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Tocomocho
November 9th, 2007, 12:29 AM
It is pretty usual to see threads of "Britain and France recognize the CSA", but not about one who did while the other stays out or even discuss it. Could the CSA gain independence with only help from France? Could the USA and the CSA even end up as mere proxies in the disputes between the British and French empires (assuming a success in America avoids Nappy III to go to war against Prussia)?

Thande
November 9th, 2007, 12:41 AM
Interesting idea. Not sure how realistic it is, but worth a thought. I imagine any French military support of the CSA would be primarily naval, what with them already having one army in Mexico. Did the French Navy of the time significantly outclass the USN? I believe they had some of the first ironclads... (come on, ACW buffs!)

67th Tigers
November 9th, 2007, 12:46 AM
Interesting idea. Not sure how realistic it is, but worth a thought. I imagine any French military support of the CSA would be primarily naval, what with them already having one army in Mexico. Did the French Navy of the time significantly outclass the USN? I believe they had some of the first ironclads... (come on, ACW buffs!)

Absolutely, the French Navy was FAR more powerful than the USN.

What date were you thinking?

Roberto
November 9th, 2007, 12:49 AM
How about the French Army that was involved in the Mexican Civil War instead fighting in the ACW?

Strategos' Risk
November 9th, 2007, 01:31 AM
They could always send in the Foreign Legion.

Thande
November 9th, 2007, 01:39 AM
How about the French Army that was involved in the Mexican Civil War instead fighting in the ACW?

I'm not sure the French would care about the ACW if they weren't already fighting in Mexico.

Thande
November 9th, 2007, 01:40 AM
They could always send in the Foreign Legion.

Apparently the Foreign Legion only got its modern elite reputation after its actions in the Mexican Civil War around 1863, so it wouldn't have the same resonance if we're talking 1861. Originally it was only set up because the French barred foreigners from serving in its mainstream army after the revolution of 1830, and this law was retained under the Second Empire.

numberone
November 9th, 2007, 02:15 AM
When did France start interfering w/ Mexico? If the CSA secedes earlier, the French could get involved with them instead of Mexico.

HUCK
November 9th, 2007, 02:27 AM
I can see the French leader, "Another seccession? Geeze, these Americans just won't make up their mind will they?"

Thande
November 9th, 2007, 02:34 AM
I can see the French leader, "Another seccession? Geeze, these Americans just won't make up their mind will they?"

Historiography would be interesting if the CSA wins. "First the French back the American colonists against the British, then the South against the north, then Mexico against the South (perhaps)...a clear geopolitical strategy of divide and conquer..."

Smaug
November 9th, 2007, 02:53 AM
Seems like the British would make better bedfellows for the South. I don't think that the raw materials of the South would nearly as interesting to France, as compared to England, with its fabric industries.

Maybe you could come up with some kind of French interest in its long lost Louisiana population. Its a reach, but, hey....

Dean_the_Young
November 9th, 2007, 02:55 AM
Seems like the British would make better bedfellows for the South. I don't think that the raw materials of the South would nearly as interesting to France, as compared to England, with its fabric industries.Of course, if France were to suddenly see a chance to grab the source of Britain's raw materials, the economic advantage would be immense...

Maybe you could come up with some kind of French interest in its long lost Louisiana population. Its a reach, but, hey....
What long-lost Louisiana population? The one that's long since been dwarfed, intermarried, and swarmed by the whites and black slaves that have settled the state and tuned New Orleans into something other than a small backwater?

BrotherToAll
November 9th, 2007, 03:00 AM
This may be a stupid idea but would the British support the USA(indirectly of course) if they felt the French were growing to powerful in that region?

Dean_the_Young
November 9th, 2007, 03:03 AM
This may be a stupid idea but would the British support the USA(indirectly of course) if they felt the French were growing to powerful in that region?More relevantly, would the British stop tacitly supporting the Confederacy with ships, sailors, and supplies?

BrotherToAll
November 9th, 2007, 03:08 AM
More relevantly, would the British stop tacitly supporting the Confederacy with ships, sailors, and supplies?

I guess they would because I dont think they would be very happy with the idea of the French having so much sway in North America.

fhaessig
November 9th, 2007, 05:39 AM
There's just a slight problem with the PoD.

One of the mainstream of Napoleon III policies was never, ever, in any way, antagonise Uk. So he will only recgnise CSA if he gats at least a nod from London.

M79
November 9th, 2007, 06:12 AM
This came very close to fruition in 1862, and I could see a wily UK playing the US and France off of each other to whittle down competitors.

France has a larger navy but no bases for transAtlantic operations, they also will have interests in Mexico that they may try to defend. Union land army is larger and this might be the impetus they need to acquire Henry rifles as stanard firearms. In this case, they would get a serious edge on the battlefield and would try to drive out the CSA and the French at the same time. The US navy is also growing quickly and has ironclads at her disposal, which were *not* transoceanic vessels. France can send wooden vessels out but can they beat an ironclad fleet?

CSA gets supplies and extra manpower, perhaps enticing one or two more border states to secede, but I still think that eventually the rebels fail and now the greatly enlargened US has a bone to pick with France. Bismarck sees this and Germany becomes much better friends with us, as we take Franch colonies and they march on Paris.

BrotherToAll
November 9th, 2007, 06:25 AM
Union troops armed with a needle guns!:D (I know its silly but a man can dream cant he?) But on a serious note would Prussia provide any help at all to the Union? Because if they can help arm and train the Americans that means the Americans can kill more Frenchmen which means less French troops for Prussia to fight in the future also it means that Prussia could have a powerful pontential ally to help her in the future.

David S Poepoe
November 9th, 2007, 06:45 AM
Of course, if France were to suddenly see a chance to grab the source of Britain's raw materials, the economic advantage would be immense...

What long-lost Louisiana population? The one that's long since been dwarfed, intermarried, and swarmed by the whites and black slaves that have settled the state and tuned New Orleans into something other than a small backwater?

Actually the British were not affected by either the Union blockade or the Confederacy's terrible idea of withholding cotton from the world market. The previous years had been bumper crops and there were plenty of cotton in British warehouses waiting to be turned into fabric.

Also the British were developing other cotton producing areas such as Egypt and India.

The same can not be said about the French cloth industry which was very dependent upon American cotton - to a greater degree than the British. I believe the French linen industry did lobby Napoleon III to do something.

Paris operating with London seems interesting and pretty unlikely - at least in regards to the American War.

Tom_NUFC
November 9th, 2007, 10:16 AM
Seems like the British would make better bedfellows for the South. I don't think that the raw materials of the South would nearly as interesting to France, as compared to England, with its fabric industries.

Maybe you could come up with some kind of French interest in its long lost Louisiana population. Its a reach, but, hey....

I can see where you're coming from with the cotton side of things, but throughout the American Civil War, Napoleon III seemed to be keener to recognise the CSA than the British did. He was always sending telegrams to London asking them if they did not think that the time had come to recognise the Confederacy.

So perhaps you could have a scenario where he gets impatient of waiting for Britain.

Grey Wolf
November 9th, 2007, 10:43 AM
This came very close to fruition in 1862, and I could see a wily UK playing the US and France off of each other to whittle down competitors.

France has a larger navy but no bases for transAtlantic operations...

What were you thinking of with respect to this ?

Brest is in the ideal position as an Atlantic base, backed up by other major Biscay ports

I believe that Martinique and Guadeloupe have some naval facilities, and Dakar in Senegal too, even in this period ?

Vera Cruz is in French/Mexican hands, and if they want to find French territory further North there is always St Pierre and Miquelon, not very big but it would serve as an anchorage for smaller vessels, and potentially a brief stopping off point for larger ones

Best Regards
Grey Wolf

Analytical Engine
November 9th, 2007, 11:01 AM
Finally, .... an original ACW idea! ;):rolleyes::p:D:eek::cool:

Tocomocho
November 9th, 2007, 12:52 PM
Seems like the British would make better bedfellows for the South. I don't think that the raw materials of the South would nearly as interesting to France, as compared to England, with its fabric industries.

Maybe you could come up with some kind of French interest in its long lost Louisiana population. Its a reach, but, hey....

As has been pointed out France is way more interested in the southern cotton, as Britain can produce all she wants in India. Plus, it's worth a mention that a victorious Union is a thread to the French-backed Empire of Mexico, while there is none strategic gain for Britain if she supports the CSA (on the other hand, Britain should say good bye to the "biggest demilitarized border in the world" and spent something in the defense of Canada against a not so friendly USA in the following decades).

Tyr
November 9th, 2007, 01:00 PM
You know, seeing this on the front page I read it as 'France supports life' :D


Anyway though.
It is pretty usual to see threads of "Britain and France recognize the CSA", but not about one who did while the other stays out or even discuss it. Could the CSA gain independence with only help from France? Could the USA and the CSA even end up as mere proxies in the disputes between the British and French empires (assuming a success in America avoids Nappy III to go to war against Prussia)?
I did a TL about that.
Except Nappy III managed to beat Prussia and not avoid them.

Tocomocho
November 9th, 2007, 01:09 PM
You know, seeing this on the front page I read it as 'France supports life' :D


Anyway though.

I did a TL about that.
Except Nappy III managed to beat Prussia and not avoid them.

Oh, I didn't know that. Do you have a link?

Max Sinister
November 9th, 2007, 01:21 PM
The premise makes some sense. The French can need a divided America, so the aren't disturbed while doing their Mexican adventure.

The question is, whether France can afford both said adventure and support for the CSA.

Dean_the_Young
November 9th, 2007, 01:30 PM
As has been pointed out France is way more interested in the southern cotton, as Britain can produce all she wants in India. Plus, it's worth a mention that a victorious Union is a thread to the French-backed Empire of Mexico, while there is none strategic gain for Britain if she supports the CSA (on the other hand, Britain should say good bye to the "biggest demilitarized border in the world" and spent something in the defense of Canada against a not so friendly USA in the following decades).
I'll have to call this. If this was true, why did Britain sit around all those years watching gold flow out of the empire to another country, rather than use India and Egypt instead and keep the money in the Empire with a productive business, rather than largely buy American resource exports? Britain had a series of bumper crops from the United States which held it over, but setting up cotton in Egypt as a substitute for the US was years away from substitution.

Analytical Engine
November 9th, 2007, 01:33 PM
I'll have to call this. If this was true, why did Britain sit around all those years watching gold flow out of the empire to another country, rather than use India and Egypt instead and keep the money in the Empire with a productive business, rather than largely buy American resource exports? Britain had a series of bumper crops from the United States which held it over, but setting up cotton in Egypt as a substitute for the US was years away from substitution.

Markets change.

Britain would want to make sure that she had a reliable supply of cotton.

MrP
November 9th, 2007, 01:36 PM
I was rather under the impression that Britain's north suffered economically because after a while there wasn't enough cotton - precisely because the American bumper crops kept them going and then there was nothing left over.

Tyr
November 9th, 2007, 01:47 PM
I'll have to call this. If this was true, why did Britain sit around all those years watching gold flow out of the empire to another country, rather than use India and Egypt instead and keep the money in the Empire with a productive business, rather than largely buy American resource exports? Britain had a series of bumper crops from the United States which held it over, but setting up cotton in Egypt as a substitute for the US was years away from substitution.

Free trade and capitalism.
It wasn't the government buying the cotton, it was British buisness.


Oh, I didn't know that. Do you have a link?

http://www.alternatehistory.net/discussion/showthread.php?t=52878&highlight=march+progress

I think I went a bit overly detailed and tried to cover too much of the world via butterfly effects...

David S Poepoe
November 9th, 2007, 05:14 PM
There probably is several WIs like this on the old board. I do remember a few where French troops are sent to the CSA and are primarily used to release Confederate forces from policing duties to be shipped to the front lines.

Prinz Richard Eugen
November 9th, 2007, 05:46 PM
There is a problem with ALL the ATL's that have France (and often Britian) come to the aid of the South.They assume that the assisting nation(s) would send over there entire military to aid the endangered Confederacy. In truth, both nations have major obligations in Europe to defend their homelands. There are also troops and ships needed to protect their colonies. After taking these needs into account, it would be interesting to determine how LITTLE is actually available to assist the Confederates. Surely, the South would be better equiped and supplied, but for the most part, these were sufficent in the military until late 1864. Then let's talk co-operation between the British and French (who thought the Americans knew nothing about real war) and the Confederate military and political leaders. The French and British didn't exactly have a history of co-operaying in the Crimea.

Fiver
November 14th, 2007, 03:42 PM
Absolutely, the French Navy was FAR more powerful than the USN.

Have you got comparative numbers? And how much of that French navy was new? Also, how much could they spare for an American war while still protecting their various overseas ambitions?

Also would the Russian fleets goodwill visits to New York and San Franciso in 1863 temper French adventurism?

Analytical Engine
November 14th, 2007, 03:44 PM
Have you got comparative numbers? And how much of that French navy was new? Also, how much could they spare for an American war while still protecting their various overseas ambitions?

Well, there was that thing in Mexico at about the same time... ;):p

M79
November 14th, 2007, 11:07 PM
What were you thinking of with respect to this ?

Brest is in the ideal position as an Atlantic base, backed up by other major Biscay ports

I believe that Martinique and Guadeloupe have some naval facilities, and Dakar in Senegal too, even in this period ?

Vera Cruz is in French/Mexican hands, and if they want to find French territory further North there is always St Pierre and Miquelon, not very big but it would serve as an anchorage for smaller vessels, and potentially a brief stopping off point for larger ones

Best Regards
Grey Wolf

I was thinking that in 1862 the French have no facilities on the American side of the Atlantic. Brest would be a good port for the European side, but you would want some kind of drydock facility or other major port in the New World in case of injured ships. Unless they are willing to cross the Atlantic every time they are injured/damaged.

Grey Wolf
November 15th, 2007, 04:27 PM
Was there anything at Vera Cruz ?

Also, one supposes that France could use CSA bases if they could secure them from Union attack

Best Regards
Grey Wolf

Fiver
November 19th, 2007, 03:31 AM
Well, there was that thing in Mexico at about the same time... ;):p

Of course, everyone has heard about the major engagments between the French and the Mexican fleets. ;):p

Dave Howery
November 19th, 2007, 05:10 AM
I don't know if France has quite the power that Britain does (especially at sea), but, like in most scenarios of this type, the US doesn't have the seapower to match any of the great powers of Europe... the US just doesn't have a high seas fleet in being, although it will (eventually) have a powerful coastal and river force. I suppose the French could force open the blockade and land troops directly in Confederate ports, but no idea how many they could afford to send and how that would affect the war. But the naval war alone would be impossible for the US to handle (really, this scenario isn't all that much different from the ones where the Brits come in on the CSA side)...

ranoncles
November 19th, 2007, 10:18 AM
Interesting notion and perhaps not quite as unlikely as some would suppose.

The Mexican intervention arose from Mexico’s failure to repay loans. The usual procedure was for the lender to then force repayment by force of arms and both France and Britain send naval and ground forces to Mexico. They captured several ports and blockaded others. At that point, Napoleon decided upon a major intervention. Mexican Catholics (the upper crust and church) had asked for his support against the Mexican liberals who were taking away their privileges. The French Catholics supported their request and the offer to accept an European Catholic prince was made. Napoleon needed the support of the French Catholics and there was a popular belief that Mexico was rich in resources.

Britain did not go along with this and left France to go it along, with Austria which provided some troops and a Habsburg prince and even Belgium.

Historically, Britain did worry about American intentions about Canada. It would make sense strategically, if the USA was weakened and/or a powerful friendly nation (either Mexico or the CSA) arose in the south so the USA would be “encircled”. It is not inconceivable that Britain would have quietly assented to a French campaign to support Mexico and the CSA under its much loved divide and rule strategy. France would be committing resources and would not be able to either threaten British colonial interests nor could it engage in European adventures, thereby maintaining the balance of power. If they succeeded, the USA would be less of an (economic) rival and if it failed, France would have been weakened and become more of a client state.

So how does France and the USA/CSA compare militarily in the early 1860’s? Simply put, France is superior in every way. The French navy was competing with the British to which end it scored several technological coups. It didn’t quite achieve its goal of matching the British but it was easily the second most powerful navy in the world. As for its army, the French Imperial Army was rightly considered the best in the world, notwithstanding its later defeat in 1870 which was down to its leadership and tactics.

In the 1860’s it was an experienced regular force with state of the art equipment. Its performance in the Crimea and to a lesser degree in Italy had won international plaudits. Compared to the British army, the French was more professional and more able and simply put the British to shame in the Crimea. The USA/CSA forces were not in the same league as the French. While the Americans would become quite accomplished after several years of campaigning, they started out as armed mobs with little formal knowledge of military art & science and could not have prevailed against the French in the type of battles fought in the ACW.

Therefore, the French would have the means to materially influence the ACW. It deployed 400,000 men in the Crimean War (dwarfing the British contribution) and deployed 250,000 men in Italy in 1859. Even the relatively minor Mexican expedition was supported by about 40,000 men while the ridiculous pastry war saw a French invasion with 30,000 men. So the French could deploy large numbers of troops and maintain them overseas.

How and to what end would have been a matter of strategy. Napoleon’s track record isn’t particularly good in that regard but he did have some competent Marshals and ministers who could have provided the necessary advice.

Analytical Engine
November 19th, 2007, 11:34 AM
At least, we've found a CSA-wins-ACW scenario which doesn't involve the US conquering all of Canada (or even a bit of it) and doesn't hate Britain afterwards! :D:p:cool:

67th Tigers
November 19th, 2007, 12:11 PM
At least, we've found a CSA-wins-ACW scenario which doesn't involve the US conquering all of Canada (or even a bit of it) and doesn't hate Britain afterwards! :D:p:cool:

In the same manner, every "the CSA wins x" scenario has someone suggest the north wasn't really trying after all and now does, and thus the CSA loses quicker!