Hearts of Iron IV: The Three Principles, Pt I: Civil War, by Tammo-Korsai & Kaiservonikapoc

The Long March is over and the Communists are holed up in Shaanxi province (not to be confused with Shanxi) and are surely at the limit of their endurance and ragged strength. However, matters are seldom straightforward in such a fragmented nation…

Welcome to the first instalment of The Three Principles, the long awaited AAR written by myself and /u/kaiservonikapoc. With the state of the game improving and numerous modifications further improving the overall experience, I decided to end Between the Seas for the foreseeable future and move on to the project I really wanted to do in the first place.

Modifications used:

  • Improved AI Research and Division Tweaks
  • Improved Peace Conference AI
  • Coloured Buttons
  • Accurate flags for Japan and Communist China.
  • DzK Better Counters
  • More Theatre Icons
  • Flavour Names Extended
  • [World Press Mod] Shen Bao
  • No Man’s Land (Adds HoI3 style impassable provinces.)

01 - wWq8lMk

During the revolution that toppled the Qing Dynasty in 1911, Sun Yat-Sen intended to implement the Three Principles of the People:

1) Mínzú (Nationalism) China must create a national identity that includes all of the five races and unifies them.

2) Mínquán (Democracy) The people must have the political means to express their wishes and guarantee their rights.

3) Mínshēng (The people’s welfare) This principle seeks to create fair land taxation through the Georgist political philosophy but due to the unfortunate passing of Sun Yat-Sen in 1927, this third principle was never fully defined and remains open to interpretation.

The road to a united China has been a far from straightforward endeavour. There are both threats from within and without that could sweep away the effects of the revolution much like short lived ascension attempt of Emperor Yuan Shikai in 1915 fragmented the entire nation…

Welcome to a Hearts of Iron IV AAR by /u/Tammo-Korsai and /u/KaiserVonIkapoc

Theme tune: https://www.facebook.com/158517831018557/videos/409181869285484/?fref=nf

02 - A threat from within

A threat from within…
The Communist Party of China, recently taken over by Mao Zedong, has regrouped in the mountainous province of Shaanxi (not to be confused with the neibouring warlord province of Shanxi) and is stubbornly resisting the advances of the National Revolutionary Army despite the gruelling slog of the Long March.

With the warlords loosely allied to the KMT and anti-communist in nature, the red blot on China’s map remains the most active threat for the time being.

03 -  a threat from without

… a threat from without…
As China has struggled to reunify, Imperial Japan has only grown stronger as its military clique hunger for further conquests after fabricating an incident in 1931. They used their false cassus belli to invade the outer province of Manchuria. With the Republic in no shape to resist, the province was yielded without a fight.

In order to create an air of legitimacy, the last true Chinese Emperor known as Puyi was appointed leader of the Manchukuo puppet state.

Tensions flared up in 1932 when a brief engagement erupted in Shanghai as Japan fabricated another incident to justify further combat by ‘defending’ its extraterritorial concessions in the city.

Since then, Japan has been content to let the Civil War play out and watch its back for the Soviet far eastern presence…

04 - and a force for change

…and a force for change.

The Kuomintang is home to many internal factions, one of which is led by the liberal Sun Fo, son of the highly regarded Sun Yat-Sen. He successfully held the government together during the Japanese invasion of Manchuria by encouraging Wang Jingwei and Chiang Kai-Shek to withdraw their resignations over the incident in order to maintain stability. This was also partially due to his lack of influence and credibility within the party at the time…

His prime concern is to end the war against the communists in favour of preparing the nation to better resist Japanese encroachments and one day take the fight into Manchuria. For the time being, his objections are being ignored by Chiang…

05 - Not every foreign presence in or around China is unwelcome

Not every foreign presence in or around China is unwelcome…

In 1934, the capable capable Alexander von Falkenhausen took over the German military mission to China. With a cadre of some fifty advisers, he is working to reform the NRA into sixty high quality infantry divisions that will be able to face the Japanese not just with new equipment but with the discipline and doctrines needed to win a war.
The man himself is no stranger to the adviser role having worked with the Ottoman Empire in the Great War and was even part of the German contingent during the Boxer Rebellion. To further add to his credentials, he spent 1909-11 touring East Asia with his wife to learn about the region.

Politically, Falkenhausen has become distant from the Nazi party after his brother was murdered during The Night of the Long Knives. The idea of an Austrian corporal running his country also sits uncomfortably in his mind.

06 - x2NGLkC

Germany has proven to be a trustworthy trade partner since it no longer has an empire and is thus not regarded as having potentially vested interests in the region like the British and French Empires. Over time, the trading has expanded into a modernization program for the National Revolutionary Army.

07 - YM3HRKr

The lull after the Long March is to be used to improve the condition of the National Revolutionary Army for the final push on Shaanxi province. Part of this need can be met by updating machine tooling and purchasing various models of sub-machine guns from various European arms dealers. In turn, these will be reverse engineered and copied to save money in the long term.

08 - 94FlyWI

The quality of our forces around the Yangtze river vary greatly in quality and must be brought up to a consistent standard. Both the German advisers and officers from the regiments they have trained will be roving around to give demonstrations and help the internal factions of the army see each other as more than just names on an order of battle. Such petty cliques could be our undoing should Japan encroach on our lands again.
09 - eyMbNmv
Chiang Kai-Shek has finally convinced Shanxi Warlord Yan Xishan to launch a limited offensive into the Communist stronghold in a bid to interrupt their period of recuperation.
10 - gmYEK1Y
Xishan’s motley militia have proven to be more capable than Chiang’s inner circle expected. The Red Army has been thoroughly mauled but the Warlord is unwilling to press home the attack unless he is lavishly compensated and given some political clout in the KMT.
11 - ZsU3eka

Bo Yibo personally observed the efforts of the Shanxi Clique against the Communists and has a wealth of new theories that have caught Chiang’s interest. He will be promoted to a posting in Nanjing to share his findings with the rest of the NRA.
12 - kvau9yl
The embarrassing defeat has prompted Mao to strengthen his political control of the region lest his credibility begins to slip. (Author’s note: I need to fix the inaccurate Mao portrait.)
13 - tzbFggi
The lull has proven to be relatively short since there was no official cease-fire. This time, the Communists have infiltrated areas well beyond Mao’s strongholds to agitate uprisings in the interior.
14 - QgPNJo8
The incursion has proven to be worse than predicted. It will be necessary to call in some reserve units to quell the unrest.
15 - 49Liq25
Soldiers of a provincial army march off to a suspected communist outpost. They are equipped with padded uniforms for the cold conditions but operations in cold weather seldom inspire enthusiasm, especially for those who would rather be marching off to Manchuria.
16 - M8R1RgO
Just as our reinforcements entered the hotspots, the Communist insurgents melted away and few were caught. Despite the few casualties we suffered, the Communist propaganda machine has spun it as a great and daring act of revenge against the ‘dogs’ who chased them during the Long March.
17 - pXbE7py
Part of the defeat has been attributed to our men being inadequately equipped or even missing basic essentials altogether. Sun Fo, a critique of Chiang’s inward-looking priorities, led the call for an investment in the outdated and undersized industrial sector since it would prove useful regardless of who is deemed the real enemy of China.
18 - o3cLFgi
We are not the only country that remains in a state of disunity. The Spanish Republic recently fractured after a failed coup launched by General Franco tried to oust the left-wing coalition that narrowly won a closely called election. We will observe these developments carefully and apply what we learn to our research.
19 - ggXEVvC
Just as we seek to rearm and strengthen the nation, our favoured trade partner in Europe is seeking to do the same. For now, it seems that the forces of democracy have no stomach to ignite another war.
20 - zp9tPjR
Good news! Early production runs of our Krupp 75mm field guns have been completed! These precious few artillery pieces will be allocated only to our most reliable divisions for now. They will go first to the German trained formations are known as Reorganized Divisions and will continue to be prioritised for new equipment as it becomes available. This favouritism is not so appreciated by our less regular forces currently patrolling the unstable interior.
21 - DSNDvIw
It seems that Sun Fo’s ‘Japan First’ policy is shared by part of the military as well.

22 - ftzC47m

The cynics claim this will not last, but the optimists dream of reforming the United Front should Japan grow hungry once more.
23 - VHbSp3L
The KMT are now investing more time in improving the neglected political situation in parallel with the ongoing industrial developments. Chiang is slightly concerned that Sun Fo is eyeing up premiership of the party, but for now, he is unwilling to rock the boat.
24 - zDZXvt5
Now that we have the equipment we need, the German advisers are setting to work on establishing a doctrine for the Pioneer Companies. Once the project is complete, the Reorganized Divisions will be allocated this new kind of support to better entrench themselves or lay the way for an attack in difficult terrain.
25 - BfD2S48
Industrial construction projects are alternating between new civilian and military factories to keep most of the KMT satisfied and generate more employment for people thinking of making the arduous trek to the Communist stronghold.
26 - JM8bUWO
The pro-industrial crowd have lobbied Chiang to appoint an expert in the field to improve the drive to modernize.
Meanwhile, the fascist-backed Nationalists have completed their campaign of encircling and pocketing the diverse mix of loosely coordinated Republicans. Despite the communist presence within the Republicans, even Chiang Kai-Shek feels a touch of sympathy for a government that has seen its nation torn apart by foreign puppet strings.
27 - XxCzHa0
As China strives to modernize…
28 - DfDiYRt
…fascism rises in Europe…
29 - 3UDRLht
…but the Japanese Empire remains silent and unreadable…

Crusader Kings II: Duke Baldwin V of Flanders (1012-1077), by T Boon

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series Crusader Kings 2, by T Boon


Baldwin V of Flanders (19 August 1012 – 5 June 1077) was Duke of Flanders from 1035 until his death.

He was the son of Baldwin IV, Duke of Flanders, who died in 1035.


In 1028 Baldwin married Adèle of France in Amiens, daughter of King Robert II of France; at her instigation he rebelled against his father but in 1030 peace was sworn and the old count continued to rule until his death.

During a long war (1046–1056) as an ally of Godfrey the Bearded, Duke of Lorraine, against the Holy Roman Emperor Henry III, he initially lost Valenciennes to Hermann of Hainaut. However, when the latter died in 1051 Baldwin married his son Baldwin VI to Herman’s widow Richildis and arranged that the sons of her first marriage were disinherited, thus de facto uniting the County of Hainaut with Flanders. Upon the death of Henry III this marriage was acknowledged by treaty by Agnes de Poitou, mother and regent of Henry IV. Baldwin V played host to a grateful dowager queen Emma of England, during her enforced exile, at Bruges. He supplied armed security guards, entertainment, comprising a band of minstrels. Bruges was a bustling commercial centre, and Emma fittingly grateful to the citizens. She dispensed generously to the poor, making contact with the monastery of Saint Bertin at St Omer, and received her son, King Harthacnut of England at Bruges in 1039.

From 1060 to 1066 Baldwin was the co-Regent with Anne of Kiev for his nephew-by-marriage Philip I of France, indicating the importance he had acquired in international politics. Baldwin supported the King of France in most affairs until Philip’s death in 1072, serving briefly as Master of Horse.

In 1070, Baldwin fought a war over Amiens, whose claim was disputed following the death of Count Raoul de Valois. Most historians agree that Baldwin instigated the war with slight pretext. In any case, Amiens was added to the demesne of Flanders when Simon de Valois, claimant to the county, was captured in late 1070 and Baldwin assumed the title.

During the troubles in France during the latter half of the 1070’s caused by the early death of Philip I of France and the ascension of Guillaume I, Baldwin sided with Robert of Burgandy, who supported the claim of Hugues, brother of Philip I, to the throne. After the deposition of Guillaume I, Baldwin was made Chancellor of France, which he held until his death in 1077.


flanders-coat of armsDuke Baldwin V was of the House of Flanders (van Vlannderen)

Father: Duke Baldwin IV of Flanders

Mother: Ogiva of Luxemburg

Baldwin and Adèle had three children:

  • Baldwin VI, Count of Hainaut
  • Matilda, wife of Duke William of Normandy
  • Robert I, Count of Zeeland

Some information adapted from Wikipedia.

Let’s reunify Japan in Total War: Shogun 2! Part 3 (Final): Ride Forth Victoriously

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Total War: Shogun 2, by Peter S

Welcome to the final instalment of my Let’s Play of Shogun 2.

Previously, I stood on the verge of Shogun 2’s endgame — “realm divide”, in which most of Japan joins forces to stop the player. My armies were ready. My treasury was bursting. And so, I resumed the offensive after a long period of peace. Here is the situation, shortly before the end of Part 2:

S2 power blocs

In the east, my armies had just won their first victory against the Hatekayama clan (green). In the west, I was at peace; I shared my border with an allied clan, the Imagawa (grey), and a former ally, the Jinbo (light blue). Further west, past the Jinbo and Imagawa, was the single largest computer player: the Otomo clan (blue, also my ally).

Once I resume the game, Takeda Shingen and his son Nobushige lead my eastern armies against the Hatekeyama’s remaining force.

Continue reading

Let’s reunify Japan in Total War: Shogun 2! Part 2: Patience and Preparation

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Total War: Shogun 2, by Peter S

Welcome back to my Let’s Play of Shogun 2.

When we left off, my Takeda clan controlled a modest slice of Japan, to the north and west of modern Tokyo. To the east were my enemies: the Satake and Satomi clans. Further north were my old foes, the Uesugi clan; an uneasy peace prevailed between us, ever since I crushed their last invasion attempt.

My previous victory against the Satomi in Part 1 gave me a window of opportunity. and so, my first order of business is to march east. Takeda Shingen, lord of the clan, is off on another frontier. Command falls to his two brothers: Takeda Nobushige in the north, leading his army out of North Shinano province, and Takeda Nobukado in the south, crossing the river from Musashi.

S2 pt1 end North S2 pt1 end SEContinue reading

Let’s reunify Japan in Total War: Shogun 2! Part 1: Awakening the Tiger

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Total War: Shogun 2, by Peter S


Hello, and welcome to my Let’s Play of Total War: Shogun 2.

Shogun 2 casts players as a daimyo, one of the regional warlords of sixteenth-century Japan. The ultimate goal is to march on Kyoto, at the centre of the map, and enthrone oneself as shogun. Along the way, the player must manage a realm, raise armies, and command them in battle. The game triumphs on every level — as an exercise in strategic decision-making; as an epic come to life; and as an aesthetic treat. It is my favourite strategy game of all time.

For this run, I have opted to play as the Takeda clan, led by one of the most renowned warlords of the period — Takeda Shingen. This is, in fact, my second Takeda attempt — I abandoned the first after painting myself into a corner. I turn the game’s difficulty up to “Hard”, which affects both the strategic map and the tactical battles. My intent is to turn down the battles to “Normal” — the computer cheats on higher battle difficulties. Instead, I forget. As a result, the game so far has been entirely played on Hard.

I’ve chosen the Takeda for two reasons. First, their location in central Japan will make for a nice change — I won my last Shogun 2 campaign (using the Fall of the Samurai expansion pack) as an outlying island clan. Second, I’ve been meaning to make more extensive use of cavalry in Total War games, a job for which the Takeda are well-suited — all their horsemen receive a bonus.

Here is the opening cinematic for the Takeda:

And here is the situation at the beginning of the game:

S2 Takeda startThe Takeda start in Kai province, a landlocked mountain pass that runs north/south. All cavalry trained in Kai will receive a bonus, courtesy of the province’s superior horse pastures; this stacks with the innate Takeda bonus to cavalry.

To the north of Kai is North Shinano, also landlocked. It is home to the Murakami clan, who begin at war with me — you can see a small Murakami army near the border. To the south are Musashi province, home to modern-day Tokyo, and Suruga province, home to the allied Imagawa clan.

To win the game, I have to hold 25 provinces, including Kai, Kyoto, North Shinano, and three other provinces all to the north of Shinano. Before then, I must face one of Shogun 2’s most distinctive challenges — realm divide. When I draw close to victory, most of the remaining computer players will declare war on me; I’ll need to build my empire around surviving that final difficulty spike.

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The World That May Have Been, a Europa Universalis IV Let’s Play – Part 5 (FINAL): Bend with the Wind

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series Europa Universalis IV, by Peter S

If you walk around London today, you will still find monuments to the war heroes of the 18th century, and cross streets named after the ministers who led Britain to victory over France and Portugal and the Dutch. But from a modern perspective, what stands out is how much blood was shed for so little effect. When the century opened, Britain, France, Portugal and Spain were the foremost powers of western Europe; and a hundred years later that had not changed. The true change of the period occurred inside borders, not between them.



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The World That May Have Been, a Europa Universalis IV Let’s Play – Part 4: The Death and Rebirth of the British Empire

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series Europa Universalis IV, by Peter S



In 1665, Great Britain lay in ruins, her navy and trade fleets sunk, her cities occupied by French soldiers. It was the culmination of a series of unsuccessful wars waged throughout the 17th century, and as His Britannic Majesty’s hangdog envoys filed into the negotiating room, it was in doubt whether Britain would even survive. Previous wars had seen Wales, Cornwall, Northumberland lost, albeit temporarily. Could her victorious enemies even force her to give up Scotland?


The troubles had begun in the year 1600, when Great Britain had barely found its feet after the last century’s Wars of Religion. Decades earlier, Catholic rebels had not just wrested Ireland from the British crown; they had pledged their fealty to France. For Britain’s king, Octavius I, this was intolerable. His plan seemed foolproof: the British fleet would keep the French bottled up in harbour, Britain’s Austrian and Spanish allies would keep the French army busy on the European mainland, and Britain’s own modest army could seize an undefended Ireland. What could go wrong?


As it turned out, plenty. Distracted by rivals closer to home, the Austrians soon signed peace with France. The French demolished the Spanish army, and occupied Spain. Britain in turn occupied Ireland, but compared to the victories the French had racked up on the continent, that mattered little. The war settled into stalemate – the French fleet unable to match the British, the British army unable to match the French – and it could have dragged on forever.


(If this were a normal war Spain would have separately capitulated, but Spain and I were in a coalition war, in which individual coalition members can’t sign separate peace treaties. This rule seems a little odd – after all, if Napoleon could pick off coalition members, why can’t we?)


EU4_Pt4_02_FranceoccupiesSpainContinue reading

The World that May Have Been, a Europa Universalis IV Let’s Play — Part 3: If You Can’t Beat Them…

This entry is part 3 of 5 in the series Europa Universalis IV, by Peter S

In 1584, under siege by French-backed Catholic rebels, King Augustus I of Great Britain renounced the Protestant faith. It was a last resort; the British treasury was empty, the army shattered, the realm ruined – and the rebels endless. One could almost hear the cackles in Paris as Augustus put his signature to the document reinstating Catholicism as the state religion of Britain; it was the greatest humiliation a British monarch had suffered since the Hundred Years’ War. Well satisfied, the Catholic rebels went home. The British Wars of Religion had come to an end.




Or had they?


eu4_pt2_002_derbyprotestantsContinue reading

The World that May Have Been, a Europa Universalis IV Let’s Play — Part 2: The Best of Times, the Worst of Times

This entry is part 2 of 5 in the series Europa Universalis IV, by Peter S

The Navigator Queen




In the summer of 1475, Anne, Queen of England, celebrated the fifth anniversary of her assumption of power from her regency council. They had been five fruitful years; her first act had been to standardise weights and measures throughout the realm. Some of these we still use today. Her second act had been to order the reconquest of Wales and Cornwall, which had broken away after the English defeat in the Hundred Years’ War. These campaigns did not last long: the English army was a pale shadow of what it had been a generation earlier, but it still outnumbered the Welsh and Cornish three to one. Now, as foreign ambassadors filed in to pay their respects, the queen seemed justified in resting on her laurels.


(Anne was a competent though uninspired ruler – she had a 3 in all her stats, out of a maximum of 6. Still, after Henry VI’s solid zeroes, this felt like manna from heaven.)


Then, as Anne waited for her next audience to begin, a man tumbled out of a rug. A moment later, he began to speak – very quickly, as the queen’s guards and the bolder courtiers were advancing on him. Apologies for the intrusion, but this was the only way he could think of to gain an audience. His name was Albert Gloucester, navigator and sea captain. He planned to sail west through the Atlantic, and that way reach distant Asia. Would the queen sponsor him?




She would. The next year, in May 1476, Gloucester set sail from the Portuguese-controlled Azores with three ships. He was not heard from until the following January, when his three ships limped back into the Azores, badly damaged, their crews half-dead, starving… and bearing tales of a New World.

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The World that May Have Been, a Europa Universalis IV Let’s Play — Part 1: Never Pick on Someone Your Own Size

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series Europa Universalis IV, by Peter S

The World that May Have Been







November, 1444. Under the Ming Dynasty, China is the greatest empire in the world:


Eu4 Ming Start


Further west, the rising Ottoman Empire dominates the Middle East and is pushing into eastern Europe:


EU4 Ottoman Start


Western Europe is a chaotic patchwork of kingdoms and duchies and free cities:


EU4 England Start


The world system that existed just a century or two ago, which saw Europe and China tenuously connected by the likes of Marco Polo, has fragmented; now Europeans and Asians and Americans carry on in their separate spheres.


The world will not stay this way.


Welcome to my Let’s Play of Europa Universalis IV, a grand strategy game from Paradox Development Studio set during the early modern era of world history. I am playing as England from the earliest possible start date, 1444; I will continue until either the game ends (in the early 19th century) or I stop having fun. In that time, I’ll explore aspects of the game such as exploration, trade, diplomacy, and war. I am also playing Ironman mode, which means I have just the one save slot and can’t abuse save/reload, and I am not using any mods except for one that enlarges the font (uncomfortably small by default). Lastly, I’ll emphasise narrative rather than gameplay, and if I do interject with an “out of universe” comment, I’ll mark it clearly, (like so). Onward to the game!


Part 1: Never Pick on Someone Your Own Size

1444 to 1469

King Henry VI, Queen Anne I


War has many faces, yet one face everywhere: anguish for the victims in the middle of it. – Lauro Martines, Furies: War in Europe 1450-1700


The winter of 1444 saw the Hundred Years’ War between England and France enter its twilight. 17,000 English soldiers huddled in continental garrisons, split between northern and western France; confronting them were over 40,000 French soldiers on the northern front alone. Henry V of England had beaten those odds a generation earlier – but his son, the reigning king in 1444, was no Henry V. Continue reading