God Wills It - A HPM Roman AAR - Part 2

Author: ElvenAshwin
Published: 2017-02-06, edited: 1970-01-01

Part of the campaign:

God Wills It - A HPM Roman AAR

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Game: Victoria 2

God Wills It - A HPM Roman AAR - Part 1

Images: 83, author: ElvenAshwin, published: 2017-02-06, edited: 1970-01-01

Prince Ali, mighty is he, ungrateful prick
Following the end of the Egyptian War of Independence, in which the French Expedition, under Papal approval, liberated Egypt from Ottoman rule, the Ottoman Empire's influence in the region vanished.

Instead, the question remained over whether Egypt would fall under French or Papal influence - the French, in the end, maintained a military prescence in Egypt for the remainder of 1842. Sultan Muhammad Ali of Egypt, however, was bitter about French non-involvement in the Oriental Crisis and did not approve of Papal demands for a greater representation for the Coptic minority.

He hence had French forces expelled, under the provision that the French gain some control over trade moving through Alexandria. The British Navy, looking for a partner in the region, begins to compete with the French in the mediterranean over influence with Egypt.
Truces are just a piece of paper, right?
Pope Gregory XVI, angered over the Egyptian hostility to the Papal States, attempts to justify a war to seize Alexandria from the Egyptians. Whilst this would resolve the French-British dispute over the region (as the Papacy is firmly under French influence), it turns out that contracts signed by men apparently have more authority than God.
The Austrian Emperor dies
Celebrations are held in Rome as another Hapsburg bites the dust. God truly hates Hapsburgs, and hence granted them unfortunate chins and an incessant desire to fuck their cousins.
Stop thinking, peasants!
The Academia continue to spread their vile thoughts, promoting the notion of the individual. This is against God's word, as to love yourself implies less love for God, and your true value as a person depends not on your actions, but on your love for God.

Now, where's the altar boy?

In other news, what would eventually become the "Romanist" faction and school of thought begins to develop in the Papacy. Known currently as Republicans, these individuals, typically academics, believe in replacing the theocracy with an elected government, and separating the sovereignty over the Papal States from the Pope.
God is Not Dead. Or almost Not Dead
Continued rising Papal influence over the Italian peninsula and the Sea as a whole, under the strong arm of the French Regime, have improved its international standing.

The presence of the Kingdom of Naples, the dominant military power in the peninsula, to the south is a major obstacle to Papal hegemony over Italy.
An Army Exhausted
The French have participated in numerous Papal-sanctioned invasions in an attempt to expand their influence in Italy and beyond, but now their army is weak and damaged, putting themselves at great risk of a Prussian attack.

They continue to have large Russian support, however, which could keep them afloat in international dealings.
Servitude to God, above all else
More religious academics begin to promote the importance of God and religion in politics, in an attempt to discredit secularized liberals. They propose that any deviation from God is a deviation from morals, and an immoral society, like those of the Negro countries, will only be washed away with time.

This begins the promotion of fundamentalist thought.
Illiterate intellectuals
Interestingly, about 78% of the academia is unable to read or write. It is believed that they dictate their ideas to scribes, presumably after smoking large doses of opium.
The Sicilian Crisis
The Republicans gain strong traction amongst Sicilians, and some of them cooperate with Sicilian nationalists to rise up against the Pope in order to destabilize the Papal States.

This is slightly worrying to Pope Gregory, as the Papacy has no transport navy to speak of. He consults with God and is told that he's a "fucking idiot" for annexing islands without a Navy.

With this inspiration from our Saviour, he commissions the construction of a Holy Navy.
Take up your arms, Army of God
We begin to give our Army of God weapons, as we learn that "praying really hard" is not a valid military tactic.
Doctors on board
The Roman College of Medicine is established, and the first medical practitioners, using modern techniques such as "forcing aspirin down their throats whilst praying" begin reporting to the front line to assist our troops in their attempt to retake Sicily from the heretics.
The Holy Navy
With the construction of the Holy Navy largely complete, the Papal States now exerts sufficient influence over their peninsula that they could be considered a regional power, competing with the Kingdom of Naples for Italian hegemony.

It is as Jesus said, "Only I can walk on water. You build boat for moneys"
The Academics are at it again
The Papal academia begins to adopt the ideas of positivism, which effectively states that all knowledge must be derived from sensory experiences, and reason and logic.

This is fine, as vision is a sensory experience, and one can use vision to read the bible and logically conclude it is entirely factual.
The June Operation
After 2 months of a crisis in Sicily, with government institutions under siege by rowdy peasants, the Army of God storms to beaches of Sicily to restore Papal Control.

God Wills It, for if he didn't, why would he let us do it?
Burn in hell, peasants
Jesus once said, "whoever cannot feed himself needs to pull up his bootstraps and earn his bread. If not, natural selection, bitch"
Liberal Wave runs through the world
The Republicans continue to gain support within the Papal States, as a massive liberal wave sweeps through Europe, originating from France.

This worries the crowns of Europe, who see the birth of a new Revolution. The Pope will not stand for this, and begins cracking down on this new form of thought after taking a seat.

This is not the first time Rome has cracked down on a new foreign belief system originating in a faraway land, and this will work just as effectively as before!
The Kingdom of Savoy
Following the fall of Sardinia, Charles Albert, King of Sardinia, was proclaimed King of Savoy. An eternal enemy to the Papacy due to his dreams for Italian unification, he has fallen under French economic influence and protection.

Italy is now in an uneasy position. Nonetheless, the greatest threat to Pope and God remains in the Kingdom of Naples.
The Cry for Unification
Following the end of the Sicilian Crisis, the Pope, seeking to undermine Republican influence, begin to enter talks with Sicilian Nationalist leaders. In early 1844, the talks conclude and the Pope announces his extension of full citizenship to Sicilians and other South Italians, which were previously discriminated against.

This, however, has the unfortunate effect of promoting a unified Italian identity.
Pope Gregory Dies!
Pope Gregory XVI, the man who crafted the Army of God and begun the centralization of the Papal States, has died.

His personal hatred towards liberals, however, limited the extent to which modernization could happen in the Papal States.

As the cardinals gather together, they realize that in order to continue to successes of Gregory's Papacy as well as end the threat of the Italian nationalists rising within the States, a reformist candidate is required.

In early June 1944, white smoke rises above the Sistine Chapel. Pope Pius IX is elected Pope. He would go on to become the longest serving Pope in history, ignoring St Peter. He is a reformist and liberal, though slightly distrusting of the academia.

His first political move, however, is to crush the Nationalist faction within the Papacy and Italy as a whole, and hence prepares to destroy the influence of the Kingdom of Naples.
Hail Pius!
The increasing calls for Italian unification means that Pius' aggressive tone towards Naples is met with condemnation from the Austrian Empire as well as other Italian states.

Furthermore, beyond this, Prussia, Russia and the UK remain slightly worried that further Papal invasions would jeopardize the balance of powers within Italy, leading to a unification of the Italian peninsula under the Papacy rather than the nationalists, effectively creating a massively powerful French ally that would then go on to jeopardize the Concert of Europe as a whole.

Pius, despite this, continues his aggressive rhetoric against the Kingdom of Naples. God will not be thwarted by men and their silly rhetoric.
Academia rising
The academics continue to rise in influence and capability throughout the Papal State, spreading liberal and Republican views to the populace. Pius is wary, but believes in strengthening the liberals so as to push through reform to bring the Papal States closer to European governments.
Some academic jargon
Under the reign of a new, more welcoming Pope, academics and philosophers flock to the Papal States, as other European nations crackdown on liberal thinkers in the wake of the liberal wave across Europe.
Prepare your positions
The Pope orders the Army of God to station itself away from Rome, in the hilly regions of Puglia, where they could have a defensive advantage in the event of a Napoli attack.

Meanwhile, several Napoli troops, angered by the Pope's demand for their subjugation, cross into the Papal States and perpetuate a raid on a town, that later escalates into a massacre. Whilst Naples executes the offending unit, the Pope seizes his opportunity.

As Jesus said, "Do not forgive your neighbors, make them bow before your will. Heil Hitler"
The Papacy Mobilizes
In the wake of the attacks, a crisis breaks out that allows for the Pope to begin mobilizing the local populace. Farmers and craftsmen heed the call to arms, in the defense of God against a foe more evil than ever seen before.

The Pope flees from Rome and takes a boat to Sardinia, for his safety. The populace of Rome braces for another siege.
War Breaks Out
Despite Austrian attempts to resolve the crisis diplomatically, the French push through. By August, the Austrians stand down and the Pope declares war on the Kingdom of Naples.
The March on Rome
As the Pope is now in Sardinia, farmers in the Army of God, scared of the fate of their families in Rome, convince the generals to attempt to move towards Rome so as to dissuade a Napoli attack.
The Battle of Rome
The Army of God, having been assembled and ready for war a month prior, as well as boasting artillery units, slams into their enemies outside the walls of Rome and put up a good fight.

They, furthermore, have stronger morale due to their belief that they are doing God's will.

God, meanwhile, continues to fuck with the populace by making them forget what they were doing when they enter a room.
The Sicilian Revolt
Under the stress of war, the administration in Sicily struggles to operate. Seizing the opportunity, Sicilian nationalists attempting to defect to the Kingdom of Naples, as well as Republicans hoping to capitalize on the chaos, rise up in revolt.
The Battle of Rome concludes
Cesare Grifeo leads the army to victory in the bloody Battle of Rome. Despite the victory, there are similar casualties on both sides, and the Neapolitan army has taken up defensive positions in the hills of Perugia.
The Second Battle of Rome
Cesare attempts to push into Naples to pressure their army to retreat from Perugia. This, however, opens up the fields outside Rome to a Neapolitan attack, forcing Cesare to turn around and attack their defensive position.
Naples retreats
The attack is repelled, with significant casualties for the Army of God. The Neapolitan army in Perugia now marches on Rome to defeat the remnants of the Army of God.
The Escape from Rome
The Holy Navy flees with the professional army units to Sicily. There are not enough transport ships to help everyone escape, and some farmers stay behind to defend Rome. General Cesare also refuses to flee.
A final defence
As an enemy far greater than their own numbers converge upon the city many of them called home, the farmers refuse to give up hope. Poorly trained and unable to read, Cesare struggles to get them into effective defensive positions. All they have is their enthusiasm, their devotion to God, and their devotion to Rome.

There is little hope for their survival, and as the drums of the Neapolitan Army are heard for the first time in the distance, many a man braces themselves for their final act on earth.

But none of them are sad or depressed, for regardless of the outcome, God willed it.

For if he didn't want them to die - why did he let them?
The Siege of Rome
After a massacre of the defending forces, the Neapolitan armies set up a siege outside Rome. The French Navy has yet to arrive with troops, and the city braces as once more the enemy from the south threatens to sack the Eternal City.
Sicilian Liberation
The Army of God arrives in Sicily. As their homeland is overrun, the demoralized troops begin to liberate Sicily from nationalist control.
The French Blockade
The French Navy arrives in Italy and establishes a massive blockade around the Kingdom of Naples, starving them of resources.
Military spending cut
With Sicily now under Papal control, the Army of God is left to wait around for a French rescue. The Pope orders for the purchase of supplies to be reduces as the Army idles in Sicily.
The Fall of Naples
A French force sent to relieve to occupation of Lazio lands in Naples, where they seize control of the city and march on to the rest of the Kingdom.
Thy Will be Done
The King of Naples surrenders following his capture when he attempted to flee Naples.

With the pressure of the blockade and the total destruction of the Kingdom at stake, he agrees to a compromise where he surrenders control of Puglia, but keeps control of the heart of his Kingdom in Campania.

Neapolitan armies withdraw from the Papal States.

The Pope returns to Rome victorious, but more unpopular than ever before. The occupation of the states led to instability and lawlessness that allowed for nationalist organizations to gather together - notable the Unification Front, which begins to put together its own military..
A Land of Lawlessness
The full might of God has yet to be brought to the people of Puglia, as there is a significant lack of bureaucrats and administrators in the region. This allows for the Nationalists and Republicans to establish strong positions and attempt to recruit resistance against the Papal states.

Meanwhile, within the Unification Front, there is some debate over whether a proposed Unified Italy would be Rome-centered or about Italy as a whole.
A Population Boost
Puglia boasts a massive population of 2 million people - outnumbering Lazio itself. As such, it has incredible potential for the recruitment of soldiers - both for the Army of God and the opposition.
Finances struggle to normalize
The coffers of the Papal states struggle to recover from the war. Already running on very small reserves, the costs of administering a huge new province force budget cuts across the government, as well as massive tariff hikes.

As such, the standard of living of individuals drops drastically.
Keep Calm and Love God
Despite anger and riots over the damage caused by what is seen as a largely pointless war, the Pope insists that the population "turn the other cheek" and "calm the fuck down" as he throws a feast to celebrate the neutralization of the Kingdom of Naples.

He is promptly told that this wasn't how that line was meant to be read, to which he responds something about fig trees and not giving him the fruit plate.
Attero Italia
With the success of the Second South Italian War, the Papal States is now the dominant power on the Peninsula, with the Army of God set to become strong enough to put up a fight against even the Habsburg Empire. Pope Pius IX declares the nationalists to be "dead" as Italy is now permanently divided, with the Pope and God above all else.

The Italian Ambition will never be realized, Pius proclaims.

Papal extravagance in the wake of the victory combined with the ignoring of the suffering of the common people results in numerous members of the Restorationist Society, a fundamentalist, anti-military organization, to discuss limiting the political power of the Pope so as to "purify" the Papacy.
The Fall of the Free City
Yet another proud state falls under the tyrannical rule of the Austrian Habsburgs. The Poles fret and panic as they realize they are now under the rule of several pale white men with strange jaws.
A Fate Worse than Death
Almost immediately following the annexation of Krakow, numerous Polish nationalists begin to call for a liberation from Europe's most notorious cousin-fuckers.
Dancing with the Lions
Savoy removes itself from the French sphere of influence, opening itself up to attack from the Papal States, under the hope that exerting their independence could allow for them to convince other Italian states to unify under a North Italian state to resist the Army of God.
Functionalism is the notion that code should be broken up into re-usable sets of operations so as to reduce code duplication. Or something like that, it makes the people smart good, okay?
With the capture of Puglia, the Pope orders for the import of numerous French machines that aid the production of agricultural goods. He then begins introducing the machines in farms across Puglia and war-devastated Lazio.
Northern Expansionism
The north Italian states, whilst still under Habsburg protection, see the threat posed by a militaristic representative of God on Earth. (As Jesus once said, "Big Army kill Small Army")

As such, Tuscany integrates the small city-state of Lucca into their administration so as to protect it from the Army of God. The Pope decries this militaristic expansionism as he steps over several Neapolitan peasants lying on each other that now form a staircase in the Sistine Chapel.
De Ja Vu
The French Revolution is Over! This time, with 100% less Napoleon and 100% more preservation of the Concert of Europe.

Pius, whilst a reformist who wants to transform the theocracy to a centralized, modern state, is wary of militant liberals. His policy of tolerance towards Republicans and Liberal factions, he hopes, will keep the Papal States safe from the evils of yellow-colored pie chart slices.
Or maybe not
In response to the French having the audacity to claim that a land populated in part by French people, on the French side of the Rhine and ruled by France for many a generation belongs to France, the Kingdom of Prussia declares war on the Kingdom of France. Russia intervenes, resulting in the War of 1847, aimed at getting France to drop their claim to Alsace-Lorraine.
The Greatest Army in Europe
France, once the strongest land power in all of Europe, was now at danger of being defeated by German forces. As a political crisis is currently brewing in France over the liberals and their attacks on the ruling conservative regime, the conservatives see the war as an opportunity to boost ruling party support and push through on escalating the war.

They hope that a Russian attack in the East will distract the Germans long enough for the French to establish a strong front within Germany.

Pope Pius IX, seeing the Germans as a threat to the Concert of Europe and a potential source of motivation for nationalists in Italy, backs the French. The Army of God is primed and ready - after all, it is not like anyone would attack the Papal States in such dire times.
When the Iron is Lukewarm
The Kingdom of Savoy, looking to put an end to the Papal States and unify Italy, declares war on the Papal States, joining the War of 1847 with the Germans. This now opens up a front to the south of France, hence halving French strength on the German front.
A Call to Arms
Even as the citizens of the Papal States struggle to feed themselves, the Pope begins spending huge numbers of church donations on purchasing arms, proclaiming it the "time to defend the Kingdom of God". He promises free entry to Heaven for all those who march in defense of the Papacy.

The Nationalists begin to organize under the nose of the Papal States to support the Savoyard war and sabotage the Papacy. This angers pro-Roman members of the Unification Front, who begin to use the term "Romanist" to distinguish themselves from Nationalists. Romanists desire a Rome-centered Italian nation, whereas the Nationalists seek any means to unify Italy even if it means the fall of Rome.

This results in the Republicans, still a relatively smaller group, to condemn them, splitting opposition against the Papacy.
British Support
The Brits, ever interested in preserving the Concert of Europe (for purely altruistic reasons, of course) ally with and support the North German Federation against France and Russia in an attempt maintain a balance in European factions. They do not directly join the war.

The Pope excommunicates all of Britain. I mean, they aren't even Catholic! Everyone knows that trouble and wars typically come from non-Catholic states.
Savoyard Attack
The Kingdom of Savoy focuses its attacks on France, so as to allow the Germans to overwhelm the French in the North and take Paris, thus leaving the Papal States isolated and alone.

Pope Pius arranged for the Holy Navy to be expanded and for a potential transport of the Army of God to Southern France, to assist in the fight.
The Boar against the Eagle
The Belgians, history's most ardent rival to Germany, intervene in favor of France, bolstering the war effort in the north as masses of German troops spill forward into Alsace-Lorraine. The French and Belgians mobilize their reserve forces.

The main Prussian armies remain in the East, whilst other German states form the bulk of the attackers in the West.
France falling
The armies of Savoy advance rapidly in the fields of southern France. The Papal States cannot let their main ally fall. Meanwhile, Pius meets with the Austrians to guarantee their neutrality in the War of 1847.
The Holy Navy becomes Holier and Navier
With Austrian non-involvement guaranteed, High Command approves the plan to move the entire Army of God to France.

As Jesus said, "A friend in need is a friend indeed".
The Liberals in South Italy
The Kingdom of Naples, weakened severely following their defeat in the Second South Italian War, is hit by a massive wave of liberal heretics. Pius now sees that the liberal wave has rushed into Italy, and his state is all that remains in hands of level-headed far right lunatics.

He begins to suppress Republican publications and organizes for prominent Republicans to be arrested on falsified charges. He maintains that he is a liberal, despite constantly courting right-wing interests and working against progressive ideals.

Two centuries from now, one Hillary Clinton would take inspiration from Pius.
Eagles beat boars and frogs
Despite Belgium's best attempts, they are unable to stop the German armies, who march from victory to victory and are now nearing Paris. a French Army to the south-east of Paris manages to halt the advance for the time being.
Germans are good at invading Poland
Who would've thought?
The Battle of Grenoble
The Battle of Grenoble breaks out to the south, as the French attempt to end the Savoyard threat once and for all, before rushing north to defend Paris.

The Battle ends with a Savoyard defeat, prompting a brief withdrawal. In the meantime, the Army of God arrives to liberate Southern France from Savoyard occupiers.
The Battle of Lyon
As December and the winter sets in, the Savoyard army makes the strategically sound decision to begin an advance in the middle of a blizzard. As much of the French army has been sent to the north following the Battle of Grenoble, the Kingdom of Savoy finds a weakened army in Lyon.

The Army of God moves to Lyon to repel the attack.
It's like chess
The Army of God beats their Savoyard counterparts through the superior strategy of "bringing cannons to the big battle".
French reinforcements arrived
Despite superior strategy, the Army of God struggles to end the Savoyard attack due to being largely surrounded. The battle drags on until 1848, when French reserves arrive.
The Army Withdraws
The Army of Jesus Christ marching under his banner can never be defeated.

It can only strategically retreat.

Remember, every step backwards is a future step forward. - Jesus, or someone.
The Siege of Paris
German forces arrive in Paris in small numbers. They are however encircled by the French army, thus putting the western front in jeopardy.

Meanwhile, the Belgians continue to resist and bite, protecting Brussels from the German Reich. With their incredibly defense against a far superior foe, the great thinker proclaim that they will never fall under the control of Germany.
Rights Extended
In an attempt to court liberals who feel disenfranchised by the Papal crackdown on the Republicans, the Pope guarantees full rights even those of lesser races, such as those unfortunate enough to be Albanian or the strange race of Other.

Whilst the Pope knows this is rather non biblical, as Jesus was a blond 7 foot pure white Scandinavian who spoke Latin, he realizes that compromises are necessary to do God's Will.
When will Russia ever learn to army?
Even with the largest manpower base of any state in history, Russia continues their proud tradition of not fighting their enemy and fleeing deeper into the cold, frozen and unforgiving land that is... well, Russia.
Our Steams are under a lot of pressure, that's why they leak private data to random users
The Agricultural Advisory finishes its process of introducing new technologies (TM) to boost the productivity of the farmers within the Papal States.
Grow up
The Army of God, hardened by battle in southern france, is told to stop shooting their members and screaming "ITS A PRANK BRO", thus marking a great evolution in their professionalism.
The Battle of Avignon
With the German Army in Paris encircled and destroyed, French troops now head south. The capital of the Kingdom of Savoy is attacked by a huge French Army. In order to prevent the Savoyard Army from attempting to relieve the city, the Army of God engages them in Avignon, cutting off their supply routes
Total Annihilation
God once again proves that he has a plan, killing 13 000 innocent and nameless Savoyard soldiers so as to ensure the Papacy remains strong.
The End of the War
France fails to get the Germans to surrender their claim to Alsace-Lorraine, and fails to live up to their pre-war rhetoric regarding the annihilation of the Prussians.

However, with the Germans stopped in the north and the King of Savoy willing to negotiate a surrender, France managed to protect its territory in Alsace and Lorraine.

Prussia agrees to Russian terms, effectively returning to status quo ante bellum, but forcing Russia and France to recognize the Prussian claim to Alsace-Lorraine.

With this, the stage is set for the Franco-Prussian War in the future, as well as the fall of French dominance over the European continent. Back at home, however, the suppression of Republicans prepares to go full Streisand as the wave of time crashes upon the Papal States.

Whatever happens, though, is what was meant to be.

For God Wills It.

Next chapter:

Game: Victoria 2

God Wills It - A HPM Roman AAR - Part 3

Images: 78, author: ElvenAshwin, published: 2017-02-06, edited: 1970-01-01