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Austria and Hungary


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[b]Burgas province, Byzantine Empire
180 kilometers northwest of Constantinople[/b]

The cracking of muskets filled the air, smoke quickly rising into the sky. They were near the city of Varna, a fort built a century ago overlooking the region. The army he, Johann von Habsburg, Duke of the Ostmarch was leading was supposed to relieve the Byzantine armies around Constantinople. Instead, they'd run into Turkish patrols who were reinforced insanely quickly by their nearby garrison as it seemed. His 8,000 men - both cavalry and infantry, with 30 guns - were not in the best shape, but nontheless, they fought valiantly. The Turks had slightly larger numbers, God knows how they did that. Luckily, they lacked any artillery, even though the chambered cannons he had at his disposal weren't the most accurate guns ever.
A mere 400 meters away were the Turks, or Ottomans as they were more and more often called these days, after their leader. Much like the Austrians, they'd fired their guns, both sides all at once. Dozens fell, but hundreds stood as the Pikemen walked forward on the Austrian side to prevent Turkic cavalry to ram into their lines.
"Right flank!"
Halberdiers protected the flanks, their weapons more versatile if harder to use than the common pikes. They lowered their weapons, waiting for the oncoming storm of Turks on their horses, lightly armoured but armed with bows and curved swords, devastatingly efficient with both of these weapons.
Unfortunately, many had their bows at the ready.
But before the Turks could attack, a rain of arrows would hopefully hit them. Johann watched the arrows fly into the air, arc and...
'Yes!', he thought to himself. They indeed did hit, though despite all this, many of the riders were still on their horses. "How in the Lord's name are they this resilient?", he muttered.

The Turks fired. The Austrian bowmen would retaliate. Then the lines of Musketeers woudl fire again, at both enemy cavalry and infantry. It was a slow, grinding battle, unlike others fought all over the Byzantine Empire, but this one was the most deceisive of all.
Every last second these troops were fighting, they couldn't reinforce the Second Rome, Constantinople.
And every second, the Turks drew closer to the city, with a mere 7,000 Byzantines and 10,000 Austrians within its walls, against what would be a flood of Ottomans.
Constantine XI. was preparing personally for the battle. Messengers predicted the Turks would arrive within the next week. Yet, the reinforcements were nowhere in sight.

It was wednesday, the 28th March of 1453.

Edited by Lynneth
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OOC note: Everyone is welcome to write an Ottoman or Austrian/Hungarian here, preferrably a general because the soldiers usually didn't survive too long. :V

[b]Byzantine Empire
20 kilometers from Constantinople
12 days later[/b]

"What's the status, Marshal?"
"Unfortunately not good, my Liege. The Ottomans have already encircled the city, and there are too many for us to break through to reinforce Constantinople. According to news from out far flanks, the Ottomans are stopping our armies wherever they can, fighting slow battles as the one a few days ago."
"Curse them...Is there any information about their numbers?"
"Unfortunately, no. Only rough estimates, which range from 50,000 to more than 350,000 men. We don't have any reliable spies in their lines."
"Then we'll just have to try and take at least some pressure off the Byzantines."
"We will need to harass the Ottomans, attack and retreat. We'll have to keep that up for as long as we can."
"They may simply send overwhelming forces against us."
"For that, we need a superior position. A hill or low mountain nearby."
The Marshal nodded. "It shall be done, my Lord."


[b]Vienna, Austria[/b]

"Milord, what is thy wish?"
"Taxes. Because of the continuous war against the Ottomans, we need to buy equipment for our men and train them. This is expensive, and thus every man shall contribute thirtyfive pieces of copper for every hundred he has, or the equivalent."
"Isn't that rather harsh, Milord?"
"Necessary, unfortunately."
"So it shall be, then."
"Our peasants shall be instructed in the use of the best farming techniques known to us. If necessary, attempt developing better ones, but for the sake of them. If they have larger harvests, they surely will have less resentment towards the Crown."
"Of course, my Liege."
"Once we have the money, the castles around Vienna should be strengthened. If the Ottomans ever approach the city - which I hope will never happen - then we need to be able to fight them off."
"Austria is rich, but this is a great project."
"It will have to wait, of course. What about our spies, are they well-educated?"
"They are, Milord, but it could be better."
"Then they shall be sent to academies where they can learn their work well. A network of spies is necessary to keep foes at bay in less open battlefields."
"Indeed, Milord. What else shall we organise?"
"Messengers. Information is power in war, and we need a system for efficient messaging. Use whatever means you can think of."
"Yes, my Liege. It shall be done as you demand."
The Grand Duke nodded and was then left alone by the scribes, who would instruct Dukes, Marshals, Scholars and over time hundreds of people in what the leader wanted for the nation.
Surely enough, the state coffers would soon be less filled as just months before, especially attempting to teach peasants better techniques requiring unexpected amounds of Gulden.

But even then, it would take time to establish these things, time that some claimed the Grand Duchy didn't have.

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"Mein Freiherr," a nobleman addressed the leader of the Army of Berlin, Freiherr Wilhelm von Klein. "The scouts report the Turkish city of Ioannina is ahead. Defenses are rather substantial, but our cannon experts say it will fall rather quickly to massed fire."
"Garrison?" Freiherr von Klein asked.
"Negligible. The vast majority of the Ottoman army is currently fighting the Austrians and the Byzantines in and around Constantinople. At best, 1,000 professional soldiers, and maybe twice that number local militia, but the Greeks aren't exactly going to be willing to fight for their Turkish overlords."
"Mm. Assemble our forces. We march for Ioannina immediately. When we lay siege, the Turks will likely send out messengers to inform the Ottoman army. I want them dead. If the Ottoman army finds out about this, it will be from a Turkish prisoner taken to them at Constantinople."
"Yes, mein Freiherr," the nobleman said.
"Tell the artillery experts to arrange our cannon in the most efficient way they can think of when we reach Ioannina. This won't be an extended siege. This will be a breach, missile exchange, and an assault. The Second Rome depends on us."
"Yes, mein Freiherr."
The nobleman bowed as best he could while still mounted, and rode off towards the rest of the army.

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[url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mnN-gbKmvE&feature=related]Mehter Marsi[/url]

Zağanos Pasha was said to be a tall and intelligent man, coming from a respected and old family, who served the Seljuk and Ottoman Sultans many years. His grandfather was a Grand Vizier, and Zağanos was very proud of that. He rode in the saddle with his back firmly erect presenting a regal appearance while listening to the music of the march. Many of his soldiers sang as they marched.

Zağanos Pasha's troops were the first to reach the towers of Constantinople. Zağanos' Command consisted of a Corps of Jannissaries consisting of 3 ortas (Battalions) numbering 2400 troops; 5 ortas of Sappers (Engineers) numbering 1500; a detachment of 1500 Serbian Cavalry supplied by Đurađ Branković; but the majority of Zağanos' command consisted of 75 ortas of Ottoman Cavalry numbering approximately 88,000 troops. In total, Zağanos commanded 93,400 Ottoman Troops.

Zağanos slowly and methodically lined his forces up just north of the Golden Horn facing the Gate of Adrianople. The Austrian, Byzantine and Genoese defenders manned the walls from Blachernae in the north to the Golden Gate and Marble Tower in the south. Zağanos watched as his Sultan erected a bright red tent immediately in front of the walls of Constantinople as if to show contempt for the men inside. The large cannons, Mehmet brought with him were unlimbered near the Sultan's position. Some of the Artillery Mehmet brought with him were as long as 9 meters and fired projectiles weighing more than half a ton.

Zağanos Pasha was confident that the Ottoman army facing Constantinople could easily reduce this city. There was no need for haste as the Christians would not be able to reinforce their feeble positions. "We will wait until after the Sultan's Artillery fires on the wall before we advance," Zağanos instructed his subordinate commanders.

Edited by Gunther
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OOC: >>Byzantine and Genoese defenders<<
Also Austrian defenders, roughly 10,000 augmenting the historical 7,000 Byzantine defenders


[b]Byzantine Empire
Within the walls of Constantinople[/b]

Andreas von Wels, veteran of earlier wars and Count under the Emperor was worried. He'd arrived here in Constantinople but a week before the Turks had laid siege to the city, for a grand total of perhaps twenty days by now.
His troops had brought needed reinforcements, weaponry and ammunition, but all that would last only so long. Muskets needed powder, bows and crossbows arrows. None of this could easily be produced here, unfortunately.

Right now, the Graf was standing on one of the massive walls of the city, looking down upon the Ottoman armies, sitting there and waiting for something. Thus, he and his men were forced to wait, slowly but surely using up the food stocks. Yes, there was plenty of food and they could probably just sit here for a year or two doing nothing, but he hated sitting on his rear, waiting for something to happen.
Von Wels decided to go into the Emperor's palace to convene with Constantine XI and his generals, to look over the map and where to bring battle to the Turks if they managed to break through the city's thick walls.

The [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Byzantine_Constantinople_eng.png"]map[/url] was detailed with as much information as they could gather with the limited information network that existed.
For all they knew, the Turks had annihilated the reinforcements coming from Austria and other states.

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[b]Outside the Gates of Constantinople[/b]

"Take 10 ortas and head north," Sultan Mehmet ordered Alp Onder. "Send out scouts and look for any Christians who may decide to head here in hopes of saving the city. If and when you locate any, send a runner back here to inform me of the contact and then fight a delaying action eastward. Keep me abreast of your progress."

"Right away, sire!" Alp Onder galloped away.

Zağanos Pasha watched as the big guns began punishing the exterior walls of Constantinope. Their focal point were those sections of the wall that were the highest. The Gate of Adrianople which stood on Sixth Hill and The gate of St. Romanus which stood on Seventh Hill.

twenty minutes after the bombardment of the central gates of Constantinople began, roughly 12,000 Ottoman cavalry galloped north and west away from the city heading for Thrace and Serbia. Alp Onder ordered detachments of 100 horse to ride off in several directions seeking any advance by the European Christians. Each of these Troop sized detachments were ordered to avoid contact with the enemy, learn of their dispositions and report back to Alp Onder. In five days, if they did not find any, everyone would gather at [i][b]Svilengrad[/b][/i] (Bulgaria) for reporting and accountability. Once all patrols had returned, the detachments would move out again for a five day patrol gathering at [i][b]Sofia[/b][/i] (Bulgaria). Once the [i]reconnaissance in force[/i] had arrived at Sofia, they would scatter into the hills to the east and south waiting for any contact; only to collapse back on Sofia in five days for an update. This would continue until contact was made. Then the 12,000 Ottomans would drop back to a suitable defensive position and begin to harrass the advancing invaders.

[i][b]Planned Reconnaissance in force (Operations Map):[/b][/i]


Three hours after the bombardment of the Gates of Constantinople, the walls began to crumble in some sections and Zağanos Pasha ordered 30 orta (about a third of his force) to advance in a wheeling charge at the gaps. The Ottamans charged forward discharging their weapons from the saddle as they neared the walls. The Genoese, Austrian and Byzantine defenders returned fire upon the Charging Ottomans.

When the Ottoman cavalry returned to their starting point, they would reload their pieces and continue the attack. It created a never ending loop of charging Cavalry expending rounds wildly toward the walls. Zağanos Pasha allowed this spectacle to continue for well over an hour. He halted the display after some 900 of his men lay dead in front of the Gates of Constantinople. As soon as the wheeling attacks ended, the large guns returned to the business of bombarding the walls of the City. The rest of the day continued in this fashion, with the Ottomans sending no fewer than seven waves at the walls only to retire each time taking more and more losses. The Janissaries stood expressionless at their position in the line waiting for their time to advance. By the end of this day, the Ottomans had left over 5,000 dead on the field.

"Tomorrow is another day," Zağanos Pasha told his subordinate commanders. "In time, they will not be able to stand."

(OOC: The wheeling charge is a technique first used by Alexander the Great against the Persians. Attacking chariots would present a small profile while advancing toward the enemy. The drivers would wheel to the left or right which allowed the archers standing behind them to fire presenting a larger silhouette for the enemy, but only for brief seconds and then the driver would turn away and return to their starting point only to repeat the process several more times. The anticipated effect is that with several thousand chariots doing this, some arrows would hit enemy soldiers. It is in essence a very large ancient machine gun.)

Edited by Gunther
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[b]The Ottoman Turkish Army outside Constantinople
The Next Day[/b]

"Let's remove the corpses from the field," Mehmet dictated to his runners. "Inform Zağanos Pasha to send an emissary under a flag of truce for a cease fire to enable the opportunity to clear the field and pay respects to the dead. We need only until the sun goes down to complete this task."

"Right away, sire!"

The Turkish Army busied themselves with the distasteful task of picking up corpses and removing them to a suitable resting place. It was a laborious task and no one enjoyed performing it, but all agreed that it need be accomplished.

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[b]Throughout former Byzantine territory[/b]

The Ottomans would inevitably find Austrians here and there. While it could be hard estimating the total numbers, it was likely that the double-reign had sent almost a hundred thousand normal troops in total (including the 10,000 in Constantinople), around 40% of them armed with Muskets, roughly 30% with Pikes, around 20% with Crossbows and 10% being Halberdiers, while another 10,000 Cavalry in total were supporting them. These forces were split, with 10,000 being in Constantinople and the rest being in nineteen detachments, 17 of them consisting of 5,000 men, the last two being 7,000 and 8,000 respectively. They all were taking different routes through the regions of Bulgaria and northern Greece, but all were attempting to either siege Ottoman forts or relieve the defenders in Constantinople.
Each of the nineteen armies had 40 or 40 artillery guns with them.
The Austrians, wearing white clothes to show their affiliation were using tactics called "[url="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v284/Lynneth_del_Serpentas/AE/CNRP/EURP/Tactican/Inf14.png"]Defensive Musketeer[/url]" by their commanders, quite worthwhile against the Ottomans who used considerable amounts of Cavalry, but even better against the Nomad hordes on the isle Crim and their eastern brothers.
[url="http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v284/Lynneth_del_Serpentas/AE/CNRP/EURP/Mappan/LocPath01.png"][img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v284/Lynneth_del_Serpentas/AE/CNRP/EURP/Mappan/th_LocPath01.png[/img][/url] (click)

In the meantime, Johann von Habsburg and his army were near the city of Durusu, very much north of Constantinople, on the Black Sea coast. Here, a few of the last loyal Byzantines were found, supplying the Austrian and his men with food and accomodation, at least for one night or two.
"Marshal, how is the situation?"
"Spies report the city is holding, but the massive Ottoman bombards are going to put a dent or two into the walls, and they'll break through eventually."
"Not good."
"Indeed. However, the initial detachment sent to the Byzantines, commanded by Andreas von Wels, made it into the city and is helping defend it. They more than doubled the strength of the defenders from what we could find out."
"That's good news. They'll hold much longer."
"Until food runs out, unfortunately. We don't know when that will be, but our armies should assemble if we want to stop the Ottomans."
"Their forts are only manned with a few dozen to hundred men, aren't they? The Turks poured all their resources into this battle."
"It does seem so. But even so, taking these forts may take unnecessary amounts of time."
"Then send messengers, lone and fast. They must get through to the other detachments; They have to concentrate on getting here. With our combined might, we will defeat the Ottomans!"
"Are you sure?"
"No. But at the very least we'll weaken them severely."
The Marshal nodded. "I will send messengers immediately."


[b]Byzantine Empire
Within the walls of Constantinople[/b]

As the Ottomans cleaned the dead off the Battlefield, the defenders watched, but always vigilant, just in case the enemy tried to do something.
However, some volunteers had gone down and begun helping the Ottomans, to lessen the risk of a plague ravaging through the populous city with its 50,000 inhabitants and 17,000 defenders.

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A chain of explosions and crashes echoed through the still afternoon air as twenty-five demi-cannons fired at a section of stone wall.
"First line reload! Second, FIRE!"
Twenty-five more cannons just behind the others fired at the wall as the first line reloaded.
"Second line reload! Third! FIRE!"
"First line ready?"
"Yes, sir."

The 75 cannons of the Army of Berlin were set up in a tight, staggered formation, so that the second and third lines could fire at the same area of wall as the first without hitting the cannons in front of them, and keeping a constant pressure on the wall to prevent Ottoman stoneworkers from repairing it.

Now, chunks of stone fell from the wall even when the cannons weren't firing. When they did, bits of rock flew from the point of impact.
"The wall's weak! Mass volley on my order. Reload!"
The third line finished reloading; the captain in charge of them waved to signal to the commander that they were ready.
Every cannon fired simultaneously at the wall, which shattered and collapsed.

"Infantry, forward!" Freiherr von Klein ordered. The Pike of the Line rushed for the opening in their own tight formation, and the halberdiers moved behind them. "Phalanx!" von Klein roared as they neared the Ottoman soldiers that had rushed for the opening. The Pikemen lowered their spears at the command and engaged the lightly armed Ottoman infantry. The Muslim warriors pushed forward with their own thin, wooden shields, but the steel pike tips moved in a frenzy, jabbing at any opening and peeling off the Ottomans as they came. Casualties were minimal, and the Ottoman garrison commander realized a frontal assault would fail, so he took a different approach.

"Enemy on the walls!" a Brandenburgian halberdier shouted, holding his halberd in the direction of the approaching Ottoman archers.
"Archers! Direct fire to the wall!" von Klein ordered. The longbowmen formed up and fired a volley at the walls; the Ottoman archers had to duck behind the battlements to minimize casualties, but this also meant they couldn't shoot at the pikemen. They had to do something, so the Ottoman captain ordered them to return fire against the longbowmen. As they stood up, the Brandenburgian musketeers opened up on them; inaccurate as the snaphance rifles were, the straight lines of fire allowed them to pick off more Ottomans than the longbowmen.

The walls were cleared, and the pikemen surged forward to the town center, with the halberdiers marching behind to prevent a maneuver against the rear as they advanced. At the center of the town, they found the remaining 400 Ottomans backed up by 2,000 Greeks. The Pikemen held their position in the street as Freiherr von Klein rode up to the back of the line with a small detachment of cavalry.

"Greeks! Brothers of the Faith!" he called to the Greek militiamen. "I speak to you today, not as your foe, but as your liberator! I come from the North, from the great city of Berlin, and from the Holy Roman Empire! I speak with the authority of Duke Friedrich the Iron, and for the entire Christian world, when I ask you to lay down your arms! For too long, you, brave Sons of Achilles, have laid before the will of these heathens! Christians should not have to suffer the will of Muslims! You are their betters! They are not your masters! Look at you now! You outnumber them five to one alone! Show them who God favors! Show them the spirit that conquered them two thousand years ago! Rise! Rise up! Rise up, and send them into Satan's hands!"
The Ottoman soldiers looked nervously over their shoulders at the Greeks. They'd set their weapons at rest, staring at the German that sat atop his horse behind his army, and at the larger army ahead of them. Individual Turks looked at each other...then dropped their weapons and hauled $@! to the gates. About half of them did so, and the other half, realizing the odds were stacked even more against each other, followed suit. The gates were opened from when the gatekeepers had decided the best way to win this was to lose and retreat.

"After them!" von Klein ordered. The pikemen raised their spears and reorganized themselves to leave lines for the halberdiers to run through and pursue the Ottomans. They were joined by the Greek militiamen, who led the way to both gates. Any Turk that fell behind was slain by Greek or German. Those that made it to the gates saw an open way out, and something on the ground in the distance, surrounded by red.

The gatekeepers.

As the Ottomans fled out of the gates, the Brandenburgian cavalry charged towards them, lances ready, firing shots from their pistols. They had a difficult choice; sword, spear, halberd, lance, or bullet.

There were only six survivors. They were brought before Freiherr von Klein, who, dismounted, paced before them. "Six of you remain. Yet I only need two of you. Which among you are willing to renounce your beliefs, and pull away from the sways of your heathen beliefs?" The Turks remained silent. "None of you? Pity. The Lord Our God does not look kindly upon fools." Von Klein abruptly took from his belt his broadsword and swung it at the first Turk's neck. The man clenched his teeth and eyes, and that was his death mask as the head flew from his torso. The body fell forward. "Now, I ask again. Who among you are willing to join the Lord's favor?" He stopped next to the second Turk and looked down at his eyes. "You?"

The Turk met his eyes and spat at the Brandenburgian noble. The glob hit his chestplate, and von Klein looked on it disdainfully. "I don't like insolence," he said icily, sheathing his sword and taking, instead, his dagger. He grabbed the Turk by the hair and held the knife to his ear. "Take note; though I am of noble blood, I am not afraid to stain my hands with the blood of my enemies." He slashed down with the knife, severing the Turk's ear. The Turk screamed, leaning backwards on his knees. Von Klein held him forward again and starting his work with his dagger; the Turk found his nose severed, one eye stabbed out, and his tongue on the ground before him. "The penalty for a heathen's insolence to a man of God is death at the man's discretion," von Klein said calmly, holding the tongue with his gloved hand up to the man's remaining eye. He stabbed the Turk in the throat and kicked him backwards.

"Four left. Note the price of defiance." The Germanic noble looked at the others. "Same question."
One of the Turks bowed down. The other three stood upright, looking disdainfully at the bowing one.
"Nothing can sway you?" von Klein asked of the three. They shook their heads. "Then may God take your courage into consideration," he continued, addressing two of them. "As for you," he said to the third, "I still need two." He took his broadsword again, and looked at the first two. "May your courage be considered," he repeated, swinging the sword at the first, then the second. They both fell dead after each of their heads flew from their bodies.

"Take the convert to the chapel; have the priest patch up his wounds and teach him some basic scripture. Take the defiant one into an alley and make him...presentable for his fellows, then send him, too, to the priest, and ensure he does not die."

His soldiers obeyed, dragging the defiant soldier away, and some of them helping the convert towards the chapel, which was actually an Orthodox temple. Von Klein had ordered his men to excuse the Greek heresy for their loyalty to their mutual God; practices aside, they were all Christians.

The defiant Turk was mutilated; one ear was removed, his nose was cut off, crosses were cut into both of his cheeks, one hand was cut off, two fingers on the other hand were removed, his beard was cut, and his hair was shorn from his scalp. He was then taken to the priest, who made sure his wounds were patched up enough just so he would survive the trip to Constantinople.

The convert was taught bits of the Holy Bible at the priest's discretion, and his few wounds treated extensively.

Four Greeks volunteered, when prompted, for the mission von Klein was sending the Turks on. They would take a message from Duke Friedrich II to the Ottomans around the City of the World's Desires. More accurately, they would take the Turks within sight of the Ottoman army, and then send the message with the mutilated Turk, guarded by the now-Catholic Turk. Odds were the Catholic would die, and even the Greeks, if they were caught by Ottoman cavalry as they fled, but they weren't told that.

The next day, four Greeks, two Turks, and two Germans went off on the road towards Constantinople. The Germans were there simply to get reconnaissance of the area; they wouldn't go near an Ottoman.

While they set off, the Greeks allowed the Germans to plunder the Ottoman treasury in the area, and they volunteered to replace those Brandenburgians who had died in the siege. Fifty-four dead Brandenburgians, with 62 wounded. The severely wounded would stay in Ioannina, and the lightly wounded would try to keep pace with the Army. The wagons full of Ottoman treasure were also stocked with gunpowder; should they come near capture, they would be set to fire; better gone than in Turkish hands.

About seven hours after the Turkish-Greek-German group left, the army formed up, and marched east, for Edirne.

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