An Age of Miracles Continues: The Empire of Rhomania

That charge directly into cannon fire reminds me of lord cardigan and the charge of the light brigade.
Charge of the Light Brigade eat your heart out. Triune admin hooha can't be compared to Rhoman valor.

What will it take for Demetrios to personally lead his armies? And if the unlikely happens, how much is he going to inspire them?
When was Belgrade last annexed by Rhomaion again? AFAIR, the 1625 map showed it in Serbia's boundaries.
 
Great as always! Nice to see the Romans face a challenge as usual.
I'm upset you didn't have Theodor say 'Let's go kill them!' because it felt like a reference to Tyrion from game of thrones.
 
Seems like the Germans have generals who are both good and lucky, whilst the Romans are still suffering from mediocre talent with no luck at all. Weren't there reforms during the Eternal War that cleared out peacetime generals in favour of new blood due to their poor performances?

Just out of curiousity what's the background of this new Megas Domestikos? Is he the man the Empire needs or is he another Alexios Gabras?
 
Seems like the Germans have generals who are both good and lucky, whilst the Romans are still suffering from mediocre talent with no luck at all. Weren't there reforms during the Eternal War that cleared out peacetime generals in favour of new blood due to their poor performances?
The Romans probably burned through several generations of great generals during the Time of Troubles, this current mob of mediocrity is their punishment. But it is interesting that Roman martial superiority has almost vanished since the start of Helena's reign (I understand everyone has caught up). When was the last time the Romans defeated an enemy when outnumbered? These battles were almost a dime a dozen during the reign of Andreas Niketas and even with Andreas Drakos.
 
The Romans probably burned through several generations of great generals during the Time of Troubles, this current mob of mediocrity is their punishment. But it is interesting that Roman martial superiority has almost vanished since the start of Helena's reign (I understand everyone has caught up). When was the last time the Romans defeated an enemy when outnumbered? These battles were almost a dime a dozen during the reign of Andreas Niketas and even with Andreas Drakos.
It's been decades atleast, I think.
 
Namayan: Content is not the right word for it. He was furious and argued against the order. But he was given a direct specific order from his CO, and was also specifically ordered not to appeal to Mouzalon. So to not attack, even though it was stupid, would be a direct act of insubordination.

ImperatorAlexander: The German cavalry was badly damaged but Theodor still has swarms of Hungarian and Polish cavalry to call upon, which will be important later on. But Sopot, whilst embarrassing, is far from a decisive blow. Mouzalon’s losses will be made good in less than a week.

I think the last major battle the Romans won whilst outnumbered was back under Andreas Drakos. Since then all the major Roman victories they’ve had a numerical advantage (like Mohacs).

HanEmpire: Impulsive, imperious, and also easily panicked. Blucher was able to freak him out along the Danube pretty easily, and here at Sopot he vastly over-reacted to the fall of the villa.

Babyrage: Vlachs are marshalling their forces and raiding along the Polish and Hungarian frontiers, but given the small numbers they can field (the Thrakesian theme alone has double the population of all of Vlachia) at this point they’re a sideshow. They’ll be more significant later on.

Mouzalon’s strategy was to chip at the Germans and then hit them with overwhelming force. The damage to Belgrade made him move earlier than he wished, but that’s still his general strategy.

Stark: Well, having the Romans win all the time would be rather boring to write and also to read.

Evilprodigy: It’s one of the problems with coalition warfare. If person X is high up in your ally’s hierarchy, you have to deal with them, whether you like it or not.

Duke of Nova Scotia: Isn’t that what impetuous youth are for?

Prometherion92: It’s actually based on Ompteda at Waterloo, including the walled villa in front of the line that’s lost because of failure to send up ammunition, with Neokastrites as Ompteda and Lazar as the Prince of Orange.

Neptune: Yeah, clunky adaption of Napoleon quote.

Catconqueror: There can only be one…Roman Emperor.

Charge of the Light Brigade eat your heart out. Triune admin hooha can't be compared to Rhoman valor.

What will it take for Demetrios to personally lead his armies? And if the unlikely happens, how much is he going to inspire them?
When was Belgrade last annexed by Rhomaion again? AFAIR, the 1625 map showed it in Serbia's boundaries.
I can’t picture Demetrios ever personally leading a Roman army. He is most definitely not a soldier.

Serbia (including Belgrade) was annexed as provinces of the Roman Empire at the very beginning of Andreas Niketas’ reign (Theodoros IV was killed during the conquest). It remained as part of the Empire throughout his reign but gradually won its independence back in stages during the Time of Troubles. It hasn’t been Roman since, although they had a garrison there after taking it during the Mohacs War.

Divefr: I can’t find the original but there was a French monarch, Louis XIV or XV, who on seeing an enemy charge against French positions, told his courtiers “Look, those are brave men!” or something to that effect. I think it was Louis XV at Fontenoy.

JohnSmith: There was a clearing-out of old generals who’d been gathering dust during the Eternal War, so all senior Roman officers have combat experience from the Eternal War/War of Mohacs/North African campaign. But that’s no guarantee of brilliance.

Mouzalon is a Constantinople native, from a family that is used to serving in high office all the way back to Theodoros II Laskaris (A Mouzalon IOTL served as regent for young John IV Laskaris and was killed during Michael’s coup that led to the Palaiologos dynasty). He’s competent but not brilliant.
 
Babyrage: Vlachs are marshalling their forces and raiding along the Polish and Hungarian frontiers, but given the small numbers they can field (the Thrakesian theme alone has double the population of all of Vlachia) at this point they’re a sideshow. They’ll be more significant later on.
I would imagine if the bulk of your forces are already committed (especially the first-rate troops), an army of around 15,000 (or whatever the Vlachs can field) would be a significant threat. Especially as the main army can afford to lose troops back home as reinforcements pour in for the Romans from Asia.

If I could speculate for a bit, I reckon this War will be split into several phases, just like the ToT. Two gigantic armies facing down each other in Thrace/Macedonia won't take too long. If this war is going to something like a World War (if it's still going along that path), the Germans have to be thrown out, which will expand the scope of the war as surrounding countries pounce.

I just don't think that the geography of the Roman Empire is conducive to a multi-nation conflict, especially as there's no civil war and the Ottomans aren't participating. Germany and Central Europe has proven time and time again (especially OTL) as the theatre of choice for destructive conflicts.
 
If I could speculate for a bit, I reckon this War will be split into several phases, just like the ToT. Two gigantic armies facing down each other in Thrace/Macedonia won't take too long. If this war is going to something like a World War (if it's still going along that path), the Germans have to be thrown out, which will expand the scope of the war as surrounding countries pounce.

I just don't think that the geography of the Roman Empire is conducive to a multi-nation conflict, especially as there's no civil war and the Ottomans aren't participating. Germany and Central Europe has proven time and time again (especially OTL) as the theatre of choice for destructive conflicts.
I think the phases of the war will be divided into when other countries decide to enter the conflict i.e Lombardy sides with the Germans and steamrolls Sicily, the Russians states pour into Poland, etc. I still think the Ottomans will get involved in the war eventually, probably with the Triunes bribing them into intervening. But if I had to guess that won't be until the final phase of the war after the Ottomans finish their invasion of northern India and even then I doubt they'd advance far into Roman territory with their main aim to snag a few border territories to shore up their position in Mesopotamia.
 
I think the phases of the war will be divided into when other countries decide to enter the conflict i.e Lombardy sides with the Germans and steamrolls Sicily, the Russians states pour into Poland, etc. I still think the Ottomans will get involved in the war eventually, probably with the Triunes bribing them into intervening. But if I had to guess that won't be until the final phase of the war after the Ottomans finish their invasion of northern India and even then I doubt they'd advance far into Roman territory with their main aim to snag a few border territories to shore up their position in Mesopotamia.
Weren't Ottomans completely pushed from India after Iskander?
 

Arrix85

Donor
How is Khazaria doing right now? Are they strong enough to even engage the Ottomans? That could be useful to at least divert somehow Ibrahim's focus (Sooner or later they will join the fray).

I wonder if this huge war may finally bring Russia back together. Cannot fathom how, though.
 
How is Khazaria doing right now? Are they strong enough to even engage the Ottomans? That could be useful to at least divert somehow Ibrahim's focus (Sooner or later they will join the fray).

I wonder if this huge war may finally bring Russia back together. Cannot fathom how, though.
A common enemy will do the trick. Like a crazy Polish King hellbent on conversion Conversion by the Sword.
 
Weren't Ottomans completely pushed from India after Iskander?
If I remember correctly and I might be wrong, the Ottomans were pushed out of India after Iskander but one of the more recent updates mentioned that Ibrahim had moved his forces east into Persia and that was why the Romans were moving troops from Asia into Europe to fight against Theodor's forces since they now know that any Ottoman attack is not gonna happen in the short term (roughly a few years). This makes me think that the Ottomans are either going to invade Khazaria (possible but what would they gain other than more Steppe lands?) or to retake their lost lands in India which are a far bigger prize. Now whether or not the Ottomans are successful in their campaign in India (if it is India) remains to be seen, the campaign will last at least a few years. We know that this war will last years so I think there will be time for the Ottomans to make a dramatic entrance late into the war when the Romans are weakened. If they do enter the war late, it won't be to kick the Romans out of the Levant but to redraw the border into more favorable terms to protect their holdings in Mesopotamia.
 
Allow me this, soldiers of the empire…

hale Timur, emperor of the romans, crusher of the German heretics savages, conqueror of Hungary, Terror of the ottomans.
There, now I can go to sleep tonight.
:d

I have no shame.
Sue me.
 
How are the Kurds doing? Are the Roman Kurds mostly christianized and if so are they on their way to assimilation? Or will they have their own unique culture?
 
Babyrage: A good chunk of the Vlach forces are with the main Roman army. Current Roman strategy is to assemble an army as big as possible and hit the Germans with overwhelming force. So they don’t want to spread out their forces and give Blucher a chance to smash up troops in isolation.

Kaizerfox: Yeah, it’s not going to remain a straightforward German-Roman conflict for long…

Stark: They have a little bit of the Punjab, but otherwise lost the rest to the post-Iskandar Vijayangar offensive.

Arrix85: Khazaria is doing fairly well right now. The Khazars could harass the Ottomans in Transoxiana (the Cossacks have been doing some of that already) but they’re heavily embroiled in steppe affairs so don’t have a free hand.

HanEmpire: The Russians do have some ideas regarding common enemies and punching said enemies in the face…

Viciosodiego: I approve.

Prometherion92: Roman Kurds are mostly Christianized, especially the further north and west you go. They’re part of the eastern Anatolian mix, which is a sort of Greek-Turkish-Armenian-Kurdish hybrid, with regional variations with certain elements more dominant dependent on the area. To put it in EU4 terms they’re not Greek culture but are part of the Roman cultural union.
 
1631: Tell the Spartans
1631 continued: The losses at Sopot are painful, and the splitting of the Serbians from the Romans is very useful, but Blucher’s ideal of crippling the Roman army before more Asian reinforcements arrived is a failure. A month after the battle, Mouzalon has almost a hundred thousand troops mustered in Macedonia.

Blucher has not been idle though. Engineers swarm over Belgrade, working to repair the fortifications at a feverish pace while cavalry columns fly across northern Serbia, sweeping up the harvest to fill German bellies and scattering the Serbian populace. Little effort is expended in harassing the refugees but what is done purposely nudges them to the southeast where their march will congest the roads on which Mouzalon is marching to re-engage.

Mouzalon makes no move to link up with Lazar’s forces. There is a large amount of disgust in the Roman ranks with the new Serbian King, one of the droungarioi of the Helladic tagma penning The Charge of the Chaldeans less than three weeks after the battle. Having Roman officers quoting ‘Lazar had blundered’ would hardly do well for diplomatic relations. Rumors abound that if Lazar ever found himself within musket range of the remains of the Chaldean tagma he would be fired upon.

Furthermore there is the issue that having Lazar around would probably require appointing him back into an important position. Given the size of the army Mouzalon now has and the limited number of troops Lazar could add, having the Serbian army with that price tag just isn’t worth it in Mouzalon’s opinion.

There is argument in favor of not advancing back into Serbia to battle the Allied army. Blucher’s logistics are shaky at best and would only get worse if he had to advance further south.

But the Roman cavalry, already badly damaged at Sopot, is now having difficulties with the Hungarian and Polish cavalry up in force, so Mouzalon has few means to interdict Allied supply convoys or foragers and also limited intelligence on Blucher’s forces. Yet he does know that more reinforcements are on the way and that Belgrade is being repaired. Avoiding another brutal siege of that place is greatly to be avoided. Furthermore Ibrahim is back in Mesopotamia and reports from Lombardy are not encouraging.

The Roman and Allied armies draw up for battle on September 20, the Serbian village of Drenovac forming part of the Roman line, which is anchored on the left by the Great Morava River and partly screened by stands of wood on the right which Mouzalon fills with pickets of akrites. The center is mostly open farmland.

To Mouzalon’s surprise, Blucher fields only a slightly smaller army, ninety one to his ninety four thousand. Blucher was able to rush reinforcements despite questionable ability to feed them, estimating that Mouzalon would attempt to counterattack before Blucher received said extra troops.

But Mouzalon immediately realizes the logistical constraints Blucher faces so he holds his position, declining two attempts to be baited into attacks. Although Polish cavalry beat off efforts by trapezites to hit the Allied supply lines, Mouzalon’s presence means that they can only forage a little. A Hungarian effort to hit a Roman convoy ends with it being hurled back with the loss of four hundred mounts and half that number of men. So either Blucher must retreat in the face of an intact enemy force, starve, or attack.

He chooses to attack, by which point it is September 24. Polish and Hungarian cavalry attempt to turn the Roman right flank but get snarled up in running battles with the akrites in the copses. They make progress but it is slow and bloody.

The main assault is on the village of Drenovac itself with German infantry storming forward with tremendous courage to be met by furious blasts of point-blank musketry. The fighting is brutal at close-quarters, with several older officers stating it was as intense as that of Astara in 1607 during the Eternal War.

The Germans manage to seize about a quarter of the village but can’t press any further while the Romans are unable to hurl them out. Soldiers fire away at each other at ranges sometimes little longer than the length of their muskets. Still the pressure does suck in some of the Roman reserves. Meanwhile the cavalry flanking effort is slowly, bloodily, grinding its way through the copses, sucking some more reserves that way, including portions of the weakened Roman cavalry.

It is now that Blucher reveals his masterstroke. The Roman left flank is secured by the Great Morava River and so cannot be turned. It is thus not so strongly held, especially when one realizes that a good percentage of the Roman reserves have been siphoned off to Drenovac and the right flank.

Vauban hits it with a grand battery, 98 cannons pounding the Roman lines, overwhelming the 28 Roman guns that try to respond. German assault columns storm forward, taking heavy losses from Roman musketry but the lack of artillery is crucial. Sheer weight of numbers smash through the Roman lines.

Mouzalon immediately orders a withdrawal. With his left flank turned and his right pressed, trying to keep these positions is a hopeless task. But an organized withdrawal in the face of enemy attacks is a hard thing and Blucher presses his advantage for all that he’s worth, determined to wreak as much damage as possible while he has the upper hand.

The Domestikos orders the Akoimetoi into Drenovac to act as a rearguard, although he explicitly orders Alexandros Drakos, son-in-law to the Emperor, not to accompany his unit. He protests furiously but obeys. Covered by the Akoimetoi the Roman army manages to disengage, smacking aside the few Allied units that work around the village and try to impede their march.

Meanwhile the bulk of the Allied host turns its full fury on the Akoimetoi. A demand for surrender is answered by Strategos Abalantes, who played such a key part in the Night of the Tocsins, with the immortal words “The Guard dies, but does not surrender.” Considering Nineveh that is not exactly true, but the unit is eager to wipe out that black spot.

And for five hours, the Akoimetoi defy an army that outnumbers them well over sixteen to one, enduring the pounding of Vauban’s guns, responding the best they can with their own artillery. Assaults are thrown back with bullets and ambrolars, swords and rocks, fists and teeth. When night falls the village is still in the hands of the Akoimetoi, who then sally forth, hacking their way through the cordon to safety. When they reunite with the main army a day later their unit cohesion and discipline is still intact, even though only 2 of 5 remain to the colors. Abalantes is one of the fallen.

Drenovac is a German victory, of sorts. Blucher has forced the Roman army once again out of Serbia, Mouzalon retiring back across the border, although woe betide the Allied formation that gets too close. Furthermore he inflicted ten thousand casualties on the Romans for eight thousand of his own.

But while the losses to one of the guard tagma is painful, Roman losses are soon made good whilst the same cannot be said for the Allies. Already one-sixth of the Polish heavy cavalry that Casimir led forth from Krakow in the spring have fallen. Reinforcements are coming, but whether they can keep up with casualties is doubtful. Despite the fall of Belgrade and his two victories, Blucher in a letter to his wife admits that he finds the prospects for the next campaigning season to be doubtful, especially when it is reported that there are plans to bring twenty thousand Sicilians come the spring.

Post-Drenovac operations are also less promising. There are four smaller battles as Blucher, at Theodor’s insistence, tries to grab some Roman territory before the onset of winter kills major operations. The political import of securing some Roman land is significant, as is the need to secure more peasant-stocked foodstuffs. But every attempt to breach the Roman frontier is bloodily repulsed.

But the optics of Drenovac are more important than the reality. Lazar, on hearing the news, capitulates to Theodor. Bosnia is to be ceded back to Hungary but Serbia proper is reduced to a Despotate, Lazar renouncing the Serbian crown and receiving the rank and insignia of a Roman Despot (identical in every detail to what Demetrios III would issue to his Despots) on his submission. The same can’t be said for his subjects. Serbians are to be conscripted into the Allied ranks, but their loyalty is questionable and four thousand slip across the border to present their arms to the Romans, including Lazar’s younger brother Durad.

Stephen Bathory War with Muscovy.jpg

Emperor Theodor Receives the Submission of Serbia. Note the Winged Hussars. King Casimir is the black-bearded and black-hatted figure mounted behind the nearest Hussar.​

Before returning to Munich to oversee domestic affairs and some important negotiations over the winter, Emperor Theodor erects another monument to the Akoimetoi in the center of Drenovac, underneath which are lain the bodies of the fallen. On it is writ:

Go, tell the spartans, stranger passing by
That here, obedient to their laws, we lie.


Like Sopot, it is still there to this day.
 
Oh well.

Since Blucher and Vauban seem to thoroughly outmatch Mouzalon, these grinding meelee's seems the best Roman can get. With home field advantage this should be enough to repel the Germans.

If Lombards and/or Persians intervene though...

Are Sicilians really sending men to Balkans with the possibility of Lombard invasion?

P.S. Basileus, are you basing this war/battles on some historic war, like you did with Eternal war/Long turkish war?
 
I have developed a telepathic affinity to this thread. Not a piece of sheer luck that I check althistory after a few weeks only to have AAOMC waiting for me fresh out of the oven. Even after years, the ecstasy of seeing an update is unlike any other and brings immense relief and tears of joy. (way too committed emotionally)

How are Romania's other allies doing? Vlachia campaigning up the Prut helped by the Russian principalities? For every Roman defeat from now on will be repaid twice as heavily.
 
But the optics of Drenovac are more important than the reality. Lazar, on hearing the news, capitulates to Theodor. Bosnia is to be ceded back to Hungary but Serbia proper is reduced to a Despotate, Lazar renouncing the Serbian crown and receiving the rank and insignia of a Roman Despot (identical in every detail to what Demetrios III would issue to his Despots) on his submission. The same can’t be said for his subjects. Serbians are to be conscripted into the Allied ranks, but their loyalty is questionable and four thousand slip across the border to present their arms to the Romans, including Lazar’s younger brother Durad.
There goes Lazar's legitimacy. That's great for the Romans, because it strengthens the argument that Durad is totally the one with the divine right to rule.
Before returning to Munich to oversee domestic affairs and some important negotiations over the winter, Emperor Theodor erects another monument to the Akoimetoi in the center of Drenovac, underneath which are lain the bodies of the fallen. On it is writ:
What could these be? Who else is there for him to woo to his side?
 
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