerymen?
 
Something is clearly broken in the School of War if Gabras not only gets a second chance after the failures at Nineveh instead of being castrated and sent to a monastery in the Crimea, but then turns out to be pretty good in comparison to some of the other less-than-stellar subordinates Rome has available, but I suppose we'll wait and see if any reforms happen after this war ends.

Gabras is the fellow who at Nineveh inflicted on Iskander 35,000 casualties, for 22,000 of his own. Which 22,000 include the 7,500 Akoimetoi Neokastrites surrendered when he should had fought down to the last man and the last bullet... and so very accidentally gained enough time for his command to be relieved. So what exactly are we accusing Gabras for? For the crown prince getting captured, for Neokastrites surrendering when he should have fought or for despite all that inflicting massively lopsided casualties on the best general of the era? If something is broken is Gabras being scapegoated for the capture of Andreas.

If there is a bad imperial general in this story so far, that is our version of marshal Ney namely Neokastrites. At Nineveh he surrendered a mostly intact imperial guard tagma and got away from it due to crown favour. How many times in history did a Byzantine guard unit surrendered en masse on the field? Short version, never in over a thousand years. Neokastrite went and did so. Then at Sopot he goes and kills 6,000 of his men replaying the charge of the light brigade sticking to the orders of Lazar.

Oh and the Akoimetoi should have been disbanded as a unit of course, again got saved due to crown favour. Well at least I presume they'll have to regain their regimental standards on the field...
 
Bmao: Jerusalem is important religiously/culturally, so its loss is the most ‘mud in the eye’ for the Romans. But if Ibrahim’s main army gets smashed or shoved out of Syria, all of the territories lost to the rebels could be taken back by Egyptians/Ethiopians/militias without the main Roman army needing to get involved save for providing siege equipment/expertise.

HanEmpire: Its loss is embarrassing; it is the Holy City of Jerusalem after all. But as a military/economic asset it’s pretty irrelevant. Demetrios II would probably freak; Demetrios III is, at most, a bit irked.

In Ibrahim’s defense, the Romans are the only nearby peer power to the Ottomans with the ability to threaten their core territories (there’s no way Vijayanagar could project power all the way into Persia), so knocking them down is always a good thing in their eyes. And he’s never going to get a better opportunity than this.

Catconqueror: Taking Egypt would solve his supply issues, although he’d have to retake Gaza with its enlarged and improved garrison first, and then march down a long coastal road while Egyptian and Roman warships play target practice on his columns.

RogueTraderEnthusiast: Ignoring the moral implications, wiping out the rebel population makes good economic sense. The empty land can be used to reward the loyalist populations and also the bulk of the new Roman recruits were landless laborers previously. Giving them a Syrian farm is a nice ‘thank you for your service’ and hopefully keeps the mass of demobilized soldiers from slamming the economy and causing trouble. And thank you.

Stark: That’s Demetrios III’s thinking. A loyal Syria is a strong asset to the Empire. The state of affairs as it has been is most decidedly not.

Khaine: He does have heirs (haven’t been brought up yet). Haven’t determined yet their number/quality/character.

Evilprodigy: The Kingdom of the Isles was a breakaway state from Aragon ruled by a pretender (name escapes me) who took the Balearics and Sardinia as a consolation prize. Since then it was taken over by the Colonna family and took Corsica in an anti-Genoa alliance with Lombardy (this is what caused Kalomeros’ family to flee to Egypt).

Good analysis. The Ottoman army is still very much Iskandar’s army. It has a lot experienced veterans and able officers, many of which learned from Iskandar himself. And like Andreas Niketas or Genghis Khan, he had an eye for military excellence in subordinates (the best commanders do).

ImperatorAlexander: Looking back at it, I didn’t word that as well as I could. Demetrios is worried that Theodor will try some ‘grand gesture’ rather than call it quits, which is why he wants the eastern army intact and relatively disengaged in case he needs it.

Shard: As a whole, no. But some of the fringe areas like Khorasan, Yazd, Tabas, the central Asian region (the old Timurid Empire) and the Ottoman territories IOTL Pakistan might make a break for independence.

Minifidel: Theodor wouldn’t put it that way, but he’s invested too much into this to go out quietly. He’s playing the ultimate game of thrones, and if you don’t win…

You’re right about Far Eastern officers being more innovative, especially the higher ranks. If you make it to becoming a Katepano, you got to be smart and tough. If you’re not, you’re probably dead.

Also good analysis.

Curtain Jerker: Glad you liked it. Naming an ITTL general after an OTL one is an easy cheat to say ‘pay attention to this guy; he’s good.’ (Although saying that, now I want a Bazaine to show up.) The inversion would be fun; that’s why I made Leo Kalomeros a naval officer rather than a soldier.

I think comparing Sinan Pasha to the Gaza kastrophylax is unfair. The former was the commander of a significant detached army with an important assignment. The latter was posted to an, at the time, out-of-the-way and likely to be generally irrelevant fortress. The best Roman parallel to Sinan Pasha, I would say, is Thomas Amirales.

Theodor, for all his issues, has been blessed with probably Germany’s greatest generation of military talent. Meanwhile the Persians have a lot of high-quality officers from Iskandar’s days (much as how many of the strategoi in the Time of Troubles who’d cut their teeth under Andreas Niketas were high-quality themselves). There are some structural/cultural issues with the School of War that have been lingering as a sort of ‘poison fruit’ from the Time of Troubles. Once the war is over I’m playing some topical updates and probably the first one will be a sweep of Roman reforms such as Demetrios’ full tax-scheme and also including a revamp of the School of War.

The Roman general staff has been more involved lately with the logistics/intelligence side of things, rather than grand strategy.

A lot of the slaves will end up staying in Arles/Iberia. It saves the shipping cost across the Atlantic and they’d lack the tropical disease resistance of the Africans so they wouldn’t fetch as high a price in the Caribbean. They’d be like the Native American slaves in prices (2 of them ‘worth’ one African) but with much higher shipping cost. Plus working on sugar plantations isn’t conducive for long-term population growth. So some might go and survive, but attrition is literally a killer. Any that made it to the less-murderous mainland (that’s not Brazil) would have more of a chance.

Some points on what you said: Snafus happen in war- the ‘sn’ part stands for situation normal. It’s not necessarily bad leadership; it’s just war. The whole bit from the villa running out of ammo to Leo’s doomed charge is taken directly from OTL, the British side at Waterloo. By that argument, Wellington is a bad military commander. This is why I pointed out the cavalry charge into the fort with the powder bag worked (sort of) despite the siege being commanded by Marlborough and Eugene of Savoy; one can be really good but that doesn’t mean you’re perfect. (I’m not putting Gabras up in Eugene’s level, but not being perfect doesn’t equal bad).

And yes, there’s been some big corruption in the upper bureaucracy. That was the point behind the ‘Thomas Autoreianos’ interlude. I can’t have all the Roman leaders be good and loyal and smart and honest. That would be ASB. For the sake of reality, there have to be bad apples in places.

There were several prominent Roman generals since the death of Andreas Niketas. There was Petros Doukas (annihilated the Georgian army during the Orthodox War), Stefanos Doukas (backstabbing twit who unfortunately used his talents against fellow Romans during the Time of Troubles, but he routinely mauled other Roman armies despite being outnumbered most of the time), Giorgios Laskaris, and Andreas Drakos. That’s from 1517-1548. There’s a gap from then until 1590 or so, but the Empire was at peace except for the brief War of the Rivers during that time. It’s the last 45 years that are the issue.

TheCataphract: The big issue right now is the massive expansion. The Roman army almost doubled in size, meaning that the well-trained officers are stretched thin training lots of new recruits while the additional officers brought in, whether old retirees or hastily-trained new ones, have issues of their own. Which is why Theodoros wanted Ibrahim to rot for a while anyway before he attacked, since that gives him time to work and drill his new soldiers and officers.

There’s been some rotations in the east to give soldiers and officers some combat experience (Leo Neokastrites first showed up at Pyrgos). But it is a small fraction because of the expense. Also tropical diseases are a problem. The budding ‘Andreas Niketas to-be’ officer may die of malaria at 20 instead.

Wolttaire: There are local militias and tribal clients that could be used against rebellions, but the A and B+ military material is in Syria/Palestine or northern Mesopotamia.

Turgut Reis, as the best Ottoman siege commander, very likely was the one who took Arra from the Romans in the first place. So he’d be very well aware of how a Roman commander would go about reducing the place. That’s why he was able to pre-sight his guns on the best locations. That’s planning ahead.

Jjstraub4: The mentality is becoming ‘the only good Sunni Arab in the Empire is a dead one’. Shia Muslims are part of the minority militias that served during the Great Uprising and Eternal War and are part of the loyalist population being removed to the coast. Now in territories outside the Empire, relations are based more on realpolitik. This is a continuation of OTL Byzantine foreign policy, which was pragmatic when it came to allying Muslim states but was very firm on not wanting Muslim subjects in land directly controlled by Constantinople (Muslim vassal states were fine though).

InMediasRes: Yup, there was some rotation out east but the numbers were pretty limited, so impact was minimal.

Komnenos002: It’s not ‘centuries’. A time span of that length of bad Roman generals would include Andreas Niketas and Andreas Drakos. The issue has been the last 45 years of so. The Romans have been suffering from bad luck, a mediocre generation talent-wise, and there are some structural/cultural issues in the School of War that have been hampering things in the background.

JSC: Thanks for the really detailed comment/analysis. Much appreciated.

I’d forgotten I’d made that comment about the Sundering, but yes, we are.

The Laskarids are some sort of cousins to each other (and Theodoros Laskaris is related to Demetrios III).

Emperor Joe: The Megas Domestikos is the head of all Roman military units, so yes. There’s probably some sort of ‘War Room director’ who’s the on-site boss. But Mouzalon’s shift from field command to general oversight of the war effort is the shift of the position from a field to administrative post.

JohnSmith: Yes. Last name of Monomakos (don’t remember his first name off the top of my head). He fell off my radar so I never closed that up, but since he was active and of high rank (so older) in the 1590s I’m declaring that he died of old age a while back. He did pass on his expertise; the Roman/Ottoman forts in northern Syria and Mesopotamia that changed hands in the update were all top-notch and fully modern.

Lascaris: I’m glad somebody noticed that. Gabras got sacked while the guy (Sarantenos) who was the senior Roman negotiator for the treaty of Mashhadshar is still at his post. In Neokastrites’ defense, if he fought to the last bullet then there’d be a chance that the Kaisar gets killed. And remember how this war started.

Also the Akoimetoi at Drenovac were posted as the rearguard when the Romans withdrew and held off the Allied army by themselves long enough for Mouzalon to disengage, and then fought their way clear once night fell. So I think a good bit of their honor has been restored.
 
Honestly I liked the debates going on in this thread, they're as entertaining as the main updates Basileus churns out, plus it helps less inclinded readers (such as myself) in being knowledgable as to the going ons ITTL, though granted OTL equivalence are as entertaining I still find the debates here featuring fictional generals and figures (Well in this dimension anyway :p) to be a nice break. It's like I'm in a podcast within a story.
 
In Ibrahim’s defense, the Romans are the only nearby peer power to the Ottomans with the ability to threaten their core territories (there’s no way Vijayanagar could project power all the way into Persia), so knocking them down is always a good thing in their eyes. And he’s never going to get a better opportunity than this.
Even so, all of this is an expensive way to clear out the Romans' chaff at best. Why didn't Ibrahim try to break into Anatolia instead? Threatening the imperial heartland like that would've hurt the Romans hell of a lot more, since even if he failed to breach the frontier he'd have forced Constantinople to allocate more armies to the eastern front.
(Although saying that, now I want a Bazaine to show up.)
I just hope it's not a Roman. They've suffered enough bad luck wrt its officers.
 
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Even so, all of this is an expensive way to clear out the Romans' chaff at best. Why didn't Ibrahim try to break into Anatolia instead? Threatening the imperial heartland like that would've hurt the Romans hell of a lot more, since even if he failed to breach the frontier he'd have forced Constantinople to allocate more armies to the eastern front.
But the whole time his army is tied down trying to besiege the border forts and squaring off against as large an army as Anatolia can support, Mesopotamia is wide open for a second Roman army to cut him off from Mesopotamia then see how far they can make it into Persia until he disentangles himself.

Attacking Syria and Palestine in conjunction with a rebellion is the logical play, and I think it's likely that no one though Rome would be able to field armies large enough to face two historically impressive armies simultaneously. I think Ottoman officers genuinely expected to have a lot more time to sweep up and "settle in" before Rome managed to push back with force.
 
The Ethiopian imagery is because Athena is half-Ethiopian. Jahzara is a member of the Ethiopian Imperial family, the niece of the current Negus. Rhomania trying to make Ethiopia a Despotate would be a surefire way to make Gonder an enemy. The Ethiopians are more than happy to be a friend and ally of Rhomania. But not a subject.
aside from Castile-Portugal, TTL is sadly deficient of personal unions. Would like to see mawr Habsburg style Game of Thrans chin spreading without all the inbreeding. Nations in personal unions are equal partners right? ;)

lay siege to Maskanah and Manbij
Arra (Ma’arrat an Nu’man)
Wow, many parallels between the Syrian theater and the current Syrian civil war, almost similar epicenters.

Hassan VIII still respects the power of Ethiopia and Egypt, and the Roman leviathan behind the latter. But he also believes it crucial to break the Christian ring around his state.
What is the main military strategy of Gonder? Are their detachments in Egypt, Judea, Yemen and navy prowling the Indian Ocean and Red Sea the bulk of their armed forces? I don't think their spy network in the Malikate is inactive with no contingency plans drawn up? I am sure the desire for to restore a common border with Rhomaion and end the raiding threats exists.

Merchants from Arles, the Kingdom of the Isles, and Aragon (who sell to the Spanish market) buy up the slaves.
Is slavery ITL vastly different from OTL? Are the plantations in America picky over their source of slaves? Interesting demographic changes in the new world/western Europe if there are changes.
 

Cryostorm

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It looks to me the Malikate decided to perform an elaborate form of suicide. From what I can tell the whole thing was only still there because Rhomania and Ethiopia did not view it worth the effort but now he just made it so and he attacked on his own so they can both crush him after the two main wars are done.

Then there is Georgia who keeps playing the part of Orthodox backstabber and giving more reasons for Constantinople to make them a despotate, after grabbing Azerbaijan to the Caspian.
 
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But the whole time his army is tied down trying to besiege the border forts and squaring off against as large an army as Anatolia can support, Mesopotamia is wide open for a second Roman army to cut him off from Mesopotamia then see how far they can make it into Persia until he disentangles himself.

Attacking Syria and Palestine in conjunction with a rebellion is the logical play, and I think it's likely that no one though Rome would be able to field armies large enough to face two historically impressive armies simultaneously. I think Ottoman officers genuinely expected to have a lot more time to sweep up and "settle in" before Rome managed to push back with force.
In that case, Ibrahim completely squandered his initiative. He should have made sure to devastate the Levant's ability to supply an army and then moved on to another theatre. Instead he sat on his hands and let the Romans regroup and cut off his lines of supply. I realize he intended to annex the Levant and so didn't want to hurt the place, but that doesn't excuse such terrible generalship. He tried to have his cake and eat it too.
 
A lot of the slaves will end up staying in Arles/Iberia.

Ahh, my dream of a Grenada with a significant Muslim minority dies. Your logic makes sense though, but still. Would have been cool to see a Caribbean with a little Syrian Muslim influences.

Once the war is over I’m playing some topical updates and probably the first one will be a sweep of Roman reforms such as Demetrios’ full tax-scheme and also including a revamp of the School of War.

Looooooong overdue IMO. (The reformation of the School of War, not the actual update itself).

The Romans have been suffering from bad luck, a mediocre generation talent-wise, and there are some structural/cultural issues in the School of War that have been hampering things in the background.

Like what?
 
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