1636: The Ottoman Onslaught – Snippet 31

1636: The Ottoman Onslaught – Snippet 31

They made sure their teeth were perfect, no matter the pain and the cost involved. Their hair had to be just so. They fretted endlessly over their weight. He’d even heard that some of them underwent surgery to have features like noses brought into line with what they considered the proper form.

Hugelmair, clearly, suffered little from that unease. Her left eye might not move properly, but since the rest of her did she wouldn’t worry about it. What was, was. What was done, was done.

She was quite a pretty woman, the scar and the glass eye aside, with a sturdier frame than either of the two American girls she was with. He wondered who she was and where she came from.

“Is there any new word about the Turks?” Denise asked.

Leopold nodded. “They’re coming. There’s no longer any doubt about it. We haven’t received specific word yet, but they would have probably started their march within the past week.”

“Are you going to try to fight them before they reach Vienna?” The American girl — so typical of them! — didn’t seem to find anything odd in her asking such a question of a member of Austria’s royal family. For a moment, Leopold was tempted to order her arrested for being a spy.

But it was just a fleeting whimsy, probably brought on by his residue of anger at Judy Wendell. The guards standing by the entrance to the hall would certainly obey him if he gave the order — he was an archduke of Austria, after all, in direct line of succession to the throne should his brother Ferdinand and his children die for some reason. But the order would soon be countermanded by Ferdinand himself and Leopold would be soundly berated, albeit in private.

However annoying the Americans could sometimes be, in the present circumstances the Austrian emperor was determined to stay on good terms with them. An invasion by the Ottoman Empire was nothing to take lightly, and the Austrians were going to need allies. Only the USE and Bohemia were close enough to provide assistance quickly, and relations with Bohemia were very tense. Their best chance at getting an ally was with Gustav Adolf.

Who, for his own reasons, made every effort to stay on good terms with the Americans also.

“Why are you looking at me funny?” Denise asked. Leopold had been told the girl was brash almost beyond belief, which was apparently true.

“He’s thinking about having you tossed into the dungeon for spying,” said Minnie, “but warning himself not to do it because that’d cause a mess. Me, I think he ought to go ahead and do it anyway. Denise, you’re my best friend but sometimes you’ve got the sense of a chicken.”

Denise gaped at her. “What do you mean?”

Minnie mimicked her friend’s voice, adding what Leopold presumed was an exaggerated overlay of American dialect. “Are y’allllllll gonna go on out and whup on them there Turks right off or are y’allllll gonna wait until they mosey on up a bit before you start whalloping on ’em?”

She then slipped back into her normal speech. “That’s what they call a ‘state secret,’ Denise. You can get yourself arrested asking those kind of questions from a cobbler or a fishwife. Much less asking an archduke.”

“Oh.” Denise grimaced. “Sorry, Your Highness. I hadn’t thought of that.”

By now, Leopold was quite amused. “Think nothing of it. The proper appellation is ‘Your Grace,’ by the way. The only persons in Vienna at the moment whom you’d call ‘Your Highness’ are my nephew Ferdinand and my niece Mariana.”

He nodded toward a corner where Queen Mariana occupied the only chair in the chamber. A three-year old boy was standing next to her with a scowl on his face, presumably caused by the impertinence of his year-and-a-half old sister who was occupied in tugging at his sleeve. “You’ll find them over there.”

“Now that I’ve put Denise in her place, Your Grace,” Minnie said, “I’m actually interested in the answer myself. Are you planning to fight the Turks before they get to Vienna, or do you figure you’d fare better to just wait until they’ve besieged the city?”

She gave him a gleaming smile. Her teeth were very good, he saw. He wondered if that was due to nature alone or if she’d gotten help from one of the American tooth-doctors.

What did they call them? “Dentists,” if he remembered right.

“If you want to have me arrested,” Minnie continued, “you can probably do it without there being any big trouble. I won’t object too much unless you put me in a dungeon that’s got rats. I really don’t like rats.”

He burst into laughter. “I wouldn’t think of it!”

Looking around, he saw a number of curious looks being sent his way. For whatever quirky reason, that made up his mind concerning the issue at hand.

“We’ll wait until they invest the city,” he said quietly. “They outnumber us badly and the terrain to the southeast is often marshy. Our troops would be likely to get bogged down and we’d suffer bad casualties. Here…”

He looked around the chamber, as if he could see the walls of the city beyond. “Vienna withstood Suleiman a century ago and according to the American history books we will — would have — withstood the Ottoman Empire again in 1683. We’ll take our chances with a siege now, as well.”

He bestowed a big smile of his own on the girl. “You’ll pass that information along to Don Francisco, I assume?” It wouldn’t do to let her think he was ignorant of her association with the Jewish spymaster in Prague.

“Yes, I will.” The gleaming smile didn’t fade a bit. “But I’m sure he knows already.”

That… was probably true, Leopold had to admit. By now the “secret” plans of Austria’s high command had spread through enough of its notoriously sieve-like court that he could only hope the Ottomans still didn’t know as well.

Partly in order to deflect the discussion onto a safer topic, but mostly because he wanted to continue talking to Minnie, Leopold said: “You should really get out of the habit of calling them ‘Turks,’ you know.”

The gleaming smile was replaced by a slight frown. “Why? They are Turks, aren’t they?”

“Not exactly — and it also depends on what you mean by a ‘Turk.’ It’s true that the Ottoman Empire had its origins in the Turkish tribes who migrated into Anatolia after the Seljuks defeated the Byzantines at the Battle of Manzikert. But what really holds it together is the Ottoman dynasty — and that dynasty by now is more Balkan than it is Turkish. It you wish to give them any specific tribal identity, you’d do better to call them Albanians.”

By now, Denise and Judy had frowns of puzzlement on their faces as well.

“Huh?” said Denise. “How does that work?”

“Their royal customs are very different from ours,” Leopold explained. “The Ottoman emperors sire their children on the women of the harem — who are often recruited from the Balkans. Succession is usually passed on to the oldest son, but not always. There are powerful factions in the Ottoman government, who often use one or another of the younger sons to give themselves more leverage. The disputes can become so contentious that they threaten the normal rules of succession — as we saw recently in the years leading up to Murad becoming sultan.

“It’s not just a question of lineage, either,” he added. “For the past century — at least — a good half of the Ottomans’ grand viziers have been Albanians and most of the rest have been of devşirme origin.”

“Devsh –” Denise fumbled with the term. “What’s that?”

“It is the custom by which the Ottomans recruit Christian boys, almost always from the Balkans, and then convert them to Islam and indoctrinate them to serve the dynasty. Most of them become janissaries. Others enter the civil service. They provide the Ottomans with a body of capable and loyal servants who have no ties to the Turkish nobility. To be honest, that’s one of the big advantages they have over us. Their government is better-organized; more efficient.”

Leopold looked around the chamber again. His expression must have become a bit sour, because Minnie laughed and said: “Getting envious, are you?”

When he looked at her, the gleaming smile was back. “I don’t blame you,” she said. “If I had to deal with noblemen all the time I’d go mad.”

“Absolutely bats,” her friend Denise agreed.

Leopold wondered what bats had to do with the matter.

****

They were interrupted shortly thereafter by one of the very noblemen in question, a ponderous and pontificating fellow who buried Leopold under a litany of woes involving the depredations and criminal activities of Wallenstein and his accomplices. Leopold didn’t doubt that the woes were woeful and that Wallenstein indeed behaved criminally — he was a traitor under sentence of death, was he not? — but it was never made clear what the nobleman wanted Archduke Leopold to do about it.

Soon after the fellow began his peroration the two American girls and their one-eyed companion politely took their leave and departed for greener or at least less voluble social pastures. Leopold was sorry to see them go — even Judy — but didn’t blame them in the least.

****

Eventually, the nobleman left also. Only the Flemish artist remained behind.

Since Leopold had already agreed to place Adriaen Brouwer on a retainer before the three girls showed up, he felt no hesitation in employing him for a non-artistic purpose. And why should he? The Habsburgs had a long tradition of employing artists in other capacities, as witness the many times Peter Paul Rubens had served as a diplomat for the dynasty.

“I’m curious about that one girl, Adriaen.”

“One of the Americans?”

“No. The girl with one eye. Who is she? Where did she come from? How and why is she so closely attached to the Americans?”

The artist’s nod was so deep as to almost constitute a bow. He understand how these things worked.

“I shall find out, Your Grace.”

 

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60 Responses to 1636: The Ottoman Onslaught – Snippet 31

  1. Lyttenburgh says:

    ““Is there any new word about the Turks?” Denise asked.

    Leopold nodded. “They’re coming. There’s no longer any doubt about it. We haven’t received specific word yet, but they would have probably started their march within the past week.””

    Looks like I was right.

    • Bret Hooper says:

      Me, too: Clearly, now, the Austrian Offslaught, if it escapes capture by the Ottomen, will head for the USE as I predicted, either to seek asylum there or to be allowed passage to the Netherlands. I expect it to be asylum, which will be gladly granted by the Wettin government, with at least the tacit approval of the Piazza shadow government. Counter-attack? Will be considered, but probably not launched anytime soon.

      • Lyttenburgh says:

        “…by the Wettin government…”

        Not for much longer. IIRC, there would be elections in the Oberpfalz in August (correct me if I’m wrong) and, after that, the official change of command. So the fate of Austrian refugees would be the very first crisis for Piazza’s new government to deal.

        As for the supposed counter-attack – I’m less optimistic than other commenters here, who’re already prediciting Ottoman Empire’s downfall a century earlier. From previous books we know, that Janosz Drugeth spent a lot of time and effort inspecting and improving fortresses and strongholds on the eastern border of the Empire. Why – I don’t know. Possibly, to have a 100% reliable report about the sorry shape of the A-H defense network, which lead Ferdinand III and his generals to the decision not to waste soldiers and effort trying to stall the Ottoman army before it reaches Vienna.

        What we were not told though, is what had been done to improve Vienna’s fortifications in the 1634-36 period. Nothing. Not a word. Without godmodding Austrian capital could probably last for a month and a half. After it would be taken there will be a masscre. Habsburgs would be really lucky getting away from that. They might flight whatever they like – be it Bohemia or the post war Bavaria. The next question for them would be: “You want to reconquer your country. You… and *what* army?”

        • dave o says:

          Lyttenburg: “You want to reconquer your country. You …and what army. This ignores the fact that the Turks are cannot keep a large army that far from the center of their power. The USE could easily provide an army large enough to defeat those that are left. Probably the Bohemians could also. For that matter, if Adam Olerius is sent to Persia as he was uptime, he could probably persuade the Persians. with the help of some modern weapons to attack the Turks in Anatolia.

          • Lyttenburgh says:

            “This ignores the fact that the Turks are cannot keep a large army that far from the center of their power.”

            Several garrisons in nearby fortresses. As for Vienna – it would be either captured and garrisoned or destroyed and abandoned.

            “The USE could easily provide an army large enough to defeat those that are left. “

            Why would they do that? No, seriously, why?

            “For that matter, if Adam Olerius is sent to Persia as he was uptime, he could probably persuade the Persians. with the help of some modern weapons to attack the Turks in Anatolia.”

            Long shot and no confirmation for anything like that happeneing.

            • dave o says:

              Why?
              If you believe that anyone in central europe wants the Turks as neighbors, you are wrong.

              Long shot
              Why If you read my comment, that’s what I said. Clearly you have another motive/

              • Lyttenburgh says:

                “If you believe that anyone in central europe wants the Turks as neighbors, you are wrong.”

                There is a huge dufference between what people (even powereful ones) want and what they are willing to do. Like starting a war with the Ottoman Empire. Or, to be more precise here, spend your own troops so that Austrian Hapsburgs could place their royal posterior back on their ancestral thrones and then prop up their shaky and very vulnerable recently pillaged and still half occupied state.

                War is not a thing to take lightly and spontaneous. Or you think differently?

                “Why If you read my comment, that’s what I said. Clearly you have another motive/”

                Yes. You are suggesting things out of the blue and wants us believe that they are bound to happened. The polite form to respond to this is to say that we are talking about a “long shot” here.

                Actually we are talking about something that will never happen.

              • dave o says:

                As usual when Lyttenburgh writes about military affairs, he is wrong.
                The presence of the Turks in central Europe is a threat to all the surrounding powers. And plenty of wars have been started for no particularly good reason, which is not the case here,

                And having weak Austria is clearly preferable to a strong Turkey

              • dave o says:

                Will never happen
                I was not aware that you are omniscient. Or pretend to be

            • dave o says:

              Several garrisons

              If the Turks leave several garrisons (where exactly) they will be easily defeated. And why exactly should the Turks destroy Vienna. They didn’t when they captured Byzantium. Or Budapest Or Belgrade. The whole point of trying to conquer territory is to get some use of it. Taxes or slaves for example

        • Jeff Ehlers says:

          It isn’t a matter of retaking Austria to prop up the regime that failed to hold it. It’s a matter of retaking Austria to deny the Ottomans a major foothold in central Europe. You don’t leave a hostile, aggressive power in control of territory which gives them the high ground next to your country.

          Not to mention the fact that the Americans have a vested interest in pushing the current Ottoman emperor back.

          • Lyttenburgh says:

            “It isn’t a matter of retaking Austria *to prop up the regime that failed to hold it*. It’s a matter of retaking Austria to deny the Ottomans a major foothold in central Europe. You don’t leave a hostile, aggressive power in control of territory which gives them the high ground next to your country.”

            Oh, the irony!

  2. dave o says:

    A possible clue about when the Turks actually start: In 1636 The Cardinal Virtues Gustav and his staff discuss Gaston’s allegations that the USE is sheltering Anne. Subsequently Anne goes to Cambrai and later to Brussels. In discussing Anne’s options, Archduchess Isabella happens to mention that Vienna is under threat by the Turks. This discussion must be at least a week, possibly more after Gustav’s meeting. It seems to me that if Isabella knew that the Turks had begun to move, she would have said Vienna would be attacked. It is impossible to believe that the Austrians would not know when the march started, and the rest of the West immediately thereafter.

  3. VernonNemitz says:

    The Austrians know that the Ottomans used an air force (blimps or some such) when they took Baghdad. A siege of Vienna with associated air power is not going to go well for the Austrians. I suspect the princesses/Barbies, having Race Track City as a base (and unwalled/vulnerable), are going to want to keep the Ottomans as far away as possible. And since they have connections to the superior air power of the USE….

    In 1636 it should be well-known that gunpowder makes city walls useless (Admiral Simpson’s navy vs Amsterdam). Napoleon, I think, originated the concept that the only “wall” that matters is a country’s armed forces –and so the palace at Versailles has no wall. Lots of downtimers should know that by now, Austrians included.

    • dave o says:

      You seem to have forgotten about the siege of Dresden, which happened the previous year. Admiral Simpson had 10 inch guns. Which are heavy and hard to move. It is possible but unlikely that the Turks have the equivalent. It is impossible to believe that they can be brought up with the bulk of their army. Moreover, fortresses and walled cities were capable of prolonged resistance as late as Paris during the Franco-Prussian war. I believe the siege of Varna was even later. As for Air power, about the only effect airships can obtain is terror. As weapons against a city they can only inflict minor damage.

      • dave o says:

        I was wrong about the Siege of Varna, which occurred in 1828/

      • hank says:

        Not to mention that the German Empire, in spite of massive effort, failed to take the French fortified city of Verdun in 1916. The Germans launched their offensive in early February of 1916 and the battle lasted, counting the French counter attacks, until December. Total casualties were on the order of 1,000,000+ (KIA, WIA, MIA & POW’s) But Verdun held. Actually, the French forts did quite well in The Great War. Pity the northermost fortress city project [I forget the name] which would have been right in the path of the German offensive of 1914 was called off because it would be too expensive to build. {high water table, IIRC} A mistake they repeated in the 1930’s…
        BTW, might a possible war with the Ottomans be why Adm. Simpson had to inform Commander Cantrell he was unable to reinforce him as planned? [at the end of 1635: CCitWI, Jan. 1636] Perhaps the USE Navy is heading for the Med to hit the Soft Underbelly of the Ottomans? Without a Gallipoli campaign, hopefully!
        just speculating…
        hank

        • llywrch says:

          Also keep in mind the challenge of getting the cannons *to* Vienna. The roads that exist between the Turkish supply centers & Vienna are likely not paved — & those that are were last repaired in Roman times — meaning that any that are brought will likely be too small to inflict significant damage on the Viennese walls. Unless the Sultan copies the practice of his ancestor Mehmad the Conqueror & has the siege guns cast in the battlefield.

          Although there might be a way to bring the needed heavy guns to Vienna — shipping them up the Danube, if they can be ported around the Iron Gates. That’s a tactic the Ottomans never tried, to my knowledge, & it might just work.

          Most likely the Ottomans will attempt to breach the walls thru mining: dig tunnels under the fortifications, fill them with gunpowder, then set it all off. But this is a standard practice of the time, & the Austrians will be prepared for that, most typically countermining: detect where the men underground are digging, dig their own tunnels under them & set their own explosions to kill the miners.

          IMHO, these girls asking what the strategy would be is superfluous. If the Hapsburgs plan on holding Vienna, they would be busy stockpiling provisions & materiel, as well as removing all unnecessary inhabitants of Vienna — which would be obvious to one & all. There will be little fighting: unless the walls are breached, attempting to storm the city would be costly & avoided at all cost. What is likely to happen is that after some preliminary skirmishing, the Ottomans will encircle Vienna, & except for attempting to mine the walls simply settle in for a long siege. The defenders will suffer due to the inability to replenish their food or supplies in any significant way, & the siege will end either when the Viennese are starved out — or someone rides to the rescue & drives off the Ottoman army.

          • Lyttenburgh says:

            “Also keep in mind the challenge of getting the cannons *to* Vienna. The roads that exist between the Turkish supply centers & Vienna are likely not paved — & those that are were last repaired in Roman times — meaning that any that are brought will likely be too small to inflict significant damage on the Viennese walls. Unless the Sultan copies the practice of his ancestor Mehmad the Conqueror & has the siege guns cast in the battlefield.”

            Nevertheless, they did exactly that in 1683 – there were 150 guns, albeit of most of them were just field guns or medium. So, purely in theory, the Ottomans could decide to bring more siege artillery instead. Getting siege cannons where you want them is not impossible if there is a will and need. During 1677 siege of Chyhyrin Ibrahim pasha had with him entire batteries of 60 and 51 pound guns (27 in total), plus 130 field guns and 15 siege mortars. They also had 4 super-heavy siege cannons, each transported by 32 pairs of bulls.

            Oh, and there will be “tunnel warfare”, to be sure. I just don’t think that it would be only one way for the Turks to break Vienna’s walls.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      “In 1636 it should be well-known that gunpowder makes city walls useless (Admiral Simpson’s navy vs Amsterdam).”

      Amsterdam? What are you talking about?

      • Bret Hooper says:

        @Tweeky: I think he is thinking about shredded cow Hamburg, not Amsterdam.

        • Doug Lampert says:

          Quite possibly that’s what was meant, it’s what I assumed earlier when I first read the post. But it’s irrelevant. We’re only 31 years before Vauban more or less invented the “modern” fortification (basically what was used into the early 20th century with only minor refinements). And the Vauban Star fortress hardly sprang from Vauban’s head in its entirety with no prior development.

          Then current 1636 fortifications from our world would be far from useless against the guns that can be brought up in 1636 in the 1632verse.

          And I’m not sure where the Ottomans are supposed to be getting high tech weapons. That the Russians have any good weapons is unlikely enough. That they’d give them to the Turks in numbers would be utterly bizarre. That the Turks would have managed to rearm and retrain 120,000 man army without anyone noticing?

          Meanwhile: Simpson was going up against river fortresses intended to stop then current wooden shipping, and he was doing so with ironclads that let him put his 10′ rifled guns (with explosive shells) as close to the walls as he cared to put them. The Ottomans have neither the ability to build the 10″ guns nor the armor to get them that close.

          Rationally, since they are much closer to Grantville and have a much larger up-timer presence the Austrian’s should have more and better up-time based tech. The Austrians have been fighting against up-timers and trading and talking to up-timers. They should have an idea of what’s available and some samples.

          If I were an Austrian general I’d be worried, but far from panicked by the oncoming invasion force, and I’d expect to be able to stand siege rather well. My biggest worry would be supplies.

    • Andy says:

      The Ottomans don’t have the tools to build the tools to build the weapons Admiral Simpson used.

      With regard to the ottoman’ blimps, I wonder what they are powered with. I doubt they use up-time motors. Steam perhaps? Even that would be an extraordinary accomplishment for a power that seems to have had no direct contact to Grantville. And I have my doubts about primitive steam engines on a blimp.

      If however, these blimps are a serious factor, an allied USE could send one plane to defeat all of them in an afternoon. Maybe they just need to drop molotow cocktails out of a window.

  4. Tweeky says:

    ““It is the custom by which the Ottomans recruit Christian boys, almost always from the Balkans, and then convert them to Islam and indoctrinate them to serve the dynasty. ”

    The author forgot to mention that these boys were forcibly converted to islam.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      “The author forgot to mention that these boys were forcibly converted to islam.”

      Yes they were. But the author has here an excuse – it’s the Grand Duke doing the exposition, so we have a case of “unreliable narrator” to explain any inconsistencies.

    • Andy says:

      Which is a bit superfluous because they are abducted at a very young age anyway. It’s not even a more “involuntary” conversion than their Christian education would have been. Back then, even nuns used corporal punishment to make sure children developed the proper faith and attitudes.

      • Lyttenburgh says:

        “Which is a bit superfluous because they are abducted at a very young age anyway. “

        Only they were not “abducted”. Sometimes they were voluntary given up by their parents, who hoped for their children to have better life than they had at the moment (everything beats being a non-muslim peasant subject of the Ottomans).

        “Back then, even nuns used corporal punishment to make sure children developed the proper faith and attitudes.”

        Uhm, a lot of people (parents included) used corporal punishment on their – and other – kids. So what?

  5. Lyttenburgh says:

    “As usual when Lyttenburgh writes about military affairs, he is wrong.
    The presence of the Turks in central Europe is a threat to all the surrounding powers. And plenty of wars have been started for no particularly good reason, which is not the case here,

    And having weak Austria is clearly preferable to a strong Turkey”

    Despite the fact that I served in the Army (signal corps), I do not pretend to be a military genius. First of all – I’m a historian. Was the Turkish presence a threat to the countries neighboring them? Yes. Could they do anything on their own, alone? No. Was there instances when anti-Turkish coalitions failed to materialize, or when various European powers actually supported the Sublime Porta directly or indirectly? Yes.

    USE resources are not unlimited. There were several conflicts and crises that nearly brought down the whole edifice of this new state. People are sick and tired of war. Can you, dave o, guarantee that the USE, as a state, would start a war with the Ottoman empire all on its own?

    “If the Turks leave several garrisons (where exactly) they will be easily defeated. And why exactly should the Turks destroy Vienna. They didn’t when they captured Byzantium. Or Budapest Or Belgrade. The whole point of trying to conquer territory is to get some use of it. Taxes or slaves for example”

    Depends on severity of the resistance and the general strategic situation. Knowing full well, that you can’t hold such far away prize, could force the Ottoman commander to destroy Vienna denying the Habsburgs any viable resources should they retake this territory. They then would fall back to newly captured fortresses that would allow them to control the Imperial Hungary (true prize of this campaign all along) which could be more easily defended, supported and resupplied. Oh, and take back with you as much slaves and loot as you can, killing/burning down everything that you can’t move to deny the enemy.

    Habsburgs, should they return back and even retake what’s left of Vienna, will have severely reduced resource base. And the Ottomans, who might make a come back the next year.

    The rest depends on Eric – in which direction he plans to move the RoF-verse. Because all real fighting, “make it or break it” will take place in 1637 with the second wave of the Ottoman onslaught. To defeat it means uniting currently squabbling (in the best case scenario) and outright hostile to each other realms of Christendom and then deliver major military defeat to the Turks, which would preclude them from gathering another 100k+ strong army for at least a decade.

  6. laclongquan says:

    Ottoman Empire got linked with an important part of Russia that can supply them with rifled cannons and heavier than air balloons. So a THERE siege will still be more chancy than OUR history would tell.

    • Cobbler says:

      Ottoman Empire got linked with an important part of Russia that can supply them with rifled cannons and heavier than air balloons.

      The last time I saw heavier than air balloons was at a children’s party.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      “Ottoman Empire got linked with an important part of Russia”

      Please, enLYTTEN me – with what “part of Russia” did the Ottoman Empire “got linked”?

      Russia at that moment has no industrial capacity to supply, nor the means to deliver en masse more or less advanced arms to the Turks. And they knew how to make flintlocks for a long time.

      • dave o says:

        Despite L the Russians have provided whatever “modern” arms that the Turks have.

      • hank says:

        Have you not read “1636: The Kremlin Games” yet? Or the earlier version, “Butterflies in the Kremlin” which was in the Gazette a few yers back?
        That’s where you’ll find the industrial capacity being created in Russia. One faction in the looming Russian Civil War set up in that book has been trading arms to the Ottomans.
        Check your scorecard before commenting on the state of play, please. 8)#
        hank

        • Lyttenburgh says:

          I read Butterflies in the Kremlin way back when it was one of the GG series. The moment I saw “Gorg Huff and Paula Goodlett (+ Eric Flint) Proudly Present to you – THE KREMLIN GAMES!!!” I decided that I won’t be swindled twice for the same (mediocre) thing. Furter books by H&G proved to me that I was right and that you can safely ignore whaterver they wrote, unless Eric specially mentions something to be, indeed, part of the official “canon”.

          It’s one thing to write a book and claim something. Author must also present a reasonable explanation. H&G are lacking in this department. So, make an effort:

          1) Take a map
          2) Apply 17th c. borders on it.
          3) Picture a trade route between Russia and the Ottoman empire.
          4) Try to explain to me how a large quantity of advanced weapons could be transported safely (and regularly) along said route.

          And, nuh-huh – “But the book says they did that!” is not an argument. Authors can be wrong.

          P.S. IIRC, such “supplies” began only in early 1636. To liitle and too late to improve the Ottoman army.

  7. dave o says:

    Service in the signal corp gives one no credibility as a grand strategist, strategist, or tactician.
    As a historian you should know that the aftermath of the 1684 invasiom resulted in a coalition against Turkey, including Austria and Venice which made considerable gains, including much of Greece. Many of the German states allowed Austria or Venice to hire troops from them. In fact this war allowed the states to form more or less modern standing armies. Eventually the war failed, and Turkey recovers, except in Hungary. At least one factor in the failure was the policies and wars of Louis XIV . On the subject of USE resources. At the moment it has two wars going: Bavaria and Poland. The war with Bavaria, absent a miracle will be ended in 1636 perhaps before the Turks reach Vienna The USE is on good terms and not threatened at all by the Netherlands or Bohemia.The only possible western threat is from France, which is currently engaged in a civil war
    As for the rest of your comment it is all unfounded speculation.

    • Lyttenburgh says:

      “Service in the signal corp gives one no credibility as a grand strategist, strategist, or tactician.”

      Never claimed to be one. I was a simple grunt. What’s your credentials though, dave o?

      “As a historian you should know that the aftermath of the 16843 invasiom resulted in a coalition against Turkey, including Austria and Venice which made considerable gains, including much of Greece”

      That’s where you are wrong. Anti-Ottoman coalition was formed well before the invasion, with Jan III Sobieski getting everyhting ready on his turf by 1682 – that’s right, a full year before the invasion. The same goes to the diplomatic efforts to force various European powers to join this coalition and, well, do something with the Turks.

      “The war with Bavaria, absent a miracle will be ended in 1636 perhaps before the Turks reach Vienna”

      Hurray! So they have just a 3rd Division to spare. Which is not much.

      “The only possible western threat is from France, which is currently engaged in a civil war”

      Not quite… yet.

      • dave o says:

        Except that the 3rd division has a lot more fire power than the Turks.

        And ii not yet, who. The last I heard, Poland is in Eastern Europe
        and Spanish Italy is in Southern Europe. With the Alps in between.

      • dave o says:

        Unless you mean not a civil war yet. If you reread

        Unless you mean not a civil war yet. If you were to reread the last part of The Cardinal Virtues, you will see the war has already started. Not to mention a possible war with Spain.

        tthe

      • dave o says:

        Sobieski’s position in Poland was weak. As I recall the Poles didn’t have much to do with events after the siege.

  8. AJNolte says:

    There’s one other thing to think about: in war, the other guy gets a vote. In this case, we’ve had hints that Murad regards the USE as an existential threat, which implies to me he’s not planning to stop at the Hapsburg borders. And IIRC at this point Austria and Bavaria in fact share a border, so the possibility of conflict between Stearnes and advance Ottoman elements can’t be discounted.

    The USE might not want a war, and might not think the Hapsburgs are worth defending. But the way the narrative has been pointing they may get one whether they want it or not.

    I’d also point out that, for Catholics and Protestants of all stripes at the time, “Turks” were on par with the anti-Christ. [There’s a reason Luther’s ‘wise Turk’ comments were shocking in context]. Democracy, in this case, could also work against the idea of the USE sitting this one out.

    Based on all these variables, combined with the typical calculus of a sixteenth century European monarch, I’d put the odds of a war between the USE and the Ottomans by the end of this book somewhere north of 65%

    • Andy says:

      I think the Ottoman army will have their hands full in the siege of Vienna for this campaigning season. No way they want to engage the USE during the siege or after it.

      That Gustav Adolf doesn’t want the Ottoman Empire in Austria or further west and north of Austria, is already pretty clear. For that matter, the sultan sees the USE as a threat. In a sense they are already “at war”, and in another sense, they won’t be during this book.

      • Lyttenburgh says:

        “I think the Ottoman army will have their hands full in the siege of Vienna for this campaigning season. No way they want to engage the USE during the siege or after it.”

        Some tatar murza could get overzelous with “foraging” and engage way beyond Vienna. But that’s just a possibility, not 100% assured fact.

        “That Gustav Adolf doesn’t want the Ottoman Empire in Austria or further west and north of Austria, is already pretty clear.”

        And does he want another quagmire?

        • dave o says:

          Why are you so sure it will be a quagmire? Because you say so?

          • Lyttenburgh says:

            If you have to fight not together with Austrians (’cause there won’t be much left of them), but instead of them, if you have to retake territory for them, garrison it and defend it – for years to come – then, yes, this is a quagmire.

            And why are you so sure it would be a curb-stomp battle? Because *you* say so?

  9. If the USE goes to war to retake Vienna, it may well succeed, but there is no obvious reason why it would reinstall the Hapsburgs as running the place. They would want someone of the right faith, but who was supportive of American efforts to improve Europe.

    • Drak Bibliophile says:

      One obvious reason is that if GA had an agreement with Ferdinand concerning supporting the A-H Empire against the Turks, then GA wouldn’t want to be seen as “stabbing Ferdinand in the back”.

      Another obvious reason is that Vienna isn’t all of the A-H Empire. If Ferdinand is still in control of a good part of the A-H Empire with troops in the field, an attempt by the USE to put somebody else in control of the A-H Empire is a good way to start another war after the Turks are driven out.

      Of course, there’s also the problem of “who replaces the Hapsburgs” in the A-H Empire unless of course you want a USE puppet in control.

    • Andy says:

      I still don’t agree to the assumption that Vienna will fall.

  10. Bob says:

    You also have to consider the fact that war was the normal state of being for most Germans at the time and that Gustavus Adalphus might also want the opportunity to present himself as the defender of Christian Europe. I think there’s a fair chance of pulling Bohemia, Venice, a couple of the other Italian states, as well as possibly the Netherlands into an Anti-Ottoman alliance.

  11. Bob says:

    Then there’s the probability that sanity breaking out in Poland and the rational faction seizing power in the country leading to peace with the USE and perhaps war with their traditional enemies, the Ottomans or even the Crimean Khanate preventing their sending troops to the ottomans.

  12. Stewart says:

    I’m impressed !
    I haven’t seen this many knives out in the discussion since the last time someone re-brought up the Solaran Fleet dead horse over on David Weber’s site.

    — Stewart

  13. Bret Hooper says:

    I’m wondering: Will the silver & gold of the Bank of Austria still be there when the Ottomen take over? I suspect that the Barbies will get it safely to the USE, perhaps on deposit with OPM so it will be earning interest for Austrians, What do you think?

  14. Hal Porter says:

    I was 200 words into a “contribution” to the discussion, hit a key, and cyberoblivion!

    But guys, please, no ad hominem attacks! You are all bright, have something to contribute, and well, only I am right! I was in central Europe for a month, this summer, and was amazed at the understanding of history even a few days looking at landscape, countryside, can make. But anyway, ex cathedra, I will state that the straight crenellated “castle” wall was blown up but the perfection of French field artillery and subsequent march through the length of Italy, blowing up pretty much everything in their path that didn’t surrender, to attack Naples (I guess they didn’t have a good enough fleet to go by sea). By 1550 or so Italian architects, such as L. Da Vinci, were in high demand for new-style fortifications that eventually morphed into the star forts of the late 17th century. Even as a complete layman I was able to date Warsaw’s walls to the decade (about 1500). The Star forts were obsolete by the U.S. Civil War, by the way. In this The attack on Hamberg was accurately described. The fixed fortification was dead, replaced for a while by truly complex trench warfare invented by Generals Longstreet, Sherman, and Joe Johnston (among others). This is explained very well by historians William H. McNeill in “Pursuit of Power” and also a chapter (“Fire” I believe) of John Keegan’s”A History of Warfare.” Both books deserve to be read for other reasons, I have many disagreements with both authors, but both books are very rewarding. Another chapter of Keegan’s briefly discusses the “Zulu crush,” for example, which I believe may have been related to Eric Flint’s Master’s thesis, though Eric was writing at a much earlier date. It is a great frustration to this former magazine editor, that so fine and important a book is diminished by small copy editing, proof reading, and fact checking errors. Keegan’s editor at Hutchison, the British publisher, deserves dismissal for a laziness and lack of willingness to spend a few bucks on fat least freelance copy readers and fact checkers knowledgeable about military history. The book was bound to sell well for decades, yet its authority is diminished by sloppy production.

    Even if Keegan was beginning to be affected in small ways by Alzheimers, that is no excuse for his publisher. The “History of War” was the culminating intellectual work of Keegan’s lifetime, just as “Pursuit of Power” is, in a sense, for McNeill. McNeill, however, is most directly relevant to the 1632 series.

    Oh yes, Ii is inconceivable to me that the GA of the OTL or the NTL would acquiesce to the Ottoman’s moving even further into Europe, much less all the other characters. And remember, while there are exceptions mandated by geography (Warsaw, Richmond, Va, Paris) the capital is not the nation/country. Vienna is not Prague or Austria. Furthermore, I don’t know the country between Belgrade, Budapest, and Vienna, but the Ottoman army may have bypassed many Hungarian strongpoints, and their Transylvanian satraps might be restless and revolt.

    A question: What is the route like down to the Dalmatian coast, perhaps near Italy? Is the route too rugged for a large army to move through quickly? Could the Ottomans be planning on taking Vienna, move south into Slovenia and/or Croatia, and then move onto their true objective, Venice and points south. Also, with crude steam barges, could the Ottoman army be supplied at least in part up the Danube, unlike earlier invaders? Just thoughts, I don’t know the country.

    A final note: you bet your sweet whatever that the central bank will load its assets onto a barge for transport at least to Linz, if not points north (Magdeburg, Brussels/Antwerp?)

    • Cobbler says:

      Nice post, Hal.

      Lots of luck damping out the ad hominems. I tried that, last snippet, to no avail.

      “I was 200 words into a “contribution” to the discussion, hit a key, and cyberoblivion!”

      That’s why God invented word processors. Type it out there. Copy and paste here.

      • Hal Porter says:

        Good advice, thanks.
        Also, by the time I was finished and too tired to proof my work. As I just scanned it, big mistake. French in Italy, 1490s, for example. Sorry, and yes I fear that the authority of my post is diminished by sloppy production!

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