|At the start of the Grand Campaign – 14 October 1399|
|Number of provinces||11|
|Center of Trade||None|
The Teutonic Order was originally formed in the late 12th century to care for sick pilgrims traveling to the Holy land. After Acre fell to the Muslims (Around 1210), The Order moved first to Hungary, and then to Prussia and in 1230, With the support of Poland and the Holy Roman Emperor The Teutonic Knights initiated the Prussian Crusade to christen the pagan Old Prussians and Lithuanians. The Teutonic Knights used the Prussian Crusade as an excuse to consolidate its power in the Baltic, much to the dismay of Poland, who after the conversion of Lithuania to Christianity (roughly 20 years before the game's timeline) formed an alliance with Lithuania to curb the power of the Teutons.
In 1399, The Teutonic Order is still a Middle Power in the Baltic, with great potential for expansion. To the South are the traditional enemies of the Order; Poland, Lithuania and Mazovia. To the East, the Russians including the wealthy Republic of Novgorod and the Kingdom of Muscovy. To the West lies Denmark and the upstart Kingdom of Sweden, as well as the Holy Roman Empire (HRE).
In history, the fortunes of the Order fell dramatically after the Battle of Tannenberg (1410) and the end of the Polish-Lithuanian-Teutonic War (1409-1411) and was eventually forced to live out its days as a vassal of the Poles until the formation of the Duchy of Prussia in 1525. In EU3 you can reverse this trend, either by resisting change and making the Teutonic Order a power lasting well into the 15th Century, or by evolving with the times and forming a base in Western Europe as Prussia or perhaps, Germany.
Overview (HTTT & IN)
When to start?
The Teutonic Order is strongest in the early years in the game, so a 1399 start is certainly a good move. For a strong start, the best time would be between 1403 and 1408 (before the secession of Gotland). If you're playing HTTT, 1403 is a particularly good year to start, as Smolensk (which exists from 1/1/1403 to 1/1/1404) can be used as an ally/distraction against Lithuania. From 1399 to 1408 Poland and Lithuania are busy fighting the Golden Horde, which is advantageous if you're thinking of taking on Poland and Lithuania early.
Alternatively, if you want to focus on Eastern Europe and ignore Scandinavia you may want to start AFTER the secession of Gotland, as BOTH Denmark and Sweden have cores there. If you want more of a challenge, try starting in 1453. This can be advantageous if you're thinking of forming Prussia, as it's closer to the Reformation.
The Teutonic Order has many advantages, though some of these are a double-edged sword.
- As a non-monarchy, the Order lacks several features exclusive to monarchies: This means you are immune to Regency Councils, Succession wars and low Legitimacy ( ) penalties, so feel free to use your Hochmeisters as Generals!
- ( ) The Teutonic Order are a Theocracy: This means they get Magistrates twice as fast as their rivals (and over three times faster than Novgorod!) as well as a bonus 5% to Papal influence, This means you have a better chance of becoming Papal Controller which in turn, allows you to Excommunicate Catholic rivals and helps lower Infamy.
- ( ) The Teutonic Order are a Theocracy: This means conversion is faster, which is certainly useful if you're planning on taking on the Orthodox Russian States (Novgorod, etc.) and for quickly assimilating Samogitia.
- Starting sliders (Max Serfdom and Aristocracy) allow the Order to raise armies cheaply, which as The Teutonic Order, is essential.
- The Teutonic Order is located near two Centers of Trade (Novgorod and Lübeck), and ( ) start as a member of the Hanseatic League
- Starting Position, The Teutonic Order have more provinces than most of their rivals, and plenty of opportunity to expand.
- The Teutonic Order are in the Latin/Western tech group, while most of their rivals are in the Eastern tech group.
- The Teutonic Order Lack a Monarchy: So you cannot initiate Royal Marriages, which hurts diplomacy. You also can only vassalise in Peace Negotiations, but you can still Diplo-annex.
- The Teutonic Order are a Theocracy: Which delays the Reformation chain of events (This is only a disadvantage if you're planning on forming Prussia, which you should) and means a Hochmeister cannot be Holy Roman Emperor; This also severely limits the number of decisions available to the Order for the first 100 years or so, and government type cannot be changed until the 1500s.
- Starting Sliders (+2 Narrowminded and full Serfdom) make research slow and difficult. The Order will likely be behind most of Western Europe in terms of Technology.
- The Teutonic Order's starting position means if you are not careful, you can wind up fighting several enemies at once, including the Holy Roman Emperor (In HTTT this can often be Bohemia, which is right on the Order's doorstep).
Heir to the Throne
Note: This guide assumes a 1403 start.
Before you Unpause
- Sliders: If you're planning on capturing a CoT early, you might want to go towards Mercantilism. Otherwise, either move towards Centralisation, Free Subjects or Quality. (You may want to wait before moving towards Innovative until you convert Samogitia or Centralisation until you build your army up or raise your Stability level).
- Advisors: Due to limitations on research, any advisor who can boost research is worth hiring, in particular anyone who can raise government or land tech. Also, bear in mind that Samogitia is Animist and should be converted as soon as possible, so keep your eyes out for a Theologian (Or if you can't find one use your Cultural Tradition).
- Tech research: Focus research first on Stability, later on when you're at +3 focus on Government (To get your first National Idea) and then balance Investments between Land and Trade. Depending on how you value war with Scandinavia you may want to boost naval tech investment.
- Decisions: If you hired a Theologian, be sure to enact Advancement of Religion Act. You may want to wait for your stability to improve before enacting Blasphemy act
- National Idea: At this point in time, you cannot embrace a National Idea.
- Trade: Since you start as a member of the Hanseatic Trade League, send all available merchants to Lübeck. In the future, stay clear from markets owned by nations who will likely Embargo you (Namely, the CoTs Novgorod, Andalucia and Ile-de-France)
After You Unpause
Start building up your army in preparation for war, and as soon as possible, send a missionary to convert Samogitia. What happens next depends on your first mission. If you're lucky enough to get a Conquest casus belli I strongly suggest you make that nation your first target. More likely, you'll get a Attack x Type mission, which gives you a core once you attack but no casus belli, hence a -2 stability hit; Regardless, i suggest you make that nation your first target if that's the case. If you get a mission to create a larger army, relax, cause that's what you should be doing. if you get none of those missions, consider restarting.
Once you feel you're ready for war, pick a nation and invade. Ideally, you should have an army of at least 8000, converted Samogitia and Stability +3. If you have Government Tech 4 or higher (and thus, a National Idea) pick one that will give bonuses to land combat (i.e. Military Drill).
On the subject of National Ideas, Remember that choosing either Divine Supremacy or Unam Sanctum slows down the Protestant Reformation events. For France, this is a good thing, for a future Prussia it's a bad thing, so unless you're content playing a Catholic nation for the rest of the game, don't choose one of these until after you've converted to Protestant. Note that if you start at a later date (one where you have higher Government Tech than 3) Unam Sanctum is by default, your first NI.
Playing as the Teutonic Order, there are four logical targets for expansion: Russia, Scandinavia, The HRE and Poland/Lithuania. Regardless of which target(s) you choose, remember the following three points:
- Expand Prudently: Just because you can take 8 or 10 provinces in a peace deal doesn't mean you should. Use Casus Bellis (for example: Conquest) whenever possible, take only provinces that you have or will have cores on, or provinces where the positives outweigh the negatives by holding without a core (for example: a land bridge to Neumark). Use the extra warscore to demand Prestige or Ducats instead of more provinces, and then use those Ducats to increase the size of your armies.
- Your most dangerous enemy is not who you fight today, but who you fight tomorrow: The Teutonic Order's most dangerous enemies aren't nations like Poland, Denmark or Novgorod; They're nations like Sweden, The Golden Horde and (especially) Bohemia or Austria. Wait until nations like these (and whoever the Holy Roman Emperor is) are preoccupied before attacking a nation which may lead you to share a land border with them.
- The Enemy of your Enemy is your Friend: Be pragmatic with your alliances; if you plan on fighting Poland, ally with Bohemia, After you beat Poland and Bohemia plans on fighting Austria, ally with Austria and fight Bohemia. The Order cannot afford fighting a war without personal gain.
Poland and Lithuania
The most historically accurate target for the Teutonic Order; Poland and Lithuania will be a dangerous thorn in your side if left alone. The best way to deal with them is to ally with a nation bordering Lithuania (Such as Smolensk), and use them and the Golden Horde to distract Lithuania while you take on Poland. Try to capture Plock, Kalisz and Poznan in order to link Neumark with the rest of your empire and if an opportunity to take Masovia (which is usually guaranteed by several powerful nations) comes, be sure to take advantage of it.
After you weaken Poland and Lithuania in several wars, Bohemia will likely try to take advantage of the situation. This is dangerous if they're the Holy Roman Emperor but also offers a unique opportunity to take Riga. Wait until Bohemia weakens itself with wars with Poland and Austria, and then declare war on Riga. Bohemia will come to their aid, but since they're preoccupied and Riga offers little opposition, The Order can take Riga with ease while its main force humbles the so-called Emperor.
If however, it's the Golden Horde who forgets their place, remember you don't suffer a stability hit for declaring war on heathens. They may be large, but they're also unorganized and have many enemies (Hungary for one) Call a Crusade if possible, and let your armies do the rest.
The main advantage with this strategy is that it deals with your three most dangerous foes, and also offers a foothold for further expansion through either the HRE (and thus, Forming Germany) or Russia. The biggest disadvantage is that it provides the least opportunity for Colonization out of the four strategies, but then again, do you really care?
Germany and the HRE
Invasion of the HRE is perhaps the most logical strategy, after all the provinces are mostly in the German culture group, Riga's all alone begging for the Teutonic Order to annex them, and all the provinces required for the ultimate goal of Forming Germany are in the HRE.
Obviously, waging war on countries in the HRE will bring the Order into conflict with the Holy Roman Emperor (at this point in time, most likely Bohemia) so an alliance with Poland is a good option. This gives the advantage of wearing down both Bohemia and Poland, but you run the risk of letting Lithuania growing too powerful, be wary of this.
While Riga may seem like a tempting first target, focus your attention on Pommerania. When the Holy Roman Emperor is busy elsewhere, declare war and Vassalise Pommerania afterwards, that way you have a land bridge to Neumark in case it's threatened. From there, it's pretty much up to you, though I would advise you take provinces such as Brandenburg which contribute to the unification of Germany, and provinces outside the reach of the Emperor (if he's Burgundian, rejoice, If he's Bohemian or Austrian, be cautious). By the way, if the Emperor is the leader of a weak nation (i.e. Cleves) you may want to be a warmonger. Sure, there's a BB hit, but you may not get another chance for a long time, especially if the king of France becomes Emperor (God forbid).
Also, try to strike a balance between annexations and vassalisations; don't vassalise too much as it increases decentralisation by 1 when you diplo-annex (This may be a blessing in disguise however, see Reformation and Beyond for more details)
The main disadvantage of this strategy, is that the Holy Roman Emperor will be involved in nearly every attempt at Teutonic conquest, as stated this is especially dangerous if he's Bohemian or Austrian. Another big disadvantage is that it leaves Russia unchecked, and a powerful rival in the east (such as Novgorod or Muscovy) may invade while Teutonic armies are wreaking havoc in the west.
Russia is another historically plausible target for the Teutonic Order, after all they are a crusading order and Russia is full of heretics.
The Order's main opponent in Russia is Novgorod, and the main goal of a Teutonic invasion is to wipe Novgorod off the map. As usual expand prudently and whittle them down one province at a time, then annex. The Republic of Novgorod is wealthy, so with each war the Order profits until the ultimate prize (Novgorod itself) is in Teutonic hands.
It's important to remember that unlike the Order's Catholic rivals, Russia is Orthodox, so any provinces captured by the Order will need to be converted. If you are not careful and over-extend without cores, this can lead to pesky Zealots popping up all over Teutonic Russia.
Initially, an alliance with Muscovy may seem like a good option; but remember that in real life, it was the Grand Duke of Moscow not the prince of Novgorod that formed Russia! Though not as deadly as if you were playing as Sweden, Muscovy is still a threat to Teutonic dominance in the region.
Speaking of Sweden, the main disadvantage of this strategy is that either Denmark will run rampart in northern Germany, or more likely, Sweden will declare Independence and cast it's eyes on the Baltic. I strongly recommend allying with Denmark and/or Norway and cutting Sweden down to size if this does happen, ally with Sweden and cut Denmark down to size if it doesn't. Also, take steps to detain Lithuania and Poland if they grow too powerful.
The least historically plausible strategy for the Teutonic Order is to invade Scandinavia, however this also makes it the most interesting. As stated earlier, Denmark and Sweden often set their eyes on reclaiming Gotland and conquering the Baltic as a whole.
Before engaging on a Scandinavian campaign, it's imperative to have a good navy, so build a few Carracks when you have the money, and as the Teutonic army expands, make sure it's transport fleet expands with it. It may also be a good idea to wait for Sweden to declare Independence from Denmark (or at least until it breaks it's alliance) and then ally with Sweden against Denmark & Norway This makes the fight with Denmark easier, but unleashes a tiger in the form of Sweden. Be wary of this.
If you do find yourself at war with Norway, you may want to consider conquering Iceland and using it as a base for exploration of the Americas some time in the future, however this is quite ahistorical and some may call it gamey, but if you want to colonise as a nation in the Baltic, this is your best option to do any colonizing outside of Russia and Siberia.
The biggest advantage of a Scandinavian campaign is that it offers the best chance for colonization, while the biggest disadvantage is that it leaves Russia and Poland unchecked; so while the Teutonic army and navy are fighting Sweden in the north a "second Sweden" in Lithuania threatens from the south. I recommend that while you build up the Order's navy, use the opportunity to pacify Lithuania or Novgorod so that they aren't too much of a threat in the future.
Reformation and Beyond
Regardless of what path you take the Teutonic Order on, in the 1500s it will come to a crossroads. By now the Order should have a large army, and should be capable of facing many enemies at once. Once the Protestant Reformation event fires, The Order has the option of reforming itself as Prussia (Note: You do not have to convert to Protestant to form Prussia as the Teutonic Order). As this does no harm and staying as the Teutonic Order does no good, I suggest you do and while you're at it, convert to Protestantism. This is a risky move, it will lower stability by 5 and will make everyone in Europe hate you, but you should have the military muscle to deal with them. Not to mention, The Order/Prussia will likely be the only major Protestant Nation in Europe, so switch to Unam Sanctum as soon as possible and take advantage of the free Casus Belli against everyone!
Alternatively if you plan on exploration, remain Catholic and take Quest for the New World instead.
Early game: The Baltic
The easiest target for the Teutons early on is Riga, which starts with no possible help but from the Holy Roman Emperor, who is often very far removed from Riga. After this very brief war, Pommerania and Mecklenburg are good choices to invade, as neither can easily withstand the Teutons' might. However, without allies the player will soon run into difficulties, so help must be recruited. Good choices of friends are Sweden, Poland, or Bohemia, and a Russian state. This enables you to take on the larger powers, such as Lithuania.
Be aware that, in all of your future wars, a navy will help to ferry troops around your territory while holding off your foe's. Coupled with the more important Military accesses, you will be able to form pincer movements on your enemies and divide their forces. This helps in attacking nations which have two parts or more separated by sea.
Once a decent powerbase has established, if Poland or Lithuania are already fighting each other and one is winning, seizing the chance and attacking the weaker of the two is a good way of earning more provinces. Otherwise Denmark makes a good base for expansion in the west and northern Germany. Make sure not to attack directly if they are allied with Sweden; as that combination would be too powerful for the young Teutonic Order. Luring in a weak ally of the Danes is a good way of getting the necessary war. Then the southern Baltic coastline can be consolidated, so that it is entirely Teutonic. This may well give you the edge needed to take on Sweden.
Annexing your neighbours may be tricky and give you a reputation hit, so vassalization them is a good way to go. Seizing as much land as possible and making them your vassal to ensure later wars can also result in you having a loyal ally to defend your frontiers. Given that it takes at least two wars to annex any nation above 2 provinces, vassalization also saves much time and money.
Sweden generally has far larger forces than any local nations, and so dominates its area. When properly played the Teutons are easily able to defeat them, because the Swedes must pass over Lake Peipus to invade by land - historically where a Teuton crusader army was destroyed at the hands of the Novgorodians. It is quite possible to hold off the Scandinavian offensive with a smaller army on this front, while using a fleet to land troops in southern Sweden. Their forces may leave the eastern battlefields and march to save their lands, but pursuing them with cavalry can lead to their being destroyed before reaching home. One successful war can cripple them, cutting them off and expanding Teutonic holdings. After this war the Order will indubitably be the only recognized power in the Baltic.
If you start around 1450ish in patch 1.3 you most often end up with either Novgorod or Poland/Lithuania declaring war on you almost right away. The best way to avoid losing something right away is to immediately start building up your forces and borrow 200 ducats to finance future armies and development.
If you have time to build up before the war starts then you can prepare a proper army, but if not, hire as many mercenaries as you can and try to grab some provinces. In 1.3 your first victim most often will be Novgorod. With the National Bank idea, after this short war you will end up 3 provinces richer and about 4% inflation due to trying to cover the debt.
As soon as you recover a bit, try throwing the same tactic against Lithuania (Poland will join in). This time borrow 400 ducats (do not get scared, its possible to repay the loans even though you will have to extend the loan for a total of about 10 years) and going all out against Poland first, getting a deal with them for at least 2 provinces. Then pick on Lithuania, in most cases getting about 3-4 provinces from them.
Rinse and repeat with 2 and 3 wars getting more provinces than before. It helps to attack when they are in the midst of one of their wars with Muscovy or Novgorod or both. After or during the process making Poland/Lithuania your vassals, it is necessary to be ready to take down Novgorod if it makes its move. This should not be a problem even in 1.3. After you can accomplish that you will have an inflation of about 15-16% but with getting some left over colonies in Cuba and Central America you can easily take that down and still have a lot left over to further your conquest.
Of course, no trading or marrying or any other such silliness is possible...after all you are the Teutonic order...a religious militaristic organisation with better things to do than stand on the market and sell naval supplies (your provinces' main product). Try to avoid alliances with small countries, as they can drag you into their wars, however Austria, Denmark or even Muscovy can be beneficial due to their size and strength.
From here on in, it is a case of matching your enemies and using roughly the same tactics; or attempting to take as much in one go as possible and dominating your region. The Teutons have the potential to easily become a large power: it's simply a matter of playing them right.