It’s been two weeks, and I finally have the first of the three playable factions entirely sprited. Thus, I’d like to introduce you to our first completed unit list, belonging to one of the most unique, and perhaps, most unlikely European powers of its time: The Netherlands.
The beginnings of what would become the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands (or the Dutch Republic) sprang from the collapse of the Duchy of Burgundy in the late 16th century. When Burgundy was absorbed by its overlord, the King of France in the late 1400s, its rich nothern territories were inherited by the House of Habsburg, the hereditary holders of the Archduchy of Austria, and by that point, the defacto hereditary Emperors of the Holy Roman Empire. Through more convoluted political marriages and chains of inheritance, the territories that would become the Dutch Republic were transferred to Spanish rule when the Habsburgs gained the Spanish crown, then split into Spanish and German branches in the first half of the 16th century. By this point, the seven northern provinces of the Netherlands began chafing under Spanish taxation and religious persecution, and in 1568, they rebelled against king Felipe II of Spain (yes, the one of Spanish Armada fame) led by Willem van Oranje, the first of a long chain of military and political leaders to come from that powerful family.
The war for independence that these seven provinces would fight against Spain would burn with some degree of intensity until the Treaties of Osnabruck/Munster in 1648. During these eighty years of on-and-off conflict, the newly formed Dutch Republic would face the full might of the Spanish Empire. At its height, the Spanish Army of Flanders numbered over 60 000 and was commanded by men like Spinola and the Duke of Parma, the finest which Spain had to offer. Against this, the Dutch rebels had only occasional and often ineffective support from isolated allies like England, which sent money when they could and military aid when they felt like it.
Thus, the Dutch were mostly on their own. Their ability to leverage their own advantages was what made them both a formidable power and (in my opinion) an excellent choice for a third side in MoF2′s faction calculus. The Dutch used three things to their advantage: First, they refused to face the Spanish Armies on their terms, instead waiting for a moment of weakness or tying up Spanish troops for years on end in bloody, the bloody, interminable process of besieging Dutch fortified towns. Secondly, the House of Orange would pioneer a new way of warfare. Unlike the Spanish, who used the superior discipline and experience to organize big, slow formations (tercios) which were practically indestructible up close, the Dutch created a new, linear system of warfare which maximized firepower and allowed them to outmaneuver and bleed the Spanish armies in the field. Lastly, the Dutch used their considerable financial clout to hire mercenaries and other professional soldiers to do their fighting for them, bolstering their own armies. With its heavily decentralized political structure, the Dutch Republic could not easily raise a professional standing army, so they relied much on foreign veterans. By the latter part of the Eighty Years War, the Dutch were able to take advantage of the turmoil in the Holy Roman Empire, taking in German Protestant commanders in desperate need of coin and paying them in exchange for a season or two under Dutch colours.
These three advantages are reflected in their unit list. First of all, both their light and heavy infantry units boast the fastest attack speed in the game, to represent the advanced state of Dutch gun manufacturing and their military focus on firepower. While the Dutch light infantry Warders (militia) may seem substandard as compared to the professional soldiers in service to Spain or France, they still pack a formidable punch. Over the decades of war, the garrisons of large cities like Antwerp and Amsterdam would prove themselves repeatedly, holding Spanish armies at bay for up to years at a time. They are bolstered by Scottish mercenary heavy infantry, who served the Dutch and other continental powers as feared fighting men by the thousands. Paired together, these units provide substantial damage output. In addition, on the attack, Dutch units move faster than their Spanish or French counterparts. Having the advantage of regular pay and supplies, men in Dutch service are better motivated and thus, less likely to lag behind.
The Dutch special unit is the Military Engineer, an individual which will prove most useful for any player frustrated by repair costs and the durability (or lack thereof) of their walls. All walls within a Military Engineer’s radius of effect are gradually repaired as the Engineer sits at his desk and points out potential breaches to be repaired and reinforced. A smart player would be able to station one or more engineers near a weak point or the focal point of an enemy’s attack, and effectively cut down on the amount of damage an enemy assault wave would be able to do, which not only makes your fortress more formidable (and keeps your garrison units fighting longer) but also saves on repair costs.
Next update will probably be a short one, but I’ll have another big faction update like this one when I finish another faction.