1866/67 US War against Maximilian

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Melvin Loh, Jan 29, 2004.

  1. Melvin Loh Member

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    What would've happened had the US after the CW decided to enforce the Monroe Doctrine and invade Mexico to expel the French-backed regime of Archduke Maximilian, and the French actually decided to fight ? How could such a conflict have progressed and eventuated ?

    On this note, I remember seeing an old film which had both Union and Confederate soldiers in Mexico, who were compelled to ally with each other to face off French chasseurs and lancers.
     
  2. David S Poepoe Banned

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    I remember there be a debate on www.warships1.com upon this topic within the last two years. Much as if the US ended up fighting Britain in the 1860s-1870s, the naval war would be an American failure while the land war would be completely in their favor. By 1866 the US Army is one of the most efficient military machines on the planet, everything is in place for a war that could, and probably would, span a continent and see distance fronts. This is also totally ignoring the size of the US Army is war came immediately upon the heels of the ACW. Also the arsenals of the US Army are just overflowing with military material and arms.

    In the eventuality of a war with France, the US can move down and completely arm Juarez's forces in order to swell their ranks. The French will be fighting a losing war practically from the beginning. It doesn't really matter if the French Navy can clear the oceans and secure safe transit for French troops. The French don't have the number of soldiers to fight and prop up Maximilian.
     
  3. DuQuense Commisioned Officer CSN

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    Withdraw

    Once the French start being outnumbered in sonara and chinchuca They withdraw south ward, after several big battlets they thro in the tlowel, and leave Mexico, except the French now have some experence in Large Industraial era Armies [from the losing side,] Given that it seems that the losers, are the ones that come up with, the new wars, new tactics. ? how goes the up coming Franco Prussian war? And how does Mexico React to having US Troops running around the Country, [even if it is on their side, This Time]?
     
  4. Grey Wolf Writer, Poet, Publisher, Cat-sitter

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    Well, the problem with the what-if is that the answer is exactly why the French withdrew, they knew what would have been in store for them. Once the ACW ended the USA was in a position to arm and supply the Republicans (you can't really call them rebels as that's taking a subjective decision as to whose government was legitimate). Given that Maximilian did not even have the support of the whole of the conservatives, many of whom viewed him as a foreign invader (for some strange reason, lol) then you can see how precarious his hold on power was once the opposition were in a position to really push back. In addition his Black Decree (I think it was called) declaring any non-Imperial soldier found with arms was to be called a guerilla and executed lost him the passivity of a lot of the neutral-inclined peasantry and also seriously undermined his image abroad where he had tried to project himself as an enlightening monarch coming from the outside to bring the benefits of civilisation. Napoleon III realised that the coinciding of events had meant he was completely screwed and arranged as orderly a withdrawal as he could

    To postulate France's remaining and deciding to fight the Union one may have to change the outcome of the 1866 Austro-Prussian war (misnomer as it was Prussia against the German Confederation). If Prussia had been smashed and France had maybe taken some compensation from a victorious Austria's hands, then maybe Napoleon III would both be happy with his back yard in Europe and more inclined towards bluster and imperial adventures in the face of serious adversity. As it was, Prussia's victory in 1866 as much as the Union's in the ACW went towards focusing French foreign policy very firmly on Europe and on trying to offset the growth in Prussian power

    Grey Wolf
     
  5. Straha Banned

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    I bet Juarez would decide that america ruling mexico wouldn't be bad thing rather fast.
     
  6. NHBL Long Time Member, CMII

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    Naval Problems and gatling guns

    The USN was huge--but the ships were almost all coastal blockaders. I'd expect the French to control the seas completely outside of American coastal waters, at least at first.
    While the US Army overwhelms Maximilians' troops, the navy will have to build a new generation of seagoing ironclads. Unfortuneately for the French, the North had the industrial potential to eventually flood the seas with them. If the war is still going on in 2 years, I'd expect the French to start having problems at sea as well. Now the European nations can fish in troubled waters at France's expence.
    Also, the last French posessions in the New World end up under new management.
    The Americsan advance into Mexico shows the world the potential of the Gatling Gun--IIRC, some rather reliable ones were available by this time.
    Inside the USA, this could impact reconstruction. Perhaps the occupation of the South is moderated by the need for resources to clobber the French with? Parole a few generals, full pardons for anyone who fights for the US?
    When the dust settles, the effects of the Sopanish-American war are seen decades earlier--the US has defeated a major European power, and can no longer simply be ignored.
    Could Prussia decide to enter the war to defeat France once and for all? It might be worth while in order to get an in with the USA.
     
  7. raharris1973 Well-Known Member

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  8. David Howery Fear my adamantium chainsaw

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    not only gatling guns... the US ended the war with production of Henry and Spencer repeating rifles moving into high gear. Was France making anything comparable, or were they still using muzzle loaders?
     
  9. Grey Wolf Writer, Poet, Publisher, Cat-sitter

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    Going back to the original POD, rather than a watered down version with a slower French withdrawal, I think we have to note a few things :-

    1. How does the Union react ? It cannot just sweep its armies out of the defeated South and on into Mexico. It has to consolidate its victory, then get Congress onside, then try to find a unified front so that the South does not rise up again even in disorganised protests

    2. If France stays, then so does the 8000-strong Austro-Belgian legion. It is worth noting that if the USA' s invasion of Mexico includes a declaration of war against France, it may well draw an influx of Austrian and Belgian volunteers to Mexico. Many of them already there were not officially withdrawn but chose to leave in disillusionment when France withdrew. If France is inexorably entwined by an official declaration of war, then the level of volunteer support from Austria and Belgium will probably be boosted

    Grey Wolf
     
  10. Raymann Banned

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    Yeah but what does that matter against 200,000 well armed, well trained troops pouring in from the North? No, no army in the world could have even slowed them down; the only hindrance they would have had is lack of railroads but that would hardly affect an opponent who didn't have them to begin with.
     
  11. NHBL Long Time Member, CMII

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    Railroads

    The lack of railroads would slow down the offensive--but there would be railroads to help keep the troops suplied. The Union army was good at laying track and building bridges in a hurry.
    When the dust settles, a railroad from the Rio Grande dceep into Mexico coould do Mexico a lot of good, if it got upgraded after the war. (Wartime railroads might not be the best built in the world...
     
  12. Grey Wolf Writer, Poet, Publisher, Cat-sitter

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    How much of the Union army is conscript and how much volunteer ? I remember that in the Mexican War of the 1840s the volunteer units simply went home when their period of service was up. I cannot believe that all these 200,000 you quote could possibly be free to leave a shattered country behind and invade another one.

    Grey Wolf
     
  13. ConfederateFly Member

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    WI the Confederacy won with French help in agreement of not messing with Maximillian? Whould the U.S. later go to war with France and the Confederacy over Mexico?
     
  14. David Howery Fear my adamantium chainsaw

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    Melvin> I think the movie you're referring to was "The Undefeated", with John Wayne. THe confederates, who didn't want to submit to the Union, went to Mexico to live as they wanted. The Union ex-troops went there to sell a herd of horses to Maximillian's cavalry. A bunch of rebels grabbed the confederates and held them hostage, demanding the horses for their release. The Duke, of course, couldn't let them die, and agreed. The French didn't like that, and tried to take the horses, so the Duke's troopers had to charge their way through them.... not the Duke's greatest picture, but ok...