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The Palatinate phase. 1621 – 1624.

The story so far…

After the Bohemian Revolt had been crushed, attention shifted away from the (apparently) pacified Eastern states to the Palatinate in the West, a Protestant country that was also a member of the Electoral College. Furthermore it straddled the vital Val Telline. Its ruler, Frederick V, had unwisely accepted the Bohemian crown during the revolt. If the revolt had been successful he would have held two votes to the election of the Emperor, and personally have had a strangle hold on Spanish support.  He may even have been able to make a play for the Emperor’s position himself. Defeated, he was seen by the administration as a dangerous schemer. The Palatinate would need to be subdued.

1622. Spanish capture Jülich, a nation close to the French border along the vital supply line to Flanders. This country had suffered a minor war ten years earlier concerning succession. Both claimants were Protestant.

Attempting to prevent the link up of the coming Spanish Imperial army with the local Catholic League army, Mansfeld and George Friedrich of Baden-Durlach set up a block. They were attacked by Tilly’s Catholic League army in the Battle of Mingolsheim, but held firm. However Tilly then bypassed them and linked up anyway.

The combined Imperial and Catholic League army defeated the Protestant Union army at the Battle of Wimpfen, which was attempting to split the Catholic allies. Instead the Protestants were split.

At Höchst, the Catholics caught George Friedrich as he attempted to move his army over the Nidda river. The battle was a Catholic victory, but failed to prevent the Protestant allies from recombining.

Turning North, Mansfeld and Christian of Brunswick attacked Spanish general Spinola in the disputed Dutch Provinces in the battle of Fleurus, and were soundly defeated.

Tilly and Cordoba turned their attention to the now isolated English Protestant forces (allies of Frederick V – in fact James I was his cousin) strung out along the Rhine in the Palatinate, and defeated Sir Gerard Herbert in the Siege of Heidelburg.

1623Frankenthal, another Protestant city held by the English, surrendered after a short siege.

Using Dutch troops, Christian of Brunswick marched South, but no Protestant forces joined him. Outnumbered and isolated, he was defeated by the Catholic League army of Tilly at the battle of Stadlohn.

[Treaty of Paris signed between France, Savoy and Venice with the agreement to kick Spanish forces out of the Val Telline. 1623 Papal conlave called on the death of Pope Gregory XV. Pope Urban VIII elected.]

1624. Mansfeld disbanded what was left of his shattered army and sailed to England to ask for money to raise new troops. The English were supportive of recovering the Palatinate, but delayed payment.

And so the Palatinate Phase ended with no Protestant army left in the field. The Imperials must have felt as if they had now snuffed out the root cause of the disease, and had secured the Spanish Road along the Val Telline.

It appeared that all internal opposition within the Empire had been stamped out, and that may have been the end of the matter. All that remained, it seemed, was to crush the Dutch. However, those outside the Empire were not comfortable with the idea of Spain’s consolidation and dominance in middle Europe.

[Treaty of Compiègne signed between France and Dutch United Provinces, allowing France to fund the Dutch war of independence from Spain.]

Scoreboard: Catholics and Imperials 7, Protestants 1.