The Great Game: The Second English War

Going through my archives I find that I apparently failed to post this in its proper sequence, which is quite embarrassing since it’s a rather important turning point in the development of the Ynglings!

The Second English War proved something of a mixed success. The major foreign-policy goals were accomplished : England was reduced to a power of the second rank, Italy was strengthened, and the Adirondak with its rich fur trade was captured. However, the by-now familiar perfidy of the Spaniards left the German border unprotected when Burgundy intervened on England’s side – carefully attacking the two weaker partners in the anti-English alliance, Italy and Norway. Although Yngling troops fought determinedly and effectively, the weight of three times Norway’s fighting population proved too much; the eventual peace – “A truce for thirty years,” as the then Lagmann, Harald Bjartesson, called it – ceded Holstein and Mecklenburg.

By coldly rational standards, this was something of a victory for Norway : The Adirondak carried much richer trade to be taxed, Italy, an important ally against almost any other Power, had been strengthened by the gain of Kutch, and England had been humbled. However, the loss of Holstein was a blow that stung far out of proportion to its actual weight; for the first time in centuries, a Norwegian-speaking city lay under foreign rule. Moreover, its wealthy and large Yngling population, fleeing the disaster, formed a new and radical party in the Ting, tipping the balance of power. Although there was by this time little that could be done, in practical terms, to increase control over the stril population, the loss of hope for a gradual relaxation of the stricter laws – in enforcement if not in writing – was decisive in creating the later “wolf-by-the-ears” situation that so many liberal writers commented on in the 1800s. Moreover, the partial success against England had emboldened the radicals’ view on foreign policy; more and more, it was all the moderates could do to hold back open declarations of the revanchism and recidivism that could only provoke Burgundy. “Think of it always; speak of it never” was one of the more memorable phrases from the debates of these times, and the emphasis on maintaining strategic surprise did cool off the hottest heads from their most provocative speeches – an Yngling could always be swayed by an appeal to military advantage.

The more foresighted among the Ynglings were wont to observe that while Burgundy’s occupation of the Elbe’s eastern bank was a nuisance, Spain’s increasing dominance of trade, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East was a much deadlier threat in the longer term. Such strategic considerations held little appeal, however, for those who had lost estates and friends in the war. The Ting thus teetered in a fine balance, now considering overtures to Poland for a renewed alliance against Burgundy, now talking about burying the hatchet and attempting to maneuver the Dutchmen into being the mainstay of a coalition against Spain. Perhaps fortunately, neither party was able to overcome the deadlock, and the nation thus gained a few precious years of economic recovery, exploiting the resources gained in the Americas. However, it was clear that eventually some action would be taken.

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

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Well, you win some, you lose some… I must say I wasn’t expecting Italy to collapse so soon, when I intervened on their side. Burgundy has increased its power far more than I thought. Since Van Engel’s declared objective was to punish England’s rapists, though, I suppose I’d have been next anyway. In any case, England is not, I think, really a Great Power anymore, in the sense that they should be rather reluctant to take on either Burgundy or Spain, which I think they might have done before. That ought to make things a bit simpler, since there are now only two Great Powers to manage.

As an incidental aside, lest you think all the Yngling prowess is only my propaganda, even our enemies admit we are damn good killers :

Engel admits

Some images from the fighting :

The initial border crossings in NA :
Border crossings

Norwegian troops win, and strike inland :
American fighting

In Europe, the opening battles go in our favour :
Initial battles

But we are eventually forced back by superior numbers :
Superior numbers

Who knows what way the Ting will turn? Not me! Stay tuned…

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