On Napoleon’s Twin Defeats

Twice I fought Napoleon — first on the Great Plains, then in the Pampas region of South America.

On the Great Plains, I had at my side Ivan the Terrible. To the north, I had an enemy in Maurice of Nassau. To the east, Napoleon.

I made allies with the local tribes, Comanche and Sioux. Often, my strategy is to take out my most powerful enemy — in this case, Napoleon — and then, once he has been dispatched, deal with the weaker foe. However, Maurice sat on something valuable — the native trade route — and I coveted that like the shiny bauble that it was. A Sioux village was near enough to Napoleon that while I was attacking Maurice and razing his colony to the ground, I could keep Napoleon at bay.

Fortunately, my ally Ivan had a better idea. While I attacked Maurice’s colony from the south, with another column flanking the colony and attacking from due west, Ivan kept Napoleon off-balance. I had mercenaries — Scotch Highlanders — arrive from the Old World, and I assembled another army near the Sioux outpost. As Maurice’s colony teetered, Napoleon struck at my army there, hoping to catch my forces, weakened from the fight.

This was my opening. A second front! My forces lashed out at Napoleon’s colony, setting out from the Sioux village. Napoleon quickly withdrew his forces from the ruins of Maurice’s colony with his own colony under attack from my forces and Ivan’s forces.

Maurice demanded a surrender. I was disinclined to accept it.

Napoleon then asked for a surrender. “How can I fight on without troops or resources?” he asked.

I had victory on the Great Plains.

Next, I met Napoleon in South America. The Pampas region, fertile though it may be, is also a bleak and arid land, with a baked soil that is packed hard from use.

Allied with Frederick the Great, I was content to build my colony’s economy, and with the choke points of rivers, I knew I could wall off my colony to keep it defended. A defensive posture suited me more this time, and I was content to let the fight come to me. First, Napoleon assaulted my walls, and then his ally, Queen Isabella, built a fort within my colony’s walls.

But once my economy was booming, I could train vast quantities of musketeers and grenadiers, and I took the fight to Napoleon.

His colony fell quickly, which was good. This land was dry, arid, and lacking in some vital resources. Coin was at a premium here.

I turned on Isabella, and I quickly dispatched her.

I had achieved another victory.

Neither victory felt truly satisfying, however. Not like my battle some years ago in the frigid arctic wastes, where every inch of ground I took was stained with the blood of my soldiers. I had no sense of accomplishment this time.

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