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In the era, which was characterized by nearly endless warfare, he led his armies as King of Sweden—from 1611, as a seventeen year old, until his death in battle while leading a charge during 1632 in the bloody Thirty Years' War—as Sweden rose from the status of a mere regional power and run-of-the-mill kingdom to one of the great powers of Europe and a model of early modern era government. Sweden expanded to become the third biggest nation in Europe after Russia and Spain within only a few years during his reign. Some have called him the father of modern warfare, or the first great modern general. It is indisputable that under his tutelage, Sweden and the Protestant cause developed a host of good generals—who continued to expand the empire's strength and influence long after his death in battle.
He was known by the epithets "The Golden King" and "The Lion of the North" by neighboring sovereigns.
Gustavus Adolphus was the first European monarch to fully grasp the potential value of the time-displaced town of Grantville. In 1632, he formed an alliance with the embryonic New United States, which eventually became the United States of Europe, with Gustavus as its Emperor.
At the time of the Ring of Fire, Gustavus was on the offensive in Germany, but was facing some set-backs. Despite his promises to save the city, Magdeburg was sacked by Count Tilly, who was in the employ of the German Catholic League. Gustavus only had three German rulers truly loyal to him: Bernard and Wilhelm, Dukes of Saxe-Weimar, and William V, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel. The pious Gustav was devastated by this news. He also realized that Saxe-Weimar would likely be the League's next target, and that he could do nothing about it.
He was also financially strained. He'd used up the Swedish treasury, and received most of his operating funds from France. However, France was not prompt with its payments, which Gustav found insulting as he knew that Cardinal Richelieu wanted to use the Swedes to block the expansion of the Habsburg dynasty's power on the continent.
Looking for other resources, Gustavus reached an agreement with the Dutch Republic. Privately, he lamented to his chancellor, Axel Oxenstierna that although the agreement had been reached, the messenger had not rendezvoused with Gustav's representative, Alexander Mackay. (Mackay did eventually enter Grantville, and laid the foundation for the eventual alliance between the New United States and Sweden.)
Despite these set-backs, Gustavus pressed on. First, he dispatched William of Hesse-Kessel to return to his realm and prepare to defend it. He also convinced the Dukes of Saxe-Weimar to stay with him, rather than to go forth and mount a doomed defense of Saxe-Weimar. He also ordered Mackay to stay at his post in Badenburg (his reasons for doing so were known only to Oxenstiernia and himself). Finally, he prepared to march on his brother-in-law, George William of Brandenburg, in an effort to force the wayward German to the Swedish banner.
Finally, in September, 1631, Tilly invaded Saxony, and its elector, John George, formally combined his forces with Gustavus's. The allies met Tilly's forces at the Battle of Breitenfeld, where, despite the immediate retreat of the Saxons, Gustavus achieved a decisive victory in the face of disaster.
Gustavus marched through Thuringia in October 2, 1631. This was more or less concurrent with the Battle of Jena. (The fact that most of Grantville's military was away at the time caused Grantville's de facto leader Mike Stearns consternation.) Gustavus seized Erfurt, and began settling into winter quarters.
1632: Meeting the AmericansEdit
Gustavus finally received a report from Alexander Mackay in the early months of 1632, and was entranced with the notion of a "colony" from the future. The New United States had proclaimed itself a republic, much to the chargin of Wilhelm and Bernard of Saxe-Weimar, as its territory cut into their hereditary lands. For his part, Gustavus didn't care. He saw the NUS as a logical step to protect their survival for the winter. Nonetheless, Gustavus agreed to try to mollify Wihelm (not Bernard, who'd come to be viewed with disdain by his advisors). Gustavus began making preparations against his enemies, which now included Albrecht von Wallenstein. He also ordered Sir James Spens to arrange a meeting with an American.
The New United States sent a delegation consisting of Rebecca Stearns, Ed Piazza, Tom and Rita Simpson, and Julie Sims (whose presence alone convinced Gustavus that they were not witches). Alexander Mackay was also present. Gustavus was impressed by the general sharp wits of the delegation, particularly Stearns, and was even more impressed when he learned that she was part of the Abrabanel family.
The meeting essentially produced the first formal alliance between Sweden and the NUS. Rebecca Stearns addressed Gustavus's concerns about a state without a formal church by opening the doors to all troublesome minorities.
Next, Wilhelm of Saxe-Weimar joined the meeting. Wilhelm opted to side-step the issue of the NUS taking possession of his territory for the time being, as it would cause conflict among the allies. He was pleased to learn that none of his people starved, and in fact appeared to have thrived. So long as the NUS refused to do anything that would force Wilhelm to defend his rights, the matter could bide.
Finally, after artillery commander Lennart Torstensson inspected a shipment of firearms the Americans had brought, the delegation explained that they could supply firearms that, while not exactly like those of the world they'd left, were still quite a bit better than anything produced in the present. They agreed to become Gustavus's arsenal. They also offered loans to finance Gustavus's war.
With that, Gustavus began a move against Count Tilly, who'd made camp two miles away. The Battle of Rain came the next day. Americans Tom and Rita Simpson were present to help Torstensson use the new artillery pieces. Gustavus himself was witness to Julie Sims' superior skills as a sniper, although there were moments of tension between the two leading up to that.
With the way cleared, Gustavus moved quickly into Franconia, entering Nürnberg in July, 1632, ahead of Wallenstein, Pappenheim, and Maximilian I of Bavaria. He was soon puzzled by the movements of his ally, Bernard, who'd moved his troops to Cologne.
Gustavus settled in and fortified the town. The three Catholic generals merged and began the process of siege. Although Gustavus attempted to draw Wallenstein on the field, Wallenstein declined. After several weeks, Gustavus had no choice but to conclude that Bernard had betrayed him. This became clear when Gustavus realized that Bernard's movements left Thuringia vulnerable to a Spanish attack. However, he also realized that Richelieu was the main culprit, and that he was after something more. He decided to use his identity of "Captain Gars" to investigate, despite protests from Torstensson and his body guard, Anders Jönsson.
After receiving reports of how well the Americans defeated the raid at Suhl, Gustavus was convinced more than ever that Suhl had been a feint. His scouts brought him news of a cavalry force of some 2000 Croats on the march. He realized that the only logical target was Grantville proper. He and his men pursued, and arrived in Grantville just behind the Croats.
Under covering fire from Julie Sims, who recognized "Captain Gars", Gustavus and his men charged into Grantville High School, ruthlessly dispatching Croats where they found them. Gustavus personally saved Jeff Higgins in the gymnasium. Here, he was met by Sims, who admonished him for his recklessness but emotionally thanked him for his timely arrival in the form of a hug.
After Michael Stearns returned to Grantville, he and Gustavus sat down for the first time, and after much arguing, reached an agreement that created the Confederated Principalities of Europe. Gustavus realized that Stearns was using him to incubate a new republic in Germany. However, after learning of the future history, Gustavus accepted this new alternative. He was given the title Captain-General (as "Captain Gars") to eliminate the need for a state religion, as the prestige of "Captain-General Gars" would not be tied to any church.
When his chancellor, Axel Oxenstierna, raised concerns, Gustavus took him to Buchenwald, and shared with Oxenstierna what he'd learned about the future, including Gustavus's own death and the eventual rise of Nazi Germany. Oxenstierna bowed to Gustavus's will.
Gustavus later won the Battle of Alte Veste with American help. Julie Sims volunteered to kill Wallenstein with sniper fire. Gustavus initially didn't approve of this tactic: semifeudal military protocol of his day held that deliberately targeting an enemy commander was low and foul. But he quickly changed his mind as he saw it justifiable - and moral - to kill Wallenstein for allowing the raid on Grantville. Wallenstein was left with a severely broken jaw, but survived. Gustavus was pleased to see the battle won, particularly as it was a greater victory than the one at Breitenfeld.
He remained occupied prosecuting the war against the Catholic Counter-Reformation, but with the sneak attacks by the secretly formed League of Ostend, he personally saw to the defense of the vital port of Lübeck while scrambling his forces to defend against the new English-French-Danish-Spanish alliance.
Gustav worked hand in hand with Mike Stearns in matters of state.
In 1635, Gustavus decided that he had had enough of Electors John George of Saxony and George William of Brandenburg. While the USE Army was sent into Saxony, Gustavus himself, along with Wilhelm of Hesse-Kassel went to Brandenburg. This was successful, with the Saxon army being defeated, and both John George and George William fleeing their capitals. Gustavus sent Ernst Wettin and Johan Banér to Saxony to temporarily take charge there.
He had already determined to follow that up with an invasion of Poland, despite Michael Stearns's attempts to dissuade him. While in Poland, he received word that his wife had been murdered, and that the attackers had tried to kill his daughter.
In October of 1635, at Lake Bledno, he personally led a unit that attempted to plug a gap in his lines, not realizing that a second gap had been opened. He was spotted, and several Polish hussars converged on him, intent on killing him. He survived, but was badly injured. Mike Stearns, as the senior (conscious) officer present, decided that the best available course of action was to send him to Berlin on a horse-litter. Gustavus survived the trip, and Dr. James Nichols was able to deal with his abdominal injuries. However, the head trauma he'd suffered left him with a form of aphasia in which he could utter grammatical sentences, but the sentences themselves were nonsense. While many assumed that he had lost his wits, his cousin Erik Haakansson Hand, after talking to Nichols, felt that they were wandering somewhere inside his brain, trying to find a way out.. It also left him subject to bouts of unfocused rage and fury.
Even though he could have survived a trip to Magdeburg, which had much better medical facilities, Axel Oxenstierna kept him in Berlin. Even so, he gradually began to recover over the next several months, and Hand was concerned that someone might notice and tell Oxenstierna. In February of 1636, after news of Banér's defeat at Dresden reached Berlin, one of Gustavus's Scottish guards brought Hand in to see the king, who had recovered. The next day, Gustavus, Hand, the king's bodyguard Erling Ljungberg, and Scots under Ljungberg's command confronted Oxenstierna in a tavern on the outskirts or Berlin. Gustavus lost his temper, and began cursing Oxenstierna. Shortly after starting, he suffered a seizure, and Hand shot and killed Oxenstierna before the latter could recover from the shock of seeing a recovered, and very angry, king. After Oxenstierna's death, he decided that his grandfather had been right to strip away the powers and privileges of the Swedish nobility, and resolved to do it again. He also decided that he had had enough of Maximilian of Bavaria and decided to send Michael Stearns and the Third Division of the USE Army to "crush him like a bug".
As of the spring of 1636, Gustavus was subject to seizures, and had to get used to operating within limits and through surrogates.
|Regnal titles (OTL)|
|King of Sweden|
| Succeeded by|
as Queen regnant of Sweden
|Regnal titles (1632)|
|King of Sweden|
| Succeeded by|
|Emperor of the United States of Europe|
| Succeeded by|
|High King of the Union of Kalmar|
| Succeeded by|