The Great Game: Perfidious Iberia

When the deadlock eventually broke, it was in precisely the direction the radicals wanted: In coalition with Italy and Poland, war was declared on Burgundy in May of 1745. With hordes of expendable cannon fodder suddenly available for garrison and second-line work, the Yngling troops at last came into their own; since the Burgundians were now forced to fight on reasonably even terms, the athleticism, initiative, and disregard for casualties of the Ynglinga Hird won victory after victory. Holstein, Mecklemburg, Brandenburg were retaken in rapid succession, and the Burgundian armies reeled back in shattered confusion. Even the belated support of England for their ally could not stem the tide of Norwegian victory; imperial commitments in Asia prevented the full concentration of the powerful English fleet, and a vast battle off the Dogger Bank, involving hundreds of ships of the line, left Norway master of the North Sea. The English coastline once again lay open to raids and even full-scale invasion, and the for the first time in centuries the old prayer, de gente fera Normannica nos libera, (“from the fury of the Norsemen, deliver us”)was heard in Anglican churches.

It was, therefore, at the very moment of victory and triumph that the Ting received word of Spain’s perfidy. The erstwhile ally, perceiving Norway’s resurgence as a threat to its long-term interests, had struck to restore the balance in the North Sea and aid the Burgundians in winning a negotiated peace – one which would leave the radical faction unsatisfied and revanchist, thus keeping Norway hostile to Burgundy and a balance against its growing power.

To an extent, this Spanish plot achieved its aim, in that Norway instantly signed a treaty of peace with the Burgundians, restoring the prewar border. However, the deadlock in the Ting, which had teetered narrowly over which Power should should be attacked, was now permanently shattered; the radicals agreed to abandon their designs on Holstein until such a time as Spain was permanently brought down. Such a declaration, when applied to the greatest Power in the world, amounted essentially to a full capitulation; the men who made the agreement did so in the full expectation that they would not see their German estates again. Such was the fury which the Spanish treachery had aroused.

Nonetheless, the situation was not an easy one; even in victory, the German and English campaigns had consumed men and ships, gold and powder, which could ill be spared against mighty Spain. A rapid peace with England somewhat eased the pressure on the fleet, though it was clear that no decisive sea battle could be yet be sought. Poland could be of no aid in a what would clearly be a far-flung maritime campaign; Italy, itself threatened by invasion, was useful only in absorbing Spanish troops, though doing a fine job of that. Aid, therefore, was instead sought from the enemies of a year before; envoys were dispatched to London and Antwerp, in the hope of finding their respective governments cold-blooded enough to ignore the recent hostilities and combine in bringing down the colossus of Europe.

From Berserker to Battleship : Norway 1066-1920, Bergenhus University Press

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Damn all perfidious Iberians, anyway… It remains to be seen whether I can patch together a coalition. It’s the timing that really annoys me; I had a fine chance of getting Holstein back in that one. 😡

Map of Europe in 1748. The situation has not changed much. Note my temporary acquisition of Yorkshire; a side effect of fighting the AI combined with a misclick on a peace offer.

Europe 1748

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