EU4: Russia – Shadowboxing
One of the challenges of maintaining alliances in Europa Universalis IV is that allies can and will drag you into their wars. Some years ago I basically broke my alliance with Ukraine because they kept picking fights with Poland, and later Bohemia, at times that were rarely convenient. Eventually I decided it was not worth the hassle. The scenario with England is rather different – England is very much an ally I want to keep. So England launches another war on Scotland. England is allied with Denmark, Aragon, Mali, and myself (and, of course, it colonial nations). Scotland immediately calls France into the war, and France brings in The Hansa and The Mamluks (and its own colonial nations as well). I should mention that in this game Aragon is basically an Italian power, maintaining only two provinces in Iberia, but controlling almost all of Italy apart from some of the northernmost states, and a fair bit of the Adriatic coast in what we used to call Yugoslavia. I kind of imagine that the two major Iberian colonial powers – Portugal and Castille – and rather amused, and generally benefiting from a very prolonged period of peace.
This war quickly broke down into a number of separate theatres. In the New World English Mexico slowly became over-run from French Mexico and Colombia – something that seems to happen with some regularity. On the other hand the French colonial national Nouvelle-Flandre (essentially French USA) itself was over-run – again a somewhat frequent occurrence. Meanwhile in Britain itself Scotland folded to English pressure, and therefore the warscore started to build. I concentrated on fighting The Mamluks, and France concentrated on dealing with first Denmark, and then Aragon.
Actually I was quite impressed with the French basic strategy. Relatively secure in their own homeland they first concentrated on Denmark, successfully knocking it out of the war relatively early on. They then concentrated on Aragon, flooding Italy with troops. It took a little longer, but Aragon basically had no chance by itself and suffered defeat, being forced to release Sicily. This left England, Russia, and Mali in the war.
The situation with The Mamluks at the start of the war was a little more complicated, as The Mamluks were already in a war against the Timurids and Ottomans, in which they were allied with Oman and their new vassal Baluchistan. Therefore a strange two-way war started to take place, where myself and my vassals Khazakh and Serbia could fight The Mamluks and Baluchistan, and The Mamluks, Baluchistan, and Oman could fight the Ottomans and the Timurids. Unfortunately the Ottomans and Timurids were already on the back foot, and soon it was mostly a matter of waiting for sieges to end. Meanwhile I managed to push out The Mamluk armies out of Asia Minor with some hard-fought battles – but Oman continued to prosecute the Ottoman war. My way quickly devolved into three areas of action. Firstly there was Asia Minor, which was mostly a matter of sieges using mercenaries. Then there was Syria and Iran.
About this time The Mamluks made peace with the Ottomans and the Timurids, and took a number provinces from both. Meanwhile I was expecting The Mamluk armies to return to Syria to tackle my armies there, but I made a miscalculation – they went instead to Iran where my forces were substantially fewer. A hard-fought battle at Basra ended up with a defeat, but in the end it did not matter. I gave up most of the Syrian sieges and redeployed the armies eastward, and eventually defeated and destroyed most of the Mamlukian armies. Then mostly it was back to sieging, though with two armies I made a thrust to Cairo to keep my opponents armies dispersed. About this time I noticed that Mali had managed to get some forces into the other end of The Mamluk Empire in Tunisia and Libya.
I had allowed England to exchange my provinces in the war, and now that came to my benefit when England made a peace with The Mamluks, giving me four of their provinces in the peace, including an outlet to the Mediterranean. This means there is now The Mamluks have several provinces in Asia Minor without a land connection to Cairo. Hopefully they should be easy to acquire in due course. It also got me slightly closer to me ultimate aim of Jerusalem.
Now the war looked to be in a but of an impasse. England controlled all of Scotland, the war in the North America was probably about all square when all things were considered, and no one was near anyone else. The war score stood at 27% in our favour – and that was sort of that. It looked like The Hansa were trying to make an expedition to Mali, but with Mali’s armies returning they were going to have a tough time. Meanwhile I had no viable way to get my armies to either France or The Hansa – and vice versa. I did consider a moment trying to get some troops from my colonial ventures in the Pacific to the French holdings in the Indian ocean (Gujarat, the Maldives, and the Andamans) but I just didn’t have the necessary fleet. I did start supporting some rebels in Gujarat, but that was more from lack of anything else immediate to do.
I got the premonition this is probably the future of my rivalry with France for quite a while – an inability of either of us to do anything about each other. In this particular case France had started to suffer from some war exhaustion, and a peace was declared after another 18 months or so with England taking all but one of Scotland’s remaining provinces. I imagine we will have a final round in this fight in another 15-20 years’ time.
Meanwhile I was left cooling my heels for a while as my King had died leaving me with a regency – meaning I could not declare war. On the whole though I am very happy the way things have turned out. Now I just need to somehow try to get England to have a province next to me, so I can benefit from Western Arms Trade. Precisely how I intend to go about that I am not yet sure, but a solution will probably present itself. Meanwhile I am readying for another round against what I think of the Southern Coalition – Ottomans, The Mamluks, Timurids, and Oirat. Then I intend to have a go at Khorasan, who are the power to have benefited the most from the constant beatings myself and The Mamluks have delivered to the Timurids. I am also almost ready to start rolling up some of the minor powers left in Indonesia, like Makassar and Brunei. I might also soon decide to had a go at Bohemia. Lots of possibilities.