1635: The Eastern Front — Snippet 46

1635: The Eastern Front — Snippet 46


“We are agreed, then,” Gustav Adolf concluded. Standing at the head of the long row of tables that had been set up for the conference, he nodded to Mike Stearns, who was seated four chairs down on the king’s left side. “As soon as we defeat the Poles and Brandenburgers in a major battle, General Stearns will take his division to Bohemia. Wallenstein has been requesting our support for months. He fears the Austrians will soon invade.”

Gustav Adolf smiled, a bit crookedly. “Personally, I think his fears are excessive. On the other hand, by stationing the Third Division in Bohemia we will certainly forestall any possibility the Austrians might send troops to aid that bastard Wladyslaw.”

The last phrase was spoken with real venom. There was a long-standing grudge between the two branches of the Vasa family. The one that ruled Poland felt — with some justification — that it had been swindled out of its rightful claim to the throne of Sweden. For their part, the Vasas who ruled Sweden resented the accusation with the bitterness felt by all usurpers who have convinced themselves they are the rightful heirs. It was a large part of the reason Mike had found Gustav Adolf so unrelenting on the subject of restarting a war with Poland.

As the Swedish king moved on to recapitulate some of the other major decisions made at the conference, Mike pondered the decision that affected him directly.

He was sure that the decision had been dictated by political considerations more than military ones. The Achilles heel of the new USE regime was the allegiance of the military. A very large portion of the soldiers in the army, possibly even a majority, had been recruited by organizers from the Committees of Correspondence. And while the navy and air force had much less of a CoC influence in the ranks, a disproportionate role was played in their leadership by up-timers. In fact, the commanding officers of both services were Americans.

That meant that if the Wettin regime tried to force through the reactionary program demanded by most of its factions, it ran the risk of provoking an open rebellion which, in turn, might very well trigger off a mutiny in the armed forces. The only reliable military units that would leave Wettin would be the king’s own Swedish troops — most of whom were actually mercenaries, and most of those from the Germanies — and the forces fielded by some of the provincial rulers. Hesse-Kassel, for instance, had a rather powerful army.

But Hesse-Kassel was here in Berlin, not in Magdeburg — and so were most of his soldiers. In fact, he was sitting across from Mike at this very table, two seats up. Wilhelm V had left just enough troops at home to provide his wife Amalie Elisabeth with a minimal military force.

From the standpoint of the Crown Loyalists and their Swedish allies centered around Chancellor Axel Oxenstierna, the situation was close to intolerable. But so long as the Swedish king himself refused to support any drastic measures, they did not have many options.

They did have a few, though. Mike couldn’t prove it, but he was certain that his future assignment to Bohemia was a bone that Gustav Adolf had thrown Oxenstierna and Wettin. He’d remove one-third of the USE’s unreliable army from the equation by sending it off to Prague — or Ceske Budejovice in the south, more likely — and the one-third commanded by the most notorious leader of the opposition, at that.

“– quiet situation in the Oberpfalz, we will transfer Ernst Wettin and Johan Baner to Saxony to take charge of the province until its final disposition can be decided. They are an experienced and proven team.”

And there was another politically-motivated decision. It was true, in and of itself, that Ernst Wettin as political administrator and Johan Baner as the commander of the military had done a good job of stabilizing the Oberpfalz and beating back the Bavarians. But while no one would have any objections to the prime minister’s younger brother being appointed the political administrator of Saxony, the same was not true of Baner.

Ernst Wettin was a judicious, fair-minded and reasonable man, by all accounts Mike had ever heard including from Ed Piazza. The Swedish general, on the other hand — also by all accounts he’d heard, including from Americans who’d dealt with the man — was a pig-headed, narrow-minded militarist whose openly-stated opinion on how to deal with the CoCs was to execute the lot of them.

Sending him to Saxony, given the inevitable turmoil that would soon ensue in the province, was not much different from pouring gasoline on an open flame.

Gustav Adolf was perfectly aware of Baner’s characteristics and limitations. Baner was the kind of general whom any sensible ruler placed in positions where his undoubted military skills would be of use but which were not politically sensitive. Again, Mike was sure Gustav Adolf was tossing Wettin and Oxenstierna a bone.

Mostly Oxenstierna, actually. All the Wettin brothers except the renegade Bernhard were pretty close. By now, Mike was sure Ernst had privately made clear to Wilhelm his opinion of Baner. It was no secret that Ernst Wettin and the Swedish general had frequently clashed in the Oberpfalz.

Amberg, capital of the Oberpfalz

Ernst Wettin set down the letter he’d just received from his older brother Wilhelm. It might be more accurate to say it slipped from his loose and nerveless fingers onto the desk.

“Saxony?” he groaned aloud. “Me and Baner — to Saxony? Have they gone mad?”

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14 Responses to 1635: The Eastern Front — Snippet 46

  1. Tweeky says:

    Poor Ernst getting the letter exiling err, ordering him to Saxony with Baner who is a man he detests, ouch.

  2. ET1swaw says:

    Looks like Axel Oxenstierna has called in a few markers from G2A. Mike and 3rd Army are headed to Bohemia to face off Bavaria and A-H. Tortensson and G2A with 1st and 2nd Armies, Hesse-Kassel forces, and probably support from CoC Mecklenburg and Pomerania are off to the PLC (Poland). Tyrol, Schwabia, Main, and the Upper Rhine Provinces are involved with Essen, KLC, France, the Swiss, and Duke Bernhard along the Rhine. Thus the generals (Horn and Brahe) who almost as high ranked nobility as Oxenstierna and could possibly thwart him are legitimately tied up as well as the highest nobles of the USE. Baner, a known proponent of nobility first, is assigned as the military head of Saxony and Brandenburg occupying forces. Baner still has the mercenaries dumped from SOTF and Magdeburg and distrusts/denigrates any CoC-related personnel he may have that were not recalled by Tortensson. His forces seem heavily weighted toward mercenaries vice Swedish or CoC personnel.

    @1 A man he detests and had to spend half his energy putting out fires that Baner’s actions started with the Oberpfalz peoples. He even developed an independent militia, jaeger forces, and ‘river rat’ forces due to Baner’s intransigance.

    Oxenstierna still has rule over Swedish Prussia (area given by the Truce of Altmark) and collects port tolls from PLC (also ToA). His relatives are or are soon to be Governors/Governor-Generals of the Dominions and of Finland, and the Lord High Justice and Lord High Treasurer of Sweden. The Lord High Marshal (Army) and Lord High Admiral (Navy) are illegitimate relatives of G2A (De La Gardie his cousin and Gyllenheilm his half-brother). He is pretty much second only to G2A in Sweden Proper (Sweden (Southern and SW tip held by Denmark except for Goteborg), Finland, and Vyborg Karelia) and the Dominions (the Karelias and Ingria taken fron Russia; and Estonia, Swedish Prussia (a Possession not a Dominion as was lost OTL in 1635 by Treaty of Stuhmsdorf) and Swedish Livonia taken from PLC). He has indirect control of 9 of 15 USE Provinces (only SOTF, Hesse-Kassel, Calenberg, Tyrol, Madgeburg, and Wurtemmberg are not his) by use of like-minded plants. The G2A appointed administrators report to G2A as he does but he is ‘just a little more equal than the others’. G2A is the Wettins’ boss, both the PM and Ernst, but Oxenstierna can certainly exert influence in the USE. IMO he has no influence at all in Kalmar politics though.

  3. Mike says:

    @2 – Ernst Wettin and General Baner are only in charge of occupation administration and occupation in Saxony – not in Brandenburg. That apparently is going to be handled differently. Aside from the fact that he’s competent, Ernst should do fairly well seeing as he should know a fair number of the major players in Saxony as it’s the other branch of his family tree who was in charge, it is adjacent to his home area, and it is administratively more similar to Thuringia than to the Oberpfalz. (There were several comments in 1634:Bavaria that talked about differences between south of Main and north Main)

    Guess it is becoming clear as to what might be one of the major reasons for the “Saxon Rebellion” – Baner.

  4. Blackmoore says:

    I can’t wait to see what Mike is thinking about this. G2A is being very forward about going about dissolving the political and military power of the Americans and the CoC.

    Mike has been waiting for this type of behavior since 1633, so he’s been very careful and has place a lot of his people in a lot of places; and has gotten the common population of the germanies to embrace and look to the Americans for leadership. Where will this lead?

  5. ET1swaw says:

    @2 Correction: it is Lord High Constable not Lord High Marshal. The Lord Marshal is highest of the lesser officers and responsible for the King’s court.

  6. Michael says:

    @2: Not quite. Mike and the 3rd army are headed to Bohemia AFTER ‘we defeat the Poles and Brandenburgers in a major battle’. He’ll be marching with G2A until that’s done. Getting that battle and it’s outcome is the major plotline of this book.

  7. robert says:

    To snerk:

    Based on the blurb for the next book, Mike is going (to be sent by Gustav) to face off against Baner, and that will mean Baner will no longer wave, nor breathe. But watch for something serious to befall G2A which will mean Oxenstierna will make a try for more control. The next several books are going to be a lot of fun. Mike sometimes reminds me of an AI that is very willful: if you don’t give him the complete set of requirements for how to act, or ask the question in a correct and complete manner, you allow him to essentially do it his own way.

  8. dave o says:

    It’s very probable that G2A will win the first battle against the Poles, What happens after that is more of a problem. Poland is like a medieval country on steroids, and the nobles have as much military power, or more, than the central government. Mike was and is not in favor of the invasion. G2A probably figures that he can give better service in Bohemia, or at least, be less of a pain in the ass than with his main army.

    #7 Where can I find the blurb?

  9. ET1swaw says:

    @8 Go to Baen’s Bar ‘Snerkers Only’ and look for the ‘1632 snerks NASFIC August 2010’. There were about 20 listed. And if you can find it, the ‘Lunacon Snerk’ (same place) of about a year ago might interest you as well.
    @7 I think ‘the Ox’ (a neat diminutive someone told me) is ready to screw up by the numbers. He seems a very binary type (Nobilty / Others, Lutherans / Others). He may accept that the second and third estates (Priests and Burghers/merchants) exist and have their uses, but I don’t think the fourth estate (yeoman farmers/landed free peasants) really exists for him much more than slaves and serfs. Calvinists (some) he might accept the existence of, but RC, Orthodox, Jews are just wrong-headed and headed for Hell. IMO G2A has been leavened by uptimer contamination, but ‘the Ox’ is just a more distilled version of his OTL self.
    I think interesting times are ahead!

  10. Jeff Ehlers says:

    Unfortunately, something like this was bound to happen. However, what the nobles (conservatives) in the USE need to be extremely careful of is to not push too hard to try to undo the things done by Stearns and the CoCs (liberals). The nobles may have the obvious power, but the CoCs far better represent the people of the USE (and the people are what gives any realm its legitimacy and power, regardless of who stands on top). In an open, or not-so-open, clash between the two, the nobles are going to get badly burned. All we need to do is look at the Ram Rebellion to understand why that’s true.

  11. robert says:

    @8 The blurb is on the Amazon page for the book (1636: The Saxon Uprising) and scroll down

  12. ronzo says:

    Wettin and “the Ox” are treading on very dangerous ground. Even with Mike “out of the way” in Bohemia he won’t be out of touch in the sense that putting someone off in a small theater of war away from the capital used to in this period. He will still know whats going by radio, telegraph(wallenstein loves his phones and telegraphs), and last but not least he can very easily make it back fast by having the american operated airforce pick him up. He could very quickly be back where the action is with plent of armed support like in 1634 the dreeson incident’s version krystal nacht. When I would start to get worried is if Wettin attempted to garrison swedish troops as “additional security” at the navy bases, or airfields. If or when that happens, I wonder if any Mike’s contigency plans are in place to notify him and to get the ball rolling, he’s alway’s thinking a dozen moves ahead so I wouldn’t be surprise

  13. wombatcombat says:

    whats Albrecht doing

  14. James says:


    Cesare Borgia did the same thing, Sent a total PiTA to administer a city, then set him up for the fall. That way the populace saw him as savior and not a Foreigner trying to usurp their freedoms. Baner is the scape goat in this little dance, Ernst is just there for damage control, for the nobles at least.

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