On 2 January 1625, the English ambassador Robert Anstruther met with King Christian IV of Norway and Denmark and requested his participation in a union of Protestant states against Emperor Ferdinand II and the Catholic League in Germany. Within three days, King Christian proposed to contribute five thousand soldiers for one year, as part of an army of almost thirty thousand men. In early June, despite opposition from the Danish Council of State, reluctant to put a huge amount of money into foreign affairs, Christian decided to join what he called “the war for the defence of Lower Saxony”. He then headed an army of mercenaries southwards through Lower Saxony, secured all crossings over the river Weser and prepared to confront the Catholic forces. On 29 November, it was decided that Denmark would be in charge of military operations in Northern Germany, whereas England and the United Provinces would provide a monthly subsidy. The political and military prospects for Denmark were excellent, to say the least. It had the fourth strongest navy in Europe (after Spain and the two new allies), and only a few years before the Danish warships had been described by a French observer as “merveilles de l'océan”. A small standing army of two regiments had recently been established and Denmark was the fourth European state to do so after France, Spain and the neighbouring Sweden.