Sunday, 18 October 2015

Strategic thoughts.

After our first tumultuous year of the campaign I thought it might be useful to pause and consider the strategic options open to each state.

Papal States

With Florence to it's north and Spain to it's south, the Pope has limited avenues left for easy conquests.  Florence has taken Urbino and the Romagna, cutting the Papacy off from any further advances north.  However, by taking Ancona, the Pope can send an army by sea but may need the aid of an ally with a fleet.  The recent election of a Pope supported by France gives the Papal army such a choice.  Nevertheless, the Pope has many enemies amongst the great families of Rome and Cesare Borgia intrigues from Naples against Pope Julius, under the protection of Spain.


Florence now dominates central Italy and is able to intervene in a number of directions; but Bologna and Lucca seem most vulnerable.  Now that the Pope is supported by France it's southern border appears secure but it must first subdue the rebellions that have weakened it's finances.  The Medici continue to plot for their return to power and many suspect that they are behind the rebellions; rich and powerful they have lent much to the Spanish monarchy.


Milan has been under direct attack from France and the rebellious province of Como has been lost to that great power.  The Emperor is no true friend and only helped to ensure France did not gain a strategic advantage over the Holy Roman Empire; he demands territorial compensation and only the threat of the Turks has forced him to withdraw from Italy after the truce with France.  The capture of Modena is ample compensation for the loss of Como as it may also induce Pont-Remoli to seek protection from Milan.  However, the rebellions in Novarra and Cremona are a continuing drain on the Duchies finances.


The Doge did well to take Mantua but the failure to secure Ferrara is a reminder to all that the Duke of Ferrara has long been an enemy of Venice.  Any further aggrandizement of the "Terra Firma" is limited by the Empire and Milan.  Naval dominance gives Venice an ability to expand anywhere in Italy, but the Ottoman threat and the lack of Allies will make this difficult.  The recent involvement of the Emperor and the possibility of France as a neighbour has made it clear to the Venetians that their strategic position could be precarious.