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|War of the Grand Coalition
Principia Moderni III
Japanese Empire (1742-1745)
| Spanish Empire
Spanish Colonial Empire
Shandong (1743 - 1745)
|Commanders and leaders|
| Louis XIV|
François de Villars
| Juan II De Habsburg
The War of the Grand Coalition (for other names, see below) was a major global conflict lasting from 1737 to 1749, and is to date one of the largest European conflicts in history, as well across the entire globe. The War of the Grand Coalition would break out at a time in European history in which major powers extended their influence across multiple continents, through colonies, protectorates, and trade partners, eventually escalating this conflict into an intercontinental war, pitting the majority of Europe's major nations in direct conflict.
The war would began in 1737 with the formation of the 'Grand Coalition', a temporary alliance of some of Europe's most powerful nations, including France, Britannia, the Netherlands, and several others, for the purpose of combating Spanish global dominance and hegemony. By this time the Empire of Hispania had managed to exert its influence over a proportionate amount of the world's population and territory, leading to breakdown of a balance of power, deemed critical to European stability by its states. Initially the Grand Coalition sought to reduce Spanish power, returning Europe to a state of balance between the major powers. As the war escalated, the war soon descended into the complete partitioning of Spanish possessions between the belligerents of the war, while Spain concurrently fell into a state of economic and political turmoil.
Faced with large-scale occupation of its colonial possessions and territory proper, in 1749 the Empire of Hispania was forced to surrender to the Grand Coalition and its allies. In the ensuing peace treaties, the largest of which being the Treaty of Toledo, Spain was forced to cede the majority of its colonial empire. This treaty and the ensuing peace also led to the development of a number of crucial concepts in European and international politics, including the Leopoldine Doctrine, and the Régime Équilibré, a pivotal doctrine coined in France which declared the nation's intentions to maintain a status quo.
The most common name for the war, and the one most used by historians is the War of the Grand Coalition, the Grand Coalition actually being the Grand European Coalition and the United Islamic Nations. Other names for the war are:
- Liberation of Lombardy (in Northern Italy and much of the Holy Roman Empire and Bavaria)
- Conquest of Venice (In Bavaria and Austria)
- Second Liberation of Rome (in the Roman Empire and southern Italy)
- Grand Colonial War (in Borealia and Hesperia)
- Grand Jihad (in UIN nations)
- Great War (unofficially by some historians and military)
- Gibraltar War (Croatia)
- Leopoldine War (Modern term used sparingly by historians. Named for the Leopoldine Doctrine, an important precedence set after this war, and for King Leopold I/II of the Netherlands and Westphalia, one of the belligerents of the conflict.)
- Great War (used as the default term in the Empire of Britannia)
Other names are known, but are not of notable importance, which is why they were not added to the list.
- Great Eastern War (Japan-Manchuria/SiChuan)
By the start of the eighteenth century, the Empire of Hispania had emerged as the dominant European power in international affairs, by far becoming one of the largest nations in history to date, one of the strongest military powers in the world, and with an emerging industrial and technological lead over other European states. This became readily apparent, as other regional powers on the continent became largely unable to combat Spanish dominance, leading to a large inequality in military and political power. In Europe, Spain had managed to secure the entirety of the Italian peninsula under Spanish rule, as well as parts of Austria and Germany, and the nearby African territories of Morocco and Algiers. Where Spain was unable to intervene, its network of allies on the continent was used to ensure Spanish security and prosperity.
This alliance network originated through the Treaty of Westminster, founded in the early fifteenth century, which established a partial alliance between many of Europe's leading powers. The Empire of Hispania would heavily dominate this agreement, and would use it often. This power was established in Spain's frequent upholding of the treaty's terms, including an invasion and occupation of Livonia in the seventeenth century in retaliation for the nation's violation of Westminster terms.
The Treaty of Westminster would eventually fall into disuse by the mid seventeenth century, and Spanish foreign policy changed accordingly to dictate that the treaty only pertained fully to each nation's respective colonial empires, and could not be effectively enforced in Europe. This stance, which seemed counter to the treaty's earlier use, eventually led to its downfall. In the late seventeenth century the Empire of Hispania would spearhead a coalition war, consisting of many of the treaty's signatories, in an invasion of member nation Austria. The complete dismantling of Austria, something outlawed by this treaty, ultimately led to the Treaty's collapse, and several years later Spain would drop all pretenses and officially dissolve its obligations.
However, the Spanish network of allies continued after the dissolution of Westminster. The Kingdom of Bavaria, originally supported by Spain in its endeavor to establish dominance over its rival Austria, soon became viewed as a buffer state for Italy, much to the disdain of the Bavarian government, which viewed such claims as an affront to national sovereignty. Similarly, France and other nations continued an uneasy working relationship with Spain. In the case of France, the nation had previously been defeated in a war against Spain in Hesperia, and the nation was both unwilling and unable to directly risk war against its southern neighbor.
The early eighteenth century would be known as the beginning of the Diplomatic Revolution, a gradual reversal of these longstanding and well established alliances, in favor of a more balanced European continent not dominated by Spain. The Holy Roman Empire was practically destroyed after the fall of Austria in the previous century, and further damaged by the secession of Bavaria. However, the HRE was reformed towards the end of the seventeenth century, chiefly by the Duke of Hamburg. The "new" Empire, was transformed into a defensive alliance between Hamburg, Oldenburg, and Habsburg-controlled Westphalia. This alliance was further strengthened through the marriage of Anna van Nassau-Orleans, monarch of the Netherlands, and Maximilian von Habsburg. Their son Leopold I/II would become the king of a united Netherlands and Westphalia, creating a large defensive bloc in the north of Europe.
Relations between Habsburg Westphalia and Bavaria would gradually increase, as grievances from the invasion of Austria were eventually resolved. Similarly Bavaria favored an alliance with France, rather than Spain, effectively creating a defensive alliance against Spain, countering Spanish influence not only in the Iberian region, but in Italy as well. This alliance was expanded to include the nation of Croatia, which had initially profited from Spanish dominance in central Europe, soon grew to become independent of Spanish influence, rising as a regional power in its own right.
The Roman Empire, the only great power in eastern Europe that had an active role in European politics, tried to carefully maintain a middle ground between its two allies and fellow great powers. The emperors of the Empire had cooperated with the kings of France and Spain before in the past, but usually did not prefer one from another. In the previous war between Spain and France, the Empire carefully charted a middle course, eager to not anger either side. Despite this, the government steadily became more and more displeased with Spain's growing power and increasing "lack of tact" with other European governments and their issues.
Spanish intervention and imperialistic policies in India, China, Southeast Asia, and other parts of the globe, eventually overextended the nation's borders, which relied greatly on the cooperation of neighboring or nominally allied native states for protection. In the early days of Spanish colonization and expansion, the nation had created a number of protectorates across the globe instead of outright conquest, and as such a large portion of the nation's colonial empire in Hesperia and Borealia actually consisted of autonomous nations nominally under Spanish control and influence. Although this method had allowed the Empire of Hispania to quickly expand with little conflict, it did little to ensure these nations' obedience outright, and by the eighteenth century many of these states now sought to reestablish their independence. The nations of the United Islamic Nations, an international military organization of many of the world's leading Muslim powers, greatly withdrew support for the Empire of Hispania, and the alliance soon began conspiring to liberate portions of India occupied by Spain and other territories. Eventually this led to a rebellion in Burma, in which the territory attempted to secede from the Empire of Hispania. Although Spain would quell this rebellion, it would be at a heavy cost financially, and Spain's hold in the region would be heavily weakened.
In Europe, Spain likewise struggled to maintain a grip on its extensive empire. In the Italian peninsula, native Spaniards and Hispano-Italians now displaced many Italian communities, and Spain's aggressive attempts to suppress Italian ethnic groups and their cultures soon caused unrest. This escalated into the Lombard Revolt of 1734, in which a series of Italian noblemen in Inner Lombardy gathered a personal army of nearly 10,000 men, which coupled with mercenaries and other volunteers equaled 25,000 total, and attempted to overthrow Spanish rule. Much of central Lombardy was occupied, but the rebels' inability to capture the Italian coast soon led to their downfall. Again Spain was able to quell the rebellion, but not before losing a large amount of income and resources. The threat of a popular revolt in Italy soon forced Italy to garrison increasingly larger contingents of soldiers, which also sought to protect Spanish settlers in the peninsula.
Similarly, in the Iberian Peninsula Spain's aggressive displacement and suppression of Spanish ethnic groups, such as the Catalan and Basque, was believed to be contributing to a major period of unrest in the empire. When industrialization began to arrive in southern France and northern Spain, the first regions to industrialize were the northern coast along the Bay of Biscay (which was largely dominated by the Basque people of the former Kingdom of Navarre) and the eastern coast along the Mediterranean Sea (which was largely dominated by the Catalan people of the former Kingdom of Aragon).
British Civil War
Someone who actually knows what happened please write an outline here. I will use that to expand this section. - Mscoree
Formation of the Grand Coalition
The increase of tensions between France and Spain, emphasized by both nation's intervention in the British Civil War, and in the Caribbean Piracy Crisis, led to France's consideration of a declaration of war against the Empire of Spain. The French king Louis XIV believed that the nation of France had caught Spain in a time of vulnerability, and could exploit the situation in order to negotiation for the release a number of Spanish territories. Before mobilizing for war however, France negotiated for the cooperation of its neighbors against Spain, laying the foundations for the future Grand Coalition. The Empire of Britannia was approached by France, where the newly crowned Emperor James of Scotland sought to end Spain's grasp over the Mediterranean, which threatened British trade in the Levant. Following the conclusion of the British Civil War, the largely conservative House of Commons sought to avoid conflict and continue commercial activities unhindered, but it soon became clear that the power of Spain had grown beyond control by any one nation, and that the British would have to play an important part in any coalition in order to decisively defeat the Spanish.
The combined British and French navies were mobilized and stationed within striking distance of Spain, as a show of force against the large Spanish fleet in Europe. Both nations believed that naval forces would be crucial in any conflict with Spain, as this coalition would have to seize Spain's defensive ports in Europe in order to prevent the Spanish from cutting off the rest of Europe economically, and enforcing a devastating blockade. To this end the presence of the French and British navies managed to deter Spain's declaration of war against France, but did not resolve the conflict integral to this dispute.The Roman Empire, as one of the first nations to follow France's lead, as a close ally of the French, sought to reclaim the imperial provinces of Italy, as well as establish its dominance over eastern Europe. The Roman Emperor Andrew I reasoned that such a conflict, for the fate of the city of Rome, would be of great pride to all inhabitants of the empire, one that was now largely divided among many ethnic groups in Europe and the Middle East. The reclamation of Rome, the Emperor reasoned, would be further proof toward the nation's official national identity as Roman, uniting the empire's subjects under one identity. The issue was, however, fiercely debated in the Imperial government beforehand. The Senate in Constantinople debated the feasibility of defeating the Empire of Hispania in direct conflict, whether the war was economically viable, the effects of adding another ethnicity and culture to both the Senate and the Empire, and the importance of Rome as a target. Despite such gridlocks, the common people supported the war, as many believed the empire had greatly risen in power since its near collapse centuries earlier, and as such should rightfully control the Italian Peninsula.
Britannia, as the second nation to formally mobilize its land forces, also sought to prove its status as a great power, having recently exiting a succession crisis and being threatened by the will of Spain and other powerful European nations. The Empire of Britannia also sought to increase the nation's colonial empire, which had largely been stunted by the Treaty of Westminster, which was now acknowledged by Parliament as a tool used by Spain to expand its own colonial empire unhindered, at the expense of France and Britannia. After little deliberation, Parliament, backed by a speech from the Emperor, decided to seize the opportunity and declared support for France, with a massive mobilization of forces not seen since the Austrian wars. Seeing the war as an opportunity to regain former glory, the morale of the armies, as well as popular support, was high. Many speculate that this war was the turning point in Britannic doctrine, which before was largely isolationist.
The nations of Bavaria and Croatia held similar reasons for war against Spain, as well as having obligations to aid their allies against Spain. Specifically both Croatia and Bavaria hoped to increase its influence over the Adriatic Sea, with Bavaria desiring Spain's ports in the north of the Italian Peninsula. In Bavaria the war with Hispania was a heavily contested issue in the nation's diet. Many parliamentarians, especially Bavarians, supported Spain, mostly due to old alliances and frequent aid in past wars. On the other end of the spectrum, an overwhelming majority of Austrians advocated for war against the Hispanic Empire, citing the foul treatment and abuse many Austrians faced during the Spanish-Austrian War in the 1650s.
As the de facto diet leader, Ferdinand von Ingschaft noted that a war with Spain would allow Bavaria to annex areas containing Austrian and Austro-Italian peoples, specifically the region of Tyrol and Trent. In a clever example of compromise and shrewd politics, von Ingschaft announced to the Bavarians and Austrians in parliament that if the Kingdom of Bavaria were to enter the war against the Spanish, Bavaria would be able to annex Tyrol and the neighboring Kingdom of Venezia and return it to the Austrians. With this, many undecided Bavarians were swept towards war by the promise of recovering German lands. However, most important to the majority of Bavarians was the prospect of owning a Mediterranean port. In this case, the Kingdom of Venezia, itself containing the ancient, luxurious, and wealthy city of Venice, seen as an extremely appetizing acquisition to the government of Bavaria.
Croatia, on the other hand, was perhaps not so divided, but initially still internally conflicted. The numerous Sabors of the Bajandom had already known that if the Bajan truly wished for the war to happen, it would soon happen. Bajan Ivan Torkvat Karlović I, of the Gusić genus, had been initially reluctant to join the war, as he did not see much gain from it. However, wanting to assure that the Karlovićs, and through them the Gusićs, were able to hold onto the Bajan position for more than one generation, he was set to show the power of his kin. Organizing the strategy with Field Marshall Ivaniš II. Nelipić and Grand Admiral Nikola Saraka, he was set to rename the Adriatic Sea mare nostrum once more. Moreover, the Field Marshall was set on repaying the Venetians for the Siege of Zadar, especially since his mother was a member of the Draganić family, a notable house hailing from Zadar (Zara). Grand Admiral Nikola Saraka was more keen on making sure the gates of Otranto were free to be used by the Croat navy, because of his Ragusan ancestry, he planned on empowering the Bajandom and increasing its trade network freely.
The Kingdom of the Netherlands and Westphalia, under Leopold von Habsburg, sought to expand the Dutch colonial empire in Hesperia and Borealia, where it had been largely eclipsed by Spain. The Netherlands was also left in a position of weakness after its civil war, and sought to reclaim its position as a major power. Leopold's political ally Giovanni Visconti, the patriarch of the deposed Lombard royal family and husband of Leopold's daughter Carolina, sought to reclaim his family's throne as Kings of Lombardy, and secured the support of the Dutch king to this end, as well as the support of many Italian nobles in northern Italy. In Germany Leopold also had the added goal of being in a position to liberate portions of his family's former domains in Austria and Switzerland.
In 1732, the County of Oldenburg emerged from over a quarter of a century in relative isolation from European and World affairs. Having been in personal union with Britannia since 1576, the recently-concluded Britannian War of Succession placed the country into great concern over the rightful heir to the Countship. The Regency Council could not agree whether the claimant from the House of Scotland, recently crowned Emperor of Britannia, or the exiled claimant from the House of Hamburg, had the better right, causing great confusion and public discussion. Supporters of the Scottish claimant argued that recognising him as count was vital as it would ensure continued personal union with Britannia and all the benefits therein. Supporters of the Hamburger claim held that by supporting the Scottish claimant, Oldenburg would gain the ire of its important neighbour, ally and economic partner Hamburg, which for a nation of Oldenburg's paltry size, would be simply untenable. It was in this confused and tumultuous state of internal affairs that news of the war against Hispania first arrived. What both sides of the succession debate agreed upon was that joining the war on the side of the Grand Coalition, which included both Britannia and Hamburg, Oldenburg would curry great favour diplomatically. Aside from this desire to remain in the good books of its powerful neighbours and backers, the powerful lobby of the Oldenburger Handelsabenteuerische Gesellschaft (Oldenburger Company of Merchant Adventurers) was keen for the opportunity to gain access to exotic lands previously monopolised by Hispania. So it was for both diplomatic and economic reasons that the Regency Council declared war against Hispania in 1737.
In January 1737 delegates from each of these states met in The Hague, to discuss the creation of an alliance against Spanish hegemony. The English delegation was spearheaded by leading general Ian McGann, who had served under Emperor James I in the British Succession War, and was an experienced commander. From Westphalia and the Netherlands the delegation included Leopold, his son Joseph, the Visconti, and several diplomats. Talks at The Hague centered around the fate of the Spanish Monarchy, Spanish intervention in the Italian Peninsula in Lombardy, and favorable trade privileges granted to Spanish merchants at the expense of the Maritime Powers. These talks initially did not reach any decisive conclusion, but the delegates again began talks, and in June 1737 and reached an agreement to form an anti-Spanish coalition. This alliance was immediately signed by the nations present, leading to the creation of the Grand Coalition, or Grand Alliance. Initially the overall aims of the Grand Coalition were kept vague, as no agreement existed over these powers in regards to the future division or partition of the Empire of Hispania.
On 1 June 1737 the nation of France officially declared war against the Empire of Hispania, followed soon after by the Roman Empire, the Empire of Britannia, and their respective allies. In Bavaria war was declared on Hispania on 18 June 1737, while the Netherlands officially declared war much later, despite the full mobilization of its forces and their use in combat prior.
Leopold I moves on Milan
In June 1737 the general and statesmen Eugene of Savoy was appointed supreme commander of forces of the Holy Roman Empire, the military alliance of Hamburg, Oldenburg, and Westphalia, which by extension included the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Seeking to secure a desirable position in the conflict for the Netherlands and their German allies, Eugene's forces were ordered to seize former Habsburg territories under the control of Spain before other allied nations could follow suit, without widespread support from the other nations of the Grand Coalition. Above all else, Leopold sought to secure Lombardy and its surrounding vassals, which would place the Kingdom of the Netherlands in a superior position in the north of Italy. Lombardy remained heavily defended however, with Spanish soldiers in Milan already receiving the support of the locals after the unsuccessful revolt in Lombardy only a few years earlier. Giovanni Visconti managed to secure the first victory for the Dutch, through diplomacy, after he managed to secure alliances from several cities in northern Italy, as well as promises of support in the event of a successful campaign in Italy. Similarly the Duchy of Mantua signed a secret convention with the Dutch in which they declared their support, while nobles in Tuscany, Genoa, and Venice largely remained neutral.
By early June the forces of Eugene, numbering 30,000 strong, crossed over the Alps into northern Italy near Venice, where he defeated a detachment of the Spanish garrison in Venezia near Carpi. Eugene's victory was largely in part to his secret crossing over the mountains between Rovereto and Vicenza, after giving the impression of intending to cross by the Adige, Lake Garda, or the Brescia road. Eugene's forces went unmolested by the forces in this area, after promising to leave the area undamaged, traveling over maths unused since the time of Charles V. The Spanish forces in Venezia were caught off guard, and were again tricked into thinking that the Dutch and German army assembled in northern Italy intended to invade Spanish possessions in the south, after Eugene had spread his forces as far as Legnago. Both sides took part in careful maneuvering during Eugene's initial invasion of northern Italy. After spotting an undefended position southeast of Legnago, Eugene crossed the lower Adige under the cover of darkness, encountering the small cavalry corps under the command of the Spanish. The Spanish fell back to their main defensive lines, and after some brief fighting withdrew from the battle to Oglio.
In August Eugene secured his next victory at Chiari, defeating the combined Spanish garrisons of Venezia and contingents from Lombardy. After the Battle of Carpi earlier in the campaign, the Spanish were pushed south over the Mincio River, leaving Eugene in control of effectively all of northern Lombardy. The Spanish were driven further back across the Oglio after an unsuccessful attempt to repulse Eugene, with the Spanish commander's inability to repulse this smaller force leading to his replacement by the younger Francisco Casanova. The Spanish army desperately needed a victory in order to reassert their dominance over northern Italy, and in late 1737 they invaded Lombardy with renewed vigor, confident in their ability to finally defeat the coalition forces. Eugene fortified the small fortress at Chairi on the eastern side of the Oglio River, which protected his position on three sides. This position made cavalry ineffective, and Eugene instead counted on a direct frontal assault by Spanish infantry.
Despite warnings from his officers to hold off from attack, Casanova remarked, "had not sent so many brave men just to look at the enemy through their spy glasses", electing to begin his attack. The Spanish infantry advanced against Eugene's position, and when they received false news that the coalition forces had withdraw, Casanova advanced quickly across the Oglio in an attempt to attack Eugene's rear guard. Instead Casanova found the entirety of the Dutch army securely entrenched at Chiari, contrary to his reports. The Dutch fired point blank into the Spanish position, which was quickly driven back with heavy casualties. Already Eugene had managed to secure one of his greatest victories during the Italian campaign, killing an immediate 3000 Spanish soldiers and 250 officers, with many more soon dying of their wounds, all with little to no casualties to the coalition forces. The Spanish retreated back over the Oglio, where they remained in a defensive position awaiting Eugene's advance. The coalition likewise took up defensive positions, and eventually the Spanish were forced to withdraw for the winter, as their location's swamp-like terrain caused large problems for the defending army. In response to the coalition's success in Lombardy, the Spanish quickly moved forces from across Italy to combat the invading Dutch and German forces, allowing various Italian states to plan their revolt against Spanish rule.
Eugene and his forces were largely hampered by poor supplies, forcing him to take up unconventional raiding operations, as well as move slowly across the countryside of northern Italy. Eugene marched against Cremona, where the Spanish forces gathered from the Italian peninsula were gathered and headquartered, but was able to secure a decisive victory against the Spanish. Ultimately about 1000 Spanish soldiers would be killed, while only 400 of Eugene's invading force were killed, while the Spanish commander in northern Italy would be captured. Although they had held their ground at Cremona, among heavy casualties, the Spanish elected to withdraw from Lombardy, fortifying along the Adda and Po Rivers.
By this time a large French force had managed to invade Spanish possessions in Savoy, drawing the Spanish into a two front war in Lombardy, which ultimately forced them to retreat from the region in favor of defending Tuscany and a handful of coastal cities, including Venice, Ravenna, and Genoa. Although the Dutch and German army under Eugene had not fully dislodged the Spanish from northern Italy, its unparalleled success despite being outnumbered proved the severity of the Netherlands' intentions in the conflict, and soon the state was officially at war, both in Europe and in its colonies.
Invasion of Spain proper
From the onset of the war it was clear that a large portion of its fighting in Europe would take place over the Pyrenees Region between France and Spain, and immediately France sought to quickly gain the upper hand by stationing large garrisons in several important mountain passes. In late June the French began their invasion of Spain, marching 150,000 soldiers under the command of François Joseph de Villars through the Navarre region. Concurrent to this invasion an additional force of 50,000 men was landed near the city of Lloret de Mar, where they intended to march toward Barcelona.
In Pamplona, the former capital of the old Kingdom of Navarre, the descendants of the most recent "legitimate" king had lived for quite a few generations. After having initially fled to Gascony, in France, during the first few decades after the Castilian seizure of Aragon, the pretenders to Aragon (which encompassed Navarre) decided to focus on re-securing Navarre, the House of Evreux's former center of power.
As industrialization brought prosperity to Navarre and the Basques who lived there, resentment for the Spanish crown, which appeared to be leeching off Navarrese successes, began to grow immensely, albeit in secret.
All of this led to the Basque Revolt, which broke out in 1738 and would not end until the Treaty of Toledo was signed in 1749.
Invasion of Italy
In late 1737, concurrent to Eugene of Savoy's campaign in the north and French pressure in Savoy, the Roman Empire prepared to launch a large scale amphibious invasion of Italy from the south. Following the nation's declaration of war, the Imperial fleet of the Roman Empire was engaged against Spanish fleets stationed in the Mediterranean Sea. It would take over a month until the Romans had managed to subdue the Spanish, and assemble an invasion fleet for landing in Italy. The majority of Spanish naval assets was engaged against the French, British, and Dutch, drawn out among multiple theaters, and the Romans were able to exploit this situation to attack Italy from the coast.
The first possession to be seized by the Roman Invasion Fleet was the island of Malta, which was essential for the Grand Coalition, as it helped sever Spanish connections between the east and west. The fall of Malta also eliminated a potential base for a Spanish invasion of Africa or Greece. The island was seized within a month with little resistance, as much of the Spanish fleet was concentrated elsewhere, and most of the Italian and Spanish forces were concentrated in mainland Italy and Sicily.
Soon after Rome declared war and began its naval campaign around the Italian Peninsula, the nation of Croatia likewise declared war. The Croat forces had devised a strategy that proved to be most effective. Much of the Croat fleet went on to land near Vieste, which fell within a manner of weeks due to its small size, after which the fleet went towards Bari, pillaging and raiding alongside the coast in order to deplete the Italians of resources and to force them to go towards them, which would later ease the Roman fleet passing the gates of Otranto.The field army marched through the Veneto region, and led by Field Marshall Ivaniš II. Nelipić, marched on the city of Venice, besieging it for three days and sacking it for 13, which became known as the Sack of Venice. After Venice, the forces marched forward towards Padua, which they besieged for a month. As Czech and Silesian re-inforcements arrived, the forces split and attacked Bologne and Ravenna. After the five-week siege of Ravenna, the forces advanced to Rimini, where they met up with a smaller portion of the fleet that had stayed behind in Rijeka.
After the four week siege of Bologne, the second portion of the forces marched towards Firenze, while the first part went on to liberate the Most Serene Republic of San Marino. Although the Sanmarinese had little to no troops, the Croat forces were bolstered by about eighteen volunteers who wanted to aid their liberators. Once the two month siege of Firenze had ended, they marched towards Arezzo, which was, to their surprise, already conquered by the rest of the forces. Once they regrouped and rested for a few weeks, as well as called on re-inforcement from the Bajandom, they marched on towards Terni and Rieti, where they waited until they developed a plan with the Romans regarding the attack on Rome.
Following the capture of Malta, the naval situation became easier to manage and the first steps for invasion of the Italian mainland could begin. Roman ships began the bombardment of coastal defenses and forts around the city of Syracuse in Sicily. After a bombardment lasting a few days, Roman forces took the city in mid November. An Italian army was defeated outside the city and the Romans soon turned Syracuse into their center of operations and began planning on taking Palermo and Messina.
Roman forces also began to shell the defences surrounding the southern city of Bari in Italy around the same time as the capture of Syracuse. Roman and Croatian ships shelled the city for several days as Roman and Croatian forces gathered near Brindisi, which was captured earlier that January. The enemy forces were soon routed from the area near Bari and the city was captured by the end of February.
The war continued to progress well for the Romans, with the fall of Messina and Benevento shortly after the landfalls of Syracuse and Brindisi respectively. Roman military planners hoped to seize Naples and Palermo before the end of the campaign season, but were unable to do so. The campaign paused at the start of the summer of 1738, as diseases in the summer made it difficult to fight and march.
Fighting resumed in late September, with a naval battle off of Palermo and an army marching on the city shortly after. A Roman victory here would mean complete control of Sicily and a dangerous break in Spain's ability to support and supply its forces in Italy. As such, Spain withdrew most of its forces to concentrate on the defence of the city, yielding the rest of the countryside to advancing Roman forces.
Roman forces could not yet break the city, as the city's defenses held fast and the city could be supplied by sea. As such, the first four months was nothing but an endless siege. Later, a Roman-French naval victory off the coast of Sicily broke the chain of supply for the defenders of Palermo. After another two months of continous bombardment by land and sea, the city capitulated and Spain's supply chain was now dangerously centered between France and Roman Sicily.
In mainland Italy, the main Roman army in Benevento prepared for the assault on Naples. The original plan of battle was to combine forces and attack Naples from both land and sea, with reinforcements coming from Sicily. However, the prolonged seige of Palermo prevented this from happening, and by the time Roman forces discovered this, it was too late. At the battle of Caserta, Roman forces under Stephen Doukas were routed by Spanish General Juan Carrasco and Italian Marshall Antonio Durando. Carrasco died in the battle while Durando was recalled to prepare the defence of Rome.
This failure did not impress the Imperial government back in Constantinople, and Emperor Andrew I decided to sail to Italy himself and take control of the rest of the campaign, despite his advanced age and concern of the Senate's loyalty. By 1739, Andrew I rallied his forces and had received word that Palermo was in Roman hands.
The siege of Naples, by all accounts, lasted longer than it should have. Military success against the Germans in Lombardy had enabled the Spanish to send reinforcements down south. Naples was heavily fortified and defended by elite Spanish and Italian forces, for if Naples fell, the road to Rome would be open.
The siege of Naples lasted for seven months, and both sides were devastated by disease and heat due to the campaign. Some nights would light up with cannon fire and every land assault was long and bloody. At long last, Roman forces were able to break into the city, and a brutal house to house fighting broke out in the streets. After the battle, amidst the smoking ruins of Spanish redoubts, an officer of the Roman Army, supposedly descended from the Anjou-Durazzo line of Italian kings, remarked, "The injustices of this betrayal has finally been avenged."
Despite this, Andrew I vowed to march on, until the very seat of Roman legacy and history was regained. After resting and resupplying, as well as establishing a provisional administration for Italian lands under Roman control, Andrew I and his legions marched north towards Rome.
The Roman advance into Rome was aided by a group of Italian rebels that had formed to fight against Spanish forces in the wake of the war. With these added numbers, the Roman army was soon able to march through Latium and reach the outskirts of Rome by 1740. The Romans were also aided by the Croatians, who had marched their own way towards the city after attacking from the northwest.
The siege of Rome was, as Naples was before it, exceptionally bloody for all those involved. Days of cannonfire did little to breach Rome's defenses, and resupply was difficult for both sides. Neither side was unwilling to cede any ground, however, and the superior numbers and maneuverability of the coalition were the main aspects of their success. Spanish attempts to either sally forth or bring in reinforcements were for the most part entirely defeated, although some were successful in getting supplies into the city, prolonging the battle.After five months of fighting and starving, the walls were breached by the Gothic regiments of the Roman Army, shortly followed by the Greeks and Croatians. One of the most notable aspects of the siege was the remark of a Gothic officer shortly after the battle: “We first came as despised savages, but now we return as adored liberators.” When the walls were breached, the situation clearly became lost, and rather than sacrifice both the city and the rest of the garrison, Marshall Durando surrendered on behalf of both the city and the Italian Army, ending most Italian loyalist resistance for the rest of the campaign.
Second Lombard Campaign
Following Eugene of Savoy's series of victories in 1737 and 1738, Spanish forces were largely pushed out of Lombardy. Croatian and Roman victories at Venice, Bologne, Firenze, and various coastal cities in northern Italy further weakened Spain's position in Italy. The French invasion of Savoy effectively removed Spanish defense in the north of the peninsula, pushing the Spanish almost entirely south of the Po River. In the city of Milan Eugene and his forces managed to seize the city's stronghold, supported by a native army of Lombards and other Italians in revolt against Spain. In the summer of 1738 Eugene of Savoy marched triumphantly into the Castello Visconti in Milan, where he received the surrender of the small Spanish garrison still guarding the city. It was here that Giovanni Visconti was appointed commander of Italian auxiliaries on the orders of Leopold II, his family having been returned to Lombardy.
The Spanish commander in the Italian Peninsula, Francisco Casanova, would be replaced by Antonio Arias Castillo Fajardo in 1738, who arrived in Rome with a large army of Spanish reinforcements. Fajardo launched a renewed invasion of Lombardy in late 1738, setting up camp near Luzzara on the right bank of the Po River. At this time Eugene was encamped around the city of Mantua, but was forced to break his siege to meet Fajardo in battle before he could surround him. When Eugene arrived near Fajardo's position, the Spanish had entrenched in favorable positions, with the Po River on their left flank. Rather than initiate combat immediately, Eugene waited until his army had been adequately assembled, and in the early evening hours engaged the Spanish. His plan was to push the Spanish from the river, thereby surrounding them. The heavily outnumbered Dutch and German armies were pushed back however, and although they had managed to inflict heavy casualties, eventually withdrew.
Spain still retained dominance of the seas west of the Italian Peninsula, allowing them mobility in this region to replenish their forces. An additional Spanish army was moved to Genoa, to support the garrison in the city, as well as the advancing forces under the command of Fajardo. Recognizing the threat that France posed against Savoy, Fajardo planned to have both armies meet up in order to repulse the French, which required a major victory against Eugene in order to reach this goal. The two Spanish armies met up near Cassano, taking up positions along the Adda River. At the Battle of Cassano the Dutch and Germans were unable to repulse the Spanish, and they were forced to retreat. Eugene himself was wounded in the battle, and was taken to Austria for treatment.
The Grand Coalition was now heavily outnumbered in Lombardy, and Fajardo sought to take advantage of this while its commander Eugene was absent. At the Battle of Calcinato the Spanish managed to launch a surprise attack on the Coalition's left flank, eventually routing this army with heavy casualties. This army retreated toward Milan, where it sought to join up with the last remaining able bodied army in Lombardy; the Italian contingent under the command of Giovanni Visconti, who was at the time training his forces. In the west the French army had marched aggressively into Savoy, seizing Susa, Vercelli, Chivasso, Ivrea, and Nice, leaving the last remaining stronghold Turin. The city had been heavily fortified, up to the neighboring hills in order to defend against a long siege.
French forces entrenched around the city and for four months engaged in a costly siege. Supported by the city's population, the city's defenders managed to hold out and inflict heavy casualties on the French. After four months a relief forces arrived under the command of Eugene of Savoy, consisting of Austrians, Germans and Dutch. At that same time the city was now completely surrounded and heavily shelled by the French. The Spanish garrison prepared to launch one last attack out of desperation, beginning with a frontal assault against French lines. An additional attack was launched against the French left flank, and French soldiers were pushed into the Dora Riparia in an attempt to withdraw, with many drowning. The French eventually rallied their forces and fought back against this charge, while Eugene likewise ordered an assault against the Spanish defenders on their flank. After a long day of fighting, the Spanish garrison in the city of Turin finally surrendered, leaving all of Savoy under allied occupation.
Borealia and Hesperia
The Nations of the UIN primarily attacked after being informed of the war being declared in Europe. Known as the Great Jihad in UIN lands, it was seen as an opportunity to drive a major threat out of Asia, especially to the Urdustani, which were on the verge of finally unifying the Indian subcontinent. The nation of Hispania also had a history of bad relations with the UIN, primarily due to the Marrikuwuyanga War.