1636: The Saxon Uprising — Snippet 32

1636: The Saxon Uprising — Snippet 32

“We may never come to it anyway,” said Tom.

Engels, who was his immediate superior, shook his head. “That Bavarian shithead will jump on us with both boots if he sees a chance. Duke Maximilian’s the worst of a bad lot — and that’s saying something, when you’re talking about hochadel.”

Hochadel was the German term for the upper nobility, the small elite crust — no more than a few dozen families — who lorded it over the much more numerous lower nobility, the Niederadel. Engels came from the fringes of that Niederadel class, but he’d adopted the radical attitudes of the CoCs, most of whose members were commoners.

How much of Engels’ political viewpoint stemmed from serious consideration of the issues themselves was unclear. Tom Simpson had once told Ed that he thought his commanding officer was just tickled pink — tickled red, rather — when he discovered he had exactly the same name as the very famous close friend and associate of Karl Marx in another universe.

“That ‘more revolutionary than thou’ act on Fred’s part is mostly for show,” Tom had said. “The truth is that he’s a professional soldier and doesn’t really think that much about politics. He sure as hell doesn’t read any political tracts. Although” — the huge American major had grinned — “he was mightily pleased when I gave him a copy of his namesake’s Socialism: Utopian and Scientific for his birthday.”

“Where in God’s name did you get that book? I didn’t know any of our libraries had a copy.”

“They wouldn’t have sold it to me even if they had,” pointed out Tom. He was still grinning. “From Melissa, who else? The book’s more in the way of a pamphlet, actually, and she had a stack of them in her basement. Well, did have a stack. She says she gave most of them to Red Sybolt before he left for Poland.”

Ed rolled his eyes. The thought of Red Sybolt — before the Ring of Fire, Marion County’s most notorious labor organizer — loose in Poland with a pile of flaming socialist pamphlets was…

Well, rather charming, actually. By all accounts, Poland’s aristocracy could stand to have its feet held to the fire.


“Don’t fool yourself, Tom” said Heinrich Schmidt, after they left the SoTF president’s office. “Leaving aside the great Murphy’s principles, Colonel Engels has the right of it. Maximilian has not forgiven us for taking Ingolstadt from him. If a civil war breaks out in the USE, he will surely try to take it back.”

Sardonic as always, Schmidt gave the two USE officers a half-jeer. “At which point, the two of you will have to hold the bastard off with your one little regiment while I” — his chest came out, in a parody of self-importance — “marshal the mighty forces of the SoTF to come to your rescue.”

Unlike Simpson and Engels, in their field-gray USE uniforms, Heinrich Schmidt was wearing the blue uniform of the State of Thuringia-Franconia’s National Guard. He’d transferred from the USE army a year earlier when Ed Piazza had waved a brigadier’s star under his nose as an enticement.

Schmidt wasn’t the National Guard’s commander. That was Cliff Priest, who’d been the military administrator for Bamberg before the SoTF’s capital was moved there from Grantville. There’d been a vague, lingering sentiment, given the peculiar history of the province, that the formal commander of the National Guard — it had even been named after its up-time counterparts — should continue be an American. So Priest, whom everyone agreed was a good administrator, got the title. But it was privately understood and agreed that operational control of the soldiers and combat leadership would be provided by the top down-time officers. Those were Heinrich Schmidt and Hartman Menninger, each of whom commanded a brigade.

In the event hostilities broke out with Bavaria in the Oberpfalz again, Schmidt would march there immediately with his entire brigade. He’d be joined by one of the regiments from Menninger’s 1st Brigade, the 3rd Regiment, stationed in Eichstätt. (The SoTF National Guard didn’t have the USE army’s custom of naming regiments.) Brigadier Menninger would stay behind in order to protect the SoTF and maintain order with his two remaining regiments.

Like all such plans, neither Heinrich nor Tom expected it to last long once contact with the enemy was made. Neither did Engels, if Tom was correctly interpreting his occasional mutterings on the dialectic.

Munich, capital of Bavaria

“We are agreed, then.” The count of Nassau-Hadamar rose from his chair and extended his hand to the duke of Bavaria. Maximilian rose quite a bit more slowly and his handshake was perfunctory. He was being just short of rude.

He couldn’t help it. Duke Maximilian despised Johann Ludwig. He was quite sure the count of Nassau-Hadamar had converted to Catholicism in 1629 simply to prevent Ferdinand II from seizing his family’s possessions. Prior to that time, Johann Ludwig had been a partisan for Protestant causes. As a youth, he’d been friends with Friedrick V of the Palatinate — the same man who later, as the notorious “Winter King,” had triggered off the great religious war when he accepted the throne of Bohemia offered to him by heretic rebels. The count had also fought on the side of the Protestant Dutch rebels against their Spanish Catholic monarch.

A man, in short, to whom treason came as naturally as waddling to a duck — and here he was, once again engaged in treason.

To be sure, it could be argued — rightfully argued, in Maximilian’s opinion — that the so-called United States of Europe was a bastard state to begin with. Stabbing it in the back could hardly be called treason; it was more akin to summarily executing a criminal. Still, the motives of the man who committed such an act had an odious stench to them.

The count was still standing there, as if waiting for something. What…?

Ah, of course. By the nature of their own nature, traitors needed constant reassurance.

“I will invade the Oberpfalz as soon as the opportunity arises, be sure of it.” He cocked his head and gave Johann Ludwig a look so stern it bordered on accusation. “And in return, tell that damn chancellor of yours I will expect him to keep the USE’s army from coming into things.”

The count smiled and held a finger alongside his nose. “Please! No names. I am acting solely on my own recognizance.”

Where in the name of all that was holy did the scoundrel come up with that absurd phrase? It was blindingly obvious he was acting as Sweden’s envoy. Probably not on Wettin’s behalf, from subtle shadings of Johann Ludwig’s remarks; but certainly on behalf of Oxenstierna.

Maximilian reminded himself that expecting logic from heretics was foolish. Indeed, might border on heresy itself. And none of it mattered, anyway.

The count was still standing there, as if expecting something. What…?

The duke’s jaws tightened as he restrained his anger.

No. Absolutely not. Under no condition would he personally escort the swine out of the palace. He snapped his fingers, summoning a servant.

Not even an armed retainer. A house servant. Let the man comprehend his true place in the scheme of things.

“Show the count his way out,” said Bavaria’s ruler. He turned away to examine one of the portraits on the wall of the audience chamber. Hearing a slight gasp of outrage behind him, he bestowed a smile upon the image of his ancestor.

The Holy Roman Emperor Frederick III, as it happened.

Take Ingolstadt from him, would they? The duke of Bavaria would have it back, and the rest of the Oberpfalz with it.

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26 Responses to 1636: The Saxon Uprising — Snippet 32

  1. Peter says:

    If Max is smart, he’ll grab the surrounding terrain, establish effective control while the city’s under siege, and starve it out. He’d be harder to disloge that way. Instead he’ll probably throw nearly everything at Ingolstadt and waste his resources on the lesser prize.

  2. robert says:

    Duke Max is about to be Buried in Bavaria. He doesn’t realize that Wettin and Ox will be ignored, or worse, by the USE forces. The USE and the SoTF are going to toast him, spread butter on him and eat him alive, and he will likely end up losing something much dearer to him than Ingolstadt…Bavaria and his life.

  3. Jeff Ehlers says:

    Yeah, Maximilian is a bit too consumed by the idea of getting his own back to actually understand the real situation here. He thinks that the USE will obey orders from Oxenstierna, and when they don’t, everything’s gonna hit the fan.

  4. Tweeky says:

    Methinks that Johann Ludwig is going to be one of those right-wing reactionary aristocrats who’s going to end up getting a “Permanent haircut”.

  5. Bluemax says:

    Sorry, but I cant buy a serious military campaign by the Bavarians.

    Contrary to the OTL, the bavarian troops not only got spanked at Breitenfeld and Rain am Lech, but also at Alte Veste and Ingolstadt. In OTL Bavaria was virtually out of the war for some time, at least for independent action. Yes, there were some bavarian regiments at Nördlingen 1634 in OTL, but at that time, the Swedes were pushed back to the north, the Oberpfalz already belonged to Bavaria and Bavaria wasnt pressed as it is in NTL – surrounded by the USE and busy quelling revolts.

    In addition, since the coffers of the Autrian-Habsburgs were usually empty, Maximillian after emptying his own war chest had to rely on french subsidies. I wonder how Richelieu should be able to provide the money for Maximillian considering his own troubles that keep France passive on the military side. – Nervos belli pecuniam infinitam –

    Furthermore, the USE holds Ingolstadt, bavarians top fortress town by far app. 60 km from the capital Munich,. As long as it is not retaken, an offensive cant take place. Actually, Maximillian would need two armies IMHO, one to push north and the other to guard his borders to the west (Swabia) and southwest (Tyrol). How could he possibly gather and pay two, when he shouldnt be able to deploy one.

  6. dave o says:

    #5 I agree,- I don’t think Bavaria can run a serious campaign. Not with their best generals gone, a peasant rebellion, and a ducal witch-hunt going on. I think Ox plans to use Max as a cat’s-paw to distract the SOTF militia while he carries out his counter-revolution/ massacre. He doesn’t expect Max to win: he’d probably be happier if he was crushed, but the militia bled enough to destroy later. I think Ox is being too clever by half. It’s a lot more likely that the Bavarians will be crushed, and the militia free to act in Saxony.

    As I pointed out in previous comments, Austria has plenty of reason to be hostile to Bavaria. So does Bohemia. It would require a reversal of alliances for the two to get together to attack Bavaria now. This isn’t likely, but similar events have happened many times. With the Turks acting up, Austria has plenty of reasons to secure their western and northern flanks, and the possibility of using Bavaria as a bribe would be one way.

  7. Bluemax says:

    And even if Austria isnt hostile towards Bavaria, as long as Austria isn’t attacking Bohemia and its allies (Sweden and USE), it would be insane for a minor power attacking a major one. Even if he succeeded in gaining Ingolstadt and the Oberpfalz, he can’t be sure about retaliation when he only got the verbal promises of that turncoat, count of Nassau-Hadamar.

    Maximillian is displayed as a madman and bad to the bone. He wasn’t. Besides his narrowmindness concerning religious affairs, he was a quite capable ruler or at least clever enough listening to his competent advisers. If he acts offensively, he’ll lose his realm and he would know that.

  8. Ian Chapman says:

    #7 Yes, but in OTL Max’s first wife lived another full year, a lingering painful year before she died of cancer. In the NTL she was taken relatively painlessly by Pnuemonia.

    That one small change has made all the difference.


  9. Mike says:

    Two things about count Johann Ludwig of Nassau-Hadamar:
    1) In the OTL he was appointed the commisioner general for the talks leading to Peace of Westphalia by Ferdinand III – in fact he was the first signatory. He was also elevated to Prince for his efforts.
    2) I can’t tell as the paragraphs for Congress of Copenhagen don’t list his land specifically, and the maps aren’t super precise, but his county is now either part of Hesse-Kassel or the Mainz Province. I almost hope he’s within Hesse-Kassel so the countess gets to sign off on his execution order for treason.

    On a different note, what will Baner think if he finds out Ox is responsible for the new siege of Inglostadt? Given all the effort he put into trying to conquer Inglostadt, realizing his superior just bargained that away might grate on him. Given he’s been depicted as a brute, it probably won’t dawn on him.

    Speaking of Inglostadt – given it was betrayed and not conquered, whatever happened to those troops that were stationed there? I mean, the leader obviously wouldn’t remain in place, but would those troops have been absorbed by Baner? By Oberpfalz?

  10. Mike says:

    @5, 6 – Regarding Bavaria’s military forces: Asside from the various units that fled Bavaria during 1634:Bavarian Princess (most of the Bavarian cavalry), the losses sustained by units fighting around Inglostadt, any military commanders swept up in the witch hunts, Max also didn’t get the Irish Dragoons that he was anticipating to come back from his brother’s (Archbishop of Cologne) service. [That would be the four regiments led by the Irish colonels that were shown as hunted down and defeated in 1635:Tangled Web. That being the case, Bavaria has pretty much no cavalry. While not at USE Army standards, even the SoTF forces should have better infantry than Bavaria. If those 10-inch guns are still in the area, Oberpfalz wins on artillery as well.
    Max’s best hope for retaking Inglostadt – let alone the whole Oberpfalz – would be by either: 1)bribery – which he doesn’t have the funds to acheive or 2)overwhelming numbers – something he can’t achieve without setting himself up for counter-invasion by forces from Swabia or Tyrol. That’s not even counting possible incursion by Bohemia either independently or on behalf of Albrecht. Long and short of it – this is suicide.

  11. kwinn says:

    @8 You are forgetting the events with Maria Anna’s betrothal to him in 1635 The Bavarian Crisis.

  12. Robert H. Woodman says:

    @7, 8, 11 — In The Bavarian Crisis, Maria Anna herself makes the point in narrative that Max’s mad behavior was likely due to his wife’s earlier demise NTL compared to OTL.

    It seems to me that if Count Johann Ludwig of Nassau-Hadamar is acting on Axel Oxenstierna’s or Wilhelm Wettin’s behest (as is implied in this snippet), then Oxenstierna and/or Wettin has (have) engaged in active treason. Even if it is not treason under the law, how would G2A see it, if he recovers?

  13. robert says:

    @5 & @6 We didn’t get in on the actual deal that was struck. We don’t know what, if any, support was promised to Max for his participation — it sounds like he is going to go beyond the bounds of the agreement in his contempt for his new allies.

  14. Doug Lampert says:

    @13, Even without knowing the precise agreement it’s clear that this is actual treason. Else why the verbal only agreement with “Please! No names. I am acting solely on my own recognizance.”

    Whether or not Ox himself is ACTUALLY engaged in active treason it seems sure that Count Johann wants Max to think he is. (One of the problems with agreements where one side has plausible deniability is that almost by definition the guy with plausible deniability can’t actually control what’s going on. In this case it’s possible but unlikely that Ox is actually totally innocent. He’s allowed to send emissaries to Max after all.)

    So even without details of the agreement I think we can safely say it’s a treasonous agreement. The intent on Ox’s part is almost certainly to do what the agreement will do, that is, to keep the SoTF forces to busy with other problems to participate in any civil war. It’s unneccessary on some level since Mike and Gretchen and company have already agreed that the SoTF forces need to stay out to watch for this. If Max loses quickly it’s actually counterproductive since the loss of the threat could free up SoTF forces for other action (probably won’t be significant if it does happen, this books main focus is on Dresden, not Inglostadt, so the problems will be solved by Mike and co. in Inglostadt, not by Tom Simpson and co. in Inglostadt).

  15. Blackmoore says:

    OK, but Inglostadt wasn’t taken in OTL or NTL by force. it yes there was a several month long siege, but in the end they sold out to the opposing force.

    Who is in charge of Inglostadt in NTL? Did the USE install the big gun from the USS Monitor at the end of the Bavarian crisis? (does the CoC have any influence there?)

  16. ET1swaw says:

    @6: Mad Max is Uncle to Ferdinand III and his siblings. Ferdinand II blamed Maria Anna more than his brother-in-law and took no actions before his death. Bohemia would have to cross Oberpfalz to attack Bavaria, they don’t share a border. Freising, Passau, and Salzburg are independent Archbishoprics.
    Ox may just be being used as a stalking horse by a traitorous USE noble.

  17. dave o says:

    #16 To what purpose would the Count of Nassau-Hadamar lie/mislead about Ox’s support? He can hardly be stupid enough to think he would regain his independence whoever comes out on top in the USE. And to imagine that Bavaria can win requires even greater stupidity. I don’t know what territories the count holds although I assume they’re in the Rhenish Palatinate.

  18. ET1swaw says:

    implied patronage trolling for magnified award

  19. Peter says:

    I just had an intriguing thought. Nassau-Hadamar may be playing an ‘agent provacateur’ role for someone in USE – such as Nills Brahe, possibly working with Amalie of hesse-Kassell? Or even by Piazza? specifically to provoke an early attack by Max that will result in Bavaria being defeated (and possibly annexed). It’s a little bit of a far-out possibility, but thinking about the likely outcome makes me wonder.

  20. Robert H. Woodman says:

    @19 – Peter

    IMO, not a chance. First, Hesse-Kassell would not under any reasonably imaginable circumtances invite attack on the USE. Second, Piazza is shown making sure that he has the logistics situation for his troops nailed down should an attack occur. Moreover, while Piazza is smart, tough, and assertive, he hasn’t yet been shown as being deviously aggressive the way you suggest. There’s no way he’s going to invite an attack when he isn’t completely sure ab initio of his ability to supply his troops.

    I think the simpler explanation is the most likely. I think that Axel Oxenstierna, either directly (more likely) or through Wilhelm Wettin (less likely), put Johann Ludwig, Count of Nassau-Hadamar, up to this for the express purpose of keeping the SoTF forces nailed down in the Oberpfalz so that they could not stop the radical transformation of the USE that Oxenstierna intends. If my explanation is correct, treason is being committed not only by Johann Ludwig but also by Oxenstierna and/or Wilhelm Wettin. Oxenstierna may not be given the mercy of permanent exile. He may be given the mercy of a swift death. Or, if Jeff Higgins or Mike Stearns gets hold of him, he might just be placed in front of a volley gun firing squad commanded by the Count of Narnia.

  21. Tweeky says:

    @20 I’d say you got accurately that Oxenstierna is right in the thick of it and Wettin is almost certainly involved, directly or indirectly. I think the volley gum firing squad would be more appropriate for Mad Max since I think this adventure of his will be his downfall. Even if Wettin can be shown to have not intentionally engaged in treason and he survives, it will result in the destruction of his political career, there’s no way the a prime-minister can survive the political scandal/fallout. As for Johann Ludwig and Axel Oxenstierna if they survive the fighting the only fate I can see for them, aside from the Firing-squad or the Headman’s axe, is life-imprisonment without parole somewhere in the north of Scandanavia.
    I personally think that GIIA will recover with his full faculties but it’s very dubious as to whether he’ll personally command his armies from the front again (Stearns and company will be adamantly opposed to him doing it again and I think Kristina will be more obvious and personal reasons, her mother is dead (she clearly was never close to her) father is incapacitated). Also I think once Mad Max is gone the USE will move in and annex Bavaria, I don’t think there’s much that Ferdinand III can do and it’ll remove a highly destabillising factor in the region; I can also see a very violent purge of the inquisition in Bavaria too.

  22. Blackmoore says:


    The USE could either take Bavaria in that case OR provide it to Austria in a horse trading move to pull a peace agreement with Austria (in exchange for recognizing Bohemia). Either case the whole area becomes more stable.

  23. Erik says:

    I have noted that the consensus here is GIIA will mostly or fully recover. Now my wife would call this meta gaming, but GIIAs continued disability (or partial recovery and relapse) would permit the USE to come to the fore, Mike Sterns, or another, even Gretchen, as PM and the formation of a USE hegemony, Sweden, which does not have the man power to maintain sustained force projection, would recede, while the USE comes to the fore.

  24. Ed Schoenfeld says:

    @23 It’s a very interesting choice for Eric. GAII disabled, followed by Katrina being young and female, would give the USE/Kalmar/Sweden a nicely contained monarch who needs an active prime minister and lead very rapidly to what we moderns think of as a ‘Constitutional’ monarchy, where the monarch is effectively a ceremonial prop used at the convenience of the plitiaclly ‘in’ crowd.

    But GA11 recovered and active until Katrina is grown (with a husband who appreciates her talent in a constitutionally secondary position) — that’s a whjole different ball of wax. Thats a grand experiment in a monarchy where the titular ruler keeps a bunch of executive power and the prime minister ranges from being the head of the bureaucracy to maybe having a bunch of persuasive power IF he/she do the politics just right.

    One is familiar, the second is interesting. Guess which one Eric will pick . . .

  25. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Ed, while I’m not going to post any spoilers, you’re forgetting about Prince Ulrik.

    Even before Kristina and him are married, he’s going to have a good deal of political (if unofficial) power.

    I really doubt that he’d accept the “ceremonial prop role” for his wife-to-be (and his future children).

    No, IMO even if GA2 doesn’t recover, whoever holds the throne in the USE will continue to have a good deal of power.

    It is possible that before Kristina is of age, Prince Ulrik will be acting as her regent and he has an interest in keeping the USE “Monarch” strong.

    Oh by the way, IIRC a royal/imperial wedding is possible even before Kristina comes fully of age (even before the marriage could be legally consummated).

  26. Ed Schoenfeld says:

    Drak, I take your point and I am sure any regency for Kristina would include Ulrik. It’s been established that he wants Kristina to be an independent person who has developed her abilities retains the full scope of her own authority (historically not all — maybe not many — royal consorts do, but Eric has established Ulrik as a ‘good guy.’)

    But a regency is still a regency and one regent, however prestigious and important, is not the whole council or the other parts of government. There is an organic difference between the type of authority a monarch can retain over a generation of personal rule by an assertive and competent monarch (GAII followed by adult Kristina) and what can be retained in a regency situation (debilitated GAII/Child Kristina) — in the latter, other centers of power will develop or become more important regardless of good will on the part of some or even all regents.

    (Note that this is not a ‘vast and impersonal forces of history argument’ — IMO as a historian, history is made by individual people acting within individual circumstances on all levels of society. In the case of a regency the material situation for those people is different by just that much from the situation of an adult and competent monarch).

    Now Eric can probably justify that the people running things around Kristina are invested enough in her success that she will wind up in a stronger position than the British monarchs after the three Georges and Victoria (my mental point of comparison) — but that may actually be *third* alternative to the two I sketched above.

    Personally I think it would be very interesting to explore what happens in a “Monarch as Chief Executive” situation, whether that is a hereditary position as in France’s Orleanist constitution (Louis Philippe, 1830-48) or something like Alexander Hamilton’s president for life idea. I probably wouldn’t want to live there, but it would be interesting to read about :-)

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