1636: The Saxon Uprising — Snippet 58

1636: The Saxon Uprising — Snippet 58

Chapter 21

Bamberg, capital of the State of Thuringia-Franconia

At the last moment, worried about the Bavarian threat to the Oberpfalz, Ed Piazza had decided not to attend the conference Becky had called in Magdeburg. When word came the day before the conference of the so-called “Charter of Rights and Duties” passed by the convention of reactionaries taking place in Berlin and — this came as a complete surprise — the arrest of Wilhelm Wettin, he’d regretted that decision.

Today, he was deeply thankful he’d stayed in Bamberg. The president of the State of Thuringia-Franconia was facing the worst crisis of his political career.

The Bavarians attacked Ingolstadt the evening after the news arrived from Berlin. Possibly just a coincidence, of course. The attack was certainly not unexpected.

What was unexpected — no, profoundly shocking — was that they’d taken the highly fortified city within a few hours. By dawn, it was all over. When the Bavarians had controlled Ingolstadt, they’d withstood a siege by Banér’s army for months. So how and why had the USE’s defense collapsed literally overnight?

There was only one possible answer: treason. And not the usual sort of treason that often afflicted cities under siege — such as the treason which had turned over Ingolstadt from the Bavarians, in fact. In such cases, after long months of siege, a small party within the city would jury-rig a scheme to open the defenses to the enemy. Typically, the besiegers would come in through a gate opened by the traitors and, over many hours, force in enough men to overwhelm the city’s defenders.

From the few and limited accounts they’d gotten so far, though, what had happened in Ingolstadt this time looked far different to Piazza. The Bavarians had apparently penetrated the city simultaneously in several places, after guard detachments had been overwhelmed from within. That suggested a massive conspiracy and one that had been planned over a period of time.

An utterly ruthless conspiracy, to boot. That much was obvious from the one radio message Major Tom Simpson had managed to send before he vanished. It had been transmitted in Morse code, for reasons that were unclear. Perhaps reception hadn’t been good enough for voice messages. More likely, Ed thought, they’d lost their best radios.

Bavarians over-running Ingolstadt. Colonel Engels murdered. City cannot be held. Withdrawing what remains of regiment into countryside.

That message had come early this morning. Since then, nothing.

His secretary Anton Roeder stuck his head in the door. “General Schmidt is here, sir.”

“Send him –” But Heinrich was already coming through the door. He was not standing on ceremony today.

“How soon –”

“Now,” Heinrich answered. “In fact, the first of the regiments is already marching out of the camp. I expect to have the entire division on the road by evening.”

“How long –”

“No way to know, Mr. President, until we see what the road conditions are like.” The young general shrugged his thick, muscular shoulders. “The roads are good, but with the snowfall two days ago… Still, it shouldn’t take us more than three days to reach Nürnberg. From there, we can figure another three day march to either Ingolstadt or Regensburg, whichever you’ve decided is more important. That assumes the authorities in Nürnberg are co-operative. If they close the border, it will take us at least another day to march around the city.”

Nürnberg was a political anomaly. For centuries it had been one of the major imperial cities in the Germanies; in most respects, a completely independent city-state. It had jealously held onto that status through the collapse of the Holy Roman Empire, the formation of the Confederated Principalities of Europe, the collapse of the CPE and its replacement by the United States of Europe. Today, it was for all practical purposes an independent miniature nation, but one that was completely surrounded by the USE. The only up-time equivalent Ed could think of was Lesotho.

The Nürnbergers were generally on good terms with their much larger neighbor (or hyper-neighbor, it might be better to say) but they could sometimes get prickly. And there was no way to know yet how they’d be reacting to the turmoil inside the USE. The city’s own authorities were on the conservative side, and would thus be politically inclined toward the Crown Loyalists. On the other hand, it was the intervention of the Americans on the side of Gustav Adolf which had so quickly and decisively defeated Wallenstein’s army as it moved to besiege the city. In more immediate and cruder geopolitical terms, two-thirds of the city-state’s border adjoined the SoTF. Ed had always made it a point to stay on good terms with the Nürnbergers and they’d been just as punctilious returning the favor.

So, he didn’t expect any problems. But these were uncertain times.

On a positive note, he finally managed to get in a complete sentence. Heinrich tended to be abrupt under pressure.

“I’m inclined to think we should accept the loss of Ingolstadt — for the moment — and concentrate on defending Regensburg.”

“I agree,” said General Schmidt.

“Let’s settle on that, then. Take the division to Regensburg.”

“What are the latest radio reports coming from the city?”

“Nothing, oddly enough. A few clashes with Bavarian skirmishers south of the Danube, but nothing worse. And there’s still no sign of any attempts to cross the river. Not even probes.”

“Not so odd as all that, Mr. President. Duke Maximilian still hasn’t built his army back up to strength. He’s gambling right now — obviously, because he thought traitors had given him a particularly strong hand.” Darkly: “Which, indeed, they did. But he still would have concentrated all his forces at Ingolstadt. He would not have taken the risk of launching two simultaneous attacks so widely separated. It’s more than thirty miles from Ingolstadt to Regensburg — on those roads at this time of year, at least a two-day march. Separated units could not reinforce each other in case of setbacks.”

“In that case, how soon –”

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39 Responses to 1636: The Saxon Uprising — Snippet 58

  1. Bret Hooper says:

    So here’s the first setback for the good ole USE. USE blunder? Not necessarily; treason can’t always be detected in time. MAYBE the fault of USE’s spy network, maybe not. But again, to paraphrase the late Randall Garrett,

    Now the plot still further thickens, as it should;
    It’s the thickening in plots that makes ’em good!

  2. Robert H. Woodman says:

    Odd that Engels’ intelligence officer didn’t pick up even a hint of treason before the whole thing went down. You would think that something that well-planned would have left the odd clue or two as to what was coming.

    I wonder how well Tom Simpson will do operating on his own, basically unsupported, in the middle of winter?

  3. fred says:

    Hmm… I wonder if SOTF can muster an expeditionary force to conquer Bavaria, while bottling up the Bavarians in Ingolstadt, under siege.

  4. Bret Hooper says:

    @2 Robert Woodman: Tom’s fate may depend on the sympathies of the folk of the surrounding countryside. Let’s hope his unit manages to join up with General Schmidt’s army!

  5. Bret Hooper says:

    @3 Fred: I think probably not, but it would be a welcome development should I turn out to be wrong.

  6. Tim says:

    @3 @5: While that’d be nice, why would Eric Flint want to do that? Bavaria makes such a splendid antagonist for all kinds of plot developments.

  7. jeff bybee says:

    so the bavarians will have captured the 10 inch guns tom Simpson and lt cantrell moved from the sunk monitor? weasn’t Heinrich schmitt a major comanding the movement of the guns last we seen him and dreading the adoration of the younger sister of gretchen richter ( analease about 14 to 16 years old?)

  8. Bluemax says:

    The distance between Ingolstadt and Regensburg is about 45 miles (75 kilometers) along the Danube (shortest route) on present-day roads. This would even mean a 3-days-march.

  9. Mikey Mike Mikey says:

    @2: Intelligence isn’t perfect even among today’s relatively stable powers. How much more in a 17th century with only jury-rigged communications tech, uncertain and complex loyalties (which are par for the course), and extremely uncertain political environs?

  10. Willem Meijer says:

    Vatican State, San Marino: two states totally surrounded by present-day Italy.

  11. dave o says:

    Apologies to Eric Flint, but this just doesn’t sound plausible to me. Ingolstadt is on the north bank of the Danube. Bavaria held nothing on the north bank. I can’t believe that they could march an army to opposite the city without being detected. I can’t believe that Schmidt wouldn’t have tightened security when he heard of the Bavarian’s move.

  12. @7

    45 miles is more like a 4-day march for a period army.

  13. Mike says:

    Finally! A paragraph explaining what the political status of Nurnberg is in relation to the USE. I’m surprised that G2A didn’t incorporate them as their own state at the Congress of Copenhagen. Given that they now are completely encircled by the USE, that definitely makes them an interesting piece of the “Germanies” puzzle. Oldenburg is the only other allied state of G2A that isn’t part of the USE. That just leaves a few ecclesiastical parts of the old HRE that are have not been explicitly defined as independent or now part of another entity.

  14. Mike says:

    @7, Jeff Bybee – Heinrich Schmidtt is now the colonel in charge of the SOTF field forces I believe, and was not in Oberpfalz. Moving the guns was the assignment as a major that they gave him to give a more credible answer to why they were promoting him to colonel. (Getting stuck at Amsterdam prevented him from having more opportunities to advance) When he was given the command it was mentioned he was somewhat behind where he should be rank-wise as were Tom Simpson and Eddie Cantrell.

    @11, Dave O: The officer in charge of military forces in Oberpfalz was Colonel Engels – who was murdered – not Schmidt. Seeing as Engels was murdered, he mave have ordered security tightened by the very people who carried out the conspiracy. The attack was expected regardless – Piazza stated that and it’s been something predicted since the very first snippets. They knew it was almost certain to happen.

  15. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Mike, G2A would not incorporate Nurnberg as a state within the USE as long as Nurnberg didn’t want to be part of the USE.

    It is likely that G2A suggested that Nurnberg enter the USE as a state/province but Nurnberg saw no reason to do so.

  16. Owen says:

    At this point, we don’t even know if Tom Simpson made it out. How is Admiral Simpson going to react if his only son has been killed as a result of the Ox’s treason? For that matter, how is the USE army going to react in general to this, since it will come out once Hand frees Wettin.

  17. Robert H. Woodman says:

    I wonder if the Landgravine of Hesse-Kassel will intervene on the side of SoTF in this fight?

  18. johan says:

    @15 Drak

    He should just have set up another “Florida” situation like he did with Hamburg.

  19. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Nope. Johan, taking Hamburg was necessary because Hamburg was somewhat hostile to the USE.

    IE blocking Simpson’s route to the sea was a hostile act.

    Also, a hostile Hamburg could endanger USE trade that would pass through Hamburg.

    On the other hand, Nurnberg is both a friend and ally of G2A and would not likely do anything hostile to the USE.

    So a “Florida” situation would be seen as open aggression against a friend which isn’t something to be done lightly.

    Off topic (in a way), the real Florida situation was made necessary because of Indian raids into the US that the Spanish was unable or unwilling to stop. While Andy Jackson’s actions were against US law (at that time) the US government understood and accepted Jackson’s reasons.

    So the Hamburg action matched the Florida situation in a way that Nurnberg did not.

  20. dave o says:

    #14 Mike: In the Bavarian Crisis, it was established that the Danube was unbridged at Ingolstadt. So the Bavarians not only had to concentrate near the city, they had to assemble enough boats to make numerous simultaneous attacks. There is a difference between expecting an attack sometime or other, and expecting an IMMANENT attack. Even without airplanes to scout, I can’t believe that the Bavarians could have been that good at hiding themselves. Sorry, but it still doesn’t compute.

  21. Tweeky says:

    @7 Given enough time and warning I imagine that Tom would’ve had the barrels of the 10″ guns spiked to render them useless and to take as much of the gunpowder as possible while destroying what he couldn’t take with him including the 10″ shells.

  22. bas says:

    Could Oxenstierna use this attack as “proof” of Wettin’s treason? It won’t fly with Becky and the CoCs of course, but he could easily bribe some witnesses, whip the CLs into a frenzy about the invasion from an old enemy, hastily pass judgment, then summarily execute WW before the truth comes out. In his mind, it would be a good solution for ridding himself of a major impediment to his plan.

  23. Tweeky says:

    @22 I think Ox will only have WW killed as a last resort as the last thing he wants on his hands is a martyr also while i’m not sure how Ernst would react to his brother being murdered (he is by nature a scholar not a soldier) Bernhard on the other hand would almost certainly react with extreme hostility and Ox must know this.

  24. robert says:

    @16 Tom is also Mike’s & Becky’s brother-in-law, married to Mike’s sister. If Tom has been captured he is a valuable hostage, if killed, Bavaria is toast!

  25. Mike says:

    @20 – Dave O: while I agree with you that Ingolstadt was depicted as unbridged and that yes it _should_ have been obvious that armed forces were gathering, keep in mind that with the level of treachery that Piazza mentions in his internal thoughts, it’s quite likely the very people doing the scouting were in on the treachery. Given the multiple assalts on different places on the city with defenders being overwhelmed from within – that’s quite a bit of manpower involved. It’s not unreasonable to wonder if your scouts are themselves also part of the treachery. That was the point I was driving at in #14 – the people Engels ordered to tighten security were the conspirators.

  26. Mike says:

    @15, 19 (18) Drak: Thanks for your response re: Nurnberg. While I see your reasoning, given that other allied powers weren’t conquered but were brought into the USE (Hesse-Kassel, Brunswick) and enlarged in the process, it just strikes me as odd that Nurnberg wasn’t brought into the USE as they are shown as part of the CPE in the map for 1633. (Oldenburg was not) That being the case, it makes Nurnberg part of the CPE but then not included in the USE. Nurnberg is the only example of a territorial entity doing so which remained loyal to G2A. (As opposed to Bradenburg and Saxony who were in the CPE but were intentionally excluded from USE)

    For that matter, the map in 1635:EF has both Oldenburg and Nurnberg shaded the same as the various states of the USE on the 2nd map; on the 1st map in 1635:EF Oldenburg is not drawn with a seperate border – but Nurnberg is. Whichever way the territories go doesn’t matter to me, it’s just hard to figure out which way it is from the various sources at our disposal without explicit paragraphs like the one in this snippet. Hence my elation at it being mentioned.

  27. dave o says:

    #20 Mike: I take your point. However. Simultaneous assaults even on all the riverside gates obviously needs a lot of manpower. The manpower either came from within the city, or from people sent into the city. It’s possible, I suppose that the town guard were mostly Bavarian loyalists, but if they were that disaffected, it’s really hard for me to believe that it wasn’t known, from tavern talk and the like. If, on the other hand, they came from outside, how could such a large influx not be noted? Don’t forget that whatever the Ingolstadters thought, in the Upper Palatinate, the USE was generally popular. And also don’t forget that Ernst Wettin had recruited a bunch of people to be irregulars. See the chase sequence where the Duke’s brother is fleeing in TBC. It would seem to me that these people would be doing most of the scouting.

  28. Stanley Leghorn says:

    I have to agree that this seems way too much out of the blue. If there had been notice of the Bavarians surrounding the city and THEN the gates being opened, it would make sense. My suspension of disbelief feels like it went over a speed bump at 50KPH.

  29. Johan says:

    re: Nürnberg

    Thanks for the info Drak, though truth be told I wasn’t completely serious ;)

    Though it seems inevitable that the City should join sooner or later from either external or internal pressure, considering which part of the USE it’s bordering.

  30. ET1swaw says:

    @29 Johan: Nürnberg is making money hand over fist in trade with the USE and don’t have to share. They have little to no defense budget as unlike Essen and Oldenburg they share borders -only- with the USE.
    @26 Mike: IIRC Nürnberg has been mentioned elsewhere in canon as choosing independence at outset of USE/CPE changeover (as Oldenburg did at Conference of Copenhagen when provinces of Westphalia, Upper Rhine, and Swabia were formed). Ostfriesland (ruled by cousins of G2A) and the province of Bentheim chose the United Provinces (soon to become part of the KLC) over the USE. Tyrol and additional Imperial Cities (Cologne and Bonn) joined later and defined their borders thereby. AFAIK the Duchy of Wurtemmburg as a province is still being carved out of Swabia. AFAIK prior to the Congress the USE consisted of SoTF, Magdeburg, Brunswick, Hesse-Kassel, Mecklenburg, Pomerania, Main, Oberpfalz, and the 7 Imperial Cities (Ulm, Strassburg, Augsburg (bordering Bavaria), Frankfort am Main, Luebeck, Magdeburg, and Hamburg).
    @27 dave o: The Jaegers and the Riverrats were recruited militia, not Baner’s forces. In ‘Bavarian Crisis’ Baner (and by default the Oberpfalz -official- military position) made quite clear what he thought of them. Ingolstadt was taken by Baner and -his- troops invested it (without the USE reinforcements sent (including Tom Simpson’s men, the flying artillery under the Count of Narnia, and then Col. Schmidt (transferred to SoTF forces as a General); most of whom returned from Oberpfalz and became part of 3rd USE Division). The mercenaries that SoTF (see ‘BC’) got rid of were assigned to Baner as well. Col Engels was left with Baner’s picked men (loyal to Axel who is colluding with Bavaria) and Tom Simpson’s small command. The traitors killed the commanding officer and any loyalist troops in a simultaneus mutiny (against USE vice Axel’s commands) and surrender to what were now allied (Axel’s agreements) forces.

  31. Mike says:

    @30, Johan – To my knowledge there has yet to be anything in print indicating what the status of Cologne and Bonn is as of this moment. The only close reference (in 1635:Tangled Web) is very vague and if anything indicates that all of the former ecclesiastical territories in the lower Rhine valley are now part of the “Kingdom of the Low Countries” and or Bernhard’s territory along with Duchies of Lorraine and Barr – not the USE. There was a line indicating KLC and Bernhard had formed a continuous albeit thin buffer between USE and France.

    Tyrol is also equally vague. Does that include ecclesiastical lands such as the Archbishopric of Trent? If not, is Trent stil within “Austrian” control or independent? It borders Tyrol and Venice. Did the Archbishopric of Salzburg go with Tyrol, the rest of the Austrian lands, or something different?

    As to your original comment in 30, I know that Oldenburg was mentioned as independent at Congress of Copenhagen, but there was no mention of Nurnberg there and nothing else in print to my knowledge. If I’m in error, let me know the source. Again, the point is that Nurnberg was in the CPE and opted out of the USE, Oldenburg has never been part of either. Although the USE started as smaller than the CPE, it has now expanded beyond all of its previous borders – save for Nurnberg. While I know they aren’t the best sources, look at how the maps in sequential books have depicted Nurnberg and Oldenburg.

  32. ET1swaw says:

    @31 Mike: My apologies: Bonn and Cologne are grid not canon. As for the Rhine area see snerkers from NASFIC.
    Salzburg was independent OTL and stays that way NTL. Trent and other areas belonged to the Tyrol Hapsburgs, I assume (and it is only an assumption) they went with the Duchy into the USE.
    I can’t find the reference, but remember throw-away lines stating Nurnberg’s independence. They did not enter the USE when the CPE was disbanded. Why G2A didn’t lump them with the Electors of Saxony and Brandenburg I don’t know. I assume they gained treaties similar to those with Essen.

  33. Willem Meijer says:

    @21 You do not spike the barrel of a cannon, you ram some malleable metal into the touch-hole, thereby making it useless. Are you thinking of loading the cannon, blocking the end and then blowing it by lighting the fuse and firing it? Far more permanent than spiking it: given time and a drill you can unplug the touch-hole.

  34. Johan says:

    @30 ET1swaw

    I’m not talking about a military invasion, I’m talking about popular sentiment. A side-effect of all that trade with the USE and particularly with the SOTF will be a steady stream of CoC ideas and agitation. And one of the stated goals of the CoCs is German national unification. So for now Nürnberg will be independent and an ally. It might take years but the city-state will sooner or later become part of the German nation. As I’ve said in earlier snippets, I expect this development in most German entities not part of the USE unless they can genuinely forge a separate national identity (like Austria have done over the last century OTL).

    While still on the subject of Nürnberg, is it still a protestant stronghold in 163x?

  35. Mike says:

    @32 – ET1swaw: Is Salzburg truly independent though? The poster size map has them as within the Austrian lands and not with a seperate border. My question is with the de facto dissolution of the HRE earlier and the de jure dissolution with Ferdinand III’s proclamation of the Austro-Hungarian (or just Austrian?) Empire circa Ring of Fire II is Salzburg within that Empire or completely independent – like Bavaria?

    @34, Johan – Nurnberg most likely is still very much a protestant stronghold. Cavriani wouldn’t have sent his son there if it wasnt’t at the outset and with G2A’s victory at the Alte Veste nearby, it has no external pressure to change. Especially as it is not within the USE and can effectively enforce legal discrimination all it wants, it likely is very much still a bastion of Protestantism.

  36. ET1swaw says:

    @35 Mike: Salzburg (OTL anyway) was completely independent ATT. Paris von Lodron, the current Prince-Archbishop, is quite famous for his skill in maintaining Salzburg during TYW. They also contain silver and gold mines as well as salt mines; all fairly prolific for the period (until Little Ice Age glaciation wiped out many mines and some villages). Even more so than Freising (mentioned in ‘Bavarian Crisis’) is from Bavaria (unlike Tyrol, Trent, and Brixen, which IIRC are cadet Hapsburg holdings).

  37. vikingted says:

    Where is the reference to salvaging the 10 inch guns from the sunk monitor? There is so much detail in this series I missed this. The ship was sunk off Copenhagen in sort of shallow but cold water.

  38. Drak Bibliophile says:

    Vikingted, it was in Chapter 35 of _1634: The Bavarian Crisis_ where salvaging the guns was first mentioned.

  39. vikingted says:

    you do not need to publish this Drak, but thank you for the reference! I put my request in with my local library system to get me that book again.

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