If Blood be the Price of Admiralty: God Rest You, Peaceful Gentlemen

  • The End is Nigh: We have reached the twentieth century, a time once spoken of only in scientific romances; and modernity is upon us! The age of steam is coming to an end, electricity and internal combusion rule the day. It’ll be the loco-boiler next, and thirty mile an hour! Telephones, wireless transmission, even automobile carriages; surely Ragnarok and the Twilight of the Gods cannot be far off, for certainly there cannot be many inventions left to make.
  • The Fimbul War: The first sign of Ragnarok is said to be a three-year winter; and surely there is a winter in the affairs of men. For the powers of Eurasia are divided into two vast armed camps, and glare at each other from their ramparts that they recently rebuilt to support machine guns. But they dare not fire and make the war hot; for who knows what would happen, when armies of three million on a side clashed? So they wait, and build, and boast of their battleships and their bombs; and hope that something may break the stalemate.
  • Some Damn-Fool Thing in the Baltic: While I was away, and Scandinavia was in other hands, Bohemia attacked in alliance with Occitania, and gained Pommern and (for the first time in a hundred years) a Baltic coastline. I believe I have the power to take it back, now, if Bohemia and Occitania were all the powers involved. But Bohemia is allied to Khazaria, and Occitania is allied to Medina, and those two Great Powers are allied to each other. And I am allied to Leon and to the Latin Empire; and in Asia, Korea and China huddle together against the threat of Japan, which allies everyone and smiles like a crocodile; there are Japanese troops on the Rhine, and which way would they jump, if it came to a war? There are six hundred Yngling regiments in the Hird, and if it came to mass-mobilisation warfare the leidang musters another thousand… and Scandinavia’s is counted fifth among the world’s armies. If the Latin Empire went to war, four million men would get the callup – not counting the regulars already in uniform. To be the one who begins such a conflict is a dreadful responsibility. And yet there is Pommern, that was Yngling land for three hundred years… and after all, this cold war cannot last forever; something will be the spark that ignites the flame.
  • Ride of the Valkyries: Meanwhile, we occasionally grind a minor power to dust, mostly for something to do, and to blood our armies and test our new weapons. Ayutthaya has been partitioned, and the red wolf’s-head on black flies over Pegu and the Shan States. And yet in spite of three large European powers, with the current-maximum 20 army techs, attacking an AI minor with 14, there just seems to be something about those jungles that makes for grinding, attritional warfare. The Ayutthayan AI had somehow acquired a general with 5 attack – I didn’t know that was even a thing in Vicky, they must have added some good traits in a recent patch – and their 150 regiments maintained their resistance far beyond what sanity would indicate was possible. Were I inspired, I would write a narrative segment about the tall blonde Norse regiments, sweating in their heavy wool uniforms, treading carefully through the jungle paths, expecting any moment to trip over a wire connected to a black-powder grenade, or for a hail of heavy musket balls to come crashing through the foliage to be answered by the snapping crack of smokeless-powder rifles.
  • We Want to Believe: Alas, with these humongous armies and immense industrial establishments, the creaky old Clausewitz engine is being strained to its limits. We currently have about one crash a year, and the latest crisis hung fire and had to be edited. Next year in V3!
  • From Berserker to Battleship: The Nordsjøflåte currently has 32 battleships, and is therewith one of the smallest navies among the powers that actually have a navy.

Some ledger statistics, presented more or less without comment.

Europe; note the Bohemian occupation of Pommern.

Asia; note the European partition of Ayutthaya.

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Filed under If Blood Be the Price of Admiralty, Song of the Dead

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