The Nicobar Colony
In 1778, the Austrian Navy dispatched the
small vessel Josef und Theresia into
the Indian Ocean to perform a geographical
survey, and to seek sites for an Austrian
colony. The new Austrian East India Company
just established at Trieste in the Adriatic
would be the prime beneficiary.
The plan was to establish a trading center,
where goods from across Asia could be bought
and sold, and gathered for shipment back to
Trieste. Within a year or two, small stations
were set up on the Malabar Coast of India,
in the Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal,
and at Delagoa Bay in East Africa (the southern
part of what today is Mozambique).
The Austrian Navy had trouble convincing people
to stay here.
India is the focus of our Soldier
Raj game, and while the game has
small but intense scenarios of its own, it
truly shines when combined with Soldier
The early Austrian venture into colonialism
went nowhere, and by 1783 the colonies had
been abandoned and the East India Company
dissolved. Profits never showed up, while
costs soared. The biggest problem proved to
be piracy, both in the Indian Ocean and the
English privateers flying the Prussian flag
had devastated Trieste’s commerce during
the Seven Years’ War and three-quarters
of Austrian trade ended up being carried in
Venetian ships, with almost all the rest handled
by Dubrovnik. Any increase in trade would
require a navy to protect it, and here the
East Indies project foundered on financial
A reasonably powerful Austrian navy had
been built in the 1730s, but it was abandoned
in 1738 with the warships sold to the Republic
of Genoa and the crews transferred to the
army or the Danube Flotilla. In 1769 Austria
made a start at rebuilding her sea power,
launching two frigates and hiring British,
French and Italian officers to man them. As
commodore, the Austrians named a French naval
officer, Chevalier Jean Charles de Meaussé.
Two 20-gun corvettes replaced them in 1786,
but grander plans fell apart when Emperor
Josef II launched his war with Turkey in 1788.
Despite the cost-cutting desires of the next
two emperors (Leopold II and Franz) to abolish
the navy altogether, this strength level (two
sea-going warships) remained the standard
of Austrian sea power until the Austrians
took over Venice’s navy in 1797.
The central government proved unwilling to
pay for the navy’s upkeep, expecting
the merchants of Trieste and Fiume to do so.
The businessmen had no interest in spending
money for the common good. Thus the navy languished
with just two seagoing warships.
But historical games are meant to explore
historical alternatives. Especially when those
alternatives involve the Austrian fleet.
This variant is for the Soldier Raj/Soldier
Emperor 1803 campaign, for the full-sized
campaign (nine players). The Austrian player
controls Tellichery and the new area, the
Nicobars. The Austrian colonial fleet and
one colonial army start in play, the other
colonial army is available to be built. They
operate under the same restrictions of other
colonial forces: They cannot be moved to the
European map. The Austrian player will have
to track manpower generated on the Soldier
Raj map separately.
The Nicobars are in the middle of the Bay of Bengal. You’ll
have to place the new area there; they should
be just to the right of the “Bay of
Bengal” label. Note that they’re
not worth much.
Click to download!