Danish Imperial agents led off the assault on Sweden with the ramming of a Burgundian-flagged merchantman laden to the gills with gun-cotton and naptha into the number four loading dock at the entrance to the harbor of Lubeck. This raid was undertaken as soon as the ice had cleared from the harbor-mouth in 1699, and the Swedish corvette Alfskronig and the troop transport Medea's Luck were utterly destroyed in the explosion.
At the same time, Danish infiltrators attempted to poison the city wells, but were forestalled by the heavily armed presence of the Bureau 4 teams in the city dealing with the Pernicious Anemia outbreak. Rear Admiral Schildknecht was killed, however, during the fighting. Admiral Suvlenko, seeing that his position was quite exposed in Lubeck, ordered the fleet to sea to rebase to Stockholm. A flurry of messages, by ship, horse and heliograph sped east from Suvlenko's flagship, the Empress Anna Karenina.
While Suvlenko and his fleet hied themselves to Stockholm, the Regent Uma was biting her nails to the quick - the long term commitment of most of the Royal Army to either the campaign in Anatolia or the situation in Sarai had left the western frontiers of the empire all but undefended. She dispatched orders for Suvlenko to sealift the Contessa Desera and her Vth, Xth and XIIth Artillery Corps from Stockholm to Stralsund ( or Sopot if necessary ) to block the advance of the Danish armies into Poland itself. Suvlenko would then need to blockade the Skaggerak to prevent the Danish fleets from entering the Baltic.
As the Swedes were scrambling to prepare, the Danes were in headlong motion. Battlegroup Aesir, commanded by General Jaenisch and comprised of five Imperial Legions, had marched up from Verona along the military highways that now straddled the length and breadth of the Empire. They reached Holstein in early July 1699 and found that Major Sarratt and the Thuringians had already assaulted the city of Lubeck and had taken it ( with the help of sympathisers within the walls ). Jaenisch was not pleased to see that the Swedish fleet had escaped, but that was Admiral Maroczy's problem now.
At much the same time, Maroczy's Battlegroup Balder had made the long passage from the Mediterranean ( scaring the bejezus out of the Spanish and the English ) before landing momentarily at Dankastel and then springing forward into the Kattegatt to seek out the Suvlenko's squadrons. That old sea dog, meantime, had loaded Desera's troops in Stockholm and had landed them in Stralsund in June before turning back to sea.
The fleets met off of Helsingør in August of 1699; Balder comprised over eight hundred warships - Suvlenko had some six hundred. The Royal Navy gave a ferocious fight, but the numbers of the Danish ships and the mettle of Maroczy proved too much and the Swedish navy was driven from the sea. The Danes lost almost two hundred ships of their own, but few Swedes escaped. The Empress Anna Karenina was severely damanged and had to be scuttled off of Malmo.
With the Danish fleet controlling the crossing, Aesir crossed over into Skåne province unhindered. Jaenisch would see the gates of Stockholm yet! At the same time Maroczy landed his own troops in Holstein and advanced on Stralsund with heavy fleet support in tow. The lead Swedish cavalry screen reported to Desera that approximately 44,000 Danish legionaries were pressing on Stralsund; defended at present by Desera's four corps ( numbering about 35,000 men ). Stralsund was not well fortified, so Desera decided to abandon it and fell back to Warsaw. Hopefully, reinforcements would come from the east and give the Swedish armies in Poland a fighting chance.
Jaenisch had, while Maroczy was assaulting ( and capturing Stralsund ), wrinkled Minister Dzhersinsky out of Malmo by winter of 1699, clearing his supply lines to advance through Smaland and into Uppsala. This he did in spring of 1700, as soon as the weather permitted. Over the winter, the Thuringians had captured Friesland and Maroczy's men had dug in around Stralsund.
Over the course of the fall and winter, the Kalmar Senate had dissolved into chaos and panic and no less than three emergency governments had been elected and then deposed. Uma kept a tight reign on her emotions, thus avoiding another Octavia-like coup, and moved heaven and earth to have supplies, winter-gear, barges and transport laid in to speed the return of Anderks and the army from the east. By the onset of full winter, Anderks and his men had reached Neyvilna in Lithuania.
Jaenisch and the Aesir battlegroup punched through Smaland, capturing an undefended St.Gabrielstad and into Uppsala itself. Jaenisch looked upon the massive fortifications girdling the landward side of the ancient Swedish capital in the second week of June. Shit, he thought, these Swedes don't mess around with the fortifications, do they? During the early spring, the remaining Swedish fleet had ferried Suvlenko and as many men and siege guns as could be spared from Riga to Stockholm. They would make the Danes pay to set foot in its holy precincts!
To the south, Maroczy had found that his Balder force (reinforced with many regiments from Aesir) was now too large to be sealifted in whole by the fleet that remained. His objective was Riga, but he would have to take it by land if he did not split his forces. After long discussions with his lieutenants and the fleet captains he decided to leave most of his cavalry in Stralsund to screen the western Polish frontier. The vast bulk of his army he would take straightaway against the Swedish capital.
So it was that 53,000 Danish troops were unceremoniously deposited on the cold, windswept, beaches of Latvia at Ventspils. As Maroczy moved inland against the Swedish capital, his few advance scouts found that the Swedish Army of Russia ( under the command of Anderks ) had marched north in haste from Neyvilna to interpose itself between the hated Dane and the Senate. Knowing that his best chance for victory would come if he got to grips with the Royal Army and thrashed it, Maroczy attacked.
Tukums (July 1st - 3rd, 1700) had been a sleepy little crossroads town on the road from Ventspils to Riga before the Danish army blundered into a blocking position held by Dorner's II Cavalry corps. Flushing Dorner from the town took most of the first day, allowing Anderks' III Guards, I Guards, I, IV and VII Infantry, VI Veposkava and VIII Artillery corps to deploy off of the Riga road and along the hills east and south of the town. 54,000 Swedish troops had managed to make it into the theatre of battle.
The second day saw the Danish attempts to break the Swedish line between the big hill and the rock-pile fail, though the hellacious fighting in the woods and on the slopes of the south side of the big hill had chewed up countless regiments. On the third day it was Anderks turn to throw his II Cavalry corps and the I Guards against the Danish left flank, trying to break XI Legio Augusta and roll up the line. This time the area in the cornfields north of Tukum became a wasteland of the dead and dying, clogged with shattered artillery cassions, murdered horses and windrows of bodies. XI Augusta threw back the Swedish attack, then pressed them in the late day. On the fourth day, the V Legio Germanicus and the VII Legio Charsonenssus launched a spoiling attack against the big hill at the center of the line and then XI Augusta, supported by the remnants of III Legio Britannia ( which had been pretty well chewed up on the second day in the rock-pile ), tried to overrun the battered I Guards and VI Veposkava on the long slope at the north end of the line of battle.
XI Augusta's attack on the long slope was a disaster. Anderks had moved most of VIII Artillery into the round hill at the south junction of the slope and as XI Augusta and III Britannia charged up the grassy slope the Swedish gunners laid down a withering fire from the flank. XI Augusta hit the I Guards line and broke apart. More importantly, Moroczy was killed in the fray as he attempted to rally the men of III Britannia, who had broken in disarray as they came under fire from the round hill.
Though there was still a rough parity of numbers between the two armies, the remaining Danish commanders were unwilling to face Anderks in battle and withdrew to Ventspils and the fleet. Anderks pressed them as they withdrew killing or capturing many more of the invaders. As he watched the Danish fleet sail away, one of the staff officers of the II Guards commented; "That's the first time we've beaten those bastards in a stand up fight in centuries…" He was right.
So while the bold stroke against Riga had been turned aside, Jaenisch and his Aesir army had striven against Stockholm itself. Suvlenko, attempting to regain some of his honor after the disaster at Helsingør, commanded the defence. Aesir numbered 65,000 men, many of them siege engineers or artillerists. This was good, as Suvlenko had 17,000 men under arms in the city as well as one of the most extensive sets of fortifications in the world. It was really too bad - the Swedish Royal Engineers had set great stock by their mastery of siege warfare - that Jaenisch's siege assault shredded the defences of Stockholm and captured the Cathedral of the Most Holy in less than two months! Suvlenko managed to escape to sea with his squadron, returning them to Riga in disgrace (again) where he committed suicide.
In the ancient city, Jaenisch was grimly delighted to let his troops loose at last to plunder and burn and slay. While the island districts sparked and then were consumed in roaring flame and his men slaughtered the men of the city and raped the women in wild abandon, he and a chosen troop of his most hardened veterans betook themselves to the Cathedral itself. There, amid the scattered bodies of the priests and acolytes who ha fallen in defence of the Cross, the General found the Cross itself, mounted above a high altar. Dim sunlight, filtering through the smashed windowpanes, bathed it. Distantly, the sounds of the agonized death of a great metropolis filtered in the church.
"Pagan relic," snarled Jaenisch as he and his men threw ropes around the baulk of wood that was the Cross. "Burn it and this whole idolatrous place!" Napathene oil was splashed across the dark old wood and the altar and the pews that fronted it. Moments later a lucifer sparked and then sputtered in the heavy oil. Green flames lit around the match and then the last of the Danish marines abandoned the vaulting doors of the Cathedral as the inside was filled with a blossom of flame.
Standing on high platform that fronted the Cathedral, Jaenisch looked out upon a tableaux of hellish delights - buildings collapsing, torn from within by flame, the citizens in flight, screaming for mercy. His men, dark shadows, stalking amongst the crazed survivors, hands dripping with blood. In the darkness, his grin was bright. "This is victory," he exulted and went down into ruin to join his men.
vs.Sweden, Syria, Papacy and Trebizond
Sweden massed 23,000 troops in Warsaw under Yakob Anderks and that general marched west, pausing briefly to put down Hussite unrest in Poland itself. Shortly after entering Danish territory in Thuringia, Anderks was killed by assassins. Kristof von Dorner assumed overall command of the Swedish army in north Germania.
Meanwhile, the Danish forces encamped in Uppsala pulled up stakes and marched south, also pausing to suppress unrest in Skåne. Uppsala was abandoned completely, to be retaken by the Swedish northern forces under Pia Ullmansdottir. After the Danish forces were ferried over to Denmark, they split into two groups; 36,000 troops plus artillery under Marshall Jaenish marched into Northern Germany looking for trouble. The 600+ warship Danish fleet backed by 8,000 Imperial marines and artillery headed east, towards Riga.
The two armies in north Germania met in Thuringia and after a two-day battle at Tangermünde the Swedes were routed, the Danish superiority in cavalry proving decisive. Von Dorner is captured and another Swedish leader, Baron Tolstoy, is killed.
The Danish navy demonstrated off of Riga as a feint, but did not land. It then moved west, through the Skaggerak and up to Norway where Oslo was attacked, taken, and sacked. The Danish admiral, Przepiorka, was killed and command devolved to Captain Johner. Whilst the Danes were away, the remnants of the Swedish Baltic fleet attempted to capture the ferries linking Denmark to Skåne. Danish siege artillery on emplaced at Copenhaven shot the Swedish ships full of holes and the Swedes withdrew.
With the defeat of the Swedish main army, the Danes went on the attack -- occupying Lausatia (and Berlin), Kauyavia (destroying the fortress there) and finally Poland, capturing Warsaw at the end of turn. Another Swedish leader, Greybear, was captured during the Danish "romp". Finally, the Danish navy returned to the Baltic.
Hussite revolts broke out in Little Poland and Meissen. Both provinces are now ruled by pro-Danish princes.
Editor's note: Now read the Holy Cross War for the continuation of hostilities...